Revd. John St Hilary Mullett – RIP

Revd John St H Mullett is on the left of the picture

I was saddened to hear from his daughter Anne that John passed away on the 30th July 2017.

John and his family left Que Que in Southern Rhodesia and came to live (in John’s words) “a sleepy village called Bollington”, I think he would have been very surprised with the changes now!!

He was very much involved with the planning and building of St. John’s School and was thrilled, along with my dad Albert Clayton and Geoff Newcombe who were the churchwardens at the time to be introduced to Princess Margaret who officially opened the new school. They even had afternoon tea with her along with the headmaster Gwilym Humphries and other dignitaries.

He loved his music and you would often hear him playing the organ at St. John’s along with his son John James.  They were both accomplished musicians.

He was always organising Parish Trips which he took charge of with his clipboard in hand, making sure he didn’t lose anyone and everyone was accounted for.

His sense of humour was second to none, always seen with a smile on his face.

He left Bollington early in 1969, but I was lucky enough that his successor the Rev Peter Hunt allowed John to return so he could take part in my marriage service, in fact I had three vicars taking part !!! and the Rev. John Williams who was the curate taking a black and white cine film of the day.

On his retirement he moved to be nearer his family in Cambridge where he was made a Fellow of St. Catharine’s College and just before he died he had a visit from St Catharine’s choral scholars which according to Anne he enjoyed very much.

Jackie Pengelly

Jean Trafford RIP

Our lives can change in a flash, and as we get older one thing which quite rapidly change things for the worst is a FALL. A moment’s inattention or distraction is all it takes – as it did for this loved one and dear friend Jean. For her it meant long weeks in hospital then a spell at home and then back into hospital again. No wonder she came to be weary of it all and so  Jean passed from this life to the next. Albert and Jamie you will obviously miss her warm presence as we all do.

Macclesfield Bus Station is not the most cheerful place but it was always good to see Jean there and Albert and Jamie, and we miss her presence on the No 11 bus – good to talk to and always with a keen interest in other people. Not for her or us the anonymous life of cities where nobody speaks to their neighbours. The great hymn writer George Herbert (the Vicar of a village near to Salisbury) in a poem about Prayer, speaks of us seeing heaven in the ordinary things of life, as I believe we do. We see it most of all in human love like the love of Jean and Albert and Jamie, with a whole host of friends and neighbours; and we see it in this the season of springtime when things come back to life after the winter.

And we are truly blessed with our skies around Kerridge and Bollington, and the Trafford household particularly blessed with the view from their kitchen window and garden – the view out towards Alderley Edge. And in early evening the sky brightened with pinks and gold and blues and green – easy surely to believe in heaven at such a view and in our bright hope of Eastertide, and the heaven were Jean rests, free from pain and sadness, and safe in the love of the God in which Jean had such trust.

Roy Arnold

Mary Houghton RIP

Mary’s Funeral Service was held at St Oswald’s Church on 17 October 2016.

Mary was born on 6 December 1927 at her family home: a two-up, two-down cottage in Courier Row, Bollington. Her mother Annie’s first husband had been killed in the First World War and Annie subsequently married Jack Williamson. They had four children: Margaret was the eldest, born in 1923; her brother John was born in 1925, then Mary came along in 1927 followed by Brian in 1934. Little red-headed Mary was the last of her siblings to survive. In these later years Mary had become the acknowledged matriarch (“Mother Mary”) and the keeper of family memories (which is why in these very recent weeks she shared with me how she had become a little troubled as symptoms began to show the early stages of losing her memory, her mind otherwise remained sharp enough though). Mary (like her siblings) was baptised here at St Oswald’s, and later on became a pupil next door at Bollington Cross School: in fact I gather that Mary started school at the tender age of three-and-a-half, because she was so anxious to follow in her older sister Margaret’s footsteps and to be like her!

