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

Aug 2003


The Editorial Team

Alan Edwards - David Burton - Ken Farrell - Lesley Pugh - Christine Stead
Jackie Evans - Euan Stevenson

Our reporters cannot be everywhere.

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

The Ugly Side of Hooliganism Returns By Euan Stevenson

The ugly side of youth behaviour returned to Overton on Tuesday July 8 at Overton Tennis Courts when a ladies league match was totally disrupted by a gang of about 20 boys, who not only hurled verbal abuse, but threw eggs and stones at the players, creating a dangerous situation which lead to the match being cancelled.

Before the match began, a large number of boys who had been on the Tennis Courts had been asked to leave to allow lady club members to play their Cheshire League match against Kelsall. Although only one of the group of about 20 boys who were asked to leave the courts was a member of the Overton Tennis Club, the group seemed to take great exception to the ladies playing their league match.

At first rude comments were made, but this quickly turned to the most foul-mouthed abuse. The ladies could not believe their ears - the language used by these early teenagers seemed like that used by the most hardened football hooligans. After a period of continued abuse while the match was underway, the group of "yobs" started to throw small stones. They then followed this by throwing eggs and large stones onto the courts, and it was at this point that the situation became so dangerous that the ladies abandoned their match, and called the Police.

P.C. Darren King arrived and dispersed the group. He also took the names of the 2 "ringleaders", who later returned to apologise to the players.

A spokesperson for the Tennis Club said: "The lady players from Kelsall will probably never return to the village again, and the Overton Ladies have really been traumatised by the event. If the Chester Tennis League is informed, although unlikely, it is not outside the bounds of possibility that Overton would not be allowed to enter teams in the tennis league again".

How does such an unpleasant incident occur in the village of Overton? The community has addressed this topic from time to time over the last few years :

- Is there a lack of discipline in schools? - Is there a lack of guidance and values from parents? - Is there enough for young people in the village?

On the latter point, efforts have been made in terms of a Youth Club, with supervised outings and discos, and the provision of well-appointed playing fields. The community is well aware that 95% of the young people of the village are decent and law abiding, and it is unfair to associate them with the behaviour of the remaining 5%.

But there seems to be no easy answer to this social problem of hooliganism, and it is apparent that the problem is one not only for deprived areas in inner cities, but also for a peaceful and privileged village like Overton.

Another Successful Twinning Exchange

On Saturday 19th July, eleven members of the Twinning Association set off for what turned out to be another successful visit to La Murette, Overton's twinned village set in a beautiful part of France just north of Grenoble. Alan Edwards, Chairman of the Overton Twinning Association said: "We were made to feel very welcome by the people of La Murette, some of whom have become very good friends since the partnership was formed 9 years ago. As always, those who had not been before were overwhelmed by the generous nature of their host families and the friendship of the people of la Murette."

The programme of activities that had been arranged for the week's visit, included short rambles in the surrounding countryside, swimming in a local lake, visits to a local craft centre, museums, an alpine garden high up in the mountains and a cable-car ride to a glacier inside which a series of ice sculptures had been created. But there was still an opportunity to go shopping in local markets, take a cycle ride or just relax at the poolside with the host families and their friends.

The Mayor of La Murette, Monsieur Raymond Grillon, who officiated at both the welcome ceremony and the presentation of gifts, said how much he had enjoyed the company of his friends from Wales and looked forward to visiting Overton for the 10th anniversary of the twinning partnership in 2004.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Yesterday I received my July copy of the Overton Oracle and oh what a joy it is to read of the events, adventures and achievements in the area where I spent 44 years - such a close-knit community sharing in everyone's joy and sorrows.

I heartily congratulate you and your team on the production of what must be one of the best free village newspapers in the country and for distributing it to so many, not only locals, but to many interested former residents and friends. An old aunt who edited several magazines used to say when she read some items of news in her old age "my journalistic mind longs for a blue pencil" - not so with items in the Oracle. The account of Alan Edwards's trek to Machu Pichuu was mind boggling and he is to be congratulated on this challenge and carrying it right through. Timothy Rosselli's canoeing down the Dee to Chester reminded me of my son's similar trip. He was about 14 years old and we were living at Rosehill Cottage, Erbistock. I was at the time working with the Royal Army Education Corps in Chester and Richard, my son, decided he wanted to make the trip by canoe. He set off at about 8.00am from below the cottage near Overton Bridge with a bottle of lemonade, crisps and sandwiches and said: "If I don't come into your office before 5.30pm, will you come and pick me up in Eccleston."

By car we can now get to Chester in 20 minutes but oh!, the river does wind. However, just after 5.00pm he walked into my office having completed his journey, left the canoe in Eccleston and walked into Command Headquarters in Chester. We then picked up the canoe and drove home - no motorway then about 43 years ago - quite an achievement for a boy who was never very athletic.

