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Prestbury Parish Magazine

April 2017

Download the PDF version (5,856KB)

Cover photograph:
Prestbury Passion Play, 2005 
by Gill & Brian Wood



Scar Tissue
Prestbury Parish Magazine
The Partially Opened Door
Clerestory Saints
Country Roads
Early Memories
Prestbury Friday Circle
Quiz Evening at St Nics
Sophie takes on Mount Etna
Cold Aston walk
The Weight of Pure Memory
Gangsta Granny
Visit to Prestbury URC by the Cubs
Prestbury Memorial Trust - Quiz Night
Report – Diocesan Synod, Saturday 4 February 2017
Prestbury WI
Marle Hill WI
Early memories of visiting the library
Starting out

To see the Diary,  Calendar, Registers and Advertisements please download the PDF version (5,856KB)



Scar Tissue

A CHILD ONCE ASKED me if Jesus carries scars on his body, now that he is risen from the dead at Easter? What a great question that is. A rugby-playing friend told me his surgeon said to him after a major tendon repair that the repaired tendon was stronger than the original – the scar tissue would remind him he was stronger, better, faster now! But while we all carry scars of one kind or another, how should we think of the damage we receive as human beings, even death, and what can our faith tell us? I offer the following story as an illustration, remembering that Mary was one who grieved at the foot of the cross.

Someone on the internet wrote the following heart-rending plea: “My friend just died and I don’t know what to do.” A lot of people responded. Then there was one old man’s incredible comment that stood out from the rest that might just change how you think about death and dying. Here it is:

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not.

I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, grandparents, mum, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbours, and a host of others. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes.

My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function.

You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a motorway service station, the smell of a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at Gatwick Airport. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”

Perhaps a good way of understanding Easter is to see Jesus’ love for us providing ‘scar tissue’ for our wounds and injuries? So that while the above story might provide a means of coping, an attractive means too, we as Christ-lovers have more than just a means to cope, we have triumph over death and dying.

Fr Nick


Easter Flowers at St Mary’s Church

St Mary’s Flower Arrangers will be decorating the church for Easter. We will use Easter Lilies in our displays. If anyone would like to sponsor a lily in memory of a loved one, there will be envelopes in church for your donation, and a card for the name(s) of those whom you would like to remember.

We are always grateful for donations towards the costs of all the flowers. Many thanks,

Wendy Price, Sheila Beer.


Prestbury Parish Magazine

MY MOTHER MUST have told me to sit up straight before handing me my orange juice, but I don’t remember that.  It is what happened next that left its mark on my memory.

I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Why do I have to sit up to drink my orange juice?”  At the age of two, possibly three, I was sitting in my cot in the corner of the room I shared with my elder brother.

Being of an inquisitive mind I decided to lie down and drink the juice with the disastrous result you were expecting if you were keeping ahead of me!

As I lay in the pool I remember my brother calling Mum saying, “Brian’s spilt his drink!”  I don’t remember any more of that incident.

This event I have recalled is my earliest memory of nearly 70 years ago.  Neither my mother nor brother spoke about it to me since.  Sometimes we remember things only after someone has reminded us, but I have had no reminder.

Other early memories are typically of mishaps or embarrassing moments for which there is no space here.  Memory is not always reliable.

When I was five my father who was in the army was posted on a tour in Singapore.  The rest of the family sailed to join him some six months later.  As our ship, the Empire Windrush, was approaching the harbour a strange man asked my brother something and the next I remember was seeing him kissing Mummy in a most passionate embrace.

In the ten percent or so of my then lifespan during his absence I had forgotten what my father looked like so that I did not recognise him.  In the taxi ride to the York Hotel while I was looking out of the window at all the traffic signs we were passing he must have been introduced.

The theme this month is ‘Early Memories’.  Elsewhere in this magazine you can read John Moles’ frightening memory, Tudor recalling country roads, Anya’s early memories, John Powel discussing the weight of pure memory, and the librarians share some nostalgia.  Ralph tells us about the lives of the hidden clerestory saints in St Mary, Jenny writes about the Prestbury Friday Circle.  You can read what Sophie will do next and hear about the Diocesan Synod from Mary, and of the language problems facing refugee children from Roseann.  All the regular features are here somewhere as well.

Brian Wood


The Partially Opened Door
 including the story of The Meccano Screw Driver

The light through the partially opened door was eerie.  Splot…….Splot …. Something was dripping on my head-board.  Splot……Splot it sprayed across my face.  Splot….Splot..Splot.Splot the liquid fell faster and began to spray across my face and chest.  I glanced down at the white sheet covering me, dark red splotches were spraying across the sheet…….. BLOOD!!!!  I peered at the ceiling there through a crack BLOOD was beginning to pour in.  I screamed and screamed and screamed.  “Be quiet and settle down!” was the response. I wiped my hands across my face and chest……my hands were red with BLOOD.  I screamed and screamed.  Eventually my father appeared.  Dragged me out of bed and quickly towelled my face and chest… dark red BLOOD covered the white towel.

Not blood but simply that the flat roof of our steel framed home had cracked and water was running across the rusty steel girders and dripping on my head.  Perhaps that is why my beard grew red!?

The light through the partially opened door was eerie.  My father was shaking me awake.  “Get up!”…..”Put on your dressing gown!”.  He wasn’t a Company Sergeant Major for nothing!  “I’ve got to go to the hospital”.  “You can take one thing with you”.  He hurried me down the stairs out into the freezing February night, along the deserted road, across the cross roads, past the darkened ‘Kings Arms’, and along the road to Dr Maclachlan’s house, Dr Maclachlan was Dean of Manchester College and my Sunday school teacher, who ran the classes in his house.  On arrival he and his wife tucked me into an enormous bed with their three children, who were somewhat puzzled as to why I insisted on sleeping with my Meccano screwdriver, which consisted of a simple twist of metal with a flattened end.  A warm comfy bed, with my screwdriver, I soon dropped off to sleep.  In the morning I discovered that I had a sister!

