Carols in the Square
The annual Parkgate Village Community Carol singing event will take place on Tuesday 20th December at 6.30pm. The Salvation Army band will be accompanying villagers as they sing favourite Christmas Carols in the grounds of St Thomas’ Church. Everyone is welcome to join us singing their hearts out and warming up afterwards with Mulled wine and mince pies in St Thomas’.
Wednesday 20th January at 8pm.
WINTER WARMER with THE FAMOUS PARADE JAZZ BAND.
Toe tapping favourites, sing along melodies and music to warm you up on a cold winters night.Refreshments available.
Available from Mozkitos Coffee Shop, off Mostyn Square, Parkgate or from Ina Bushell 336 2530
Tuesday 15th December at 6.30
Open Air Carols by Candlelight with the Salvation Army Band.
St Thomas’ Church will once again be hosting the Annual Open Air Carol Singing. Everyone is welcome to come along and join us in this regular Parkgate event. There will be mince pies and Mulled wine afterwards.
Sunday 29th November at 6.30pm
This simple candlelit service in peaceful suroundings brings an oasis of calm in a busy troubled world. The service consists of quiet song (the simple chants of the Taize community), scripture, silence for meditation and prayers for the world.
Please join us.
Thursday 14th May 2015 – We are delighted to announce that following on from his last sold out concert in February 2012 Billy Thompson Gypsy Style is returning to St Thomas’ Church to give another concert. Tickets are available at £10 (£5 under 16’s) from Mozkitos Coffee or from Ina Bushell 336 2530. Book early to avoid a dissapointment.
16th December 2014: Annual Open Air Carol Singing
On an unusually warm December night in Parkgate the Christmas festivities commenced with the annual Open Air Carol singing. Friends and families came from all parts of Parkgate and further afield meeting up at St Thomas’ Church on Mostyn Square for this annual event.
At 6.30p.m.the lawn in front of St Thomas’ was filled with over 250 people who welcomed the Rock Ferry Salvation Army Band who led us in our singing. Unfortunately as soon as we commenced the first Christmas Carol the rain arrived. However not to be washed away the Salvation Army played on and the assembled people sang their hearts out.
After singing around a dozen carols there was a blessing from the Rev’d. Alan Dawson and everyone wished each other a Happy Christmas. Although a few people drifted off home the majority then retired into the warmth of St Thomas’ church were they enjoyed the homemade mince pies and biscuits washed down with mulled wine or fruit cordial. There was a very real feeling of a community spirit throughout the evening which after four successful consecutive years really must be an annual event that is not to be missed.
The third edition of “St Thomas’ Church Parkgate A Short History” is now available from St Thomas’ Church, Nicholls Ice Cream Shop and the Parkgate Stores. Priced at £2.50 the book is exceptional value with 34 pages packed full of information and colour photographs. Our grateful thanks must go to Betty Jones and Robin Hughes for all their efforts in putting this comprehensive book together. The Bishops Trust have funded the printing of the book with proceeds from the sale of the book going towards the Churchyard Project.
WEDNESDAY HOLY COMMUNION SERVICE:
From Wednesday 30th April the Holy Communion service timing will change from 10.00am to the earlier time of 9.30am.
CHAT ‘T’ CRAFTERS:
This group has met at St Thomas’ for well over a year. However due to various commitments with other activities the group will now meet on a monthly basis. The meetings will take place on the first Thursday of every month so please do come and join us between 2.0 p.m. and 4.0 p.m.
At the moment we knit or crochet, but it would be great if we could expand our range of crafts e.g. needlework, patchwork, woodwork etc. Everything that we produce will be given to charitable or church causes. We are currently making baby clothes for the Premature Baby Unit at Arrowe Park Hospital. Later in the year we plan to make clothes or toys for the Operation Christmas Child boxes.
Our group is open to everyone. You do not have to be a church-goer; neither do you have to be female!!!
Please tell your friends about the Chat ‘T’ Crafters – all are welcome.
For more information please contact:Valerie Johnson on 336 7838
Tuesday 16th December 6.30pm
Open Air Carols by Candlelight with the Salvation Army Band. Please join us in this annual community celebration. Sing your heart out to celebrate Christmas and enjoy Mulled Wine and Mince Pies afterwards. EVERYONE WELCOME.
Mostyn Square Entrance:
As part of the church grounds and garden project the Bishops Trust agreed with the Town Council to tidy up and enhance Mostyn Square. The Trust paid for a new lampost, more in keeping with Parkgate, to replace the concrete lampost. The new lampost has now been installed and painted, the Council noticeboard and the bench have been repositioned a new litter bin has been installed and our thanks must go to Jill Pratt who persuaded BT to repaint the telephone box thus completing the work on Mostyn Square.
