Items that may have been
added since your last visit
(starting January 2010)


31st December 2010

To end the year, a Christmas message from Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald in the NEWS section, from which I take two quotes:

"In July I returned to the UK. There were Confirmations in the parish of Innerleithen, in the Scottish Borders, at the invitation of my fellow Missionary of Africa, Fr George Smith, who had come out for a short stay in Cairo in January. Then we both attended the Reunion of British confreres in Chigwell, Essex, where jubilees were celebrated: 60 years of Oath of commitment to the Society of Missionaries of Africa for my namesake, Fr Patrick Fitzgerald, and 50 years for Fr Chris Wildsmith, Fr John (Ben) Henze and myself."
"3 February 2011 will be the Golden Jubilee of my ordination as a priest in the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers)"

• Watch out for Bernard Melling on TV!
He appears in "Eric and Ernie" on New Year's Day at 9.00 pm on BBC2.
Bernard writes : "I play one of the neighbours invited in to view [Eric and Ernie's] first tv performance."

'Tis a small parte but mine owne.


21st December 2010

It's a bit late for Remembrance Day, but never too late to remember that terrible war. Go to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix to listen to that saddest of songs :"The Green Fields of France".

9th December 2010

• Maurice Billingsley discovered another photo from his time at Le Grande seminaire Gap. I've added it to the GAP APPENDIX and also to GALLERY Page 383.

• Charlie MacLaren's tribute is now complete. (Click here) My thanks, again, to Eric Creaney who supplied me with the family photos that are featured.

7th December 2010

I always thought that the REMINISCENCES APPENDIX would become one of the website's most popular features. However, whilst it may have attracted a lot of visitors, relatively few went home and wrote an article themselves.

Mike Mearns, on the other hand, has been a faithful contributor from the beginning: all in all he has penned 7 items for our enjoyment.

Mike's latest Reminiscence, 'Dancin' the Evening Away' includes two videos, taking us back to St Columba's in the early fifties.

Read the words; check out the footwork; see if you can still do it. (But not in front of the children).

Thank you, Mike.

30th November 2010

Earlier this year, Fr David Cullen had to return to the UK for essential medical treatment. He is now back at work at the Mphangwe Prayer Centre in Chipata (Zambia) and once again has managed to find time to keep in touch.

If you read his latest email you will be pleased to know that the regular flow of funds from individual 'Pelicans' is being put to very good use. As always, though, the situation is crying out for more help—so if you have some spare cash this Christmas (however small) you might wish to send it to Fr David via Pat Gibbons (our Treasurer).

29th November 2010

Go to GALLERY Page 383 to see a photo from Owen Gormley. (Includes Paddy Maguire and Joe Gibson). Full names and venue to follow.

28th November 2010

There is an addition to Peter McKenzie's tribute in the OBITUARIES section, sent to me by Owen Gormley (Fife), via Robbie Dempsey in Dublin.
(Click here).

26th November 2010

There is an addition to Tom Quirke's tribute in the OBITUARIES section, sent to me by Robbie Dempsey.
(Click here).

16th November 2010

You will probably have seen the recent entries on the Message Board regarding the death of our special colleague, Charlie McLaren. (Bishop's Waltham 1953-55, The Priory 1955-1959, Blacklion 1959-60). Patrick Rice and Eric Creaney sent me abundant material for the tribute to Charlie, now displayed in the OBITUARIES section. (Click here).

Eric — who generously offered people an overnight stay to attend the funeral  — provided me with some other photos that will shortly apear in the website's GALLERY.

Many thanks to Eric and Pat.

15th November 2010

Some items that might be of interest to you, ready to view in our VIDEO Appendix:

  1. A short video of the Belcoo/ Blacklion St Patrick's Day's Parade (2010) for those of you who attended St Augustine's.

  2. The Sanctus from the Missa Luba

  3. The 'Marble Arch Caves (2) — an extra from the Geopark dvd

9th November 2010

• Maurice Billingsley was in the Southsea area recently and took a photo that 'old Johannians' might find interesting.
(See GALLERY Page 383)

7th November 2010

You'll find seven entries on the Message Board relating to the recent passing of the much-loved
and much-admired Charlie McLaren.
Sadly, we never managed to get back in touch with Charlie, though not for want of trying.

In the days that follow, I hope to gather in material that will form a tribute to Charlie, displayed in the OBITUARIES SECTION. If you have anything to add to this, I'd be grateful if you would contact me asap.

7th October 2010

For those of you who have an interest in the HESTON PARISH Appendix, there is an additional entry that features one-time parishioner Salvatore (Tony) Celano, beamed to me by his son Vincent. The extract is taken from the Catholic Childrens Society newsletter (formerly The Crusade of Rescue).

To view this entry, go to the HESTON PARISH Appendix and click on "Parishioners You May Have Known". You'll find the article on Page 2.

• Many of you who have met John Fowles will be surprised to learn of his connection with Tony Celano.  John was also a parishioner at the White Fathers' parish in Heston — while living on the family's smallholding near what is now Heathrow — and Tony was a regular visitor to the family home.