The light through the partially opened door was eerie….. My father was shaking my 9 year old self awake.  “Get up! Put on your dressing gown!”  “I’ve got to take your sister to the hospital.  She’s haemorrhaging!”  (She had had a tonsillectomy.)  “You will have to listen out for the alarms and if necessary ring the night watchman”.  My father, a war time field ambulance medical orderly, and my mother, a war time casualty nurse, with experience of the blitz in London did not go in for childish talk.  They were gone. I wandered into my sister’s room, the room described in first paragraph.  The bed was covered in blood, real this time.  I lived in the Bodleian Library.  So just me, the early hours of the morning, three and a half million volumes, five alarm lights and bells, two telephones, one internal one external and a distant watchman high in his eyrie on the roof of the University Chest.

(My sister survived and became an A&E Specialist nurse herself.)

That night I grew up. (Though some of course, may not agree!!)

John Moles


Clerestory Saints

Originally, the word clerestorey referred to the upper level of a church or cathedral.  The Middle English word clerestorie means “clear story,” which describes how an entire storey of height was cleared to illuminate church and cathedral interiors.

I was very interested to discover that there were stained glass pictures of three ‘northern’ saints hidden behind the organ in St Mary’s church.

At school we were taught that St Augustine had brought Christianity to England and that’s why we now have the Archbishop of Canterbury as the leader of the Church of England.  My wife Ann’s family originate from Northumbria and I have become very interested in what is known as Celtic Christianity.

Celtic Christianity developed differently to Roman Christianity. Ireland was never part of the Roman Empire and remained somewhat isolated from the continent, even after Patrick’s mass conversions. By the sixth century, Irish monasticism showed outward signs of these differences. Celtic monks were ascetics, practising strenuous fasts and meditation under severe self discipline.

The first new wave of Christianity since the conversions of Roman British citizens in the fourth century began with the founding of a new Celtic monastery on the island of Iona, just off the western coast of Scotland. Saint Columba, a Celtic monk, led the drive to convert the people to Christianity in Scotland and northern England.

Some of the greatest achievements of the Celtic tradition were during this period, such as the Book of Kells, and intricately carved high standing crosses.

For centuries the riches of Celtic spirituality were passed on in an oral tradition. One generation taught the next prayers that originated from the early centuries of Celtic Christianity. These prayers were sung or chanted at the rising and setting of the sun, in the midst of daily work and routine, at a child’s birth, or a loved one’s deathbed. These were the prayers of daily life celebrating God as Life within all life, with creation as His dwelling place. The Celt’s understanding of God, was that He was always overwhelmingly present all around them.

The stained glass windows hidden for so many years show three of the most influential men in the beginnings of Christianity in Britain.  St Cuthbert had great influence on the development of Christianity in northern Britain.  He was a great leader and his example showed many the new faith.  He became Bishop of Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland, then Bishop of Durham.  His shrine is in Durham Cathedral.

Bede, also known as Saint Bede, Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable, was an English monk at the monastery of St Peter in Ireland and its companion monastery of St Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles. He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People gained him the title “The Father of English History”.

Wilfrid was an English bishop and saint. Born a Northumbrian noble, he entered religious life as a teenager and studied at Lindisfarne, at Canterbury, in Gaul, and at Rome; he returned to Northumbria in about 660, and became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon.  Wilfred played a large part at a time of great controversy in the Church.  In 664 Wilfrid acted as spokesman for the Roman position at the Synod of Whitby, and became famous for his speech advocating the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter.  His success prompted the king’s son to appoint him Bishop of Northumbria.  Wilfrid eventually retired to Ripon.  There are many churches all over England with St Wilfred as patron. 




These three Clerestory Saints in St Mary’s church, St Cuthbert, St Wilfred and the Venerable Bede, appeared on the front cover of the February 2017 issue of this magazine.  - Ed








Country Roads

As I was born in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, country roads were a large part of my pre-war childhood. We lived in Mopla Road which to the right took us into Chepstow, our nearest town, and to the left was Coleford Road, which for six years led us to school.

Ours was a Church of England school and I never remember disliking having to go up the road to school, and after our morning trail we would be up and down again in the middle of the day for what we always knew as dinner, which would be cold meat and bubble and squeak on Mondays, stew on Tuesdays, sausage and mash on Wednesdays, bacon and egg and boiled potatoes on Thursday and fish with chips on Fridays.

One of the pleasures of this journey in the early years would be “holding teacher’s hand.” These could be booked, and with Miss Harry this was always well in advance. I walked along there again last year on a day trip and while most of it was still vivid, some of the distances varied from what I remembered. I found myself looking over the low stone wall to see if the rosemary bush was still there, but no sign.

After the school was the church of St Luke, to which I belonged for many years and where we used to play in the church yard at being ghosts and jumping out on one another from behind the lichen-covered grave stones. Next to this was Church Cottage where our friend Ralph lived and where we used to go to play, with him showing lantern slides in the dark passage at the rear of the house. It was to this house later on that Joanne Rowling came to live, aged nine and lived with her family there until she was seventeen.  I sometimes wonder if that creepy thoroughfare at the back influenced her later writing as J K Rowling.

