About matthewroberts20

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

“Women of St Marie’s” Event – We Need Your Submissions

carol-4Sunday 9th September
2:00pm – 4:00pm
St Marie’s, Lugsdale Road, Widnes WA8 6DB

Former parishioners and residents will gather in the picturesque, historic setting of St Marie’s to reminisce about the hugely important role played by women in the community.

Would you like to pay tribute to your Mum, your sister or your friend? Was there a female teacher at St Marie’s who made a real impression on you? Who do you want us to remember?

Throughout the summer, local people will be encouraged to submit written stories & anecdotes which pay tribute to the Women of St Marie’s and we’ll be displaying the submissions at our event.

We’ve arranged a series of drop-in sessions (at St Marie’s) where you can bring in your photos, artefacts and stories. Members of the St Marie’s Heritage Group will be available to scan pictures, take photos of artefacts and help write down your memories.

They will be available on the following dates:
Monday 6th August (10am till midday)
Monday 13th August (10am till midday)
Monday 20th August (10am till midday)

If you’re unable to attend one of the drop-in sessions, we’d still love to hear from you. Please e-mail your photos and stories to Peter Finney (St Marie’s Heritage Group) via petervfinney@tiscali.co.uk (no more than 500 words per person please). The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Monday 20th August.

All of the stories, memories and photographs we receive will be compiled into a booklet and discussed at our event on Sunday 9th September. As always with St Marie’s Heritage Group events, there’ll be free refreshments and the chance to meet up with old friends.

Places are limited and must be reserved in advance. Contact Cole Toward on ctoward@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk or (01928) 592 405.

Review of “Millions Like Us” Reminiscence Event

18 05 12 John Redmond

John Redmond introduces the topic of Family Matriarchs

The volunteers of St Marie’s Heritage Group were delighted to welcome over 50 guests to St Marie’s on Saturday afternoon (12th May) for our latest Heritage Event. It was a reminiscence event based on the wonder book, “Millions Like Us” written by Chris Delooze.

Volunteers read out passages from the book which then triggered conversations around the tables. The topics discussed included; family matriarchs, old cinemas in Widnes, The Galligu & pollution and community spirit in the old days.

18 05 12 Peter F

Peter Finney talks about old cinemas in Widnes

We felt that the event was a tremendous success and it was wonderful to hear St Marie’s alive with happy conversations and laughter.

Here’s the feedback we collected on the day:

Was there anything you particularly liked?

– Yes, it was good to reminisce about the past.
– The book was so true in contents.
– Loved meeting people whom I knew from my early years in St Marie’s School. Many memories about events that had been clouded over the years.
– Very enjoyable – remembering things from years gone by.
– Liked it all.
– Contributions from audience.
– It was great to meet up with friends from days gone by.
– Totally enjoyed it. Bringing back memories. Almost as if you were in that time. Interesting.
– It was nice to hear when they spoke about old picture houses/cinema because I worked at the Empire cinema and met my future husband who also worked as a projectionist. Nice crowd here, nice to reminisce about the good old days.
– Found the whole event really interesting.
– The information regarding pollution was enlightening. I’ve lived through most of it without realising the damage to health and our environment. I look forward to future events.
– Enjoyed the whole experience – looking back and remembering all our childhood memories and meeting people from school days.
– Very interested in the day.
– I enjoyed my afternoon.
– Very enjoyable. I really liked my afternoon at St Marie’s heritage.
– To listen to the memories of everyone present at the event.
– The general discussions bring back memories.
– Talked about things that were long forgotten and laughed about things long forgotten.
– Nothing disliked. Enjoyed. Thank you.
– Very interested and thoroughly enjoyable. Nothing disliked.
– Every thing.
– I liked the fact that we all can relate to each others stories – because we are the same or similar age group.
– Very interesting afternoon. Shared memories bringing people together. Even if you didn’t know them at all.
– Excellent links delivered which encouraged discussion.
– Great opportunity for remembering… what it was like!
– Was nice to her about Widnes in the days before I remember.
– It felt like home!
– Very interesting.
– Liked everything, everyone can relate to most of the topics discussed.
– Being the youngest in the group today, I enjoyed listening to all the stories. Brought back memories of listening to granny & grandad’s stories about Newtown.
– Loved it! Love listening to the stories and reminiscences about Widnes. It is a fabulous venue – a jewel in the crown of the town – it allows people to get together and celebrate the uniqueness of this very special town. Thank you!

18 05 12 Roger

Roger Harrison talks about The Galligu & pollution

Was there anything you particularly disliked?

