Some notes on the early years of the Dorcan Church

NEWS LETTERS.

We have had many News letter editors over the years. Evelyn Merritt was our first editor and then passed it on to Eliz Bowlers, Nigel Sharp then continued working on it. Stuart Fisher was the next editor who worked on it for a while, and then Derek Owen took it over in 2002 until 2010 when he moved to the Lawns.

DORCAN CHURCH & DORCAN WALKERS

Paul Wheatley was the vicar when I joined Dorcan Church in 1975, and the Methodist minister I think was Peter Muff. Paul had a wife Iris (who was a registrar) and three children, two boys and a girl (Fenella - who has since died).

I used to go to Paul's office in the vicarage on two mornings a week (paid) and do many secretarial things, weekly notices, correspondence etc. as well as wider things like Synod work - Paul was on committees I believe.

He had done some youth work in the past and was in the habit of taking youngsters on holidays. He had a link with a church in Germany (when the wall was still up) and took a group of youngsters over there.(I was to have been the female helper on this trip, but discovered I was pregnant and had to dip out).

One holiday he had arranged with a previous church was a walk for young people along the Cotswold Way. After joining Dorcan he suggested that some of the congregation might like to do it. Whereupon about 30 of us set off in a coach one May half-term day in about 1978 and walked 81 miles of it in a week. We slept on school floors, church halls, a water mill and we had a minibus (manned by Janet Prichard and Roy Wilcox) which carried our sleeping bags, air beds etc. to the next stop and also arranged for food to be ready on arrival. Some had to give up for various reasons in the middle of the week. But most survived ! It was a brilliant trip and I have never forgotten what a great achievement it was for most of us. My oldest two children walked every stop aged 6 and 8 !

Following this adventure the Dorcan Church Walkers was born. The following year saw us doing part of the Pembrokeshire Coast and so it went on. Personally I took a break for a few years whilst having two more children, but my husband went with the older two several times. The group did stop walking for a while, maybe during the Sheldon years, but has long been revived. We always walk on the first Sunday afternoon of each month, and during the summer on the middle Saturday evening (followed by a pub meal).

We have done many longer walks - the West Highland Way, Across the Isle of Wight, St. Cuthbert's Way, Pembrokeshire again, the Wirral, many coastal walks, and been abroad to Ireland, Normandy and Madeira (where some people are going again this year).

We are usually between 10 & 20 in number on each walk but there have been as many as 25 ish on a nice day. We now have friends of friends joining us and have regulars joining us from Manchester, Sheffield and Paris on our weeks away. The group still has many regular church members but anybody who loves walking is welcomed.


REFLECTIONS ON LEE ABBY 2010 BY BOB POOLE.
Another Dorcan Church trip to Lee Abbey in July 2010. Lee Abbey had the usual effect on me. Nestling in its fold in the Exmoor Sea Cliffs, it seems to enfold all who visit in peaceful tranquillity. The weekend seemed to stretch ahead in unending delights of walks, talks, sea views and cream teas. That is until the first night when Dud Messe started to outline his views that would become the central theme of the weekend during his sessions. The unsettling idea that there didn't need to be any effort or indeed thought in becoming a Christian; just let go and accept God's Grace freely given without condition for all who would accept.

1. Church Services
ST PAUL'S

St Paul's have two services; 9.0clock and 10.30
For many years we had an evening service at 6.30; for a time the evening services alternating with Timothy's later the evening service in the 1980's were held St Timothy's in the summer and at St Paul's in the winter. In the 1990/2000's the services were usually at St Paul's and only at St Timothy's when we have a morning united service.

Confirmation
Dorcan have held Joint annual spring Confirmation Services with Parks and Walcot; Held alternately in Dorcan and Parks. Lately the Confirmations have been carried out by the Bishop of Swindon for the Anglican Church along with the Superintendent of the Methodist Circuit,

In March 2010 the Service start with a full immersion Baptism for two of the confirmation candidates I believe this was our first time for full immersion.

Advent and Christmas
Lots of services are held in the lead up to Christmas, we have the annual toy service and Christingle services in all three centres.
The brownies and Guides have Carol Services at St Paul's.
Carol candle light services; the Midnight Service and Christmas Day Service at both St Timothy's and St Paul's

EVENING SERVICES

When we had the four ministers, David Parsons, Brian Duckett/Tony Knapp; Paul Selly Dianne Daymond/David Hawks Evening services grow in numbers and worship was very enjoyable as the preachers were able to experiment and plan varied ways of worshiping God in a relaxed atmosphere. We had regular healing services, for a short period Quarterly Sacred Dance worship evenings.
Meditations and Communion passed round the circle.