Past these three buildings and then the road starts to climb up to Woodcroft or turn right and down into Bishton Lane. In those early years there were not too many cars about and you could wander along without much thought. It was down there that the three fields caught up with us but if we walked through those, it would take us back home. Further on was the home of butcher Lewis, whose wife was a keen gardener and who had a large part of it sown with daffodil bulbs. It was a lovely sight in spring and we would go there to buy bunches of flowers to take back to the churchyard to put on the family graves.

The smell of the farm at the corner of the lane came to meet you, especially in the summer, and there was the home of the Rhymer family. At the bottom of the lane was the main road to Gloucester, where young members would be gathered together to cross over safely and then over into Sedbury Lane. This wanders along through the ploughed fields and on Sundays you would meet other families out for a walk and you could catch up with some of your school friends. I always liked walking through the lanes with our Dad as he was always full of information about what was to be seen: birds’ nests high in the hedges, the names of all the wild flowers, which were then allowed to grow and not be attacked by insecticides. His great delight would be to find a branch of wild honeysuckle and we would be encouraged to sniff it and compare it with the perfume say of the bluebells or late primroses.  He compared what you could see in the different seasons and my brother and I would try to see what we could see in the varying cloud formations.

Another farm was run by the Fernyhough family and you could either cut through there or continue on until you came to the main Beachley Road.

This was quite a busy road as it led to the army camp which had been created right at the point where the rivers Wye and Severn meet. The old village had been taken over and the people forced to leave their homes and live in nearby Sedbury, which would not be the same if you had lived there all your life. Dad had several cuttings from the local paper at the time with the sort of pictures that you see when villages are cleared to build dams and reservoirs.

Beachley was a favourite with us as it was from the slipway that the ferry ran across to Aust on the other side. The ferries were updated from the Princess Ida, to the Severn Queen and then the Severn King and we enjoyed watching the cars being driven onto the boat, which could be quite a tricky manɶuvre, though with very few casualties. It was a big treat if we were ever taken on board and did the return journey through the muddy waters of the Severn. The ferries vanished once the Severn bridges were built.

The Red and White bus company, which became my first employer, ran a service through to Chepstow and we always made sure of a front seat on the top deck so that we could see all there was to see along the Beachley Road. There was the open air swimming pool, where I first learned to swim, but it was later filled in to become a residential caravan park. Through the village of Sedbury, which seemed to grow every time you went there, as it was where the council extended its housing policy and there is also the secondary school where J K Rowling completed her education. From the top deck you had a grand view to the left of the old town of Chepstow, with its fine castle and also the top supports of the tubular railway bridge, created by Isambard Brunel. These have since been removed and the trains have other means of support.

Off the bus at the top of Tutshill and back along the Coleford Road, past the Cross Keys Inn, which is hardly a semblance of its former glory, and back to our corner, marked by the Live and Let Live Inn. This was for a time run by our neighbours from next door, though if my father fell out with the landlady he was known to remark,  “She wouldn’t let any blighter live.”

They had made the great jump of a few yards from Mopla Road to Coleford Road, while I made it further to go later to live in Sedbury Lane, the road where I was born.

Tudor Williams


Early Memories

I think my first memory is of being in a highchair by the window with a tiny red and black doll in my hand. It was Bakelite and was usually hung from the pram hood. My father was laughing and giving me what I now know was chocolate.  Suddenly my mother was in the room and she wasn’t laughing at all.  Father was ticked off and a large wet flannel was flapped over me, the doll and the chair.

Sometime later, I was walking then, I remember being in Granny Tinker’s house looking up at two porcelain dogs on a high mantelpiece. Auntie and my mother were talking over an empty chair by the fireside, and everyone seemed sad and very quiet.  Grandad was just sitting.

I think at about that age I was being fretful, in trouble or tired maybe, it was dark.  My sister was reading a magazine by the fire and Mummy was in the kitchen.  I heard the front door and footsteps, and then the living room door was flung back.  Unbelievably my father filled the space. No one else seemed to notice.   I flung myself across the room and clutched his knees, “Papa!”, and I was swung high in the air.

The ship’s departure had been put back so he had come home for an extra day.

It’s a summer afternoon and I’m hanging over the garden wall waiting for my brother to come back from school.  He would perch me on the very uncomfortable saddle for a ride on his bike from the garden gate to the kitchen door.

Sometimes he would make me a temporary seesaw, involving a plank and not much else.  And one summer he brought home sand and lined up loose bricks to make a sandpit for me.  He was something of a hero in my opinion, sufficient for me to polish regularly all the RAF buttons etc in later years (for 2d).

Then one morning outside Marks & Spencer I suddenly decided I’d been left behind so climbed out of my pushchair and followed two ladies through the swing doors.

Shock horror, neither of them was my mother.  I was taken to the police station and someone sat me on a desk with an orange.  I was driven around town being questioned to see if I would recognise home, which I did, but the policeman didn’t ask at that point.  I clearly recall wondering how I could put this to him but it was too complicated.  Eventually my mother appeared and seemed quite excessively pleased to see me I thought.  I wasn’t even in trouble!

Anya Jary


Prestbury Friday Circle

Four months after our group started, it has been great to see that our members are thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to meet with friends old and new, and we are delighted that our group continues to grow steadily.

The beginning of March saw a fun and entertaining morning of music and we were very pleased and grateful to welcome Dave, a local electric guitarist, who came along and played a selection of everyone’s favourite songs from the 50’s/60’s. This included folk, blues and hits from Buddy Holly, Cliff Richard and of course Elvis. Accompanied with a sing along, it guaranteed fun was had by all.

