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

Oct 2002


The Editorial Team

Alan Edwards - David Burton - Ken Farrell - Lesley Pugh - Christine Stead

Our reporters cannot be everywhere.

If you have a story contact any team member or ring 01978 710422

Vikings challenge the Celts at Erbistock

A Viking longboat was seen on the River Dee at Erbistock taking on the Celts in the Great Erbistock Raft Race which attracted 80 craft and drew well over a thousand people to watch them navigate the 2 mile course.

September 8th was the day eagerly awaited by many who had spent hours designing and building their various craft ready to take part in the Race which commenced at 1.00pm. Twenty-four hours prior to the start saw competitors taking their rafts along the narrow lanes to the Boat Inn, Erbistock, the starting point for the Race.

The organisers had done an excellent job preparing for the arrival of the rafts, each having their allotted position.

What a colourful and amusing sight they made as they lined up to set sail 4 at a time. As a spectator it was very difficult not to end up covered in flour or eggs as the battle commenced. No chance if you were aboard one of the rafts! The moment of truth came as they entered the river. Relieved faces and laughter followed when they actually did float, although one was seen to take off down the river upside down!

Over a thousand spectators took their places at all the main viewing points along the river, enjoying the fine weather which certainly helped make such an enjoyable day. One of the most popular spots was at The Mill, where the rafts could be seen attempting to negotiate the weir. This section sorted the men from the boys. Loud cheers from the crowd encouraged the rafters on, and you could see the elated faces of the crews as they negotiated the rapids without mishap. Others were not so lucky, and floated down the river with their raft in pieces.

There was a huge variety of rafts, with a few looking as if they had come straight out of Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons", whilst others were very sophisticated designs, including a pink car, the African Queen and a simple raft with four crew in their whites drinking Pimms, who unhurriedly folded up their garden chairs on the approach to the weir, placed them flat on the raft, went over the weir and then calmly got up, unfolded the chairs and carried on drinking.

Once over the weir it was a short meander down the river to the finish line at the Cross Foxes where crowds had gathered in a carnival atmosphere to welcome the rafts home.

All monies raised from sponsorship, sale of programmes, etc. is being donated to two main charities, and two local causes:- Wrexham Maelor Shooting Star Appeal, Frank Wingett Cancer Appeal, Local Scouts and Guides and Erbistock Church

As evening fell, the crews, their supporters and many others all made their way back to the Boat Inn, where the winners of the various categories were announced by Simon Wingett. A party then began with an excellent Jazz Band, a Disco and Barbeque. Then as darkness fell, the night sky was filled with a superb Firework Display.

Congratulations to the organisers who gave up so much of their spare time to put the event together and the Cross Foxes and Boat Inn for helping to make it such a memorable and enjoyable day.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir,

I attended the Community Council on the 10th September and listened to the Clerk of the Council read out a number of letters that the Council had received from parents who were horrified to find from press reports that their children were attending St Mary's Church, where it is alleged, a person on the sex offenders list is allowed to sing with them in the choir. I also heard a Councillor say that a Child Protection Policy is in force which is followed at all times, that the person concerned had been welcomed into the Parish, and that there was nothing really to worry about.

I was saddened to hear that once again the Church seems to have made decisions which have aroused deep concern within the village. I remember the whole saga over the closure of Knolton Mission Hall, a very sad affair, with no thought as to the negative effect it would have on the Church. Now it seems the Church in Wales, the PCC, and the Rector cannot see the damage this latest episode has had on the Church. In my opinion this matter, like the saga with Knolton, is sadly adding to the divide between the Church and the community of Overton. This is just not my view either. It is the view of many people I have spoken to since the meeting.

Yes, I am a Christian too, and I do believe in forgiveness, but I have to ask where does the loyalty of the PCC lie in this matter. Does it lie with this one man, or with the wider community of Overton. In my opinion it would be a wise and sensible decision for this man to voluntarily move on to another pasture. Perhaps then we can all get back to normality and start building a better and sustainable respect for the Church and what it stands for.

Name and address supplied

New season starts for Music Society

The Maelor Music Society's 34th Season begins on Wednesday 16th October 2002 at 7.30pm in the hall of the Maelor School, Penley

The first concert features the Sirenian Singers, winners of the Choir of the World Trophy at Llangollen and many other prizes. This is a choir not to be missed. The choir's guest artist is Oliver Sammons, baritone, a gifted artist who in 1991 as a treble won the coveted title of Choirboy of the year.

