A Tribute to Princess Margaret

On Saturday, 9th February, Princess Margaret aged 71, sister to Queen Elizabeth II, died peacefully in her sleep after suffering a stroke. Her children Lord Linley, 40, and Lady Sarah Chatto, 37, were at her side. The Palace said Princess Margaret suffered a stroke the day before and developed cardiac problems during the night.

Tributes were paid from World leaders and personal friends to a Princess who was a person of immense vitality who took great pride in her royal duties. The many charities with which Princess Margaret was involved also paid tribute to her unseen work behind the scenes, doing much to change public attitudes to HIV and AIDS as patron of the Lighthouse and Terrence Higgins Trust.

In a special television interview, Prince Charles described Princess Margaret as his "darling aunt", adding that "the last few years with her awful illness were hard for her to deal with, particularly as she was such a wonderfully vibrant woman with such a free spirit".

Many of Britain's older generation remember Princess Margaret as the "party princess". In the 1960s and 1970s, Margaret became somewhat of a jet-setter, attending high profile parties across the world.

Margaret was a heavy smoker for many years, suffering repeated respiratory illnesses and had part of a lung removed in January 1985. She had suffered two mild strokes since then and was latterly confined to a wheelchair, often wearing dark glasses

Her downward spiral from the most beautiful debutante of her generation can be traced to the death of Peter Townsend in 1995, with whom she had had a doomed romance in the 1950's that gripped the nation. Margaret gave up the man seen by friends as the true love of her life, because he was a divorcee. At that time the royal protocol insisted that members of the royal family should uphold the church's teachings on the sanctity of marriage. Her decision won the sympathy of the nation.

However, the Princess found happiness again with her husband the newly created Earl of Snowdon and immediately threw herself into the jet-set scene of the sixties. But there were serious problems with the marriage which eventually ended in divorce after her affair with Roddy Llewellyn with whom she spent many hours at her Caribbean home on the island of Mustique. But in time this relationship also floundered, and as the years went by she became more depressed and unhappy. This led to smoking and drinking to excess, which more than likely contributed to her first stroke in 1998. She was plagued with illness from that date onwards and her last public appearance was in December last year at the 100th birthday party for Princess Alice, the dowager duchess of Gloucester widow of the third son of George V, the queen's grandfather.

But there will always remain the vivid image of a strikingly beautiful women who with her death leaves behind a story of Hollywood proportions.

The Queen Mother, at 101 years and despite an earlier fall, flew by helicopter from Sandringham determined to say a final farewell to her younger daughter. After the service in St George's Chapel, Windsor, attended by over 400 mourners, the Princess was taken to Slough Crematorium for a private cremation without any royal present, in accordance with her wishes. Her ashes were returned to St George's Chapel, where they were placed in the Royal Vault.

Jubilee festivities planned

The Jubilee committee is making good progress with ideas of a tea party or Hog Roast at the Playing Fields on the afternoon of Monday 3rd June, thus allowing individual street parties to be held beforehand. The afternoon and evening will take on a carnival atmosphere with various stalls and entertainment planned, including fancy dress competitions and balloon races. Funding to stage all these events is needed and the Jubilee committee is asking various organisations in the village to raise money by fund-raising prior to June or to make a donation towards the festivities. It is thought that about 2000 will be needed to cover the cost of staging various activities, possibly including a beacon and a fireworks display. Overton playgroup is holding a disco on May 31st with a fancy dress theme of Kings and Queens, the profits of which will go towards the Jubilee fund. They will also be holding a street party at the Playcentre over the Jubilee weekend.

Among other ideas put forward to raise funds was the making of a photographic record of members of the community for a small donation given to the committee's funds for a copy of the picture. Other fund raising events over the weekend include a repeat showing of the film of the Queen's visit to Overton in 1992, a display of old photographs in the village hall, and possibly a Karaoke evening.

The Oracle will continue to publish dates when various fund-raising events are to be held, and will carry a special edition in May to cover all the events planned in the community over the Jubilee weekend.