Their father Jack worked for the Co-op, mainly delivering coal, and he used on occasion to send his children round to collect the money due from his customers. After Brian was born, around the time Mary was six or seven, the family moved to No.6 Princess Street, near the Waggon & Horses: they still had no bathroom even in the new home, but despite this, their mother made sure the whole family was always clean and tidy. Annie was a good home-maker and both daughters inherited their mother’s talent and love of knitting and embroidery. Mary also remembered joining her brothers and sister as schoolchildren, mostly at weekends but sometimes of a weekday evening, when they helped Bill Berry and his horse Molly to deliver milk from their neighbour Hannah Barlow’s place, Bollington Hall Farm. (In those days of course people would come out from their houses with a jug, to collect milk from the churn on the milk-float.) As they got older, Mary also recalled going with her sister to the local Empire Picture House, sitting in the “one and nines” or perhaps even the “two and threes”! The children would also help with haymaking when harvest-time came round each year.. It all added up to a real old-fashioned country childhood, and it left Mary with enduring memories of perhaps less sophisticated (but arguably happier) days…

On leaving school, Mary was employed at Miss Froggatt’s shop on Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, a ladies’ outfitters, and she struck up a lifelong friendship with Nora, another member of staff there. (A young Hylda Brogden remembers being hauled up over the steep front doorstep of that same shop and being fitted for that special dress which was a must-have for all self-respecting Bollington girls in readiness for Sermons Sunday at the beginning of May each year!) When Margaret married Tom Cumberbirch on 28 July 1945 here in St Oswald’s Church, on the Saturday of Bollington Wakes, naturally her younger sister Mary was a bridesmaid. Romance soon blossomed for Mary herself too! On her daily bus ride to and from Macclesfield going to work at Miss Frogratt’s shop, Mary soon caught the eye of a young bus conductor called Arthur Houghton! They too were married here in St Oswald’s Church, on 29 January 1949, the happy couple initially moving to live in Macclesfield, but soon returning to Bollington to what became their family home on Grimshaw Lane for about 50 years…

Mary and Arthur’s family began with the arrival of their eldest son David in 1950, followed by their daughter Anne in 1952, and the family seemed complete when Alan was born about a year later. Then after a gap of about 13 years, Mary and Arthur surprised everyone by welcoming their second daughter Jane into the world, followed a couple of years later by the arrival of their youngest son, Simon! This meant that Jane was about five and Simon just two years old when they were bridesmaid and pageboy respectively at their sister Anne’s wedding!

The children all have fond memories of their Mum: for instance, David recalls his Mum sternly telling him that he’d get his name in the Macclesfield Times for drinking under age!

Anne remembers when they were little and going over on errands to Barrows the butchers for their Mum!   Mary would say: “Ask them if they have an Ox tail? When they say yes, tell them to turn round so you can have look!”   Or she’d say “When you go past the chip shop, ask them “Have you got any chips left?” When they say yes, tell them it serves them right for cooking too many!” I’m not sure parents should really encourage their children to be so cheeky, but Mary was always fun and smiling! Anne also recalls Mary often baking cakes with pride, then teasing the children saying they weren’t for eating – they were for putting in a glass case!

One of Jane’s vivid memories is of her Mum singing “Scarlet Ribbons”… then there was the way of passing the time which Mary encouraged by making up words out of car number plates! On New Year’s Eve, she’d tell the children to “go the bus stop and look for a man with as many noses as there are days left in the year”!

As the youngest, Simon’s memories include Friday washing nights, with the twin tub going from 7.00pm, the fire stoked up by 10.00pm and about 3 maidens stacked around it – mainly with our David’s mucky overalls from the farm! Another memory would be getting Alan up on Saturday mornings when John Bennett (the milkman) was throwing stones at the window, then having to go round to the back and knock on Mum’s bedroom with a prop. One special treat that stands out for Simon is of his Mum making him his favourite dessert (lemon meringue) and then of her making oatcakes ready for Sunday morning and having bacon and sausage wrapped in oatcakes – delicious! Simon also now treasures the memory from just last year of taking his Mum to their caravan – she absolutely loved it: she sat out in the sun, did her puzzles and then visited some places in North Wales that brought a lot of happy memories back for her.

