Derek Stansfield Bishop Nigel

Wednesday 1st November 2006

Derek & Marilyn Stansfield’s Visit to St Mary’s

Editors Note:

The following unsolicited account was received by the website editor early in october and provides a good illustration of the ability of our website to spread the news of St. Mary’s to a previously untapped audience.


Derek’s Maternal Grandfather Derek’s Mother & Brother Derek’s Parents

“On Wednesday, Sept. 20th my wife and I were returning to our home in Dorset from a holiday in Scotland, when we decided to re-visit my childhood home in Davyhulme.

A guiding hand must have led us to St. Mary's, where we were warmly greeted by Canon Ford.

My grandparents lived opposite the church, at 82 Davyhulme Rd., my grandfather dying in about 1947/8 and grandmother about 3 years later.

I'm sure my father, George, said that he was a choirboy at St. Mary's and I know he and my mother were married there. At some stage he changed to Methodism and, as a family, we attended Davyhulme Rd. Methodist Church, where Dad was organist.

I well remember that church before it was demolished and replaced by the present one on Hayeswater Rd.

Imagine my amazement when Canon Ford introduced me to St. Mary's churchwarden, Margaret Barker, who (did I get this right?) said her father, Mr. Eddisford (not sure of spelling!) attended the Methodist Church. I remember the name well and he was certainly a friend of Dad's.

My parents lived at 10 Laburnum Rd. from the year of their marriage, 1937. I came on the scene in 1943 and my brother, Alan, in 1950, and we remained there until 1957.

I delivered newspapers for Mr. Lord, whose daughter, Maisie, I well remember and who Margaret Barker told me she'd seen recently at a service in St. Mary's. Almost next door was Greaves the grocer, now no longer a shop, I noticed, where I worked on Saturdays cleaning, and where my mother worked in the bakehouse as a confectioner when it was owned by a Mr. Riley.

Laburnum Rd. seemed unchanged and the newer properties on Nursery Rd. were built before we left in 1957 on what was formerly farm land owned by Barlows, whose son, Bobby, I went to school with.

However, at the Broadway end of Laburnum Rd. was an estate of pre-fab bungalows which, I noted, had gone. All the houses towards the Bent Brook pub did not exist in my time, but I did find Bent Lanes where my mother, Amy Winfield, was brought up when there were only a few properties.

She was born in 1916, so I feel sure would have known Eric Jones whose letter appeared in the August issue of your Focus magazine, which fortuitously my wife picked up.

Mum's parents both died before she was out of her teens, but I have photo of her father standing outside the Bent Lanes property. I also have photos of 10 Laburnum Rd. in the 1950s.

I went to St. Mary's Primary School from 1948 to 1955 and can remember the school attending church occasionally. I know I read the lesson one Ascension Day and that a contemporary was Joe Lowry, son of the vicar.

Do any of your congregation remember Miss. Lane, Mrs. Kenworthy, Mr. Croft or Miss. Ford, all teachers there in my time?

What was also amazing about our visit was that the same Focus which featured Eric Jones' letter had an obituary on Fred Webster. Fred and his brother, Eddie, lived at 8 Laburnum Rd. and I remember them, their parents and Fred's wife, Betty. Indeed my first and almost only ride on a motorbike was behind Fred.

Unfortunately, I cannot relate any of this to my parents. Having achieved their Diamond Wedding Dad died in 1998 and Mum in 2002.

Incidentally, one other name leapt out of the Focus pages,ie. David Nicklin, your Pastoral Link Organiser, with whom I was friendly at Urmston Grammar School.

If any of the above rings bells with anyone I'd love to hear. Please feel free to print it in Focus if you wish.

My wife and I live at :-

DT10 2HG

Tel: 01258 472534


Derek Stansfield.”

PS: The following information has been received from Derek Stansfield subsequent to the above e-mail.”

“Thank you for your reply to my previous e mail about my early life in Davyhulme. The revelations continue!

I read Tom Sharp's piece on your website as you suggested, and discovered that Eric Saxon was curate at St. Mary's and went on to become Rector of St. Ann's Manchester.

I joined the choir of St. Ann's in 1955 and learnt the organ there. My father was an organ builder responsible for the organ there.

Eric's 2 sons were in the choir with me, the elder boy, Richard,went into architecture but I know nothing of the younger son, David.

You probably know that Eric died last year, a fact I learnt on a call at St. Ann's earlier this year.

I wonder what else will come to light.

Best wishes,

Derek Stansfield


Friday 1st September 2006

Bishop Nigel’s Welcome Message

“Welcome to the New Parish Website for St Mary the Virgin, Davyhulme at

I am delighted to introduce you to this new opportunity of finding out about events at St Mary’s and also across the widerChristian Church.

It was, for me, a great pleasure to meet many parishioners when, in May 2006, I visited St Mary’s as the second stop on my ”Run the Race” parish pilgrimage to all 346 churches in the Manchester Diocese. I was very encouraged by the warm reception I was given by friendly church members and parishioners.

St Mary’s is also a church open to new ideas whilst at the same time respecting older ways. For many people, using the internet to communicate what the Church is about is something that only a few years ago would have been unheard of. But, just as Jesus and the earliest disciples spread the Christian message of Faith, Hope and Love using the communications techniques of their day, so we have a responsibility in the 21st century to use the media tools available to us.

During my visit to St Mary’s someone mentioned with enthusiasm a good example of that: the live TV broadcast from the centre of Manchester on Good Friday of “The Manchester Passion”. Not surprisingly, concern had been expressed about the possibility of an irreverent or trivial portrayal of Jesus. However, that St Mary’s person said it was the most powerful piece of Christian Proclamation he had ever witnessed. Certainly the stunning way in which the Resurrection was presented evoked from the crowd, who thought it was all over, something of the sense of amazement that must have been felt by the women and disciples who, 2000 years ago, were its first witnesses.

It is the good news of the Resurrection – and the way we live it out in faith, hopeand love – that is the Gospel Baton we are called to hand on to others. My prayer is that this website will help that to happen from St Mary’s, Davyhulme – providing a new and exciting opportunity to witness, through this modern means of communicating, to the message of the Risen Lord.

May God bless and cherish you in this task.

With love in Christ and my prayers for you all.



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