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.

RIP Eileen Williams at Canterbury

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of our good friend Eileen Williams on 10 November 2012 peacefully in a nursing home in Canterbury at the age of 92. Eileen will be remembered by many readers of Bollington Church News for the entertaining episodes published exclusively here from her colourful autobiography. Her funeral will take place towards the end of November/early December at All Saints’ Church, Poplar, the parish where she was born. The charity closest to her heart was the Delhi Brotherhood Society, so donations in Eileen’s memory may be given for this worthy cause (please make cheques payable to Revd V.W. Hydon with a note on the reverse to indicate that this is for the work of the DBS). Veronica will arrange for the total sum to be forwarded to the Brotherhood in the most economical way possible, as Eileen would have wished. Meanwhile, please raise a glass in her memory! May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.

in the days of black and white
in the days of black and white

RIP Paul Faulconer Morgan MBE

Paul was born in 1922 to a Christian family. His father, a senior army officer, died when Paul was 12. He went to Winchester College, where the motto “manners makyth man” was to prove very influential. He learnt that not only are manners important, but that the privileged must learn to lead and that to lead he must learn to serve.

As he was on the verge of going to Cambridge, the war started and he volunteered for the army, serving his commission in the Rifle Brigade. In August 1944 he was wounded, losing his left leg below the knee. Although not invalided out, he got permission to go to Cambridge in 1945, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He also rowed again, a sport he had enjoyed at school.

Having gained his degree, he spent 19 years with a Bedford company, making steam turbines, large diesel engines, pumps etc, in due course being promoted to Pump Department Manager. During this time he met and married Hilary (by far the smartest thing he ever did, he says), and they had four children, Clare, Stella, Patricia and Hugh. (Sadly their third daughter, Patricia, died of cancer aged 36 in 1994, only about 18 months after her marriage to Mark here in St John’s Church.)

They left Bedford in 1967 and Paul became General Manager of a pump company in Brentford. Then, after four years, he moved to an international company based in Todmorden. Being responsible for European sales, he moved to Styal to be close to the airport. Here he met the Revd. Peter Hunt, a previous incumbent of Bollington. Paul was Managing Director of this company for 16 years until he retired.

He decided with Hilary that, rather than move back South and leave so many friends behind, they would settle in the area and so ended up in Bollington. Peter Hunt had told them Holy Trinity was a stone’s throw from their new home, and they joined the congregation there straight away. Together they had 12 happy years here until Hilary died of cancer in 1999.

Paul became a governor (then later Chairman) at St John’s School. He also helped found Community Transport for Macclesfield Borough, providing transport for disabled people. His efforts were recognised in 2001 when he was awarded the MBE for service to the community.

At 82 he was interviewed for Bollington Church News Profile Page and declared that he wanted to go on serving the community “at least until I become a thrombosis (the clot that blocks up the system!)”. Paul indeed continued to play an active part in local life and always remained interested in his family and friends and the goings on at church, until after a spell in hospital two years ago his health began to deteriorate and, following a fortnight of being housebound, Paul took his leave of us peacefully at home in the early hours of Michaelmas Day 2012.

He left his body to Newcastle University for research and so his family requested a simple Thanksgiving Service which took place on Saturday 3 November in St Oswald’s Church, attended by over 120 people. The Vicar added the following words to the family’s own tributes:

“As we pray, each of us will undoubtedly bring to mind in thanksgiving to God the particular part Paul has played in our lives. I would just like to give thanks for Paul’s enthusiastic commitment to the life of the church in this parish. He was always concerned that the younger generations should continue to be nurtured in the Christian faith, as witnessed his time spent as Chair of Governors at St John’s School, and later then in my time as Vicar how he delighted in the number of Baptisms we carried out, promising to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury to declare that (contrary to national media scares) the church was alive and well in Bollington!

