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Girton Parish News - March 2002

The Front Page.

Another Success for the Girton History Group!

Following the highly successful publication of _Keeping in Touch_ on Remembrance Sunday last year, Girton History Group is delighted to announce that it has been granted further funding to enable it to publish a second book.

_Keeping in Touch_ presented Freddie Barrett's letters written to Girton service personnel during the last three
years of the war and photographs of some of the recipients. We are delighted at the interest our publication has already roused in the Village, including the interesting article in last month's _GPN_. If you don't yet have your own copy, the book is still available from Walker's and the Girton Post Office.

But while preparing it we received much other material, and at that stage we were not able to use the contents of the replies Barrett received. This new grant will enable us to utilise these valuable materials in a different erspective on Girton at war.

The Group very much hopes that other villagers will help this project, and we are looking both for new members and for any material which could be incorporated. We are looking for wartime reminiscences, service records, anecdotes, photos -- anything which will give an insight into what life was like in Girton during the Second World War. All original materials will be scanned or photographed and returned directly. Although we cannot guarantee to use everything, we can be sure that the more people are involved the richer the result will be.

The Group can be contacted through its Chairman, Dr DR de Lacey  or the Secretary, Mrs M Parnwell 

Message from St Andrew's

Why Easter?

According to my book: in Scarborough they skip; in Ossett they carry coal; in Stoke St Gregory they shackle eggs; and in Tinsley Green they have a marble contest.

These are all Easter customs in towns and villages around the country.  Perhaps you can think of more from the region you come from.  I'm sure we could draw up a long list of traditional customs to do with Easter.

Customs are, unfortunately dying out.  People don't have the time.  We have so many other pressures on our time that the past gets forgotten.  Indeed, until a small group of children from Girton took up the cause to learn from a man from a nearby village, with his death would have come the last performance of a traditional broom dance.

Traditions are fun, traditions are interesting, and traditions are educational.  They tell us something about our past, something about our heritage and something about who we are in the here and now.

At the major Jewish festivals, I believe, children are encouraged to ask questions as to why they celebrate the Passover, or other times.  And they are told the background to these customs and the symbolism behind them.  The children are brought up knowing about their customs and understanding them.

So what customs do you know about Easter?  And what do they represent?

Half way through Lent we have Mothering Sunday.  Now it is called Mother's Day and our mothers get some well deserved recognition.  But the real celebration was more of a celebration during the long period of abstinence of Lent.  It became the custom for people to have a day off work to return to their parents' homes and to go to their "Mother Church".

During Holy Week, the week before Easter, we have Maundy Thursday.  "Maundy" is  a word meaning "commandment".  And it celebrates Christ's commandment to each of us to "love one another, as I have loved you."  This is the day that the Queen has a special church service at which she distributes "Maundy money".  This is specially minted money, and it is symbolic of the rich people giving to the poor among them - a symbolic role reversal as the Queen becomes the servant of her subjects.

We have hot cross buns, traditionally made without yeast and eaten on Good Friday.  They are marked with a cross to symbolise the cross on which Jesus was killed on that day.

And we have Easter eggs.  Chocolate eggs, and perhaps lots of them.  Maybe you will have an Easter egg hunt in the garden, spring weather permitting!

Spring is when the garden comes to life again after the dullness of winter.   Springtime is when birds are nesting and laying eggs among the branches to bring up new families.  At this time of year, our friends in Germany would blow real hens eggs and decorate them with really beautiful designs, and hang them on branches inside or outside the house.

The egg symbolises new birth.  Returning life. And Easter is a kind of Springtime in the Christian year.  We celebrate Easter with eggs symbolising Jesus' resurrection from the dead. 

If I were to get an empty Easter egg, one with no "treats" in it, I would feel a bit cheated.  But now I come to think about it, perhaps that is a better one to get because it is as empty as the tomb it symbolises.
Death has been finally beaten,  the tomb is empty, Christ is alive!  Hallelujah!

