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

Feb 2004


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


Colin and Jan have enjoyed their ownership of the 'Corner Shop', serving, laughing and joking with the “regulars”.

They are to be congratulated on the way they ran the shop, not only being totally reliable, but expanding the services to include newspapers, photocopying, an off-license and dry cleaning.

Colin and Jan would like to thank all their staff, friends and customers for their loyal support and for the many cards and kind remarks they have received. They now look forward to spending their time enjoyably in a well-deserved retirement.

Taking over are Mick and Karen Pinder, who have four children - Sarah at University, Charlotte and Lauren at Penley, and Sam at Overton St.Mary’s.

Mick’s background has been in store management with the Tesco and Safeway chains of supermarkets. Now he is looking forward to running his own business at the opposite end of the retail trade, while realising that Colin and Jan are “a hard act to follow”

Mick and Karen’s first impressions are favourable – they have found the staff “superb” and the local people “very welcoming.”

The “Oracle” and its readers wish Mick and Karen every success in their new venture – the 'Corner Shop' is, after all, regarded by many as a focal point in the village of Overton.

School returns home victorious

Last month, fifteen children from St Mary's School, Overton, returned home victorious after competing in an international skiing competition at La Foulee Blanche, France. They were up against some stiff competition in the cross ski event, but won first prize over a 2 kilometre course, battling it out against fourteen other countries including Japan, Denmark, Italy, Greece and Belgium.

More news in the next issue.

Overton Twinning Association
to celebrate its tenth anniversary

It is ten years since the official Twinning Charter was signed by the communities of Overton and La Murette at formal ceremonies both here and in France. Since that time there have been regular exchange visits and many friendships have been formed.

Alan Edwards, Chairman of the Association said: "This year we expect to receive 20 visitors from La Murette to celebrate our tenth anniversary during the exchange week, which this year will take place between 2 - 9 August. We are currently working on a special programme for the week, which will include a re-statement of the aims of our Charter. As always, our guests will be accommodated in homes throughout Overton and I would be pleased to hear as soon as possible from anyone who could offer such hospitality during the week”.


Dear Editor,

Being of that age group that still automatically respects the Police Force, I find that being at odds with Darren King extremely uncomfortable. However, I and clearly other parents disagree with our "Community Beat Manager", regarding Darrens comments about parking outside Overton Primary School when dropping off children. As my daughter attends that school and as a Health and Safety Expert I would challenge the need to have the yellow lines at all, as they are actually painted on a lay by which can safely allow taxis and parents to drop children off directly onto the pavement.

Over the years I have noticed that the more car congestion there is along School Road, the lower the actual passing traffic speed and as such this increases not decreases safety for children. Because of the density of the traffic and, in places, the narrow width of the pavement to make children walk from the church car park actually increases the risk to children.

However, it is clear that parents beware, as Darren is going to strictly apply the law. Interestingly, something the police refuse to do near the Maelor School Penley regarding vehicles parked at night. More importantly, a further loss of understanding between the law and parents and Wrexham Borough Council and parents is the daily lunancy at the Maelor Secondary School Penley which allows school buses from the Wrexham direction reversing back from Park Villas into the main A539 without any supervision or warning to other road users. The reason for this is that the turning circle the buses use is blocked by one parked car which the police and the Council will not take any steps to prevent parking on the turning circle, (for example by installing double yellow lines).

Those Overton parents who send their children on the school bus to Penley, should be aware that there is the potential for the back of a reversing bus (which may contain their offspring) to have a collision with a vehicle travelling at 40 mph.

So why is there this daily unnecessary risk for Overton children to undertake by being killed in a reversing bus?
Dr B John Tymons
Bankers Cottage,

Ed: Overton Community Council fully supports PC King's stance on parking outside St Mary's School, Overton.

Caribbean Banquet
date fixed
By Ruth Overthrow

Have you dreamed of the bright lights, the roar of the crowd, and the excitement of performing on stage - well now is your chance! On Saturday 15th May, Overton Amateur Dramatic Society will be hosting this year's banquet with a Caribbean theme.

The society is looking for acts to perform during the evening - so if you can sing, dance, act or would like to join with other acts, please ring Ruth on 710561.

by Constable Darren King

The crime statistics for the Maelor section are down again this month. Over the past year there has been, on average, 23 crimes per month, making this the second lowest area in the county for crime. The lowest area for crime is the very rural Glyn Ceiriog valley. However in December, the Maelor section figures fell to 6 reported crimes, and at the time of going to press, only 3 crimes had been reported to police in January. Therefore the statement is true, this IS one of the safest areas to live and work. Please keep up the good work of securing your property and reporting anything suspicious to the police. Hopefully by continuing to do this the criminal fraternity will get the message that if they try and commit crime here, they will be seen and caught.

