Cheddleton station: Les Richards

The Churnet Valley Railway in north Staffordshire runs for eleven miles from Kingsley and Froghall to Leekbrook, near to Leek.  Cheddleton is one of the stations on this route and is the original station on this preserved railway with a charming grade two listed station.  Sitting on this station platform, the chugging of the trains on this lovely railway line takes me straight back to a time of steam trains.

Les Richards must have been an early volunteer with the Churnet Valley Railway, as it wasn’t until 1996 that the regular service along the short stretch of line from Cheddleton to Leekbrook began.  Cheddleton station closed in 1965 and a local campaign to preserve the railway began in the 1970s with the Cheddleton station building only just saved from demolition in 1974.  Since 1996, the Churnet Valley Railway has gone from strength to strength and is now a well-used and well-loved railway.

I am sorry that I haven’t been able to find an obituary for Les Richards, who gave so much of his time to the Churnet Valley Railway as he feels like a man worth knowing more about.  I assume his fellow volunteers erected the memorial bench at Cheddleton station to say that his ‘presence and support is greatly missed by all’ and that is certainly a sentiment we would all like said of us.

Cheddleton Station platform on the Churnet Valley Railway

Cheddleton Station platform on the Churnet Valley Railway

This seat is dedicated to Les Richards Fireman and Driver on the Churnet Valley Line 1928-1964 and Driver at Cheddleton Railway Centre 1978-1990.  His presence and support is greatly missed by all.

This seat is dedicated to
Les Richards
Fireman and Driver on the Churnet Valley Line 1928-1964 and Driver at Cheddleton Railway Centre 1978-1990. His presence and support is greatly missed by all.

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Great Haywood: Ella Anna Christa Percox 1939-2012

The small Staffordshire village of Great Haywood is a junction of waterways; the Trent and Mersey Canal is joined by the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Great Haywood Basin and the River Sow joins the River Trent near to the lovely Essex Packhorse Bridge.

I was walking in this lovely watery area overlooking the Trent and Mersey when I found this memorial bench to Ella Anna Christa Percox.  We had just enjoyed a favourite breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes at the lovely Canalside Farm Shop and Café that is nearby and were on our way in to the grounds of Shugborough Estate to explore some of the follies before heading on to Cannock Chase when I found this bench.  I was touched by the sentiment of the dedication that drew a picture of a woman who was part of a family who missed her and who enjoyed being in natural surroundings.  Sitting watching the narrow boats on the canal is always a relaxing way to spend a few minutes and I am sure this bench will have tempted plenty of people.

The Trent and Mersey Canal at Great Haywood

The Trent and Mersey Canal at Great Haywood

Ella Anna Christa Percox 1939-2012 in memory of our loving mum, nan and friend. May we enjoy a moment's rest with you surrounded by nature and all you loved so much.

Ella Anna Christa Percox
1939-2012
in memory of our loving mum, nan and friend.
May we enjoy a moment’s rest with you surrounded by nature and all you loved so much.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany: Tinka and Harald kramer

I have generally only included benches from my travels in the United Kingdom but this one on the lovely Kramerplateauweg (Kramer plateau walk) above Garmisch-Partenkirchen was hard to omit.  This is partly because memorial benches do not appear to be as common in other countries as they are in the UK and so the opportunities do not arise as often and also because we generally only visit foreign countries once a year for our ‘big’ holiday.

This memorial bench to Tinka and Harald Kramer is beside the path on the Kramerplateauweg.  This path gives splendid views across the flat and green valley floor to the rugged mountains around the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, and is one of the most beautiful walks that is easily accessible.

We were in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for some walking in the mountains and our visit was only a few days before Angela Merkel and Barack Obama came this way.  They and numerous journalists and security took time out from the G7 meeting that was being held nearby to see this spectacular view.  Although we really like this area and the walking is good, we felt that most of the German police force were in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen and we didn’t stay as long as we intended.

The text on the memorial plaque translates as:

‘To find the true value of happiness we need someone to share it with’

This sentence tells passers-by a snippet of a story about a happy couple who have been remembered by this bench.

Fur Tinka und Harald Kramer

Fur Tinka und Harald Kramer
“Um den wahren Wert des Glücks zu erfahren, brauchen wir jemand, um es mit ihm zu teilen!”
30.08.2008

Kramer Plateauweg above Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Kramer Plateauweg above Garmisch-Partenkirchen

St Winefride’s Well, Holywell: Winifred Martha Price 1922-2010

St Winefride’s Well is a remarkable place on the River Dee estuary in Wales near Flint.

The well is a Catholic place of pilgrimage for healing built in memory of St Winefride.  The legend is that a young woman, Winefride, had her head cut off here by Caradog after Caradog had tried to rape Winefride and she had resisted his sexual advances. Winefride was restored to life by her uncle and became a nun, dying 22-years later. Winefride herself was real and had an extraordinary life in seventh-century Wales.  She became a saint on her death and the well at Holywell became a place of Christian pilgrimage and healing from then.

Today, if you visit, there is a chapel and buildings over the well and a pool for fully immersed bathing, which is still allowed at certain times of day.  Visitors can also drink the water.  There is a small museum that has a vast collection of wooden crutches that have been discarded by previous visitors and there is a shop selling religious objects.  The website gives more information about the well.

This memorial bench caught my eye as it is dedicated to another Winifred who died in 2010 after 87-years.  I hope that this is the obituary for Winifred Martha Price and not just a coincidence.  This obituary tells a story of a woman who was very much loved and a family whose Catholic faith was important.  Winifred Martha Price lived in Bromsgrove which is some distance from Holywell but erecting a bench here in this important shrine and overlooking the well may have bought comfort to the family.

St Winifride's Well in Holywell

St Winefride’s Well in Holywell

In loving memory of Winifred Martha Price 1922 - 2000

In loving memory of Winifred Martha Price 1922 – 2000