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Prestbury Parish Magazine

March 2013

Cover photograph:
New Shoes for School
Wendy Price


Making a Fresh Start

Editorial Team Corner

A New Beginning for the Parish Electoral Roll

From the Rector

Taizé Service for Christian Unity

Keeping our Vision in view

St Mary’s Bake Stall

Arthur C Berry

Superstars offer a song of support to local families

Praying for our schools

PPY - this term

Toy Sale Fundraiser at St Mary’s

The Way (part 2)

Visit to Kenya January 2013 with Kenya Projects (UK)

Prestbury Memorial Trust News

Prestbury Flower Arranging Club

Deanery Synod Report from 17 January 2013

Diocesan Synod Report

First Records of St Mary Magdalene

A Challenging Invitation

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

Services in Holy Week and Easter

The Registers

The Calendar for this month

The Diary for this month


Making a Fresh Start

Spring is in the air, and as the days begin to lengthen, our thoughts turn to spring-cleaning. After a gloomy winter when a whip-round with the vacuum cleaner and polish seemed enough to work wonders, the stronger spring daylight demands a more thorough approach, encouraging us to clear away the clutter we’ve kept hidden from prying eyes.

It’s a time for sweeping out cobwebs and tidying forgotten corners. The mood is reflected in our observance of Lent, when we allow Christ’s light to penetrate into the neglected corners of our souls.

We might decide to join a house-group, read a devotional book or give up chocolate. But why bother? Is all this renewed industry and soul-searching motivated by anything other than a self-centred quest for improvement?

On the first Sunday in Lent, we heard the Gospel account of the Temptations; forty days of physical, spiritual and mental challenge, without food. Jesus faced choices which could have allowed him to achieve worldly success and exercise great power to his own advantage. Instead, he withstood these temptations, rebutting Satan’s enticements with words from Scripture, and finally rebuking him with the words, “It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Having committed himself to God’s purpose for his life, Jesus went on to begin a ministry that was empowered by a continuing dependence on God’s Holy Spirit, yet ended in an ignominious death.

But death would not be the end. On the third day Christ’s tomb was found to be empty. Through his dying and rising, all people were given the opportunity for a new beginning; a new relationship with God in which sin and human disobedience could no longer separate them from his love. It promised the life of God’s eternal kingdom as its ultimate goal and purpose

For Jesus, those forty days in the wilderness were a time of preparation for his future ministry. For us, Lent offers the opportunity to imitate Jesus, by entering into our own wilderness experience; to take time to reflect on the quality of our relationship with God, and through symbolic acts of service and self-discipline, to try to realign our actions and intentions with God’s will for our lives.

During Lent, we prepare for what lies ahead on our journey of faith, so that on Holy Saturday we can start afresh with a renewed commitment to the promises of our baptism, before setting out once more on our journey of faith, in the assurance that death is not the end.

May our keeping of a happy and holy Lent bring each one of us to the new beginning of Easter Day, better equipped to share Christ's risen life; to bring that life to others, and to give his light to the world.

Deacon Jennifer


Editorial Team Corner

 March brings breezes loud and shrill
        Stirs the dancing daffodil
                                  (Sara Coleridge 1802-52)

March is a turning point - a time of ‘new beginnings’. At last colour floods back into our gardens, the countryside and our towns. Not only are days getting longer and brighter, but the sun starts to feel warm on our face and wrists. The month’s colours of daffodils and anemones have been our horticultural history for years. The air is full of birdsong and here in Prestbury and Elmstone Hardwicke with Uckington we await the swallows hastening northwards.

Elmstone Hardwicke with Uckington is a genuinely Rural Parish, with its beautiful historic church of St Mary Magdalene at the heart of the community. We are all united through the North Cheltenham Team Ministry, which was formed on 1st September 2008. This month sees a simultaneous celebration of new beginnings of ‘partnership’ for St Mary Magdalene and the Prestbury Parish Magazine. Gradually, over the coming months we will begin to know one another through the exchange of news and views. David Williams, Church Warden of St Mary Magdalene writes of the early history of a country church in his feature, illustrated with photographs of the Saxon stone font. Neil and Sarah Jones, Readers at St Mary Magdalene, have written our Bible Page. This is a demanding task for our regular contributors, and nothing short of a significant feat for new authors at the time of Lent and Passion.

I think you will share my joy, when you discover 3 child-focussed features highlighting our theme of New Beginnings. Wendy Price describes and beautifully illustrates her recent visit to Kenya. Suzy introduces us to ‘Superstars’, a new group for babies and pre-school children. I encourage you to share Suzy’s photos with your children and grandchildren and save the photos for memories. She also describes and illustrates the recent Toy Sale. This fundraising event, promoted by a mother and daughter brought together members of Celebrate!, the Mother’s Union and the 11 o’clock service’ ...

…please look  to see whether your children can identify their toys.

We love to hear from our readers. Your comments keep us on our toes and help make our magazine better. Your feedback is discussed at team planning meetings. Our young people and their parents were ‘chuffed’ to see their photos in Hannah’s recent article.

Our theme for April/May is Love and Marriage and for June DADS!

On behalf of the Magazine I extend a warm welcome to the Parish of Elmstone Hardwicke with Uckington and wish all our readers and contributors a very Happy Easter.


Magazine Deadline Date

Copy date for the next magazine is Saturday 16th March 2013. Copy should be sent by email to 

Jean Johnson



A New Beginning for the Parish Electoral Roll

The Parish Electoral Roll has nothing to do with political elections. The Church of England is run democratically and therefore each parish has its own Electoral Roll. Joining it does not oblige you in any way, but it does give you the opportunity to be more involved in the running of your church.

Under the Church Representation Rules, a new Church Electoral Roll of the Parish of Prestbury is being prepared.  All persons who wish to have their names entered on the new Roll, whether their names were on the present Roll or not, are requested to apply for enrolment not later than 3rd April 2013.  The new Roll comes into operation on 6th April 2013.

