3rd June 2015
The Band concert on Monday night went very well with all who attended commenting favourably on the professionalism of the Bridgtown Show Band. There were fewer people there due to weather and a lack of advertising. The team meeting agreed to taking the concert forward and managing the publicity better. The next Bridgtonian should be available for the next talk ( David Gethin) on the 17th June 2015 but we need more stories and articles about the village . So if you have a story to tell, amusing, educational or emotional – David Williams would be happy to recieve them via email if possible through the Society e-mail address.The next event we are holding is a Coffee Afternoon at the Bethel on Thursday 11th June 2015 and there will be the usual fare of film/Slide shows Refreshments and a craft stall and you can chat to friends. It is from 2pm til 4pm ish. It has become a good old fashioned “Chin Wag”.
24th May 2015
Our events of the last month went down well although with a reduced audience. Thank you to all who helped out with the coffee afternoon and those who attended had a good time.The talk on the 20th May at the Bridgtown School Hall by Mr Arthur Aston, on the story of the life of James Watt, the steam engineer kept all rapt as his life story was unravelled. Many thanks to Arthur for a most informative talk. Please don’t forget our annual Band Concert at the Bridgtown Social Club, Walsall Rd on Monday June 1st starting at 7.30pm and the Bridgtown Show Band will be strutting its stuff again with a variation of music to suit all tastes. Tickets are available from David Battersby or any of the Team at £5.00 each. Next month will be David Gethin’s talk about the Stain Glass Windows of Cannock, St. Lukes Church. It should be an interesting topic for all as the Church is celebrating nonocentenery (900 years) of its own. Cheslyn Hay & District Local History Society is presenting an evening with David Bartley, Black Country comedy poet, at the Salem school room, High Street, Cheslyn Hay on thursday 28th May at 7:30pm. Entrance is £1.00 and refreshments are provided.
18th April 2015
Our next event will be a return of the Coffee Afternoon on Wednesday 29th April at the Bethel Church between 2 and 4pm. It will follow the usual format, an informal meeting where you can meet and chat to old and new friends. Help us out with mystery photographs – putting names to faces and places. Enjoy refreshments. and there will be a mini Craft Stall and maybe the odd film show?.
Another boring reminder that the Annual Subscriptions have become due. We thank all who have already paid and would request that the subs due should be paid as soon as possible. It is still priced at £7.00 per household.
NORTH STREET TALK
This months talk was a return to village life with the people of North Street by Derrick Middleton with back up from Paul Bedford. It was part two of Derrick’s history of North street and was well received by the members. Many memories were stirred and the discussion around the topic was lively and informative.Derrick stated that there was much more to reveal about Bridgtown’s main street and that a return to the subject was inevitable but he was concentrating now on the rest of the village.
DOUG WILLIAMS 1924 – 2015 Douglas Williams, who had been writing his memoirs, was a former regional president, lifetime vice-president and founder member of the Cannock Chase branch of the Royal Air Forces Association. He gave up the comparative security of a reserved occupation in 1942 to join the RAF as a leading aircraftsman flight mechanic – but not without a fight. As a 16-year-old sergeant in the local Air Training Corps squadron he was inspired by the spirit of pilots fighting the Battle of Britain and determined to join the RAF as soon as he was old enough.
He became an aircraft worker following an apprenticeship at Boulton Paul, Wolverhampton, as a way of improving his RAF prospects, believing that working as a riveter on Defiant aircraft at Wolverhampton andrepairing the wings of Hurricane aeroplanes at the shadow factory in Wallows Lane, Walsall, would guarantee acceptance when it came to enlisting.
But he miscalculated the value of his job to the war effort and it was only after a battle lasting several months and the intervention of his boss that the authorities relented and allowed him to enlist.
His memoirs show he was known as ‘Duke Sahib’ during his three-year service in India. After the war Mr Williams attended the inaugural meeting of the RAFA branch in Cannock in August 1946. For many years he masterminded the local Wings Week appeal, with the whole of his family involved collecting, opening tins and counting donations
Paying tribute, fellow branch member Laurence McGowan said: “Doug was driven by having observed first-hand the need for a welfare organisation supporting former comrades and their families on return to civilian life.
“His active concern for the lads continued into his late 80s when he was responsible for sending almost 100 parcels of goodies to squadrons in Afghanistan.” Mr Williams’ granddaughter Rebecca Cartwright said: “Granddad was very proud of his time in the RAF and the people he served with. “He was looking forward to the ceremonies that will mark the 75th anniversaries of the battle of Britain later this year.”
The widower, who lived in Gorsey Lane, Cannock, is survived by a daughter, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The branch standard will be carried in front of his flag-draped coffin which will be escorted by an honour guard of fellow veterans at his funeral at St Saviour’s church Courtesy Express and Star
31st March 2015
The last day of March brings a new start to our membership year and its time for subscription renewals. The last talk morning gave us a great start with members renewing in “droves”. The new subs are still PRICED at £7.00 for a household membership which is still value for MONEY with a quarterly Bridgtonian and 12 talks over the year. Subs can be paid to the membership secretary, Bob Brevitt either in person at any event or by post (cheques made out to Bridgtown & District Local History Society) to 4 Windsor Rd, Cheslyn Hay, Walsall, Staffs, WS6 7EN. The Bridgtown Showband concert on Monday 1st June 2015 at the Social Club on Walsall Rd is with us again and tickets are already on sale. This was well attended last year and we are once again indebted to the Showband for providing a top class event which we hope has become a regular annual event. Our next event is on April 15th at the Bethel, 10am til noon and our own Derrick Middleton will focus upon the people of North Street. The 28th April will see the resumption of the Coffee Afternoon at the Bethel from 2 til 4 pm where you can meet and have a coffee & biscuit and the usual film show (to be confirmed).
22nd March 2015
It is with sadness that I report the resignation of our Chairman, Tony Pearson. Tony has given such a lot of his time and his expertise to Bridgtown & District Local History Society. We shall greatly miss his input and presence. Indeed it was Tony who was the motivating force behind the formation of our Society in 2009. This resignation ia a very recent event and, at this stage, no decisions have been made about how the Society will function without his leadership. Howver, I am keen to reassure everyone that that our Society will CONTINUE to function and CONTINUE to do all the things that we have regularly done over the past six years. We shall Miss Tony’s input but I know that he wants tour Society to CONTINUE to go from strength to strength. Publications Editor, David Williams
Since our Winter 2014 magazine was published we have enjoyed four first class monthly meetings. In December we enjoyed our Christmas Festivities with special music from the excellent Bel Canto Choir. In January we learned so much more about “Old Cannock” from Mike Hewitt, in February Chris Gooch regaled us abiut life in Shugborough Hall and. in March, although our stated speaker Peter Hart was laid low with illness, our own Dave Battersby stepped into the breach with an interesting slideshow of Cannock.
We have a full lineup of speakers for the forthcoming year and our now regular concert, courtesy of the Bridgtown Showband on Monday 1st June 2015 at the Bridgtown WMC tickets are available now and our Coffee afternoons will resume.