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

July 2007


The Editorial Team

David Burton - Euan Stevenson - Sean Clarke - Jackie Maskall - Cynthia Davies - Maxine Palmer

Our reporters cannot be everywhere.


from Sean Clarke

It was fingers crossed this year for the organisers of Overton’s village fete. Among dark clouds and threats of torrential downpours the sun shone briefly ensuring that the fete went off without a hitch and the visitor numbers appeared well up on last year.

This may have coincided with the rumours circulating of Simon Cowell talent spotting for the new series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Speaking of talent, I could have been offered a bribe this year to write something nice about the band Tequila who were performing. Showing a high degree of journalistic integrity I have edited out my critique and am now better off. When the compere introduced them with the line “Tequila - Glastonbury’s loss is Overton’s gain” he did it without trace of irony. Like many others I enjoyed the music, ice cream and sights of our now somewhat glamorous public services and am resisting the temptation to use Star Wars quotes like “the force is with you Luke”, having got myself into bother with last years mirth.

Wandering over the field I’m not sure why I thought of Gordon Ramsay’s latest publicity stunt, but the Twinners barbeque was very popular this year. Also attracting attention was the Abbey Road gymnasts who were particularly good. Many local businesses were also supporting the event with the Trotting Mare and the Corner Shop making their contribution. Two days fishing on the Dee seemed a very popular raffle prize.

Credit for the day must go to the organisers who work tirelessly behind the scenes.

Returning home though I looked through our purchases and wondered what we were thinking to come back with 6 fairy cakes, two Noddy books, a lettuce, football and a tombola prize bottle of Quinn’s orange and vodka drink that we had donated to the Bowling Club three weeks ago!

by Jacky Maskall

North Wales’ Fire and Rescue Service recently delivered leaflets regarding home safety advice to Overton. Therefore, on the residents’ behalf, I contacted Mr Phil Owen who is Wrexham’s County Safety Manager to discover more about the free home checks.

Like all counties, they work closely with the Community Safety Department and are working hard to reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries caused by fire, particularly accidental fires in the home. They in particular target the more vulnerable members of the community through various partnerships. However, anyone is welcome to seek their advice and assistance regarding home fire safety on Freephone No. 0808 100 2863.

This is the number to telephone if you decide to take up their offer of a free house check. The types of things that are checked are sockets, electric blankets, open fires, chip pans and escape routes. They will also supply and fit a smoke detector if you do not have one. Alternatively, there will be leaflets regarding home safety advice placed in the Village Hall if you wish to carry out your own house check.

I end with a quote from Phil Owen “I urge everyone to take up this offer as it is total folly to gambol with your families lives”.

Ramblings From the Rectory
by David Lewis

Dear Friends,

A retired priest who lived within earshot of St Edmund’s Church, Hunstanton in Norfolk decided to investigate when he heard some fierce playing on the church piano. He found an old tramp at the keyboards, going fifteen to the dozen on the keys, with his pack in the porch and his ‘tea-tin’ on the literature table.

‘Have you permission to be playing that?’ enquired Father Mather.

‘Yes’ replied the tramp.

‘From whom?’

‘From Jesus Christ’ said the visitor indignantly.

‘I don’t get ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from him just like that’, said Father Mather.

Without a second’s hesitation the tramp retorted,
‘Perhaps you don’t know him as well as I do!’

That humorous little story raised a smile from me when I read it, particularly as I know the church in question. St Edmund’s, like so many churches, including our village church, is always open for people to come in to pray, be still or to have a look around. St Mary’s offers a space to be quiet at the centre of our village and I feel it is so important for the church to be open to people.

And so it saddens me that in recent months our church has been subject to various incidents of vandalism. Our stained glass windows have been damaged, resulting in almost £2,000 worth of damage, the vestry door has been forced twice, the outside lamp has been smashed and the grills covering the spotlights removed and thrown about.

Our church with its yew trees is a valuable addition to the beauty of our village. And the building being open is a great resource for people to be quiet amid the rush of our world.

Please help us protect it by reporting anything suspicious. And please use our building to take a moment and reflect on the beauty all around us.

