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Prestbury Parish Magazine

September 2005



Prestbury Earthquake? Prestbury Riots?

Snippets from the Tower

Silence …

Flower Festival

Prestbury Open Gardens

The Big Sky Festival at All Saints’

Church Fete and Barn Dance

We could have danced all night…

New Term Start Dates

Open the Book

Rotary Charity Ten Pin Bowl

St Mary’s Patronal Festival

Stewardship Cheese & Wine Evening

Some articles from this month's magazine have been included elsewhere in the web site:

The Calendar for this month

The Diary for this month

The Parish Registers 2005



It seems strange writing this sitting in familiar surroundings in early August, with the sun shining through my window. By the time you read this, much that is familiar will begin to change. September is a month of changes. For many it means a new school or university, or new class. For some it signifies the end of summer, and thoughts turning to autumn, and on to winter. But September is also an unpredictable month. By the time you read this Cheltenham could be basking in an Indian Summer, or we could have the central heating on, and be looking out our winter coats. And as September traditionally heralds change, it also heralds uncertainty.

For me, the change and uncertainty involves selling my flat, giving up my career, and moving to Oxford to begin formation and training as a priest at St Stephen’s House. For me these changes bring a great deal of excitement, but also, if I am honest, a significant amount of anxiety. For change is scary. I frequently ask myself ‘will I like it?’, and ‘can I do it?’, and most often ‘why am I doing this at all?’. And I am sure that many of us ask the same questions when faced with change. God is often calling us all to change, to move forward. For the Christian calling of each one of us is to spread the Good News of the Gospel by living out our lives with Christ in us. And in order to do that we need to respond to God, so that his will may be fulfilled through us.

Responding to change is not just something we are called to do individually. Our parishes are undergoing a great deal of change as well. We have been called to explore new initiatives, such as Celebrate! or Local Ministry, and of course now Pastoral Re-organisation is a significant process in Cheltenham, and is likely to bring some changes to us all. The key to accepting change is not to be frightened by it, or fight against it, but to pray about it, involve ourselves in the process prayerfully, and then accept that God will work through it to bring about His Kingdom, in His own time.

So as I make my final preparations to leave, as I pack up my present life and put it into storage boxes, I would ask for your prayers, that God may use this scary but exciting time to His Glory. Each day at St Stephen’s House the staff and students meet together to pray twice a day. So each and every day I will be remembering our Parishes of All Saints’ and Prestbury in my prayers. And my prayer shall be that there will be change; and with that change there will come growth, and from that growth the Good news of Christ will be spread out into our town, and our world.

Andy Hughes

Prestbury Earthquake? Prestbury Riots?

Find out what really happened – an open weekend at St Mary’s church, Prestbury. Exhibition of previously unshown documents and old photos. Quizzes and games for younger visitors. Entrance free. 8th-11th September 2-5pm.

We need volunteers to be in the church during the four afternoons. Please contact Lynda Hodges if you can help.

Snippets from the Tower

On July 10th, in common with most Churches with bells, we rang at St Mary’s at 5pm to commemorate the ending of the Second World War. The band gathered at just before five and planned to ring 1945 changes of Grandsire Triples. The ringing went on for quite a while but sadly they did not achieve the 1945 changes; however they managed to ring about 1600 changes, which was very creditable and is considerably longer than a normal quarter peal which normally consists of 1260 changes.

We have managed to ring for Morning and Evening services each Sunday throughout the summer despite many of our ringers having well deserved holidays. Several of the ringers enjoyed a week away in the Devon area on an organised bellringing holiday where ringing took place each day at different towers. To ringers every set of bells is different and provides new and interesting challenges.

We have welcomed a number of visitors from other parts of the country for service ringing and Tuesday practice.

Jenni Scruton

Silence …

Many wish for a small oasis of silence in their busy lives, time set aside to sit quietly, time to ‘be’, time to listen, to listen for and to be with God, to ‘let go and let God’.