Since 199???? In Tony Knapp's time the regular evening services have been discontinued due to not having many ministers or organists and many church members joining a Cell Group or fellowship group.

ST TIMOTHY'S

St Timothy' services were at 9 0clock and 10.30 services they were more traditional Anglican/ Methodist. The early service has been discontinued due to smaller numbers.

ELDENE

Eldene services; at 10.30 meeting in the Communities Centre were a less formal service than the others two churches, In Brian Pearce's time occasionally members lead the service themselves.
Eldene had a good Sunday school for the first number of years using the office and kitchen at times; as well as the playgroup room and committee rooms, later some groups met in the Junior school as there was not enough room in the centre.
We decided at one Eldene meeting to have the first and fifth when there was a fifth Sunday of the month as a Prayer and Praise Service; the second and fourth as a Communion Service; the third Sunday a Family Parade Service.
At Eldene; for about eighteen months a number of members met to pray before the service. For about 20 minutes; we prayed for Gods protection for the service and for Gods blessing on people leading the service these were special times and well attended.

From time to time we have shared coffee after the service.

About 1995 a number of children stopped coming and we just had a crèche or Sunday school sat at the back of the church lead by one leader.

2. Mission England; with Nigel Nurture Group in Eldene
When Billy Graham came over from America in the 1980's to hold the crusade in Britain, Nigel Sharp had a lot to do with this and we had a nurture group at the home of Christine and Colin Parsons, with Elizabeth Hogg, Malcolm Furner and Nigel leading it preparing us for any new Christians who were referred on from the crusade.

3. Prayer Night and Morning Prayer
I remember during Brian Pearce's time we had a couple of half nights of prayer at St Paul's and another one at St Timothy's which were well attended and there was a good atmosphere where you felt Gods presence. We have had many healing services over the years since our weekend with the Harn Hill team on a regular basis on Sunday Evenings.


4. Parish Prayers
At 9 on a Saturday Morning we had a regular monthly Prayer hour which went on for many months and was well attended most months; this was run by different lay people leading it.


5. A.G.M Reports
For a number of years in Brian Pearce's time our AGM reports were written and each organisation were asked to give a report about their years activity this meant the report could be 20 pages long and was very interesting


6. Local Meetings Eldene, Liden and St Paul's meetings
We also had a individual meeting at each three centres which helped the people not on the council meeting to know what was going on and was very informative and a friendly meetings were lots of things were discussed this was eventually stopped as it was not in the constitution.

7. Dance Group leading to the Dancing Services
The dance group had a Friday night fellowship; Maureen Iles, Shirley Jones and the Girls, Ruth Parsons, Elizabeth Avery and Lisa Daymond met; where they learnt the dances and got together the order of service, with Elizabeth playing the Guitar and they had chosen readings, songs and dances; These five people lead several evening services which involved and included teaching the congregation lots of different sacred dances. Members of the Church all enjoyed these services and they were one of the best attended evening services. They wanted to wear the same choosing mauve tea shirts and black skirts. They danced round a large Cross which stood very high in the middle of the Church floor (which Colin Parsons made.) The Cross was very effective and meaningful.

Children and Youth Work
8. Sunday Club (Sunday school)
Sunday Club was introduced in all three Centres, when there's been enough children coming, and for a number of years each centre had a large group of children when there were enough adults to be teachers. We had days of training held in Dorcan and some people joined other youth leaders the two year course in the 1990's for the Diocese of Bristol Bishops Certificate Course' the first large group of people finished their training and had a celebration service in the Bristol Cathedral; the Dorcan Band Played for this service.

Eldene and St Timothy's
More recently Eldene and St Timothy's church have not had many children or enough adults to provide groups; so we have concentrated on children being taught at St Paul's.

Uniformed Organisations.

Brownies, Guides and cubs and scouts and venture Scouts later rainbows and………started up.

They were groups in all three centres and were well attended and enjoyed. Run by
St Paul's Barbra Wilcox and
Liden Judith Parks and Dianne Turner
Eldene Colleen Wiseman and ……….

