Derek Fowles
10 Lynden Close, Holyport, Berks, SL6 2LB

Tel: 01628 629538
Copy for the February 2018 issue of St. Michael's News to the Editor please, by Thursday 18 January 2018.
From the Registers
12 October
02 November
Janet Wesson
Shirley Stuchbery
aged 76 years
aged 82 years
Memorial Service:  
24 October Victor Ceserani aged 98 years

Dec 2017/Jan 2018
Breaking News
Parochial Church Council
New Organ Scholar
Lest We Forget
The Toilet Project
Churches Together in Maidenhead
Alexander Divine Children's Hospice Service
Holyport W.I.
Goose Clubs
Meetings and Events

From Lesley Burch, Hon Secretary to PCC

Members of the Parochial Church Council are elected by the parishioners at the Annual Parochial Church meeting in order to make decisions concerning the life of the church on your behalf. This is a summary of the business transacted at the November 2017 meeting. It is hoped that you will find the contents interesting, helpful and thought provoking.

A report about Balfours’ Guatemala project,working with street children and young people at risk in Guatemala City, has been distributed to the PCC. A copy will be placed in the Church Porch for the congregation to read.

The timing of Evensong is moving to 4.30 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, during the Winter months.

Two Representatives and two observers were elected to represent the PCC in the process interviewing candidates for  our new vicar under the direction of the Oxford Diocese. Details of the Parish Profile, a document about our Parish which is to be given to prospective candidates, were discussed and agreed, in preparation for a meeting with the Archdeacon of Berkshire, Olivia Graham.

Our Treasurer informed us that the final instalment of our Parish Share for 2017 will be paid by the 15th of this month; we have been asked for an increase of 2.5% for 2018. She explained that 2018 would be a challenging year. She also distributed copies of the Accounts for the past year and a proposed budget for next year.

In the fabric report we were told that the lightning conductors were checked on the 5th October and found satisfactory. The new boiler installation in the hall was completed on the 12th October at a cost of £4230. A further estimate has been received for repairs to the gutters and soffit at the rear of the hall. This came in at £1839 + vat. Work has commenced on refurbishing the Braywood Lychgate. A grant from the Parish Council of £3400 has been approved and should cover the total cost of the project. There is to be a working party day on Saturday, 25th November. Apart from the usual gutter inspection and cleaning, work will include a thorough clean-up of the hall.

The Director of Music at St Michael’s has recently met with a young man of 26 , who lives in Windsor, and has been playing occasionally at various churches there. Having heard him play, he thought he would be a suitable candidate for an organ scholarship. The PCC agreed to the Music at Bray funding a Scholarship for this person to last for one year and would include lessons in Windsor.


We are delighted to announce the appointment of 27 year old Robert Opoku as the new organ scholar for a period of one year. He follows in the footsteps of Paul Wingfield and will start taking part in the musical life of the church straight away. Born and based in Windsor, as a former Head Chorister of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and tenor Choral Scholar at Christchurch Oxford, he is just completing his training as a Chartered Accountant. He has played the organ since his teens and is keen to develop both his playing and choir training skills under the mentorship of our Director of Music.

He said, “I am thrilled to be joining the St Michael’s community and look forward to furthering my own musical development over the coming year.”


Charles Elliott came from Oakley Green, where his parents appear to have been farmers, but he found himself serving in the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry. He lost his life in the mud of Passchendaele on 6th November 1917, at the age of 34. Charles has no known grave, so his name appears on the Menin Gate in Ieper; he is commemorated on the Braywood village memorial.

Ernest Sidney Headington died in the same theatre, on the same day, but he was just 19. He had lived with his parents on the Drift Road, and was in the Royal Marine Light Infantry. Just like Charles, Ernest’s final resting place is not known, but his name is on the memorial at the rear of Tyne Cot cemetery, near Ieper. We remember him on the triptych in St Michael’s, in the Touchen End Book of Remembrance, and on the village war memorials of Bray and Holyport.

It was in Palestine that 27-year old William James Woodland was killed in action on 27th November that year, while serving in the Machine Gun Corps (Berkshire Yeomanry). He was a Holyport man, and is buried in Jerusalem War Cemetery. His name is to be seen on the same four memorials as Ernest Headington.

Meanwhile, the 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment was taking part in the battle for Cambrai, on the Somme, and its large casualty list on 30th November included two men from Bray. Herbert Blackall and James Godfrey were both killed in action that day, and with no marked grave are commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval. Their names also appear on our village memorials and in the Touchen End book, while Herbert’s name is on the triptych.