Prestbury Friday Circle, who meet every Friday at Prestbury United Reform Church between 10am and 12noon, are always happy to welcome new members to our fun Friday mornings where we have a variety of activities including beetle drives, bingo and board games, in addition to our music sessions.

Come along, pop in and for only £2 a session not only will you have a great time, good company and some laughter, but there is always a good supply of tea, coffee and biscuits on hand.




Rose and Keith, who run the group and Ollie (centre), Village and Community Agent for the Prestbury and surrounding areas.



Members enjoying tea while listening to the music from Dave.




Jenny Roden & Rosemarie West


Quiz Evening at St Nics – 11 March 2017

‘I only know Kim Kardashian and it’s not her’  ‘Is it double ‘d’ or double’z’?’  These were some of the whispered thoughts from our table at the Quiz Evening. They had to be whispered because every table was taken and we were rather packed in!

Michael Brick and family again produced a good mixture of questions, producing many ‘Oh of courses’ when we were given the answers.  Friendly rivalry was evident as the team rankings were announced at half time. We then had time to visit the bar, buy our raffle tickets and off we went for the second half.

It was good to see new faces from the community, all of whom promised to come again next time. Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening, and a profit of £420 was made, an excellent start to our fundraising for 2017.

Many thanks to the Bricks and all who helped.

Janet Ford

Picture by Brian Wood


Sophie takes on Mount Etna

Most of you will know my daughter, Sophie, a long standing member of St Mary’s congregation – she loves a challenge and when she can take part in that challenge and raise money for a cause very close to her heart it makes her even more determined.

Please read the article below that appeared recently in the Gloucestershire Echo.  Any support you can give, however, small would be greatly appreciated:

Daredevil student Sophie Bestwick is planning to scale the heights of Europe’s largest volcano, Mount Etna, in memory of her grandfather.

The 20 year old music student from Prestbury has signed up for the challenge to scale the 10,922 feet tall volcano on the island of Sicily to raise money to fight prostate cancer.

Sophie’s grandfather Alan Bestwick was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 21 and became a guinea pig for radiotherapy, living for more than 50 years longer than expected before he passed away in 2012, aged 74.

Sophie, who studies at the University of York, is no stranger to difficult challenges, having completed two marathons, in York and Edinburgh, several half marathons, including Bristol,  Tewkesbury and Cheltenham, and some Tough Mudder events.

She has not been deterred by the news that Etna, situated close to the city of Catania, has started erupting recently.

Having been largely dormant for the past two years, Etna has been sending shots of lava into the sky in recent days. Its previous major eruption was in 1992.

The aspiring theatre performer has appeared in several pantomimes at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury as well as musical productions at Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre and has danced in shows in London and York.

But now she is preparing to take on Etna in the four day challenge from September 14 to 17, with her grandfather at the front of her mind.

Sophie said: “I spent 16 wonderful years getting to know him, he is my inspiration to this day, and I am proud to be related to him.

“I will be 21 when I climb Mount Etna, the same age he was when his world was turned upside down.

“I have inherited his spirit of adventure and love of mountains, and this challenge will only bring me closer to him and honour his memory further.”

To donate please visit:, complete a sponsor form at Church, or contact me in the Team Office, or 244373

Thank you in anticipation.

Kate Bestwick

Picture by Matt Bestwick


Cold Aston walk

Four days prior to the walk a friend and I cowered in the Plough as we watched the sleet outside the window before we started the preparatory walkover but on the day, I was relieved to see that the sun was shining as seven ladies stepped forth to enjoy the delights of the high Cotswolds in early spring. We saw drifts of snowdrops and a few early daffodils whilst up above us a red kite soared and we even thought that we heard some skylarks. Despite the mud, there is a lot of pleasure to be had in the countryside at this time of year and it is so much easier to enjoy it at walking pace.

Janet Waters


The next walk will be around Crickley Hill on 8 April led by Janet White.


The Weight of Pure Memory

How is it that some memories can seem so heavy they drag you down, as if you are carrying an enormous weight, while other memories can lift you up, making you feel as if you are walking on air and the world a better place?  In both cases memories are the same physical phenomenon, no more than virtually weightless electro-chemical impulses linking neurons which hold and retrieve information ‘files’ stored somewhere in the brain. 

Memories are not just individual but can also be acquired and transmitted across groups and whole societies.  Collective memory can burden an entire nation or culture, for example the guilt arising from war crimes can influence a whole culture.  Memories of crimes against humanity, even if we have only read about them and were not present at the event, can weigh heavily on the collective consciousness.  Most cultures, like individuals, prefer to remember their successes and achievements rather than their losses and darker actions, carried out in the name of survival, colonialism, or some dubious ideology.  Memories are selective.

My parents’ and grandparents’ abiding memories were of the two great wars of the 20th century.  Memories of the blitz, the loss of family and friends, and rationing, influenced their whole lives.  My grandparents, in particular, never understood how we could possibly join into a political union with Germany after what they had been through.  Memories can cast long shadows, creating barriers to change and atonement, though fortunately memories do not easily cross the generational divide, at least not without some filtering and interpretation.  For my generation, there was no personal memory of the Second World War.  We grew up in a more optimistic climate, with memories of a new world of opportunity created by cooperation among peoples sharing a common European culture, though tempered with the experience of an impenetrable barrier separating East from West, the Cold War, and the impact of a senseless struggle over Vietnam.  Our parents feared the atomic bomb, we grew up with it, our different memories influence how we see the world. 