There are five concerts this season, including a performance by students from Cheetham's School of Music, which once again promises to be a magical evening of talented youth. Later in the season there is a concert by Northop Silver Band which always attracts a full house and the Society is grateful to the Wrexham County Borough Council for sponsorship of this concert.

by Constable Pat Burns

Like so many other villagers, I was also present at the Community Council Meeting on 10th September. I attended in "plain clothes", as it was my day off, so I don't think a lot of people recognised me. These issues are very awkward for me due to the regulations governing confidentiality. However, if I can reassure the village, I am aware of current events and monitoring the situation very carefully. If anyone would like to speak to me regarding such issues please do so, but remember I will not be allowed to speak about any individual because of the rules and regulations, but I may be able to explain the position of the Police in such matters.

I would like to thank the resident for taking the time to ring CRIMESTOPPERS following my article in last month's Oracle. We now have information, including names and addresses of persons who may be responsible for the damage to the Cricket Pavilion and information on drug users in the village. By the time this article comes to press they will have been " visited".

CRIMESTOPPERS is a confidential way of passing information to the Police. You don't have to give your details. The number is free phone 0800-555-111.

Car theft is still the most common crime in the Maelor. This is despite our campaign back in March. Rural isolated communities are the most vulnerable. If you require any advice on the prevention of car crime or crime in general please contact me at Overton Police Station.

On a closing note can I convey my praise to the organisers of "THE GREAT ERBISTOCK RAFT RACE" on 8th September, for which I was on traffic duty. This must have been a headache to organise, and I think they did a splendid job. Hundreds of people turned up to be entertained and it was a great family event.

The traffic was chaos and there must be some locals in Erbistock who were upset by this, but I'm sure lessons will be learned for future events. My only complaint after 8 hours of traffic point duty, which I confess I haven't done for a long time, is that my feet were killing me and I was glad to get home!! Well done all of you.


  • The Country Fayre held at St Mary's Church on 31st August raised 650 towards the new organ.
  • Overton Community Council has awarded a grant of 250 to the 1st Overton Scout Group to help it replace outworn equipment.
  • At a recent meeting of the Community Council Euan Stevenson, Sundorne, Overton, was co-opted as a Community Councillor following a ballot of members. Euan replaces Councillor Maureen Evans, who recently retired after serving 18 years on the Council.


The Youth Club is back, after the long summer break, with plans for a busy autumn. Some of the activities that have been suggested are, 'Nail Art' and advice on general nail care, making Christmas Cards, trips to Waterworld and the cinema and a fundraising 'paintathon'. Some of the members' handiwork can already be seen in the now blue hall and stunning pink loo - ladies only! The next project is to paint the main room yellow - a huge task - possibly a sponsored event. (Watch this space)


Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plates grinding against each other. Britain is hundreds of miles from any plate boundaries, but the Atlantic is widening by two centimetres a year.

Ed: How do they know that? Someone must have a very long tape measure!!



Yes, we certainly are in the news but, sadly, it's the News of the World as well as the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and various local newspapers. The story is now too familiar to require detailed repetition but, basically, it concerns an ex-vicar who is currently worshipping at St. Mary's Church after finding himself on the police sex-offenders' register. He and his family are members of the choir, he has on times read the Lesson and it was recently proposed that he should assist with the serving of Communion.

The problem has been that but for the PCC who approved the idea in the first place, very few or hardly anyone in the village knew anything about it. The publication of the story has produced a strong reaction among some local residents, especially the parents of young children.

In a statement to the Press a Church in Wales spokesman said, "The matter of his acceptance within a loving and forgiving Christian community was discussed by Parochial Church Council members two years ago. In the meantime Mr. Orpwood and his family have been embraced by the vast majority of the congregation." Canon Valerie Jones added, "The fact that he is a member of the congregation is nothing out of the ordinary." Which is fine so long as the whole community feels the same way, but, sadly, these sentiments represent the opinions of only a tiny minority of Overton's residents. What the vast majority feels has been vociferously expressed since the news broke and especially at the last Community Council Meeting.

Furthermore, residents have wondered why our small community should have been chosen for this ex-vicar's religious rehabilitation in the first place. He lives in Wrexham, where he has been employed as a postman and people have wondered why he did not choose to attend a church in the much more anonymous environment of Wrexham.