Your friend and Rector


by Constable Luke Hughes

Friday 8th June 2007 saw the arrival of 2 new members of staff for our area, this brings the Neighbourhood Policing Team for the area to 5 officers, the highest numbers of officers to work in the area for some time. The team will be based at Overton Police Station and is made up of the following officers, Police Community Support officers (PCSO) Emily Williams "Overton Ward", PCSO Jenna Wyn Owen "Bronington Ward", Special Constables Dean and Maria Hewitt and finally, me.

All officers have slightly different roles within the community but all will compliment each other and give maximum service to the community. I recall how welcome I was made to feel when I started to work in the area and I`m sure that my new colleagues will also be made to feel at home. If you’re passing Overton Police Station feel free to pop in and meet the new team; we are always happy to discuss your policing needs, feel free to tell us what you think and you can contact us, Office Phone (English) 0845 7561002 / 0845 7561001 (Cymraeg), E-mail (Link from North Wales Police Website) or in person.

I have now been at Overton Police Station for 12 months and I have very much enjoyed my time in post, having spent the first 6yrs of my career working in Wrexham town I now realise I had become quite accustomed to crime as working in such a busy area it was common to deal with numerous thefts, damages & assaults per week. However working in such low crime area I now take every incident of theft / damage quite personally; scrutinising exactly where I was at the time of the incident and what could I have done to prevent that crime. You can do quite a lot to help me by just following a few simple rules.

· ALWAYS lock your vehicle, this includes cars, vans and £40,000 tractors... please.
· NEVER leave anything valuable on display, CD Players, CD`s, Phones, Wallets or any Valuable Property.
· NEVER leave your keys in the vehicle.
· ALWAYS lock doors and close ground floor windows at night or when you are out of the house.
· ALWAYS report suspicions activity, if you think something isn`t quite right, you may be right, give me a call ASAP.

On a final note can I ask all owners of hanging baskets just to take the simple measure of firmly attaching all their baskets to the hanging bracket, this can be done simply with a small piece of wire of zip-tie. Lately there have been a few incidents in the area where offenders have simply un-hooked baskets, these will probably be quickly sold on, so by taking this simple measure you may prevent a crime.

by the Overtinions and our mascot Lucy!

It’s July! Which means the last month of school!
Hope you enjoy it XXX

Jen’s reviews
This month, my review will be on ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 3; At Worlds End’. Just like Spiderman3, ‘Pirates’ had a lot to live up to, with millions of fans expecting the best end to a magnificent trilogy!
I do think they lived up to expectations but the storyline was very detailed and there were a lot of twists and turns, which sometimes made it quite confusing. As the old characters join forces with new ones, there are quite a lot of new faces. These include Jack Sparrow’s dad and pirates from all over the globe!
The story does not just take place in this world but journeys to the other side to rescue ‘witty Jack’.
As you delve into the characters lives and intentions you start to realize that a pirate’s life is not simple! If you are going to watch this film, I would make sure you pay full attention to it, as it easy to get a lost. Apart from this, Johnny Depp is still wonderful if a bit eccentric! Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom are also strong characters, which leave you wanting to know more!
Rating: 8/10
A bit confusing but always leaves you wanting to know more!

Last month’s riddle, the answer


Celebrity birthdays - July

· July 3rd Tom Cruise (1962) Mission Impossible
· July 15th Jill Halfpenny (1975) Waterloo Road TV series
· July 17th Tom Fletcher (1985) McFly

Who am I?
From these clues, you have to guess the celebrity! I am an aspiring entertainer and a well-known singer. I have been a very popular solo artist and I used to be in a band called Take That. I have had many hits such as ‘radio’ and ‘misunderstood’. But who am I?

Agony Aunt
Hey Everyone. This Month’s Question is,
Q: Hi, I would like to get a tan this summer, but still want to stay protected from the sun.
What is the best sun tan lotion to use?

Well, for the very hot days it is wise to use a Factor 20 or higher lotion. Apply the lotion generously, all over your body. Remember to reapply the lotion throughout the day (every few hours). After a few days you should start to build up a tan, whilst still being protected from the sun. I hope this has helped, have a great summer!!