Some years ago one woman felt just this, and together with some friends put aside time for quiet meditation and, because they lived in Norfolk, the home of the Lady Julian of Norwich, a saintly anchoress, they called themselves the Julian Group. The aim, which remains the same today, is to foster the practice and teaching of contemplative and meditative prayer. News spread quickly, and it was not long before the ‘movement’ became known throughout the country, and today for ‘the country’ read ‘countries’ and continents, and still the meetings retain their simple formula, and still the administration is minimal, done on a purely voluntary basis, for sharing information and the publication of an excellent magazine and newsletter three times a year, as well as some leaflets on various prayer topics. Quiet days and retreats are arranged as well as an occasional general meeting.

The membership is ecumenical.

Silence can be oppressive, some find it uncomfortable, even threatening, and of course it is not everybody’s path to God, and no one way is better or more valuable than another, as long as God is the centre. However, silent, meditative prayer can be richly rewarding, and may be worth a try. I will be happy to host an exploratory meeting on Monday 19th September at 7.30pm for anyone who would like to come and discuss the possibility of forming a group – now known as a ‘meeting’.

Lotte Rule

Flower Festival

See pictures

From Thursday 28th to 31st July Gloucester Cathedral held a Flower Festival entitled ‘Glorious Gloucestershire’. Molly Campbell and Lindsey McGowan from St Nicolas’ represented the Parish of Prestbury with their display depicting ‘Prestbury Park Racecourse’.

Funds were raised through well-attended coffee morning, cream tea and a number of generous donations. Preparations for the festival took several weeks of meetings and hard work and included creating a full size saddle from papier mache and leaves, and a jockey’s cap and racing silks made of flower heads in the green and gold colours of Limber Hill, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1956. He is one of the horses who has a road in Wyman’s Brook named after him. We also built a hurdle and camera to complement the display.

Husbands were enlisted to help with transport and staging as well as dismantling on Monday 1st August. The actual arranging took place on the Wednesday and though it was hard work it was also great fun to be part of such an enthusiastic crowd of arrangers from various Parishes throughout Gloucestershire. All of the displays were absolutely stunning and enjoyed by a huge number of visitors.

Lindsey McGowan

Prestbury Open Gardens

In the Cozens household Friday nights throughout the winter months are often spent watching gardening programmes of some description, so it was with a great deal of excitement that we all set off, like The Flying Gardener, to view some of the hidden delights in the gardens of Prestbury, albeit on foot rather than by helicopter! Fr Michael and Anna formed the advance party on Saturday doing an initial reconnoitre of some of the gardens. They came back, oozing with superlatives of the sights and smells that awaited Simon and me on the Sunday. Promptly at 2pm we all set off, armed with map and sun cream, determined to ‘do’ as many gardens as possible. What I was not prepared for was the absolutely staggeringly beautiful, creative, colourful, dramatic and aromatic gardens tucked away behind unassuming gates, walls and fences. Each garden with its own special character, reflecting perhaps that of its owner. Artistic sculptures, gently trickling water features, lush lawns, rich planting, and peaceful havens to play in, entertain and relax. A really big thank you to all those who opened their gardens for us to enjoy and ‘drool’ over – and also to the cream tea ladies who, according to my children, gave the Prestbury Open Gardens a real ‘National Trust’ feel! Simon wonders whether we should ‘open’ the vicarage garden for viewings but after the wonders of the Prestbury gardens, ours definitely needs more TLC (tender loving care) and a lot less football!

Gill Cozens

Open Gardens Weekend

A most enjoyable time was had by very many people, looking around the thirteen open gardens. We are most grateful to all the garden owners who worked so hard and enabled us to use their gardens for this event. Cream teas in St Mary’s church was also a great success and an amazing amount of £1500 was raised over the weekend. Our thanks to you all.

Marion Beagley

The Big Sky Festival at All Saints’ – June 2005

It was with some trepidation that a small committee set to work in January this year to organise The Big Sky Festival of Music and Arts at All Saints’ in June. We had to fundraise a substantial amount and persuade as many people as possible to come and do things for free. A very successful coffee morning in May raised over £1,000 and we were on our way.

