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A Proud Day at Willenhall

By john workman  |  Posted: May 27, 2010

Prize winners in 1929.

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 ALTHOUGH taken over eighty years ago, this photograph, sent in to us by Cedric Fletcher of New Invention, Willenhall, brings back vivid memories to at least two oldsters.

The photograph is from 1929, and is the property of Mrs Beattie Hayward of New Invention who is aged 95. It was taken at the entrance to the New Invention Methodist Church. The shield was presented to the Bible Class at the church and the plaque reads... “Primitive Methodist Church, West Midland District, 1929, Richard Bayley Honours Shield, Won by New Invention School, Bloxwich Circuit” Beattie gives the names of those on the photo as:- Standing left to right, Ursula Fletcher (Hockham), Joseph Hockham, Janet Tredwell, Jonas Fletcher, William Fletcher JP, Rev.

Henderson-Brown, George Clewley, Beattie Pearson (Hayward), Ray Fletcher, George Barker.

Middle row (seated): Winnie Fletcher, Muriel Fletcher (Steele), Linda Ward (Hayward), Nellie Holt (Fletcher).

Seated row: Rhoda Pearson (Hough), Muriel Whitehouse, Edna Fletcher (Bilson), Victor Clarke, Amos Reynolds, Cyril Barker.

Daughters Ursula, Winnie and Muriel were the daughters of Jonas Fletcher.

On the reverse of the photograph is the message, “With all good wishes to Beatrice Pearson from William Fletcher, Superintendent, September 2nd, 1929”.

Writes Cedric, “I know very little about Richard Bayley, but could it have been the same person referred to at the opening of the new Slater Street Methodist Church in Darlaston on the 14th April 1910, when the Vice President's address was given by a Mr Richard Bayley? “I remember quite a number of those on the photograph as being dedicated workers at the Church. Joe Hockham, I can see him now as a very old man, going around the church building with his wheelbarrow and spade clearing away any weeds.

George Clewley, he was the driving force and organiser for the building of the institute and sports facilities at the rear of the church on land donated by William Fletcher JP.

Muriel Fletcher (Steele) for many years the secretary of the Sunday School but also known as being the local piano teacher.

“But how many of those on the photograph are still with us? “I know of two, Beattie and Ursula Fletcher (Hockham).

“Do any readers know of any others?”

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