I was surprised to discover that John attended Gunnersbury Grammar School in Chiswick—as did my brother John and I (several years later).

• 'They' knocked down my favourite school (The Priory), knocked down the WFs parish church where we grew up, moved the bank premises where I met my wife, and committed other Philistonian offences with my past. But they could never knock down Norman Wisdom, my boyhood hero, who moved on this week after 95 years of making people laugh.

I hope that you don't mind me misusing my role to mark his passing.

29th September 2010

• Wim Hofman sent me this delightful picture that he painted:


(source : Wim Hofman)

Wim writes :
"This painting is to show you that the White Fathers are often on my mind
—even their white gandouras and chesias."

Anyone who spent time at Broome Hall should read Wim's account in the
REMINISCENCES Appendix , entitled 'My noviciate at Broome Hall 1961-1962.'

(And how many of us could write so fluently in another language?)


27th September 2010

• Tony Smyth and Mike Ellis each sent me a group photo of the second reunion to be held recently at St Mary's Abbey, Stone (also known as Oulton Abbey). Amonst those wo attended was Pat MacDermott, originally from Cavan (near Blacklion) and long-time resident of Enfield, North London. Go to the REUNIONS section to view the photos.

Thanks to Tony and Mike and apologies for the slow response. (As ever!)

24th September 2010

• Tony Smyth recently visited the site of the old Canadian scholasticate—Notre Dame d'Afrique, Fairview, in Ottawa— and kindly sent me copies of some photos that he took. These are now on display on Gallery Page 382.  He included a useful link to a site which describes the history of what was once a thriving outpost of the WFs.

Last weekend I attended a reunion that took place n what was once the site of the White Sisters' convent in Heston. It was a huge family gathering that I helped to organise. Some last minute preparations took over my life for a couple of weeks—which is why I disappeared for yet another two weeks. Normal service wil be reasumed over the next few days.

I'm quite good with epithets but rely on others for my epigrams: "I started out with nothing and still have some left" is one that I heard recently.

9th September 2010

Back to work today, after holding my breath for several weeks while SKY took over my broadband service. In fairness to SKY (who have been excellent throughout), the delay was partly due to the heavy demand for their service.

As a bonus, I spent several days learning all about micro-filters and how to install them whilst lying on my back with a torch in my mouth, followed by crawling back out from the dark recesses to see if my computer would accept the odd compromise / mis-wiring.

(See—there's always an upside to every situation).

• The emails that you sent me during the hiatus WILL get answered asap. Thank you for your patience.

• We start with a newspaper cutting in the NEWS section that might re-start your circulation.

15th August 2010

Please go to the APPEALS section to read about the CD that Michael Gallagher and Rosie McArt have created to raise much-needed funds for Frs Frank Barnes, Richard Sloan and Terry Madden.

Michael is hoping that his fellow 'Pelicans'
will send what they can to support the invaluable wotk of these three men—and, as a bonus, receive a highly-professional CD that could make an ideal Birthday or Christmas present for somone. Thank you, in advance, for any help that you can give to Michael.

Just a reminder : I will be 'off-air' some time today and won't be able to answer recent/ future emails for about three weeks while SKY connect me to their broadband service. I have set the website's engine to auto-pilot, so you will still be able to access the site, of course.

11th August 2010

Go to the REUNIONS section to see a write-up by Mike Ellis of the recent get-together at St Mary's Abbey, Stone (also known as Oulton Abbey). Included are many photos which people have kindly donated.

Mike has also arranged another meeting at the same venue for 4th September—details of which are in his report. Please let Mike know asap if you would like to join him.

My broadband connection will be switiched off from 16th August for a period of 15 working days (maximum). This is the timescale that SKY predict for connecting me to their system. I am trying to be philosophical about this hiatus. My wife is jumping up and down, waving a list of Things You Should Have Done Years Ago.

When they cut the cord I will be unable to answer emails, so please use the Message Board to pass on your news.

8th August 2010

•Wim Hofman sent me an email in which he remembers the lake at Broome Hall, as featured in two GALLERY Pages 342 & 344. He refers to Eric Creaney, Patrick Shanahan, David Airley, Henk Janson, John Bloeme (John Boös?) and Fr Joinet.

I felt that this rightly belonged in the REMINISCENCES
Appendix, which is where you will find "Wim Hofman remembers the lake at Broome Hall."

Thank you, Wim. Good to hear that you often visit the website.

6th August 2010

•Chris Benton sent me the Order of Service for Mrs Christine Hughes' funeral (3rd June), and this is now incorporated into a tribute to her in the OBITUARIES section.

If you wish to add your own comment or reminiscence, please send it to me.

•There are several items in the pipeline—such as a unique appeal from Michael Gallagher—which I hope to have ready early next week.

3rd August 2010

Not surprisingly, I cannot remember whether it was Christmas 1955 or 1956 when Fr Alan Thompson staged his "Aladdin" pantomime at The Priory. (Starring Leo Clancey, Pat Shanahan and Graham Hoxley et al). One of the songs has been benignly resident in my brain all that time, however : "Abdul Abulbul Amir". For those of you who still harbour such memories, it is is now stored in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix.