Sarah Prichard remembers making a banner for St Paul's Church when she was in the brownies.
The groups attended parade services but were not attached to the church

9. Girl's Group
Girls Group held in Sue Wray's house for a while. Sue ran it with Linda Emery and then Elizabeth Hogg and Lyn Charleston joined them. After a while numbers increased and it was moved into the Church hall. They had two weekends away at Fort Rocky and Christian activity centre and one week end on a barge; a trip along the Norfolk Broads, and a number of annual weekends going to London M.A.Y.C weekends. Which Hilary Cooke and then Ian Gooding organized?

They had an yearly fundraising morning serving coffee and things they had made for their funds

10. Boy's Brigade 1990-2004
Brian Pearce and Paul Tayler started the Boys' Brigade which was a very successful group for 6 -18 year olds meeting every Friday and run for a good number of years.

Leaders and helpers over the years were Paul Tayler, George Strattan Gill and Nigel Sharp and Brenda Bennett; the boys were involved in sporting events and won many cups. Nigel Sharp took them to many quizzes and sporting events where they competed against other churches youth/football groups unfortunately due to Nigel's poor health and leadership problems it was closed down in about 2008.


An Article in the April 1995 by Paul Tayler BB Captain

It gives great pleasure to make four very important and exciting announcements, The first concerning Nigel Sharp, The Boys Brigade national Staff will shortly be announcing that Nigel has been appointed as one of the 10 new Brigade Development Officers to help prepare and plan the 112 year old BB movement in the 21st Century. The position is part-time and is for five years. Nigel's communication skills and knowledge of the media will be a great help as he strives to raise the BB profile in preparing the way for 2000!
We in the Company and the Church are thrilled at his new appointment and will support him in prayer. Nigel is very surprised, as he had not considered himself. The Boys' Brigade announced they were to set up this new development project, on account of age and only being 3 years in the BB. He will now be part of the National team.

Gill Sharp has just qualified as a Boys' Brigade officer and at the last meeting of the Dorcan Church Council was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Gill will offer much to the male dominated movement and will be working with the Anchor Group 5-8 year olds who form the backbone of our Company for years to come.

Adam Rumbold,16. Currently he is our one and only Sergeant On the 27th April will become our first Staff Sergeant. This is not a common appointment as boys do not stay in the Brigade long enough to become a Staff Sergeant. Adam is a real leader among his peers, and has quite possibly contributed more than anyone to the success of the older group. His enthusiasm is infectious, but more importantly, he is proud to belong to the company. His promotion is justly earned.

On the 11th March the Boys' Brigade had a 5 a side football team for the first time, travelled by coach with Parents and supporters and leaders to Wandsworth in London to compete in the national semi final,

Each match consisted of 12 playing minutes and the boys faced four other teams: - 70th. London; 1st Higham Ferrers; 3rd Gateshead and 1st Hoddesdon. The size of the other boys stunned our team! Who were the youngest and smallest.
The leaders and parents were proud of our team who were wearing their new football kit. They had two tough matches against 1st Hoddesdon and 70th London our team struggled to hold onto their early lead in both games. The second match again slipped by after a 3-1 lead to start with. Our team beat the Gateshead team by 3-2 in the most exciting game of the evening bringing a standing ovation from everyone at the Wandle Sports Complex.

Although our boys were disappointed at losing they all had a wonderful experience meeting the other boys and gained invaluable experience realising they can be a Christian yet still compete in a tough but fair manner. The boys were planning to play in the European Competition later in the Year.

11. Tiny Tots
Tiny Tots was started with Brian Pearce in 1980 at St Paul's and was very popular, with Parents and children, they had a structured little service with Christian action songs and a story and a drawing or making an activity. It was so well liked and was introduced to St Timothy's and Eldene. Gill Sharp ran the one in Eldene for a while and then Hilary Cooke took it on. Hilary and Brian took turns leading the one at Liden. This mid week service attracted a lot of young mums and their children and has encouraged some to come to church on Sundays.
They had an annual summer coach trip mainly to Cotswold Wildlife Park and would often sing the tiny tots songs on the coach trip.

This has continued at St Paul's and St Tim's with different people leading them. They have always been well supported and some to the children have gone on to Sunday school

12. Pathfinders
Nigel Sharp joined Eldene Church in the 1970's and took over the older Sunday school after Ethel Tucker retired. He started Pathfinders which met on Sunday morning, He had a large group of youngsters who really enjoyed the group and got on well with Nigel. Nigel would meet the wardens every now and then to talk over what was happening and shared Ideas. They performed a pantomime and went swimming on a Saturday morning from time to time.