Yr. 7 Review

Hello everyone.
This month we will talk about sports day. Sports day lasts a whole day, but the school only comes outside to watch in the afternoon. You ask to enter which sports you would like to participate in, you can choose up to four events and a couple are picked from each form for each event. The throwing and jumping events are in the morning as well as the long distance events.

The school comes outside to watch the track events such as the 100 metres, 200 metres and the relays. There are five houses and at the end of the day, the house with the most points wins the house cup! It is very competitive. You also win a trophy if you get the most points for the girls in your year or for the boys in your year. It is a very interesting day and is very enjoyable.

That’s all for this month. From Rebeccs and Lucy

by Alan Jones

Many will remember with affection the fish and chip shop, which stood where the Indian Cuisine Restaurant is now situated. It was operated by Mr George Alfred James known as Fred, wife Sarah and his daughters Connie and Grace.

Fred was born in 1887 and lived at Quinta Cottages with his wife and daughter Constance and was employed as a gardener at Gwernhaylod during the early part of the First World War. At age 28 he joined the Army Reserve in November 1915 and was mobilized in May 1916 joining the 8th battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers.

After training he left Park Hall, Oswestry, his Unit travelling to Marseilles where it joined the SS Cameronia for transportation to Alexandria. On 15th April 1917 at 5.30pm when 150 nautical miles from Malta the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine. The Cameronia carrying 2,650 troops sank within 40 minutes resulting in 210 deaths. Fred managed to get into an open boat where he was instrumental in pulling other members of his Regiment from the water.

The Cameronia built at Glasgow was launched in 1911 with a passenger capacity of 1,468 and sailed it’s maiden voyage for the Anchor Line on the Glasgow to New York route in that year. In 1915 it was employed in a joint Anchor–Cunard company service on the Glasgow–Liverpool–New York route. There had been a previous encounter with a submarine when it had managed to outpace one in June 1915 west of the Skerries, Anglesey.

The ship was also involved in an even greater tragedy. Requisitioned by the British Government as it was about to sail from New York on 1st May 1915, 42 passengers and crew were transferred to the Lusitania, delaying that vessels departure by over 2 hours. Ironically the transfer not only added to the death toll of 1,198, which included 29 from the Cameronia when torpedoed off the Irish coast, but had the vessel not been delayed it would have entirely possible that the Lusitania and the submarine would have missed each other that fateful day on the Irish Sea.

Some of the Cameronia’s survivors were picked up by the escorting destroyer, HMS Rifleman although Fred who had lost all his possessions drifted for twelve hours before being picked up next morning by another vessel and taken to Malta.
Transported to Egypt he sailed again only for the vessel to be shipwrecked with Fred being returned to Egypt.

He then sailed from Alexandria, the main British Naval Base in Egypt to India before next embarking from Bombay for Basrah in August 1917,joining the Mesopatamia Expeditionary Force against the Turks and German Asiatic Corps. Spending time in Basrah, Baghdad and in the ‘Field’ and although not enjoying the best of health including contracting malaria Fred attained the rank of Corporal. He eventually joined the demobalization force, leaving Basrah in October 1919.

At home his wife Sarah who had not heard from her husband since 29th July 1917 was anxious to let him know his second daughter Grace had been born earlier that month. To this effect in October she wrote to The Barracks, Wrexham requesting information as to Fred’s whereabouts. The reply was not enlightening, informing her that nothing was known of her husband, indeed, it was to be two and a half years before Grace was to see her father. Fred eventually returned to Quinta Cottages and his family and also his work at Gwernheylod. He was next employed as a gardener at Llan-y-Cefn moving to live at Pharmacy House in 1931. During the Second World War he worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory on Wrexham Industrial Estate and was a member of the Home Guard.

Fred died in 1974 aged 85 a much liked and respected member of the community.

Mowing the lawn at Gwernheylod. Fred is on the left holding the donkey and his father - Charles Hamner James is pushing the mowing machine.

Happy Birthday to Grace

There is a very special 90th birthday this month for Grace James. Grace worked at the Ordnance Depot at Overton station during the war. The Italian prisoners of war were marched from their camp at Maesgwylod to Lightwood Green each morning and marched back at night. Gwen worked with them. She then transferred to the Ordnance Depot at Elson.
But most people will fondly remember Grace as
the Overton Post Lady from 1946 to 1977.
Happy Birthday Grace.


