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

May 2003


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

Medical Centre Plans Delayed

Plans for the new Medical Centre in Overton have been delayed. The New Centre was expected to have been ready for opening this Autumn. However, it is understood that the scheme has had to be revised following the initial round of consultations, and has not yet even been placed before the Wrexham County Borough's Planning Committee.

G.P.'s and their staff have worked closely with Trinity Medical Properties Ltd and B & R Partnership, on an ambitious plan to bring the medical facilities at Overton into the twenty-first century with the development of a new medical centre. The design will meet the stringent requirements of the Practice, the Trust and Wrexham Council, ensuring that the proposed building blends within the conservation area. The importance of landscaping and the protection of existing mature Yew trees around the site have been taken into account in the siting of the building and its relationship to the adjacent Church.

The new building will provide much more space and feature up-to-date consulting rooms, treatment suites with minor surgery rooms and sufficient administration areas. Patients will enjoy a warm welcoming building where Doctors and Staff, together with District Nurses, Health Visitors and other health professionals will be able to provide a wide range of medical services to the community.

The construction of the Medical Centre will necessitate demolition of the existing building and the practice will move into temporary accommodation on the nearby public car park for approximately nine months. Construction will commence as soon as planning consent is granted, which the G.P.'s hope will be imminent.

The new Medical Centre has been the long-term vision of the practice and all are delighted that it is nearing fruition.

Ian Cowan, Superintendent Pharmacist at Rowlands said: "Rowlands have applied to the Wrexham Local Health Board to relocate the pharmacy in Overton. The proposed site is a co-location with the new surgery, with the added benefits that this will bring to patient care. Rowlands will be able to enhance their existing services to the community by transferring their operations from the existing High Street premises to a larger modern pharmacy and Chemist in the new centre. This will of course mean that the existing shop in the High Street will become vacant. "

The original plans allowed for the new centre to be built in stages with the first phase being constructed on the site of the former bowling green. However, because of the re-design this is no longer possible, and Trinity Medical Properties have just submitted a planning application to erect a temporary surgery building on the picnic area adjacent to St Mary's Church for the period of construction of the new centre.

Objections to the use of the picnic area have been made to Wrexham planners by the Overton Community Council.

New Community Policeman Appointed

PC Darren King has recently taken over from PC Pat Burns as the new Community Beat Manager. Based at Overton Police Station he is responsible for policing the vast area known as The Maelor, including the Ruabon area. The area stretches from Ruabon to Cross Lanes, Bangor on Dee, from Bronington to Bettisfield and as far as Redbrook Maelor near Whitchurch. PC Burns has moved to the Wrexham Control Room.

PC King comes to Overton with his wife Sharron and their three children, Zoe aged 7 years, Robyn aged 5 years and a son Ethan aged 1. Both Zoe and Robyn attend Overton St Mary's Primary School. The family, who live in the Police House in Station Road, are very much looking forward to becoming part of the community. PC King said " I would like to stress that although I live in Overton, the Police Station is not manned 24 hours per day. However, if I am not there, anyone can contact me at any time by telephoning 290222 and leaving a message for me. Of course, if it is an urgent matter then dial 999."

Letters to the editor

Dear Sir

I hope that, as editor of the excellent Overton Oracle, you can allow an old man a little space to express his gratitude to the Head Teacher, Staff; Governors and all concerned with St. Mary's school for their outstanding achievements since its opening in 1986, and to reminisce a little about the way in which it came to be placed in their so competent hands. After all it is their continuing vision and perseverance that has made it what it now is, beyond, I think, our most optimistic expectations.

When I came to Overton in 1957,1 was pleased that I had a Church School (Controlled) in the parish and early on I invited the Diocesan Director of Education to come and speak to me and other interested incumbents about the implications of Controlled and Aided status and the prospects of moving from the former to the latter. At that time the County was not keen on denominational schools. I continued to hope and Education Sunday each year gave me an opportunity to speak, among other things, of my vision for our School

The decision to replace the old school and a change of heart at County level gave our Diocesan Director of Education, Canon Philip Davies, the opportunity to offer us Aided status in the new School. On the whole the Governors welcomed this and encouraged the School to prepare for the change, which, incidentally, involved the election of a new Governing Body because the ratio of representation would change. The Parochial Church Council was understandably more cautious as the new status demanded an immediate and continuing serious financial commitment over and above Welsh Office, County Council and Diocesan contributions.

Under the 19th century School Sites Act landowners were encouraged to make sites available for new schools on the understanding that, when the school was closed, the site and everything on it would revert to them or their heirs and successors, in this case the Bryn y Pys Estate. Thanks to the late Mrs (Sarah) Rosselli's enthusiasm for the project, she and her trustees promised a substantial donation, which made it easier for the P.C.C. to take the plunge. With the help of the Diocesan and County Directors of Education and the Welsh Office we had some input into the approval of the plans and the day to day processes of financing and building the new school. This ,of course, involved our own fund raising in the parish.

