The Message Bank
where all messages are saved for posterity



December 23rd     

Tom Cannng

Sitting here sipping a glass of the Black stuff, all prepaired for the Christmas just finished painting the Baby Jesus for the crib, so I thought I would take this opertunity to wish all Pelicans and W.F. Clergy a Happy and Holy Christmas and all the best for 2014. Tom      December 21st     
10:50:55 PM

December 21st

Eric Creaney

Hi Pelicans, I am afraid I am snowed under with moving to a smaller new build house yesterday and fallen right behind with my mailings. I don\'t get a phone line until 9th January so have no home internet. We are baby sitting at my son\'s tonight so getting to use his wifi. So can I take this opportunity to wish all of you a Very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2014.       

Eric & Patricia

December 15th

Peter Prof McMurray

Happy Xmas one and all. Tasmania rocks on in its own sweet way. We have never had so much rain - it actually ripped the road up and filled the cubic metre culvert mouths the other day. Yesterday, however, dawned beautiful, so I sold a few lambs and mowed a few acres before the weeds bloomed. The government has been taken over by the Junior Tea Party and it looks like England are about to lose the Third Test. Who knows what will happen next. plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Many thanks to Father Jap Monaghan for still being able to spell that correctly although I have noticed this web site can get tangled with accents sometimes.  

December 10th   
Bill Nimmo-Scott

It is that time in life; I am having a \'clear out\'. In doing so I have come across two video tapes. One is labelled Newtown House December 1992 and the other St Columba\'s Reunion 2002. I had it in mind to write a book on St Columba\'s which no doubt is how I got them but was diverted by getting involved in producing an archive for the Submarine Museum. I should be very happy to pass these tapes on to somebody, but who wants/needs them? 

November 19th    
Robbie Dempsey

An international project has given help to both the children of The Gambia and the prisoners of Loughan House, Blacklion. By collecting unwanted bikes in local communities and recycling a valuable resource, Bikes4Africa teamed up with Rotary International to organise a shipment of bikes for the Jole Rider educational organisation in Africa. 

November 3rd    
garard lenaghan

I, too, had planned to drive up on the 2nd but after a nightmarish drive from the south coast back to Newcastle on the 1st and then seeing the shocking weather forecast, I couldn\'t face it! I so wanted to stand on the football field and feel the vibes!

November 2nd

To add to Hugh McVey\'s comment that today, Saturday 2nd November     is the 50th Anniversary to the day of the fire at St Columbas. Best Regards to all who along with myself were there on that day.

October 27th    
Hugh McVey

November 2nd is the anniversary of the Saint Columbas\' fire and beginning of the relocation to Danby Hall for many former students.J.J.Prior has told me that he intends to be at St Boswells that day and would be delighted to meet up with any others who recall the Great Fire.

September 30th    
Olivia O'Dolan

This is to let all Pelicans know that Patrica Hawkin's husband passed away suddenly last Friday. He Carlos was laid to rest at Killiinagh Blacklion yesterday Sunday 29th September. Patrica's late parents Dr Hawkins, Patrica and Raymond were good friends of St Augustines Blacklion. Dr Hawkins was one time MO at St Augustines. May all rest in Peace.

September 29th    
Peter "Prof" McMurray

Hi All There are very few days when my mind does not stray to that period now over 60 years ago when I set off in a Scottish Muck Truck :-) to St. Columbas College. Today I saw an article about John Doyle - playwright, comedian and broadcaster - with this quote about the Christian Brothers that taught him. "I'm grateful for a time, a formative time, I was privy to seeing the world through the dependable, disciplined comfort of their prism. For my relationship with knowledge and how I view the world was determined either because of them or in spite of them, but certainly by them." When there is so much justifiable bad press about a few, it is good to remember some of the wonderful men we knew.  

September 16th    
Robbie Dempsey

Item on Irish Radio the other today (13-Sept-   ): The charity BOTHAR will airlift a herd of calves to Rwanda. The dairy cows are hand-reared at Loughan House in Blacklion. Some of the inmates at the prison there will gain a qualification in animal husbandry, while struggling families in Africa get a wonderful gift of livestock.