(Just click here to hear it again—and then send me your reminiscences or memorabilia relating to that show).

27th July 2010

My short break has been postponed for a couple of days, so I have had time to finish an extract from a family memoir, written by Alban Pinkney—an ex-WF student from the forties. Go to HISTORIES Page 57 to read it. For those of you who went to St Columba's this should be of particular interest. Did YOU know of St Helen's?

You may wish to read Fr Marchant's "History of the WF's in Scotland" which covers those early days described by Alban (see HISTORIES Page 11) and/ or the biography of Fr Walsh, the founder of St Columba's (see HISTORIES PAGE 10).

I am very grateful to Alban for letting me transcribe two chapters from his book.

23rd July 2010

Before disappearing for a while, I thought that you might like
to watch this short video by Peter Eigen (ex World bank),
entitled "How To Expose The Corrupt."

Copied, with permission, from http://www.ted.com

22nd July 2010

•Tony Guilfoyle's Ordination photos and part of the Order of Service is now on display in the GALLERY (Page 381).

Once again, my thanks to John & Margaret Morton for supplying this material.

(Margaret's recording of the service is in the VIDEO Appendix).

•Two new items have been added to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix—which now holds over 100 tracks. Is your favourite in this list? If not, I'll find it for you if I can. (Click here)

21st July 2010

•Peter Collyer has been a regular visitor to our site over the years. You may have seen the photos that he contributed way back in the early days. (see GALLERY PAGES 35-38). Early in his career, Peter moved from the UK to Adelaide, Australia.

For Peter, the Pelicans' website has been a very useful way of contacting old friends from his time with the White Fathers— people such as Ken Mortimer, whom he first met at Broome Hall in 1948 .

A while ago, Peter sent me a brief story of his life so far, which I thought you might find interesting.
He was at The Priory 1947-48, at Broome Hall 1948-50 and s'Heerenberg 1950/51.

It seemed to me to be an ideal item to include in our HISTORIES section, so click here to read it—then decide whether you might like to send me your own story for inclusion in the Pelicans' own Pantheon. (Suggested title: 'A Life So Far' )
20th July 2010

•John and Margaret Morton attended the Ordination of Tony Guilfoyle on Saturday (17th July)
at Clifton Cathedral.

Margaret made a video of the proceedings and sent it to me, post haste. This can now be viewed by going to the VIDEO Appendix.

They also took some photos—and these will be on display soon.

Many thanks are due to this intrepid duo, yet again.

•Please note that I will be back and forth this coming fortnight with holidays etc. However, before I go I hope to finish a couple more interesting items on which I am currently working.

4th July 2010

The final page of photos contributed by Owen Gormley can now be seen on GALLERY Page 379.
You'll find a couple of photos that are familiar—which, as said before, have been included because they are better versions of the originals.

ALSO, two of the photos have been greatly enlarged for close inspection : one is of The Priory Dormitory, wha manie a goodly fellowe y sleped (spot your old locker and bedspread) ; the second is a group photo of students who attended St John's College in the sixties. To see these enhanced version you just click on either of the two photos.

If you find this procedure to your liking, please let me know.

MANY THANKS are due to Owen Gormley for his contribution to our site and to Robbie (Jack) Dempsey for passing them on to me with an index.

2nd July 2010

•Two more pages of Owen Gormley's photo collection are now on display in GALLERY Pages 377
/ 378, with more to come asap.

I'd be grateful for any help that you can give in identifying faces, places and dates.

28th June 2010

•Robbie Dempsey has sent me a collection of photos that was handed to him by Owen Gormley, when they met up recently. Included were several 'new' photos of the fire at St Columba's. I have therefore used this opportunity to expand 'HISTORIES Page 14' .

Some of Owen's photos were repeats of certain photos that Mike Gallagher and Tony Smyth contributed many moons ago. I have therefore chosen the best versions in each case—hoping that Mike and Tony will agree.

More of Owen's photos to come.

Robbie writes : "Earlier this month I travelled to Manchester to stay with my son Rowan. Pat MacDermott came up from Enfield and we then drove up across border country to Melrose. As Pat did not attend St. Columba's, I showed him the College site, the suspension bridge over the Tweed and Dryburgh Abbey.

We spent a couple of hours in Melrose Abbey. But the main purpose of our trip was to meet up with Owen Gormley and Robin Russell. A reunion of Blacklion philosophers after 42 years (i. e. since 1968).
26th June 2010

•There's a fair amount of new material in the pipeline
, but I have to stop here and let you know of a new entry in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix :  'Talk to me of Mendocino' sung by Kate McGarrigle & Family.

I've been waiting too long for someone to request this, so I've jumped the gun. I hope you like it, too.

Also, I've added another photo to GALLERY PAGE 376, kindly sent to me by Patricia, who recently provided us with some up-to-date photos of Main Street, Blacklion.

•June is nearly over.

I shouldn't have said that, really: "There are 5 more precious days of June to come" is how I should have phrased it—out of respect for people like me who have begun to notice that it's always Thursday already.

23rd June 2010

•GALLERY Page 376 is now displaying 4 more photos of John & Carole Fowles' trip to Europe.