As the building neared completion the new Governing Body was appointed and its first task was to appoint a Head Teacher, as the change of status meant that this was a new school and not, in strict terms, a continuation of the old.. They made their choice, a choice which subsequent events have fully justified.

I had put off retirement for a year to see the building completed and was allowed to remain in the Rectory for a further six weeks or so until the ceremony of Dedication and Opening (10th October 1986) attended by The Bishop of St. Asaph, the Rt. Rev. Alwyn Rice Jones, the Diocesan and County Directors of Education and in the assembly most appropriately to my mind, Chancellor Walter Williams successor elect, whose early interest augured well for his future commitment, the Rector being inevitably a key player in the life of an Aided School. Mrs Clarke's presentations at the ceremony gave a foretaste of her vision, attention to detail and her ability to inspire Staff and Pupils, and from that auspicious beginning I have had the pleasure of hearing of the continued devotion to the original vision of Head Teacher, Staff, Governors, Rector, P.C.C., community, the Diocesan and County agencies and all those, including, l am sure, the parents, who, as I have said, have developed the school beyond our most optimistic expectations and 'will undoubtedly continue to do so. My most heartfelt congratulations to you all. May God's blessing go with you.

Yours very sincerely,

Peter Jones Retford

An Ode to an Old Yew Tree
By Margaret Evison

Oh sacred tree, sheltering bodies for centuries, watching with wisdom and tolerance the many changes.

Your ancient gnarled trunk has split and hollowed inside and yet you still show your resilience to time by producing evergreen shoots from your divided boughs. Your succulent berries are the delight of birds and they in their wisdom ignore the poisonous interior.

Your eager earlier growth has slowed down to give way to slower maturity; your growth ring now smudged so that it is difficult to tell how old you really are.

Your reaction to what life has dealt is shown in your strong trunk. You drink in gentle rain and feel the warmth of the sun on your elegant branches. In winter the snow weighs them down and icicles hang from your laden arms. Your shallow and deep roots combined ignore the restless wind invading your territory. You are proudly aware of your recently discovered healing powers.

In a world of turbulence and change your heart is lifted by the sound of the bells drifting through your branches. Hope is in the air as the congregation makes their way to Church.

Written, following the talk by Andrew Moreton at St Mary's Church, Overton as part of the recent Wrexham Science Festival.

Ed: Had we known about this event we would have been more than happy to advertise it.

TEAM VACANCY Overton Oracle

A vacancy has occurred on the Oracle Team. The Team meets monthly to determine the form and content of the Oracle, and to receive items for discussion prior to publication. If you are interested in the community and feel you can contribute to the work of the team we would be pleased to hear from you. Please ring 01978 710422 for more details or talk to any team member whose name you will find on the last page of the Oracle.

Don't turn your back on Crime - it's your call!

Did you know that at least 50% of all crime goes unreported?

Figures for crime reported in Wrexham County Borough Council between April 2000 and April 2001 are as follows:

Burglary - 1755 cases with 82% of detected burglaries committed by offenders from the County Borough.

Vehicle crime - 592 vehicles stolen in 2000/01. 19% were recovered burnt out. 97 Motorcycles stolen

Criminal damage - 37% of criminal damage was to a vehicle 24% was to a dwelling

Anti-Social behaviour - 12550 incidents reported to the Police. 547 complaints of noise made to the Council.



There's been lots of speculation recently about who is the author of this column. Various names have been suggested - all wrong, of course. Actually, it's me. You won't have seen much of me round the village as I've been living away and have had to send my contributions to the Editor by E-mail.

But all that is about to change and I'll soon be with you personally. The trouble is that things have got a bit difficult where I've been living and I'm having to make a move. I'm thinking of changing my name, too. Henceforth I'm to be known as Soddem. The name came to me when I saw those American infidels pulling down my beautiful statue.

Naturally I'll be claiming political asylum when I come to join you as I rather think I could risk persecution if I had to return to my present home. I understand, too, that you provide new arrivals with suitable living accommodation. As you know I enjoy plenty of space and get a bit claustrophobic if I have to remain too long in one place. So for a start I would like to have Springfield Park - all of it, I mean,- just to tide me over while I set about building a few palaces.

I understand that your Village Hall houses your Amateur Dramatic Society, known locally as AmDram. In the future it will be called SaddAmDram. I'm afraid there will be only one actor and only one act but I'm sure you will all enjoy seeing me firing my gun one-handed. I'll soon have the old Courthouse up and running again. It seems a shame to see such a fine old building left unused.