Trying out the Fire Engine

Wrexham Country Market’s stall

The Rector presents the 1st prize for the Fancy Dress

The gymnastics display

Chairman of the Bowling Club tries out the skittles

The Twinning Association serves crepes

The local police talk about crime prevention

Face painting with Overton Playgroup

The bouncy castle


There are so many people who deserve thanks. All those who helped with the preparation and running of the fields and the fete, Katharine for the posters and publicity, Mike Pinner for the tannoy system, those who transporting tables & chairs to and from the field, the “ecumenical judges”, the band, the line dancers, the Gymnastic Club, the Police and the Fire Brigade, all the stall holders and all those who helped clear up.

And THANKS TO ALL OF YOU who supported the fête. I hope you all had a great time and that we’ll see you all again next year. Joanne Kember

Calor Village of the Year 2007

Unlike last year when we had a lot of preparation time, this year the Calor Village of the Year judges descended on us with little notice. Fortunately there was a lot going on in the village on the day. The school proudly showed off their Eco Garden, the Bowls Club were playing a match and the Police were questioned as part of the judges routine enquiries!
It was also the first day for our two new Police Community Support Officer’s. Thanks to Katharine Crockford who organised the afternoon, helper Diane Bell, Councillors Jacky Maskall and Josie Ralphs and to Councillor David Burton who drove the judges around the parish to see all the businesses.

Overton Police are questioned by the judges

Overton Planning Application
by Cllr Phil Humphreys, Chairman Overton Community Council

Back in October the Community Council received plans for 11 dwellings to be built on land previously owned by Springfield Supplies (11 Bangor Road). Immediately we responded in writing to WCBC to point out that the large number of houses was out of character with the village ethos, and how we are concerned about the "pile them in" mentality of Wrexham Council Planning Department (who have to accommodate about 600 new houses per year in the Borough).

Other reasons for our objections are that the water / waste system is not adequate and the large volume of traffic would be both dangerous and inconvenient to residents of Bangor Road. The large number of dwellings would make access for service vehicles difficult. None of the proposed houses are starter homes, as they are all 3 or 4 bedroomed dwellings. They do not comply with several of the WCBC guidelines, but this has been ignored as we are told that they are only "guidelines". (Which renders them pointless?). We have sent numerous letters and have met with Edwards Homes, who informed us that WCBC Planning Department suggested that they increase the number of houses to 11 i.e. increase the number from the 9 that they had previously applied for!

On May 8th the planning application was accepted and passed. We are lodging our objections through the Ombudsman but this process may be long winded and time-consuming. We feel that the voice of the Community through OCC is falling on deaf ears, and this is not the first time that our objections have been overturned.

Where do we go from here? We could of course submit a petition or blockade the site. How strongly do you, the community of Overton, feel about this expansion policy set out by WCBC? If you feel strongly enough and wish to protest, please complete the attached form and post it through the letter box of any councillor, or to the OCC Clerk, Katharine Crockford, in the Village Hall.
To WCBC Planning Department
I object to the building of 11 homes on the 11 Bangor Road site for reasons set out by OCC.

Signed Date


T.R.E.E.S. @ St. Mary’s School, Overton

This month has been amazing… we never imaging that things would happen so fast and we would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every family who has contributed towards developing our outside area.

So what have we been up to? Since September last year we have looked at regenerating a sad, sorry, unloved piece of land on the school field. The children in reception class, aged only five, discussed what they would like to change and include in the area, including a secluded place to have stories and places to encourage birds and other creatures to live.

Members of staff and a group of willing volunteers have developed an ‘action’ group called T.R.E.E.S. which stands for Through Recycling in our Environment we Encourage Sustainability and with regular meetings and ‘helping hands’ days at school, we have transformed the area into a beautiful woodland hideaway, vegetable garden, new pathways and a fire area.