The Pathfinders were taken away on summer camps for a number of years. Hastings, Colwyn Bay and Sidmouth were placed visited. There were organises activities, games, bible teaching etc and sometimes midnight swimming.

13. Sunday Night Fellowship
There was a group of young people meeting on a Sunday night after the service; this was led by Ian and Ann Gooding in their home with Carolyn and Paul Corkrum helping. Later when Ian had moved on; this moved over to Carolyn and Paul's house in Liden. Nigel Sharp took this over in the church hall a couple of years latter; this was mainly with some of the older Boys and they would have a structured talk, quiz and then a games hour playing football.

14. Children's Activity days in Dorcan and the Circuit;
Children's Activity days were started in the 1980s with Margaret and Brian. Some were just for Dorcan and others were organized by the circuit.
The children would arrive and sit down in the front of the church and have some songs before being put in groups and then they would go and do the activities; Which included Cooking, making something in clay and other materials, drawing, quizzes, and a collage was often made; the children were challenged with a word search.
The Children were always keen to be involved with the different activities and were able to take them home. The children were brought together at the end of the session for more songs and the teaching and the cooking was sampled.
One year Brian Pearce and Colin Parsons took their work benches and some were able to do some simple wood work.

15. Maundy Thursday/ Good Friday Activity session
For many years children were invited to an annual activity morning to think about Easter. Hot Cross buns were made and cooked and shared out, crosses were made and the Easter garden were created; some times individually and other times a larger one to be displayed for the Service at St Paul's; The children enjoyed these occasions and we pleased to take home their things, at the end of the morning the leader would share the Easter story and the children would sing hymns.

16. Kings Club
During Hillary Cooke's time about 1997; numbers for Sunday Club in Eldene were low and not attracting any children so Christine and Gill Sharp looked into starting an after school Group,
We found a number of helpers which included Margaret Smith and Diane Duckett and others and advertised it in Eldene Schools the first initial after schools event was really over crowded but after that we had a lovely small group of children from 6-13 come on a regular basis and we shared Christian stories and different activities. This went on for two to three years until adult help was a problem. Ian Gooding came over for some meeting and played his guitar which the children enjoyed.

17. United Services and Lent Groups,
Both Brian and Hilary got on well with the East Swindon Churches so we
we would often have united services at St Paul's or at St Johns and Queens Drive Methodist Church for Lent and Advent, Our Lent courses were united too and people were encouraged to go to a new group. Leaders were encouraged to lead groups outside of their own area.

Brian was very involved in Christian Aid week in October and Christmas care for the homeless was started with people from the East Swindon Churches.

18. Pantomime
The Pantomime Cinderella was rehearsed and preformed one year by members of the Dorcan Church. And another year we had one organised by Nigel about Angel Gabriela

19. Sales
Jumble Sales were a regular event and well attended raising much needed church funds.

20. St Paul's Garden Party. Dorcan School Fete
The garden Party was always a fun occasion with people working together; we usually had good weather, there were a great number of stalls and games out on the grass by the side of St Paul's and attracted a good crowd of people from the community.
One big attraction was the strawberries and cream teas this was a very popular; One year we had people in stocks and the young people enjoyed throwing the wet sponges at the different celebrities. There were lots of different games and the book stall was always well stocked, we used to get a box of new books from Smiths and these were sold quickly.

On year the Dorcan School had a fete and Our church agreed to have a stool selling Scones and jam, I remember going during the opening time and Brian Pearce and John Fry who were manning the stall were taking it in turns to go home and cook some more scones and it was so popular they were selling out fast.

21. Christmas Bazaar
The Christmas bazaar were/are held annually these changed venues and were mainly held at St Paul's. In the early years these were really well supported by the congregation and lots of people from the community joined in and the Church Hall was always rather crowded. For many years Father Christmas had his grotto usually in the playschool room and was always decorated attractively.

One year we had a sale at St Timothy's and we had a lot of lovely cakes I think this year held a cake competition; some were very well decorated. There were so many Cakes it was a job to sell them all.

Another year Diane Turner and Christine Parsons were asked to organize a Craft fare which went down well and was also held at St Timothy's.

