Overton extends the hand of friendship

Overton extended the hand of friendship to a Folk Dance Group from Brittany during the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod which took place from 2nd - 8th July, attracting entries from over 50 countries.

Overton, like many other villages, opens its doors to competitors taking part in the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, which celebrated its 55th year since it first started in 1947 with just 14 nationalities represented. It has grown dramatically over the years, with over 50 countries and over 2000 competitors now taking part. Overton has hosted visitors from such countries as Russia, Romania, Sweden, Ireland, and Spain to name but a few.

Like last year, it was Overton's turn to look after a French Folk Dance Group, and local member of the Eisteddfod Hospitality Committee, Carol Dykes, had the task of arranging accommodation for a group of 27 dancers, "Les Perrieres" from Noyal Sur Vilaine, Brittany. Eleven host families accommodated the mixed group, whose ages ranged from 17 to 51 years.

This was the first time the group had competed in the Eisteddfod, and in the face of stiff competition took fourth place in the Folk Dance section, and third place in the Instrument Folk Solo competition. A very creditable achievement.

Most of the group could speak English, so there was never a serious communication problem. On Wednesday, in glorious sunshine, they performed a number of dances for the children of St Mary's Primary School and actively involved the children, much to their delight. As a sign of their appreciation, the children finished off with a couple of delightful songs.

A social evening was held in the Trotting Mare public house on the Wednesday night following their competition results. Carol Dykes said: "They were over the moon with their results and just kept on dancing all night. On the Friday we had our usual farewell party in the village hall, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Sadly we had to say our goodbyes on the Saturday morning."

During the customary photo session, someone had the bright idea of arranging a small group photo shot of a few members standing in a tree opposite the Churchyard in School Lane. The tree, perilously close to collapse anyway, gracefully gave way under the weight of a few adults. "Sacreblue" , one is alleged to have muttered, amid screams from the ladies. This seriously defective tree was later removed by the County Borough Council. The visitors could not apologise enough, not realising that the tree could have fallen at any time with the potential to injure a child in the process. Local Committee members were also full

School children with some of the dancers from Brittany

of apologies. Clerk to the Council, Alan Edwards said: " I was approached soon after the event by members of the hospitality committee. However, the tree was collapsing under its own weight anyway, and needed to be replaced, particularly since it was being climbed by youngsters who could have so easily been hurt. The Community Council has asked the County Borough Council for a suitable replacement tree to be planted".

Carol Dykes said: "I would like to thank everyone for their support, in particular Eunice Taylor and Heather Stewart who provided transport to and from Llangollen. I would also like to extend my personal thanks to all those families who hosted this year. Betty Roberts, Chair of the Hospitality Committee has also asked me to pass on her great appreciation and sincere thanks for Overton's support in providing the donation and cash to the Reception Centre. "

Overton Scout Leader Honoured

Scout Leader David Burton has been awarded the Scout Association's Medal of Merit for his service to Overton Scout Group. David who has been involved with the Group for 19 years has served as Group Chairman, Group Scout Leader, Scout Leader and Venture Scout Leader and has helped many Scouts from Overton and Bangor achieve their Chief Scouts and Queen Scouts Awards as well as Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards. During this time Overton has gained a reputation for sending Scouts off to foreign countries on Jamborees and Explorer Belt expeditions.

This year two Venture Scouts are going to the Gambia on their Explorer Belt Expedition - the first time Overton Scouts have ventured onto the Dark Continent of Africa. Other trips abroad have included Japan, Korea, Canada, Hungary, the Netherlands and the Alps, but David has never been on one of these trips himself.

David was presented with his medal at the Clwyd Area AGM by Lord Lieutenant Sir William Gladstone on June 27th at Elfed High School, Buckley.

Experiences of a lifetime travelling on Magical Mystery Cruises as a Cruise/Dance Host

By Barrie Cornes

Last month I told you how I became a Cruise/Dance Host on Cruise Ships and in this edition I will try to give you a taste of what my duties entail, a little description of the places I have already visited and what the future cruises hold for me.

I am now well into the world of cruising and as a Cruise/Dance Host I travel on either the Black Watch or the Black Prince, both ships belonging to the Fred Olsen Company. Since my first cruise in March last year, I have travelled to the Canary Islands, Madeira, Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Portugal and latterly to Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Norwegian Fjords.