St Thomas’ Church and the Bishops Trust receive Wirral Society Award of Merit:
The annual general meeting of the Wirral Society is held in March each year. The meeting reports on the previous year’s work, progress on projects and achievements and also financial matters. It is also the time when they announce a number of awards recognising the achievements of various groups. This year the AGM was held at Wallasey Golf club on 8th March and the Bishops Trust and St Thomas’ church were given the society’s Award of Merit. The award was “in recognition of the excellence of design and the quality of craftsmanship and materials used in the recent refurbishment”.
Professor John Tarn, President of the Wirral Society, presented the certificate and cheque. Valerie Johnson (Deputy Church Warden) and David Johnson (Trustee) kindly accepted the society’s award on behalf of St Thomas’ church and the Bishops Trust. The framed certificate will be displayed at the rear of the church alongside the awards for the Best Community Project and Cheshire Team made in 2004 and 2005.
New Vicar of Neston:
On Wednesday 27th February 2013 Neston Parish Church was at near capacity with members from the three congregations of St Mary and St Helen, St Michaels and St Thomas’, local dignitories, members from Alan Dawson’s previous Parish in Hyde and friends from far and wide for the Induction and Institution of the Reverend Alan Dawson to his new Parish in his home town of Neston.
This Institution was performed by the Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd. Keith Sinclair and the Induction was carried out by the Archdeacon of Chester, The Venerable Michael Gilbertson. Also involved in conducting the service of prayers and thanksgiving were Rural Dean, Revd. David Fisher and Reverend Canon Chris Humphries of the Dean and Chapter of Chester Cathedral.
Jazz at St Thomas’
On Tuesday February 19th St Thomas’ welcomed *Billy Thompson Gypsy Style*. This return to his home area marked the start of the band’s spring tour which commenced the previous evening in Bala before travelling to Parkgate then moving on to perform in Cardiff, Bath and Bristol.
The Band’s line up included Eryl Jones and Phil Gardiner on guitar, Karen Street on accordion, Steve Berry on double bass (Steve’s day job is Professor at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester) and of course, Billy Thompson on violin. A classically trained violinist, he bumped into Jazz while studying music at CardiffUniversity, and was subsequently a finalist in the UK Young Jazz Musician of the Year, in both 1996 and 1998. Billy is a local hero, having grown up in Neston and attended NestonHigh School with his older brothers Matthew and Robbie.
St Thomas’ was packed with nearly 130 people who had travelled from far and wide to see the band. They all sat mesmerised by the wonderful music performed so well over for two hours. This talented group showed their flair and imagination with music that ranged across all areas from jazz to blues from slow and moody to fast and frantic. Their music turned St Thomas’ church into a bluesy smokey 1930’s club one minute then into a wild gypsy encampment the next. Each member of the group so accomplished in their own right performed to an amazing height which left those attending with sore hands after clapping loud and long after each piece performed. The pre publicity said that Billy’s music is wide-ranging, from Bach to Bacharach, but his musicianship is second to none and everyone who attended this event would agree. A wonderful night that will be remembered for a long time. If you missed it well look out for it again as we might persuade Billy to come back again in the future.
The new gates are installed:
The new gates were installed at the entrance from Mostyn Square just before Christmas. Many people commented how good they looked. However a few days later it was decided to remove them for some modification work on the fixings. The work has now been completed and the gates have been re-installed completing the work at the front of the church.
18th December: Annual Open Air Carol Singing
On a cool misty night in Parkgate the Christmas festivities commenced with the annual Open Air Carol singing. Friends and families wandered along The Parade with its new festive Christmas lights or down Brooklands Road and School Lane to St Thomas’ Church on Mostyn Square.
At 6.30p.m. Mark Powell and his brass quintet (Blackeys Brass Quintet) came out of St Thomas’ and the open-air carol singing was underway. Unfortunately after three carols, all sung with great gusto, the cold night air was starting to play havoc with the brass instruments, so everyone retired into the warmth of St Thomas’ Church.
Nearly 300 people (and a couple of dogs) crammed into the Church and continued the carol singing. After a dozen or so carols there was a blessing from the Rev’d Judith Calvert and everyone wished each other a happy Christmas.
The majority of people then stayed on and enjoyed the homemade mince pies and biscuits washed down with mulled wine or spiced fruit cordial. There was a very real feeling of a community spirit throughout the evening which after three successful consecutive years really must be an annual event that is not to be missed.
