OVERTON ORACLE

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

Feb 2003

PREVIOUS EDITIONS

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

School Takes Part in Skiing Event in French Alps

In January, twentyseven schoolchildren from St Mary's Primary School, Overton took part in an international cross-country skiing event in Autrans in the French Alps following a formal invitation to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this prestigious event.

The children, aged between 9 and 11, were accompanied by four teachers, a skiing expert from Nant BH and Lindsey Clarke, who spoke fluent French and acted as the group's interpreter.

Over one thousand children from 14 countries took part, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Slovenia, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Poland, and of course Wales represented by Overton Primary School.

The invitation to participate in this event, arose from the twinning partnership formed between Overton and La Murette in 1994.

At Autrans, the school was "twinned" with Belgium for the week, and many friendships were made despite the language difference. Since returning to the UK the school has made formal links with their "twinning" partners in Belgium and have also made links with a school in Ireland.


Making links with Belgium

Most days were spent skiing cross-country over either a 2 or 4 kilometre course. Everybody finished the events and there were no broken legs! There was also time for the children to visit the city of Grenoble to do some shopping, try their hand at ice skating, and visit Les Grottes de Chorande, a spectacular cave system were they saw some magnificent examples of stalactites and stalagmites. There was even time to take in a short mountain walk from where they were able to get a superb view of the Alps, including Mont Blanc.


Before the race


Overton St Mary's School on their mountain walk

Tyler Haughton, aged 9, thought it was a brilliant trip, whilst Laura Edwards aged 10 said; "I learned how to ice skate and ski and enjoyed it very much."

Gemma Purcell, aged 9, said: "I thought it was fantastic and it was good to be able to communicate with the children from our "twin" school from Belgium". Katie Edge, aged 9, said: It was great fun and we made lots of friends even though we could not speak the language." Liam Walker, aged 10, said: It was a great trip and I liked the holiday because of all the humorous things that happened".

The organisers of the event were very impressed with the children and commended the way in which they had conducted themselves during the week. This was echoed by the teachers who accompanied the children from Overton. Mr Williams said: "All the children behaved themselves and it was a pleasure to be with them. It was a great opportunity for them to experience the different cultures, develop friendships and create international links with other countries. The other teachers and I would like to thank the children for the way they all behaved and although I feel as though I could sleep for a week, I'd willingly do it all over again!"

He added: "We will shortly be putting on a display in the school with lots of photographs and comments, including diary entries, information upon the various countries that were represented and the results of all the competitions. Everyone is welcome to look at the display on their next visit to school."

Alan Edwards, Chairman of Overton Twinning Association said: "I am very pleased that our initial twinning link with La Murette created the opportunity for the children of the Primary School to take part in this special event".

Incinerator Inquiry Date Fixed

A Planning Inquiry into the application by HLC (Wrexham) Ltd for planning permission for a "Change of use from Industrial to Waste Processing" at the former BICC factory site on the Wrexham Industrial Estate is likely to start on Tuesday 10th June. It will be held at the Guildhall, Wrexham. The planning application was "called-in" for determination by the National Assembly last February because it "raises issues of more than local significance". At the Inquiry, the Inspector will be hearing evidence from the applicant company and those opposed to the scheme, and will be examining the environmental implications of the proposed development on the site and the surrounding areas, and relevant national and local planning policies. The main issues in dispute are (1) air quality and associated health effects, clarified to include queries over the process controls and reliability, and (2) conformity with the principles of the national waste strategy as applicable in Wales. Other matters which it is understood will be raised are those relating to the visual impact of the chimney and vapour flume, highway safety, noise and odour.

The appellant company HLC, intends to put forward 8-10 witnesses at the Inquiry, which will also be attended by witnesses from Wrexham County Borough Council, Chester City Council, Cheshire County Council, Environment Agency Wales, Chester Environmental Forum, and the Dee Borders Waste Action Group which represents a large group of local individuals and commercial interests opposed to the project. In addition TCC (Wales Broadbased Organisation) a coalition of 26 community groups opposed to the scheme and Chester South Rural Local Panel, comprising 5 Chester City Council wards bordering Wrexham will also be appearing. A number of other individuals will speak at the inquiry including the Chairman of Holt Community Council. The Planning Inquiry is expected to last about 4 weeks.

Anyone wishing to write to the National Assembly but who does not wish to attend the inquiry , may do so before 28th February 2003, to The Planning Inspectorate, Crown Buildings, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF 10 3NQ, quoting reference APP/H6955/X/02/514548.

TREE APPEAL

Fred Edwards, Cloy Lane, Overton has been awarded a small community grant from the Millennium Commission to plant trees within the parish of Overton. The intention is to plant trees on the approaches to Overton in locations that will add to the scenic qualities as one enters and leaves the village. He believes it important to plant locally grown and nurtured species and is asking for anyone with self-set young trees growing in their garden or other land to donate it to the scheme. He will collect and give it a temporary home until it is planted out in its permanent place.