In all these countries I have been able to visit many places of natural and historical beauty. This is because part of my duties as a host on these ships is to act as the representative of the shipping line and escort passengers on excursions when the ship is in port.

I have made many friends while on these cruises and it is lovely when you meet up with them again when they make return visits to these ships.

I have also been invited by another Agency to travel in a similar capacity for other cruise - lines and having accepted this invitation will be hosting on such ships as the QE2, Coronia, visiting Norway, Finland, Russia and the Southern Caribbean. This is a change of direction for me and I am looking forward to expanding my hosting experiences for this Agency as they also provide Hosts on ships sailing on the Mississippi. I am really hopeful that I could be lucky and land a couple off-shores on these ships.

I have already been informed that I will be flying to Mombasa in Kenya to join the Black Watch as she completes her round Africa cruise. This cruise will journey to the Seychelles, Jordan, through the Red Sea, Egypt and Greece before returning home. On this I have been asked to escort a lady to her son's wedding in the Seychelles.

The duties of a Cruise/Dance Host are quite varied and involve dancing with all the unaccompanied lady passengers, socialising with all passengers on the cruise at the various cocktail parties, escorting excursions when the ship arrives in a new port and welcoming passengers upon embarkation.

I have found the Black Watch and Black Prince to be very popular and friendly ships and I am extremely pleased that I took the necessary steps to become a host and, as a result, a small part of the entertainment team which provides such a friendly and happy cruising holiday for our passengers who return to these ships many times.

The Fred Olsen Cruise Line has recently purchased a third ship and have renamed it Braemar. It is a beautiful ship and I will be cruising on her in September of this year. I am looking forward to this with great anticipation.

I was fortunate enough earlier this year to take a 35 day cruise to the Caribbean. The thought of dancing for 35 nights on the run was quite daunting as was the prospect of crossing the Atlantic during the winter months. In the event the sea behaved impeccably, the weather was perfect, enabling the passengers to sunbathe almost from day 1. Certainly the need for sea-sick tablets by most of them was not necessary.

I had never travelled beyond Madeira before, and when we sighted Antigua, our next port of call, it was breathtaking - the weather and sea were what you could only describe as brochure colour. I had been chosen to escort a party of passengers on a Catamaran round the shoreline of Antigua, passing many fabulous beaches before reaching a coral reef where we went snorkelling. Afterwards we went ashore on a private beach to enjoy the silver sand, hot sunshine, warm clear blue waters, a steel band playing for our pleasure while we enjoyed a barbecued lunch washed down with ice cold rum punches - what a day!

After Antigua it was the Virgin Islands, Cayman Jamaica, Mexico, Bimini in the Bahamas and Nassau before reaching Havana in Cuba, still a Communist country. What a contrast to Nassau. Fifty years of Communism and lack of investment had taken its toll on what must have been a beautiful city. The architecture of the buildings from years gone by was still there for all to see, but so was the parlous state of the masonry. It was also strange to note that there were no shops in Havana, probably because there was nothing available to buy. As the average monthly wage was only around 5 one can understand why.

I was lucky enough to be invited to visit a working class home - it was an eye-opener, very basic indeed but what struck me was that everyone seemed to be happy and tolerant of their situation. But we should remember that most of them do not have any recollection of life before the revolution which after all was almost 50 years ago.

Despite the culture shock I would recommend anyone to visit Cuba if the chance becomes available. This was certainly a dream of a cruise and dancing 35 nights was not a problem.

The friendly atmosphere generated while cruising makes it a way of life for many people who travel on cruise ships and there are many other aspects of this life that I could write about but for now I can only close by saying that my next cruise cannot come quickly enough.

Ed. What a great experience. Now I suspect there'll be a huge demand for dancing lessons in the Village Hall - strictly for the blokes of course!

Community Council asked to call a public meeting

At a recent meeting of the Community Council, a request for a public meeting to discuss the wider aspects of public disorder was received from a local sports club. This resulted from an extra-ordinary meeting of the club when the question of the unruly behaviour by some youths was discussed. The club felt that the problems went beyond the remit of the meeting, and called for the Overton Community Council to hold a public meeting in an attempt to find a solution to the "very serious problem of youth behaviour throughout the village".

The Community Council, having visited the CCTV operation in Wrexham as a first step to examining whether such an operation could be sustained in Overton, felt that it needed to look at the wider issues of crime and public safety throughout the area, not just the behaviour of a few youngsters in the village. It was proposed and accepted that a small sub-committee be set up comprising two Councillors, the Police and a representative from Wrexham County Borough Council, to examine a variety of issues and report back to a future meeting.