To be on the Electoral Roll you have to be:

  • baptised (christened)
  • at least 16 years old
  • a member of the Church of England
  • either living in the parish or habitually attending worship in the parish for at least six months

If you have any questions about this please speak to one of the clergy or churchwardens or Brian Wood.  Application forms to be admitted to the Prestbury Parish Electoral Roll are available in church and on this website (

To be entitled to attend the next Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) on 21st April 2013 and to take part in its proceedings, you need to have returned your application form to Brian Wood by Easter Sunday 31st March 2013.

Arrangements for this Year

That is the legal bit.   Each Roll may be revised and lasts for 6 years and then a completely new one is prepared.  There is no carrying forward of names from the old, 2007 Roll.  To make it simpler all round, for this year only, I have filled in the forms for the 400 or so of you who are on the old Electoral Roll.  These are available in our churches since 17th February.  If the details are correct the forms only need signing and dating and should be returned to me.  If your details have changed, cross out the incorrect information and write in the new details.   Blank forms are available for people who were not on the 2007 Roll.

There are some additional questions on the forms seeking contact information from all of you.  Providing this information is entirely optional on your part but will be a great help to the church if we need to make contact.  We are asking for the name you prefer to be called by, your telephone number,  and if you are happy to provide it, your email address.  We would also like to know at which of the regular services in the parish we would be most likely to find you.  This will help if we ever need to write personally to all of you.

Brian Wood, Electoral Roll officer



From the Rector:


We have received the following from Michael Wyatt:

‘Thank you for making the Noonan Syndrome Association one of the Christmas Charities. The Association really helps me by giving me the chance to meet other people who have the same problem. I am looking forward to our next meeting.’

Farewell to Bishop John

Bishop John is retiring from his role as Bishop of Tewkesbury and all are invited to attend a farewell service for him and Rosemary. This will be in the Cathedral on Saturday 2nd March at 4.30pm. and members of the Celebrate! band will be helping to lead the worship. Do ask if you would like a lift; as sharing transport gives people a chance to get to know each other better.

Journeying through Lent

In addition to the variety of Lent groups, courses and reading that are available for us to take up, some people also like to take on an extra service or two during Lent. In Prestbury alone, between our two churches, there is a wide variety of services to take part in:

St Nicolas’

Monday to Saturday at 5pm, a short (20 minute) service of Evening Prayer.

Tuesdays 10am, a Said Eucharist which is always followed by a cup of coffee and some social time in the Church Room.

St Mary’s

Monday 9am Morning Prayer followed at 9.30am by a Said Eucharist

Wednesday 9am Morning Prayer. 7.30pm a Said Eucharist which, during Lent, will be Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).

Thursday 10.30am a Said Eucharist which is always followed by coffee and a time for fellowship.

Friday 8am a Said Eucharist

Saturday 9.30am a Said Eucharist

There will also be an extra service in St Mary’s every Tuesday in Lent at 4.30pm, including the readings set for the day.

Lent is the time when we try to draw closer to God and making a little extra time to take part in a short, quiet service is an excellent way to do that.


Holy Week and Easter

We are looking forward to having Bishop Michael with us in the North Cheltenham Team Ministry during Holy Week this year. He will also be confirming candidates during the Easter Vigil and leading us in our Easter celebrations. Look out for more details of the special programme of services and events. 

Fr Michael


Service for Christian Unity … held in Taizé style,
despite ice, snow and a broken wrist!

On Sunday 20th January, a service was to be held at 4:00 pm. in St Nicolas’ Church to pray for Christian Unity. Icy roads, and the fact that I fell and fractured my wrist so that neither I nor Hilary (responsible for the service) could attend, led to cancellation. Churchwardens Janet and Margaret, and Daphne Philpot went along to offer tea and cakes to any who turned up.

Eventually, 20 people arrived, including some from other churches. So candles were lit, orders of service given out, Taizé chants sung, and a united service took place.

Laudate Dominum! Praise the Lord!

Fr John Gann




Keeping our Vision in view

In last month's issue Mary Turner called for people to represent our congregations in reviewing the Team Vision process. I am pleased to say Lynda Hodges, James Fleming and Sue Weston have come forward to do this and met with me on 18th February to go over what has been achieved so far. I hope to have a fuller report for you in the next edition.

Fr Daniel


St Mary’s Bake Stall

In response to urgent appeals for funds, we were able to send £30 last month to Save The Children. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.

Our next bake stall falls on 17th March with contributions provided by the A-F team.

Here is a favourite recipe for you to try:

Vicar’s mother-in-law’s Chocolate Fudge Cake
225 g (8 oz) butter
450 g (1 lb) digestive biscuits
450 g (1 lb) dark chocolate plus extra shavings for decoration
340 g (12 oz) tin of evaporated milk
A generous handful each of walnuts, sultanas, glacé cherries
1 tablespoon sherry
Whipped cream for decoration
Fresh cherries for decoration

Chop up the biscuits and put into a large bowl. You want small pieces, not crumbs. Add walnuts, sultanas and cherries to the bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a very gentle heat, and then add this to the dry ingredients, mixing well. Add the tinned milk, then the sherry. Stir again very thoroughly. Pack mixture into a greased loaf tin, smooth the surface, and leave to set in the fridge. To serve, immerse base and sides of tin in hot water, shake, and turn out. Decorate with whipped cream, fresh cherries and chocolate shavings. Keep in the fridge until serving. This pudding freezes very well. It can be frozen already sliced. If you freeze it as a block, but find you need only a few slices later, dipping the blade of the knife in boiling water first, helps considerably.

Margaret Waker & Linda Matthews


Arthur C Berry

In 2008 several repairs to parts of St Mary’s church were being made. One such repair was undertaken by Arthur Berry to the rope of the Sanctus Bell.

Arthur C Berry, known as "Bill", hailed from Malvern and was regarded as a very competent bell ringer and bell hanger. He died on 30th January 2013.