Fred said: "No tree is too small as they will be grown on or planted in locations where they will survive. The best trees for the scheme are broad leaf deciduous species including oak, ash, sycamore and beech. Trees can be moved very successfully up to a height of six feet (two metres), although some trees replant better than others"

If you have one or more trees which you would like to donate, please call Fred Langford Edwards on 01978 710641 or e-mail: overton_trees@yahoo.co.uk

COUNCIL SETS BUDGET

At the January meeting of Overton Community Council, Councillors agreed the Council's budget for the forthcoming financial year which runs from 1st April 2003. The Clerk to the Council described the changes in the spending patterns over the previous year and recommended a budget of 22,542, an increase of only 166 from the previous year. The Clerk also reported that the Council's accounts for 2001/2002 had been audited as correct.

Twinning Association Offers 2 Free Places to La Murette

Are you aged 18-21 years and live in the area administrated by the Community Council. Would you like to visit La Murette, this summer and stay with a French family for a week - FOR FREE, (excluding spending money) and take a friend with you?

The Twinning Association is offering two free places as part of the twinning visit to La Murette which will take place from 19th July - 26th July. To enter, simply put your name and address on a postcard and send it to Alan Edwards, 1 St Mary's Court, Overton, Wrexham and marked - "FREE FRENCH PLACE", to be received by midday on the 28th February. A draw for the winner will take place at the Promise Auction to be held later that day in the Overton Playcentre, School Lane, commencing 7.30pm.

COUNTRY BEAT
by Constable Pat Burns

I have received an increasing number of complaints from concerned parents about the parking problems outside St Mary's Primary School. The problem stems from some parents parking and dropping-off children on the yellow zig- zags outside the school.

There have been some near misses in the past where children, and YES I AM REFERRING TO YOUR CHILDREN, have nearly been injured by passing vehicles. On the occasions that I have patrolled the area, it is no surprise that no offences take place, but I am afraid I cannot stand there all the time, as I have another 8 schools in my area to patrol, some with similar problems.

The facts. (From my own observations)

1. The worst offenders are those parents who live nearest the School. They seem to think the zig-zag area is a privileged parking and dropping off area for their children. 2. The other offenders are those parents who turn up late to school, and drop their child off on the zig-zags. This includes parents who are just not prepared to walk the short distance from the public car park. 3. We have problems with taxis parking within the zig-zags. Often the excuse is that if the child cannot see them the child will panic. THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED WITH THE TAXI COMPANIES AND THE SCHOOL AUTHORITIES. 4. Then, when parents see taxis parked there, they think they can do likewise!

Any driver who has read the Highway Code or taken a driving test should be aware that these yellow zig-zags outside a school are there to protect your children

They are put there to prevent vehicles STOPPING AND PARKING, to give clear visibility to drivers in the area so they would have plenty of time to see and take action should a child run into the road. And YES it could be your child!

So I appeal to you all. Please remember why the yellow zig-zags are there. You don't have to be the driver of the car to be responsible for an accident - the fact that your car was present in an unauthorised parking area makes you to blame as well! If a child is killed or injured, could you live with that on your conscience?

THIS IS A FINAL WARNING! FROM NOW ON, ANY OFFENDERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.

STARGAZER

WHO'S A CLEVER GIRL THEN?

Everyone must have seen that TV sketch in which a young lady, sitting at her office desk endeavours to persuade a young man of the best way to pay for a T.V. licence:

SHE: How much do you think it costs a month to pay for your licence by direct Debit ? Go on, have a guess. HE: Actually I don't have to guess. I know -- it's 9 a month. SHE: Yes, but, go on, have a guess. HE: Oh, very well then, 20, 300 a month. SHE: 300? That's rubbish. It's 9 a month. (She sits there, looking aghast).

She certainly gets about, this young lady. Last week she receipted a bill I had just paid with "Recieved with Thank's." Not long before that she was working at a greengrocer's where I saw her writing out the labels for the vegetables, "tomato's", "radish's", "Lettice's", "carotts". She has worked in a number of places as an audio-typist. Compiling the brochure for an Auction House she typed "Set of four Louis Cannes chairs in exellent condition". Her best, however, was when she worked for a local newspaper. Describing the adventures of a group of schoolgirls who had been on a Duke of Edinburgh expedition deep in a North Wales forest she wrote that they had been learning how to cope with "backwards cooking". When I first read it my mind boggled. What on earth had they been doing ? Had they been involved in some pagan ceremonial called 'gnikooc' ? It sounds very dangerous. Did they start with the pudding and work their way through to the soup? Then the penny dropped. It was "backwoods", not "backwards"!