ALSO, some very evocative pictures of today's Blacklion 'High Street' are included.

Sincere thanks to John Fowles and Patricia Hawkins de Medina for these contributions.

14th June 2010

•If you haven't visited the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix recently, you may be surprised by the number of new items.

By request, today's entries include Orlando di Lasso's 'Agnus Dei'.

10th June 2010

Go to GALLERY Page 375 for the completed set of photos taken when John and Carole Fowles visited the Scottish borders this year (in the company of Eric and Patricia Creaney).

9th June 2010

Have you read about http://www.ted.com in the PASS-IT-ON Appendix?

I came across this inspiring talk by William Kamkwamba from Malawi, which you, too, might find very moving:

Title: "How I harnessed the wind." Here's the video:

8th June 2010

In the OBITUARIES section you will now find an entry for Fr Francis Carey MAfr, who died 5th May. Frank was at Blacklion during 1955-58, at Broome Hall 58-59 and Totteridge 1959-63. Many of you will have met him during his frequent sojourns at Oak Lodge.

Once again, I have transcribed the material from the White Father's international website, for which I am very grateful. (Please let me know if/ when I don't translate the odd bit of French properly).

Fr Frank's obituary includes a collection of excellent homilies and expressions of gratitude for his life's work. I have not had time to edit these fully, yet, and hope to do so within the next few days. In the meantime, please excuse the way in which they are presented.

My thanks, also, to Eric Creaney for notifying me of Frank's obituary.

3rd June 2010

You might like to read the latest item in the NEWS section sent in  by Maurice Billingsley.

30th May 2010

• Chris Benton heard today that Mrs Christine Hughes had died overnight. I have relayed a message from him in the Message Board:

"Christine will be fondly remembered by countless people who started life with the White Fathers at St Columba's, where she worked for many years. She was cook to both students and staff, and also looked after the laundry until the seminary closed in 1963. Christine celebrated her 101st birthday last December—her long life due to being so busy, no doubt! (Some of this good work is described in the website's NEWS section). "

Christine, surrounded by Cardinal Keith O'Brien and her family.

Her son and daughter, Bernard and Marie, will be in touch regarding arrangements for Christine's funeral and we will keep you informed in good time, in case you would like to attend

29th May 2010

Recently I received photos of St Boswell's and the Scottish borders from Gerry Lenaghan and Pat Gritton—a welcome addition to the large collection of such photos that we have accumulated over the years.

This latest contribution prompted me to create a dedicated GALLERY of photos of the old St Columba's site, St Boswell's, The Eildons, Monteviot etc. It stretches across 7 website Pages, and Pat and Gerry's photos have been incorporated into it.

You can track youur way through it by visiting the ST COLUMBA'S House of Study (see left pane).

Our thanks to Pat and Gerry—and for their patience.

10th May 2010

• John & Carole Fowles are leaving the UK today to visit WF friends in France and the Netherlands, before returning home to Canada. This past weekend they have been accompanied by Eric and Patricia Creaney on a tour around the Scottish borders—to St Boswell's, Monteviot etc. Eric sent me a bunch of photos from that happy trip, which are now displayed in the REUNIONS section.

• A 're-quote' of the week from John Humphreys (BBC R4) in a discussion about the importance of a politician's charisma:
"An empty taxi drew up outside 10 Downing Street and Clement Atlee got out."

7th May 2010

Due to lack of demand, this year's reunion at Bishop's Waltham has been postponed until further notice.

Thanks are due to John and Margaret Morton who travelled down to the area in February to arrange what would have been a very pleasant weekend event.

5th May 2010

• John Fowles, who came over to the UK with his wife Carole on Friday, yesterday travelled the length and breadth of our railway system to visit his cousin (in Cheltenham) and me (in Wrexham). Quite a feat, you might think, for someone who will be celebrating his 80th this year. However, all that PE and cold showering has paid off, for he's looking fit as a flea.

With him, he brought a superb photo of the 1956/7 Priory basketball team. This is now displayed on GALLERY PAGE  373 for your delight (particularly if you are Gordon Rutledge, Pat Shanahan, Michael Mearns, John West, Desmond Smith, Paul Ashby, Terence Pettit, Hugh Concagh, Patrick Cassidy, or Brian Foley.

John Paul Larkins has sent me proof that after 52 years he has at last caught up with Eric Creaney (Border Tours plc.). This took place last week at Newark Airport, in the midst of the threat from Iceland's voluncanic dust. You will find photos of this mini-reunion in the REUNIONS section.

Thank you, John & John.

3rd May 2010

GALLERY Page 371, 372 and 373 are now ready for viewing.

I am very grateful to John Fleming for these 6 pages of material. He sent me 60+ photos, all in chronological order, complete with annotation / narrative. Let's hope that this will generate a lot of interest to his contemporaries at Oak Lodge, St Edward's and Fribourg—and, thereby, draw in many 'newcomers' to our website.

29th April 2010

GALLERY Page 370 is now complete.