We identify ourselves through memories, even though they are unreliable and selective.  Our personal store of memories is what makes each of us unique, and they have such a powerful hold over us that when challenged can seem to threaten the very core of our being. Some memories we cannot escape, or perhaps don’t want to let go of, like Rick in the film ‘Casablanca’:

  Ilsa: How nice, you remembered. But of course, that was the day the Germans marched into Paris.

  Rick: Not an easy day to forget. I remember every detail. The Germans wore grey, you wore blue.

Memories are important in the development of relationships and families.  Talking about what you did and the memories you share is a daily activity that binds people together, and provides a sense of belonging.  The fact that memories are selective and unreliable leads to discussion and even argument; none of us can always remember things accurately (even though we think we do).  We each have a slightly different perspective on life and sometimes perhaps see things that were not there, or miss things that were. 

We need that regular discussion over memories to share our inaccuracies and come to an agreement on what actually happened, or at least to acknowledge the different versions of events.  The classic song ‘I remember it well’ from the 1958 musical ‘Gigi’ is a humorous reference to the unreliability of memories over a long relationship:

Him: We met at nine

Her: We met at eight

Him: I was on time

Her: No, you were late

Him: Ah, yes, I remember it well…That dazzling April moon!

Her: There was none that night, And the month was June

Him: That’s right. That’s right.…Ah, yes, I remember it well

‘Institutional memory’, developed within organisations can be even stronger and more influential in its hold over individual lives and thoughts.  Institutional memories are long, as they include not just the agreed memories held by current members, but also those of previous generations which have been integrated into custom and tradition, accepted into doctrine, or written down into guidelines and manuals of standard practice about what must be said and done, and how and when.  After a while institutional memories can become so comfortable, like an old pair of shoes, you barely know you’ve got them on.  But also like an old pair of shoes, even though the leather might be wearing thin, you don’t always see the need for repair, or new footwear.  Change within institutions becomes unsettling, a feeling that one’s foundations are being rocked, or even fearful like the memory of how new shoes hurt your feet until they get ‘broken in’. 

Institutions like the Church of England can be notoriously slow to change.  The ‘institutional memory’ of accepted doctrine brings comfort through ‘familiar ways of doing’ making change very difficult.   In some ways that can be a good thing, you don’t want to reject everything without good reason, and time allows for discussion and for different opinions to be heard.  Just like our own memories, however, institutional memory can lead us astray; even institutions do not remember things accurately, and are susceptible to the suppression of bad memories (see for example the current Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse), poor interpretation, and a failure to interrogate adequately shared perceptions.

Influential institutions like the Church have a special need to explore constantly, discuss, and test shared memories; after all, it has been a long time since those with direct experience of Jesus were around to tell the story.  Those earliest memories must have been extremely powerful, firstly to carry the Apostles through the hardships of their lives, and secondly, to resonate down the generations to us some 2,000 years later.  In order to convince others of the fundamental truth those memories must have focused on the central tenets of Christ’s message, the core elements through which we continue to interpret our actions today.   Institutional memories need constantly to be discussed and re-visited to ensure our perceptions remain true to those enduring principles of faith, hope, and love that were God’s gift to a world of constant change.  Our duty is to ensure that institutional memory stays focused on how to apply the core principles in our lives today, and not become side-tracked by dogma based on interpretations from a bygone age. 

Pure memories have no weight.  It is what we do with them, the meanings we ascribe to them, and how we act upon them, which creates either a burden that drags us down, or a lightness of being that empowers us to accomplish greater things.  Institutional memory on the other hand, carries enormous weight, with the capacity for influencing both current and future generations through doctrine mulled over and re-written.  But these are not ‘pure’ memories, they are memories of memories, or memories interpreted and re-interpreted down the ages.  Institutional memory comes with a lot of baggage and as we all know, travelling with excess baggage comes with large costs. 

Travelling with a lot of baggage, aside from the cost, slows you down and seems to make everything more difficult.  The best advice my father ever gave me was: “always travel light, take half the baggage and twice as much money as you think you need”.  The Church may not be able to double the money it has available, but it could certainly reduce some of the excess baggage.  Travelling light makes you more agile and adaptable to changing circumstances, but the trick in travelling light is to know what to keep, and what to jettison. 

John Powell

Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman as Rick & Ilsa in Casablanca


Book Review

Granny and Grandpa

Gangsta Granny” and “Grandpa’s Great Escape”

David Walliams £6.99 book; £4.49 Kindle

Before Christmas I found myself looking through the children’s section of a local bookshop seeking inspiration for grandchildren’s presents. OK, mine are under three but I strayed into a section for older ages containing David Walliams who has published a large number of comedy stories for 10 year olds. I had to buy the two titles relating to my wife and me!

The books are both an easy read for an adult with fantastical adventures which are not as complex as Roald Dahl. Ben feels ignored by his parents but is able to understand his Grandpa’s view of the world as his memory loss takes him further back into his wartime experiences. The local vicar and nursing home do not come out well. Ben just finds his Granny boring, and his weekly visits tedious.

However, the madcap local storekeeper appreciates the lives of Granny and Grandpa, so is able to help Ben see they were young once and should be treasured before they leave.

Periodically, Walliams writes directly to the reader to point out some historic fact, mathematic formula, or revelation that school lessons can be useful to prepare for the next part of the adventure. Those adventures can involve lies which are acknowledged by the adults to be wrong.

Throughout the books there are moments when Ben experiences fun and fear, loneliness and love, storytelling in imagination but also directly to the reader, as well as the emotion of losing a grandparent. Nevertheless the events help him and the reader to appreciate the times together with people who are precious.

My nephew and niece enjoyed other stories in the set, but the emotional range of experience will have been a more subtle experience.