– Acoustics are still poor.
– Not really but felt speakers could use microphones so that everyone could hear people’s contributions.
– Only dislike cannot hear very well, maybe idea to have individual microphones when speaking.
– Acoustics could have been improved with microphones?
– A microphone would have helped greatly.
– Microphone might have been helpful.

18 05 12 Matt

Matthew talks about community spirit

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

– Try getting the young interested in future events and schools.
– Look through the old records of the parish.
– My home in Wareing Street was bombed & demolished on 9th January 1941. Apart from me are there any other people from numbers 2,4,6,8,10?
– Ask everybody to bring & tell a memory.
– How about the “old” teaching staff & their last impressions on pupils.
– A picture gallery – old photographs with explanations by the people who submit them.
– I would like to see some young people involved in discussions about old Widnes. I am sure they would be interested in what the older generation remember. Perhaps have some items to display? IE – Tin baths, dolly tub, mangle.
– Leisure time. Walking days. 1930’s Widnes.
– Anything which involves memories of St Marie’s.
– Invite visiting speakers who are ex St Marie’s. Parishioners who’ve made names for themselves?
– Would be good to get hold of old footage on film, even old photos, of Widnes how it used to be years ago. See all the shops, old market, factorys.
– Would be interested in any future events.
– Would be very interested in any future events.
– Christmas carol service. Any 60’s events.
– Xmas carol service. 60’s evening. Anything really. It’s nice to meet people.
– More of this!
– Using premises for musical occasions if appropriate.
– Perhaps a music event once again.
– I think Roger has a much longer list as a result of today.
– Quiz (music or general knowledge)
– I will support any ideas anyone might have. 
– Shops throughout Newtown & memories of what people used to buy. EG: second hand shops my wife’s mother used to buy their clothes from. Family. Pubs? How many?

18 05 12 John & Dennis

Classmates Reunited! John Kenny & Dan Moran meet up for the first time since school!

Visitors at St Marie’s

18 05 Group 2The Members of the St Marie’s Heritage Group are always thrilled when people come to visit the Church. Today Roger and I had the privilege of welcoming a family from the USA. They may have hailed from Oklahoma and New York (and been accompanied by relatives from Pantyffridd), but they had relatives who lived in our community and were married & baptized in St Marie’s.

Patricia, Mike, Tim, Helen & Mary-Lynn were terrific company and it was an absolute joy to chat with them.

Patricia’s maternal grandmother’s parents, Susan Quinn and James Holleran, were married at St Marie’s on 30 November 1895. Could they be related to you? If so, leave a message in the comments.

We’ve now had visitors from Australia, new Zealand and the United States. Where next?


18 05 Books

Roger helps Tim, Patricia & Mary-Lynn to look at the St Marie’s Log Books

18 05 Group R

L to R: Roger, Tim Twohig, Helen Twohig Zienkievicz, Mary-Lynn Twohig Dubray, Patricia & Mike Flanaghan.

Heritage Event at St Marie’s – “Millions Like Us” Reminiscence Event

Millions Like UsSaturday 12th May 2018. 2pm till 4pm.

The St Marie’s Heritage Group are delighted to invite you to attend the next of our Heritage Events at St Marie’s on Lugsdale Road, Widnes.

“Millions Like Us” is a wonderful, funny and moving book about growing up in our community. It was written by the late Chris Delooze and first published in 1994. If like Chris, you grew up in the districts of West Bank, Marabone, Moss Bank, Lugsdale or Newtown there will be an awful lot of the book that you recognised from your own life. As John Walsh wrote in the book’s forward; “her memory is our history”.

At the event on Saturday 12th May, we’ll be reading passages from the book before discussing our own memories. It should be a lovely afternoon with the chance to see old friends & familiar faces and as always, there will be hot drinks and biscuits to enjoy.

To book your free place at this event, please contact Matthew Roberts via (01928) 592 405 or mroberts@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk

Please note that places are limited so please book your place quickly if you’d like to attend.

Review of “Our Favourite Carols”

The volunteers of St Marie’s Heritage Group were delighted to welcome over 50 visitors to St Marie’s for our latest Heritage Event (“Our Favourite Carols”) on Tuesday 5th December.

17 12 Carols 1Having first enjoyed the free mulled wine and mince pies, attendees enjoyed informative introductions to each Carol provided by other guests or by our master of ceremonies, Roger Harrison. They then joined the Parish Choir of St Wilfrid in singing the Carols accompanied by superb organ work from Peter Finney or France Atherton.

17 12 Carols 2

Members of the Parish Choir of St Wilfrid in the Choir Stalls!

Here’s what attendees said on the night:

Was there anything you particularly liked?