This is the second of several photos from John Fleming, who started his formation days back in 1980—but is probably one of the youngest to make contact. He made up an album of (annotated) photos which, I hope, will draw in ex-students from Oak Lodge, St Edward's and The Missionary Institute of London (MIL).

Thank you, John, for all the preparation that went into this collection
. Sorry that it's a bit slow to emerge; most visitors to the site have got used to the speed at which I work. As you may already know, it's not just a matter of scanning photos—that's the equivalent of photo-copying!

Now that I have had to make all the staff redundant, things are much slower, of course . . .

• Over the next few days I will be meeting up with John & Carole Fowles, who are over here from Canada for a week or so. Hopefully, Eric Creaney will be taking them round the sights of St Boswell's, Monteviot, the Eildons etc.

Many people will remember John putting us through our paces in the Priory quad—so I hope to find him fit and healthy all these years later!

Have you a goodwill message that I can pass on to him? If so, send it to me here.

28th April 2010

GALLERY Page 369 is now complete.

27th April 2010

• John Morton telephoned Travelodge-Eastleigh to check on prices for the reunion weekend.
It is still £49 per room but he was warned that this will probably rise with increased demand.

So BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment.

• There is another entry in the PASS-IT-ON Appendix which could save you lots of money on your trip to Seville.
(With thanks to Patricia  Hawkins).

26th April 2010

• The annual reunion at Bishop's Waltham takes place over the weekend
starting Friday 21st May 2010, ending on Sunday.
You are welcome to join us for all or part of the get-together.
Please let John Morton know if you wish to attend—it's less than a month away.

See the REUNIONS section for details.

PS I booked two nights at the Trevelodge Eastleigh today. It cost £99.70 and was therefore cheaper than it has been recently.

• With regard to John Fleming's photos, progress has been rather slow. However, go to GALLERY Page 369 to see 4 more photos.

17th April 2010

The first of John Fleming's photos can be see on Page 368 of the GALLERY section. It will take a little while to process the whole collection that he sent me, which is why I will be displaying them a page at a time. Not surprisingly, you will find faces that have never featured before: this is a part of 'formation history' that is only sparsely covered before, so I'm particularly pleased to include these photo-reminders.

16th April 2010

Today,  the message is all about sharing.
(Aaaarh! How lovely. . .)

• I've updated the PASS-IT-ON Appendix with 3 new gems that you might like to peruse. Each one is FREE, so that's a good start.

QUESTION: Have YOU got anything that you'd like to pass on ? A tip? A freebieA warning ? A useful website ? If so, send it to me and I will be happy to display it.

• As you slip quietly from middle-age into a comb-over and beyond, your short-term memory may be starting to let you down. (Moi?) This is the perfect time to reach down and pick out one of those highlights of your time with the White Fathers. The REMINISCENCES Appendix is waiting for your memories of the good / bad times you enjoyed /endured. Why not share them with the rest of us ?

14th April 2010

• I am working my way through a set of photos sent to me by John Fleming—a treat for those of you who have connections with Formation in the eighties.

In the meantime, something small that triggers off a lot of memories for Michael Gallagher : a souvenir from his days at Danby Hall (1964-65).
You will find this via the menu in the Danby Hall Appendix. (See left or just click here).

Thank you Michael—"little things mean a lot", as the song says.

6th April 2010

• If you've read the Message Board lately, you will know that John Paul Larkins and Danny O'Hagan met up for the first time since 1958 (52 years!).  And there's a photograph of their New York reunion in the REUNIONS section.

Come on then: go to http://www.pipl.com and see if YOU can trace someone who hasn't appeared on our website so far.

(It's free).

2nd April 2010

• In the NEWS section Fr Paul Shannon MAfr writes from Jerusalem where he is taking part in a two-week Retreat. He is staying in the WF-managed St Anne's Basilica. He describes how his journey from Khartoum (Sudan) to Jerusalem was unavoidably 'circuituous' and how much he is enjoying his stay. (Several photos have been included).

1st April 2010

• New addition to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix : 'Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet'—a pathetic, lonely ramble by a down-and-out which never fails to move me. You will find two versions: one is just the basic vocal and the other which has orchestration added.

In case you have never heard of it, the following is taken from Wikipedia:

Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet is a 1971 composition by Gavin Bryars. It is formed on a [tape] loop of an unknown tramp singing a brief stanza.

Rich harmonies, comprising string and brass, are gradually overlaid over the stanza. The piece was first recorded for use in an Alan Power documentary which chronicles street life in and around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo, in London.

31st March 2010

• Fr Tom Dooley WF wrote an account of his POW experience (1940-44) for Eugene. I recently came across it in Eugene's effects and although Tom's typewriter was pretty poor and the type is rather faded now, it's certainly worth reading.

You will find it on Page 55 of the HISTORIES .

24th March 2010

• Have you noticed that the website's response-time is much quicker? 

While you weren't looking, I had everything transferred to a different server (remote computer) because the contract with my previous 'host' (the company that ran that server) was due for renewal.

The website is not funded by donations intended for 'Africa' ; also, until this point it has been sponsorship-free. The new hosting service (Horizon Blip) is run by my son Morgan who gave me an offer I could hardly refuse. In return, I offered to draw attention to his business on the WELCOME page.

