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Prestbury Parish Magazine

April 2004

Here they crucified him, and with him two others -
one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
John 19:18


The pictures on the front cover of the Parish Magazine this year were drawn in November 2003 by children of the Prestbury After School Club at St Mary's Junior School. This month's picture of the three crosses is by Pippa, aged nine years.

April 2004


Essential Good News

Pancake Day 2004

Refreshment for Bereavement Visitors

Fantastic Support for Outreach Initiative

Parish Quiet Day

Snippets from the Tower

Puzzling Partners in Prestbury Churchyard - Part I

Bible Poetry Competition - Winning Entry

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

The Calendar for April 2004

The Diary for April 2004

The Parish Registers

Essential Good News

Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of Christ, is now showing in our cinemas. I am not sure that I shall see it as I cannot take any really violent films. However, I do not want to deter others who can. Pope Jean Paul is alleged to have said, 'It is as it was'. There is no doubt that crucifixion was most cruel and ghastly. The age was extremely cruel. Codes of conduct as we know them, when treating aliens and prisoners did not exist - as is still often the case today. For the Roman army of occupation, inflicting maximum degrading violence asserted racial superiority. Similar cruel behaviour would also be the usual way of the Jewish Temple police. (Amnesty International did not exist: Jesus' teaching on forgiveness was outside accepted thinking and behaviour.)

However, as more people see the film, reviewers are pointing to the serious need of a different warning.

The film concentrates on the final hours of Jesus' life. It is about Good Friday, and really concludes with his death. With 124 minutes concentrating on the events of the Passion, and only 2 minutes alluding to the Resurrection, viewers may leave the cinema in shock without having grasped the joyful and essential news of Easter. Without the powerful events of Easter morning, then Good Friday is just a tale of beastly violence.

So please help put the film in context. Truly, the violence of Good Friday was real, was unspeakable. But it is quite overshadowed by the Good News that Jesus overcame it all. He lives again and is invincible. More so than all the pain and cruelty that the world has ever known and will ever know.

Thanksgiving for Faithful Service

At the Annual Church Meeting on 25th April three of our members will retire: Ken Bradbury, who has served as Churchwarden for 25 years; Eileen Jones, after 14 years as Assistant Churchwarden with responsibility for St Nicolas'; and Bill Riley, who has served as Parish Treasurer for 25 years.

We have just received news of the sudden death of Raymund Waker, for many years Head Server and Sacristan at St Mary's.

An appreciation of the faithful service of each will be given in the May edition of the Parish Magazine.

Fr Stephen


Ken Bradbury (Churchwarden), Eileen Jones (Assistant Warden) and Bill Riley (PCC Treasurer) are all retiring from office this month. Between them they have served more years in the parish than one cares to count! If you would like to contribute towards a gift for any or all of them, please place in a marked envelope and give to Jerry Porter (St Mary's), Peter Attwood (St Nicolas') or hand it in at the Parish Office by 18th April.


Pancake Day 2004

Shrove Tuesday, as we all know, was a very cold frosty day. Well, for those of us who were brave enough to venture out, we found a very warm welcome awaiting us at the WI Hall that evening. On our arrival we were given the choice of a red or white wine 'hot toddy' - good start I thought!!

The hall was looking very attractive, tables being set out in horseshoe bays, each bay seating approximately ten or twelve people. Large slow cookers containing mouth-watering soups were simmering away, awaiting us all. In front of each cooker was a flag denoting the country of origin, plus on each table were bowls of cubed cheeses, pate and crusty bread. We were then invited to try as many of these dishes as we liked. I'm afraid I could only manage four, but they were all delicious, varying from such varieties as cock-o'leekie, tomato, minestrone, French onion, but to mention a few. This was then followed by as many pancakes as we could eat, ending with tea or coffee of our choice. Truly all in all a sumptuous meal.

To round off the evening we were then entertained by three very versatile lads from Cleeve School on keyboard, clarinet and guitar, whose music was a delight to listen to. My only regret was nobody from our local newspaper was there* to take notes and publish what truly was a most enjoyable evening.

My very big thanks to the members of the parish catering team. Here's to a few more evenings in a similar vein in the very near future, from a much replenished and satisfied parishioner!

Sheila Cook

Pancakes and 'Soups of the World'

As old acquaintances of mine in the parish would know, I have never organised a Parish 'Eating Event' before, so I feel I must say a big 'Thank You' to all the people who really made Shrove Tuesday Evening so successful. We have made a profit of 170 for the Parish Funds, eaten a great deal of soups and pancakes as well as listening to some very talented Jazz.

