128 Miles through the Welsh Marches on a bike.

On the 14th May, Margaret Samson of Millwood Rise, Overton, set off on a 128 mile cycle ride to meet her family in Herefordshire. This was undoubtedly a great adventure for Margeret, who journeyed alone. There were no sponsors, there was no back up team, just the support from people she met along the way. This is her story.

I was due to meet my family on 20th May, 2000. In an inspired moment, or a moment of madness, I said, "All right, I'll come down on my bicycle". As soon as I had put the phone down, I realised that I had started on a big project. I talked about it to all and sundry, so that it would be more difficult for me to back out without loss of face! I bought bike panniers and self-healing inner tubes, a gel-filled saddle cover and a mileometer. I committed an act of vandalism by cutting the relevant parts out of six Ordnance survey maps.

When I first packed up I could not lift the bike. So everything went out on the floor and only those things really essential were put back. I started training in a mild way: 20 miles a day or so. This was the sort of distance I thought wise for my years; also I would be travelling alone, so if I got into difficulty it would take hours to sort out. My mobile phone was my safety line. In the event I had no problems and reached each destination at about 2 o'clock.

Colin Davis, my neighbour, packed me and the bike into his van after lunch on Sunday 14th May and dropped me at Acton Burnell, just south of Shrewsbury and I was on my way.


I then enjoyed the most splendid and interesting seven days. I stopped in all the villages and went into the Churches. Throughout Herefordshire they were open and beautifully kept. I spoke to many people on the way and strange co-incidences of memory and experience were revealed. The countryside with the birds and flowers were at their radiant best: Shropshire and Herefordshire must be two of the most unspoilt counties of England.

My stops were at Church Stretton, Aston-on-Clun (a rose-covered cottage by a mill race), Orleton, Felton (a lovely old vicarage where I arrived wet through and my host took all my wet clothes and returned them to me washed and aired the next morning). I then stayed with friends at Ledbury (a beautiful country town with a magnificent Church), and on to Tewkesbury: to enter this great Norman Abbey is like going into a forest: the tree-like pillars are so vast and stand so close they seem like trees.

I finally arrived at my destination in Cheltenham fully 4 hours before any of the rest of the family coming by car!

My only sadness is that the adventure is over! What shall I do next? You must get on and do things while you're young!

Margaret Samson

Local Police appeal to motorists.

Complaints of speeding motorists in the village have become regular. Consequently, local people will have seen the recent activity of traffic Police Officers in Station Road, and many people have been reported for speeding. This initiative will continue. We are now becoming most concerned at the speed motorists choose to travel along School Lane, particularly at school drop off and pick up times.

As a community, we should all work together, for all our sakes, to ensure that accidents can be avoided. It was disappointing to note that of those persons caught speeding recently, the majority live in the village.

May we appeal to all local residents, now, to moderate their speed in the area of the school. This road will now be the subject of careful monitoring by the local police, as the situation has to improve. Please remember that if you are caught speeding, as well as a fine, your licence will be endorsed with a minimum of three penalty points. This may have a direct effect on next year's insurance premium!

The next time you drive through the village, please give this matter a serious thought and help to ensure that you will not have a calamity on your conscience.

PC Paul Wycherley PC Walwyn Edwards.

Fed up with receiving "junk mail"?

If you wish to put an end to receiving ‘junk mail’ or calls from tele-sales people, who for some reason always seem to be called Andy or Sharon, contact one or more of the following agencies. You should see a significant reduction within 4 - 6 weeks.

To stop "Junk Mail" write to the Mailing Preference Service, FREEPOST 22, London WE1 7EZ. or telephone them on 0845 703 4599. To stop calls from tele-sales people, who always ring when you are having an evening meal, ring the The Telephone Preference Service (0171 766 4420) or to stop receiving unsolicited fax mail ring the Fax Preference Service on (0171-766-4422).

You can also contact the Bereavement Register ( tel 0870 600 7222 ) which can prevent mail continually being addressed to those who have recently passed away, which obviously can be very distressing to the bereaved.

