OVERTON ORACLE

Overton’s Free Newspaper - issued monthly to over 600 homes in Overton

Aug 2002

PREVIOUS EDITIONS

The Editorial Team

Alan Edwards - David Burton - Ken Farrell - Lesley Pugh - Christine Stead

Our reporters cannot be everywhere.

If you have a story contact any team member or ring 01978 710422

Overton hosts visitors from Bavaria

For six memorable days in July each year, the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod draws choirs, musicians, folk singers and dancers from across the world. This year, as they have for the past fifty years, nations of the world united to sing, dance and make music, to compete in traditional Eisteddfod style and to entertain the people of Wales.

This year saw 6,000 visitors from more than 50 countries gathered together in a spirit of friendship, and one of the most challenging tasks for the Hospitality Committee was, as usual, arranging accommodation for everyone in various villages and towns within easy distance of Llangollen.

Overton hosted 44 visitors from Bavaria who had come to compete in Llangollen for the first time. Thirteen families opened their doors and extended the hand of friendship to "Vocalensemble" a mixed Chamber Choir, who just missed being awarded first prize by one point. Carol Dykes, Overton's hospitality organiser said: "The choir was absolutely brilliant, but they were up against stiff competition. Just one wrong note from one of the singers and that was sufficient to drop them one point into second place."

"But at one stage it was touch and go whether they would compete at all", she added. "They flew from Zurich to London, and then from London to Manchester, but when they arrived at Manchester airport, they found that their luggage, containing all their clothes and costumes had been mislaid. After waiting for over two hours for the luggage to appear, to no avail, they finally arrived in Overton at 10.00 pm with nothing but the clothes they stood up in. Fortunately the luggage was found, except for one suitcase still in Zurich, and was transported by special courier to Overton by 10.00 am the following morning."

The 13 host families organised a special farewell party in Overton Village Hall, when they were entertained with yet more singing and dancing, with the choir at one point being conducted by Carol Dykes. The disco was provided by Mick Pinder of Peel House, Wrexham Road.

Carol said: "They were wonderful people who really knew how to enjoy themselves, and it was as if we had known them for ages. It was all very sad when they had to leave." She added: "I would like to thank all the hosts and hostesses for all their support and for looking after our visitors so well during their short visit. I know you will have some very happy memories. My thanks must also go to Mick Pinder for providing the music and to Eunice Taylor of Hanmer Close who drove me to and from Llangollen each day, and to all those who helped with fund raising for the Hospitality Committee in the weeks leading up to the Eisteddfod." The Hospitality Committee raises funds to help with the massive catering costs of looking after thousands of competitors each year, and is always looking at other ways of generating income. Next year, Carol intends to start fundraising even earlier to help meet these spiralling costs. If you can help out in any way next year, with either fundraising or hosting visitors for a few days in July, please contact Carol on 01978 710794.

Village says farewell to local doctors

Dr Peter Turkie and his wife Helen and their two children, Ben aged 10 and Rosalind aged 7, are leaving Overton on the 12th August to live near Perpignan, France where they have been restoring an old farmhouse.

Helen said: "We've had a wonderful French architect who has supervised the work on our behalf during the last six months, and our plans for the future are to convert an old barn attached to the house into a Gite. This is a dream come true for us, and is a wonderful opportunity for the children who will be going to a local school, as we have always wanted them to grow up to be bi-lingual. We are going to miss all our friends in Overton, but we can always keep in touch with events through the Overton Web Site"

Editor: On behalf of everyone in Overton we wish you "Bon voyage" and "Au revoir", and the very best of health and happiness for the future. Please let us know how you get on.

POSTBAG

Dear Editor

About 100 attended the Jubilee Celebrations for Knolton and The Trench in the marquee at the Trotting Mare on 2nd June 2002. Friends and neighbours of all ages got together to celebrate with music provided freely by our own musical neighbour Jed Moore accompanied by his friends. The evening was a great success and young and old joined in a toast to 'The Queen' later in the evening. Our thanks go to Jed and his friends and to Gary Millington for allowing us the use of the marquee and also to everyone who helped by distributing leaflets, selling tickets and providing us with a good selection of draw prizes.

The evening's celebration also helped to raise 364 for the Staffs/Shrops., Dystonia Society (a little known neurological disorder which causes muscle spasms).

Thanking everyone for their support

Ann Williams and Vi Taylor, Knolton.

Residents concern over problem accident spot

Residents of Wrexham Road, Overton are concerned that despite the continuous growing number of traffic accidents in Wrexham Road, little, if anything appears to be done towards solving the problem.

