Ruth Dark, Helen Kilduff - beside Ted Carless slide presentation
Fr. James Walsh SDB, Fr. Albert Carette SDB & Ted Carless
Br. Donald McDonald SDB & Fr. Pat Sherlock SDB
Frs Michael Lindsay & Pat Sherlock
Fr. Pat SHerlock & Invited Guests
Mike Kilduff - Cemetery Book Launch
Eric Baggaley, Fiona Roebuck
Eric Baggaley - introduction to Association President, Fr. A. Carette SDB
Eric Baggaley - tribute to Laurence Biello SDB
Cemetery Service - Fr. Dermot Gallagher, Michael Winstanley SDB., Paul Barnes, Eric Baggaley
Members gathered from the late afternoon of Friday 20 July at Savio House to renew friendships and acquaintances. The usual splendid buffet was followed by further socialising later in the evening. On Saturday morning there was Mass for those who wished to attend, after which everyone decamped to Shrigley for the Annual General Meeting, held in the Hotel’s Cheshire Suite (the old Study Hall).
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (by Peter Roebuck)
This 12th Meeting, under Matters Arising from last year’s Minutes, discussed the question of the Association applying for charitable status. Members were generally in favour and asked the Committee to look into the matter and formulate a recommendation for consideration in due course.
The Committee’s recommendation that Fr. Albert Carette SDB be re-appointed President of the Association was carried with acclaim, and the President was warmly congratulated on the Diamond Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood.
Under the Secretary’s Report, which was received and accepted, it was announced that next year’s Don Bosco Mass in Glasgow would be held on Sunday 27 January 2008. Following this year’s very successful gathering the Committee had written to our Scottish representatives suggesting the possibility of a two-day gathering to include not just a Mass and (as this year) a Committee Meeting, but also more extensive socialising. Scottish members were to meet in August and a response was expected thereafter.
The Treasurer’s Accounts were received, and accepted subject to certain queries being followed up by Committee members. The question of life membership of the Association (for an appropriate fee) was raised. Members were generally in favour and the Committee was charged with formulating a recommendation for consideration in due course.
The next three items were those which the Committee had been charged last year with carrying forward. Recommendations in the Archivist’s Report, together with a detailed statement of expenses, were endorsed. A Catalogue of the Archive was available and could be accessed by members on application to M. Kilduff. It was also reported that the Hotel had raised the possibility of the Shrigley House Shields being permanently displayed there. Again, members were generally in favour and the Archivist was asked to follow up the matter and report back. The Chairman then presented, on behalf of the Committee, a paper on Committee Membership and Roles. This proposed a slightly expanded Committee, with new posts of Events Co-ordinator and Minutes Secretary (and IT/Website Co-ordinator), plus the possibility of two co-options. The suggestion that we should also seek a slightly younger and more geographically dispersed Committee was also commended. With this in mind the Meeting agreed that this year there should be nominations for posts and, in the event of competition, an election among members of the AGM. Colleagues agreed that nominations for posts, together with an indication of the nominee’s acceptance of nomination, should be submitted by or before the end of August, and asked the current Chairman to receive them [at ’Rose End’, Somerset Mews, Coleraine, N. Ireland BT51 3LX], and to report back in September. The final item at this juncture was consideration of a revised Constitution. This was endorsed, subject to the realisation that further amendment would be necessary should the Association decide to apply for charitable status.
Keith Dransfield and Bernard O’Neil suggested that the Re-union of 2008 should be built around a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of 1958. This was enthusiastically endorsed. The Chairman undertook to explore dates for 2008 on the basis of a move to September (both to facilitate Scottish members and because most other members also felt that this was personally more convenient). [These dates have now been arranged as 19-21 September 2008, with a combination of events at Savio House and Shrigley].
A copy of the formal Minutes of the AGM has been posted on the Association Website and will be sent out in the next general circulation.
LAUNCH OF THE SALESIAN CEMETERY AT SHRIGLEY (by M. Kilduff)
Following a very enjoyable lunch provided by the Shrigley Hall Hotel in the main Dining Room, where we were joined by numerous relatives of those lying in the Cemetery, those gathered to celebrate the publication of the book returned to the Cheshire Suite.
As members and guests assembled, Ted Carless and Ruth Dark projected a slide show of some of their pictures of Shrigley on a large screen. During the speeches the projection on screen was a still of the large cross in the Cemetery.
Eric Baggaley introduced Mike Kilduff and Peter Roebuck, mentioning their earlier publications: one a photographic record of the College’s history by Mike, the other a detailed treatment of the first decade by Peter; both published to mark the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the opening of the College in 1929, held at Shrigley in the summer of 2004.
