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Prestbury Parish Magazine

November 2001

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38,39.

November 2001


Do This ...

MLT Update

SPRINGBOARD: What's happening?

Saturday Prayers for Peace

A Service for the Bereaved

Where's Walsingham and what happens there?

Harvest Festival, 7th October

Christian Aid

St Nicolas' Hall

Stir up!

GHCT Sponsored Ride 2001

Isabelle Elisabeth Kish


Parish Quiet Day RE-CREATE 22 September

To the Tatra Mountains


St Nicolas' Renewal Appeal

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

Church Architecture  - The Departed (2)


Do This ...

I began to think about our regular weekly worship and the place we give to Holy Communion. I could consider the very names we give to this Christian celebration - the Lord's Supper, the Mass, the Eucharist, the breaking of bread - each rich in meaning and emphasis. But I want rather to go to the instigation of the practice and to look at the instruction given to the disciples by our Lord Jesus Christ: 'Do this in remembrance of me' and recorded for us in the New Testament.

DO this in remembrance of me:- we are not to think about it or to talk about it but actually get on and carry it out. Here in Prestbury we are privileged that we can celebrate the action every day of the year except Good Friday. It is a direct command from our Lord. He does not say 'perhaps do this' or 'do this or not, as you choose', but 'do this'. It is not an option; it is the specific will of Jesus.

Do THIS in remembrance of me:- the action is laid out clearly, take the cup of wine and share it, take the bread and break and share it. We may find other parts of our regular service comfortable or reassuring or comforting or familiar or uplifting but we do well to bear in mind that anything over and above the central core is not specifically instructed by Christ and as such must never be elevated above the central core of the celebration.

Do this IN REMEMBRANCE of me:- to remember suggests 'something which is brought into focus in our mind that comes from a personal encounter or experience in our life'. It suggests that in order to obey this command of Jesus fully we must each have experienced something of God the almighty Father by the revelation of the saviour Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot know the heart of another as God does. As individuals our personal faith is a matter of complete comprehension only between us and God. Be aware that no one can deceive God.

And finally, do this in remembrance OF ME:- not because you always have, or your family does, or you like to escape the phone, or a hundred and one other possibilities but rather because it gives us a chance to focus on Jesus Christ and his amazing, sacrificial, unstinting love for each one of us, saint and sinner alike.

Regularly we are given the opportunity to put our Christian faith into practice and draw strength from our Lord and each other. Is this something we can afford to miss out on?

Sue Read
Ministry Leadership Team


MLT Update

I find it hard to write about myself. It's not the sort of thing I like to do, nor have I much experience in it. But the Ministry Leadership Team, into which a significant number of you voted me, agreed it might be a helpful way to get members a bit better known within our church so the bullet needs to be bitten. And perhaps you might like to talk to me about some points I raise.

My husband and I live near St Nicolas' and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to walk there to services and events since I feel strongly that we use our cars for far too many short journeys with the result that our roads are more congested, fewer parents let their children walk anywhere for fear of 'the ill-intentioned stranger', more of our non-renewable resources, like petrol and metal, are used up, further toxic gases are pumped into our single atmosphere to our global detriment.

I'm grateful to have the health and time (or is it a case of priorities?) to do this and use the privilege as an opportunity to observe God's beautiful world. There are, by way of example, some Wellingtonia trees en route - those are the ones with soft sponge-like bark and great fir cones. It gives me the chance to pray if I feel so inclined or to think or even not to do anything in particular and just be. And the personal exercise is thrown in for free!

The illustration of me that accompanies this piece (in the printed magazine) is a drawing by Simon Cooper taken from one of the photos by David Jones. There is a set of photos in each church of all the MLT members, do look out for them if you've not seen them. The MLT hope it'll enable you to put faces to us. It's hard to imagine what the reproduction will be like until it's all printed but perhaps it'll stimulate talk - or even a laugh, they certainly did when we first saw them at a team meeting...