I hope that this is acceptable to you.

22nd March 2010

• I've had some help from Eileen Merrifield who was once a parishioner of the White Father's church at Heston. She sent me a photo and identified several members of her family who were already featured on the site. She is one of a small group of ex-parishioners who've made it possible to build a short tribute to the WFs for the excellent work that they put into running that parish. (see the Heston Parish Appendix).

Thank you Eileen!

19th March 2010   (Yes, wake up! It's tomorrow already!.)

• I am indebted to Eric Creaney for sending a copy of Fr Chris Wallbank's eulogy for Fr Tom Conway. Go to the OBITUARIES section to read it or just click here.

18th March 2010  

• In the APPEALS section there is an update from Fr David Cullen, stationed at The Prayer Centre in Mphwangwe,Chipata (Zambia).
Regular visitors to our website will know that this man works tirelessly in an area of great poverty, spending the funds and donations that he receives with great care and always keeping us informed of developments.

Fr Cullen was 78 recently—living proof that "it's being so busy that keeps you going".

14th March 2010  

• The 100-year Timeline gets regular inputs from Maurice Billingsley and me. Have YOU anything to add ? Maybe we have missed out a really important occurence and 'can't see for looking'.

12th March 2010  

For every thing there is a season—and, for me, today has been about knuckling down to some housekeeping on the website. For some time now I have been meaning to transcribe some of Eugene MacBride's Newsletters that have yet to be featured in our NEWS section.

The job is now done, so click on any of the following to get up to speed:

Christmas 2003     February 2004    March 2004     December 2004     February 2005

The Pelicans association was started by Eugene and Jarlath in 1992 but we only have Newsletters from 1998. Have you held on to any 'missing' Newsletters from 1992 to 1997 ? If so, would you be kind enough to lend them to me ?

Our website is also an archive, of course, and these documents are not just chatty letters sent out to Eugene's friends : they include bits of our past and present which might be of real interest to people (like me) who weren't even aware of The Pelicans at the time.

11th March 2010  

• The NEWS section has an item by Mike Ellis regarding a recent meeting with Tony Guilfoyle, who is to be ordained in July.

5th March 2010  

There was a fast response from Vincent : he sent me the entry in the 1930 Catholic Yearbook for Bishop's Waltham and, as requested, a brief sketch of his father's life (Salvatore Celano).  You can find both in the Heston Parish Appendix, under 'Parishioners You May Have Known' (Page 2) and the brief history of the parish.

Salvatiore spent part of his early life in the care of The Crusade of Rescue at Feltham, Middlesex. Do you remember saving pennies for this charity and having your donations recorded on a card ? Several children in my Primary school class were orphans who were being looked after by the Sisters of Charity on behalf of the Crusade. This was post-war and there were a great many children in such care at that time.

Salvatore was forever grateful to the Crusade, so click here to read his short story.

4th March 2010  

• Vincent Celano, a long-time parishioner of  Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church in Heston (formerly run by the White Fathers) sent me a copy of  an entry in The Catholic Yearbook 1930.  It caused me to question why each priest listed at Heston was 'non-British'—seemingly all Dutch, if I guess correctly.

To see the reason why, go to the HESTON PARISH Appendix and look up the section entitled 'A Brief History of the White Fathers and White Sisters at Heston'.

I am going to ask Vincent to send me copy of the 1930 entry for Bishop's Waltham, to see who is listed for that parish.

Thank you Vincent—a little bit of history confirmed.

3rd March 2010  

As promised, John and Margaret travelled down from Sutton Coldfield to investigate arrangements for this year's Pentecost at Bishop's Waltham. Their suggestions can now be viewed by going to the REUNIONS section.

John must have catering numbers by May 7th at the latest. He asked me to let you know that he will be away from March 16-29.

Our thanks to John and Margaret, once again.

25th February 2010  

• Mike Ellis arranged a 'mini reunion' for a few friends last weekend, based in Surrey and visiting the Queen's Head in East Clandon, Surrey. It was a weekend that everyone enjoyed. He sent me a batch of photos that you can see by going to the REUNIONS section .

Mike is hoping to get several of his contemporaries to join us at the annual Bishop Waltham reunion at the end of May (21st-23rd).
John Morton tells me that he and Margaret have just come back from a visit to Eastleigh (near Winchester) to check out possible accommodation and visits.* More of this news to come soon.

*Our thanks to them both for taking the trouble on our behalf. Here's to a good turn-out!

24th February 2010  

• Parish Newsletters probably had their humble beginnings in the late fifties—at least in my limited experience as a young parishioner of 'Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church' in Heston, Middlesex. (run by the WFs).

These early 'broadsheets' are something which we now take for granted, of couse, BUT they are not something that we would normally collect. Andrew Rampling, however, actually kept hold of three Heston newsletters from 1974 which follow the lead-up to an important part of his church's history, namely that of its consecration by Westminster's Cardinal Heenan.