Mike spoke first. After thanking members and relatives for attending and for contributing to the content of the book, he said that the book was what he had always wanted it to be: ‘a testimony to the affection the Association feels for its Shrigley dead’. He felt that the book was a fitting memorial to those buried at Shrigley; and that it would ‘enhance and inform our conversation and thoughts about those thirteen people whose diverse experiences and fates led them to lie together’. The dead, he felt, were a small, representative sample of all who passed through the College.
He moved on to say that we should feel grateful that Shrigley was now a Hotel, as otherwise our access to the place we all love would have been much curtailed. He thanked Louise Davenport, PA to the General Manager of the Hotel, for the warmth and welcome we always receive, and for her intuitive understanding of the feelings we all have about the place that figured so significantly in the lives of all who passed through Shrigley in its years as a Salesian House.
Peter treated the audience to an account of the highlights of the writing of the book. Being a historian by profession, he relished the chase, the hunt for detail and the tracking down of family and relatives, particularly of the boys buried at Shrigley. The first two boys to be buried came from Northern Ireland, where he has lived for many years. His intimate knowledge of communities there made it possible to find their families, members of whom had travelled from Northern Ireland to be with us.
Making contact with 92-year-old Maurice Sheehan, himself a former Shrigley boy, brother of Desmond, the fourth boy to die at Shrigley, in 1937, was a cause of particular satisfaction. The other Dublin pupil, Patrick Wosser, was the only one whose family we could not trace.
The highlight of his work, he said, was tracking down and contacting the surviving brother of Emile Hevia, the Cuban Theology student who drowned in the lake at Shrigley in September 1961. Bro Emile was on holiday from his studies in Italy, improving his English by working with Salesians and boys during that unusually hot summer. Swimming in the lake became a regular relaxation for staff, and for boys who lived near enough to the College to visit during their vacation.
A colleague of Peter’s from the University of Ulster had visited Cuba at Christmas 2006 and had met a Salesian who confirmed the whereabouts of Todd Orestes Hevia, Emile’s younger brother, now a priest in Florida.
Mike had earlier expressed his gratitude to Peter. These examples bore out the truth of what he said and showed that Peter’s enthusiasm and historian’s skills had made the book into a much more substantial entity than it would otherwise have been.
Peter ended by saying that he idea for the book was Mike’s alone; that he had been delighted to be invited to join him; and that it had been a fruitful and most enjoyable collaboration.
THE SERVICE IN THE CEMETERY (by John Burke)
Nearly 100 people assembled in the Shrigley Cemetery at 3 pm for the traditional annual memorial service, which took on an added significance this year following the earlier launch of the book.
A special welcome was extended to the relatives of the deceased, and to those who had travelled far and for whom this was a first visit to Shrigley.
Past pupil John Clark from Glasgow read the lesson. When asked the previous evening if he would read and would he like to rehearse, he informed the MC that, as he had his own undertaker’s business and probably knew the chosen passage by heart, it would not be necessary!
Fr. Michael Winstanley, the Provincial and himself a past pupil, led the prayers.
The names of those buried in the Cemetery were read out and beautiful wreaths, anonymously made and donated, were laid either by relatives or members of the Shrigley Association who were contemporaries of the deceased.
A wreath was laid on the grave of ANDREW GALLAGHER, the first boy to be buried at Shrigley, in 1933, by his nephew, Tom Gallagher, who had travelled from Derry in Northern Ireland with other members of his family.
Francesca McCurdy laid our tribute to her brother, DANIEL McAFEE, who also died in 1933. She was accompanied by her son and daughter, all three from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.
Fr. Albert Carette SDB put flowers at the headstone of PATRICK WOSSER from Dublin, who died in 1934. Some years ago Fr. Carette designed the headstones, which had been specially cleaned for the service.
Past pupil Maurice Sheehan, who was accompanied by several members of his family, laid the wreath at the grave of his brother, DESMOND SHEEHAN, who died in 1937.
DAMIEN COCKSEY, who died in 1958, was honoured by John and Bernadette, his cousins.
Wreaths for deceased Salesians FR. THOMAS SLYTH (1959), BRO. EMILE HEVIA (1961), BRO. JAMES BROCKBANK (1962), and FR. PETER MCCUSKER (1963) were put in place by Fr. Michael Lindsay SDB, Sean Simpson, John Crowshaw and Kevin Dean respectively.
Fr. James Walsh SDB, ordained 61 years ago, laid our tribute on the grave of FR. FRANCIS WILSON, who died in 1963, having been among the first cohort of Shrigley boys in 1929.
Accompanied by several members of their family, the parents of BRO. CHRIS HIGGINS (died 1976) laid his wreath.