I have received several enquiries about our vegetarian pt. Please contact me if you would like a copy.

Lynda Hodges

* see pictures taken on the night by the webmaster


Refreshment for Bereavement Visitors

On a very wet Saturday at the end of January members of Bereavement Visitors teams from All Saints', St Mary's and St Nicolas' Churches met for a talk by Felicity Brasier, who is a volunteer with the West Suffolk branch of CRUSE.

We met at Elizabeth House, Cheltenham Ladies College, and began with a bring and share lunch, with tea and coffee served by Housemistress Vicky Gregory in the senior girls' large and comfortable sitting room. This set us at ease, and after general introductions all round, we listened to, thought about and discussed topics relating to bereavement and grief processes. We practised 'listening' skills in pairs, and were able to brush up much of our earlier training, as well as absorbing many helpful hints and ideas from Felicity. She provided us with a list of 'first aid', so that initial help offered to bereaved persons can be easily used and memorized.

Beryl has prepared extra copies of this list, which can be found in the churches for use by those who may be in contact with bereaved friends and neighbours.

Gill Ashman

First Aid Tips for Neighbours and Friends of the Newly Bereaved

One of the things we brought back from the training afternoon for bereavement visitors, this brief list of what to do and what not to do is so reassuring and helpful, we thought it was too good to keep to ourselves. Copies will be available in church for anyone who would like one; if you can't see any, ask Jean Axton (St Mary's) or Beryl Elliott (St Nicolas').


Fantastic Support for 'Outreach' Initiative

More than 30 people took part in a discussion workshop on 13 March about the future of mission and outreach in Prestbury. This response far exceeded all expectations, and the M&O team was thrilled and delighted to welcome the 'delegates' to the Infant School hall.

Individuals representing a wide cross-section of the Church responded to our invitation to help lay the foundations for a local Mission Action Plan - and before long the hall was buzzing with vigorous views and imaginative ideas.

This was an informal workshop-style event, with small group discussions, and a firm focus on the issues that seem to matter most in our parish. By the end of the afternoon, there was an extensive array of realistic, workable and very exciting ideas for outreach.

The material gathered during the afternoon is currently being evaluated and assessed by M&O as we take the next steps towards formulating the Action Plan - we'll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, M&O would like to send sincere thanks to everyone who gave up a precious Saturday afternoon to take part in this important exercise with such enthusiasm and energy. Thank you!

Caroline Sexton, Mission & Outreach Committee


Parish Quiet Day

Quiet days are always an excellent opportunity for us to re-charge our spiritual batteries in what can often be our busy day to day lives and certainly the one on March 6th was no exception.

It may have been held in the more familiar surroundings of St Mary's Infant school but there was ample scope for reflection and prayer as we focused on the parable of 'The prodigal son'. We were encouraged to consider the story from the perspective of the different characters. There were a variety of activities for participants to explore - books, music, art, self guided walks, a video and even a computer programme. It was concluded with a simple but moving Eucharist.

If anybody thinks that Quiet Days might be too intense and serious then a quick peep into the 'Ambient room' might make them re-consider as people who are old enough to know better could be seen blowing bubbles and being hauled, like beached whales, to their feet from inflatable (and sometimes deflating!) armchairs!

Thank you to everyone for a thought provoking and enjoyable day.

Janet Waters


Snippets from the Tower

As usual our ringers have been busy. On the morning of Saturday 21 February a peal of Plain Bob Major was successfully rung. It consisted of 5056 changes, rung on all eight bells. Five Prestbury ringers were involved which was quite an achievement. The peal was believed to be the 100th peal rung on the bells of St Mary's. The first recorded one was rung on the then six Abel Rudhall bells in 1818. Several quarter peals have also been achieved recently for Sunday evening services.

On Tuesday 9 March at 9pm we held our AGM in the tower after ringing practice. All of the officers were re-elected, namely, Mary Lynch as Tower Captain, Jenni Scruton as Secretary and Treasurer, David Lynch as Steeplekeeper and Anthony Smith as Quarter Peal Secretary. The meeting was chaired by the new Chairman of the Cheltenham Branch of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bellringers, Mr R Bennett, who is a ringer at St Mary's Parish Church in town.