We continue to meet as a group most Monday evenings. Do continue to pray for us please, or if you haven't been praying we'd be most grateful if you would from time to time. The whole parish really is in this together. We train by working through one of the six set modules (each lasts for 6 weeks) to be covered before we are eligible to be considered for mandating by the bishop. If we are not training then we discuss, consider, worship and pray over parish matters. I find some of the meetings excellent, really informative, constructive and productive. Others are less so. But all, I trust, serve to draw us together and move us on and forward in our efforts and determination to serve as Christians in Prestbury.

Sue Read
Member of the Ministry Leadership Team


SPRINGBOARD: What's happening

We benefited from meeting the national team when they visited Gloucestershire at the beginning of October. The MLT's Springboard training day was very practical, and sent us away with a lot of ideas. Clergy had their own day, and PCC members an evening, and on two successive Sunday evenings people from the parish took part in the Deanery event and the celebration at Gloucester Cathedral. At the Deanery evening, one of the high spots was an interview with Andy Macauly about the youth work here.

Our plans for Springboard in Prestbury were outlined in the October magazine, with the expectation that the first part would begin this autumn. Since our recent training, it has become clear that we had not allowed enough time to prepare all aspects of the programme, and the timing will now be as follows:

Part One, strengthening our own congregations for Mission, will take place in Lent 2002, starting Tuesday 12th February. Then, between Palm Sunday and Easter Day, we will use drama to take the Christian message on to the streets of Prestbury, as outlined last month.

The final phase, sharing our faith with friends and neighbours, will be after Easter, when we should also be able to build on the impact of the Passsiontide drama.

Preparations for Part 1 are going well. The evenings are planned, the study material is complete, and we have recruited an excellent team of facilitators to look after discussion. Springboard is going to happen in Prestbury, early in 2002, and we shall need you to make it as good as it ought to be!

Beryl Elliott


Saturday Prayers for Peace

12.00 noon in both Churches

This special time of prayer for the needs of our world began on Saturday 13th October and will continue for as long as is deemed necessary. Members of our Ministry Leadership Team have offered to lead this short (10-15 minutes) time of public prayer every Saturday. They hope that many will be able to join them in one of our Churches. The Angelus bell will be rung before the prayers begin. This will serve as a call to prayer and also as a reminder to those who hear it that prayers are being offered. If you are not able to get to church, why not make that a time for your own prayers? We must believe that prayer can make a difference.

Bible Study

The studies in November will be Acts chapter 12 on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th and Acts chapter 13 on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd. All will begin at 8 pm. Please check the weekly pew-sheets in church for the locations or speak to Sue Read or Kathy Beacham.

In December there will be a less formal gathering on 5th December only, so as many people as possible have the opportunity to go the Advent events on 4th, 11th and 18th of the month.

A Service for the Bereaved

St Mary's, Sunday 4th November at 6.30pm

This powerfully moving service is now a regular item in our Parish Calendar. We send out invitations to the relatives of all those whose funeral one of the clergy has taken during the past year. The service is a combination of readings, prayers and hymns. Also, the names of those who have died during the past year are read out during the service. Last year, over one hundred people attended and very many said how helpful they had found the service to be. We also offered coffee afterwards so that people had the opportunity to talk if they needed to and this was also very much appreciated.

Please do feel that you too would be welcome to attend the service. You might know someone who has been bereaved who would like to come with you. It is always possible to add names to the list of those read out - please speak to Fr Stephen or Fr Michael about that. (Please note that this list is a different one from the list which is read on All Souls Day - 2nd November.)

Advent Readings

Tuesdays in December - 4th, 11th & 18th,
St Nicolas Room,  7:30 pm

This is a reflective series to remove some of the tinsel from Christmas and think through the advent of Jesus Christ as we read through and discuss our lectionary readings.

Each of this series of Advent meditations will be lead by a different member of the Education and Nurture sub-committee. The sessions will last about 90 minutes and will include a cup of coffee and a chance for a chat. The main focus of the meetings will be to read through and look at the advent readings from the lectionary. Do come.