Many thanks for the pleasure you and your team give, congratulations and good wishes for even further expansion of the Oracle

Kind regards

Elsie Thomas Narbeth Pembrokeshire.

Ed: Thank you Elsie for your kind remarks.

Walking the Argoed - the easy way

One of Overton's most popular strolls - up the Millennium Meadow, along Argoed Lane and back across the fields to Maelor Court - is now much easier, especially for those of us who have found the last four stiles a bit taxing.

Ken Farrell

Thanks to a generous grant from Groundwork Trust in Wrexham, Ken Farrell during his last weeks as a Community Councillor, was able to arrange for those four stiles to be changed to kissing gates to enable everybody who likes to walk to get through easily.

Overton Community Church

By Eunice Taylor

Due to the extremely bad weather on 17 July the Walking Treasure Hunt was cancelled........sorry to everyone who said they were going to do it.

We will try to organise it for sometime this month. Probably Thursday 21st; but watch out for posters around the village to confirm the date. Don't forget it's 1.00 per person and you'll get supper when you've finished (while we sort out the winners).

Some of us had a very enjoyable night at Cholmondely Castle on the 19 July listening to wonderful music and watching amazing fireworks! The weather was wonderful!

Another enjoyable day out was at the RHS Show at Tatton Park - beautiful gardens and loads of new ideas. There will be no meetings throughout August.

COUNTRY BEAT by Constable Darren King

The fortnight of good weather we had at the start of the month took me totally by surprise, as I had been informed that summer was on a Wednesday this year. However, everybody seemed to take advantage of the sunshine, which had us all sweltering and looking for ways to keep cool. But whilst most of us were glad of a cold drink or an ice-cream, one group of people took advantage of the heat in a different way. These people were the burglars.

There has been a spate of burglaries in the Maelor area recently, mainly taking place on weekdays whilst home owners are out at work. Even though the temperatures inside get high, please lock all windows and doors when you are out. This also includes when you are 'just popping next door'. I know that this sounds extreme, but there have been incidents where people have been burgled whilst they are at home, and the villain has walked in through an unlocked kitchen door, stolen items, and left unseen, even though the owner was only in the next room.

It only takes seconds for this type of incident to occur, and you may only realise it has happened when you notice that things are missing some time later. Please be mindful of such things because you never know who may be watching you, and your home.

If you see suspicious persons or vehicles hanging around, please report them straight away to the Police Control Room on (01978) 290 222, and remember to give as accurate a description as possible. With vehicles, always try and get the full registration number. With people, start at the top and work down. If you require any security or crime prevention advice, please come and see me at the Police Station where I will be glad to help you, and if I'm not in, please leave a note through the door. That way you won't have had a 'wasted journey', and I will contact you ASAP.

Finally, following on from last month's article regarding the 'parking on pavements', I have conducted enquiries in the village, where I have discovered that parking is available if you are prepared to walk a little further. I have therefore agreed with the council that this will serve as a 'final warning'. Any and all vehicles seen by myself or my colleagues parked where a possible obstruction could take place will be dealt with and the 'offender' prosecuted.

Thank you.


More War Time Memories of Overton

By Euan Stevenson

Following upon the high interest shown in previous articles, in this issue we reflect the war-time memories of Betty Keen, Musley Lane, Overton, who grew up as a young girl in Overton during World War II.

Betty was 14 when war broke out and her first memory was the huge change to her environment. The billeting officer called and because they lived in a big house - Betty still lives there, in Musley lane - it was decided that they would have to accommodate 10 soldiers plus a mother and 2 children, evacuees from Liverpool, in addition to their family of 5 (Betty had a brother and sister).

The only thing that could be done was to clear all the furniture and put down straw paliasses, where the soldiers were to bed down.

The next disruption to Betty's life was the effect on her schooling. She attended Grove Park School in Wrexham. The school was designated to take evacuees from schools in Liverpool and the arrangement made was that the local children would attend school in the morning and the Liverpool kids would go in the afternoon - alternating between mornings and afternoons on a weekly basis. Getting all that time off school was seen as a bonus by many of the children!

Next to be affected were the trains from Ellesmere to Wrexham, which provided a wonderful service for the people of Overton. This train service was stopped, due to the establishment of an Ordnance factory at Marchwiel - getting to school in Wrexham was not quite as easy by bus.

Despite all the inconvenience, there was a wonderful community spirit. People were pulling together and getting on with their lives. The worries loaded onto us now with blanket news coverage about world events did not apply in the 1940's - people only heard the bare essentials from the radio and newspapers - and in Overton, Betty recalls war-time as a disruptive but happy time.