Jenni Scruton


Puzzling Partners in Prestbury Churchyard

I - Links with Napoleonic St Helena

A recent reference in the Cheltenham News (5 February, p17) to the memorial in Prestbury parish churchyard to Major Arthur Inglis, 'the first man in history to lead tanks into action', prompts me to mention two other memorials there with links to a unique event in history, in their cases commemorating leading personalities in the garrison guarding Napoleon in exile on St Helena a century earlier (1815-21).

The memorials in question are inscribed to Hamlet Obins (1775-1848), 'Lieut-Col in Her Majesty's Service, formerly of the XXth Regiment', and his wife 'Annie' (ne Keogh); and to 'Sarah Ann Catharine Younghusband' (1779-1860), and her unmarried sisters Amy, Sibella, and Letitia Whinyates. As this implies, Catherine (as she was always known) was a member of that leading Cheltenham military family, the Whinyates of North Place, of which there is a remarkable family group of ten, painted in 1840, in Cheltenham Museum, on which some, if not all, of the above must be portrayed. Catherine died at Cheltenham in 1860 'in her 81st year'. Of her husband there is no mention though she was the widow of Major Robert Younghusband of the 53rd Regiment who had died in 1853 aged 68. They had been stationed at St Helena from 1815 to 1817 where, as historians of the period all agree, she had been 'a source of great trouble to her husband', after which he retired on half pay to his family home in Northumberland.

Hamlet Obins also served on St Helena, where he was senior Captain in the XXth Foot, from 1819 until Napoleon's death in 1821 when he transferred to the 53rd which he later commanded in India before retiring in 1830. He died at Tenby in 1848 at the age of 72; his widow, Anne, 17 years younger, died three years later, at 59. Obins had no known connections with Cheltenham and, despite the apparent links with the Younghusbands, through St Helena and the 53rd Regiment, there is no evidence that their paths ever crossed.

The curious coincidence that these two memorials should lie side by side in Prestbury churchyard, a few steps from the passage leading from High Street, defies explanation in the absence of any research into their background, but the odds on random chance must surely be longer than winning the Lottery Jackpot! At present, despite encroaching lichen, their inscriptions are reasonably decipherable. But many others are not, and researchers seeking evidence from Prestbury's memorials have reason to be especially grateful to Mrs Lilian Brockman for her painstaking deciphering and cataloguing of their deteriorating inscriptions. The results of her labours can be consulted by arrangement at the Parish Office, The Rectory, Tatchley Lane, Prestbury, or at the Gloucester Record Office, Clarence Row, Alvin Street, Gloucester. A copy is also held nationally by the Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA.

Trevor W Hearl
March 2004


Bible Poetry Competition

In February I invited readers to write a rhyming, scanning poem based on a short Bible passage, similar to the well-known carol 'While shepherds watched their flocks by night', which is a metric version of Luke 2:8-14. I suggested two more passages from Luke (8:8-14 or 18:35-43) or a short psalm (93, 121 or 150).

The prize (for being the only person to enter!) is on its way to Janet Waters. If anyone else would like to write a poem, do send it in - I can always print it in a future magazine. Full details are in the February magazine.



We followed the Lord and we joined him at sea
As the boat sailed forth over Lake Galilee.
Then the dark clouds came and the rain poured down,
We started to cry for we thought we would drown.
Yet the Lord slept on, in spite of our fears,
Until the sound of our cries filled his drowsy ears.
'Be still!' he said and the waves obeyed,
We gave thanks to God, we sang his praise.
The forces of nature may be grand,
But they will obey just a wave of his hand.

Janet Waters

Fishing Boat drawn in November 2003
by Daniel aged 10 years
Prestbury After School Club, St Mary's Junior School



'The Miracle Maker'

An animated portrayal of the life of Jesus told through the eyes of a child. This film will be shown at St Nicolas' on Good Friday at 9.30am for about an hour and a half. All are welcome.

On Maundy Thursday there will be a children's activity workshop together with All Saints'. For further details please contact Linda Biggs.

Maundy Thursday Vigil, St Nicolas' Church

People of all ages are welcome to join in this time of prayer, togetherness and creativity. Please get in touch with Andy Macauly if you are interested. We will also be holding a planning meeting on Tuesday 6 April to get people's ideas for the vigil. There will be a cost of 2 per person to cover materials. Forms (available from Andy) will need to be filled in by children or young people under 18.

Andy Macauly

Youth Clubs and Children's Groups Dates

The Space stops on Thursday 1 April and restarts on Thursday 29 April.
Synergy & Elevate stop on Thursday 8 April and restart on Sunday 2 May.
Sunday Club (St Nicolas') and Sunday School (St Mary's) restart on 25 April.
Rockers (pre-schoolers) restarts on Thursday 29 April at 2pm in St Mary's church.