I did not know Arthur personally, but my research indicates that he rang at least 611 peals (one peal is 3 hours of continuous change ringing) during his ringing career. He rang his first peal in 1961. His last appears to have been rung at Eckington in June 2012. Of the 611 peals, 26 were rung with the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association, of which Prestbury is an affiliated member. He represented the Worcester and District Association on the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers from 1972 until 1984.

There was a Service of Thanksgiving on Friday, 8th February, at Christ Church, Avenue Road, Malvern at 3.00pm.

Donations in memory of Arthur will be given to the Elmley Castle Bell Fund - a project to augment the bells to eight in a ten bell frame.

Jenni Scruton



* You can read about the repairing of the bell rope and the purpose of the Sanctus Bell in the July/August 2008 edition of the Prestbury Parish Magazine.




Superstars offer a song of support to local families

Superstars is a new group for babies and pre-school children, along with their parents / carers, that has just begun meeting at Prestbury Library on Monday afternoons.

The group is the brainchild of three local mothers, Becky Kelly, Kate Taylor and Laura Dixon.

There aren’t many local activities or groups who meet in the afternoon, but as mothers, Laura, Kate and Becky had found that the afternoon was a time when they really needed something to help entertain their children, especially during the darker winter months.

Encouraged and supported by Fr Daniel Papworth, Superstars have designed a welcoming session. Each session is fairly structured, starting with a craft activity and then a break for a drink and biscuit (for children and adults too!). This is followed by singing or a story. The group always ends with the special Superstars prayer.

Superstars aims to bring local parents, carers and children together. They wish to spread the message that they are a welcoming group intending to offer support and friendship to families. They hope to teach the children how to interact with others, share and have fun, making new friends at the same time. The adults can benefit too, from greater interaction with local parents like themselves.

By singing songs that are also sung at the Celebrate! service, Superstars aims to reinforce the Christian message in a fun and exciting way for the children.

So far the group has about 20 members, consisting of 10 adults and 10 children. It is friendly and welcoming, and hopes to grow! New members are always made welcome and engaged in conversation.

Superstars are also hoping for a couple of volunteers, who could perhaps come along each week to help make the teas and coffees. If you are interested, please go along and introduce yourself!

Gloucestershire County Council is pleased that Superstars are using the Library in the village. It has been threatened with closure and now has reduced opening hours. They welcome hirers who can use the space - which is great. It's clean, bright, spacious, safe, and has plenty of parking for cars and pushchairs!

A £2 donation is requested from each family, to cover the cost of refreshments and crafts at Superstars. Any surplus will go back into the North Cheltenham Team Ministry.

Superstars meets at Prestbury Library on Mondays, from 3.15 to 4.15pm (term-time only). Check out the Superstars Facebook page too:

Suzanne Beadnell



Praying for our schools

Cheltenham Prayer for Schools Network began over ten years ago. It began with one, then two, then six people sharing a vision of every school in Cheltenham being a prayed-for school. In May 2000, a small group agreed to meet in someone’s home one morning a month to pray for this vision to become a reality. We listed all schools with Cheltenham phone numbers and found out that 12 of them already had prayer groups! And so Cheltenham Prayer for Schools Network was born.


The group continues to meet throughout 2013. Anyone is welcome to come along. For details speak to Fr Daniel (tel: 575649). Here is the schedule to the end of the academic year:

28 Jan  Infants: PTFA, those with SEN; Juniors: PTFA and Governors
18 Feb  Infants: Red and Blue class; Juniors: Year 3
4 Mar  Infants: Orange and Yellow; Juniors: Year 4
18 Mar  Infants: Purple and Green; Juniors: Year 5
8 Apr  Infants: School clubs; Juniors: Year 6
22 Apr

 Both Schools: All the teachers

20 May  Infants: Support staff, Governors; Juniors: extra curricular activities
10 Jun  Infants: Red and Blue; Juniors: TAs and support staff
24 Jun  Infants: Orange and Yellow; Juniors: Students moving up to the school
8 Jul  Infants: Purple and Green; Juniors: Year 6 moving on

Thanks to Stephanie Rollinson and Irina Ebbs for organising this.

Fr Daniel



This term has seen the addition of a new group on Sunday evenings. Alongside the current groups Elevate and Synergy we have started a confirmation course for young people.

The aim of this new group is to look more closely at what being a Christian means to them and to encourage the young people involved to ask themselves if they are ready to make a decision about living out their faith for themselves.

We have been looking at subjects like prayer and the Bible and have had people come in to speak on the importance of communion and what it means to be confirmed etc. We have also had fun together as a group, and enjoyed a night out ice skating in Malvern, teaching each other how to skate and trying not to laugh at the leaders’ antics. The award for star skater goes jointly between Sophie Bestwick and her friend Jessica as well as Natasha Beardsell all of whom were very confident. Most improved skater status goes to Agata and Sofia Giles who helped each other to a confident skate and Louis Meesmaecker who wouldn’t let go of the side at the start of the session but by the end was skating on his own without the side or a person to lean on.

The confirmation service will be on Saturday 30th March 2013 in All Saints’ church with Bishop Michael in the evening. Please come along and support the young people as they take this important step.

All four groups have been having fun with the beginning of Lent which means Shrove Tuesday which also means Pancakes. The Chill group went into the kitchen, a small group at a time, and learnt how to make from scratch and toss a pancake, something they all enjoyed. We worked out by the end of the evening a total of 23 pancakes had been made. We have also had an evening on rubbish holding a binbag fashion show (pictured) which the young people enjoyed.

Upcoming events:

Coming up we have a residential weekend at Viney Hill.

All three groups will partake in adventurous activities, have a lot of fun and also have some space and time to reflect on our lives. Please pray that this is a success and that the planning continues to run smoothly.

This term also sees the run up to the AGM of PPY which this year will be held on Sunday 14th April at St Nics. Please feel free to come along and hear in more detail what it is we get up to as a charity and how the young people feel being a part of PPY.