Now, nearly 40 years later, they make interesting reading. Predictably, they record everything that you would expect in a parish newsletter : births, funerals, anniversaries, rostas, times of services, social events, club meetings, winning draw numbers and so on. Bringing all these to life, though, are the names of the players—the parish priest and his parishioners, now past or present—people who were part of a very close-knit community whose lives criss-crossed, up and down the generations, the very fabric of the parish.

You may like to visit the Heston Parish Appendix and go to the 'The Consecration of the new Church' to see what I mean.

I've included some 'Sunday morning bells' to get you in the mood.

Sincere thanks to Andrew for taking the trouble to send me these broadsheets.

22nd February 2010  

After yesterday's addition, it would seem wrong not to include that famous piece of cricket commentary by Brian Johnson. I defy you to listen to this with a straight face.

It's now in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix as "Funny Cricketing moments (1)".

21st February 2010  

Do you remember Gerard Hoffnung and 'The Bricklayer's Lament' ? And the famous line (after a long pause) "At that point I must have lost my presence of mind" ? I remember laughing uncontrollably when I first heard it—and it's just as funny to me today. See how it takes you by going to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix for the third time this week.

I was in the town centre last Saturday afternoon, at a time when hoards of children were running about uncontrollably whilst their parents sat at home glued to the box. One came hurtling towards my direction on his skateboard and his mate shouted "Hey! Watch it! You nearly hit that old man." Thanks, just what I needed. It comes to us all, I suppose.

20th February 2010  

Two hymns have been added to the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix : Make Me A Channel Of Thy Love and How Great Thou Art.

15th February 2010  

If you are looking for an opportunity to make a donation to something that will really make a difference, read Fr David Cullen's latest letter : " An update from Chipata (Zambia) ".

Here's just one extract that might strike a chord:

"Quite a lot of youngsters have been accepted for post-primary school and parents don't have the wherewithal to get them in. We have already helped quite a number with a loan or piecework, but there remain many more waiting for me to get back to Mphangwe today. For the most part they don't need more than about £25 to get started with fees, uniform, shoes and books, but with all the other children they have at school that is out of their reach."

Fr Cullen always takes time out from a very busy schedule to keep in touch with The Pelicans and thank the individuals who help him with their donations. He is grateful for even small amounts of money that he can use to improve the lot of the community he serves.

Pat Gibbons (our Treasurer) will look after money-transfers, making sure that every penny goes directly to those for whom it is intended.

14th February 2010  

People who were at The Priory in the fifties will probably remember the wind-up record-player kept in one of the classrooms, along with its limited supply of 78rpm records. Apart from the radio in one of the huts, this was our only source of recorded music.

Those old 78s attracted a small group of devotees and because the record 'library' was so small, the same old melodies got played over and over again. Yma Sumac, Beniamino Gigli and Count John McCormack were three of our favourites. The 'Sounds Familiar' Appendix was inspired by these happy memories, you may recall. 

Today, I realised that there has been a glaring omission. How could I have forgotten 'Ah, sweet mystery of life [at last I've found you] ' , sung by Beniamino himself ?

For those of you who have unknowingly suffered years of broken sleep because of this missing track, 'Sweetmiz' has now taken its rightful place in the SF Appendix. Click here to re-live your delayed adolescence.

13th February 2010  

It's always good to hear from Mike Mearns. He makes a particularly important observation in this story ('Bedlam, Movies and Leaving') which may resonate with many of you. Go to the REMINISCENCES Appendix   to read his latest contribution.

Thanks for the memory, Mike.

11th February 2010  

Ian Scott also included a translation of the 'Latin plaque' in the old/ new chapel at St Columba's.
Page 145 of the GALLERY is now been updated with this contribution. Ian would like anyone who might have a deeper knowledge of Church Latin to check whether he has captured the spirit of the quotation.

Many thanks to Ian for these two items—and for the time that he put into presenting this material for me.

10th February 2010  

• Ian Scott sent me 2 postcards depicting aspects of of St Columba's that were drawn by "M. Theresa Flynn, D.A. Edinburgh". These were part of a six-pack of cards that was sold for 1s 6d to raise funds. They are now displayed together on a re-vamped Page 89 of the GALLERY.  (More from Ian tomorrow).

• I'm getting behind with answering emails again and hope to get up-to-date by the weekend. Sorry for the delay.

• Philosophy last week, Theology today : Do born-again Christians have two belly buttons ?  (Radio 4)

7th February 2010  

• John Morton is starting to organise this year's Bishop's Waltham reunion (Pentecost, as usual). Go to the REUNIONS section to see what he has planned so far.

Please let John know if you intend to join him.

4th February 2010  

Have you looked at the 100-year Timeline in the Appendices yet ? Just recently there have been about 20 new entries, many of which have been sent to me by Maurice Billingsley. I'm re-reading Peter Finn's excellent history of The Priory and gleaning quite a lot of useful information for the timeline. Progress is steady but slow because there are only two of us working on it. Can YOU help? Have you any sources (or memories) that can contribute to this history?

• Did you study Philosophy or Logic during (or after) your time with the White Fathers? If so, you will be able to shed some light on the following :|

a) If a tree crashes to the ground in a deserted forest with no human to witness it, will it make any sound ?

b) If a man is all alone in a deserted forest with no females for hundreds of miles, will he still be wrong?

