Father Christmas's visit to Overton

On 11th December, Father Christmas visited Overton, when he was able to make some last minute changes to his list and also make sure the right presents were delivered to the right homes. Not to be left out, a number of adults were also seen putting in their requests!!

Santa was helped this year by the Ellesmere Round Table, who toured the village making a collection for those in need this Christmas. Although it was a cold night, many excited children ran out to meet him. He took plenty of time out to talk to the children and is seen below with Rebecca Evans, aged 10, James Morrison, aged 7, and Lauren Evans, aged 12.

This year, many residents decorated their houses with fairy lights for the festive season. The Almshouses on Salop Road were particularly attractive, but just the simple idea of placing lights on a bush in the garden, or in a window gave joy to many people who passed by. And nobody could have missed the excellent shop window display by Harmony Interiors

Overton's Christmas Tree was very effectively decorated with just a simple array of white lights, around which Cytun held their annual service of Christmas Carols on the 17th December. Although a cold evening, this did not hamper the singing, which attracted well over 60 people, including children, who sang heartily to a selection of Carols played by the Maelor School Band.

POSTBAG

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the statement in the last issue of the Oracle, under "Community Chest Grants Issued", that "An application by St Mary's Church PCC for financial assistance towards the costs of maintaining the grass in the churchyard on an ongoing basis was refused. This was not what was asked for !

I wrote on behalf of the PCC to the Community Council, hoping that as they prepared their budget for the coming year, they would consider "a donation" towards the upkeep of the churchyard.

The Clerk to the Council replied to my letter and informed me, "It is not within the general powers of the Council to offer ongoing financial assistance towards the general maintenance costs of applicant organisations" In my experience of other Community Councils, it not unusual to give such help in the form of a donation, if Council agreed and were financially able to do so.

The Churchyard is the responsibility of the Parish Church, but I think it is worth reminding people that at one time it was the only burial ground, and many members of the Community are buried there. It also "houses" the Yew Trees, which give the village of Overton its distinctive identity as one of the "Seven Wonders of Wales" It also provides walk-through footpaths which are used by residents and visitors every day.

Because people are no longer buried in this churchyard, except for the burial of ashes, there is no income to maintain it, apart from financial giving of the congregation. This year it has cost the church over 800 to keep it tidy - it is quite an area to cut. The Yew trees have to be cared for and protected. We have no choice about this, and during the past two years, the church has had to find over 2,000 to meet with the standard of care which is required. No grants were available to us for this work.

The Community Council exists to serve the Community. Its members are elected to represent that Community. I am not so sure that their refusal to offer even a small donation to help care for the central part of the village, reflects the feelings of our community. We at St Mary's Church will continue to make every effort to keep the churchyard in the high standard of tidiness, that the village has enjoyed throughout the years. If the day comes when that is no longer possible, then I hope the community will find a way to assist.

Canon Valerie Jones. Rector

Ed. In a postscript to an accompanying letter, Canon Valerie Jones said "I trust that this letter will be printed in its entirety". We wish to make it clear that all letters published in the Oracle are always printed in full.

Dear Editor,

On behalf of Overton Community Council I would like to clarify the conditions under which the Council makes payments or donations to organisations in the village. The Council's policy is only to contribute to capital projects. For example, recently the Council contributed 1900 towards the cost of the Millennium Window in St Mary's church, which was a capital project. Similarly, grants were provided to St Mary's School to help fund the cost of football and netball kit, to the Playcentre to help fund an environmental garden, and to the Methodist Church to help fund their extension, all capital projects.

With regard to the request from the Parochial Church Council to contribute to the mowing of the grass in the churchyard, we were unable to assist either on a one-off basis, or an ongoing basis, as this would be used to pay someone to mow the grass. This is classed as a revenue expense and is not within the parameters of the Council's policy towards independent organisations.

We sympathise with the predicament that the PCC finds itself in and recognise the validity regarding its comments about the churchyard and its tourist and amenity value to the community. Perhaps the PCC should consider starting an appeal to raise funds to mow the grass in which case if the community feel as strongly about the churchyard, the PCC will have no trouble in raising sufficient funds for its upkeep.

As a footnote, had the PCC requested assistance or a donation to purchase a new mower for the churchyard, this would have been a capital project and in all likelihood would have received a favourable response.

David Burton Chairman Overton Community Council

Banquet takes on a Roman Theme
By Glynis Farley

Once again OADS is joining forces with Overton Playgroup in a fund-raising venture. The Banquet will be held on the 9th March 2002, with Ancient Rome as its theme. The format will be similar to previous years, but with a few subtle changes.

So....if you've always thought you would look good in a toga, or fancied being a god for a night, here's your chance. Perhaps a Gladiator or Roman Centurion is more your style and I'm sure there are still a few vestal virgins around!!

Tickets will go on sale at 13 Bangor Road, Overton from 9.00am on February 2nd, 2002 at a cost of 10. Bring loose change on the night for the raffle and games. Once again it's BYO drinks, but no need to bring your good crystal - we'll provide plastic beakers. If you've attended our previous banquets, you will know you are assured of a fine feast and a wealth of local talent to entertain you. In past years we have had Monty Python, Sonny and Cher, ABBA and the Spice Girls to name but a few.

If any organisation or individual would like to take part in the entertainment - now's your chance. Are you a budding singer, comedian or dancer? Have you written an original piece you'd like to perform yourself or have someone perform for you? All performances must be no longer than five minutes (except by prior arrangement). If you are interested, please contact Glynis on 01978 710455 or at the above address for further details.

Ed: If previous Banquets are anything to go by, this promises to be yet another great event. Tickets for the last banquet were sold out within hours of going on sale!! Need I say more?

Photo with a famous Person

This month we feature Chris Burton (second left) and friends who just happened to bump into Guy Ritchie (Mr Madonna) in centre of picture, outside his home in Los Angeles this summer.

Ed: Please keep those photographs coming in.

The Queen's Jubilee Celebrations

To celebrate the Queen's Jubilee, Overton Community Council has decided to offer a Bone China Commemorative Mug to all children resident in the Community of Overton. To qualify for a free Mug, children should be 11 years of age or under on the 31st August 2002.

If your child (or children) fall into this category, please send an e-mail to the Clerk to the Council giving their name(s) and date(s) of birth by 28th February 2002.