Finally we are in need of a few more volunteers to help in several areas of the work PPY does.

We are currently looking for a new treasurer. If you think you would be interested please contact the Revd Canon Michael Cozens

We also need more help with the Chill group on Thursday evenings. If you think you could spare a Thursday evening a week or even a month we would love to hear from you. Basic training and induction would be provided. Our Monday group community challenge is also in need of a few more driver volunteers. For further details or information please contact me .

Hannah Bennett


Toy Sale Fundraiser at St Mary’s brings congregations together

In the afternoon of Sunday 3rd February a toy sale was held in St Mary’s Church.

The idea was hatched between Kathryn Green and her mother, who had been discussing the need to clear out Kathryn’s sons’ toys to make room for the new ones they would be getting over Christmas. Kathryn normally takes them to a charity shop, but after hearing of the need to improve church finances, decided to plan a fundraiser for the Church.

Kathryn moved to Prestbury with her husband and baby son in 2008 and started going to Celebrate! later that year. They discovered a service that she says was ‘so welcoming and family friendly that we soon became regulars’. Before long, Kathryn was volunteering to help with Summer Celebrate!, a modified version of the service to cover the school holidays, and was then asked by Father Daniel to join the Celebrate! Leaders Group. Along with Louise Green, who has previously featured in the magazine, Kathryn helps to organise the weekly prayer activities for Celebrate!

The sale was initially planned to precede the Christmas period, but after consulting with a few mums it was felt that after Christmas would be better. Kathryn received kind offers of help from both the Celebrate! congregation and from the 11 o’clock service. ‘It was lovely to meet other St Mary’s Church goers’ she says, and it was certainly nice on the day to see two quite different congregations working together for the good of our Church. More interaction of this type would certainly be a positive thing. Often the two congregations pass ‘like ships in the night’ as it were, as Celebrate! tidies up and the 11 o’clock service is in preparation.

Kathryn brought some delicious cakes along, and on the day of the sale was delighted to see a group of ladies from the Mother's Union who arrived to take over the job of providing refreshments. “It was fantastic. I was able to leave all that to them, and they did an amazing job”, says Kathryn.

Andy Macauly, his son Ben, Matt Allison, Paula Harward (pictured) and a few others (even one kind chap who turned up with whiplash from playing rugby) worked really hard all afternoon. Fi Haddock also turned up with some prizes to run a small raffle – this also went down really well.

In the end, the sale raised over £160, all of which will be going to St Mary’s Church. There were a few toys left, which have been bagged up for charity, but it is possible that we will be selling some from a box in the church and asking for a small donation. It all helps!!

The idea was so successful that Kathryn hopes to run a similar event again next year. Despite the fact that she spent the night before tossing and turning in the worry that no one would attend, she really enjoyed it and I think we can all say it was a great success!!!

Suzy Beadnell


“The Way” (part 2)

Starting in late April, Richard Gould, a Prestbury resident, will be walking the ancient pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela. We’ve asked him to write about his thoughts on the trip and on his preparations. His sponsored charity is the Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre. He writes:

Since my first article about walking to Santiago de Compostela, I’ve been getting in some hard miles. The daily stats make for interesting reading, but only for me, so I won’t bore you with them. I’ve had two great walking experiences down in the West Country though. I walked Dartmoor for the first time and if I meet freezing cold, horizontal rain on the Camino I know my jacket is up to the challenge. I also did some of the coastal path in south Cornwall. We stayed in a cottage (pictured) on the Menabilly Estate, near Fowey; the former redolent with the dark shadows of Rebecca and Mrs Danvers and the latter with the lighter hues of local pasties and Doombar ale.

As well as some good physical training I’ve also been catching up on the other important preparation for a long walk: Singing. I can’t think of much as good as belting out something at the top of your voice in the sure knowledge that you’ll be the only one to hear it. This is important for me as my singing is excruciating. The word bad doesn’t describe it. I’m talking bad enough to be left behind at school when all the other kids went to the Eisteddfod . The teacher said I was putting the rest of the lads off. Dogs join in when I sing. I’m the exception proving the rule that all Welshmen can sing.

But on your own on the top of a mountain you can really let rip. Where do you start? Well, I like to give the Beatles a battering first. Sinatra is normally in the programme (“Fly me to the moon” being a great favourite). There’s also many a show tune I’ve murdered. I tend to end up finishing my concerts with songs from my early years in Wales. I start this section with folk songs like “Sospan Fach”, going through the tear-jerkers like “Myfanwy” and “Calon Lan” before making my way to the heavyweight chapel stuff. Cwm Rhondda (also known as “Guide me O thou Great Redeemer” or “Bread of Heaven”) is a favourite as it gives scope for an attempt at two part harmony (“....WANT NO MORE”) although this is a bit difficult on your own. “O Iesu mawr” is as good as it gets for me. This is a powerful song; sonorous in the extreme and perfect for the bass voice. It doesn’t even need any range. It starts as deep as the Marianas Trench and never moves more than two notes higher.

At this time of year, Christians everywhere are raising their voices and Easter hymns are what they are singing. My father’s all-time favourite hymn was “The Old Rugged Cross” and hearing it sung at Easter always makes me think of him. The hard days of Lent come to an end in late March and the biblical story of death and resurrection will be beautifully mirrored in the natural world with the coming of spring.

I’ve set my date for departure for one month after Easter so I’ll try to get one more post in before I go.

PS. During my last walk (Canterbury to Rome) I had a few occasions when I had nowhere to sleep and the combination of foreboding, wet and cold made for an uncomfortable experience. I was lucky as kind souls always gave me a roof over my head for the night. Since returning I’ve tried to help other people suffering homelessness as a Trustee with the Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre. This is my sponsored charity for the walk. If you wish to make a donation, you can do so through the JustGiving website ( or by cheque (made payable to the charity as above) or by signing up on the sponsor forms which are doing the rounds.