Sue Read

Dates for the diary

St Nicolas' Patronal Festival will be celebrated with a Sung Eucharist on Thursday 6th December at 7.30pm. Refreshments will be served after the service. A Patronal Festival is an important day in the life of any Church; please book the date so that you can join the rest of the Church Family for our celebration.

New Year's Day. Please disregard the information given in last month's magazine: there will not be a service on New Year's Day. However, the New Year will still be welcomed with a Eucharist at 11.00pm on New Year's Eve.

Where's Walsingham and what happens there?

This is your invitation to come and find out all about 'England's Nazareth' (a village in Norfolk to where, throughout the ages, many have gone on pilgrimage to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham). A weekend pilgrimage from our Parish has been booked for the early May Bank Holiday next year. If you'd like to learn a little more about Walsingham (and what we get up to when we're there) please join us for a cup of tea in St Nicolas' Room on Sunday 2nd December at 4.00pm. You will not be under any obligation to join the pilgrimage - this is just an opportunity to find out a little more!

Prayer Diary

Don't forget to pick up a copy of the monthly Parish Prayer Diary, which is normally available at the same time as the magazine.

hen we started the Prayer Diary, we thought people would appreciate the opportunity to be prayed for by name and so we asked you to give the date of your baptism or confirmation. Maybe that has been impossible for most of you to find out, or perhaps most people don't actually feel in need of any prayers, but certainly we have not been overwhelmed with dates! To make it easier why not choose a date that's significant to you, without needing to tell us why. Please fill in the tear-off slip and put in one of the boxes which are in both churches. Also, if you feel you would like to contribute material for some of the daily intentions for prayer, do speak to Kay Porter or to Fr Michael.

Confirmation in 2002

If anyone would like to talk about Confirmation Preparation, please speak to either Fr Stephen or Fr Michael. We are looking towards a Confirmation Service in Gloucester Cathedral on Friday 7th June 2002.


Harvest Festival, 7th October

Our Harvest offerings of dried and tinned food and toiletries have this year gone to Cheltenham Community Projects (CCP), who have written to thank us: 'The food will be used to provide food parcels to young people and families in need and also to provide meals to the young people attending our Skills for Independent Living Classes. As always, we are very grateful for the support we receive from people like yourselves who contribute so generously to charities like Cheltenham Community Projects. Once again, many thanks and we very much appreciate your support.'

Thank you to everyone who brought offerings to the churches, to those who arranged it so attractively, and to those who helped bag it all up afterwards and transport it to the CCP office.

Jerry Porter (for the Mission & Outreach Committee)

Christian Aid

Events in Afghanistan have brought the work of Christian Aid in that country to the forefront of our attention. Special collections were made in both churches for relief work there. We have to hope and pray that it will be possible to deliver adequate aid to the mountainous areas before winter sets in, but the present situation (October 17th) makes this seem optimistic. However, work can be done in the refugee camps in Pakistan and there are local Christian Aid workers doing their utmost to deliver aid by road in Afghanistan when this is feasible.

Local news

At an Extraordinary General Meeting the Rev Hazel Day, the Cheltenham Organizer, discussed plans to share some of the work that she does with more people. She would particularly like a volunteer to be responsible for delivering materials to local schools and other volunteers to order, receive and distribute material for the house-to-house collection, in which 30 Cheltenham churches, including ours, take part.

We should also be grateful, at St Mary's and St Nicolas', for more volunteers to help organize next year's house-to-house collection.

There will be envelopes for the Christmas Appeal in both churches in due course. In addition, both choirs will be singing carols for Christian Aid at Sainsbury's on Saturday 22nd December, St Nicolas' from 10-11am and St Mary's from 2-3pm. Do join them if you can.

If you can help in any way, please get in touch with us.

Gill Ashman & Paddy Spurgeon

St Nicolas' Hall

Following a recent visit by the Fire Safety Officer, I have received a letter, stating that the maximum number of people using the hall should be restricted to 100.

