About matthewroberts20

Failed folk singer, reasonable speechwriter, amateur broadcaster, member of the RWA Hall of Fame and Fred & Jessie's Dad.

Heritage Event at St Marie’s: “Notices & Minutes – Hidden Gems”

Saturday 4th May 2.00PM – 4.00PM
St Marie’s, Lugsdale Road, Widnes.

The St Marie’s Heritage Group are pleased to announce that, by popular demand, we will be making available the St Marie’s Parish “Notice Books” once again for inspection and discussion. In the days of the Latin Mass, the notices were read out to the congregation at the end of Mass – the only “English” language used! These notice books are in effect the modern equivalent of a parish newsletter.

In addition, for the first time ever, we will be presenting extracts from the St. Marie’s School Board of Governors Minutes Book – a rich source of the history of all three schools – Infant, Girls and Boys Schools. As with the Notice Books, there are many hidden gems that will educate, entertain and amuse you.

18 05 12 RogerRoger Harrison, one of the St Marie’s Heritage Group volunteers will lead you and guide you through some of the more interesting parts of the Minutes Book.

This should be a very interesting two hours with once again, all present adding their own tales to the materials on view.

Places are limited for this special event and must be reserved in advance of the event. To reserve your free place please contact Matthew Roberts via mroberts@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk or (01928) 592 405.

Antony Pichilingi & Ruth Hayes Wedding Album

The St Marie’s Heritage Group have taken ownership of the Wedding Photo Album of Antony Pichilingi and Ruth Hayes, who were married at St Marie’s RC Church on the 6th August 1960.

Pichilingi Hayes Wedding

We would like to return the album to any family of Antony and Ruth, though we would need them to collect it from St Marie’s on Lugsdale Road.

Do you know Antony or Ruth? Are you related to them? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Please contact Matthew via mroberts@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk or (01928) 592 405.

Update: We have reunited the album with Jacqui (daughter of Antony and Ruth).

Pichilingi Hayes Result


Review – “A History of Crossing the River between Runcorn & Widnes” Heritage Talk

19 02 Bob 1The volunteers of St Marie’s Heritage Group were delighted to welcome 50 guests into St Marie’s on Saturday afternoon. Everyone present enjoyed a fascinating talk delivered by our favourite local history buff, Bob Roach.

Bob’s talk on “A History of Crossing the River between Runcorn & Widnes” covered a number of different methods of getting from one side to another including ferries, the Transporter Bridge, the Silver Jubilee and the new Mersey Gateway.

As always, Bob delivered his talk with enthusiasm, warmth and whit.

19 02 Bob 2

Bob delivers the talk

Here’s the feedback we collected on the day:

Was there anything you particularly liked?

– Really enjoyed the talk. It was great. Thank you.
– Great. Thank you.
– All of the presentation was so enlightening and educational. There was so much history of the area, it was great.
– Bob’s easy going approach!
– Thoroughly enjoyed it!
– Lovely re-use of space.
– Fascinating to see the bridges that could have been, especially Menai.
– Very interesting talk.
– Very interesting.
– Very enjoyable and informative. Thanks again. X
– I enjoyed listening about heritage about Widnes area.
– No, very interesting. V good knowledge.
– Very interesting. Learnt things I didn’t know. Enjoyed photographs.
– I liked everything.
– Very interesting

Was there anything you particularly disliked?

– Acoustics not very good but speaker took this into account.

Any ideas for future Heritage Events at St Marie’s?

– Access to B.M.D. registers?
– More of this. Historical approaches to our heritage is so appreciative.
– Something similar. Famous locals?
– More local talks, of course, choirs etc

19 02 Bob 3

The view from the back of the room

Heritage Talk at St Marie’s – A History of Crossing the River Mersey Between Runcorn & Widnes

runcorn_transporter_bridgeSaturday 16th February at 2pm.

The St Marie’s Heritage Group are delighted to be welcoming local historian, Bob Roach back into St Marie’s to deliver another one of his fascinating talks about our local heritage. This one is sure to be the perfect anecdote to any Winter Blues you might be feeling. Join us on Saturday 16th February to enjoy a hot drink, delicious biscuits and see friendly & familiar faces.