Richard Gould


Visit to Kenya January 2013 with Kenya Projects (UK)

A team of 18 set off with Maz Allen, Minister of URC in Cheltenham, and founder of Kenya Projects (UK), on a wintry morning soon after Christmas. We each had a large suitcase bulging with clothes and toys, toothbrushes and paste, medical supplies, and stationery which had been donated, with only a small backpack in which to take our own belongings! A large number of carpentry tools were packed in a separate crate, kindly sponsored and transported free of charge.

The team came from all over the UK, many drawn in by the original group’s initial aim to take a party including teenaged Christians to “do something practical to help” rather than fundraising for a remote part of the world and never seeing the effects of the funds raised. Some team members are already sponsors of the orphaned or vulnerable children supported by the Projects, and used the visit to meet them. These visits take place every alternate year and 13 of our group had been on at least one previous trip. All trip expenses are paid for personally; all funds raised are spent on the projects: St. Stephen’s Children’s Home and Utugi Boys’ Home.

Our transport in Kenya was a collection of matatus: rather ancient mini buses with a motley assortment of seatbelts of limited efficacy, the wearing of which is compulsory. This was checked at multiple police road blocks on the route. Our base was Embu, a Provincial Capital 100 miles north of Nairobi. This was reached by a sealed road with potholes which are considerably larger and more uncomfortable than ours! In each village and town “sleeping policemen” allow inhabitants to cross the main road safely, but progress is consequently slow! Almost all side roads are unsealed, as are the pavements and school grounds etc.

Matthew learning Swahili at St Stephen's Children's Home

13 members of the team visited St Stephen’s Children’s Home and the associated Gatondo Health Clinic. We painted five rooms at the clinic and were able to see the completed bore hole in the clinic grounds, for which we had been fundraising. While we were there, the Bishop attended, and there was a dedication service (pictured below) with opening ceremony, tasting of the water, and celebration of the encouraging links with the local Gatondo community who will benefit from the bore hole water. They will hopefully support the clinic in new developments and services to extend the current care offered: maternal and child healthcare, family planning, and minor illness and injuries treatment.

The Bishop blesses the borehole

The other six were at Utugi Boys Home, a home with on-site school, set up for street children and other vulnerable boys in a smaller town, and supported by the diocese. Fundraising for a new workshop for the boys to learn useful skills had enabled a large building to be erected, and we were pleased to see the crate of tools arriving during our stay.

Joyce and friends make music at the Red Cross home

We also were able to visit the local Red Cross home for disabled children, which is next door to a government school which the children attend, collected each morning at 6.30 am by their able bodied friends, and returned there at 5.00 pm. It was great to meet Joyce, whom we now sponsor. She entertained us with lovely gospel singing, both solo and with her friends. The facilities offered would not meet those required for disabled people in UK, but they all cope well in a supporting and loving environment.

Many of the children in all the homes are able to visit or stay with relatives during the school holidays. This may involve long and tortuous journeys and a return to very cramped and difficult conditions, but it is essential to maintain the contact where possible as these children will return to their relatives when they finish education at approx. age 18. Orphans will be supported by the children’s homes or by their sponsors until they are self-supporting, which can involve paying College fees, or applying for government grants/loans on their behalf. Some sponsors even find themselves negotiating marriage agreements in loco parentis, and arranging for dowry of goats and gifts, with financial contributions towards the wedding as well!

During our stay we made a lot of varied visits, including a country orphanage, St Andrew’s Theological College and University, the local Archdeacon’s house and huge church at Kutus, a Salvation Army compound and Baden Powell’s memorial and grave. We had a tour of the local Government Hospital (where the nursing staff had been on strike for 5 weeks and it was being run by a small team of dedicated Christians with much reduced capacity), saw the shops and supermarket, and visited Joyce’s family home  and that of the grandmother who cared for two of the St. Stephen’s children. The support these families needed was obvious.

Joyce at home

We enjoyed meeting and chatting to the children and staff of St. Stephen’s, sharing meals and playing time with them, and giving them all a sturdy new pair of shoes (see front cover picture) and a party bag of gifts on the last evening. They reciprocated with singing and entertainment for us. We got to know some of the St Stephen’s staff and charity committee, who are all very dedicated, but we came to understand why progress towards improvements and change was sometimes very slow and inefficient, but usually successful with continued encouragement.

Washing school uniforms outside the dormitory

At the end of our stay we spent two nights at The Ark Safari Lodge in Aberdare National Park, with super views of Mount Kenya and wildlife viewings, part of the successful and important tourist industry. It was interesting to see different aspects of Kenya: the fields of rice, coffee, beans and pineapples, large rice processing factories, hot houses for roses, irrigation projects and agriculture research centres; the posters and publicity for the forthcoming national and local elections in March; huge hoardings advertising mobile phones etc, large shops and large houses in walled compounds contrasting with poor villages, makeshift market stalls, and overcrowded smallholdings with a few plants, small dwellings and three or four animals tethered on the grass verge. We saw many churches and church schools, with only an occasional mosque.

Wendy meets Purity

This was a “new beginning” for me, recently retired, making this visit without my husband, seeing first-hand the work of St. Stephen’s Charity and meeting (above)  Purity, the girl sponsored by the Prestbury Mothers' Union. I am now prayerfully considering whether there is more for us to do in this area. However, I am sure that this will not be the only time we visit St Stephen’s and Joyce!

Wendy Price


Prestbury Memorial Trust News

We are back into the swing of things now that the snow has gone. Unfortunately one Lunch Club and one Exercise Group had to be cancelled because of the icy conditions. We will be submitting regular articles to the Parish Magazine to familiarise and update readers with our forthcoming activities.

Twice a month, on Mondays, Carol Allan and her team of volunteer drivers, organises our Lunch Club. This is a popular and lively event for up to 40 guests. Door to door transport is provided to Cleeve Hill Golf Club, where a very welcome three course meal is served. New guests are always welcome.

Every Tuesday our white minibus does a grocery shopping run to Sainsbury’s in the morning and to Tesco in the afternoon. This is a door to door service with ample time for a leisurely shop. We have places on both these trips.

The Prestbury Memorial Trust minibus pulls into the Library

On Wednesday afternoon at the library we run our Extend & Scrabble group. Extend is a gentle exercise class led by our trained practitioner Janet. It aims to promote mobility, strength and balance. No leotards required here and the routines are designed to be carried out while seated. Door to door transport if needed. We are looking for a volunteer to help run this group. You will be given a warm welcome, plenty of support and will be joining a team of other helpers so will never be left on your own.

Some of you may recall that in 2002 The Trust had the good fortune to win a brand new minibus in a competition organised by The Gloucestershire Echo. Our bus is an invaluable asset that enables us to lay on the majority of our activities. It is also available for hire to any Prestbury-based group. At present we would like to hear from anyone willing to join our team of volunteer minibus drivers. The work is not onerous and would average out at about 4 hours per month.

If you would like further details about any of the above please contact Richard Mason on 579097 or

Richard Mason

Prestbury Memorial Trust

An Art and Craft Show and Exhibition plus Sale of Work is to be held at Prestbury Hall on Saturday 9th March at 1.30 pm. Entry is free, tea and coffee will be available.

This event organised by Prestbury Memorial Trust Art & Craft Group Members is in association with other Prestbury artists. Everyone is welcome to come along and support the event.

Nigel Woodcock


Prestbury Flower Arranging Club

Members and friends met for our AGM in January. After the formalities Liz Harvey, a representative from Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, Cheltenham gave a talk on the wonderful work of the Centres in Cheltenham and around the UK. This presentation was very well received and a collection of £80 was donated for this excellent charity.

On 25th February we welcome Laura Leong with “Contemporary Craftwork” and looking forward, our demonstrator on 25th March is Alwyn Page with “Less is More”. Also in March we have our informal competitions; for flowers the title is “Happy Easter”, the craft competition is open for any type of entry.

Our club meetings are held in Prestbury Hall, Bouncers Lane GL52 5JF and start at 7.30pm with doors open at 7pm. Visitors are always most welcome, £5 payable at the door. There is a Sales Table and following the demonstration and refreshments there is a raffle of the demonstrator’s floral arrangements.

Should you require any further information on future events details can be found on our website: or you can contact by telephone: Lindsey McGowan on 07754 592 848, Fenella Botting on 01242 241642.

Fenella Botting


Deanery Synod Report from 17 January 2013 Meeting

The Revd Tudor Griffiths opened the meeting with a reading from St Matthew’s gospel and prayers.

* Training for evangelism led by ‘Good News People’ at St Matthew’s Church will be held on the second Monday of each month beginning on 11th March. The first session will be led by the Rt Revd John Went.

The whole of the rest of the time was given over to “Effective Ministry in Every Parish” presentations by Bishop Michael and three Diocesan staff.

At the outset the Bishop stressed the importance of this initiative. He fully realises the importance of the parish unit within the Anglican church but also that an appropriate degree of leadership and guidance from him, as Bishop, is right and proper. “Effective Ministry in Every Parish” stresses our responsibilities of pastoral care, public worship and spreading Christian faith in our local community and aims to support us in this.

The initiative is outlined in three leaflets:

1. Purple – Journeying Together.
2. Green – Effective Ministry in Every Parish.
3. White – Our Share in the Future.

As church members we need to:

  • Read these leaflets,
  • Reflect on their contents,
  • Pray about our specificic church situation,
  • Act on our decisions.

1. Journeying Together is very similar to our own North Cheltenham Team vision of:

  • Worshipping
  • Serving
  • Growing
  • Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ

2. Effective Ministry in Every Parish proposes some ways to renew the ministry and mission of the church.

At present there are many people in parishes ministering effectively – stipendiary, non stipendiary (self supporting), local ordained and retired clergy, Readers, Local Ministry Team members, youth workers, choirs, pastoral visitors and many more. But clergy numbers have been dropping and parishes amalgamated. Land is being developed to provide more houses for the growing population. Do these patterns free us or tie us down? How can the parish unit be sustained?

“Effective Ministry in Every Parish” stresses the importance of:

  • * A visible Christian presence.
  • Growing the ministry of every church member.
  • Enabling clergy to oversee and be strategic leaders rather than sole practitioners.
  • Developing local ministries in each parish.

A significant new idea is Local Representative Ministry in which the ministry of the local church may be provided in a number of different ways and should incorporate the whole church. In collaboration with clergy and church members “local ministers” will be a representative focus for the life of the local church and enablers of that church in its work and mission.

A Local Minister will live in the parish, be prayerful, be a team player and encourager of others’ ministries. Further, they will be a community gatherer and pastoral carer, a steward of and an enabler of the local church life and be mission minded. They could be a non stipendiary or retired priest, a Reader, a lay person or a pioneer minister. Each Local Minister would be commissioned by the Bishop. They would take a four term training and be supported by the Diocese.

3. Our Share in the Future is about finance. However one looks at it, church expenditure is exceeding income and this is unsustainable.

It was stressed our churches need to be visible as people not just as buildings.

Sue Read,  Deanery Synod Representative



Diocesan Synod Report

The synod was held in the chapter house at the cathedral on Saturday, 3rd February. Although I was unable to attend, I can report as follows.

The morning commenced with a Eucharist to celebrate the Feast of Candlemass and this included the collation and installation as a canon residentiary of the Revd Canon Andrew Braddock, Director of Mission and Ministry.

As well as the official business of the Diocese to be dealt with, three motions were proposed for members to debate. The first was an expression of thanks for the support we receive from self-supporting ministers, to continue to value and use this support strategically and to encourage those who make appointments to be guided by the calling and gifts of each minister rather than the demands of an overstretched parochial system.