Whist on the issue of reporting suspicious activity, there has been reports in the area of suspected 'bogus callers'. Please remember not to allow anyone into your home without checking their identification. This can be their identity badge, and / or telephoning their office for clarification. Usually these days no company will send an employee to your home without a prior appointment, so, 'if it doubt, keep them out'. Please also be mindful when companies try and sell you things via the telephone. Never give away any personal details, such as dates of birth, times of work, bank account details etc. There was an incident reported to me recently where a company tried to convince a home owner that their house needed work for damp proofing as they claimed 'there is a problem in the area with damp'. Fortunately the home owner was weary of such enquiries and decided to ask some probing questions which resulted in the person on the other end of the line becoming quite irate and putting the phone down. Naturally when checked it was a withheld number. If you need any advice regarding the above, please let me know or pop into the station and pick up an advice booklet.

Finally most of you will be aware of the recent problems at St. Mary's Church where there have been several incidents of youths entering the porch and ringing the bells. Damage has also been caused to the exterior lighting and on one occasion, the collection box for the new organ has been forced open and the money stolen. I must make it clear that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated; criminal damage and burglary are serious offences and cannot be seen as 'kids just mucking about'. In this day and age we are very privileged to have a church which is left open for prayers etc. and it should not be abused. To date 3 youths have been dealt with and investigations are still proceeding with regard to identifying the other offenders. If you see or hear anyone in the church or its grounds who looks like they shouldn't be there, please report it straight away. Thank you.

Darren King, Constable 1360.
Community Beat Manager for
The Maelor Section.
The Police Station,
Station Road,


A favourite practice of Town and City Councils is to name streets after great national figures, military and naval heroes and famous battles and Wrexham is no exception in this as a map of the town clearly shows. There can be few conurbations throughout the country that do not have, like Wrexham, a Montgomery Road, a Wavell Road, a Wellington Road, a Nelson Street, a Trafalgar Road, and a Waterloo Close. Royalty, too, needs to be recorded in such names as George Street, Charles Street, Victoria Road, Albert Street, Edward Street, Alexandra Road and, in more modem times, Prince Charles Road.

Other towns and cities deserve a mention and so Wrexham has Bath Road, Mold Road, Derby Road, Conway Drive, Monmouth Road, Warwick Avenue, Caernarvon Road, Oxford Street, even Overton Way. Counties, too, are featured, such as Anglesey Close, Dorset Drive, Essex Close, Sussex Gardens.

Politicians on the whole are ignored in Wrexham, though it does have a Churchill Drive, a Wilson Avenue and even an Anthony Eden Drive. Matching the political views of the occupants to the name of their road must, at best, be something of a risky undertaking. Wynnstay Avenue, Yorke Street, Cunliffe Street, Kenyon Avenue, Fenwick Drive and, here in Overton, Peel Close all commemorate local landowners. Where the business of road naming seems to me to have gone haywire in the town was during the 60’s and 70’s when it became fashionable to call a road after a local Councillor or Alderman. Who, nowadays, knows who is being honoured with street names like Jarvis Way, Tapley Avenue, Craigmillar Road, Hampson Avenue, Gwilym Way, Jarman Avenue, Stabler Crescent and Herbert Jennings Avenue?

Here in Overton, we are spared many of the naming problems which confront Wrexham’s administrators. Here we can call a road by where it leads to- Bangor Road, Salop Road, Wrexham Road, Station Road, School Lane, Church Road, etc. Cloy Lane, Musley Lane and Dark Lane are all appropriately named. Only Turning Street is a misnomer. Although aptly descriptive, officially it does not exist as it does not appear in the Electoral Register.

Ah well, we can’t have everything!

Overton Surgery
razed to the ground

On the 26th January, contactors moved in to demolish the Surgery building in the High Street to make way for the development of a new medical centre.

Erected in the 1950's, the building was originally used as offices for the Wrexham Rural District Council. It was a fine example of 1950's architecture, for which it won a civic trust award.

Going, going……………….


The new medical centre, which it is believed will be ready for occupation in 12 months time, will enable all the doctors and staff to operate more efficiently in better surroundings and with adequate space. It will incorporate better consulting and treatment rooms as well as a minor operations suite. District Nurses, Health Visitors and other health professionals from the North East Wales Trust will occupy part of the new premises enabling them to provide a wide range of medical services to the community. The local pharmacy will also be incorporated in the new building.

