April newsletter

The good weather on April 20th helped to ensure a good St. Georges Day celebration was held in the village. A procession through the village was well received and the Society fully participated in the events held at Harrisons Sports and Social Club in Wharwell Lane. Trevor Pearce and Derrick Hazzard can be seen manning the outside booth and Rob Caddick leading the procession on horseback.


Much background activity is on-going in readiness for the World War 1 (Great War) commemoration. This is being done locally, regionally and nationally with Staffordshire playing an active leading role.

David Barker, the Staffordshire Great War Trail Project Manager visited the Society to share information on World War 1 commemoration plans and to assist us as and when we might wish to move forward in some way. Bob Brevitt joined the meeting on behalf of the Cheslyn Hay & District Local History Society and informal contact will be maintained to see if neighbouring Societies might want to move forward in some co-ordinated fashion.

A Staffordshire – wide conference sponsored by the County Council was attended. Upwards of 70 Organisations and Groups attended and an array of on-going and planned World War 1 commemoration activities were outlined. A BBC reporter also attended and shared the outline plans for the extensive cover that is being arranged. This includes drama productions from the Birmingham office and detailed news coverage of local and regional events.

A quick straw poll of attendees at the April coffee morning indicated that members wished to be kept informed as more detailed World War 1 commemoration activities were being planned locally, regionally and nationally.

Kate_DennyA delightful coffee morning was held and thoroughly enjoyed by the attending members. Kate Denny is a Great Wyrley reared lady who now lives in the South-East of England. Her mom and dad still live in the village. Kate spoke of growing up in the village and her love of music from an early age with glowing references to Lawrence Smallwood’s skills and leadership. Kate is now an established folk singer who performs at clubs throughout the country. A number of self-penned songs have been produced that tell of her family life and historic events in and around the village. At conclusion, with support from her guitarist, Kate gave us a selection of songs from her repertoire and the picture below shows Kate during her performance.

During the coffee morning, approaches were made by some members to see if the Society could arrange a visit to the Mother of Pearl factory run by Geoff Hook. Everyone felt the presentation at the March coffee morning had been excellent and wanted to see Geoff’s version of ‘Steptoes yard’ (His words, not mine). Feedback will be presented to members at a future coffee morning as soon as possible.

The annual Open Day has been confirmed for Saturday, November 16th to be held at Harrisons club in Wharwell Lane. At the April coffee morning, Ron Myatt gave an incorrect date. Could members please note the correct details. Themes are being raised and a start has been made with further new materials for the day.

The genealogy for beginners classes have been started and will be continued on the 4th Thursday of each month for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, Ray Franks has had to withdraw for the immediate future and the Society is grateful to Bob Brevitt (from the Cheslyn Hay Society) for stepping into the breach and providing his specialist skills. Bob has kindly agreed to continue until Ray is able to resume.

Due to Ray’s absence, a change of speaker for the May coffee morning has been arranged. Our Society Archivist, Paul Ford will provide an absorbing address about Zeppelins in the areas in and around Great Wyrley. Thanks are afforded to Paul for stepping in.

April ended in a pleasant manner as Gary Smith, Pam Ball and Pauline Kelsey were invited to join Carl Chinn on his radio WM show to speak about the Society, Great Wyrley and the Society book ‘Reflections Over The Years’. Click here to listen to the show