The second motion was to affirm the belief that after Bishop John of Tewkesbury retires, a successor should be appointed.

The third motion was proposed by the Revd Canon Paul Williams that we should (i) recognise the failure of the November General Synod to approve women in the episcopate legislation; (ii) question the procedures in Synod which allowed this to happen; and (iii) use simple legislation allowing the ordination of women to the episcopate so as to protect the authority of diocesan bishops (male or female); to be brought forward with a sense of urgency.

Lynda Hodges, Diocesan representative.



First Records of St Mary Magdalene

In my younger days it was believed that the name Elmstone came from the large number of Elm trees in the area, but this now looks unlikely.

It may seem obvious to begin with the Domesday Book for the first references of the parishes of Elmstone Hardwicke and Uckington.  However we need to look at an even earlier time to find the origins of the Saxon font in the Church.  Modern historians (1) suggest that the Saxon stone was once the base of a commemorative stone and this particular one remembers King Aelsmund's death at the Battle of Kempsey in 802AD put here by his son Aethelric.  Maybe King Aethelric stood by the stone with a priest giving a blessing together with some of the King's entourage.  Though now very rare in this part of England, it was customary for such commemorative crosses to be put by crossroads. The square hole in the stone would have held the wooden cross perhaps or even a stone one. The connection of Deerhurst with the Saxon base is interesting as it has been shown to be made of stone from the same quarry as the font in Deerhurst Church and almost certainly carved by the same mason.  Both Aelsmund and Aethelric are thought to be buried at Deerhurst in St Mary's Priory. 

In his book Anthony Poulton-Smith (2) thinks the name Elmstone refers to “the boundary stone of a man called Alhmund with the personal name followed by Old English stan”. This would fit the above.

Domesday Book (3) shows the Land belonged to St Peter's Westminster and they held Deerhurst .  One of the outliers of this manor is Hardwicke with 5 Hides and “Elmstone was held by Brictric 1 Hide and Reinbald holds it”.  The land at what is now Uckington was held by the Church of St Denis, Paris and there were 5 hides here.  The parish was called "Hochinton" although it is widely believed that it was Ucca's farmstead in Saxon times.  Note 1 Hide was about 120 acres.

This stone is now in the church and with the later building of perhaps a chapel of ease on the same spot in Saxon times, we now realise Christians have worshipped here for over one thousand years.

The Saxon Stone Detail of the carving on the stone

 More of the history of St Mary Magdalene can be found in “The Story of an English Country Church” by Gordon David Williams.  It is available at the church.

1 Paper: A possible commemorative stone for Aethelmund father of Aethelric . Michael Hare 2009

2 Gloucestershire Place Names. Anthony Poulton-Smith p61.Amberley Publishing 2009

3 Domesday Book. John S. Moore. Phillimore 1982

David Williams


A Challenging Invitation

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13:34 NRSV

As we go through March, we continue on our Lenten journey of discipline and end with a recalling of the awful scenes that see God, God the creator, God made man, suffering at the hands of those he created.

We as humans, the pinnacle of God’s creation, illustrate so well the extremes of good and evil. In our disciplined loving we see a glimpse of God. In our fearful need of control, we still try to kill the author and creator of life itself.

So our challenge at this time of year is to ask: will we trust and persevere and carry on loving, or will we retreat, batten down the hatches, and perhaps attack anyone who comes near?

It isn’t always easy, it is hard to love when we feel broken and it is hard to stay open when people and even life itself seem to have hurt us.

But God our loving Creator, who delights that we see him as both our Father and Mother, has modelled for us, as parents aim to do, how to live this way through his life on earth as Jesus. As we read about his last hours on earth before his death, we notice he demonstrates his love to those he knows will betray him when he washes his disciples’ feet, and challenges them to continue trusting and loving even though he knows he will be arrested.

What helped him persevere? He trusted in God, he knew who he was and he knew where he was going, ‘Jesus [knew] that he had come from God and was going to God’ (John 13.3). ‘I am not alone because the Father is with me.’ (John 16.32). And we too can be strengthened in reflecting on what Jesus taught us, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me... I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.’(John 14.1, 3)

After assurance comes the challenge, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ (John 14. 15). As with our parents, they can set us the challenge, but the choice is ours. With the challenge, comes the promise, ‘If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.’ (John 15.10) And ultimately, ‘I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.’ (John 15.11)

So, the choice is ours, to try to stay safe, to retreat, to hide behind our defences, to disconnect, to decay, or alternatively to stay open, to persevere, to carry on trusting, to carry on obeying, to stay in love and to know ultimate joy.

‘Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy... I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’ (John 16.20, 22)

This time of Lent and Passion, let us choose the path to joy.

Sarah and Neil Jones


Come and Celebrate! with Bishop John

You may have seen that there will be a special service to mark the retirement of the Bishop of Tewkesbury, in the cathedral at 4:30 pm on Saturday 2nd March. What you may not know is that the Celebrate! band has been asked to provide some of the music. We'll be playing during communion and again towards the end of the service. All are welcome and it would be lovely to see a contingent from Prestbury supporting Bishop John - and also the Celebrate! band.

Jerry Porter




Quiz Evening

St Nicolas’ Hall Saturday 2nd March at 7:30pm.

Come and join us for this popular event.

Janet Ford



Mothering Sunday at St Mary's -
10th March 2013

We would like to ask for your continued support with our Mothering Sunday posies this year.

Anyone kind enough to donate a few posies can bring them to St Mary's on the morning of Saturday 9th March and place them in the water buckets provided by the font.

For further information, please contact Becky Marks.

Many thanks, once again, for helping to share the joy of Mothering Sunday.



St Mary’s Spring Clean

St Mary’s Annual Spring Clean will be taking place on Saturday 16th March starting at 10:15 am. Even if you can only spare an hour any help that you can give to make the church look its best ready for Easter will be greatly appreciated.