Other memories of their Mum was her always having a smile, always being there, and trying to keep the peace in times of disagreement. She was a great knitter and sewer – producing lots of dresses and jumpers over the years. She was great at cooking, and made super celebration cakes and had real sugar craft skills. Mary enjoyed preparing food for family gatherings – one speciality being Boxing Day turkey soup! She was always very organised – everything would be labelled and boxed, clean, tidy and well presented – she never went to bed without making sure the house was tidy and that everything was put away. One of her last little notes Jane found was to say: “I hope I have left the house in order, I’ve been doing it for a long time and things may have piled up – sorry!”

Over these many years Mary has not only cared for her own five children, but also I understand she looked after the children of the Beech family for a while. She also worked in Bollington Cross School as a dinner lady and playground supervisor. She worked with a fantastic team of good friends there: Jane remembers her Mum and all the ladies from the school kitchen once performing a song-and-dance routine, in leotards and tutus, at a Church Talent Show – they really enjoyed themselves and certainly entertained everyone else! And then of course, who could forget that Mary was well-known in the whole village as the Lollipop Lady! She loved this role and carried it out faithfully, rain or shine, for almost 20 years! She would sometimes give out proper lollipops to the children too, and then when her two grandchildren Catherine and Elizabeth were born, she even attached pink balloons to her lollipop sign in celebration!

Sadly her husband Arthur suffered a stroke in 1990 and she dedicated herself to nursing back to health as far as possible. They joined Macclesfield Stroke Club and were grateful for their support. Arthur began to get quite frail and in 2002 he died at Mount Hall Care Home aged 81. Nothing daunted, Mary in her characteristic way got on with life and made the most of things. She had volunteered for many years in the Age Concern Charity Shop in Macclesfield – eventually retiring from this in 2006 – she used to say that at least they hadn’t put a ticket on her yet! She made some very good friends there, especially Jan Burton who supported her each week in the later years. Mary really appreciated all that Jan was able to do for her and in turn Jan said Mary was like a second Mum to her.

Mary was also a member of Macclesfield Carers until it disbanded. She has been a member of the W.I. since 1963, and at one time was their president. She was a patron of Bollington Light Opera group and Bollington Brass Band – she loved to attend the concerts and events and to support them, often with her great friend the late Peggy Wakefield. She and Peggy used to love going on coach trips all around the UK. She belonged to “CHUB” (the Church and Pub group) – she loved to go out and see all the different places and enjoyed the friendship and fellowship, as well as a good meal. She never let her health problems stop her from joining in, although latterly she had to be more cautious about only having foods that wouldn’t upset her digestive system. I was full of admiration about how she coped with her medical condition in recent years and the way she quietly just got on with it.

Mary loved to go out on day trips and away on holidays. These trips were mostly in the UK; however she did visit the South of France with Jane, Russell, Joel and Lydia; and twice travelled out to California to visit her niece Kathleen and her family – spending a month there in 1993 with Arthur, and then visiting again in 2006 – apparently she had a wonderful time! She also went up to Lerwick for her granddaughter Joanna’s wedding to Dave – “quite an experience” she wrote in her diary!

Mary moved to Crossfield Road in August 2007. That was when (as the relatively new Vicar) I was summoned to come and collect a Teddy Bear that she had just won on a raffle. Incidentally Mary was incredibly lucky in winning raffles – her numbers always seemed to come up, didn’t they?! Anyway Mary thought this particular prize was a bit big for her new home and she was sure the new Children’s Corner at church would be a better place for it… I duly arrived at her bungalow, and after a cup of tea I collected the Bear from the top of Mary’s wardrobe and drove him down to St Oswald’s, strapped in to the front seat of my car!? I had been somewhat apprehensive that small toddlers would be overawed by this huge creature, but I was proved wrong and he was soon christened “Oswald Bear” by the local pre-school children next door and was an honoured guest at their annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic! In case you’re wondering, it was Mary’s express wish that Oswald Bear should be placed for today’s service in the particular seat she herself usually occupied!