Dugald Wilson, Reader

Message from the Baptist Church

Travelling with Royalty

Princess Margaret, who died last month, was the only member of the royal family I have ever met.  I have been in her company twice, although you should understand that I use the term very loosely.  The first time was nearly twenty-five years ago when the Princess, as Chancellor of Keele University, awarded me my degree.  The second occasion was in 1994 when I found myself on the royal train. 

It came about while I was in training for the ministry and regularly travelling up to London.  On one afternoon I arrived at Kings Cross station to catch my usual train home, the 16.40 through service to Kings Lynn, and discovered that it was not waiting at the normal platform.  My first reaction was one of despair, for that usually meant a delayed departure or at worse a cancelled train.  Lots of officials, wearing carnations in their buttonholes, were bustling around, so I sat down out of the way and put my bag on my knee so that others could mop the platform around me.  After a few minutes an announcement came over the tannoy that the 16.40 would depart from a different platform and into the station purred an extremely clean set of carriages bearing the destination Kings Lynn.  Although we now had a train, we still could not immediately board, for inside several police officers were walking up and down checking the luggage racks and peering underneath the seats. 

"Oh dear" said a lady standing beside to me to a porter, "Will the train be late departing?" 

"Madam" replied the porter, who was also wearing an enormous red carnation in his buttonhole, "I can assure you that that train will depart on time!"

Now in case you are unfamiliar with rail travel, I must point out that officials wearing buttonholes, platforms been vigorously mopped and porters assuring you that services will depart on time, are not everyday events!
After a few minutes the public were allowed onto the train, but not into the back section of the last carriage.  That area was shut and guarded by two burly security men in plain clothes.  The officials dimmed the lights in the rear section and just before we departed on time as the 16.40 for Kings Lynn somebody slipped on board.  Throughout the journey I had no idea as to the identity of the mystery traveller, but when I alighted at Waterbeach I glanced through the window of the closed section and there was Princess Margaret, on her way, no doubt, to Sandringham.

So there you have it, I once travelled on the royal train or rather Princess Margaret once travelled on my train.  She used West Anglia Great Northern standard class and if you travel on the back seat of unit 317 366 you too will be sitting on the throne.

I travelled with a Princess once, and yet the King of Kings travels with me every day.  For Jesus has promised that he will always be with us, watching us, guiding us, leading us, travelling with us along the lines of life.  Many times though we sadly forget that we have an important traveller with us, and go into situations where, on reflection, it would be better not to go.  Perhaps if we remembered that a King was with us, we too would be like the railway staff and make sure that our lives were clean and tidy and that our royal guest would be comfortable in our surroundings

Phillip Staves - Minister, Girton Baptist Church

Message from the Girton Glebe School

Message from the School

Thank you all so much for your generosity in bringing so many good things to the school for our Jumble Sale recently. You continued the Girton tradition of the best Jumble Sale in the area and the takings supported this too with over £800 raised for school funds. It was lovely to see old friends of the school there and to experience the wonderful atmosphere of busy buying.

The PTA have been working extra hard recently with two events since Christmas totalling over a massive £1500. I can't comment on the Quiz Night without mentioning the friendly rivalry and the fact that the best team was pipped at the post in the last round. [Of course I am talking about the staff team who almost won, some say because we had an unfair advantage, the best person for the 'DJY Round' Jacques Wheatley!]

 The projects the money will be spent on are continuing to bring our ICT up to date and an initiative to improve the pond area and thereby increase its use in the Science Curriculum. We are holding a Science Week in school in the week 11 th -15th March and would welcome any scientists from the village who would be able to come and talk to the children about their work.

Twenty-four children, aged five to eleven have taken part in our Frriendship Programme and are now ready to be helpers in resolving any issues that occur at playtimes. We celebrated their achievement with a special assembly and they now proudly wear their 'smiley face' badges. We are looking forward to a Life Education Project and our orchestra playing in a County Memorial Concert for Janet Taylor at Netherhall School after Half Term, and further in the future a 'Walk to School Week' to celebrate our Safer Routes to School Project. But more about that next month 

Susan Baker, Headteacher

Last updated: 3rd January 2002