In the past few months there have been several accidents, one as recently as the 20th July when a car overturned after unsuccessfully negotiating the bend at the top the hill in the vicinity of Argoed Lane.

One local resident said she often hears the screeching of tyres and waits for the ensuing thud as the vehicle either crashes into the wall at the side of the road or careers into front gardens. added

Overton Community Council discussed the problem at its meeting in March, following an accident involving a white transit van which was later abandoned. The Council has called for better signing of the bend on the approach to the village, with the possibility of a Chevron sign being located on the bend, and 'Slow 'signs being painted on the carriageway much earlier than at present.

In view of the latest incident, and in view of the concerns of local residents, local Councillors are seeking an urgent meeting with the Police, the Borough Council's Highway Engineers and the Road Safety Officer to see if the problems can be addressed sooner, rather than later. As one resident said: "It is a dangerous corner with accidents waiting to happen."

A point about discarded needles and syringes

There is some evidence to confirm that small numbers of carelessly discarded needles and syringes are occasionally found in the Wrexham area.

Although it is understood Overton does not pose a problem, its residents may come across them elsewhere in the County Borough.

As a precaution, Jerry O'Keefe, Health Promotion Officer of Wrexham County Borough Council is reminding people not to touch or pick up discarded needles, but to telephone the Environmental Services Directorate on 01978 292040, or after hours, 01978 67900 when arrangements will be made to promptly collect and dispose of the items quickly and safely.

Village pump restored

One of the original village pumps has been restored by two local men.

Clive Hellingman and his father Arthur have been carefully restoring the village pump in Turning Street as part of an overall scheme to incorporate a major part of the old pump land into the grounds of Pendas House. The scheme, which was designed in conjunction with the Community Council, has been carried out using original bricks, getting rid of what was once an untidy, overgrown and often litter strewn area. Clive said: "We wanted to do this for the village, but sadly we have not been able restore the pump to full working order as the barrel and pipe-work were beyond repair."

Tenders sought for printing the Oracle

The Overton Oracle Team is seeking tenders for the printing of the Overton Oracle as part of an overall review of its operation. 600 copies of the Oracle are printed each month, growing over the last four years from a four page production to its current six pages.

Tenders are invited from those who can demonstrate consistency in the print quality, reliability in meeting monthly deadlines, guaranteed delivery and flexibility in adapting to change.

Tenders are to be submitted to the Editor, 1 St Mary's Court, Overton, Wrexham, LL13 0FA, together with copy examples no later than 9th September 2002.

Local college student wins award

Congratulations to Nathan Evans of Maelor Court who won best full-time student of the year in the Carpentry and Joinery section.

Nathan was presented with a woodplane by Yale College in recognition of his success.

Sun Shines at St Mary's Primary School Sports Day - Just!

Overton St Mary's Primary School celebrated the end of the summer term with another successful sports day. This had already been re-scheduled once because of inclement weather, and children, parents and teachers were all holding their breath when a torrential downpour threatened a second cancellation. As luck would have it the clouds broke to give an interval of fine weather, during which all the usual races were held.

Miss Pastor with the winners of the House Cup, Angharad Futcher and Sophie Jones

Miss Pastor with "Victrix" Sarah Quayle and "Victor" Charlie Caiger, for achieving the most points.

Headteacher Pat Clarke said that the school had again been invited to take part in a skiing competition in the French Alps. "Foules Blanches" is an international skiing festival for children from all over Europe, and a few years ago Overton Primary School was the first British school to have been invited to take part in this prestigious event, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. It is therefore an honour to have been invited again. The first invitation arose out of the twinning partnership between Overton and La Murette.

New Bus Timetable

A new bus timetable is proposed in November following a review by Wrexham Council. The review is part of the Council's ongoing strategic plans to improve rural bus services. The current service running hourly between Wrexham and Overton, will be extended in the evening to serve Whitchurch.

Peter Daniels, Wrexham County Borough Council said: "From a recent pilot study we have been able to identify real benefits by extending the evening service to Whitchurch." He added: "We have been able to do this at no extra cost to the Council by reducing the evening hourly service to Overton to a two hourly service after 18.40 hours, when the service is rarely used."

COUNTRY BEAT by Constable Pat Burns

My absence has been noted in and around the village over the past few weeks. This was due to training courses.

Since returning to beat duties last October, I have never had to attend so many courses. One of them was a 2-day First Aid course, which I enjoyed, but like so many of my colleagues many of us had not renewed our First Aid training since joining the Police Force over 20 years ago!