This project has been supported by the Community Council, Wrexham County Borough Council and Wrexham Civic Society and has more recently received funding from BBC Breathing Spaces with the Big Lottery Fund to the tune of £7,624. This will enable the next phase of the project which will include wormeries, compost heaps, animal homes, tools and equipment for the children to use and training to become a ‘Forest School’ and we can’t believe how lucky we are. We are now registered with The Eco- Schools Programme which provides a framework for sustainable development within schools. The process promotes good practice and the involvement of the whole school community.

As a school, we know we can play an important and influential role within our community and the Eco-Schools programme can be used to help raise awareness of environmental and global issues, and encourage positive action, both in and out of school – So watch this space, we’d love you to get involved and look forward to sharing our exciting project with you in the next few months.

View from the Village Vets.
Sleepless Nights.

It is 18 years since we last had a puppy in the house and I had forgotten how much noise an eight week old Labrador puppy can make at 5am when it wants attention! Lack of sleep aside, it is wonderful to have a dog around again – it is nearly two years since my chocolate Labrador died – and we are all enjoying the company of a chewing, wee-ing black bundle. From the veterinary angle we are putting into practice all of the things I tell my clients to do with their puppy and so we have started vaccinations, checked that the puppy has been regularly wormed and are weighing her each week.

Patient: Doctor, Doctor, I keep thinking I am a dog.
Doctor: How long has this been going on?
Patient: Since I was a puppy!

New Gates by Maelor Veterinary Centre.
A number of comments and concerns have been raised about the appearance of new gates on the path between the public car park and Pen-y-Llan Street leading past our surgery. The signs advising that the path is not for public use have all been vandalised or removed and one of our windows along the path was smashed recently.

Contrary to widespread public belief, the path IS NOT A PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY. This has been confirmed by Wrexham County Borough Council which has refused to accept any responsibility for either the upkeep of the path or any liability in case of injury to anyone using it.

In response to a number of pedestrians walking through the garden of the property next to the vet centre and as a result of conditions imposed by his insurance company, the owner of the land and buildings (not Maelor Vet Centre who are tenants) has therefore quite properly and lawfully placed gates at each end of the path to warn pedestrians that it is not a public right of way and that any member of the public who continues to use it must therefore accept that they do so ENTIRELY AT THEIR OWN RISK.

We hope that this will clear up any confusion concerning the path and it’s use.
Mark Spurdens, Maelor Vet Centre. 01978 711975.

by Alan Jones.

The season of agricultural and horticultural shows is upon us with their wonderful displays of flowers and vegetables. A young lady who has a remarkable talent in growing both is 8yr old Alice Foster of Parkside. She has produced a remarkable display alongside the Flats, devoting time and care in producing many types of vegetables in pots. While Alice is growing all the main types of vegetable she also has sweetcorn, cress, chives, squash, spring onions and is looking forward to her first tomatoes. A tub filled with flowers by the entrance to the Flats is another of Alice’s accomplishments and she is eagerly awaiting the flowering of sweet peas later in the summer. Mum and Dad are justifiably proud of her achievements with Sandy looking forward to a much reduced supermarket bill.

Your Letters...

Dear Editor,
I am delighted that there is finally some investment in the White Horse Public House. However I do feel the need to make comment about the inability of the building team to clear away the debris after a days work. I walk my dog daily in the High Street and have to make sure that she is not walking on nails, large sharp pieces of flaked paint or pieces of brick dust.

I employed a local plumber to fit a new bathroom which created a lot of daily debris. It was not only his skills as a plumber that I was impressed with; but his ability to leave my home clean & tidy after a days work. I appreciate that rendering work is a messy job but surely part of a building contractor’s due diligence is a simple sweep up of the affected area of the High Street at close of play each day? I look forward to a response.
Maxine Stringer

Dear Editor,
My Neighbour and I both read about the new police uniform in May’s Oracle with interest. In the last few days we have both been asked for information by uniformed policemen. To our eyes the new uniform is very similar to those of security guards or delivery men, an we wonder whether it would be possible to add to the new police uniform something that instantly says ‘POLICE’.
J. Brown