Whilst the Council appreciated the reasons for the request, it was agreed that a decision to call a public meeting would very much depend upon the findings of the study.

Au Revoir but definitely not Goodbye!

By David Burton

I met with Doctors Turkie and Pack, Peter and Helen, to talk to them about their retirement from Overton Practice and their decision to relocate to France next year; and found two people reluctant to leave, humbled by all our good wishes and excited by the prospect of their adventure.

They are leaving now because there is a window of opportunity and it is the proper time as far as the development of the practice is concerned. Peter and Helen are first and foremost parents and the needs of the children often determine what we do and where we do it. Next year Lizzie will be 18 and off to college and Ben has one more year in primary school. He is to complete his final year in primary school in France to improve his French and then complete his schooling in the French secondary system. Furthermore, both Peter and Helen are now only working part-time in the practice and felt that either they had to devote more time to the planned development of the Surgery into a fully fledged health centre or move over and find the right person to help take the developments through to their proper conclusion.

I asked them if the current poor state of the NHS was a determining factor in their decision. Both categorically stated that this was not the case. Both had and were still enjoying their work and their decision to leave was a big wrench. It had not been made without a lot of regret, but, as Peter pointed out, after 27 years in the practice he had moved from being the young go-ahead innovator to the senior, more conservative partner. Whilst this provided a good balance in the practice it was now time to move on. They are not, however, giving up work, Peter will continue for the next 12 months with his occupational medicine and Health Authority work and Helen will continue her important work on cervical screening in North Wales.

"Why France?" Apart from the obvious answers - such as the climate and the way of life - Peter's mother was French and his father lived in Spain for over 20 years and his family is very Mediterranean so the pull is definitely south. Their new home will be near Perpignan on the plains between the Pyrenees and the sea. They all love Spain and this part of French Catalonia is very Spanish and not over developed.

They have purchased an old farmhouse, part of a peach farm, that needs some work on it and hope to get planning permission to upgrade it and to convert the barns into Gites, maybe to rent to future holidaymakers from Overton? They feel confident of getting the planning permission for the alterations on the farmhouse but permission for the barn conversions may take a few attempts. They are spending the summer getting Lilac Cottage in shape and on August 11th they will be celebrating Matthew's marriage in London to Amanda, who is from Atlanta and whom he met in New Zealand last year. In the Autumn they will be in France working on the house - Lilac Cottage is good practice, but they doubt whether many people would want to renovate two houses in a year and it will be a challenge.

As far as the practice is concerned, they were not aware of the feelings among patients that they didn't know who they would see from one visit to the next. They do see that this underlines the need for them to make way for someone who would be able to put in all their time into the practice. They believe they have found the right man in Joe Vibishanan who did his training in Southern India. After that he moved to Scotland to further his training in orthopaedics. There he met and married Yvonne who is also a GP and is taking up a part time post at Ellesmere. Joe and Yvonne have lived in Scotland for many years where he acquired a gentle Scottish burr; they have two pre-school children. Joe completed his training as a GP this year and is a Member of the Royal College of GP's. Apparently he is quite a cricketer! He joins Chris Breeze as the second full time GP. Both Paul Myers and Jane MacNeil are now only part time partners.

Peter and Helen wanted to express their thanks to the residents of Overton for all their support and good wishes. Working here has been very satisfying and they both have enjoyed it very much. They have mixed feelings about giving up! Peter hopes to get locum work in France and Helen hopes to improve her French and training in acupuncture - apparently the French are quite keen on alternative medicine.

One of the motivating factors behind the move was that their children would grow up as multilingual European citizens. However, they are not turning their backs on Overton as they will retain their base at Lilac Cottage, and they plan to take out a subscription to the Oracle to keep up with events. We hope to see plenty of them in the future.

Bon voyage on your adventure and Bonne Chance!


Garden Open
Bella Vista,
Knolton Bryn
(off A528)

12th Aug 2001
2pm - 5pm

In aid of
Air Ambulance

Parking Available
Admission 2

Overton Village
Open Produce Show

WI Handicraft Show

1st Sept 2001

Overton Village Hall

Exhibits to be staged between
9am and 11.15am

Show Opens 2pm

The Garden House

Garden Open
9th Sept

2pm - 6pm

Admission 1 - Children free