19 May 1995

Retiring but full of life

I ARRIVED at Derbyshire FWC member Mildred Oldfields home just in time for lunch.

Mildred had been over to collect Mary Breeze, the countys FWC editor for the past 25 years, and I had the privilege of their company before the afternoon meeting.

Mary is an amazing 80-year-old with such a zest for life and all that she sees around her. She told us that shes going on holiday to Greece, travelling alone, to see her daughter who lives there.

We started talking about how FWC members travelled around the country to see each other and the subject of car driving in strange places to which Mary replied she had never learned to drive but still has her motorbike!

After admiring Carsington Water we reached Brassington village hall, an old converted chapel built into the hillside. About 35 members attended and the speaker was an old friend of this club, Rev Joyce Clarke who was ordained a Church of England minister at Chester Cathedral in 1994.

Her talk was entitled "Colours of the rainbow". I for one didnt know what to expect but we were all entertained by her descriptions of what goes on in the churchs calendar and how different coloured altar cloths and priests stoles were used accordingly. She showed us 10 of these stoles, each one beautifully embroidered and each with a story behind it.

There was a green silk one with falling leaves appliqued on it to symbolise the healing of the nations. A purple one with a butterfly emerging, signified new life. White ones are used for celebration. The embroidery on each was so different and ranged from the flower nicknamed the "Town Hall Clock" which grows in the Derbyshire Dales and is a sign of Christian watchfulness to the simplicity of a cross-stitched prayer shawl brought back from the Holy Land.

The most interesting one had been made by Richard Box, the ecclesiastical embroiderer, who had been commissioned to make the stole in memory of an artist that Joyce had ministered to in a local hospice.

We all had a delicious afternoon tea. I didnt waste the opportunity to mention that late subscriptions cause extra work in the office but feel that message should be addressed to all FWC members as Derbyshire is probably one of the most efficient clubs at paying subscriptions on time.

Jean Howells