Greenbelt, 27 - 30 August, Cheltenham Racecourse

Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival is back in Cheltenham again this summer, with its mix of international quality music, speakers, issues and creative arts. Youth Leaders are organising to go camping with young people. If you are interested in camping with us or would like tickets, weekend prices are lower before 30 April. Contact Andy Macauly or log on to Look out for more info on who will be contributing this year.

Prestbury & Pittville Youth Charity

There will be a Special General Meeting in St Mary's church on Sunday 4 April after the 11am Eucharist to adopt revised wording of part of the Constitution. All members are welcome. Further details are in the weekly pewsheets.

St Mary's Bakestall

The date for our next Bakestall is Sunday 18 April, with contributions from members with surnames G to M.

Linda Matthews and Margaret Waker

Prestbury Parish Annual Meeting & Vestry Meeting

Sunday 25 April 6.30 pm St Mary's Church
the Vestry Meeting starts at 6.30pm followed by the Annual Meeting at 6.35pm
There are three key vacancies: Churchwarden, Assistant Warden and Treasurer.
See notices in the churches for full details of nominations etc.

    Christian Aid Week
 9th-16th May

The Churches' own charity for the poor, needy and underprivileged of our world, and the originator of house to house collecting, Christian Aid's work is an important part of our Christian giving. As representatives/organizers for St Mary's and St Nicolas' we always ask for help with envelope distribution to and collection from the homes in our parish during Christian Aid Week, and much appreciate the generous response regularly given to this request.

This year we again appeal to you for help, as the task requires many hands, not to mention quite a few legs and feet! Young people over 16 years old will be particularly welcome to join those regular stalwarts who keep this vital work going.

If you can help in any way please contact: Gill Ashman (St Mary's) or Paddy Spurgeon (St Nicolas').

Craft Workshop Day - Saturday 15 May

9.00am to 4.00pm, St Nicolas' Hall

Choose from Sugar craft flowers, Flower arranging, Pressed flowers or Patchwork type creating, eg a pretty box or photograph frame etc.

If you have ever thought you could not do any of the above, now is your chance to come along and try. You will be delighted and amazed at what you will be taking home with you.

Cost 12.50, which includes refreshments and lunch. To book contact Gill Woodcock. All proceeds to the St Nicolas' Church funds.

Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust

Annual Sponsored Ride and Walk

Last September's annual sponsored Ride/Walk raised 47,069 for the Trust. Altogether there were 310 participants, cycling or walking, and 143 participating churches or chapels. In our parish we raised 573 from St Mary's and 250 from St Nicolas'. Half of this has gone to the Trust and half directly to our own churches.

This year's Ride/Walk is planned for Saturday 11 September 2004; further details and sponsor forms will be available nearer the time.

Bob Lyle

Benjamin's Baptism

Benjamin Michael Carley-Macauly (if you want the full name) will be baptised on April 25 at 9.30am at St Nicolas' Church. We would love to see members of the church family from across the Parish who are able to be with us supporting Benjamin at this special time. Afterwards there will be a bring and share buffet in the hall, to which all are invited. (Please bring a small plate of food.) Thanks again for the love and fellowship, from so many, shown to Ben and ourselves over the last months.

Sharon and Andy

First Communion

Please hold in your prayers the children from our two parishes who are preparing to receive Holy Communion for the first time on Easter Day:

Matthew Bestwick,
Sophie Bestwick,
Sam Biggs,
Simon Cozens,
Peter Lane,
William McElroy,
Ebony Matthews,
Luke Walter,
Martin Wood

Gold Cup Parking at St Nicolas'

Many thanks once again to Jackie and Gillian and all those who helped with parking and refreshments at St Nicolas' during Gold Cup Week. The refreshments raised 170 and the car parking 2000, making a grand total of 2170 for the Renewal Fund.

Enquiries to

Racehorse drawn in November 2003
by Eleanor aged 8 years
Prestbury After School Club, St Mary's Junior School

St Mary's Sunday Morning Refreshments

Thank you for your continued support. During the winter months we have given 100 to the church heating fund and 50 to Let The Children Live!. The next rota is due to start just after Easter and we will experiment with two refreshment helpers each week instead of three.

Margaret Holman



Prestbury Parish Magazine - April 2004

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