Last year’s festival focused mainly on local church schools and they were all keen to come back again for the free workshops but we also wanted to involve more adults this time. The biggest draw proved to be the ‘Dance at 6’ events which saw all generations dancing together to Scottish, Balkan and English country music on several evenings.

The Gospel Singing Workshops were also very popular and we plan to ask Jo Sercombe, Head of Music Development at Bath University, to come back and get us all swaying again. There were Kids Funky Street Dancing sessions, Harry Potter workshops, drama, art and poetry. We also had work by local artists on display, as well as beautiful quilts and woodcraft. A ‘Music from Scratch’ day was extremely successful, as was our Barn Dance (the first ever in All Saints’!) with live traditional English music.

It was particularly pleasing to see so many of our friends from St Mary’s and St Nicolas’ joining in with us and supporting our community effort.

For me the highlight of the Festival was the Strawberry Tea when we launched the Friends of All Saints’ to help raise funds for the fabric of the building. Our new MP, Martin Horwood, became Patron and plans to also attend our first Friends’ event, which is a Memory Morning. It will be held at All Saints’ on Saturday, September 3rd, 10am-12noon, (the ‘day war broke out’) and we want people to bring their memories/mementos/photographs along to share with others. The archivist from the Gloucestershire Echo will be there informally and hopes to get some material copied for her library.

There will also be a concert of ‘Songs that Won the War’ at 11.30am by our in house talented trio. Coffee and cake will be served. The event is free for Friends and £2.50 for others. If you would like to join the Friends, please contact me (details below) or turn up on the morning. The subscription is £10 per year and will include social events and talks.

I hope to make many more new Friends among the readers of this magazine!

Pat Barlow

Church Fete and Barn Dance

See pictures

Saturday 16th July was a brilliantly sunny day and I popped down to the scouts field very early and found a small band of people erecting the tents and awnings. I was shown the area for the Toy Stall – and Noel, Michael and my car were crammed full of toys and we wondered where we would put them all!

What fun Mavis, Noel and I had – it was a very busy stall. The crowds turned out in the afternoon and what a wonderful array of stalls they found, plus a bouncy castle, and the Brownie Group did a wonderful job helping on the tea stall. It was a wonderful Prestbury Village scene. My memory of the afternoon is of the small children picking through the goodie baskets full of little treasures that we had placed at the front of the toy stall. What happened to the huge yellow Teddy?

The evening Barn Dance was such a happy, family occasion and Simon and Kate’s Royal Oak garden turned up trumps for the band and dancing. It was lovely to see so many dancing and they were all ages. John and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, but especially the Blue Diamonds Band – they sounded lovely and looked very professional; and again it was great to see all the young people dancing the evening away.

Well done Marion and the great band of helpers – what a magic success!

Sylvia McKenzie

The Fête!!

On Saturday the 16th of July there was a fête at the Scout hut. All the Brownies who wanted their hostess badge had to make cakes and bring them to the fête. The Brownies also brought teas to your table and carried the cakes you wanted. After an hour and a half me and my mum went to look around the stalls. At the toy stall I got a Sylvanian pram for my Sylvanian families. I also paid ten pence to stroke a ferret, it was very soft and smooth. After, mum went to buy some cards and books and then we went home. At home I realised that mum had got some Brownie annuals and outside I did all the mazes, someone had already written in them but I don’t mind because I can rub it out.

Lydia, age 7

Church Fete & Barn Dance

On behalf of the organisers, we would like to thank everyone concerned for the hard work and effort put into making these two events so successful. It was a wonderful day and has raised well over £3,100. Well done and thanks to you all.

Marion Beagley

The Church Barn Dance

The church barn dance was on a very sunny, hot day in the garden of the Royal Oak pub in the Burgage. Loads of people were there so there weren’t many places to sit. There was a very good barn dance band where the talented people played the violin and the accordion. I didn’t think that my friends would be there but some of them were. We played skittles in the skittle alley and I lost. After that I danced the ‘Patacake Polka’ and ‘I want to be near you’ with my sister and my friends. I am very glad that I went to the barn dance and I shall remember it all my life.