The impact of this development involves the Practice as a whole and in order to keep everyone up to date, a monthly newsletter will be issued by the Practice. The newsletter will cover items of interest regarding the new building and surgery life in general and can be obtained from the various surgeries.

Starting in February, the editorial team has agreed with the surgery to publish a shortened version each month as the Practice covers quite a wide area, not just Overton. Overton Medical Practice would welcome any thoughts or ideas you may have on the format and content of their publication.

Ed: Whilst saddened to see the old surgery being demolished, I look forward to seeing the new building up and running.


  • The Lewis and Edwards families would like to thank all their friends who attended their Christmas party in the village hall, and who also gave prizes, raising £242 which was donated to Nightinghale House, Wrexham.
  • The next Maelor Music Society Concert will be held on Wednesday 4th February 2004 at 7.30pm, at The Maelor School, Penley. The concert will be given by pianist Gordon Fergus-Thompson. Gordon has made many recordings and is a Master Class tutor. The programme will be pleasing to all. Non-members are welcome. Tickets will be available on the door at £6. Any Society enquiries to Mrs Beryl Batho on 01939 270608.
  • Our best wishes for a speedy recovery are extended to Mrs Anne Lipson, formerly of Overton, who recently underwent major surgery.
  • Our best wishes are also extended to Mrs Val Sawyer, formerly of Overton, who recently attained her 80th birthday.
  • Dr Pam Linney has now returned to Overton surgery after giving birth to Thomas Henry in July 2003.

Tom Haynes (1918 - 2004)

Tom was born in 1918 at the Homestead in Knolton, and had two sisters and three brothers.

His father was a carpenter by trade, a tradition carried on by Tom when he left school. His school years were spent at St Mary's School Overton, which meant long walks each day. School transport was non-existent in those days.

When he left school, Tom went to Manchester to serve his apprenticeship as a carpenter and it was in that city that his life- long association with Manchester City football club began. He remained an ardent supporter of the light blues all his life. For his eightieth birthday his surprise present was a visit to Maine Road where he was guest no 1, wined, dined, met many of the players and watched the match with the management. It was the greatest thrill of his life.

After Tom had served his apprenticeship he returned to Overton, met and married Noreen the eldest daughter of a village shopkeeper. The marriage took place in 1940, but like many more young couples the Second World War came along to interrupt it. Tom was called up to serve in the army with the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. During his absence a daughter, Wenda, was born in 1941. It was to be a long wait for this young family, for the young soldier dad had been sent to North Africa to fight in the desert campaign, and later across to Italy where he took part in the landings at Anzio beachhead.

Tom like so many servicemen, never spoke about their experiences, as he had lost many friends and comrades from around the Ellesmere district that were in the KLSI. Later on in the campaign, Tom rescued not one, but two soldiers that had become stranded in the middle of a minefield, carrying them one at a time to safety. For this act of bravery he was awarded the military medal. V.E. day saw the return of the troops and normal life resumed.

Tom started his own building firm, at one time employing thirty local men, many of them learning their trade with him. His home life became settled and two more daughters Sandra, and Trina, were born to complete the family group.

Tom, being Tom was very community focused, and he took on the managers job of the local St Mary's football team. It was to his credit that the team won three cups and played in the final of the Welsh Amateur Cup in 1953. Like all football teams funds had to be raised to support the team, so Tom organised Saturday night dances where he took the role of master of ceremonies. The dances were very well attended by teenagers from far and wide who held Tom in high esteem.

In the 1960's his fund raising efforts widened, many cabaret nights were organised to raise money for the upkeep of the village hall.

Friday nights became known as Toms night. He became interested in snooker and each week he and his friends would go to Dudleston to enjoy the indoor sport.

Then came the brainwave - a club for Overton. There was a defunct billiard club in the Cocoa Rooms, so a committee was formed and plans drawn up, volunteers conscripted and with Toms guidance and building expertise, the club was opened at Christmas 1969. Again with Tom's foresight during the building, the village hall was to gain brand new toilets, and a kitchen which it never had before.

Tom has always enjoyed his love of outdoor sports, and became a very active member of the bowling club, playing in two different teams for the club. He was the oldest member of the club at 85 years old, but he still won his very last game of the season 21-0

How will we remember Tom, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather, or as most of us will remember him, a very good friend, with a wonderful sense of humour, and a kind word for everyone.