Oh dear! Just like the premature closing of Knolton Bryn Mission this latest action by the Church has once again proved to be an extremely ill-conceived idea and has brought our village most unfavourable publicity in the national and local Press - something that we could well have done without.

A Special invitation to 10 Downing Street

Mark Kelly grew up and attended school with his village friends in Overton. His Mum and Dad, Ray and Lyn ran the Overton Fish & Chip shop. When he was 18 years of age he decided to go and find his fortune in London. This was obviously a successful move as he is now Private Secretary to the Government Chief Whip working at 9 Downing Street. Mark has been spotted on T V walking behind various Prime Ministers carrying the Red Box on official visits. In July he invited his proud grandmother, Mrs Lyn Evans, Bangor Road, Overton and his parents on a tour of "No 10".

As they arrived at the gates at the end of the road the expected security checks were rigid, as bags etc., all had to be searched. Standing at the famous front door the policeman was interested to hear them speaking Welsh as he originated from Llandudno.

The State Rooms which they then entered were absolutely wonderful with the most beautiful chandeliers and decor finished in gold.

The modest exterior of the building gave no clue to the size and grandeur within. The most exhausting part to the visit was climbing the main staircase. The 18th century staircase is built to an impressive cantilever design, with no visible supports. Portraits of every Prime Minister line the walls. You will never see the current Prime Minister's photograph on the staircase. Only when he or she leaves will the photograph be added to the wall and each portrait moved down.

It was a great thrill for them all to stand in the Cabinet Room, which is separated from the rest of the building by sound-proofed double doors. At the rear of the building they were shown the garden which is used for social gatherings and press conferences. There was however a personal touch, as at the time of their visit the garden was littered with toys!

As they left the building Concorde flew overhead. It seemed a fitting end to the tour.

Angry Parents attend Community Council meeting

The Parish Room, Overton saw an attendance of 36 members of the public, the largest ever for an ordinary meeting of the Community Council, to hear the Council consider numerous letters expressing deep concern over an alleged sex offender being allowed to be in presence of young children at St Mary's Church, Overton.

News broke of the matter in the national press, which was then quickly picked up by the local newspapers. The Clerk to the Council read out angry letters received from parents since the press coverage.

Parents were furious that they had never been informed that Jason Orpwood, a former vicar of Bistre Parish Church, Buckley and who was allegedly on the sex offenders list following a police investigation two years ago, was allowed to be in their children's presence. They all expressed serious concern for the safety of their children who either attended St Mary's Church as members of the choir, or indeed as children of St Mary's Church Aided School. One letter said: "Many children will automatically think of him as "someone to be trusted" by the fact they see him taking part in Services".

Councillor Humphreys, who is also a Church Warden and Chairman of the Governors of St Mary's Primary School said: "The Police were satisfied with the present arrangement. Everyone is entitled to attend church."

Such was the strong feeling of parents that a call was made for a public meeting.

The Community Council has written to the Bishop outlining the fears of parents and is awaiting a reply.

Over three hundred exhibits at Village Show

The thirtieth Annual Overton Village Produce Show was held on 7 September in the Village Hall. There were over three hundred exhibits by forty-six entrants. Of those exhibiting there were entries from eight children displaying their varied talents. It is good to know that children are being encouraged to take part in the Village Show. Each year the Judges are very impressed with the high standard of exhibits and this year was no exception.

Tables on the stage were filled with items submitted by WI members for the Handicraft Show which created a great deal of interest. Mr George Owen very kindly presented the prizes to the winners. Thanks were extended to the Judges, to those who contributed to the raffle and to all who had helped in any way. This was another successful Show due to the support it receives year after year.

Trophy Winners

Exhibitor with most points Mr G Owen British Legion Cup Runner-up Mr J G Evans Tradesmen's Cup

Overton WI Member with most points Mrs B Roberts Lowther Cup

Three Potatoes from seeds Mr G Owen Fitzhugh Goblet

Three Tomatoes Mr J G Evans September Plate

Display of not less then 3 kinds of vegetables Mr G Owen Trotting Mare Cup

Vegetable Section - 3 Onions from seeds Mr D B Davies Farmers Cup

Fruit Section - Cooking Apples Mr G Owen WI Cup

Blooms Section - 3 Chrysanthemums - reflex Mr J Parry Healey Salver

Specimen Rose Mrs M Worthington Pam Upton Memorial Bowl

Flowering Plant Pot Mr J Parry Rosselli Cup

Flower Arranging - Arrangement of 5 Blooms Mrs M Worthington Kath Hamlington Memorial Trophy