Chloe, age 10

Church Fete and Barbecue

On Saturday 16th July we held our Church Fete on the Scout Field in the Burgage. There were lots of different stalls selling all sorts of things and some good games as well. I especially liked the skittles – I won the junior section.

My Grandma was in charge of the Bouncy Castle and I spent some of the time helping her – collecting money and timing the ‘turns’. There were loads of people at the fete of all different ages and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves. All the people helped worked really hard and at the end me and my sister, Sophie, and some other children helped to clear away by taking the folding tables back into the Scout hut.

In the evening there was a Barn Dance and Barbecue in the grounds of the Royal Oak Pub. Many people who had been at the fete were here as well. It was a really good evening with the chance to talk to lots of people, listen to some great music, have a good dance, eat lovely food and even have another game of skittles (indoors this time). We (my sister, Mum and Grandma) stayed to the very end. Sophie and me were a bit tired the next day, but we still made it to Church.

We were very lucky with the weather both during the afternoon and the evening – it was a great day.

Matthew (aged 11)

We could have danced all night…

Do you like dancing? We do. In fact that is how our paths first crossed – but that’s another story…

So we were glad when we heard about the June dance events to be held in All Saints’ church. Then a barn dance to bring the day of the Prestbury fete to a climactic finish. We couldn’t believe it.

Someone took preventative measures over the floor vents to avoid human injury and material damage and, even without a sprung floor, All Saints’ became a dance venue. Four roughly hour-long early evening sessions led by specialists introduced Scottish, English court, Circle and English folk dancing to a great mix of people of varying ages and experience. Some people came to every session. Some came from as far abroad as Russia, the USA and Japan. Between dances it was good to be able to look at the craft displays.

Both the All Saints’ and the Prestbury barn dances benefited from excellent live bands and good callers. The grass dance surface at the Royal Oak provided its own challenges but again all ages participated including lots of people from the wider community.

All in all an uplifting experience – having fun together.

Chris and Sue Read

New Term Start Dates

Celebrate! (all-age informal worship) Sunday 4th September 9.30am in St Mary’s.

Rockers Half-Hour (for pre-school children and their parents/carers)
restarts on Thursday 8th September at 2pm in St Mary’s church.

Sunday Club (9.30am at St Nicolas’) and Sunday School (11am at St Mary’s) both start again on Sunday 11th September.

Elevate (5pm) and Synergy (7pm) restart on Sunday 11th September.
The Lounge restarts on Tuesday 13th September at 7.30pm.
The Space restarts on Thursday 15th September at 7.30pm.

For information about Elevate, Synergy, The Lounge and The Space please see their website or contact Andy Macauly.
For all the others, just turn up.

Open the Book

We now have a group of people who will be attending a training session on Tuesday 6th September to start Open the Book on a weekly basis at St Mary’s Infant School. We will need all your prayers and support as we move into this new mission. There are some small set-up costs for the group including purchasing copies of the Lion Story Teller Bible and purchasing the training materials. If you feel able to make a contribution to this expense then please contact Marion Beagley.

Julie Jefferies


Rotary Charity Ten Pin Bowl

On Monday June 6th, the ‘Prestbury Pensioners’, a team of six stalwarts from St Mary’s congregation, pitted themselves against 53 other teams of six, vying to be the highest scorers in a standard 10 hand session at the Cotswold Bowl, Kingsditch. Although not exactly the highest scorers, their total was a gallant effort for which they had amassed an impressive £180 in sponsorship. £90 of this went into Church funds and £90 was paid to the Rotary Club of Cheltenham.

This was the 10th Annual Rotary Club Charity Ten Pin Bowl and with this year’s collected sponsorship, looking to exceed £7000, the event will have raised over £72,000 for local charities in the last ten years. Every penny of that money has been spent on LOCAL charities and good causes around our town. For example the Rotary Club with its share of the sponsorship has purchased beds for Delancey Hospital, an incubator for the Special Care Baby Unit, specialised play equipment for handicapped children, computerised brailing equipment for the local branch of the Association for the Blind and many more similar projects. This year £3000 will be donated to the Splash Appeal to refurbish the hydrotherapy pool at Bettridge School and £1500 to the Gloucestershire County Association for the Blind.

Rotary International is celebrating its 100th Birthday this year as a worldwide Service Organisation of professional and business people. From its beginnings in Chicago in February 1905 when four business acquaintances met in rotation in each other’s homes, Rotary now exists in 168 countries of the world with 31,560 clubs and over 1.2 million members. Rotary’s motto is ‘Service Before Self’ and every club works to serve its own local community and to work for international projects. This includes many opportunities for international exchanges, promoting understanding and world peace. In its 100 years, Rotary has become the largest non-Governmental giver of Aid in the world. One of Rotary’s crowning successes has been its funding of a WHO project to immunize every child in the world against polio. In 1988 when Rotary clubs started raising money to support this ambitious programme 1000 children were contracting polio every single day. In 2004 there were only 500 cases reported in the whole year, in only five countries. Rotary is making a final effort to complete the immunisation programmes in these five countries and it is highly likely that in 2006 or at the latest 2007 the world will be declared POLIO FREE!

Although Rotary is a Secular organisation due to the diversity of its membership, it embraces many Christian ideals, such as love of one’s neighbours, service to others and high ethical standards in dealing with others. Apart from the great personal satisfaction one can get from the achievements of service, it offers a family network of friends and acquaintances both locally and world wide, providing great opportunities for social interaction and expanding horizons. If you are interested in what Rotary involves please feel free to speak to me to find out more.

David Price

PRESTBURY PENSIONERS - Rotary Club Ten Pin Charity Bowl

We would like to thank everybody who sponsored us in the above event. We raised £180, £90 for St Mary’s Church and £90 for the Rotary Club of Cheltenham.

It was certainly a fun evening as the majority of us had not played for at least fifteen years!

Doreen Morris


St Mary’s Patronal Festival

United Sung Eucharist

Sunday 11th September
11.00am at St Mary’s

Do join us at this special time

N.B. there will be no 9.30am Eucharist at St Nicolas’
and no 10.30am Eucharist at All Saints’

There will be a Said Eucharist at 8.00am in all three churches


Stewardship Cheese & Wine Evening
St Mary’s Patronal

Saturday 10 September from 7.00pm to 10.00pm at St Mary’s Infant School, Bouncers Lane.

You are most welcome to join us for this social event, which will cost £4 per head. There will be time for socialising and the drama group will entertain us. They are always well worth seeing and you will enjoy their offering. Please give your name to Marion Beagley or Ruth Rudge ASAP so that we know what numbers we will need for catering.

Further Stewardship events will be a Pudding Evening on 22 October and a Quiz on 12 November.


Prestbury Mothers’ Union

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 27th September at the United Reformed Church, Deep Street, starting at 7.30pm. Margaret Edwards will be speaking on A Glimpse of India. All are welcome.

Marion Beagley 


Mid-Morning Concert

There will be a performance by scholars from Dean Close School in St Mary’s church on Wednesday 5th October at 11am preceded by coffee at 10.30am. Please come and support these young musicians. There will be a retiring collection in aid of church funds.

Christine McKelvey


‘Jesus Prayer’ – Quiet Day

Saturday 8th October, 9.30am – 4.45pm, at the Marist Convent, Nympsfield. Cost £13 including lunch. Transport is available if required. Sign up lists are available in all three churches across the Team from the first week of September.

For more information see: Beryl Elliott at St Nicolas’, Margaret Holman at St Mary’s or Karen Winder at All Saints’.


St Mary’s Bakestall

The next bakestall will be on Sunday 18th September, when we shall be pleased to receive contributions from members with surnames beginning N-Z. If you would like to join any of our baking teams, do please contact one of us.

Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews


Thanks! Thanks!

Thanks everyone for:
1. Sponsoring me for the 25-mile walk for The Sue Ryder Hospice, which has resulted in more than £500 for this very worthy cause.
2. Coming to and/or supporting the Cream Tea for the New Acorn’s Hospice providing care for children from Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire raising £134.

Marion Godden



Prestbury Parish Magazine - September 2005

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The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary and St Nicolas Prestbury Cheltenham - Registered Charity No 1130933

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