David Lyle


Visit to Prestbury URC by the Cubs

A whirlwind in the shape of 1st Prestbury Cubs visited the URC in March. As part of their ‘World Badge’, 18 cubs and their leaders, many of whom had attended Urchins when they were toddlers (yes, even the leaders!) first had a talk about the church and then proceeded to set about cleaning it. Chair cushions were vacuumed; woodwork, ironwork and windowsills were dusted; floors were swept and cobwebs vanquished. After well-earned juice and biscuits one of the young cubs surprised everyone with an excellent impromptu rendering of ‘The Entertainer’ on the organ. Thank you Prestbury Cubs.

Fiona Hall


Prestbury Memorial Trust - Quiz Night

The Trust hosted another Quiz Night on 23rd February in the Pavilion at the Royal Oak.

Once more the event was hailed a success inasmuch as there was a full house on the evening.  Mine host, as always, offered first class food and refreshments at the break.   It is envisaged there may be a repeat of this event in the autumn.

This event is seen as an opportunity to raise much needed funds to assist the running of this very local Trust. The magnificent sum of £571 was raised and so congratulations to the organizing committee members.

Nigel Woodcock,   Trustee


Report – Diocesan Synod, Saturday 4 February 2017

The venue for this meeting was St John’s, Churchdown. We opened with worship led by a band in our Celebrate! style: everyone joined in singing two worship songs, followed by a reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. We were then invited to share with each other, in small groups, just one thing we want to grow and develop in either our church or in our own lives, and then to pray together about this, still in our small groups.  The worship session then concluded with a final song and a prayer.

Bishop Rachel welcomed everyone to the meeting. During the notices section she reminded us that this was Revd Richard Mitchell’s last meeting in his position as Chair of Clergy, with a further reminder that a replacement for this position will be needed.  (At the end of the meeting Revd Richard was thanked for everything he has done during his time in this role, and presented with a gift).

Following the approval of the minutes of the previous Synod meeting, Bishop Rachel reminded us of the date for the installation of the new Archdeacon of Cheltenham – Revd Phil Andrew. - 11 March 2017 at 4.30pm in the Cathedral. She also informed us that today was the wedding of Bishop Michael’s daughter, Anna, and that he was hoping to walk her up the aisle and to officiate.

The next item was a presentation on the work of Safeguarding within the Diocese for 2016-2017, given by Margaret Styles, Becca Faal and Judith Knight.  They reported that, as a Diocese, we are achieving well, but emphasised that there are always huge volumes of changes coming forward and that it is the responsibility of us all to be aware of what is happening around us.  There is a variety of training on offer from the Diocese – details available on the website or by calling the Safeguarding Department.  We were reminded that it is time to be revising our own Safeguarding Policies and Procedures, and that these should be ‘on show’ and available along with posters giving information about where to access help with Safeguarding matters.

A refreshment break was next.  The second part of the meeting began with the item,  ‘Shared Conversations on Human Sexuality’.  Bishop Rachel introduced this and emphasised that the report from the House of Bishops, which was released last week, should be read as a whole and not individual paragraphs taken in isolation, and therefore out of context.  She suggested that everyone should read this report – available on line or hard copy, if requested, and asked for our continued prayers for the Bishops, as this matter is taken to the next meeting of the General Synod (late February).  We then heard brief reflections from three members of Synod regarding hopes and concerns ahead of the meeting of the General Synod.  Bishop Rachel emphasised that this was not to be followed by debate or discussion but that we should all really listen as these people talked – a powerful reminder of everyone’s struggles with this difficult subject.

We then received an update on the financial out-turn for GBDF, and although there is a shortfall, we have come really close to meeting the 2016 budget.  The Parish Giving Scheme is going well - there are resources available to help explain how this works and what it means.  Discussions about financial giving are never easy, but nevertheless essential. As Bishop Rachel put it, holding up the LIFE booklet:-

“Money enables us to do what we need to do”.

Bishop Robert had the final say – a few words about the good feeling at our Gloucester Diocesan Synods of comradeship and friendliness where both Clergy and Lay people are able to meet and work together in joint fellowship.

He thanked Bishop Rachel for her inspirational Leadership and then informed us that it was her birthday – we all joined together and sang the ‘Birthday Song’.

The meeting ended with a prayer and the Grace.

A buffet lunch was provided for all who were able to stay and share in this.

Mary Turner, Diocesan Synod Representative



The Children’s Society works with children living in poverty and teenagers at risk. As you can imagine, this covers a broad range of work. Each month we are bringing you a story from one of the areas of our work. Last month we talked about stories of some of the Syrian teenagers we are working with. This month focuses on various areas of our work for which we need to communicate with children and young people who speak another language.

Some of our refugee and migrant services have piloted a revolutionary new Microsoft translation app.

The app – which translates photos of written text, voice and typed text – works in several languages, and was trialled by our frontline staff when interacting with young people who don’t speak English. In December 2016, Microsoft offered it to us to trial and asked us to send feedback ahead of its being officially launched.

The piloting phase ended at the end of January, and we have hopes of rolling it out across the rest of our refugee and migrant practice base. This would come with guidance on how to use it while adhering to safeguarding and best practice.

Why is this so exciting?

Our frontline staff have said using face-to-face interpreters can be problematic when young people are sharing sensitive or personal information about themselves and their experiences, but Microsoft Translator removes these concerns over a third party needing to be present.

It means we should soon have a free and instant way of communicating with young refugees and migrants in addition to our existing translation services. While in some environments, it is unlikely Microsoft Translator will ever fully replace the need for face-to-face interpreters, we are very excited to be using this innovative technology so young people can overcome language barriers and access the right services and support.