When I last bumped into her she said she had just given up being a Financial Adviser but was now planning to become a Teacher. For her thesis she had chosen "The use of the apostrophe, with particular reference to "its" and "it's". Apparently someone had told her that there is a difference. "I don't want to waste my qualifications," she told me, "After all, I did get five 'A' levels, all Grade A."

Looking Back
By a reporter old enough to be able to!

This month's photograph shows what Turning Street (Bangor Road) looked like some 70 years ago looking towards Bangor-on-Dee from the High Street. The properties on the right have changed little, except that Quinta Cottage, the property immediately on the right, was originally two separate dwellings. Does anybody know when this photograph was taken, and who the young girl might be standing at the gate? When were the cottages converted into one dwelling, and does anybody know who might have lived there in the past? The three-storey property on the right was only recently converted into a dwelling, having been a village shop for many years.

The cottages at the far end of Bangor Road to the left of the picture are situated where "Radcliffe" now stands.

Ed: If you have any information upon the above, please drop a line to the Editor, 1 St Mary's Court, Overton. We now have a number of photographs for future issues so please be patient if the photograph you have submitted has not yet appeared in the Oracle.

Highway Danger Spot to be Improved

"The dangerous approach into the village from the Wrexham direction in the vicinity of Argoed Lane is being dealt with," says a Highways Department spokesperson from Wrexham County Borough Council.

Both the Community Council, Police and local residents have campaigned for action following a regular number of traffic accidents on Wrexham Road in the vicinity of Argoed Lane.

Wrexham County Borough Council has conceded there is a problem and has agreed to install anti-skid surfacing on the road surface on the bend, improve the visibility of the 'bend signs' by placing yellow backing boards behind them, painting a red strip on the approaches with the word SLOW, and erecting chevron signs at the Argoed Lane junction. Work is to commence as soon as the signs have been manufactured.

Planning applications approved

  • 2 The Stableyard, Pen-y-lan Street, Overton. Alterations to existing dwelling to increase ceiling height in bedroom.
  • Overton Bowling Club, St Mary's Avenue, Overton. Erection of bowling pavilion
  • Former Coach House rear of White Horse Public House, School Lane, Overton. Conversion of coach house to 3 bed-roomed dwelling. (Listed building consent)

FOUND

Very affectionate smoky-grey and white cat, around three years old. Unfortunately we are unable to keep her, so if the owner does not claim her, then we would like to find her a new home. She is obviously a family cat and she is very good with children, very clean and house trained. If you can help, please call Overton 710320

What's Broadband and Why Do We Need It?

Broadband is a facility which enables users of the Internet to make telephone calls, and be on-line at the same time, receiving e-mails instantly and downloading files ten times faster than the standard dial-up connection. No additional telephone line is needed and because you are always connected, there are no internet call charges. BT say that they would need about 200 people to register their interest in Overton before it would be viable for them to install it. BT currently charge 27 per month for the service, although there are a number of other internet providers who offer other price packages. An ADSL Modem is needed together with various cables and micro filters which BT can provide for 80. So here's a challenge for Overton internet users to get Broadband in the area. Just register your interest only with BT by ringing 152 or Freephone 0800 800 060 or alternatively log on to www.bt.com/btbroadband.

Pantomime Exceeds All Expectations

Overton Amateur Dramatic Society is to be congratulated for staging what must be one of the best pantomime performances ever. Expertly directed and produced by Sue England, this year's pantomime was a fast moving performance of Jack and the Beanstalk, throughout which was weaved a variety of well known songs, the live music for which was performed by a talented group of young musicians. The cast included some well known faces who all gave brilliant performances to full houses each night.

Over 35 children took part in the pantomime, adding a real sparkle to this magical story. There was plenty of opportunity for audience participation and for the customary corny jokes from Dame Dolly played by Alan Farley. (we all know them off by heart - but the pantomime wouldn't be the same without them!) And who could forget the nasty Fleshcreep, played by Stephen Sorfleet, who, because of his evil ways, received lots of boos from the audience.

Other cast members gave brilliant performances and are to be congratulated for the very high standard -equalling that of many theatre performances. The costumes were out of this world. But the whole performance could not have succeeded without the very hard work not only on, but off-stage as well. A truly creditable performance .

War Time Memories
By Euan Stevenson

(Continued from last month)

One of Den's regular commitments was Tuesday evenings when he had to go to the "local rooms" (downstairs from what is now the Recreational Club) where he was used as a patient for Dr Casper to demonstrate the art of putting on bandages to the first aid classes. Later on, Den lied about his age to join the army cadets. As a Sergeant of 14 (really 13 1/2) he received a rifle - there really was a determination to "fight them on the beaches" if the worst came to the worst.

One day Den returned home from school to find half a dozen sailors billeted at his house. They were manning a trailer parked where Maelor Court is now and were on their way to Liverpool. The trailer was huge with large concave dishes, the like of which no-one had seen before - this he later found was some of the first Radar equipment to be used.