Dear Editor,
Last year Howard Jones, our local butcher, had on display in his shop a photograph of an antique fire engine. This had the name Bryn-y-Pys printed in gold letters on each side. As no one knew anything about it I spent some time researching this photograph.
The horse drawn fire engine, one of the contents of Bryn-y-Pys sale in 1950, proved to be a great attraction. The day of the horse drawn fire engine had gone long ago as had the private mansion fire engines. The shafts of the Shand Mason & Company patent steam engine had been replaced by an attachment for fitting to a tractor. The engine was finally sold to Mr Tom Parry of Bangor for £24. He towed it from the sale behind his car and gave a ride on the engine driver’s seat to Miss Spoon, a 72 yr old Bangor shopkeeper who had always wanted a ride on one.
Betty Williams
P.S. In my article about “Drama in the Village” I omitted to write that 3 cast members of “The Wishing Well” were Brian Done, Elliot Williams and Howard Jones.


A big thank you to Chris and Ann Billington for hosting the Ruabon, Erbistock & Overton NSPCC Coffee morning on 13th June in the idyllic surroundings of their immaculate garden. Many thanks to the locals who came along and helped raise £310. Any one interested in joining the committee or helping in any way please contact Janet Edwards on 01978 710277.

Gwynneth and Cynthia would like to thank everyone who turned out and supported the Tea Party on May 30th which raised £212.00. This was shared equally between The Dogs Trust and North Clwyd Animal Rescue.

On behalf of Lion’s President Frank and the members of Wrexham Maelor Lions Club we thank the residents of Overton-on-Dee for their donations and support at our recent coffee morning. We raised £335.20 a much needed boost to our funds.


Dr Michael Bloom started Friday 1st June and Dr Gareth Bowdler on Monday 18th June. Dr Pam Linney had her final surgery on Thursday 28th June and we will give you a short ‘This Is Your Life’ on the two new doctors together with a table of who is doing what, where and when soon.

We need patients who are seen on a fairly regular frequent basis and have access to the Internet to volunteer to be part of a pilot scheme for ‘Booking your appointment on line’. If successful we can then offer the facility to all our patients who are on line but you will still be able to book appointments either in person or over the telephone.

As much as we keep reminding patients about missing their appointments the figures show that we are not improving with regard to this problem. For the first 3 months of 2006 204 appointments were missed but for the first 3 months of this year the figure was 220 ! This is rather a sad reflection on the importance some patients place on attending the surgery. Please, please let us know if you cannot make your appointment – we don’t need to know the reason, just a few seconds of your time to cancel is all we ask.

Dates for your diary: Practice Patient Participation Group Monday 23rd July at 6.00pm.

Overton Community Council News

New Council Chairman
At the May council meeting Councillor Josie Ralphs retired as Chair of the Council after two years in post.. The council expressed their thanks for her guidance over the last two years and presented her with flowers. The new Chair, former Vice-Chairman Phil Humphreys was elected un-apposed. There was a vote for the position of Vice-Chair which was won by Councillor Joanne Kember.

New Playing Fields Maintenance Man
John Austin tendered his resignation in June for health reasons. At the June Council meeting thanks were expressed for his hard work and contribution to the environment in the village. The Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Patrick Loughlin who started in June.

Calor Village of the Year Competition 2006
The £500 prize is to be spent on a new notice board to be placed outside the Village Hall.

Scouts News

Overton Scouts joined with Bangor Cubs to attend the Clwyd Area Centenary Camp at Bangor Racecourse over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. In spite of the weather over 1,100 Scouts, Cubs and Beavers enjoyed the activities.

In June it was back to normal activities when Overton Explorer Scouts started their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award community service project, which will see them clearing obstructions from Overton’s 45 miles of public footpaths.


July Birthdays: Happy Birthday to Mrs Fan Foulkes, Grace James 90yrs young, Lesley Pugh, Miranda Austin and Davina Pritchard

Belated 14th birthday greetings to Jenny on June 2nd. Lots of love from Mum, Dad and Lucy.
Belated June birthday greetings to Sandra Jones.

David Bell from Erbistock has very suddenly passed away. Our condolences to Jenny his wife and to his Family and Friends. He will be very greatly missed.


Congratulations to Olive and Walter Roberts on the birth of their fourth granddaughter, little Ellie born to Helen and Ian Roberts.
Congratulations to Sheila & Keith Miller on the birth of their first grandchild, Joe, a son for Andrew & Gayle.