handsMorsContact - friendship for all

Meets: 1st Tuesday of each month in the Church at 19:30.   Contact: Tony King.

MORS is a Church Social Group open to “Methodists of Rose Street”, and to all other friends of the Church.  Our main aims are to encourage friendships to grow and to welcome everyone into the overall Church family.

We try to meet these aims by arranging:
  • A Monthly Programme of talks followed by refreshments
  • Visits and Excursions to places of interest
  • Concerts

A further aim is to raise funds in support of Church activities and Local Charities.

Future Programme

4 February Exciting Wildlife from around the World
Tom Way
3 March Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
Colin Brown
Sat 28 March Concert: British Airways Band
7 April How the things we can’t do without came about
Tony King
5 May The Anniversary of Dunkirk
Richard Poad
19 May Outing to the Isle of Wight and Osborne House
2 June Through the Garden Gate
    - The National Garden Scheme
Graham & Angela O'Connell
7 July Nepal
Marcia Watson

Monthly Report

White Waltham Airfield ……

At our December meeting, Richard Poad, the chairman of Maidenhead Heritage Centre, gave us a most interesting talk on the history of White Waltham Airfield.  It is the largest grass-only airfield in the UK if not in Europe and remains so since it handles only lighter aircraft.  Interestingly, we were shown a picture of a British Airways VC10 during an air show overflying the runway at x-feet, where x was certainly less than 50!

The airfield was set up in 1928 when the de Havilland family bought the grassland to set up a Flying School.  In 1938 the airfield was taken over by the government, and during the second world war was the home base of the Air Transport Auxiliary whose pilots, both male and female, delivered brand-new aircraft to their operational bases.  The Duke of Edinburgh, among others, was taught to fly at White Waltham, flying a De Havilland Chipmunk.  The airfield stayed in RAF hands until 1982 and, until 2007, it was the base of Thames Valley air ambulance helicopter.  The airfield is still licensed for use in training pilots and houses a Spitfire Flight Simulator. With its historical background it has been used, and seen, in films and on television.  

Mercy Ships ……

We started the New Year, on Tuesday 7th January, with a talk by Malcolm Souter’s sister-in-law, Jean, on her work with ‘Mercy Ships’.  Her spell was for a few weeks on the ‘Africa Mercy’ moored in the capital of Guinea, Conakry.  She began with a general knowledge test – where is Guinea? (West Africa) – from whom did it gain independence? (France) – and when? (1958). 

Guinea is very poor despite having large amounts of widely-used resources – Iron Ore, Bauxite, Gold, Diamonds – exploited, as often, by third parties.  Jean explained how dietary problems of the poorest lead to major medical needs, Goitres, Facial Tumours, Club Feet and Blindness etc.  The ship (originally a car ferry!) is now a top-class hospital with wards, operating theatres and such, (wo)manned by some 450, largely volunteer, people at any time.  As usual, this is a very brief report of a very interesting and well-presented subject.

Andrew Honeyman

Annual Report (MORS, February 2019)

MORS has had yet another successful year in the life of Rose Street Methodist Church.  Most meetings have seen upwards of 50 people in attendance while topics have ranged from 'Training to Become Cosmonauts in Star City, Russia' to 'Lies and Excuses' put forward by those coming through Customs at Heathrow.  A stained-glass maker explained his expertise and a Chocolate salesman had us eating out of his hand just before Christmas.  The Reading Male Voice Choir gave us a concert in March and the BA Band returned in October, both helping to boost our charity fund.  After a committee apology and some re-arrangement, our morning Anniversary Service in February was conducted by the Rev. Martin Turner, recently of Central Hall, Westminster.

This hiccup only goes to highlight a matter which many church groups may have to face up to in the near future – the continuing increase in the average age of those involved in maintaining these groups.  The MORS committee have already decided that there should be a 'football-like' winter break for meetings, since recent numbers indicate a reluctance to come out on a cold winter's evening.  With that in mind, we intend to have no Tuesday meeting next winter, i.e. November, December 2019 and January, February 2020.  More on this subject over the next few months.  Other decisions still need to be made but, suffice for now, we need more willing and, dare I say fitter, people to help organise.

Andrew Honeyman

Contact - A History

Contact, Young Wives or Wives Group as it was first known, began in September 1962.  The name changed from 1973 to be more inclusive.  The group met on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday evenings of the month.  One meeting had a speaker, while the other was usually a members’ evening.  There were a wide variety of speakers over the years, together with outside visits and theatre outings.

Ladies held their position on the Committee for 2 years only, so every year there were changes to the officers.  Often there were Church events to help organise, like Garden Parties in the summer, Autumn Fayres, Harvest Suppers and Christmas dinners.  The various Rose Fayres were primarily to raise funds for building projects, like the Rank Hall in 1964 and the extended Church in 1973.

An important spin off for over twenty years was the Keep Fit class which began in 1971.  An average of 20 women a week exercised with a teacher and pianist, and there was a creche for young children,  It was a form of outreach, as most particpants were not church members.

Today there are a number of ladies in the Church who have served on the Contact committee in various roles from 1970.  By 1976 the annual subscription was 30p with 10p paid at each meeting attended. Over the years the number of members has fluctuated. By 1984 Annual Programmes were circulated and this encouraged more ladies to join.  The average attendance in 1987 was 22, but two years later it had risen to 30.

B partyContact 'B' party, December 2014

Norma Soby has held several roles over the life of Contact, and Cecily Amos, who became Treasurer in 1998, still holds that office.

There was talk of joining MORS in 1999, when the average attendance was down to 10, but the following year it was decided to only meet monthly instead, on the 4th Wednesday of the month,  In 2002 Janet Severn became Co-ordinator and remained so until she moved way in 2018.  In 2005 gentlemen began to attend Contact meetings which improved the average attendance.

In 2006 the building of the Bradbury Centre commenced.  Contact gave £100 to the Church, recognising that Powerpoint presentations were often used by speakers.  By 2009 subscriptions were £1.50 a meeting and from 2014 Contact members went annually to Daffodil Day at Methodist Central Hall.

By 2018, 51 members attended the AGM, with an average attendance at meetings of 38.  A sum of £420 was given for a large Mosaic fish, part of the design planned for the exterior of the Bradbury Centre wall.

So we arrived at 2019 where the 24 members at the AGM agreed that, mainly due to falling numbers and the average age of the group, Contact would amalgamate with MORS from 1st September 2019.  There will be 3 members from Contact on the MORS committee and we hope that some MORS members will join us at our informal meetings.

57 years is a long time and there are sure to be a great many memories……

Judith Bedwell