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St MICHAEL'S CHURCH

William G Carr

THE STORY OF MY LIFE (SO FAR)
AND HOW I CAME TO BE CHURCH WARDEN EMERITUS

I was born on the 19th December 1935 at No.1 School Street in Walmer Bridge, and Baptised early the following year by the Reverend Edmund Charles Dunne and spent the next few years growing up in what was a very quiet little village. The only traffic seemed to be the dust cart, the muck cart, and the coal man. Not forgetting Jim Shorrock with his horse and cart delivering milk, and the buses that passed through every half hour from Liverpool or Southport.

Sunday of course was special, no work was done on a Sunday. Sunday was about Church and Sunday School. With one exception, If you had been good you were allowed an ice cream from T.I. the only ice cream van you ever saw.

I moved to Preston when I was about nine years old and I became a choir boy at St. Mary's church where I won a singing competition and was packed off to Rossall College near Fleetwood as a "Border" for the summer to learn all about church music and I came back as leading choir boy with a certificate to prove it - and then my voice broke.

On completing my apprenticeship I joined the Royal Navy where I became amongst other things a shallow water diver or frogman as we were called. Shallow water means 50 Ft. which when you are down there seems a long way to the surface. I could write a book about my experiences in Cyprus with Eoka and all the troubles there. Gun running and searching for limpet mines on the bottom of ships and fishing boats. Or manning the torpedo tubes during "The Lebanon Crisis", or all the action during the "Cod War" in Iceland. But thats another story.
In fact it seems like another world.

Eventually I left the navy and married the girl of my dreams here at St. Michael's. The Reverend T.G. Watkins carried out the service. He had also Baptised Beryl back in 1940, and rumour has it that Beryl was the first baby he christened and our daughter Deborah was the last.

Two or three vicars later I was approached by Harry Pugh as to whether I would like to be church warden alongside Stan. Now this was a very important decision to make. Next to the minister it is the highest position in the church. In fact all the goods such as communion cups, plates, loose fittings etc, are given to the church wardens to care for and hand over to his successor when he retires. A very responsible position indeed. After thinking about it and having my arm shoved up my back I decided to say yes and grew into the position with the help of Stan, and then with David when Stan retired to take on the position of Lay Reader.

Then out of the blue the Diocese decided that the position could only be held for six years. As I had already served eight years we had to look round for someone to succeed me. I was told I could re-apply for the position in twelve months to which I replied, no thank you as it would not be fair on whoever took over.

A colleague and friend Professor Barrie Gleave had given this great thought and after approaching the PCC asked me if I was prepared to accept the position of church warden emeritus. When I asked what that meant it was explained that it made me honorary church warden for as long as I wanted the position or until it was revoked by the PCC. This means that I can assist or stand in for the church wardens as necessary.

All in all I had been involved with St. Michael's Church over a period where seven of the twenty four ministers had left their own particular footprint and now thanks to the reverend Derek Baines it has become twenty five, and my individual score has become eight. If anyone here was baptised at this church before 1920, and involved with the church, it is possible they have beaten my score. Are there any takers ?.

One of the big plusses of being a church warden is the people you meet and the friends you make. For instance, I was told that Abigail Stones a descendant of the Stones family would be in the area on a particular day, so I came to church to meet her. Nobody there so I decided to try and find her. This I did, I found Abigail sat down in the car park at Carr House, crying. She told me her father, an eminent historian had written a book about the Stones family and was about to do a tour of the U.K. to visit all the sites when he died. So Abigail, after a period of time decided to do the tour for him. She came to St. Michael's and found it locked, went to Carr House to find it closed and un used, so feeling absolutely miserable she sat down and cried.

I took her back to church, made her a drink and gave her a tour of the church. I showed her the silver ware presented to the church by her ancestors and told her that if she ever came again it would be possible to take Communion using the cup and plate presented by her family all those years ago. I also gave her a copy of the video made by the BBC about Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus. She sent me a lovely letter saying how thrilled her mother had been to see the Stones children in the video skipping across the fields to St. Michael's. The next thing I heard was that a coach load of Stones was coming to Hoole for Communion. You can't buy moments ike that.

William G. Carr - Church Warden Emeritus
April 2015

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