Den's first job, at age 15, was in the Penley American Hospital - there were two large hospitals set up by the Americans in Penley - one had 2000 beds and the other 1500 beds. These huge field hospitals had all sorts of facilities including several operating theatres and burns units - they were almost villages in their own right. This was after D-Day and the hospitals rapidly became full with wounded shipped in by air to airfields in Shropshire and then by coach from Whitchurch. Den said: "I also vividly remember seeing a Junkers aircraft in Grove Park - it had been shot down and brought to Chester Road for display."

Most of Den and Gerry's memories are vivid - the people, sights and sounds in their life had changed dramatically with the onset of war.

Overton would never be the same again.

Ed: What a fascinating story.

Announcements

  • Congratulations and Happy Birthday to our granddaughter Nicola Archer, who will be 21 years of age on February 8. Love from Eric and Pam Jones, Plas Madoc.

  • Happy 85th Birthday to Tom Haynes - please get well soon Dad. Love from Sandra Jones and family, Salop Road.
  • We extend our sympathy to Mr and Mrs R Foulkes on the death of his brother , Mr P Foulkes of Walsall.
  • We also extend our sympathy to the family and friends of Mrs M Jones of Trevor who passed away recently. Her father, who was a local builder and undertaker in Overton, built the Methodist Chapel.
  • Thanks to Eunice Taylor of Hanmer Close, Overton, the trough outside the Old Police Station and the two tubs outside the village hall have recently been re-planted with plants donated from Knolton Plant Centre and Knolton Nurseries. Eunice decided to 'adopt' and care for these areas, which have made a real difference to the environment.

If you see a small area that could be tidied up, why not take the initiative like Eunice and 'adopt' it. It will make a real difference. How much more enjoyable it would be to see the planters in the High Street awash with colour in the summer.

Church Organ Fund Reaches 2,000

According to the St Mary's Church Newsletter, the Church Organ Renewal Fund has now reached 2,000, but there is still a long way before the target is reached.

A brief history of Overton's Water Supply (or H20-verton)
By Ken Farrell

Nowadays, at the turn of a switch we can light, heat and clean our homes, cook our meals, wash our clothes and operate all kinds of electronic machinery and equipment. Similarly we can enjoy instant pure, cold or piping hot water from our taps. But, as so many of us can vividly remember, it was not always so. Looking back to my distant childhood in Marchwiel I can still recall paraffin lamps and candles for lighting, a paraffin stove and black-leaded grate for cooking and heating, and horror of horrors, an earth closet which Wrexham Council emptied every six months. Our water supply consisted of a solitary cold tap and all our hot water came from a big iron kettle kept permanently on the hob. When in 1932 we moved to a modern house in Wrexham with modern facilities we thought we were in paradise.

Meanwhile, here in 1930's Overton, domestic life went on much the same as in Marchwiel. But first, going back to the late 19th century, Overton, like most villages, got its water from wells. A Parish Council Minute dated 14th January 1896 proposed: "that Mr. Holt be appointed to uncover and if necessary clean out the following wells and have them prepared for inspection and while open to see that they are properly protected - 1. Salop Rd. pump. 2. Jubilee pump. 3. School Lane pump. 4. Turning St. pump. 5. Tanners Row pump". I gather that Mr. Holt, - was his name Reuben? - was the local plumber with premises in the High Street. I find it fascinating that of those five wells, three are still with us. The Salop Rd. pump stood at the corner of Springfield Park and the School Lane one opposite the School. Many houses, of course, had their own private wells and one of the most impressive pumps is still fixed just inside the front garden wall of the house next door to Harmony Interiors. Other wells, I am told, stood at the corner of Musley Lane and in Willow Street, (or to give it its original name, Plough Lane). Incidentally, the well of the Jubilee Pump is inside the adjoining carpet shop and can be found by lifting up a trapdoor in the shop floor. The shop was originally the robing room for the Magistrates attending the Court House and was added after the main building was built. I have been told that in order to accommodate this room they had to move the Jubilee Pump along a bit but, o f course, they could not move the well.

The Jubilee Pump, Station Road

In 1899 Ellesmere invited Overton to join it in a scheme for a Fire Service but sadly the Parish Council was obliged to reply "as the village of Overton has no water supply Fire Engines are of little service, consequently we decline the offer to join you". This sounds like tough luck if your house caught fire, but at the same time I have seen an old map of the village showing a 'Fire Station" at roughly where the Car Park of Peel Close now stands.

Unfortunately, wells are prone to pollution and in 1895 the Local Authority wrote to Overton Council proposing "a scheme for the drainage of Overton", - presumably an early sewage system. Again the Council declined, saying "that earth closets would more effectually meet the difficulty of the wells being polluted by the privies".

Help, however, was at hand.

(To be continued next month).