My Coronation Day by Margaret Samson

It was the 3rd of June 1953 and my sister and I were lucky enough to be given tickets which my uncle had won in the Civil Service sweep to occupy a position in the stand right opposite the doors of Westminster Abbey. My uncle did not need the tickets himself as he was a Silver Stick in waiting within the Abbey.

We had to arrive by about 5.30am. as the streets were closed at 6.00am. I found myself next to a smart late middle-aged lady. I was 22 at the time. She had a strong Germanic accent. After about three hours, I thought I could ask her where she came from. "Chelsea" she replied. So I lapsed into a prolonged silence. After some time I plucked up the courage to speak to her again and learned that her son was an M.P. Later she told me that she had been present at the coronation of the last Czar of Russia and the Czarina Alexandra; at that coronation several hundred people had been crushed to death in a crowd stampede. This good lady, so smart and controlled, later had to flee from Russia in one of the anti-Jewish purges. She was luckv to escape once again, this time to England, and was once more witnessing a coronation. What an experience of the first half of the twentieth century.

In addition to this we, of course, saw all the great figures from all over the world arrive and alight at the doors of the Abbey. Churchill, the greatest living Englishman and once again Prime Minister and all the leading political figures, and the foreign royalties and heads of state. One of the most memorable was the Queen of Tonga, an enormous lady of infectious smiles, bowing and waving to the crowds with an enormous sunshade to protect her from the rain. Finally, of course, the young Queen with Prince Philip in the fantastical gold coach.

Before this however, at about 10.30 am, the news of the conquest of Mount Everest passed from mouth to mouth through the ecstatic crowd. Edmund Hillary (a New Zealander) and Sherpa Tensing had stood on the top of the world. The news had taken several days to get down the mountain and be relayed to London, arriving just before the 'crowning' event of the day.

To say that, in spite of the showers, we all went away happy would be an understatement. Was this the dawn of a new Elizabethan Age?

STARGAZER

Those of us who enjoy a leisurely stroll around the village often walk up the Millennium Meadow and along Argoed Lane to return home up the Bangor Road. Apart from the twisty bit near Carreg-y-Ffranc the route presents few problems. Not so, though, if one chooses the other circular ramble up Musley Lane to come back along Station road, where the seemingly endless traffic, often tearing along around blind corners, especially between Cannister Bank and Little Overton, constantly threatens the walker.

Many moons ago, on the 26th November 1895 to be precise, and long before the infamous Dr Beeching wielded his dreaded axe on the railway system, the then Overton Parish Council proposed that "we beg to draw attention of the Flintshire County Council to the increased traffic from Overton to the Railway Station and consider a footpath would be a boon to pedestrians" Increased traffic!!! They could have had no conception of what lay ahead over a hundred years later. Nevertheless we cannot help but commend their far-sightedness and only wish that their proposal had produced a positive result.

It took until the 22nd March 1944 for the Council to say to Flintshire County Council "that a footpath from the Police Station to Holland's pit was required" and, as we all can see today, this time they were in luck. But what a golden opportunity was missed in 1895!

Young actors excel in Dahl Play

At three sell out shows, 40 young actors from Overton's Amateur Dramatic Society's Junior Section performed excerpts from three of Roald Dahl's books, the much loved by parents and children alike. These were Revolting Rhymes, Dirty Beasts and The Enormous Crocodile.

Produced and directed by Sue England and featuring such characters as Miss Trunchball played by Ruth Overthrow, and Mr and Mrs Twit played by Sheila Miller and Mike Redworth whose spontaneous cross exchanges held the audience's attention, the performances were a real credit to the youngsters who had been practising since last September. Roald Dahl was played by 12 year old Ricardo deRosa; Gareth Overthrow played Arkle; Sam Hanmer took on the role of Thwaites and Lucy England was Mrs Pratchett

Sue England said: A lot of new faces took part in the show which was lovely - we had children taking part from the age of six upwards"

A donation from the show's takings is to be sent to the Roald Dahl Foundation.

What we do in the Youth Club.
By Allyce Starkey

On 30th October, a gang of thirteen were taken to the Megabowl at Chester. The evening was subsidised by the Club and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. We are now looking forward to next time.