December 16th 2012
New Vicar Appointed:
At the beginning of this mornings service it was announced by Doreen Gorden, Church Warden, that a new vicar has been appointed to the Parish of Neston. Subject to legal niceties the Rev Alan Dawson will be taking up his appointment early next year. Further details will be circulated shortly. Having grown up in Neston and attended the High School our new Vicar may well be known to people in the parish.
Harvest Festival 6th – 7th October
This year’s theme for the display was the setting sun over the marsh in Parkgate. Jan Rigby created the designs and on Thursday 4th October, under Jan and Marion Parson’s direction, the flower arrangers started to assemble the numerous floral arrangements and the large, very impressive display in front of the altar.
The previous Sunday members of the congregation were invited to bring along any herons or other birds (ornamental of course), greenery from their gardens etc. A few people had also been out onto the marsh to collect further plants and grasses. All this came together on the Thursday and Friday so that by Saturday morning we could open St Thomas’ for the day so that visitors and local folks could come in and have a look at the church and the magnificent floral displays. Thankfully the weather was sunny and bright on Saturday and Sunday and a steady stream of visitors wandered into church. According to the visitors book we attracted visitors from far and wide (London and Leeds and also one family, visiting relatives, came from Canada). Teas, coffees, cakes and biscuits were provided as well as information about the restoration and history of St Thomas’ church.
Harvest Supper 8th October
On Monday evening we held our Harvest Supper for just over 80 people. It was wonderful that this also included people from the community who do not normally come to church but who had enjoyed the Harvest Supper so much last year, that they wanted to join us again this year. Following last year’s sell out for the supper there was scramble for tickets and once again there were several disappointed people who did not apply for tickets early enough.
A meal of Cottage Pie, Apple Crumble and custard and a glass of wine were thoroughly enjoyed. Our thanks for this go to Elaine Simcock and Linda Haigh. After the meal each table was invited to nominate a person to join one of two teams for a “University Challenge” quiz. Some seriously difficult questions were ably answered by the teams with a little whispered help from the audience. The quiz was followed by a selection of songs sung by the NE Singers. Their repertoire was excellent and a duet singing MEOW brought tears of laughter to many cheeks. This was a fitting end to a very hectic but well organised weekend celebrating the Harvest. Grateful thanks must go to all the organisers, flower arrangers, cooks and everyone who helped in any way to make this all possible. The Harvest supper raised £500 for the Parish Church Roof Appeal.
Polished Brass: On Saturday 29th September we were entertained with an evening of musical favorites by Blackeys Brass Quintet. Mark Powell (Trumpet) led the evening accompanied by Alex Harper (Trumpet), Rob Watson (French Horn), Paul Davis (Trombone) & Malcolm Peach (Tuba). A varied program of music including works by Gershwin, Handel, Mozart,Shostakovich and particularly the encore by Strauss were thoroughly enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience. Funds raised will be going towards the provision of a sound system for St Thoma’s church.
The Macmillan Coffee Morning held on Wednesday 26th September raised £90 towards this wonderful charity. Many thanks to all involved and also for the delicious cakes baked.
Heritage Week and Art Exhibition.
Thursday 6th – Sunday 9th September 2012
St Thomas’ Church was open to visitors over four days and during that time well in excess of two hundred people came in and had a look around the church and viewed the various art works by Peter Appleton. Looking through the Visitors Book it was wonderful to see the many comments written by visitors from far and wide including people from New South Wales, Australia, Dubai, Canada & Switzerland.
On Saturday 8th September two local ladies, Shirley Britt and Murial Tinker, gave demonstrations of Spinning and Weaving in the grounds of the church. Thankfully the weather was fine and the crowds visiting Parkgate came in and had a look around the grounds and Church. A big thank you must go to all the volunteers who helped show visitors around as well as making the teas and coffees.
Church Garden Progress
Work on the garden project continues with the installation of handrails on the steps leading up from Mostyn Square. The two flower beds in front of the church have been dug over, fertilised and planted up. The work was done prior to the church opening for the Heritage week end and certainly enhanced the appearance for all our visitors.
Two new benches have been kindly donated by local families. The benches have now been installed and offer relaxing views across Mostyn Square and out over the marsh and the River Dee. Visitors and locals alike are welcome to come and sit and relax and enjoy the views. Work on the flowers beds and shrubbery will be commencing shortly.
