Review of St Marie’s Rugby Players Heritage Event

19 09 Start

Attendees arriving for the event

The volunteers of St Marie’s Heritage Group were delighted to entertain a room full of guests for a very special reminiscence event on Saturday afternoon. Former parishioners and school attendees gathered to share their memories of playing rugby at St Marie’s. The room was alive with laughter as memories were shared of teachers who coached the rugby team and learning to tackle on a concrete playground.


19 09 George

George Nicholls talked to attendees


Attendees were delighted to hear from two very special guests; John Foran who brought in his collection of medals and two Widnes shirts he wore at Wembley in 1975 & 1976 and George Nicholls, who talked about his journey from playing for St Marie’s which took him all the way to playing for Great Britain in the 1972 World Cup Final.

19 09 shirts

19 09 medals

Here’s the feedback we collected on the day:

Was there anything you particularly liked?

– Everyone recalling their memories.
– I particularly enjoyed the chance to talk and catch up with old friends.
– It was great to reminisce and look at the wonderful memories through the photos. Bonus George Nicholls and John Foran attending.
– Very enjoyable afternoon.
– Photographs/stories
– Was great to see some Widnes Rugby League Players – really enjoyed all the photos and stories.
– Meeting old friends and talking about old times.
– Everyone made you welcome.
– Wonderful day.
– A wonderful time. Traced many people.
– Enjoyed, not from Widnes but really interesting. Look forward to more events.
– Well done everybody whose organised it.
– Enjoyed the old memories. Meeting old friends.
– Enjoyed meeting and chatting to all.
– Liked meeting people I’ve not seen for years.
– Loved everything.
– Nice to meet people and talk old times.
– Wonderful atmosphere! Loved to “jangle”.

Was there anything you particularly disliked?

– Not really. Just the usual negative comment about lack of microphones!
– Need a microphone
– Acoustics – sound not the best. Cushions on the benches!
– Sound in the venue is quite poor.
– Need a microphone
– No
– No

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

– Able to see births, marriage register.
– Fishermore and more
– Can’t wait for Christmas event.
– More conversation opportunities.

19 09 Dan

Dan Moran talks us through an old school team photo


St Marie’s Heritage Group – St Marie’s Rugby Players Heritage Event

Old Rugby PhotoRugby has played a huge part in the life of our town.

On Saturday 14th September (from 2pm till 4pm), the St Marie’s Heritage Group will be coming together with former parishioners, school attendees and fans of local history to reminisce and play tribute to the boys and men who played rugby at St Marie’s School & Parish in Widnes.

Did your father, brother, grandfather or friend play, coach or get involved with rugby for St Marie’s? If so, we’d love to hear your memories of them. Did they love playing rugby? What did it mean to them? What impact did it have on them as people? Who were the coaches? Where did they play? What did they wear?

Does anyone know of any parishioners or St Marie’s school attendees who went on to play for Widnes rugby league or any professional club?

Attendees are invited to bring along photographs or artefacts which will be projected onto a big screen so that they can enjoyed and discussed by everyone in attendance.

Whilst there is no charge to attend the event, there are only a limited number of places available. Attendees must reserve their place in advance. To reserve your place, please contact Matthew Roberts via 01928 592 405 or

Please note that Matthew will not be in work between Monday 29th July and Friday 2nd August.

Review: “Notices & Minutes – Hidden Gems”

19 05 1The volunteers of St Marie’s Heritage Group were delighted to entertain a room full of guests for a special presentation and reminiscence event on Saturday afternoon. Group member (and former Head of St Marie’s School), Roger Harrison led the talk and provided fascinating insight into the history of the school. Roger was able to show extracts from the School Minute Book on a big screen and explained the context behind the recorded words.

Not surprisingly, Roger delivered his presentation with his customary warmth and whit.

Attendees were also able to look through the hand written Parish Logs and search for family Marriage Banns and other notices.

19 05 2

Roger starts his Presentation


Here’s the feedback we collected on the day:

Was there anything you particularly liked?

– Liked the history of the schools. Enjoyed looking at books and finding Marriage Banns.
– Liked it all. Really interesting. Let’s have more.
– Was satisfied and thoroughly enjoyed.
– Excellent talk by Roger.
– Excellent presentation.
– A very interesting talk by Roger.
– Very interesting & informative.
– I found it very interesting. I found my wedding banns from 1967.
– Enjoyed the books. Generations of familiar names – even to this day.
– Enjoyed the presentation immensely. Pleasant journey back in time of the history. The presentation was great, inserting humour along with personal experiences to make it more enjoyable & interesting. Was transported to another time.
– Very interesting.
– Seeing how things & events from yesteryear happened.
– Very informative. Thank you for a lovely afternoon.
– All of it.
– All of it.
– Very interesting. Really enjoyed it.
– Very interesting talk from Roger.
– Really informative & interesting. Great to hear so much about Miss Pinnington – she was a star!

Was there anything you particularly disliked?

– Nothing

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

– Looking into the history of the Chemical Industry in the area. How this had an effect on the area and population rise.
– Would love to have more local speakers especially old St Marie’s ex pupils talking about their experiences at the school and church.
– Excellent. Please continue the good work.
– Would like to see wedding photos of the past 100 years. Also, if anyone has photos of school classes and teachers.
– Would love individuals who have a history here to take time telling personal stories & accounts of time spent here.
– Saturday afternoon singalong.
– How about a local heritage quiz?
– Music.
– Quiz, music.
– We could all bring old photos of the Church and School and view them under the projector – and then say a few words about them.

19 05 3

Attendees moved around the room to examine different Mission Logs

19 05 4

Teresa & Anne – Best Friends at St Marie’s. Reunited after 50 years!

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 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 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