The 2nd Royal Berkshires were involved in the battle of Passchendaele, and on 1st December 1917 Herbert Edward King died at the age of 35. He hailed from Middlesex, but had been living with his wife in The Terrace, Bray. His name is on the triptych in church, and Bray village memorial, while his official commemoration is on the one in Tyne Cot cemetery.

24-year old Arthur Foster Myatt lost his life in France on 3rd December that year, fighting with the London Regiment (Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles). He was from the London area, but seems to have moved here because he joined up in Maidenhead. He is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, and remembered on the two village war memorials. Arthur had the distinction of being awarded the Military Medal.

Harry Lambert of the Royal Marine Light Infantry died on 13th December 1917, is buried in Portsmouth (Milton ) Cemetery, and remembered on the memorials in Bray and Holyport and in the Touchen End book. We don’t know how his death came about, but he might well have been brought back to Portsmouth after being wounded in the same action as Ernest Headington.

The oldest casualty of the Great War from our parish was Francis David Brown, who was 41 and serving in France with the Army Veterinary Corps when he died on 16 January 1918. His parents lived in a cottage in St Michael’s churchyard, so naturally he is commemorated in church, and on the Bray memorial. His grave is in Bois-Guillaume Communal Cemetery Extension, and bears the inscription “FAR FROM THOSE WHO LOVED HIM BEST BUT IN A HERO'S GRAVE HE LIES.”


The possibility of replacing the toilets was first taken seriously at one of our away days, I think the one at Burnham Abbey in the spring of 2013. We looked at various ways of doing this, and once it became clear that a new building on the same site was the only sensible choice, we set about the task. The Diocesan Advisory Committee were invited to come and look at the proposal, and Archdeacon Olivia visited on
29th November 2013, her first time in Bray.

After 12 months planning and obtaining permissions, we were a couple of years getting the required funds, then the last 12 months finding a contractor and having it built. Just as with the Appeal and the Organ Fund, much of the money has come from, or in memory, of the departed. We would far sooner they had been spared, of course, but our gratitude is everlasting. Particularly important was the very generous bequest from the late Peter Northall-Laurie, passed on to the project by the Friends of St Michael’s.

There are a lot of people to thank for the successful completion of this project:

  • Philip Tilbury, the church’s architect, for a functional yet elegant design
  • Steve Capps and workforce from Tectra Partnership Ltd, for such a splendid building, and their considerate approach to the church throughout the contract
  • Everyone who gave or raised money for us
  • Everyone who helped with publicising our efforts; Derek Fowles and St Michael’s News; several Bray reporters at the Maidenhead Advertiser; and especially Bill Allan through the church website.
  • Pam Woodruff for her effective stewarding of the Toilet Fund and efficient payment of accounts
  • Jasvir Banks for co-signing payments, and putting us on the path to saving £22,000 in VAT.
  • The churchwardens and the PCC, for their unfailing support throughout
  • Most of all, Ian Murray, whose technical knowledge, diligence and devotion to the task have been beyond value to the parish. This project could not have reached a satisfactory conclusion without him.
  • Jim Tucker who co-ordinated the project.


On February 11th the Ven. Olivia Graham, Archdeacon of Berkshire will take the 10 o'clock Parish Communion service at st Michael's. I understand the new toilet facility will be blessed too!


Do you know someone who will be alone on Christmas Day?

Every Christmas Day, Churches Together in Maidenhead organise a Christmas lunch for elderly or disabled people living locally who would otherwise be home alone.  Our guests are transported, served and helped by local volunteers. 

If you know of anyone who might appreciate some company and a meal on Christmas Day, please contact either Keith Cartland on 01628 636179 or 07765 505767, or Andrew Fleet on 01628 633863 or
07487 612599, email: andrewandsue2@outlook.com

Graham Chamberlain and Jim Tucker

The final Music at Bray concert for 2017, will be the ever-popular Community Carol Concert  on Sunday 10th December at 3.00 p.m. This year, the retiring collection will be in aid of the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service. As readers will know from the article in the May edition of the magazine the Alexander Devine charity was set up by Fiona and John Devine in 2007 following the sad and tragic death of their eight-year old son Alexander from a rare brain tumour.

This purpose-built facility in Woodlands Park will be the first children’s hospice in the whole of Berkshire, and includes six children’s bedrooms, two adult suites, creative learning rooms and a state of the art hydrotherapy pool, reputed to be one of the largest in the hospice movement. Even though the building is almost complete and is set to open early next year this is only the end of the first chapter. The charity is still in desperate need of ongoing funds to keep it running, especially since many charities nationally are seeing a fall in donations and are suffering as a result.