This figure is for 'standing' events - receptions, fairs etc. The corresponding figure for 'seated' events - concerts, slide shows, Parish parties etc is 80 persons.

Present and potential users need to be aware of these restrictions, especially in connection with the sale of tickets - in advance or at the door.

Alan Jackson
Secretary, Hall Committee


Stir up!

'Stir-up Sunday' (Trinity 25 in my old Prayer Book) is this month, so we should all be thinking about making our Christmas puddings and cakes. Eunice Miles has sent me this version of the 'Bible Cake'. I suggest you use a King James Version to look up the references, as some of the more modern translations use slightly different words.


8oz/200g Genesis 4:4
8oz/200g Jeremiah 6:20
4 Isaiah 10:14
2 tbs 1 Samuel 14:25
10oz/250g 1 Kings 4:22
1/2 tsp Leviticus 2:13
1 tsp 2 Chronicles 9:9
12oz/300g 1 Samuel 30:12
2oz/50g Numbers 17:8, chopped
2 tbs Judges 5:25


1. Preheat oven to 170C (gas mark 3). Grease and line a 20cm/8in cake tin.
2. Cream Genesis and Jeremiah until pale and fluffy. Add Isaiah and Samuel a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Fold in the Kings, which you have sifted with Leviticus and Chronicles, and then the Samuel and Numbers. Stir in the Judges to make a soft dropping consistency.
4. Bake for about 2 1/2 hours until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool.


Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust

Sponsored Cycle Ride 2001

The cycle ride this year was on a pleasant sunny afternoon, and I had been challenged to visit some high churches. I was not sure if that was a theological or altitudinal challenge, but decided to visit Churchdown with its church on top of the hill. My route took me past the Roman Catholic Church of St Thomas More in Princess Elizabeth Way, GCHQ and then into the quiet of the old Gloucester road. My thoughts turned to the previous travellers of that road.

The curves take you along the contours past farms and hamlets, with turns down over streams onto the next line before being interrupted by a detour round Staverton airport that probably shifted the old route. Not far from Fiddlers Green and Hayden lanes is a pub, The Pheasant, and lay-by for Stagecoach buses with a flower-filled drinking trough half buried in the hedge. How many feet had walked that road, quenched their thirst at the inn before travelling on the seven miles to Gloucester? Perhaps they were on horseback, in a phaeton or waited to catch the post chaise or flyer that went that way before the railway?

I was put in mind of Rev'd Witts' Diary of a Cotswold Parson, in which he describes journeys from his Upper Slaughter Vicarage including trips to Gloucester assizes where he was a JP. On April 28th 1827 he was returning from there, and 'as we went towards Cheltenham, we marvelled at the crowds of people of the lower order trudging on towards Gloucester, with great eagerness, young and middle aged and many females. We knew not of any Fair or race or merry meeting: at last the truth flashed on my recollection, all these people were hurrying to witness the execution of the wretched brothers Dyer who are to expiate their crimes this morning by their deaths.' How many of those peasants had gathered at the inn before setting off together? After 200 years we remain fascinated by the macabre and today it is not far round the world to find spiritual leaders trying to interpret human frailty and religious principles with the same penalty.

The water trough resulted in other enquiries about its inscription: 'In remembrance of Leslie Gordon Young this trough provided at his request is placed here by the Cheltenham Branch of The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.' Who was this local worthy and when did 'The Royal Society' form? An enquiry to the Cheltenham Registrar confirmed that a 22-year-old man of that name died on 25th October 1908 at St Ronans, U.D. from 'Tubercular disease of the kidney and bladder causing uraemia'. He was a man of independent means and his brother, who was present at the death, came from Thornton Hall, near Pickering, Yorkshire. I have not yet received a reply from the archivist of the Cheltenham RSPCA, but that might form the basis for another article!

David Lyle

Thank you to all our cyclists and to all who sponsored them. The total we raised is over 530, half of which goes to our two churches and the other half to the Trust.

