Memories of days gone by – Christine Jackson

Christine Jackson, who attended Wheatley Chapel as a child, wrote this interesting letter to us. We thought others might be interested and she has agreed for us to publish her memories here. If you also have connections with the Chapel we’d love to hear from you too. Please write to the editor using the form at the end of this page.

From Christine Jackson

29 June, 2010

I read with great interest your anniversary hopes and reflections at the Chapel and I look back happily to some of the anniversary services that I enjoyed as a young child during the 1940’s.  As you can imagine, the Sunday School anniversary was very special indeed.  Sunday School was very well-attended at 11am and 3pm each week  under the guidance of Marjorie and Alma Horwood, Meg and Sheila Bird and Olive Shepherd and backed up by Miss Preedy and her parents who had been recent missionaries in China until displaced by the war when they were forced to return to the UK when they settled in Wheatley. The Rev. Sam Record and later the Rev. McIntosh and the Rev. Ted Broad led the congregation  at various stages during those years.

The Anniversary service was planned  well in advance with the Sunday School pupils being assigned special tasks.  We learnt special songs/hymns for the occasion and several of us had to learn recitations which were ‘tested’ at Sunday School  and then recited to parents and friends at a special afternoon anniversary service. The Sunday School anniversary service was the culmination of a week of Anniversary events including the Tuesday “Women’s Bright Hour”under the watchful eyes of the Misses Beady and Bowles and a special Anniversary tea which was held in the Chapel schoolroom to which those attending contributed cakes and sandwiches as food at this time was strictly rationed. I was allowed to attend the tea event with my grandmother, Keziah Tombs, provided “I behaved myself and did not chatter too much!” Mrs. Hinton who lived opposite the Chapel and Mrs. Pratt who lived a little way along from the Chapel gave valuable ‘back-up’ on such occasions.

The Sunday School anniversary came second only to the Harvest Festival when the Chapel was decorated with flowers from the pulpit to the floor by Elsie Hewlett, her husband and Fred Shepherd and family.  Gilbert Harris was the organist for both events and Dodd’s, the local bakery provided the special harvest loaf.

They were indeed happy and memorable days.

Christine Jackson

She later also recalled…

It is interesting when I look back.  My husband, Barry and I were the first couple to be married by Charles Brock back in 1964 at Wheatley Chapel and our daughter and her husband were amongst the last ones to be married by him at Mansfield College where they were both students.

Sadly, I have few relatives in Wheatley now and visits there are less frequent. I  worship locally in West Wickham, Kent and by the strangest of coincidences, at a service to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the local scout group here last Sunday, we were told that one of the early supporters  of the group was a former minister at the Emmanuel Church, United Reformed  Church, West Wickham – a Rev. Barry.  I understand that you have his grandson as a regular worshipper at Wheatley Chapel whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a chapel function some years back.  It is a small world!