Mary told everyone that all her neighbours in and around Crossfield Road were super, especially Jim and Sue who lived next door. She felt so fortunate to be in the bungalow and to be surrounded by such good friends and neighbours. She loved being able to wave at passers-by as well as to enjoy the view of her garden. She was a great one for socialising – she belonged to the weekly Faith Hour group here at church – enjoying good discussions about variety of things on a Wednesday afternoon over a cup of tea, made just as she liked it. She discovered a latent talent for writing verse and contributed to an Autumnal anthology produced after an entertaining evening of poetry and music held here in September 2012. She was a great supporter of all our church fundraising and social events, including Songs of Praise and Posh Teas, and notably dressing up in Edwardian costume for our Grand Centenary Dinner in October 2008. She also valued the fellowship and support she received from Ovenhouse Lane Community Centre- including their Knit and Natter group – though she used to say she no longer joins in with the knitting – she just natters! She went every week to the Centre for lunch – even right up until the day she died.

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Mary will be much missed as a faithful member of this congregation and as a personality within our local community. However, she left this significant note amongst her things: she insists that we are not to be morbid, but to have a good get-together after the funeral! She wished us simply to think of the good times – as she said, there have been many.


Georgina Davies RIP

Gene was born in Shildon, County Durham in 1921, a mining community. As a result of the great depression, Gene’s father, who worked underground, was out of work for 7 years. In desperation the family moved south to a village Near Harlow in Essex to work on a large family estate. In this totally rural environment Gene, now 7 years old, had the freedom of running around in over 100 acres.

The local children did not understand her Geordie accent and use to ask her to say something, finding this amusing – needless to say Gene soon acquired an Essex accent!

When Gene left school at 14, her parents moved to North London as domestic service was expected of her by the “big house” and her parents did not want this for their daughter. Following the move, Gene trained as a cashier at Sainsbury’s headquarters in High Holborn London.

Come the war she became a radar operator with various anti-aircraft batteries serving in South Wales, Northern Ireland and lastly Coventry, where she met Peter. They married a year later and went on to have two daughters Lesley and Linda.

Gene became an “army wife” living in various parts of the UK, and for long periods of time found herself alone with two small children to care for and love.

When Peter retired from the army, they eventually settled down in Bollington the “Happy Valley”. She enjoyed her time as town Mayoress and later that of being Mayoress of Macclesfield borough. Gene joined the Women’s Institute and was an active member, eventually attaining the position of group chairman.

Gene has met many members of the Royal Family, and has dined in the Mansion House, the Guildhall and St. James Palace.

As a guest of the army, she stood along with Peter on the parade ground of Wellington Barracks in London where, prior to marching off to change the guard at Buckingham Palace, to her surprise the band of the Irish Guards played the Anniversary Waltz (it was her wedding anniversary that day)!

On one occasion, Gene sat at the same table and conversed with the Queen Mother and her Private Secretary, who were on a visit to Cheshire. So much so that she hardly ate any of her meal. Eventually when the queen mother was leaving she said goodbye to the Lord Lieutenant as protocol demands. She then half got into the car, stopped, got out and came back to Gene, shook her hand and said “It’s been a pleasure to meet you”. This was the only time Gene was stuck for words!

Though she has departed this mortal coil, she will always be remembered for her love of the garden which she designed, dug and planted for many years, creating a stunning display.

She had a long and interesting life and was a much-loved, caring, loyal wife, mother, grandma and great grandma.

May she rest in peace.

Joyce Mullett RIP

(Wife of Revd John Mullett – Vicar of Bollington 1961-69
middle row, second from right – Keep Fit Class, 3 Aug 1961 )

I have very fond memories of both Joyce and John Mullett, so was very saddened to hear of the death of Joyce through her daughter Annie.

I remember her running Keep Fit Classes with the help of Janet Haynes (the curate’s wife) for the ladies of St. John’s; and what fun they had with Joyce being very enthusiastic.