31st January 2010  

• Vincent Martin recently visited Kendal Rise Cemetery, where many UK White Fathers are buried. He sent me a map of this very large graveyard and I have added it to the OBITUARIES section.

Maurice Billingsley has been giving me some very useful help with the 100-year Time-Line. Click here to see how it is progressing—and whether you can fill in any of the gaps.

26th January 2010  

Two new items :

  1. The theme from 'The Piano' in the SOUNDS FAMILIAR Appendix.

  2. A 'Street Child Africa' slideshow with commentary by Fr Patrick Shanahan, which can be viewed either by going to the VIDEO or APPEALS Appendices. (With thanks, again, to Eric Creaney).

24th January 2010  

• John Morton has news of Tony Guilfoyle which you can view on the Messageboard.

• Maurice Billingsley
writes (this week) :

You might like to link the Uganda Martyrs piece to the one below, which Patricia sent in over the summer. NB beatification for Lourdel and Amans.

Patricia Hawkins recently sent me an article from "Sunday Vision" entitled "Missionaries say sorry to Uganda". It's a revealing insight into the way in which the WFs operate in Africa today.


In the past I have explained why the website's material is not (and can never be) presented in strict chronological order. Even on the same GALLERY Page you might find photos juxtaposed with items of a completely different era. This simply reflects the order in which items have been sent to me over the years.

HOWEVER, our website is essentially an historical document —or will be, when we have all passed on! It must therefore be very difficult for newcomers to the site to make any coherent sense of this history when he/ she is constantly bounced from one period to another,

For this purpose, I have started a timeline which runs from the year 1912 to 2012—and although it is nowhere near complete, I am putting it on display in the hope that you will all help me out by suggesting entries that you feel ought to be included.

If you go to the TIMELINE Appendix, then, you'll see my initial attempts (heavily dependent on Peter Finn's past work) and perhaps have a suggestion or two that you can email to me.

19th January 2010  

HISTORIES PAGE 54, which contains articles taken from The White Fathers' magazine in April 1962, is now complete. It includes a brief account of the pitiable executions of the Uganda Martyrs. It begs the question : how strong is your faith ? I'm sure that I would have run for the hills.

• Have you come across www.ted.com yet? It is packed full of inspiring video presentations that cover a wide range of themes. It's addictive, but unlike most addictions, it is free. If you still miss Tomorrow's World, have a look at the Technology theme and feast your eyes on some of the gadget goodies to come!

15th January 2010  

• WHERE WERE YOU IN 1962 ? (Or don't you go back that far?) Wasn't this the year before John Kennedy was asassinated? Maybe there's something in HISTORIES PAGE 54 that will jog your memory.

It's another source of material sent to me by Eric Creaney—and there's more to follow.

I am prompted to respond to Patricia's kind message on 'The Board' yesterday. It is very nice to have one's efforts recognised—we all like a pat on the back, and believe me I am grateful for all the thanks and encouragement that I receive.

I am reminded, though, of all the unsung work that is carried out on our behalf by Pat Gibbons, our Treasurer. He collects and distributes all the donations that we send and makes sure that every penny goes straight to those in need.

Then there's Peter Finn, who checks my every move (!) and has contributed such a lot of useful information over the years—such as those amazing student lists that he so carefully researched.

And there's Mike Ellis and his friends who kept up the momentum with all the get-togethers that were organised in 2009.

And Chris Benton. And John and Margaret. And Olivia and Patricia. And Robbie Dempsey, Maurice Billingsley and John Byrne.

I must stop there, even though there are many others who could be given a mention. But you get my point.



12th January 2010  

The second half of The Pelican magazine is now ready. Just go to HISTORIES Page 53 and click on the appropriate option.

I've included as many photos as possible but because I am working blind (as usual) I need you to check that I haven't made any mistakes—particularly with regards to identifying individuals.

Please note that I have transferred a copy of the item entitled "Old Boys' Corner" into the Previous Associations Appendix, where a non-illustrated version has been displayed before.

10th January 2010  

Until recently, I thought that I had included every
edition of The Pelican magazine—and that the one Eric Creaney gave me over a year ago had already been covered. No so: Christmas 1957 was one that I had inadvertently missed. My sincere apologies to Eric for holding on to it for so long.

I am now halfway through transcribing the material, so if you go to HISTORIES Page 53 you will find all the contribution from The Priory staff and students.

The contribution from St Columba's will follow very shortly.

1st January 2010  

Very best wishes for the coming year.

We start with two new features in the website's Appendix :

The Message Bank
All Message Board entries
The Website's Diary
All UPDATE records since 2000

This is a bit of 'house-keeping' / rationalisation that was long overdue. I hope that you will find these archives of real interest and easier to access than previously.

Having just gone through the transcription process, I am more convinced than ever that the policy of holding on to all material is a good one. Just flick your way through one or two of these files to see what I mean. It's surprising how much you forget over the years—and how much has happened in a single decade.

By the way, these two Appendices are not included in the Quick Search facility because of limited space. Instead, you can use your browser to search individual pages.

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