Paul himself was an enthusiastic member of our Lent Groups and he was the inspiration (although he may not have been aware of this) for the founding of our Wednesday afternoon Faith Hour, an informal open discussion group which has gone on from strength to strength for the past year and a half. Paul has always been a strong supporter of the work of the clergy, both verbally and tangibly, each year marked by a generous cheque for the Vicar (quietly given as was his wont, and of course insisting that no “thank you” was necessary) harking back to the olden days when the Easter Offerings would go straight into the hands of the parish clergy instead of being paid into the coffers of the diocese. Paul was a great benefactor to the parish as a whole over many years, taking his Stewardship responsibilities very seriously, and we have much to be thankful for in that respect, as we have been able to grow and thrive far better than otherwise we would have done. And I’m sure, had he lived, Paul would have been an enthusiastic supporter of our 2012 campaign, our latest fundraising effort aimed at further improving the fabric and facilities of this our parish church. Paul always rang the bell early on Sunday mornings at Holy Trinity Kerridge, calling to worship the faithful flock (which did indeed include a couple of stray lambs one Sunday I recall!).

But most of all I want to give thanks for Paul as a person, a true gentleman and a good friend to many, a very faithful communicant member of the church, for his sense of humour and his unfailing ability to look beyond his own needs to attend to the needs of others. On the Sunday morning at the end of September when I announced the sad news of Paul’s death, I invited members of the congregation to partake of a glass of sherry after the service in memory of Paul, who had himself always embraced this weekly innovation with his characteristic good-naturedness and charm.

So in a few moments of quiet, let us give thanks now for Paul’s whole life and work as we commend his soul to God. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.”

RIP Revd William David Thomas, former Vicar of Bollington

It was a lovely sunny day in June 2011 – which may seem a long time ago when you read this – but it really was a warm and pleasant afternoon when we gathered together in the Columbarium to bury the ashes of the Revd William David Thomas, Vicar of Bollington from 1947 to his early death in 1953.

For many years his ashes have reposed in a Memorial inside St John’s Church, but with the prospect of alterations to the Church, they were taken to rest for a few months in the little chapel room at the Vicarage and have now been moved to an honoured space in the Columbarium.

Present for the service were Winifred – now aged 90 – (Fr Thomas’ widow, subsequently married to the Revd Dennis Prewer – also present – and both now living in retirement together in Marple) and Daughter Veronica (who lives in Grimsby) and Son Robin (Rob) who lives in Penzance.

The family enjoyed a delightful lunch at the Church House Inn hosted by the present Vicar, with much reminiscing about times gone by and sharing memorabilia, such as Fr Thomas’ first pocket prayer book dating from his time as a Reader before his Ordination. Canon Roy Arnold – who then took the service – welcomed them and some representative members of our congregation who were able to be present and who had fond memories of Fr Thomas’ time as Vicar.

Jackie Pengelly, one of our current Churchwardens, showed Rob a photo taken of the two of them as young children at St John’s School, parading down Palmerston Street dressed up as (cheerful) bride and (somewhat reluctant-looking) groom! Roy recalled how he and Hylda (and others present there) had been prepared for Confirmation by Fr Thomas in the late 1940s – which seems even further away than last June! Roy said that, after Confirmation, Fr Thomas asked him to be a Church Server, but Roy found the prospect so alarming that he completely disappeared from Church Life for a few years. However he returned for the Funeral Service of Fr Thomas (after his sudden death in post in October 1953) when there was a packed congregation in the former Parish Church. At that service Roy realised that he had let the Vicar down and he promised to himself that he would get to know and to work with the next Vicar better…which he did. The rest of that story is – as they say – history, with Roy now approaching the 48th anniversary of his own Ordination this September! Not bad for someone who felt too timid (or unwilling) to be a Server in his younger days.

The memorial tablet, which had been placed in front of the niche in the Lady Chapel holding the marble casket, has now been put over Fr Thomas’ final resting place and bears the simple inscription after his name: “A Faithful Priest”. This is a real tribute to someone whose ministry here (albeit short) has left such a worthwhile legacy.

In September 2012 we heard that Fr Thomas’s widow Winifred Prewer has now died

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.