On the 20th November, Gaynor and Russell took us on a spending spree! Toys 'R' us in Chester didn't know what had hit them when the gang arrived. We were in search of some 'decent' stuff' for the Youth Club. We bought about 12 board games and a Scalextric set. After about an hour in the shop, we left for the nearest McDonalds - we had loads of fun spending Youth Club money!!

Our Christmas treat was a trip to Border Quad Trekking. On 16th December, we got the County's mini bus and travelled down to Middletown, near Shrewsbury. Upon our arrival we filled in forms and togged up with helmets and waterproofs. Our group of seventeen was then divided into two groups and we got onto the Quads. We followed the leaders around the fields, up and down hills and got covered in mud in the process. After the trek we were shown into one of the farm outbuildings and enjoyed a welcome drink and crisps. On the way home we stopped off at McDonalds at Chirk for our lunch.

We had a great time. Many thanks to the Youth Club staff for making the arrangements.

Forthcoming events of skateboarding and ice-skating are shortly to be arranged. We are also planning a weekend away when the weather gets better.

No we don't always end up in Mac's - it just seems like it; but the McFlurrys are very nice!!

COUNTRY BEAT
by Constable. Pat Burns

As Community Beat Manager for the Maelor Section, I would like to thank the Oracle editorial team for allowing me to have a regular monthly feature called "Country Beat". Through this column I intend to provide you with information on new initiatives, crime prevention advice and advance notice of my surgeries.

Since last November, I have been thinking about rekindling the various ''Watch' schemes. In the past, we've had Farm Watch, Neighbourhood Watch and even Tanker Watch, but why label everything?

For this reason I would like to start a new collective 'Watch' scheme, and since we live in the country, what better term to use than "Countryside Watch". Everyone can take part and join. It's nothing more than being a good neighbour or citizen and together hopefully we will make our homes and villages a safer crime free environment. It costs nothing to join. All you need to do is ring one of the numbers below, leave your name, address and telephone number and the exact location of your property (especially for more isolated locations). You will then be included in the scheme, gaining peace of mind and the knowledge that you are doing something worthwhile for the community.

Have you ever had that feeling that something is just not right... a car driving slowly around an estate.....a person walking past you but they don't want you to see their face.... Lights on in a property which you know is vacant.... that gut feeling something is wrong.....I want you to tell me about it. Never think it's not important to bother anyone about it. Let me be the judge of that. In fact what may seem trivial to you may be very important to me!

In an attempt to provide a better service to residents in the Maelor, I also intend to commence some Police surgeries, starting off initially in Hanmer and Bronington, so you can discuss with me any Police issues in your area.

The facts are that car crime is on the increase, far outweighing burglaries in this area, and one that we are trying to reduce. We will be steering a campaign in the Maelor, called IMPACT DAY on Friday 8th March when officers will be in Overton and Bangor-on-Dee distributing information to help stamp out or reduce this type of crime.

PC BURNS 01978 290222 Extn. 5420 MAELOR NFU OFFICE 01948 830211

AN INTERVIEW WITH SCOUT LEADER DAVID BURTON

In another first for the Oracle we feature an in depth interview with Overton Scout Leader, David Burton.

How long has Overton had a Scout Group?

DB: Overton Scouts is one of the oldest groups in Wales. It was started in 1909 just two years after the inaugural Scout Camp on Brownsea Island led by Robert Baden Powell. We found documentary evidence of this in the record office at Hawarden when Simon Edwards was writing his book 'Blood Sweat and Badges' for his Queen's Scout Award. We also know that as the Group is called 1st Overton it has existed in an unbroken line from 1909 to the present day. Scout Association rules lay down that if a Group closes and then re-starts it has to have a different number e.g. 2nd Overton.

Can you see a time when Overton could be without Scouts?