– The history behind the hymns. Very interesting.
– “We Long to See Thee So”. I had not heard it since I was at school.
– Enjoyed it very much
– It’s always a lovely event to sing carols, especially in the particularly beautiful church. “Come, come, come to the manger” – maybe next time
– Loved being with old friends from St Marie’s recalling happy memories.
– Just enjoy anything concerning St Marie’s.
– Was all good.
– Simply love St Marie’s. Always have. Always will.
– “Silent Night”. “Away in a Manger.”
– Nice atmosphere, enjoyed singing the Christmas Carols.
– Found very emotional. “Away in a Manger”. Nice event brings back memories when in St Marie’s Girl Choir & sang at Midnight Mass.
– Singing. Refreshments. Venue.
– The refreshments. The carols.
– It was nice to see a Choir in the “Choir”. Wonderful – as usual.
– Very nice evening.
– The “Ladies” Group.
– Very warm & welcoming. A nice gesture. Coffee and mulled wine!!! A really good evening yet again.
– All was liked. Thank you.
– Yes, the beautiful church and all its wonderful memories.
– The whole evening. The facts & history surrounding the hymns.
– Feeling of togetherness.
– I liked the feeling of nostalgia.
– I loved the atmosphere
– Nice to hear peoples stories about the carols.
– Usual warm welcome and most enjoyable experience! Well done Roger & Peter… and always – Matthew!

Was there anything you particularly disliked?

– Plenty of empty seats – speaking to a St Marie’s group who would have attended said that all the seats had been taken! Suggest when booking a seat – take address/phone number and let you know if cannot participate. Have a reserve list!!

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

– Will attend any events held in the future.
– Maybe a film night
– Nativity Play. Childrens Choir. Xmas tree/decorations or Nativity Scene.
– Anything – we’ll be here!
– “A Sixties Night”
– Talk on school outings & Scouts.
– Any Community get togethers.
– Summer Concert.
– Coffee morning and get together with past pupils and parishioners.
– Coffee morning
– Coffee morning

Regarding the above point about empty seats. We do ask attendees to let us know if they are unable to attend, but unfortunately, very few people do. We can’t really operate a Waiting List system if we don’t know that people who’ve reserved seats aren’t going to turn up. Over 30 people who had reserved places didn’t attend this event.


Heritage Event at St Marie’s – Our Favourite Carols – UPDATE

Tuesday 5th December 2017. 19.30 start.

Only 10 places remain available for our upcoming “Our Favourite Carols” event.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend this free Christmas celebration at St Marie’s in Widnes. We’ll be talking about and singing a selection of chosen Carols which have special significance to those in attendance. It should be a lovely evening and we’ll have musical accompaniment on the night from the brilliant Peter Finney (on the organ) and from France Atherton & the Parish Choir of St Wilfrid. The words for each Carol will be provided to make it easy for everyone to join in.

As always with events put on by St Marie’s Heritage Group, there will be tea, coffee and biscuits. To make it that little bit more Christmassy, there will also be mince pies and mulled wine!

To book your place at the event, please contact Cole Toward via ctoward@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk or (01928) 592 405.

Heritage Event at St Marie’s – Our Favourite Carols

carol-3Tuesday 5th December 2017. 19.30 start.

At our recent “Our Favourite Hymns” event, we received requests from 15 different people to repeat the event, but to do it about Christmas Carols. The members of the St Marie’s Heritage Group agreed that this was a wonderful idea and that it would make for a lovely Heritage Event and Christmas celebration.

As such, on Tuesday 5th December, we will welcome former parishioners, heritage buffs & lovers of Christmas into our beautiful, atmospheric venue to discuss attendees’ favourite Christmas Carols and to sing them together.

10 attendees (who’ve volunteered in advance of the event) will explain why a certain Christmas Carol is their favourite, what it reminds them of and how it makes them feel, before everyone joins in to sing the hymn together. We are hoping that we’ll have musical accompaniment on the night from the sensational Peter Finney (on the organ) and from Frances Atherton & the Parish Choir of St Wilfrid. The words for each Carol will be provided to make it easy for everyone to join in.

St Marie’s Heritage Group volunteer, Roger Harrison will be providing his famous Mulled Wine for attendees to enjoy. There will also be mince pies alongside our always brilliant tea, coffee and biscuits.

It might be a brisk evening, but there will be hot drinks, warm smiles, familiar faces and fun conversations to bring warmth to your soul.

To book your place at the event, please contact Cole Toward via ctoward@haltonsthelensvca.org.uk or (01928) 592 405.

Places will be limited so please reserve yours early to avoid disappointment.

If you would like to be one of the 10 people to pick a Christmas Carol and talk about what it means to you, please let Cole know when you reserve your place. Favourite Carols will also be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

We hope to hear from you all soon!