Bob Lyle


Isabelle Elisabeth Kish

She has arrived! Well, we all knew that we were bound to have another girl. And so, Isabelle Elisabeth KishIsabelle Elisabeth came into our lives on the 6th October, a tiny (5lb 11oz) but perfect little thing. We are all thrilled, well now at least. When Paul told Alice on the 'phone she apparently stuck her bottom lip out, declared that 'It's not fair, I wanted a little brother', and proceeded to sulk for half an hour. Since meeting their little sister though, they have fallen in love and want to kiss and cuddle her all the time! They also enjoy opening all the many cards and gifts that we have received. Thank you everyone for your well wishes, prayers, and cards to celebrate Isabelle's birth.

Time is a strange thing. In some ways it only seems like yesterday that we left Prestbury, our friends and our little house, and yet in other ways it seems that we have been in our new home for ages. We all seem to have made the transition fairly smoothly and everyone has been very welcoming both in the schools and in the parish. Madeleine and Alice have settled in very well to their school and playgroup. Paul is thriving (?) on the daily challenges that school life brings and I am loving having family closer to hand especially now the little one is here. The new house is wonderful with enough space for the girls to lose themselves (and myself too, when I need some peace and quiet) but I am looking forward to feeling up to hanging pictures and mirrors and making all those finishing touches. The girls want to paint their bedroom too ......

We love to hear news from Prestbury and we keep fairly up to date with things via e-mails and the parish magazine. Of course, we would love to welcome anyone wishing to visit ...... starting with the Biggs' on their way back from DisneyLand Paris. Madeleine is already very excited.

And so, the baby monitor is flashing, Isabelle is waking up and my time has run out.

With love and prayers from

Anna, Fr Paul, Madeleine, Alice and Isabelle



As a youth work team we feel passionately about the importance of welcoming young people. Not just 'putting up' with - welcoming. Not just young people whom we get on with - all young people. We have found that, over months, young people respond to that welcome. We have seen trust built up, and been privileged to be part of the small things and the massive issues.

It has also been exciting to be part of the N:Gage initiative, sharing with hundreds of other young people from across the Diocese in worship, hearing the gutsy band Psalmistry, and in being challenged to broadcast the faith. Welcome does not just happen 'at home', it happens as we choose to connect with those we meet every day. On 3rd November, at N:Gage (the day) young people and leaders will be getting to grips with what it really means to share our faith.

One of the many highlights of the past few weeks for me was the drama presentation made by Synergy in the Children's and Youth Sunday Service. The presentation, and the young people's commitment, spoke of the need to be active - agents of change. Now, more than ever, we need to take the risky step of being welcoming people bringing hope to those around us.

Walk on!

Andy Macauly



Exploring Faith and Life (Y7+ welcome)
1900 - 2100 Sunday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall

Highlights: Sat 3rd November: N:Gage (The Day) Living out the faith
Francis Close Hall Campus
(No session on Sun 4th November)


Y7+ youth club
1930 - 2100 Thursday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall
Start back 8th November

Highlights: 70's night (15th) and Sports Fixture (22nd)

Twilight Zone

Y9+ youth club
2000 - 2200 Friday evenings
St Nicolas' Room & Hall

Highlights: Lazer Quest 16th November

New members always welcome!

For more info on any of the above please contact Andy Macauly


Parish Quiet Day RE-CREATE 22 September

Nympsfield, a peaceful village not known well to all of us, was easily located from the clear instructions given to us. The Marist Centre itself, a solid old country building with a very pleasing approach, reinforced the atmosphere of peace which is the vital asset of a venue for a quiet day.
It was relaxing as always to circulate among friends old and new, 27 in all. Having attended my last quiet day all too long ago I was particularly impressed that all the age groups from youth upwards were now so well represented.

The topics chosen were broad enough to accommodate all tastes and were introduced in a remarkably relaxed and peaceful way.