THE QUEENS DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATION
The morning resembled something like the DIY Big Build television programme. The assembled folk were faced with the task of erecting seven gazebos before midday in the drizzling rain. No-one had assembled any of them before or even examined the contents of the bags that were lying around. In addition, stalls needed to be set up and the church and grounds decorated with bunting, balloons and flags. It was brilliant. Everyone worked together as a team and people popped up from nowhere to do whatever task was allocated to them.
Everything was in place by 12 noon and the party began. During the afternoon just over 200 adults and children joined in with our celebrations. The BBQ cooks and their assistants produced masses of burgers and sausages. The cake stall did a roaring trade and the coffee and tea ladies were kept busy. A steady trickle of people wanted something a little stronger but I think the cool weather discouraged any over-indulgence in this area.
The children’s activities were grouped together in the front garden area. There was an activity tent where under supervision, children could decorate biscuits and do other quiet activities. Opposite there was a coconut shy for those feeling strong and hook-a-duck for younger children. The candy floss machine was a huge success thanks to the talented adults who operated it.The stall which young and old alike were most drawn to was definitely the Chocolate Tombola. We now know who the local chocoholics are.
We rounded everyone up and herded them into the church to charge their glasses with bubbly and soon the church was overflowing with loyal subjects belting out well known patriotic songs.
We were delighted to welcome the Port Harmony Community Choir who captivated the audience with their repertoire of mainly African songs. The choir very kindly agreed to perform at St Thomas’ with only a week’s notice. We hope to see more of them in the future.
We were honoured that only days after being elected Neston Town Council’s new Mayor, Councillor Pat Hughes and his wife Marie joined our celebrations. Following a few words from Neill, our Vicar, and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Prayer, the new mayor spoke warmly of the local community who had worked so hard to getSt Thomas’ restored and open again for both worship and community use and he wished us well for the future.
The mayor then proposed the Loyal Toast and the roof was nearly raised by the volume of hundreds of voices singing the National Anthem.
The 3 tier Jubilee Cake made by our own Elaine Simcock was cut by the Mayor and a slice was distributed to everyone.
Thank you to everyone who helped or supported us in any way. I hope you all enjoyed our parish Diamond Jubilee celebrations down in Parkgate.
Valerie M Johnson
1st June 2012
The first phase of the Churchyard/Garden project has been completed. The original entrance to the churchyard on Mostyn Square has been reinstated and new steps leading up from the entrance have been paved. Parts of the sandstone perimeter wall have also been repaired. The next phase will be the garden work which will include planting new trees and shrubs as well as the installation of new benches.
The Churchyard project is really coming on and the ground work for the paving is nearly complete. The paving down the School Lane side of the Church has already been completed. The excavation for the steps down to Mostyn Square is nearly complete and the wall between the sandstone pillars has been removed. The removal of the wall has uncovered the original gate hangings which are still in place and would indicate that two gates were originally hung across the entrance.
Work started on the Churchyard and Garden project on 9th May. The old tree stumps have been removed and the pathway is being dug out in preparation for laying the new paved walkway. The daffodils planted over 20 years ago by the children of Parkgate School have been removed and will be replanted elsewhere in the garden. It is hoped that the School will be invited to help plant more bulbs in the Autumn.
Permission has been granted to demolish the Bus Shelter on Mostyn Square. The removal of the bus shelter will allow the work to commence on reopening the original entrance to St Thomas’ Church. The original sandstone pillars can be seen in the church wall, one to the left of the bus shelter and the other inside the shelter. This work is part of the Churchyard Project for St Thomas’ Church. (see Churchyard & Garden Project)
Community Christmas Cheer at St Thomas’ On the evening of 20th December 2011 the church was bursting at the seams as around 240 people gathered for carol singing at St Thomas’. Entering into the spirit of the occasion, several came dressed in Santa hats, and there was even a little dog in a red outfit.
Starting outside, and illuminated by home-made lanterns, we were accompanied by the accomplished brass band led by Mark Powell. Rev Neill welcomed all who attended and directed us to the booklet of Carols, which John Proud had ably collated especially for the occasion.
The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and all sang heartily, including three soloist ‘kings’ who were cajoled into taking part with very little notice!
After four carols outside, the congregation moved indoors to continue its singing, our throats moistened by our watering mouths from the scent of mince pies and mulled wine.
Thanks to all who helped in many different ways. God blessed us yet again, as we celebrated the festival of the coming of the Light of The World.
Please pray that St Thomas’ continues to reach out to the local community.
St Thomas’ Church is rededicated New Life for St Thomas
Villagers help to raise the roof at church.
This News article appeared in The Ellesmere Port Pioneer on 21/04/04 newsarticle210404