In the 2000's when people were more involved in every day life and working Saturday and Sunday support dropped and the hall was never so crowded and not many children came so we did not have a Father Christmas! In 2009 and 2010 again Dianne Killick again organized another great day and raised the Grand total of £1102. We had many people busy manning the stalls. Every one had a good time and friendships were strengthened, the atmosphere was friendly and people were happy to spend there pennies on raffles, books, a big cake stall and rolls for lunch. etc

22. Fancy dress and Easter bonnets and Auctions
There was a fancy dress and Easter Bonnet Parade arranged by Margaret Pearce which was part of a spring sale or the summer garden fate

We have held three or four Auctions the first two were for items sold and one church member was a good auctioneer and this mad a lot of money

The Monday fellowship had an auction in 2000; for funds to send to Africa for a church to replace the church roof.

There have been two Auctions of promises over the years were people have offered their time and talents to be sold for funds which have been well supported.


23. Flower Festival/ Art Competition
We held a two or three themed Flower Festivals two at St Paul's and a second one a number of years later at all three churches which included Nigel Sharp organizing a Children's art competition held at Eldene communitee centre
These were good fun and got lots of people involved in doing the arrangements. These were well attended and raised funds for the Church friendships were made and strengthened as lots of different people were involved in arranging the flower arrangements.

24. Social Events including Harvest Suppers Barn dances
Suppers were held at St Paul's each year with Edith Watson and Barbara Wilcox organizing the food for a number of years with different social events happening. Were had a varied programme with sketches and games
Barn Dances started when Brian and Margaret came and were a regular event usually for Harvest Festival supper, we invited the same callers who were two couples who were very good at leading the dances and we always had fun and this went on for many years. These evenings had a good mix of people from all three churches, and it was great to have Brian and Margaret joining in the Dances. The suppers were well organised by the social committee.
Christine Parsons remembers once walking to and from St Paul's to Eldene with Shelia Evans and Gill Iona and our Children.

25. Trips to the Seaside
We had several coach trips going to Bournemouth and Swanage. I remember 3 or 4 trips, one year it was very popular and we had two coaches; on our way down we would stop off for the toilets at Salisbury and would often go for a walk in to the town from the Bus station. There was a good crowd of teenage boys; Brian's boys would be there with the Lane's and Fry's sons and a number of other friends they all got on so well together. We usually had a lovely sunny day and would all pile off the coach and most people headed straight to the beach, taking up a good part the crowded beach, and lots of us would all meet down in the water, One year I think Brain nodded off and found that his sons went a bit far out on an air boat!
Some of the Ladies from the knitting group would take a stroll round the shops and come back with bags of wool to knit for the bazaar. Our first trip we stopped at a pub on the way home and enjoyed a lovely warm evening sat in the garden and had some lovely fresh rolls for supper

The last trip we went to Swanage; will always be remembered for the Rain; this one was a wash out; It started just as we got off the coach and the rain fell down all day long, most of us spent the time in the café but Brian and Margaret and a few others walked a bit further up the street and found a Church coffee morning on and came back with a few bargains.

Church Holidays

26. Pathfinder Camps
Nigel and Gill organized a National Pathfinder Camp for four years running they were held in boarding schools in Sidmouth, Hastings and Colwyn bay. We had two leaders in charge of a dormitory which had about 10 young people in; the young people were aged from 10 - 14 years old. We took about 80 to100 young people away and had 30 or so Adult helpers


There was a large group of helpers from Dorcan Church and some friends of Nigel and Gill being the leaders, Brian Pearce being the Ministerial Leader. Different people helped from cooking, to doing Craft, sports and hobbies and some being group leaders, a lot of organising went on with different sports and Games. A number of our young people from Eldene Pathfinder group joined a lot of other young people from around the country.
There was a lot of fun had by all, we had some good Christian teaching and the youngsters enjoyed the songs that were popular at the time; favourite songs were 'For I'm building a people of power'. And 'Bind us together with love'. Nigel also invited some well know Christian musicians for leading worship on different nights. The day activities were organised, with time for craft or sports; then we had outings to the beach and well known local places.

One activity was for the leaders dressing up and going out around the town and the youngsters having to see how many of them they could find. Some leaders disguised them selves very well.

We all had Meals altogether in the dining room, the cooking team varied year to year but was mainly done by John Fry and Diane and Steve Lane and Margaret Pearce was involved too, the menus were varied, The first year I remember being involved and one night we had stew and dumpling and we rather over estimated the dumplings.

The Swimming pools at each centre were well used and some youngsters even had a midnight swim as a special treat. We had competitions different activities of swimming and walking across the pool, and some of the leaders even jumped in on a warm evening causing quite a splash. Some young people in one dormitory had a midnight sing song.