Everyone agreed that the food provided in plenty throughout the day was indeed excellent. At least half our number opted for a quiet walk, planned and led by Colin, after the lunch. This was appreciated very much and some of us, including me, thought that this was a much better option than 'nodding off' after a hearty lunch. It certainly was, thanks to Colin, but alas, I succumbed during the next session, as did one or two others.

The personal guidance available and given by the Ministry Leadership Team, plus the printed leaflets and visual aids to guide us through every session, helped us to 're-create' naturally and easily. It is too easy to overlook the tremendous amount of thought, time and effort behind the detailed planning which made this quiet day so peaceful and successful. Our sincere gratitude to all.

Edgar Davison


Parish Quiet Day

The Parish Quiet Day was held at Nympsfield Convent, a fairly small building in the quiet village of Nympsfield. This provided an ideal setting for the day of worship and prayer based on the creation story. The day was called 'Re-create'. In the morning, after we had all been welcomed, there were two sessions, each with a short introduction. During this, we were given sheets and handouts to focus our thoughts on. However, this was an entirely optional exercise. There was also a Quiet Room with various CDs, extensive gardens to walk in, a library with a selection of books and a room for arts and crafts. I spent most of the day in there. During the first two sessions, we made a banner with 'Re-create' written on it. It was displayed in St Mary's for the following couple of weeks.

After a delicious lunch made by the nuns, there were another two sessions, one without an introduction. During this session, there was a guided walk around the surrounding area of the convent, led by Colin Holman. This proved to be a success. In the Arts and Crafts room, we started getting ourselves (and everyone else!) messy by inviting everyone to contribute their handprint to our new banner, which was displayed at St Nicolas'. At the end of the day, we gathered together again to share our experiences and feelings about the day. I thought that the day would be quiet(!) and very religious but I was surprised when I found the Quiet Day spiritual but also very enjoyable.

Kathryn Porter


To the Tatra Mountains

Anthony, Jill and David decided to go to the Tatra mountains, on the borders of Poland and Slovakia, this summer. The original plan had been to fly and hire a car, but a car hired in Slovakia cannot be driven into Poland and the travel agent could shed no light on the possibility of hiring in Poland and driving to Slovakia, so we took our own car.

Our first stop was in Cologne, where we arrived in time to look round the cathedral and ascend the tower and see the bells. Next Leipzig, where we were too late for the Bach Museum but did manage to see the Thomaskirche. We happened to need petrol on the motorway near Bautzen, and when Anthony entered the building to pay he found notices welcoming arrivals in both German and the local Wendish language. To his eye Wendish looked very like Czech.

Next we stopped in Cracow for several days. Here we saw both the town church and the cathedral, which, like our own Westminster Abbey, made so much of its status as burial place of the kings that it was difficult to perceive it as a place of worship. Here too we saw the bells - the largest had had a little adventure - its clapper had fallen out on Christmas Day 2000 and it had been rededicated with a new one (or the repaired one, the subtlety is beyond our Polish) by the bishop on Easter Day 2001.

St Mary's in the town centre had beautiful woodwork, including a 15th century 'pentaptych' (well, the guidebook thinks there is such a word! - it has five panels to a triptych's three) over the High Altar and a series of 17th century stalls whose backs portrayed scenes from St Mary's youth, not all of which were familiar to us, though adequately explained in the guide book. At dusk a bugler plays a cut-off tune, marking how a sentinel was killed by a Tartar arrow while raising the alarm in a 13th century invasion.

We took a local bus to the Wieliczka salt mines, where a chapel is carved out of salt. The first carver had only completed scenes of Herod ordering the massacre of the Holy Innocents, and of his troops carrying this out, but his successors had carved numerous other New Testament scenes, a statue of the local patron saint and statues portraying the sacred hearts of Jesus and of Mary.

Another day we drove into Ojcow national park. We walked to a little church at Grodzisko; a local worthy has an extraordinary stone monument in the graveyard, an obelisk on the back of an elephant. The elephant is about the size of a Shetland pony.

