We opened our packed September meeting by introducing Lorna Spiers, the worthy, eight-year old winner of our newly awarded Les Quilliam Trophy essay prize. The splendid engraved plaque with her name on a brass plate on the polished wood base was on display, beside her.
Les was our first chairman and we thought that an essay prize on Peel’s heritage would be an appropriate memorial to this fine, former schoolmaster and enthusiast for all things Manx. The essay was published in the August Peel City Guardian.
This was followed by another notable event, the presentation of a cheque for a remarkable £10 000 to the trust by Eddie Lowey, MLC, on behalf of the Cockfield Trust. As many will know, we have established a substantial publishing arm and have been seeking ways of encouraging research projects in Peel, its rich environment and history. In particular, we are working to establish closer links with young people, enabling them to appreciate their home and to maintain our work.
Our warm thanks to the Cockfield Trust and to Eddie, son of Peel, for arranging this generous boost to Peel Heritage Trust and its work.
We then moved on to our principle speaker, our former vicar, Canon Brian Kelly.
Brian began by referring to his 50 years of ministry. He mused on the sands of the beach here and the wonderful work of the Beach Mission before drifting into the reflection on a recent walk around the cemetery where he found that he knew more people there than around the town, now! This, in itself, marks part of the shifting sands of life, brief as it is.
Following his first curacy at St Georges, the bishop sent him to Foxdale to “Make his mistakes there.” What Foxdale had done to deserve this, we know not! The only mistake I’m aware of was when he drove his car into a ditch outside our first home, Tynwald View, at the junction of Ballavar and the Lhoobs Roads. A borrowed tractor from Sammy Leece soon put that right, if not his front bumper.
Third posting was to Bolton, in Lancashire, to gain some inner city experience before being urgently recalled because the then bishop was desperate to have a Manx appointment as Manx Nationalism was rife with groups torching houses of incomers and the like. This appointment was to Maughold.
Fifth and final stint was to Peel, and thank heaven for that. Memories included two sessions of BBC Songs of Praise, including one in the old cathedral. The recording took so long that the tide could be observed going in and out!
Shifting Sands of new bibles (4 million copies of the New English Bible sold in just the 1st year), services, appointments, attitudes and ceremony all led us to the central Rock – Jesus and His church. This is the Rock on which we can stand firm.
Next meeting – Tuesday, 12th October, 7.30pm – Methodist Chapel, Mr Bernie and Mrs Lindsay Quayle.