She also loved singing and was a member of the Festival Choir; one of her favourite performances was Handel’s Messiah.

She was very involved with the Mother’s Union up to a few months ago and felt very passionate about this.

Her son John James was a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral and Joyce, along with John, took my parents to attend evensong one winter’s day. On their way home over the Cat & Fiddle their car got stuck in a snow drift, and according to Joyce, fun was had digging the car out, but also worrying that they could be stuck there all night.

Another memory is of a trip to London which Joyce organised for St. John’s Mother’s Union, which would have been very exciting as not many people had ever been to London before. On arrival Joyce told everyone not to be late for the return coach journey home, and if they were the coach would leave without them. A few months later the ladies still laughed, as it was Joyce and a couple of other ladies that ended up being late, and were seen running across Hyde Park in their stockinged feet with the Vicar shouting to them that the coach was about to leave.

Joyce would always tell John off when riding through Bollington on his push bike with his cassock tied around his waist – Joyce thought that this was not what the Vicar of Bollington should be doing.

Joyce will be sadly missed by John, Annie and John James and family and everyone who knew her.

Jackie Pengelly

A trip to St Paul’s Cathedral organised by Joyce, date unknown


RIP Guy Wharton

Following the tragic death of Tytherington School science teacher Guy Wharton in a traffic accident on Tuesday, St Oswald’s will be open during the day for the next ten days (provisionally 8.45am to 6.45pm) as a place of sanctuary for all those who are mourning his loss within the community of Bollington and beyond.

A book of condolence will be available in the church from this afternoon.

The family have a close connection with both Bollington Cross School and our young people’s after-school group RiCH.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Guy’s family, friends and colleagues.

RIP Sue Bennett

It was with great sadness that we learned of the sudden death on 4 June 2016 of Sue Bennett (left of picture), a creative musician, a caring friend and a forward-looking, faithful member of St Oswald’s congregation. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ken and all the family. Below is a message she posted to her friends on Facebook the day before she died. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen

I like to think of myself as a free spirit and include love thy neighbour as thyself as a way of interacting with others. I don’t usually post on Facebook but as a poetry lover I felt obliged to share part of a piece of work by one of my favourite poets:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Sue’s funeral will be at St Oswald’s at 9.15 on Friday 24 June,
followed by cremation at Macclesfield.

RIP Stella Gascoigne

Sadly we must now say farewell to two more faithful members of our congregation, Joan Barton and Stella Gascoigne, who have died during these last weeks of August and who have both been very much part of the life and witness of St Oswald’s Church over many years.

Stella is pictured (standing, second from right) alongside her devoted husband Derek, joining in one of our regular services held at St John’s Columbarium over the past few years. Her bright smiling face, her kind and gentle character and her admirable steadfastness in the face of recent ill-health will be long remembered by her many friends across our whole community.

Our prayers continue to be with the families of both Stella and Joan at this sad time.

Stella’s funeral service tookplace at 10.45am on Friday 11 September in St Oswald’s Church, where she and Derek were married nearly 58 years ago. It was followed by cremation at Macclesfield at 12.00noon.

Words from Roy Arnold at Stella’s funeral:

I grew up at the other end of Bollington and went to Water Street School, whereas Stella was a pupil at Bollington Cross, so I never knew Stella as a child and as a young woman… and we never had our bread actually delivered, so I never knew Derek. But latterly, through the family of the Church, it has been a real privilege to know them both, and in these latter times to feel for them in their struggles with ill-health, and particularly to admire both Derek’s care for Stella (with the help of family, friends and very good neighbours) and Stella’s quiet courage in adversity.

Of such adversity people often say, “There is a purpose in all this!” implying that God intended this awful situation and that this disaster was his idea in the first place. But I believe all that we can say is that the experience is deeply significant… but strangely with a significance we can’t understand. To the believer and the non-believer alike, it is a mystery why God, who we believe is a God of Love, allows such things to happen to our loved ones and friends. The Book of Job in the Bible is an attempt to answer the mystery, but when Jesus was on the cross, even he (as the Son of God) seems baffled by it all and cries out, “My God, why have you deserted me?”