DB: Yes, I can. Regrettably in the 21st Century people do not seem to want to put anything back into the community; it's a problem all societies in the village have - it's the same few people running their activity without anyone younger being prepared to come in and help. I joined Scouts in 1982 because it was a way that a newcomer like me could get to know people in the village. That doesn't seem to be happening today and yet there are lots of new families coming into the village. I suppose it is due to the wider choice of entertainment we have today.

Are you saying that the numbers of young people coming into Scouts is falling?

DB: No, far from it! We have a vibrant Troop with about 20 regular members. Our problem is the lack of leaders. Cubs (8-10 year olds) closed some time ago when our Cub leader left and we haven't been able to find a new one. We have never had Beavers (6-8 year olds) and yet Scouts and Ventures are still thriving.

So with no Cubs or Beavers how do you recruit youngsters?

DB: Well all of our Scouts have come up from Bangor Cubs where they have never had Scouts. In fact we have a situation where for some time now we haven't had a Scout from inside the village of Overton.

So how do you intend to take things forward?

DB: The answer is to recruit some adults to start a Beaver Colony and restart the Cub Pack, but in order to do that we first need a new Group Scout Leader and some extra helpers at Scouts to create the back up support for the Beavers and Cubs. It's a chicken and egg problem.

We thought you were the Group Scout Leader?

DB: No that post was held by Harold Toone until he retired just before Christmas. I'm currently running Scouts and Venture Scouts. However this is my 20th year involved in the Group and my time is coming to an end.

Why is that?

DB: Pressures at work and also it's time the Scouts had someone closer to their age to relate to. There are some major changes to the way Scouting works arriving in April, which will have an effect on the older Scouts. Explorer Scouts (14-18 years) will be organised on a District Basis, (in our case Wrexham), and Scout Network (18-25 years) that my Assistant Scout Leader Tony Grice from Bangor will take over. I will become involved with Explorer Scouts and Scout Network.

So if anyone is interested whom should they contact and what is involved?

DB: Initially me on 01978 710631. They would start within the Troop, which meets at 7 - 9pm every Friday. They would also have the support of the District training team who would provide the necessary training, which we all have to agree to.

What sort of people and how about women?

DB: Both sexes are welcome, many Scout Troops are run by women these days and the majority of Cubs and Beavers are run by women. In a recent survey of Scouts the most popular activities are still camping, climbing and canoeing and all that goes with that type of activity. In spite of the changes in society and the range of entertainment available, traditional Scouting stands up well!

Many thanks to David Burton for this interview

Local man wins award to visit Ecuador

Fred Edwards from Cloy Lane, Overton, has won an award of a lifetime to carry out research in the rain forests of Ecuador.

To achieve this award he had to demonstrate an ability to carry out locally based environmental projects on his return, thus contributing again to habitat conservation. His research in Ecuador will take about two weeks and he will be working at the Yanayacu Biological Station, assisting Dr Lee Dyer and Grant Gentry, by gathering caterpillars and food plants and carrying out experiments and chemical analyses.

Caterpillars are both major rainforest herbivores and targets for predators and parasites. They have been forced to develop a bizarre armoury of survival skills, such as incorporating plant toxins to protect themselves against parasites. Understanding these complex strategies is essential in preserving the rain forests.

Fred Edwards said: "I hope to learn about the magic, diversity and complexity of the rain forest, not only as a web of ecosystems, but also as an enriching visual and spiritual experience".

As a contemporary visual artist, Fred has also been granted another award of 1250 by the Wales Arts Council towards the cost of travel to Europe for a study tour of university museums and natural history.

Neighbourhood recycling site proposed at Overton

Wrexham Borough Council is favouring the Church Road car park as a possible solution to increasing the amount of recycling in the area. Alterations to the site will be made to accommodate six 1100 litre large "wheelie" bins specially adapted as recycling banks to take different types of waste, but only after further consultation. The Council intends to make the site as attractive as possible, and will ensure that any litter generated is cleared as soon as possible. A Council spokesperson said: "The recycling service will be under the direct control of the Community Services Department which will allow flexibility and efficient servicing of the site."

The matter is to be debated at a meeting of the Community Council on Tuesday, March 12 in the Parish Room, Overton.