In addition to the annual spring cleaning, new helpers are also needed for the regular weekly cleaning of the church. At present with the number of existing helpers your turn to clean the church would come around about once every ten weeks but if we can recruit more helpers then it would be less often than this. If you are able to help with the regular church cleaning please speak to one of the churchwardens or

Rosie Dodd


Easter Lilies

If you would like to sponsor an Easter Lily in memory of a loved one at St Mary’s, please put the money in one of the envelopes which will be provided in church. There will be a display card if you wish to record their name. The lily will be placed in one of the pedestal arrangements, and the card displayed alongside to enable us to remember them during this Holy Season.

Any contributions towards our Easter flowers will also be gratefully received. Thank you.

Wendy Price




Welcome on Wednesdays

We meet at 2:30pm each third Wednesday in the month (20th March this month!), for refreshments, conversation and good company, in the comfort of St Nicolas’ Church Room. We now have a fairly regular group of friends joining us, but are always ready to welcome any new visitors.

Janet Ford



Local History Society Meetings

The Prestbury Local History Society meets at the Library on the 4th Monday of each month  except August and December. Meetings are at 7.30pm. Visitors are welcome, admission £2. A year’s membership of the Local History Society costs £10.

Our speakers focus on the history of Prestbury and at the next meeting on 25th March Michael Cole, our chairman, will be speaking on “Life in Victorian Prestbury”.

His year long project to transfer all of the National Census returns into a searchable database now records every resident in Prestbury, from 1841 to 1911. His talk is entitled ‘Masters, Servants and Tradesmen’ reflecting a society in which there was a huge disparity in wealth and status, with some generally unnoticed consequences.

Norman Baker



Prestbury Mothers' Union

Prestbury Mothers' Union meets during Holy Week, on Tuesday 26th March. There will be a said Eucharist and Stations of the Cross at All Saints Church at 7.30pm. MU members are invited to this service - please speak to Sylvia if transport is needed.

Sylvia McKenzie, Branch Leader




Evening of Entertainment 

Saturday 13th April 7pm at St Nicolas' Church. £5 to include a drink and nibbles.

Last year, some of you may remember, we staged our first such evening and surprised ourselves with its success. However any event such as this requires performers as well as an audience, so please think what you might offer to this evening of light-hearted entertainment...comedy, monologues, dance, music, magic tricks...

Please support us with your presence, and bring friends and relatives with you.

Janet Ford



News from 1st Prestbury Scout Group

8th June 2013

The 1st Prestbury Scout Group will be holding a musical evening - with refreshments !!

Any musicians or bands interested in contributing to the event please contact:

The Scout Group is continuing to collect textiles:
Workwear, shoes, boots, belts, bags, coats, school wear, bedding (sheets/ pillow cases - not duvets and pillows), curtains. We are paid by the weight of goods collected!

Please deliver/ drop off at the scout hut or speak to one of the leaders - collections can be arranged.

The Scout Group is always looking for volunteers - to help with administration, maintenance and in supporting leadership roles. If you have some time to spare please contact via our website 

Linda Jackson, Group Scout Leader




Prestbury Open Gardens

Plans are progressing to hold Prestbury Open Gardens on 8th & 9th June, so please tell your family and friends. Our last opening in 2011 raised £3,730 for church funds and we would like to repeat that. Visitors love the variety of gardens they see in Prestbury, both large and small, and the cream teas in St Mary's are an added draw. If you would like to open your garden, or know anyone interested, please ring me

Janet White




Parish Fête

The Parish Fête this year will be at St Nicolas’ on Saturday 29th June  All Welcome!


Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust

The 2012 Ride and Stride event in support of Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust was one of our most successful for some time. The total raised was £46,940 (this includes an estimate of gift aid.) We are delighted with this result which means we can confidently plan to keep our level of grant giving to at least £100,000 in 2013. We were particularly pleased to see that the number of churches taking part increased from 101 in 2011 to 117 in 2012

The next Ride and Stride will take place on Saturday 14th September 2013

Ailsa O’Connor, GHCT



Community Corner,  Prestbury Village Stores

We launched the Community Corner in the Prestbury Village Stores in April 2012. Since then we have met every Tuesday morning between 10.00-11.30 am. The idea is to come and have a cup of coffee or tea, exchange paperback books, have a chat and, most importantly, meet new friends. Everyone is welcome.

Doreen Morris



Christian Aid

Hunger is the world’s most shocking problem and our toughest challenge. One in eight people on this planet is living with the pain of hunger, and yet our world produces enough food for everyone. It’s unfair, unjust, and entirely preventable.

This year Christian Aid has joined with over 100 organisations to launch the ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE – IF campaign.

With your support, we can be the generation to end hunger. But only IF we act together to tackle the structural causes of poverty and hunger; causes such as tax dodging by some unscrupulous multinational companies, which deprives developing countries of an estimated $160bn a year.

Join the IF campaign

Ghana’s School Feeding Programme is an example of how the government of Ghana is helping to tackle childhood malnutrition – by giving vulnerable children like Sulemana (pictured) a free school meal.

But there are many children who are yet to be reached and this will only happen if Ghana’s government can find additional money to fund this work.

Ghana currently loses more than $36m annually through tax dodging in the mining sector alone. This would be enough to extend the school feeding programme to many more children.

IF we can help countries like Ghana tackle tax dodging, they will have a far better chance of ending hunger once and for all.

Join the IF campaign

Thank you,

Alasdair Roxburgh,
Churches campaigns manager,
Christian Aid

(from Roger Hodges)

Christian Aid’s Work in Zimbabwe

Come and learn about Christian Aid’s work in Zimbabwe. You are invited to the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 12th March at 7pm at St Marks’s Methodist Church, Gloucester Road. Louise Eldridge will speak about her visit to Zimbabwe. Nigel Quarrell will update all on Christian Aid’s work and answer questions. You are invited to the Bring and Share supper.



Prestbury Parish Magazine - March 2013

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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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