Youth discos receive praise.

The Overton Youth Advisory Committee, which runs the junior discos in Overton to raise funds for the youth club, has received praise for the way it has addressed the problems associated with previous Discos. It has received a letter from the parents of a 14 year old who regularly attends the Youth Discos, in which they say how impressed they are with the new levels of supervision being used.

At previous discos, they were becoming increasingly worried at the apparent freedom of the children to wander around the village which, they say, not only put them at risk, but also the residents of Overton and their property. As parents, they were having grave doubts about whether their daughter should continue to attend the discos. They felt that although they could not expect the organisers to baby-sit the children, if they gave permission for their daughter to attend, the least they could expect is the children being restricted to the site of the venue. This is now the case.

When their daughter returned from the disco in April, she commented upon how nice the new doormen were and how relaxed the police supervision was. She told them that the doormen were able to supply first aid if necessary and if someone left the venue they had to pay the full entrance fee to get back in. She said " It was great to be able to dance and enjoy ourselves without worrying about whether someone was going to cause trouble."

The letter went on to say that if by restricting the movements of the children, one can reduce the risk of alcohol being consumed, drugs being accessible or unsupervised relationships developing, the increased supervisory levels will only work for the good of Overton Disco and the Overton community. They ended the letter by congratulating everybody involved with the Youth Committee on their efforts to provide rurally based children with a disco that allows them to have fun in safety.

The letter was countersigned by 28 young people who regularly attend the discos.

Ed: It is understood that the use of professionally qualified doormen, as suggested by the Police, has played a significant part in not only detecting and confiscating any alcohol but has also reassured parents that their children are being well looked after.

Golden Celebration for Canon Hywyn Jones.

At a special service on Sunday 18th June the parishioners of St Mary's Church were delighted to help Cannon Hywyn celebrate 50 years in the ordained ministry.

A vicar's son, Hywyn grew up in the shadow of Snowdonia and by the time of his ordination had already achieved a great deal. Still only a teenager, he enlisted and, as an infantryman took part in the D-Day landings and also served in the Far East. Having survived the war he continued his studies, graduated and was ordained on 17th June 1950.

His first parish was Barmouth, where he served as a curate and, most importantly met Valerie though he could not appreciate at the time that they would eventually be married. It was not long before the Services beckoned again and Hywyn decided to join the RAF as a chaplain and during his 15 years he served in many parts of the world including the Far East, achieving the rank of Wing Commander.

During his spell in the Far East, Hywyn and Valerie became engaged and Valerie flew out to Penang to be married in 1957. In 1967, Hywyn yearned for parish life again and spent 11 years as Rector of Betws-y-Coed followed by 10 years in Holyhead and three in Portmadog.

By now Valerie had also joined the Ministry and her first parish was Glynceiriog and although Hywyn was by this time technically retired, he found himself to be as busy as ever and we are very fortunate to have them both with us in Overton.

At the special service, which was attended by many friends from previous parishes, Canon Hywyn's close contemporary, Canon John Vaughan Griffiths told the large congregation of Hywyn's many qualities, not least his qualities of leadership, his compassion shared with thousands of his parishioners over 50 years and of the many challenges faced and overcome by Hywyn and Valerie together. After the service Hywyn was able to chat to his many friends over a glass and refreshments and was presented with an inscribed decanter ( and a suitable bottle to empty into it!), from the St Mary's parishioners.

Hywyn and Valerie have marked the occasion by the gift of an aumbury, now located in the Lady Chapel and used to maintain a supply of consecrated bread and wine

Congratulations Hywyn from us all - we wish you many more years in (semi!) retirement.

Phil Humphreys - Churchwarden

Roanne Air Show invitation

As reported in a previous issue of the Oracle , the British Consul General, Lyon, has extended an invitation to the community of Overton to attend a special air show in France to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. This is being staged with the co-operation of the RAF and will take place on the 10th September.