27. Sheldon Parish Holidays.
We had 2-3 annual parish holidays organized with Brian and Margaret Pearce we went down in Sheldon in Devon; and stayed in a converted Farm. There the boys slept in the dormitory and the families had rooms in the converted Barn and some had there own tents to sleep in.

There was also a Ladies bedroom above the kitchen; we all took turns to do some cooking. But John Fry and Margaret Pearce were in charge of the food/ menu.

We had organised outings and had two mini buses driven by Graham and Anna Naden and Steve Lane and Diane I think; to take us around. We visited the local tourist attractions; one was to the activity centre, doing rock climbing and caving while the second group went for a steam train ride and walk along the river. And had walks from the centre and days by the sea.


We all got together in the evenings sitting in the Lounge and joined in together doing quizzes, or singing and playing games, some got involved in doing a large jigsaw. The last day of one we had a dressing up competition which was rather fun.

28. Spring Harvest
For a number of years this was an annual trip within the Dorcan Church first arranged by Linda Emery. Spring Harvest is a Christian evangelical Easter holiday teaching event.
One year my family joined several other church members and we went down by train and got off at Taunton and went to catch the bus only to find they did not run on bank holiday Monday's So the Taxi firm caught on quickly and lots of cars came to pick us up, we then went to the Steam train station and had a good ride on the Steam train to Mine head others made they own way there by cars.

We walked to the camp from Mine head Station; Joined a long cue to the check in to get our keys, and find out where we were staying; as it was a group booking we were mainly all in one area of the camp, which worked out well as we enjoyed going to the meetings together or popping in to one another's flats for a chat. We had a big choice of meetings to go too during the day; on all sorts of subjects. And the Adults had the choice of two evening worship venues. The young people were well catered for with their own sessions for different age groups.

The worship was either in the big top where about 6000 people were worshiping God which was an incredible experience. Every one had a great time of worshiping; with the band playing and people waving flags and sometimes others dancing. The teaching was very varied and in depth and enlightening. Some times some people would choose to go to the smaller worship centre which was just as good with a different band playing and different speakers, this was where we learnt lots of new modern choruses/songs.
We stayed for five days and the last day was just a service with Holy Communion.

The next two or three years a coach was arranged to take people and a couple of trailers took the luggage.

29. Fellowship Groups, Advent and Lent Groups

Cell Groups

30. 31. The Knitting Group
The Ladies from St Paul's formed a knitting group meeting every Thursday afternoon with lunch included; lead by June Martin. These ladies made a lovely display of all sorts of knitted articles and were able to enjoy good fellowship while working and drinking tea; These ladies sold their knitted items on the stalls at the Bazaar and Garden fete this boosted the funds for the Church. For several years they also had enough work for a stall in the centre of Swindon for a day near Christmas and made a lot of money for church funds over a £1000 each year.

Later they continued to knit for stuffed toys and hats for children; which were sent abroad.

32 Cricket match Brian Peaces time!

33. Women's Group Liden 1986- 1990 Eldene 1990-1995
A lot of ladies met at St Timothy's for a women's group and it was well supported for a couple of years. Meetings were in the afternoon and had different speakers, after a time numbers dropped due to people going out to work and having other commitments. As most people still attending were from Eldene it was moved to Eldene and was very successful out reach for a good number of years.


34. Banner Group and Altar Cloths for Eldene
We had four banner groups over the year, first at Eldene where three of the church members got together; designing and making banners to brighten up the Hall that was the Eldene church.

Then Eldene Banner Group was asked to make banners as a gift for our link churches so Barbra Wilcox joined the group for a short while. Three banners were made one to each of our link churches and sent over to Africa, One was a rainbow.

Just before Ian and Anne Gooding left, there was a Activity day at St Paul's with Visiting young people where we designed some banners and concluded our work at their home the following Saturday make Two banners for Pentecost Sunday. Sadly to my knowledge these have not been used after this year.

The fourth group got together at St Paul's in 1999 to make a banner for the millennium. Thirteen people got involved and made a section each of the two banners now hanging on the wall in the Church. Sandra Marshall had the finishing job of putting all sections together.