Arrangement to represent a Song Title Mrs M Worthington Mrs Wright's Cup

Flower Arranging - Novice Mr J G Evans Mrs Bransby's Cup

Cookery Section - Victoria Sandwich Mrs H Rennie Mrs Sumsion's Tray

Preserves Section - Jar of Crabapple Jelly Mrs A Billington Mrs Woodhouse's Bowl

Children's Classes

Luke Williams Mrs Roberts' Shield

Matthew Lawrenson Mrs Watts' Shield

Luke & Julia Williams Mrs Price Jones' Shield

Christian Chalk Mrs Wason's Shield

Matthew Lawrenson 21st Anniversary Shield

Congratulations to all! The Next Show is on the 6th September 2003

Planning Applications

Wrexham County Borough Council has granted planning permission to fell a Sycamore tree at 4 Peel Close, Overton and for a Conservatory extension at 14/15 Salop Road, Overton.

An application for Listed Building Consent for replacement uPVC doors and windows on the rear elevation of 16 Salop Road was refused.

Overton Community Council is notified of all applications within its administrative area and the public can also examine and make comment upon the applications by visiting the Planning offices at Queens Square, Wrexham.

New Oracle Team Member

The Oracle welcomes Jackie Evans, of Quinta Cottage, Turning Street, Overton as a member of the team. She attended her first team meeting last month when discussions were held upon what items we should be covering in the forthcoming issues. The Oracle will shortly be entering its fifth year of production!! As one national journalist said recently: "When people do and say things, there's always something to write about"

Have you had your flu vaccination yet?

The doctors at Overton Surgery are recommending that all those aged 65 and over should have a flu vaccination. It is also recommended for those in the "at risk" groups, namely those who suffer from heart disease, chronic chest disease, and nursing and residential home residents.

All you need do is contact the Surgery and make an appointment with the nurse in one of the flu clinics.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot contract the flu from the vaccine.


Family, friends and neighbours send their love and congratulations to Marion (Sinclair) and Simon Edwards, The Mill, Station Road, Overton, on the birth of their twin daughters Haf (7lbs 1oz) and Aoife (7lbs 2oz) on Friday 20th September 2002. Simon wishes to thank everybody for their kindness and support.

And another message received reads: "I would like to introduce myself, having arrived in the World on the 8th August 2002. I'm Annabel Lea - Mummy and Daddy are Becki and Lincoln and we live in Welshampton, but my Nannie and Grandad (Davina and Geoff Pritchard) live in Overton and I like going there. Hope to meet a lot of you soon .

Ed: We are always happy to print details of births, marriages,exam successes or whatever, and even divorces if you are that way inclined!!

Hello to folks back home

The following message was left on the Overton Web Site: My name is David Edwards. I moved to Canada in 1981 with my parents Dilwyn and Rosemary and my sister Helen.

We lived in Redhall Lane. I would like to extend a "Hello" to all my family back home. We currently have some new additions to our family in Canada. My daughter Bronwyn was born on 15th July 2002 and my sister, now Helen Green, has just given birth to a baby boy named Charles on 2nd September.

It is good to read (The Oracle) about our old home, keep up the good work.

French trip in the planning stages

Members of Overton Twinning Association will be visiting La Murette for a week at the end of July 2003 as part of the exchange visits that have been arranged between the two villages.

Alan Edwards, Chairman of the Association said: "This is a wonderful opportunity to see France and the French way of life first hand, and is especially suited to parents with young children. Now is the time to start thinking about next year's holiday. People in La Murette are very welcoming, you will make many new friends and return with some very happy memories. Anybody living within the community of Overton can take part , but I need to know soon so that we may take advantage of an early booking, and therefore cheaper, air flight."

Interested? Then contact Alan who will be able to give you more details.

Tarot evenings proving to be popular

Have you ever wondered what the future may hold for you. Then why not get together with a few of your friends and attend one of several Tarot Evenings being organised by Alan Edwards, 1 St Mary's Court, as part of his challenge to raise 2,500 for MIND, the Mental Health charity. Confidential Tarot readings will be given (not by Alan) to up to six people on a Friday evening on a monthly basis during the coming months. Alan said "These have been quite popular, and dates for October and November are fully booked." The cost of the private readings will be 10.00 each, which will include a free complimentary glass of wine. Join up with your friends and have an enjoyable evening.

Please contact Alan to confirm your booking for December onwards.