On our first day of the course, one officer, whose name I cannot mention, proudly presented 2 pieces of string to the course instructor. He said: " I may have forgotten a lot, but I always remember to carry my string with me!" The instructor asked: "And for what reason?" The officer looked at him rather surprisingly and said: "Well in case a woman has a baby of course. I need the string to tie the umbilical cord before I cut it"!!!. If there are any expectant mothers out there, do not fear - this officer has since been sent to do traffic duty on Puffin Island.

Crime Update. Leading up to the school holidays, and over the past few weeks, we have had quite a bit of crime in the village. A car was stolen from Salop Road; another vehicle had damage caused to it whilst parked in Willow Street, a pedal cycle was stolen from a resident's garden, and a figurine taken from a garden in Church Road.

Thieves are on the lookout all the time. We need to try to be one step ahead and if you value your property, lock it up. If you see any suspicious vehicles please, please, try to get the registration number and pass the information on to the Police straight away... don't sit on it, pass it on.

As I write this, it is the start of the School Holidays. For those of you who are going away this summer, remember the importance of having a good neighbour who can keep on eye on your property while you are away.

IN BRIEF

  • Patrick and Pauline Thirsk have just moved to Penley, close to the site of the old Polish Hospital. They are very interested in the history of the hospital and wondered if anyone could tell them how to discover more information about it. They can be contacted by e-mail on pauline@thirskp.freeserve.co.uk, or by contacting the Oracle on 01978 710422.
  • Whilst Turning Street has at long last been resurfaced, this was sadly too late for Marjorie Moraghan of Parkside who just days before the workmen arrived, tripped and broke her arm as she crossed the road.
  • The Overton Oracle Team is looking for a new member to join them. If you would like to be a part of the team which meets monthly to determine the editorial content of the Oracle, and assist with its production, please contact the Editor, 1 St Mary's Court, Overton or telephone him on 01978 710422 for more information. This is a rewarding interest, and we welcome anyone with new ideas or who can offer different talents and skills.
  • Congratulations to Bethan Atkin on passing her Grade 5 piano exam with merit.
  • Congratulations to Lisa-Marie Edwards on being selected to represent Wales in Athletics. Good Luck in Dublin. Love from Mum, Dad,Lucy and Laura.
  • Congratulations to David and Pat Edwards of Parkside on the occasion of their Silver Wedding Anniversary on the 23rd July. Enjoy the Cruise. Love and best wishes from all the family.
  • Overton Community Council has condemned the position of the new crossing point at the corner of Penyllan Street and High Street. This was installed to help indicate to the those with impaired sight where to cross the road. A spokesperson for Wrexham Council said that it replaced an existing dropped kerb, but would nevertheless seek the views of the Road Safety Officer.

A Blooming Good Idea

With the permission of Gordon Mytton, owner of the Old Courthouse, Station Road, Overton, Eunice Taylor of Hanmer Close has improved this rather bleak approach to the village with plants donated by Knolton Nursery and Eastwick Garden Centre. This colourful display was her own idea, and with a few plants left over, Eunice also planted up the tubs outside the Villager Hall.

Eunice is seen here being assisted by a young helper from the village.

Ed: Well done Eunice and thankyou to Eastwick and Knolton Nurseries.

Improvement scheme for Garden of Remembrance

Overton Community Council is to embark on a scheme to improve and upgrade the Grade of Remembrance in Overton Cemetery. Recent vandalism and difficulties of maintenance have prompted the Council to look at ways of improving its appearance.

The laurel hedge is also to be cut back and reduced in height by about 5-6 feet and the grassed area will be replaced by decorative gravel. Work is expected to commence within the next few months.

STARGAZER

Surprise, Surprise!

Everyone likes a surprise. I know I do. Picture the delight, therefore, of two ladies of our village who celebrated respective birthdays recently.

On Saturday the 6th July, following a lovely garden party held on one of the few really nice evenings of this rather indifferent summer we have been having this year, Val Yeadon of Valley House, Salop Road was invited to sit down in apparent anticipation of having her photograph taken. What followed, instead, was a terrific firework display almost rivalling the Jubilee Monday one which Overton enjoyed so much. Once again most of the village seemed to turn out to enjoy the spectacle, which had been secretly arranged by her son Ted and daugher-in-law Diana. Val was 79 the following day (Sunday) and is now looking forward to her 80th birthday!

On Monday the 8th July, Nancy Andrews of Parkside was all set to enjoy her 80th birthday when, unannounced, in walked her son Philip who has been living in South Africa and whom she had not seen for some time. Her two other sons, Brian and Steve, who were in on the secret, had just collected him from the airport.

