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Pimms O'Clock: An Afternoon with Lumsden

Sophia Brousset reviews the last garden party of the season

As we brush off our tweed coats and begin to watch the leaves brown around us, it is time to welcome the new season of autumn and say goodbye to the sweet days of sunshine. Last Saturday, September 17, the Lumsden Club ushered the summer away with the last garden party of the season. With all proceeds going to Fife Women’s Aid, an organisation helping women and children experiencing domestic abuse, final sale tickets sold at 45 pounds.

The Lumsden Club is St Andrews’ all-female club which, registered as a charity, runs charitable events throughout the year.

Named after Dame Louisa Lumsden, founder of University Hall, the first hall to welcome female students, the Club was founded in 2001. Boasting alumni like Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, the Club’s elusive nature is intriguing.

Second-year Club member Pam Ascobereta described the difficulty of funding the event without sponsorship from Pimms, which they have had in the past: “100 per cent of our proceeds all year go to Fife Women’s Aid and we are their foremost sponsor so there’s a level of responsibility to them there and we don’t necessarily have a financial cushion.”

Ms Ascobereta stated that all Lumsden members get to know the representatives at Fife Women’s Aid and are happy to devote the funds from their events to such a cause.

"Lumsden put on a similar Pimms-sponsored event last year though it was “a much smaller event — under 200 people and at Lupo’s. We tried to upscale this year. Lumsden has done Garden Parties in the past and we wanted to bring it back”, said Sophia Pawliw, second-year Lumsden member.

Upscale they did. The venue of the event was absolutely stunning —on arrival, you were served a glass of Pimm’s and then walked down a path of fairy light-adorned trees, before arriving at the gorgeous garden outside Earlshall Castle.

The castle, covered in scarlet and green ivy, impressively overlooked party-goers as we frolicked around the gardens. With lawn-games galore, several bars (three extra drinks included with your ticket), and food stalls, there was plenty to keep you occupied.

Several music acts — from jazz to indie rock — played throughout the event. While the crowd surrounding them tended to be small, they made for nice background music throughout the pleasant afternoon. The acts were all student-performers who contributed their performing acts without pay.

Beyond the gardens, the event also had a tent for whenever the summer breeze began to feel too much like an autumnal bite. With comfortable couches and tables for enjoying stall food, it offered great shelter from the cold and a lovely setting for a chat.

While the venue was the crown jewel of the event, the smaller pool of attendees did make it feel a tad vacant. Though I am told tickets sold out, the Club may have benefitted from ramping up the number of tickets available to make the large garden feel a bit more busy and bustling, as any good garden party should be. That said, this did aid in making drink queues shorter and keeping the lawn games available.

On the matter of lawn games, there was no shortage of variety — from croquet and badminton to yard Jenga (for the less athletically-inclined among us), even just watching others garden party-goers play was entertaining.

Though the event was advertised as a Pimm’s Garden Party, “Pimm’s O’Clock” lasted for about an hour as it was quickly sipped away by the attendees. That said, other summery drinks like Dirty Shirleys and Aperol Spritz were on offer.

On the whole, the event made for a nice change of pace from the typical St Andrews event — with the money going entirely to charity and the event being cheaper than a ball and, in my opinion, more worth your money, the Garden Party made for a brilliant afternoon.

Lumsden’s next event will be their Leadership Summit with several women from different professional fields. They will be discussing what lies ahead in their field with an aim of helping students develop a toolset through which to reach their career goals.

Photos: Trinny Duncan

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