This can be used across a broad range of our services, for example, when working with children in care, young refugees and children who have been sexually exploited.

James is one of our project workers, working with trafficked boys and young men. Here’s what he says about the app:   “The app is very intuitive and versatile and I have used it when travelling with young people between appointments, for communicating during 1:1 meetings in the office, as well as for translating written documents explaining to a young person about their rights and entitlements in the UK and the kind of support we can provide them with. Interpreting services are essential within our work but can be costly, time consuming and put pressure on our limited budgets. Young people sometimes don’t feel comfortable making disclosures with an interpreter from their country present. Furthermore it is a versatile tool that fits with our mobile working outside of the office. While it can never replace the need for flesh and blood interpreters I am really excited about using Microsoft Translator with more young people and seeing how it can support our invaluable work.”

Your donations, actions, prayers and time enable our work with children and young people who are going through difficult situations and are finding it hard to communicate with the people around them. Thank you.

Roseann Thompson


Prestbury WI

On Monday 10th April Matthew Gacek will be giving us a talk on
Maintaining a Cornish Jewel - an under gardener’s tale.

Visitors are always welcome at our WI meetings. They are held on the second Monday of each month and start at 7.15pm in the WI Hall on Prestbury Road.

For further information on WI activities please contact Hilary Brick on 01242 517964.

Hilary Brick


Marle Hill WI

Local pharmacist, Peter Badham, gave a history of his family business at our March meeting.  His father opened his first pharmacy in Whaddon in 1940.  This was followed by a shop in Bishops Cleeve and they now have 17 outlets mainly in Gloucestershire with a 18th opening in May this year.  The shop in Pittville has been a pharmacy since the building was built in 1833 as part of Pitt’s original plan.  From pre-NHS, with prescriptions written in Latin and made up from scratch, to the modern day with electronic service, smart cards and medications delivered to your door, much has changed over the intervening year.

Our President Sue was away on a course at Denman College leaving me in charge for the evening that was well attended and busy.  At a Craft afternoon at Eileen’s a few of us made book covers, the book club met at Annette’s, Sue D. had a coffee morning, a lunch at the Tivoli, a skittles practice at Charlton Kings in readiness for the County Tournament and an outing to the Races for the Gold Cup Day were among our activities for the month. Hazel showed us the Bug House she had made at a workshop day.  At the Annual Council Meeting in the Town Hall we heard Lady Bathhurst speak of the new WI that has been formed at Eastpark Prison, the other main speaker being historian Dr Lucy Worsley.  The coach trip to the WI Fair at Alexandra Palace was much enjoyed by all.

In April we have the first round of the County Quiz where we have entered two teams.  A Skittles and Supper Evening at the Suffolk Arms and a coach trip to the BBC at Bristol with shopping at Cabot Circus are on the calendar.  A campaign and Debate Day, a coffee morning, county walks and a Shibori Bead Embroidery workshop are amongst other activities.  At the end of the month a number of us are joining a short break in Lincolnshire organised by the County Federation.

The speaker at our meeting on Monday 3rd April is Tore Fauske who will tell us of his experiences ‘Growing up in Norway during the German Occupation’.  Anyone who would like to join us for the evening, 7.30pm at St Nicolas Hall, will be made most welcome.

Sara Jefferies.


Early memories of visiting the library?

Maybe your early memory of the library was staring over the counter and watching the librarian take the card from the little pocket in the front of your chosen book. The card was then slotted into the ticket that you handed over and filed away.

Such an activity would amaze our children and grandchildren nowadays as they confidently use their plastic library cards! Now a barcode instantly links us up to the library system, books and services throughout the county.

Of course, one of our roles is to create positive reading early memories for children today. From simple black and white board books to Harry Potter, we cater for everyone. If you’d like to create positive memories of the library and stories for your children or grandchildren, please do join us for Baby Bounce (Fridays @ 2.15) or Toddler Time (Tuesdays @ 2.15). Early Memories start here!

Tell us about your memories of Prestbury Library!

Next year, in 2018, Prestbury Library 
                celebrates its 40th birthday. We’d love to hear about your early 
                memories of using the library. Were you at school in 1978 or 
                maybe raising a young family in Prestbury? We’d really love to 
                see any photos of the library during the last 40 years!

Jo, Karen, Laura, Becky and Tessa


Starting out

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem

Luke 9.51, NRSV

UNTIL NOW, Jesus has been based in Galilee, teaching and healing in the villages and countryside around the great lake. These words mark a decisive change, as he sets out on the final journey to Jerusalem, and inevitable confrontation with the authorities. Jesus has visited Jerusalem before with the disciples (see John 2.15, 6.4, 7.2-10) but this is going to be different.  It is like the moment when the referee blows his whistle for play to start, or when the conductor raises his baton.

Many people could point to a moment of decision in their lives that carries echoes of the situation, however faint. We commit to a course of action and find ourselves taking the first step; it will be difficult, will perhaps test us to the limit, yet it is worth doing for the ultimate reward, - or sometimes just because it’s right.  For some it is a physical challenge - running a marathon or climbing a mountain   - for others it is more mental and emotional, signing up to a course of study that will mean sacrificing much of our social life, or taking on a demanding role at work or in a voluntary organisation. Accepting a job in a trouble hot spot.  Sponsoring a refugee.  Taking on the care of an aging parent.  Adopting a child.  It may help to invite sponsorship, or at least to tell other people about it so we can’t just give up however hard the going gets. But there is always the risk that someone will try to persuade us against it -  “What about your job…  Think of the dangers…  What a waste of your training…”

From Galilee to Jerusalem is no more than 50 or 60 miles; Jesus and his followers could have got there in 3 or 4 days, if getting there was their sole aim. But it seems there was still much to be done on the way. The start of Jesus’s journey is in chapter 9 of Luke’s account, but it’s not until chapter 19 that we read of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. On the way Jesus continues to teach, he heals the sick and restores the disabled, engages with hostile questioners, changes the lives of the respectable and the disreputable. There is always time to accept a dinner invitation, to respond to someone who needs him.