I'm planning to join the Community Council - or rather I will be the Community Council. A new taxation system is urgently called for if I'm going to carry out all the incredible ideas I have in mind. It's a bit unfortunate that you have no oil in Overton but perhaps I could reopen a few coal mines to raise a bit of capital and on the wages I'll be paying I'll very soon show a profit.

So, here's to a prosperous future - for me, at least.

See you soon!

Overton Drama Group Prepares for Next Play.

Overton Amateur Dramatic Society is currently rehearsing for its next play "Innocent Eve" written by Christopher Kelly. The play, which is being directed by Mike Redworth, will be staged in Overton Village Hall on Thursday 22nd May, Friday 23rd May and Saturday 24th May 2003, commencing 7.30pm.

Gerald, played by Stephen Sorfleet, has a plot of land for sale. It is only a small plot but sizeable enough to attract a big developer. In one corner lives Rowan (played by Linda Done) a likeable new age traveller who is heavily pregnant with Miles's baby (Nick Harrison) Michael (Alan Edwards) a rather camp but well meaning neighbour lives adjacent and gets involved with the discussion about the development. The site foreman is Gavin (David Hughes) whose lads are on a bonus. The relationship between Eve (Joanne Kember) and her husband Gerald is strained to say the least. All bodes for an interesting discourse between all parties until the development is brought to a halt by Michael's cat.

Tickets are now on sale at Rowlands Chemist, High Street, priced 3.50 each

Maelor School Receives Second National Lottery Grant
By Belinda Owen , Community Development Officer

Earlier this month The Maelor School received confirmation that the final 5,000 would be funded by the Wrexham County Borough Council Rural Scheme. As a result we are able to install up to date sound equipment in the School Hall and an induction loop for the hard of hearing. The School's facilities are used regularly by our local community who until now have always had to hire sound equipment separately at an additional cost. Thanks to the generosity of these three funders we are now able to provide a desirable facility both for our pupils and their families and for our wider Community.

If you would like to use the Hall for a fund-raising event or if you would like to bring a production to the Maelor Community please contact Belinda Owen on 01948 830291 to discuss our competitive hire rates and obtain details of the other facilities which the School has to offer. Looking Back By a reporter old enough to be able to!

Memory Lane

This month we feature a photograph taken at the beginning of the World War ll, when a local branch of the Observer Corps was established, with its HQ at Overton Cross.

The Overton members included Mr F Fowles, Mr H Bradley, Mr C Roberts, Mr J Burgess, Mr G Jones, Mr C Barrett, Mr G Barrett, Mr L Mumford, Mr J Hughes, Mr E Williams, Mr C Hughes, Mr W Gabriel, Mr J Woolley, Mr W Moody, Mr C Wright, Mr T Hughes, Mr W Davies and Mr J Woodfine.

How Overton "Gambled" with Electricity - A Success Story!
By Ken Farrell

The history of electricity in Overton is really the story of Archie Gamble. Apart from a few anecdotes I had earlier picked up from long-time residents of the village I knew very little about him. Fortunately I contacted Kelvin Davies who originally lived at Electricity House, where it all started and he was more than able to fill in the many gaps in my knowledge. Here, then, is what Kelvin told me about this man who was a true pioneer in his particular field.

Electricity first came to Overton in 1926 and the supplier was Archibald Rennie Gamble, known locally as Archie. He was a Leicester man and his early exploits included providing stage lighting to many large theatres and Music Halls. He also had business links with his neighbours, the Curry family, now famous for their many electrical retail stores. While installing an electrical supply to a newly opened Curry's shop in Oswestry he was approached by a man asking if he knew anything about generating electricity. The reply was in the affirmative and he was invited to investigate the possibility of supplying power to the village of Glyn Ceiriog. The situation was perfect and a disused water mill was utilised for the purpose with installations in Dolywern and Chirk quickly following.

In 1926 Overton had a brand new Village Hall and Mr. Gamble was invited to install a small generating plant for its lighting and, at the same time, a further plant was installed in a bakery in Penyllan Street. There was clearly a huge demand for this new technology and a public meeting was called to discuss the possibility of lighting up the whole village. North Wales Power, the predecessors of MANWEB, attended the meeting but concluded that a supply to the village was not economically viable as Overton was too far from its existing lines. Mr. Gamble then offered to supply every property within the district free of charge initially, with installation costs to be recouped via slot meters - an offer too good to miss. However, there was a small pocket of resistance, with one local dignitary claiming that electricity was evil and that the intensity of its light could cause premature blindness! Nevertheless work commenced and Overton & District Electricity Supply became established at Electricity House, off Station Road, now owned by Neil and Karen Archer.

What happened next beggars belief. (to be continued next month)

A Race for Life!

A team of 16 ladies from the Overton area are entering Cancer Research UK's Race for Life on 11 June 2003.