The cloths on the tables were getting rather old and drab looking so Christine and Gunhida got together and agreed on three designs, Peter and Richard drove us to devises to choose some material and pick it up and then got involved in making the cloths; these were made late 1993-95

35. Eldene Wardens share a Meal with Hilary
The Eldene wardens got together over a number of years with Hilary Cooke for meals each occasion was special for different reasons; where we had some good friendly occasions. We went to different homes and shared the cooking and washing up was down often by the men; before washing up machines!

36. A Dorcan Carol Sing; On the Open Top Bus
For a number of years we hired an open air Bus and would go round the estates and stop and sing in different streets. Brian would play his accordion and some would go knocking on doors to let people know we were there. We had a big notice which we attached around the bus to tell people we came from Dorcan.

37. Special Occasions the Pearce's Wedding Anniversary
For the Pearce's wedding anniversary we had a party at the vicarage in the garden of Margaret's and Brian's home for one special occasion. We all sat round tables on the Grass. It was a lovely social occasion and people enjoyed the sunny day.
People were invited to the manse in Larksfield for a surprise group photo which was taken of all who turned up for the congregation group from the three churches. I believe from the Bedroom window. I believe we all stood in a certain shape but I can not remember what?

38. Brian's Birthday Surprise
Margaret arranged a surprise for Brian's 50th birthday a party; and it was kept a big secret to the morning of the party when Brian came out of the bungalow to find a crowd of people from his old church, from Birmingham

Brian's farewell do was another big occasion and the Church at St Paul's was again very full of people

39. Hillary also had A Surprise 40th Birthday Party.
For one Sunday Evening Service she had arranged with the two girls from girls group to lead the service, But Alison Wray and her friend with the help from her parents and others had other ideas They had organised 'THIS IS YOU LIFE' for Hilary Cooke. The night went very well with some of Hilary's family and friends coming down and. a lovely spread arranged in the hall behind, with a Teddy Bear birthday Cake. Hillary was known for her bag of teddies and cuddly toy's.

40. The Youth Band and Music Group
A number of young people joined the youth Band and were very committed meeting regularly on a Tuesday afternoon and practiced, they were good at encouraging each other. They would play in the evening services at regularly intervals and special occasions, we always enjoyed these services as they were so lively always finishing with you go out with joy, getting faster and faster as we sang it three or four times. They became well known and were invited to many churches with in the Methodist circuit and at Christ Church and Played at the Bristol Cathedral. For a service to acknowledge the study of Sunday school teaches training for the Diocese of Bristol Bishop's Certificate. The Group started in about 1998 and went on for six or seven years!

Alison and then Lisa Stott were the leaders with the help of John lamb and Hilary Cooke and Ian Gooding looking in

They played a variety of instruments Stuart Elliot played the Keyboard,
Andy Park the Tuba
Paula Wray the Trumpet and flute and her sister the saxophone
Chris Lamb the Base Guitar, violin, and cello
Mary Parsons and Helen Templar and Sarah Pitchard the Violin
Chris Emery played and her brother Mike the Trombone and Peter joined at the end and played the electric drums,
Lisa Stott played the Flute.

They had their tea shirts with their own emblem and sold it to many church members, and raised money for this and other things.
A Group went to Totterdown Church Methodist Bristol for an annual youth makes music day, this went on for many years. They also played at the Westminster Central Hall for an YMAC event.

41. United Service at the Football ground and at steam
Their have been two Swindon united Service for special occasions. Both well attended the Millennium service was held in the Football ground

Then lots of seating was arranged between steam and another building in the outlet village and lots of Christians joined in the service.


42. Safari Meal
The Second Safari Meal were organized by Dianne Killick and we had our first course at Barbra Bettington who had a large house in Okbourne Park who was helped by Sarah Patterson we had fruit juice and a choice of two dishes and could arrive at any time between 6.00 and 7 o'clock, we were then given the second address to go too.
Six of us went to the home of Anna and Brian Newman and had a choice of chicken or fish I believe. Others went to Derek's and Jenny's house and I believe they was another home visited for the main course by a third group.
We all went to the home of Tony and Janet Pritchard where we had a choice of a number of delicious puddings and cakes or flans.
Drinks were in the home of Cathy and Tony's Made by Dianne and Co as Tony had a night out.

43. Alpha
Alpha went on for a number of years started by David Parsons and held at St Paul's. With many sometimes different people each year organizing the meal and leading the groups.

The Monday night fellowship group held their own Alpha with an away day at the Bishop of Swindon's house.



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Tony Prichard.
This page created
April 28 2013
Last updated
September 18, 2017

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