A Brief History

Overton's Fairs and Markets

In medieval times Overton was granted a number of market charters and became an important centre. This explains the wide main street. Until well into the nineteenth century there was a weekly Saturday Market and four fairs were held during each year on ‘Monday before Holy Thursday, 11th June, 29th August and 8th October for cattle’ as a list of Flintshire Fairs for the year 1815 tells us. Overton even had its own Smithfield, when in 1903 Mr. Edmund Peel gave the use of land near the railway station for this purpose. This market flourished until the end of the first World War when it had to bow to strong competition from the larger centres in Wrexham and Ellesmere.

It is important to remember that Overton was on the old cattle drovers’ route from Wales to the markets of the Midlands and the South, particularly Barnet Fair. The drovers, who had to be licensed, were in most cases very substantial men, often acting as bankers for the farmers and landowners of Wales and were entrusted with financial transactions at a time when travel was both difficult and dangerous. It was a very important and prosperous trade for Wales between 1300 and the second half of the nineteenth century when the coming of railways and improved road transport sounded its death knell. The drovers collected the cattle and sheep in the upland areas and brought them to Llandegla from where they would go either to Llangollen or Wrexham. The Wrexham drovers came through Overton on the way to Shrewsbury and London. The only local evidence today of this trade is the pond just outside the village known as ‘Holland’s pit’ where the drovers stopped to rest and water the cattle.

Next month: The Church of St Mary The Virgin, Overton.

Bravery Recognised
By Betty Williams

On Thursday, 1 November, 1933, two events took place at Overton Village Hall to celebrate its seventh birthday: a sale of goods in the afternoon and a dance in the evening. At the evening function, Capt. Jones of Knolton Hall presented William Emrys Mansell of Wrexham with the honorary certificate of the Royal Humane Society for saving the life of Stanley Bloxham of Overton who, when bathing in the River Dee, got into serious difficulties. While helping, Stanley's brother Billy also got into difficulties and was rescued by local man Herbert Stant. At the end, Canon Heaton thanked Capt. Jones who was cheered heartily. The orchestra struck up to the strains of "For he's a jolly good fellow", and Mansell was carried shoulder high around the hall.

St Mary's School News
By Kay Lawernson

Happy New Year from all at St Mary's School. The children certainly had plenty of Christmas cheer to spread through our community this year. The festive season started with a wonderful nativity concert in St Mary's Church which was enjoyed by parents, families and friends. The early years department delighted their parents and grandparents with the story of 'Humph the camel', a reluctant little chap who didn't like the thought of a long trip to Bethlehem. The story was full of the true meaning of Christmas and a bilingual version of 'Happy Birthday dear Jesus'.

St Mary's School band performed carols outside the school gates and around the village on two evenings. Money raised from collections, early years' concert and non-school uniform day raised over £120 for "Dynamic" - a local charity who help disabled children and their families supporting 'Give a child a Christmas' appeal with local radio station, MFM. Families contributed over 75 presents underneath the 'giving tree' for children in our area who are perhaps less fortunate than our own. Thank you for sharing in the true meaning of Christmas and showing that charity certainly does begin in your homes!

Overton School in Europe Project

After another highly successful year, with excellent academic results and with many extra-curricular activities, the future is looking even more exciting at Overton St.Mary’s.

The school has been selected as the Welsh representative on the “Comenius Project”, which is dedicated to development of inter-country relationships within Europe.
Overton St.Mary’s will join schools from Norway, The Netherlands, Rumania, Germany, Italy and England (a school in Devon ) taking part in the project.

This European development project has been funded by the British Consulate and will run for 3 years, starting in 2004.
The project will involve teacher exchanges and pupil visits, and the school will be playing host to visiting teachers from abroad. The theme for 2004 will be “Food and Customs” with further topics for the other 2 years of the project.

This is clearly a “feather in the cap” for the school, and Head Teacher Pat Clarke is to be congratulated on the initiative shown in being selected for the project. The school will be enriched by the activities involved in the project.

Learning about World War II

Overton St. Mary’s year 6 pupils now have 20th century history as part of their curriculum. Head teacher Pat Clarke and year 6 teacher Darren Morris got in touch with some local people who had been through the War, and asked if they could come in and talk about their experiences.

Barbara Watkin took a lead role in assembling a team of excellent speakers who gave a real insight into their war-time experiences and what it felt like to live through the War.

The conclusion of the project was a World War II “street party” held at the school on Tuesday 16th December. The pupils invited the speakers as their guests and treated them like royalty – with 40’s style food served up ( corn-beef sandwiches, sausages, jelly and blancmange included ) and a feast of entertainment including choirs and dancing.

Darren Morris thanked the speakers for bringing history to life and said that the project had been the most enjoyable teaching experience of his career.