The race of 3 miles (walking and running) is to take place at Chester Zoo and the team from St Mary's Primary School (aka The St Mary's Fairies) are looking for your support

Please sponsor generously as all money raised is targeted to find cures for cancer that touch women's lives.

Look out for them training! Wings and all!

Details of races at www.raceforlife.org

Ed: Please give your support to this event which will raise much needed funds for this worthwhile charity.

Garden Open

Once again Anne and Chris Billington, Argoed Cottage, Argoed Lane, Overton will be opening their garden to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme.

This well cared for garden of 1.5 acres with a wide range of beds full of interesting herbaceous plants and shrubs will be open on Sunday 18th May from 2.00pm to 5.30pm. There are many other idea-giving features set amongst beautiful trees and lawns. Home made teas will be served in aid of the NSPCC. Admission 2, children free.

In Brief

  • Congratulations to David and Sara Jarman (nee Blair) on the birth of their son Nathan Luke an 2 April 2003
  • Gerry Owen wishes to thank everyone who helped and contributed to make the recent Overton Royal British Legion Coffee Morning such a great success.
  • As a result of the continuing vandalism to the brick BBQ at the playing fields, Wrexham Road, Overton Community Council has decided to make arrangements for it to be removed.
  • Mr Timothy Rosselli is planning to canoe down the River Dee to raise funds for the New Organ at St Mary's Church, Overton. He will be seeking sponsorship for the event, which is likely to take place in July
  • Two Councillors are to retire from the Community Council this May. Cllr Kath Price Jones attended the very first meeting of the Community Council following Local Government Reorganisation in 1974 and has had unbroken service as a Councillor since that time. Councillor Ken Farrell who joined the Council in 1991, became Vice Chairman in 1992 and Chairman in March 1999, holding office until July 2000. Both Councillors have made a significant contribution to the work of the Council. The Oracle wishes them good health and happiness in their retirement. These retirements have the effect of creating two casual vacancies that may be filled by co-option. Anyone interested in becoming a Community Councillor should apply in the first instance to the Clerk of the Council, 1 St Mary's Court, Overton, Wrexham.
  • Johannes Adrianus Vermeulen, who created the Ellesmere bakery and delicatessen, Vermeulen's, died on April 5 at Legrand Nursing Home, aged 82. Born in Holland in 1920, he came to the U.K. with the Dutch Army. He married Thelma in 1946 and had three sons, Peter, Frank and Tony. The Vermeulen business was set up in 1968 and he worked there until his retirement at the age of 77. The business still remains in the town, going from strength to strength.

Overton St Mary's Primary School Registration and Open Day

Just a small reminder that places at Overton St.Mary's School are rapidly filling for the academic year 2003 / 2004.

This is not surprising, given the School's impressive academic record, and committed Staff.

If you have a child that you wish to register, please contact Head Teacher, Pat Clarke, as soon as possible. She will give you further information.

If you wish to learn more about the School, its record and activities, you can also attend the SCHOOL OPEN DAY on Saturday, 10th May, from 10.00 to 12.00 am.

Outbuilding Converted into a House without Planning Permission

A building in the grounds of Station House, Lightwood Green was recently converted into a house without planning permission. Officers of the Wrexham County Borough Council reported to the Planning Committee, who authorised the officers to issue an enforcement notice to remedy the breach. However, the owners of the property have now submitted a planning application (in retrospect) for permission to retain the dwelling.

Anyone wishing to make representations concerning the application may do so in writing to the Chief Planning Officer, Wrexham County Borough Council, Lambpit Street , PO Box 1290, Wrexham , LL11 1WL.

Christian Aid Week 11th - 18th May
By Revd Jenny Arthurs Overton Methodist Church

Christian Aid does valuable work in many parts of the world, and 11th - 18th May 2003 is a particular focus for supporting them.

What happens to the money you give? Christian Aid responds to immediate situations such as the one in Iraq, and also supports projects in around 54 countries which help poorer people to help themselves. They form links with local organisations who know the situations there. This may involve digging wells to provide clean water, giving small loans to develop local business projects and provide employment. They also help people to develop literary and work skills, provide health education, help people to know their rights, and many things that we take for granted. As well as supporting many projects like these, Christian Aid also has a long history of campaigning to change the circumstances which trap people in poverty.

How can I support this work? You can send money directly of course, or visit their website (www.christian-aid.org.uk). Or why not support one of the activities arranged by the Churches in Overton during this week, when you could pass on a donation (which can also be gift-aided). Why not call in to the Hunger Lunch at the Methodist Church on Wednesday 14th May from 12.00 - 2.00 pm, or the service at St. Mary's at 7.00 pm the same evening, when all monies will go to Christian Aid.

We look forward to seeing you, but most of all please support Christian Aid.