What were the disciples thinking during those days and weeks? Right from the outset Jesus had left them in no doubt that he expected to die in Jerusalem, and surely Peter was not the only one to react with disbelief and shock, - even if Peter was the only one bold enough to risk saying so (Matthew 16. 22-23).  As time passed, they must have hung on to the hope that things would turn out otherwise; everything was going so well, such crowds came to hear him, he dealt so devastatingly with the religious opposition.  If it came to a showdown, surely he would be the victor.

This year, as you listen once again to the gospel account of Jesus’s last days in Jerusalem, remember how the journey started back in Galilee, and think of the steely determination that carried it through.

Beryl Elliott


Forthcoming Events


Coffee Morning at Prestbury URC

Saturday 1st April from 10.30 till Noon

The monthly coffee morning will take place on Saturday 1st April from 10.30 to noon. As well as teas, coffees and teacakes, there will be books, cakes and a raffle. Plenty of conversation guaranteed!



Cheltenham Philharmonic Orchestra Family Concert

Sunday 2nd April at 3.00pm in Cheltenham Town Hall


Do join us for a lively afternoon of popular music for all the family. The orchestra will be joined by a large children’s choir.

Prokofiev   Montagues and Capulets (The Apprentice Theme)

Williams     Theme music from Jurassic Park

Marquez    Danson No 2

Harris        The Unhappy Aardvark, played by Wind Quintet with narrator

Patterson   Roald Dahl’s version of The Three Little Pigs, set to music, with narrator

Smith         Beatles songs arranged for orchestra and children’s choir.

During the interval there will be a chance to meet the orchestra and look at various musical instruments.

Tickets from Town Hall Box Office or at the door on the day.

Reserved seating, Adults £15/12 Students £8/6 Under 16 £5/£3

Wendy Price



Walk  at  Crickley Hill

Saturday 8 April 2017  leaving St Nicolas car park at 9.30am

Janet and John White will lead a walk around Crickley Hill  of approximately 4 miles.  See the pewsheet for more details, including the venue for lunch.




Notice of Vestry Meeting and APCM for Prestbury Parish –

Sunday 23 April 2017   3.00pm in St Mary

The Vestry Meeting, which is the Annual Meeting of Parishioners, will be held on 23rd April 2017.  It is a short meeting to elect Churchwardens:- two for St Mary and two for St Nicolas.  Candidates must be nominated and seconded before the meeting begins.  Nomination lists will be displayed on the notice boards of both churches.  Anyone who lives in the Parish or who is on the Electoral Roll may attend and vote at this meeting.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which follows immediately after the Vestry Meeting, is a chance to hear reviews/reports of what has taken place during the last year, together with plans for the future and an opportunity to ask questions.

At this meeting elections to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) take place –this year there are three places to be filled – two for St Nicolas and one for St Mary.

Nomination forms for PCC members will be displayed on the notice boards of both churches for at least two Sundays prior to the meeting. This year elections for Deanery Synod members will also take place – two people for each church. Nomination forms for these will also be on the notice boards of both churches.

All candidates must be proposed and seconded by a person who is on the Electoral Roll of the Parish and these candidates must have given their permission that they are willing to

Mary Turner, PCC Secretary


Parish Electoral Roll

The Parish Electoral Roll has nothing to do with political or local  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 the church.

To be on the Electoral Roll you have to be:

baptised (christened)

a member of the Church of England

living in the parish or regularly attending worship in the parish for at least six months

at least 16 years old

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 parish website.

To be entitled to attend the next Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and to take part in its proceedings, you need to have returned your application form to Brian Wood by Sunday 2 April 2017. I shall post the revised Roll in our churches on 8 April.  After this no further names will be added until after the APCM but corrections may be made.  Please check you are listed and your address is correct.

Brian Wood, Electoral Roll officer



QUIZ, St Mary Magdalene fund raising

Village Hall (GL51 9SR), Saturday 6 May, 7:00pm for 7:30pm

It’s Quiz Time!! Come with a team or form one on the night.
Baked Potato & choice of fillings.  Raffle with cash prize(s). A Prize for the Winning Team. Bar will be open.  Entry – £5.   An evening like no other …

Shelagh Holder, 01242 680952



Plant Sale

Saturday 20 May 2017  from 2.00pm at St Nicolas

A Plant Sale with refreshments.


Who Killed the Vicar?

Saturday 20 May 2017   at  6.15pm
in the WI Hall, Prestbury Road

A Murder Mystery Play by Chris Martin performed on behalf of the Friends of St Mary’s, Prestbury. All welcome. Supper included. Tickets £15 available from Duncan Forbes 01242 256014.



Colin Smith and Kampenkoret

Sunday 4 June 2017   at St Nicolas

Colin Smith (one-time organist at St Nic’s) and choir will present an early-evening programme of mainly religious music.



Evening of Entertainment

Saturday 24 June 2017 at St Nicolas

A return of our Evening of Entertainment.  Do a turn or just sit back and enjoy.
  (more details to follow)





Prestbury Parish Magazine - April 2017

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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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