Alexander Devine has a great public profile, especially within the local community, but is very much a small charity and every penny helps.  St Michael’s is no stranger to supporting the charity having in the past donated proceeds from the Bray Fete.
The Music at Bray concert on 10th December, with contributions from the church choir and St Michael’s Community Choir, as well as carols for everyone to sing, is an opportunity to renew our support for Alexander Devine.  However, for anyone unable to come along to St Michaels on 10th December individual, or indeed corporate donations, can be sent direct:

Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service at Snowball Hill, Woodlands Park Avenue,  Maidenhead SL6 3LU, Tel: 0845 055 8276


On a chilly November evening, Holyport W. I. met at the War Memorial Hall in Moneyrow Green. Everyone sang Jerusalem and Wendy asked for a minutes silence for the sad passing away of our Treasurer Shirley Razey.

Wendy, our President led us through the events for the evening. Wendy asked if the minutes of the last meeting in October were correct and then signed them. Wendy thanked everyone for their contributions to the meeting, Barbara for the table flowers Carole S for the birthday posies, and the tea hostesses for the evening.

A short discussion followed with Wendy informing everyone that unless we can get more help on the committee our Institute is in danger of closing down. Penny, also reiterated the difficulties we face at the moment. On a temporary basis Penny will cover the Treasurer's job until January when Wendy will take this job on, and Pam will temporarily step in to cover the President's job.
Janet gave her update on the walks, a small group went to Cliveden in October and all had enjoyed the walk, with an expert gardener accompanying them around the grounds.

Late November for the next walk which will be in Braywick park, with a breakfast at the local Toby Inn. Our next walk after that will be in January 2018.

Mary reported on the second visit to the Real Tennis club in Holyport. Then Pat read out the Berkshire Newsletter. An envelope circulated around for the members to contribute towards a donation to the British Heart Foundation in memory of Shirley Razey.

Pauline read out the correspondences and invitations to local W.I Christmas meetings. A card from Jen also was read out to thank all those who had helped at Shirley's funeral.

A show of hands was given as to who would be interested in a Quiz night on the 30th January 2018 at Knowl Hill Village Hall tickets £12.50 to include a fish and chips supper.


In the neneteenth century lotteries and clubs sprang up all over the country, for the first time ensuring that even artisans on a very meagre wage were able to purchase a traditional Christmas dinner.  In London practically every third-rate inn and back-street public house was the centre for a Plum Pudding or Goose Club, the annoucement of which would stare you  in the face twenty times in the course of a day’s walk, usually with the guarantee that this club was ‘all fair and proper and above board.’  Although beef stayed popular in the north, in London goose became the chosen Christmas meat.  this was because it was cheaper to buy, being both tougher than beef or turkey and easier to transport en masse.

To obtain his goose the working man paid a small weekly sum from his wages for the thirteen weeks leading up to Christmas (if the amoutn came to  more than the cost of the goose, then a bottle or two of spirits were thrown in).  On Christmas Eve subscribers assembled in the lottery room of the local public house.  The walls were hung with holly and evergreen while the assortments of bird and bottle, with labels attached, were arranged around the room.  Corresponding tickets were put In a hat and each subscriber would then pull out one which guaranteen him the portion indicated by his lot.

The landlord usually divided and classified the prizes.  This was considered a fairer method than that of simply throwing a die and letting each man choose for himself, since most men wouldn’t have been able to tell which were the prize birds.  The club was therefore a kind of lottery with some people fairing much better than others.  In London, there was at least a bird - no matter how scrawny - for every subscriber;  in the country some received nothing.

Opinion at the time varied as to the merits of such clubs.  Charles Many Smith, writing in 1853 when the clubs were at the height of their popularity, saw them as worthy institutions that had been established in response to the needs and wants of the labouring classes.  He believed that having to give up six pence a week to the ‘Christmas bank’ tamed the moneyless classes in their drinking habits, since they soon found they could do quite as much work with one pot of beer a day as they could with two.  In this way not only could they learn prudence, but also were able to provide their family with a plum pudding and goose for Christmas.

From:  A London Christmas




Thursday, 14th December at 7.45 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall.
Christmas Social Evening.
Thursday, 11th January at 7.45 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall.

Moneyrow Green
Monday, 22nd January at 2 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall.

Music at Bray
Sunday, 10th December at 3 p.m. in St Michael's Church.

Join us for an afternoon of songs, tinsel, sleigh bells and sing along carols

Admission to the afternoon concerts is free - retiring  collection
Tea is served in St Michael’s Hall after the concert.

Maidenhead Heritage Centre
18 Park Street, Maidenhead.
Exhibition until 17th February - The Magpies Story.

7th December and 5th January
The Willows 11.50 - 12.35
Brayfield Road 2.50 - 3.00
Walker Road 3.10 - 3.40