Having to hide under the stairs when there was an air-raid didn't cause any panic, nor did the German reconnaissance plane which came over the village every night at 6.00pm exactly, and listening to Lord Haw-Haw's nightly broadcasts gave everyone a great laugh! Apart from a few stray bombs here and there, Overton was not badly affected. The changes in the village were many, however, with soldiers everywhere:

- There was an Ordnance Corps at Lightwood Green, where Evans's sawmills now stand. - The White Horse buildings were used as a Civil Defence ARP base - The Observer Corps had a hut at Berwyn View , Salop Road. - The Land Army arrived at Queensbridge in 1941 - The Americans began to arrive after Pearl Harbour

How did the presence of all the troops affect girls growing up in Overton? Betty remembers the dances that were held every week at the Village Hall - the girls were looked after however, as their Mums all sat up in the balcony!

Other entertainment included "the pictures" shown a couple of times per week - sixpence to go in - Betty has fond memories of Laurel and Hardy, Alistair Sim and especially the "Lassie" films.

Soon Betty had left school to work in the laboratories at the Ordnance factory at Marchwiel working with guncotton, nitroglycerine and cordite.

There was some deep sadness at the loss of some local people in the war - Betty particularly remembers the loss of Cecily Benjamin and Lieutenant Hugh Peel as the war was grinding on.

Her vivid memories, however, remain happy ones:

- The W.V.S. canteen at "The Quinta" (Betty has hated the smell of beans and tomatoes ever since) - Stoning damsons for the W.I.'s jam making "factory" at the old police house - Watching "Lassie" films at "the pictures" in the Village Hall.

It's true that we tend to remember the good things better than the bad.

Ed: Fascinating reading, and thankyou Betty for sharing your experiences.


Only Joking........

A Sunday School Teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honour thy father and thy mother", she asked: "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat, one little boy answered: "Thou shall not kill".

In Brief

  • Following a series of complaints about the overgrown state of the cemetery in Church Road, Overton Community Council has now entrusted the maintenance of the grounds and hedgerows to John Austin, St Mary's Avenue, Overton. John, who maintained the cemetery to a high standard some years ago,took over its maintenance on 1 July.

  • Congratulations to Chris Burton of Maelor Court, Overton who recently gained a 1st degree in Human Geography from Westminster University.
  • Congratulations to David Evans, Poethlyn Terrace, Overton upon gaining a degree at Lancaster University. From Yola, Lauren and William. Congratulations also to Nicola Archer, Electricity House who also graduated from Lancaster University
  • Within the community there are many talented people. St Mary's Church is holding an Arts and Crafts Exhibition from August 27th - 30th. If you have any crafts, pictures, handicrafts, etc which you would like to display, please let Ann Butt know by telephoning her on 01978 710107 as soon as possible. All exhibits need to be in St Mary's Church on Monday 25th August from 10.00am.
  • The Community Council has been working hard with Wrexham Council and the Police to reduce the number of accidents on the sharp bends at the edge of the village. The alterations to the bend on Wrexham Road by Argoed Lane have been completed and attention has now turned to the bend in Salop Road, outside The Berwyns near the turning for St. Martins. This bend has seen a series of accidents over the last few years, many where no other vehicle is involved. Now Wrexham Council has agreed to lay an anti-skid surface this summer.


Cricket The Overton cricket team continue to compete in the Shropshire league, as they have done since 1976. Some good results have been obtained in an enjoyable season, and as usual, the lads are clocking up a lot of miles, travelling the length of Shropshire every other week. Touring teams visit the picturesque Overton ground most seasons, and this year the Welsh youth teams will be playing on Overton's wicket. Youth is important for the cricket club, as for all sports, and it is noteworthy that Overton's Primary School team reached the county final this year.

Bowls The new bowling facility in St.Mary's Avenue is now nearing completion. The green is in very good condition, and should be playable towards the end of the season. Thanks to Bangor-on-Dee bowling club, Overton has been able to use their green to fulfil Oswestry league fixtures. Next seasons league games and friendly matches are eagerly looked forward to on the new green. The new green is much bigger than the old surgery venue, so there is plenty of room for new members. Why not come along - you will be made very welcome.

Tennis The number of active members has diminished, but the club continues to do battle in the Cheshire Tennis leagues. The first team under team boss Carol Belsten, has been struggling a little in Division 1 - not surprising when you consider the size of the Tennis clubs they are competing against. The second team are finding life easier in Division 2, and manager Janet Edwards has managed to guide the team into third place. To carry on the David and Goliath theme - Overton 2nd's (membership around 25) recently drew 2 - 2 with Cheshire Oaks (membership around 595 ).

Sally Caiger's ladies team is performing best of all and could well win their league - well done, girls.