As I said, I, too like surprises, although they all too often turn out to be of the wrong sort. Still, I did once win ten Pounds on the Lottery and, who knows, there may well be a Knighthood waiting for me in the next Honours List, now that Sir Mick Jagger has had his turn.

Overton Bowlers in Merit List

The Oswestry Bowling League now publishes a "merit" list and Overton players feature in the top 10 of each division. The "Merit" is awarded to the most successful player in each division and although there is keen competition, several Overton players have won this prestigious award over the years.

Just halfway through the season, all Overton teams are doing well. The A, C and D teams are lying third in their respective Divisions, while the B team is in the top half of Division Two. The Veterans A has led this Division from early in the season. DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that tea is a natural source of fluoride that helps to fight tooth decay (as long as you don't have sugar!)? For further information about the benefits of tea you can visit the website www.teahealth.co.uk.

How times have changed
by Alan Edwards

While Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth completes her tour of the Country in celebration of her Golden Jubilee, we thought it would be interesting to compare how prices have changed over the years. Life has changed considerably since 1952, and in many ways we are told: "we've never had it so good".

During the last fifty years we have been through periods of both high inflation and low inflation. Just to give you some idea, a pound today would have been the equivalent of just 0.06p in 1952 and in 1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee it would have been 0.27. There was still rationing in 1952, and we weren't the cosmopolitan, well travelled nation that we are today. In 1971 we had decimalisation where one shilling was replaced by 5p. (there were many complaints about having to call the new currency "pee" ). There were also many claims that shops put prices up, similar to those now being heard in Europe with the introduction of the Euro. We now buy fruit and vegetables in Kg, not pounds and ounces, and petrol in litres not gallons. And we now have exotic fruits and vegetables in our supermarkets all year round.

How food prices have changed:

  1952 1977 2002
White bread 6d 22p 55p
Butter lb 2/6 54p 78p
Tea 1/4 lb 11d 29p 60p

Sugar 2lb

1/- 26p 54p
Eggs 1 doz 5/3 53p 1.55
Apples 2 lbs 6d 24p 1.59 1kg
Pint of beer 1/3 26p 2.00
Beef sirloin 2 lbs 5/- 2.82 9.50 1kg

But we must remember that the average wage has increased from 459 a year in 1952 to 22,939 in 2002.

Obituary - Gwen Griffiths
By David Burton

When I first came to Overton in 1976, Gwen was already the legendary presence in Metcalfes' shop, but my involvement with her started in 1982 when I joined Overton Scout Group. By then Gwen had already been Akela in charge of the Cub Scouts for 12 years. Gwen's fund -raising abilities were of great importance as the Group was busy raising funds to build the Scout Hut which now proudly stands at the Playing Fields.

After its opening, whenever money was needed for the electricity or water rates, Gwen would run one of her famous jumble sales and raise much more than was needed!

Gwen being attacked by "Eli" during a Cub Scout Mini Gang Show

Much of the funds raised were ploughed back into supporting the Cub Pack and funding trips - the most notable of which was the annual trip to London, staying at Watford Scout Hut as the guests of their Cub Pack. For many young Overton lads (my own included) this was often the first time they had ever stayed away from home. But more importantly, she gave them confidence and brought out the best in them and laid an excellent foundation that Alan Jones, the Scout Leader and subsequently myself, were able to build on and turn them into Queens Scouts and Duke of Edinburgh Award holders. Most of them have gone to great careers including Timmy Walker who was always the star turn in Gang Shows whether locally or in Wrexham District and went on to become actor Tim Vincent.

When she finished her career in Scouting in 1986, Gwen had completed 16 years service gaining her long service award and Medal of Merit.

When Gwen died last month, the village lost a real character who will be fondly remembered by many Cub Scouts who went through their early Scouting experience under her keen eye. Although all the Scouts who are currently members of Overton Group were either not born or were babies when she gave up Scouting, they all reverently held a minute's silence and flew the flags at half mast as Overton Scout Group said goodbye to one of its own.

Would you like to contribute to the work of the Community Council?

A vacancy has arisen on the Overton Community Council following the recent resignation of Maureen Evans, a Councillor for 18 years. The Council does not operate along party political lines, and its agenda is to ensure that the community gets best value at all times. The Council can now "co-opt" to fill the vacancy.

If you are interested in becoming a Councillor, please write to Alan Edwards, Clerk to the Council, 1 St Mary's Court, Overton, Wrexham, LL13 0FA, no later than the 3rd September.