Those attending will fly from Birmingham to Lyon on Saturday 9th September. They will be met by members of Overton’s sister twinning association, and driven to La Murette where they will be accommodated for the weekend, returning to Overton on Monday morning to arrive in Birmingham about midday. Several people have already expressed an interest in attending this unique event, which will feature a display by the Red Arrows. For more details or to book a place on the trip, please telephone Ken Farrell on 710392.

Can you help? Overton Twinning Association is looking for your help in providing accommodation for a young mother and her two children from the 22nd July until 29th July as part of this year’s twinning exchange with La Murette. If you can help in any way, please telephone 01978 710422

Postbag

Dear Editor,

Readers of the the Wrexham Leader's popular column "Looking Back", written by our well informed local historian will have been intrigued by his recent article on Knolton Mission, in which he tells us that in 1887 the then Rector, the Rev. GJ. Howson was the inspiration behind the setting up of the Mission Hall in what was essentially "an act of outreach", aimed at local people who did not wish to make the journey to St Mary's to conduct their worship. Where our local "Tin Church" differs from the many other similar ones which are being closed down all over the country is that after 113 years nothing has changed. Unlike other churches which have lost their congregations ours still retains a dedicated body of supporters who, despite being locked out by the very people who should be supporting them, are prepared to meet and worship outside in all weathers rather than switch to St Mary's.

The "Leader" article also discussed something on which the Church authorities have continued to remain stubbornly silent - the fact that the mission is a Grade 2 listed building and cannot be casually demolished or simply left to rot. His suggestion was that it should be dismantled and re-erected at St Fagans Folk Museum and thus "preserve an aspect of Welsh rural life not lost forever". But Knolton is decidedly not a museum piece - it is a thriving and much loved Church. Would it not be easier and better simply to hand over the key and allow the congregation to carry on doing what they have enjoyed doing for the past 113 years - worshipping the Lord in their own Church?

And if it is a question of money, surely a way could be found to formally pass the liability for maintenance to the Knolton congregation. This would achieve 3 objectives. It would ensure the preservation of the listed building, it would re-establish harmony and peace in the community and especially between the PCC and the congregation at Knolton Bryn and, finally, remove any liability for the costs of maintaining the Mission from the coffers of the PCC. If the will is there, the unachievable becomes achievable!

Meanwhile, I am reliably informed that a growing number of people are unhappy with the whole business and have decided to cancel, or not renew, their covenanted donations to St Mary’s. Also, the planned giving envelopes, until as recently as April, suggested that donations were still being split between St Mary’s and Knolton Bryn Mission, despite its closure. I note, however, that wiser counsel has now prevailed.

Name and address supplied

NEWS IN BRIEF

  • We were sorry to hear that Ron Broadhurst ,who looks after the playingfield at Wrexham Road, recently suffered a heart attack and will have to undergo major surgery. We extend our best wishes to him for a speedy recovery. In the meantime, Peter Williams, of Lightwood Green, has stepped in to maintain the play area.

  • Quick thinking saved the occupants from a blazing house at Bryn Hovah in the early hours of Monday 19th June. Five fire engines attended the blaze which started in the airing cupboard, and completely gutted the staircase and central part of the house. Luckily Stephen Sorfleet awoke to the sound of the fire and immediately alerted his two sons and mother-in-law, who managed to get out of the building unharmed. Fortunately, Stephen was able to use his son’s mobile phone to alert the emergency services, who did a marvellous job containing the fire. His wife Jayne was away on a week’s study course at the time.

  • St Mary’s Church are organising a summer outing to Rhyl on Saturday 29th July. Tickets are 3 each with the option of buying matinee tickets for "Gospel Rocky’s" Millennium tour Panto at the Pavilion Theatre for an additional 3.00 Tickets may be obtained from Rowlands the Chemist , High Street, Overton.

WHAT’S ON

OVERTON RECREATIONAL CLUB

The AGM will be held on

Friday 7th July

at

9.00pm

on the Club premises.

Matters for discussion are to be forwarded to the Secretary prior to the above date.