Our mountain resort in Poland, Zakopane, did have an old wooden church, but we had seen it on a previous visit and did not get to it again. Our resort in Slovakia had a modern church which was locked. We took a train trip to Kosice, whose cathedral is not geared up to tourists, not even Slovak speakers, except for allowing the ascent of an externally-entered tower. Most visitors inside the building had entered for private prayer. The tower had recently been restored after a fire and the remains of a destroyed 16th century bell had been reassembled in the square outside as an exhibit.

On the drive home we had a few hours in Prague and peered into Tyn church through the glass - it is only open for services while being restored. A Danish flag could be seen, presumably marking the astronomer Tycho de Brahe's tomb.

In several churches there were statues or paintings of St Joseph holding the baby Jesus; one had Him reaching up as if to pull Joseph's beard! There can be little doubt Joseph did hold Him, but this is a rarely portrayed theme here and we can only recall seeing it in Armagh RC cathedral.

Anthony Smith


Parish Sports

This month's sportsman is Stephen.


I began playing table-tennis at the age of 13, mainly because our Maths master was a keen player (and international umpire) and was keen to encourage young people to play. He put a lot of time and effort into coaching us, initially himself and later arranging through his contacts in the game for more advanced coaches to come into school. Eventually we were competent enough for him to enter teams in the local leagues and even to participate in a few junior county tournaments. He also took us to international matches, sometimes only to watch but occasionally we had the honour of operating the scoring machines.

So that's how it all started but I have managed to keep playing through University, my first job in London and now in the local League here in Cheltenham. It's a chastening thought that I am now old enough to be considered a 'veteran'!

Most people think of 'ping pong' as a fairly undemanding holiday or recreational game but played at club, county or international level, it is a fast and exciting sport, demanding quick reactions and, at the top levels, high levels of fitness. Like many sports these days, it has become quite technological, with many different types of spin and speed being imparted to the ball depending on the type of blade or rubber used for the bat. These days you can buy blades made of carbon fibre or titanium if you are really serious and specialist rubbers rejoice in such names as 'Grass', 'Killer', 'Concrete' and 'Bamboo Curl'. It is often the cause of some disbelief how a fairly average player can become unbeatable overnight because of his new bat. A far cry from the good old days of plain wooden bats with no layer of sponge in between blade and rubber.

But technology is not the only thing to change. The game is still played on a 9' x 5' table with a 6" (sorry, 152.5mm!) net but last season saw the introduction of a larger 40mm ball to aid visibility at tournaments and on TV. This season, the old method of scoring up to 21 points and best of three games has been abandoned in favour of 11 points and best of five games, again designed to increase the momentum of play. Not all players favour these changes but, as with most sports, table tennis is having to move with the times to maintain a following.

Stephen Murton


Elizabethan Banquet

Saturday 10th November at 7.30 pm
St Nicolas' Hall
Licensed bar & Entertainment
Prizes for most original costumes
Tickets 10 available from
Janet White & Marion Godden

Table Top Sale

Saturday 24th November 10am-1pm
St Nicolas' Hall
Tables are 10 each or 6 plus 20% of your profits
Book your table by 17th November with
Marion Godden or Janet Ford
There will be a small entry charge of 30p
Refreshments will be available

Chinese Evening

Saturday 24th November at 7.30pm
St Nicolas' Hall
Slides, talk, music plus objets d'art
by Peter & Pat Attwood
Wine, tea and coffee available in the interval.
All are welcome. Donations in aid of the Renewal Appeal.

Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir Concert

More than 300 people enjoyed a wonderful musical evening at Christ Church on October 6th. The varied musical programme encompassing Verdi, Handel, Parry, Lemar & Loewe and Gilbert & Sullivan was brilliantly presented by the very talented Jill Padfield, soloist, and accomplished choir members accompanied by the expertise and polished performance of Penny Hughes. Our special thanks go to Marion Beagley for all her hard work, in particular obtaining sponsorship for the concert and selling a huge number of tickets. The total raised is over 1700.

Marion Godden



Prestbury Parish Magazine - November 2001

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