September 3rd    
Bernard Harrower

Can you assist me with any information about Christopher Campbell from Greenock, Scotland. He was a student at St Columba’s Senior High School around 1960 and left to join the White Fathers before 1961. I have contacted the White Fathers organization directly several times with no success.

Thank You, Bernard Harrower (former school friend)
We no longer have a correct     address for Chris. Please check your own details held in the CONTACTS section to see if they are up-to-date. 

August 22nd    
Lindsay Wilson

I am trying to contact any boys who went to day school at Scotus Academy, Edinburgh, from St. Mary's Ratho.

Please look at the web page Lindsay 

August 4th    
Faith J H McDonnell

Dear Pelicans I was just writing a piece for website here, commemorating the Martyrs of Uganda, and wanted to get in touch to let you know how very , very helpful your website was to me when I was writing my book, “Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children,” along with my co-author, former child soldier, Grace Akallo. I wrote a chapter on the Martyrs of Uganda, the East African Revival, and the persecution of Christians under Idi Amin, in order to demonstrate God’s faithfulness and love for His people in Uganda. The history of the Society of Missionaries in Africa recording the life of Father Simeon Lourdel was such a blessing, and so informative. I was deeply touched by the dedication of the White Fathers, as well as the courage and faithfulness to the Gospel of the young Ugandan men who gave their lives for the sake of Christ and His Cross. I referenced “Planting the Faith in Darkest Africa” several times in my book, which was published in 2007 by Chosen Books. Thank you, and God bless you. Yours in Christ, Faith Faith J. H. McDonnell Director, Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan The Institute on Religion and Democracy.  

August 2nd    
Keith Lawson

I am now 71 yrs old!!! At Blacklion 1958-60: Broome Hall 1960-61: Totteridge 1961-66. Does anybody out there remember me? Would love to get in contact with you. All my current contacts are Canadian e.g. Fr. Frank Larkin.

Best wishes Keith Lawson 

July 14th    
John Byrne

I have been invited by Fr. P.J. Cassidy M.Afr, Delegate Superior for Ireland, to assist Fr. Jean Paul Cirhakarhula M.Afr, head of the promotions office in Templeogue, in trying to make contact with former students and confrères of the society living in Ireland, with a view to renewing contacts and friendships. This has been publicised in the Irish newsletters in    . These have traditionally been sent to friends and benefactors of the Missionaries of Africa – White Fathers. In discussion with Jean Paul, I have come to the conclusion that former students and confreres may not be on the mailing list. If any member of the Pelicans living in Ireland would like to receive a copy, please e mail me with your name and address, and I will ensure that this omission is rectified. The next issue of the newsletter will take place in the autumn.  

June 30th    
Mike Mearns

Hi Everybody from a drying out Calgary. Our area was unaffected as a result of being located on higher ground. Thousands remain displaced as a result of last week\'s flooding. Disasters in distant parts are one thing, but on your own doorstep ( or through it in many cases ) is quite another matter. Anyway being a trivia junkie, I noticed that the Tour de France route this year has not one but two Pelican connections. What are they? Answers on an    , please. Hint: the deadline for answers is Tuesday 9 July.

All the best to all Pelicans. Mike.

June 14th    
Maurice Billingsley

Pelicans may like to follow this link to Ian Netton\'s review of Mona Siddiqui\'s new book on \'Christians, Muslims and Jesus\'. Prof Siddiqui is well known from Radio 4\'s Today programme. 

June 12th    
Billy Tonner

Comment about the army truck at Danby Hall brought back fond memories of Bro Kevin Corbishley who taught me all about clutch control and crash gearboxes in that old truck. I doubt whether Fr Tom (Bill) Stoker ever knew that Bro Kevin was teaching us to drive but it saved a fortune in driving lessons when I eventually turned 17 and could drive legally.  