Here’s what Bob has to say about the talk:

For over 1,000 years, the desire to cross the Mersey between Runcorn & Widnes has led to muddy, dangerous, historic & creative ideas about how to do it. With illustrations, this talk will describe key parts of the story, some of which you will be aware of, but some of which may surprise you! Centuries of having just a row-boat ferry that had to contend with the fast-tidal flow – recounted in Tuppence per Person per Trip. Historic figures who marched their troops across; if only the money had been available to build proposals by leading engineers; it was perhaps fortunate that a design was changed at a late stage because the planned bridge might have blown down!

run bridge diagram

Places at the talk are free, but they are limited in number and attendees must reserve their places before the day.

You can reserve your place by contacting Matthew Roberts on (01928) 592 405 or mroberts@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk


Review of Christmas Carol Concert – 11th December 2018

The volunteers of St Marie’s Heritage Group were delighted to welcome over 120 visitors to St Marie’s for our Christmas Carol Concert & Singalong on Tuesday 11th December.

18 12 Volunteers Tree

The Volunteers of the St Marie’s Heritage Group decorate the tree.


Having first enjoyed free mulled wine, hot drinks and mince pies, attendees enjoyed a wonderful performance from The St Wilfred’s Parish Choir, led by the brilliant Frances Atherton.

The packed to capacity room sounded magnificent and everyone joined in to share the Christmas Spirit. We are incredibly grateful to Frances and her Choir for making the evening such a special event. Huge thanks to everyone who came along and joined in – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

18 12 Choirloft View

Here’s the feedback we collected on the night.

Was there anything you particularly liked?

– I liked the carols and I felt it should be done more. It was a happy environment.
– Encouragement to sing.
– Fantastic – the spirit of St Marie’s lives on.
– All fabulous as always.
– Really enjoyed. Loved to visit St Marie’s Church where I was brought up.
– All about the venue & the evening event.
– Couldn’t be better.
– Heart-warming & Christmassy. Choir sounded beautiful. Staff all welcoming & friendly.
– Excellent
– Lovely evening. The choir were excellent.
– The Christmas Tree! The Choir. The Carols/Songs.
– Loved everything. Thank you to all concerned.
– Excellent! Everything. Superb atmosphere.
– Very well organised. Choir was fantastic and brought a lot to the evening.
– The enthusiasm and carol service.
– Very well done. It was a very good enjoyable evening.
– Friendship was lovely.
– Really enjoyed it. Lots of memories. Everything.
– Very well done. Thank you so much.

18 12 Candles Roger

Guests start to arrive….


Was there anything you particularly disliked?

– A microphone would be good as difficult to hear when people speaking.

18 12 Candles Altar

Tea lights decorated our beautiful Altar

– We will wholeheartedly do anything at St Marie’s.
– More get togethers & sing a longs
– Past history
– My first time here, so unaware of current/past events. I would like more choirs/concerts.
– It was a beautiful evening – thank you. Anything so long as it “keeps going”.
– Anything that makes the community come back together.
– We should have more of these.
– More often.
– More events please.

Christmas Carol Concert & Singalong at St Marie’s

17 12 Carols 2Tuesday 11th December at 7pm.

What could be more magical than gathering in a warm St Marie’s on a brisk December evening to join family & friends (both old & new) in singing some Christmas carols?

We think it’s the perfect way to start the Christmas season.

The St Marie’s Heritage Group are delighted to welcome back the wonderful Parish Choir of St Wilfrid who will be leading attendees in a Christmas Carol singalong on the night. The choir will be choosing their favourite traditional Carols and we will provide copies of the words for anyone who (like me) always worries about forgetting the next line. The choir will be positioned in front of the beautiful St Marie’s Altar and attendees will sit facing them on the pews and other chairs. We think that when we all sing together, it will all sound magnificent.

There will be mince pies, mulled wine, hot drinks and our usual array of fabulous biscuits. There will be plenty of time to chat and catch up with old friends after the Carols have been sung.

It’s free to attend, but places are limited, so please reserve yours quickly to avoid disappointment.

To reserve your place, please contact Matthew Roberts on (01928) 592 405 or e-mail mroberts@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk