Invitation to follow my Back On The Road Again blog

2017 July August Scotland (125) Stromness

Our campervan looking over Stromness

I have gained some new followers recently on this memorial benches blog, thank you and welcome.  I am pleased that there are other people out there who are interested in this project I have been working on for some years.

If you are interested in travel, campervans and living frugally then you might want to take a look at and perhaps follow my other blog that I call ‘Back On The Road Again.’  I have been writing this blog for a couple of years and by following the blog you will get all the latest news on places we have visited and how we endeavor to live a sustainable and purposeful retirement that is within our limited means.

In the spirit of mutual support I always follow fellow bloggers back and I enjoy keeping up-to-date with the journeys everyone is taking.


Hawarden: Joanna Goodchild 1921 – 2016

In the pretty Welsh border village of Hawarden is The Gladstone Library, a unique and peaceful place that is Britain’s only Prime Ministerial library, founded by William Gladstone.  As well as the library, the stately building has meeting spaces, accommodation and a cafe and runs courses and conferences.


We visited on a sunny day and before walking around the lovely countryside from Hawarden we stopped at the Gladstone Library for drinks.  Beside the front door overlooking the lawns and the statue of William Gladstone is this bench remembering Joanna Goodchild.

Joanna Goodchild died locally on 17 February 2016.  As well as being a long serving supporter of Gladstone’s Library, Joanna Goodchild worked as the secretary of The Queen’s School, an independent girl’s school in Chester, for many years, from 1947 until 1984.  I uncovered some heart-warming stories about Joanna Goodchild’s time at The Queen’s School.  Founded in 1878, this is the only school granted the privilege of being known as The Queen’s School, following a royal decree from Queen Victoria.

When Joanna Goodchild retired as secretary at The Queen’s School in 1984 she was given a glowing tribute in the school magazine.  She was described as having an, ‘unparalleled’ ‘knowledge of the day-to-day working of the school’ and being ‘an integral part of school life for so long.’  She had an ability to ‘react to any situation with wisdom, humour and tact ‘ and was a valued member of staff who would be greatly missed.


In Loving Memory of JOANNA GOODCHILD A Long Serving Supporter And Friend Of Gladstone’s Library 1921 – 2016

Susan Elphick, who received an MBE for her charitable work at a local hospital, attended The Queen’s School in the 1950s.  At the school’s annual Commemoration Service in 2015 she remembered Joanna Goodchild fondly and told the young people that she remained friends with her after leaving the school.


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

Beddgelert: AJM 1965-2008

Cwm Bychan near Beddgelert is a beautiful spot with a gushing stream, sweet smelling heather in August and views down to the Glaslyn valley and Portmadog.  By the path we found this beautiful bench and sat a while to enjoy the view.

The bench doesn’t give the full name of the person it commemorates.  Pushed in to the arm of the bench was a card to ‘Our Son’, so we have assumed AJM is someone’s son but otherwise this is a very private commemoration of someone who died very young.

The bench is beautifully made and fits well in the landscape.  Cwm Bychan is a wild spot and a shiny plastic bench would look out of place in this place.  The bench is well sited as a spot to rest and we were joined by a local runner.  We spent a few minutes talking to him while he recovered from running uphill before returning back down the valley.  We followed more slowly.

Looking down Cwm Bychan near Beddgelert

Looking down Cwm Bychan near Beddgelert

Three things will last forever Faith Hope and Love But the greatest of these is love AJM 1965-2008

Three things will last forever
Faith Hope and Love
But the greatest of these is love
AJM 1965-2008

Brecon: Alan John Picken 8 August 1933 – 5 April 1999

Walking on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal at the end of August in 2013, we came across this bench to Alan John Picken by the canal.

Alan John Picken’s family and friends left a fine tribute to the memory of Alan John Picken, with a plaque commemorating someone who is forever in our hearts and describing him as an artist and boatman and another plaque with a quote from Alfred Edward Housman’s poem ‘The land of lost content’.

As usual, I searched the internet for information about Alan John Picken and this time did not have much luck, but then 14 years ago, it was less likely that someone would have an internet presence.  However, I did stumble across this Media Archive for Central England black and white TV interview with a canal enthusiast called Alan Picken.  Is this the same man?

Monmouthshire and Brecon canal

Monmouthshire and Brecon canal


Forever in our hearts
Alan John Picken
Artist and Boatman


Cardigan / Aberteifi: Shane Morgan 1992 – 2010

Overlooking the river Teifi is a striking and beautiful bench placed in memory of Shane Morgan, who tragically died at the age of 18 years in a car crash on 11 April 2010 on the way to a party with friends.

We visited Cardigan in March 2013 and had a stroll around the lovely town on a beautiful, sunny evening.  We enjoyed the view from the bench commemorating Shane, watched the sunset and tried to guess how hard it must be for parents to lose their son at such a young age.

Shane Morgan1992 - 2010

Shane Morgan
1992 – 2010