So it all remains a mystery… but even more mysterious when we think of all the good things which God has given us throughout our lives and which far outweigh the bad. Maybe that thought can console us when “the strife is o’er” (as it is for Stella) but still leaves us clinging, by the skin of our teeth, believing that maybe we shall get all our questions answered one day, as we hold on to the hope that the book is not ended and another chapter awaits us. I’m sure Stella, as an avid reader like me, would appreciate that thought. I believe if we trust Jesus, it will be all right in the end… eventually… and we can be grateful for love whether human or divine, and grateful (as the saying goes) for peace at the last. May Stella rest in that peace and rise with us in glory.



RIP Joan Barton

Sadly we must now say farewell to two more faithful members of our congregation, Joan Barton and Stella Gascoigne, who have died during these last weeks of August and who have both been very much part of the life and witness of St Oswald’s Church over many years.

Joan is pictured here on our Parish Trip in November 2010 to visit the Delhi Brotherhood, and also taking part in our Schools Epiphany Experience Week in January 2011. We will miss her adventurous spirit and her dedicated service to others, shown in so many ways over the past twenty years since settling down in our parish with her late husband Cyril after his retirement in 1995.

Joan’s funeral took place here at St Oswald’s at 1.30pm on Tuesday 1 September, followed by burial in the family grave at Norbury Parish Church.

At Joan’s funeral, Roy added these words to the Eulogy:

(I normally wear a black shirt but following Joan’s instructions this one is bit brighter.)

I know from 52 years in the ministry that clergy wives must be obeyed and although the one who originally has the calling to serve God is the Vicar (male or female), being married to a clergyperson you find yourself going along for the ride with them. And, for instance, enjoying the adventure of having a fifteen bedroom Vicarage (lovely in the summer but coolish in the winter), bringing up a family, and making cheese sandwiches for the occasional tramp at the door, or entertaining a passing bishop or archdeacon or missionary just dropping in from Africa or India. Or being there when the Vicar comes home after a particularly grumpy PCC meeting or sharing the joy of a service and a sermon well received and understood.

Well I know that Joan [and you her family] would recognise some of this – the highs and lows of Vicarage life; as I believe that Joan – as she faced the prospect of her own death with cheerfulness – had picked up the pieces after Cyril died. And as before, continued to make her home a second Vicarage with a welcome for all who came to it from the Mothers Union to Parish Magazine Committee, and in Church reading lessons and prayer with the unmistakeable voice of a former teacher.

We do sometimes forget what a great blessing it is that we belong to a Church which has recognised the value of having a Married Clergy – as a truly shared ministry. I remember a Bishop telling me that he thought most clergy and their spouses have in their memories the parish where they were most happy and had the most fruitful ministry. And although I believe that they have enjoyed their time in Bollington, I guess that for Cyril and Joan the parish of Norbury (Hazel Grove) would be their star parish; and it is most fitting that Joan’s mortal remains will return there to be beside Cyril’s (and their son who went before them), although we hope and pray that by now their souls may all be happily reunited in the glorious resurrection experience which is the hope we hold onto and which is why we can say for Joan and Cyril in words from the Book of Common Prayer: “may their portion this day be in peace and their dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem.”

May we all say AMEN to that.

RIP Peggy Wakefield

Peggy died peacefully at the East Cheshire Hospice on 13 June 2015.

Funeral at St Oswald’s 10.30am Friday 26 June

She will be much missed at St Oswald’s

The slide show shows images of her in happy times, organising the Posh Tea, arranging flowers, creating our mosaic, participating in Faith Hour, being a “wise woman” at our “Epiphany Experience”, generally socialising, and with her beloved triplets (her grandchildren) on Easter Day. There are also a couple of archive photos taken at the Centenary Edwardian Supper, held in church in 2008.