Eric Baggaley laid our tribute to BRO. LORENZO BIELLO, who died in 1977.
We were happy to greet Bob and Betty, brother and sister of FR. EDWIN SLACK, who laid his wreath. Fr. Edwin died in France in 1982.
Also present were the widows of TONY BOOTH and TONY COOP. They laid wreaths where the ashes of their husbands had been scattered. We also prayed for HUGH WALTON, a loyal member of our Association who travelled regularly to our Re-unions from the USA. His ashes were recently scattered at Shrigley.
Finally, in tribute to others who are remembered with affection and to the Salesians who brought us to Shrigley, Fr. Albert laid a last wreath under the large cross at the entry to the Cemetery.
Two individual contributions were made to the Service. Fr. James Walsh SDB gave an account of the early days at Shrigley when he studied with some of the boys we were remembering. Fr. Dermot Gallagher, nephew of Andrew Gallagher, spoke of the great impression that the tangible Shrigley spirit had made on him during his visit; and the ’interconnectedness of things’. As he finished his homily, a Scottish piper, greeting a wedding party to the Hotel’s Tilden Suite (formerly our College Chapel), struck up ’When the Saints go marching in’. Interconnected indeed!
Finally, ’Requiem Aeternam’ was sung from a unique song sheet - the reverse side of a laminated cover of the book about the Cemetery at Shrigley. We thank Eric Baggaley for leading the singing and providing this memento of a lovely occasion, which closed with a final blessing from Fr. Michael. He thanked the management of the Shrigley Park Hotel for the upkeep of the Salesian Cemetery, particularly for the work after the devastation caused by the recent storms. Thanks are also due to Martin Rose from Savio House for cleaning the headstones.
Present at the Service in addition to members of the Association were 38 guests from the Gallagher, McAfee, Sheehan, Cocksey, Higgins, Slack, Booth and Coop families; Louise Davenport, PA to the General Manager of the Hotel; and 7 Salesians.
THE JUBILEE CONCERT (by Paul Barnes)
The Annual Concert of the Association was again held at Savio House on the Saturday evening of the Re-union weekend. It took on a whole new significance this year as we celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of our President and dear friend, Fr. Albert Carette SDB. The compere, Paul Barnes, produced a printed programme featuring photographs of Fr. Albert, his long CV of movements over 87 years, and a list of Concert items to rival any previously held.
Kevin Dean at the piano accompanied various singers and led a rendition of songs popular throughout the several decades of Shrigley’s existence. Bernard O’Neil played his Salesian ’Deck of Cards’. Keith Dransfield related the appropriate monologue, ’Albert and the Lion’. And Fr. Provincial, Michael Winstanley, delighted us with his singing and guitar-playing of a couple of old favourites.
‘Volunteers’ from each of the four Houses competed against each other and Fr. Albert by trying to second-guess him in a game of ‘Blankety Blank’ on the theme of Shrigley, what else. Tony McCarthy won for Fisher and received a prized bottle of wine. Not to be outdone, Fr. Albert was presented with another bottle of wine from a Salesian foundation that makes its own wine near Bethlehem.
The highlight of the evening was a power-point presentation, prepared by Paul Barnes - a ‘This is Your Life’ of Fr. Albert. Not content to listen and enjoy, our President delighted in commenting on every slide as it appeared. At one particularly poignant moment Paul presented him with a piece of stone from the Shrigley quarry - a close relative of all those Fr. Albert had helped to carry up the drive when the Church was being built in the 1930s. At the end Fr. Albert was presented with a CD of the show and a suede-bound book in which dozens of people had written messages of congratulation and appreciation.
The final surprise was an A3 laminated front page of the Macclesfield Times headed ‘Fr. Albert Carette is Macclesfield Town’s oldest signing! 87-year-old Bolton signing set to make home debut’. This related to the late discovery of Fr. Albert as a brilliant footballer, supremely ironic in that earlier in the evening he had listed football as one of his pet hates!
A wonderful evening came to an end with a ‘Good Night’ of appreciation from Fr. Albert and a rendition of the Salesian School Song. We all waved goodbye with ’Ad Multos Annos’ ringing in our minds as Bro. Donald drove our precious President back to St. Joseph’s in Bolton (which he affectionately calls the ’Knacker’s Yard’).
Special thanks are due to John Burke, who organised the Cemetery Service and acted as MC; to Paul Barnes, who did likewise with the Jubilee Concert; to Ted Carless, who took photographs throughout the day; and particularly to Mike Kilduff. Mike organised the Re-union, liaised with Savio House and the Shrigley Hotel, dealt with all the details of the bookings (however late), and quietly managed other matters too numerous to mention
Peter Roebuck (Chairman)