May 30th    
Zacharie via Maurice

Bonjour Chers Amis du Pelican; Zacharie reports that the latest consignment of epilepsy drugs has arrived. Photos will come when he catches up with himself. He lost his mother over Easter and has been involved with the ordination of the new bishop. Je vous ecris de l'eveche ou je suis arrive ce matin de Nioro(420kms) pour notre premier conseil episcopal avec notre nouvel eveque ordonne Mgr Jonas Dembele. Je repartirai le 29 mai tres tot pour la paroisse. Je devrais vous envoyer quelques cliches de la reception des medicaments avec le Dr Charles et aussi les malades; Avec l\'ordination du nouvel eveque j'ai ete pris comme membre de la Commission d\'organisation et cela m\'a pris trop le temps. Tout s'est bien passe et c\'etait une reussite. pour ce qui est des trois cartons je n\'ai pas paye beaucoup pour les recuperer a la poste, mais seulement 7500 FCFA soit P. Zacharie SORGHO Missionnaires d\'Afrique Paroisse Catholique de Nioro B.P. 8 Nioro MALI .

May 29th    
Danny O'Hagan

Spent a couple of hours in Inverness yesterday meeting up with John Fowles and his lovely wife Carole. John travelled up from Edinburgh and I travelled (by free bus) from Thurso. Only a six hour round trip but worth every second of it!!! Had a wonderful couple of hours. Hope Carole wasn\'t too bored with our discussions on old friends and old times! Remarked on how easy it seemed to be for ex WF\'s whenever they got together, regardless of the years with no contact, that we slipped back in time with such ease. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to head north for just a couple of hours and safe journey back to Toronto. Many thanks too to Mary Power for making the contact. Thanks Mary! When I win the lottery I\'ll be flying over to see you!!!  

April 27th    
Eric Greenan

Canon A.McGarry\'s funeral arrangements are posted on web.

April 26th    
Eric Greenan

Sadly reporting the death of Canon Alexander McGarry on thursday 25th April. Further details will be posted 

April 12th    
Maurice Billingsley

This links to a short biography of Bishop Forbes, who taught at BW in 1914, when Fr Travers was called up. He became Bishop in Uganda.

April 10th    

Maurice Billingsley

Here is a link to a tribute to Sjef Donders, a Dutch MAfr who studied at Monteviot and was among the 1957 ordination group. Read on!  

April 8th    
Paul West

If you knew / know John Conlon, you\'ll be interested to read about him if you visit :  

April 10th  

Joseph Reilly

hello all my time was short in blacklion but i will never forget  

March 29th    
chris benton

Happy Easter to All. Did anyone see the BBC news (One and Six O\'Clock) on Wed March 27th.It seems that the railway line between Carlisle and Edinburgh which ran through St Boswells and Melrose will reopen. The feature showed the steep stairway at Melrose station up to the platform and then the exterior with all the adverts and red and cream livery. It brought back memories of my arrival by steam train at St Boswells station with my fellow Liverpudlians ( Jim Davis and Frank Murphy ) in Sept 1955., For anyone interested you can see the feature on BBC i Player for the next 5 days.

March 29th 

Peter Prof McMurray

Happy Easter one and all. I see incredible sights of 5 feet of snow in the Isle of Man and the like. I also note queries about the Winter of 62 may I also add winter of 47.In 47 the snow in Sutton Coldfield filled our lanes and gardens covering the six foot high wooden fences. 62 finished my desire to live in England Birmingham was deep in snow for what seemed forever. I remember forcing a Ford Anglia through to Neen Sollars for a marvellous duck supper and darts with the Landload and Landlady until early morning - nobody was going to raid that night. On the way we passed an unfortunate Mini Minor. Buried in the snow the excavator ploughing the road clear had thrown it over the hedge :-)

March 20th

Stuart Christie

I sent an     to the webmaster ( rejected by the anti scam) attaching a contribution to an old 'Singalongapriory' memorabilia request. My family in NZ used to sing the same songs in the 50's with some different verses. Anyone interested please                        

February 13th    
Tony Smyth

 Happy Birthday, Paul (West).   

February 4th    
gerry lenaghan

The big freeze in the Winter of 1962/63 may well have started on Boxing Day in the South but not so in the North! It was already well underway in the Scottish Borders. My brother, Michael, started at St Columba’s in September 1962. I don’t recall the exact reason but there was a parents’ open house in late November, I think it was, and we, mum, dad, brother, sister and myself set out from County Durham to go visit him. We were booked into The Buccleuch Arms. Was it called that then? As we drove up the A68 and began climbing, rain turned to snow. The road was soon totally obscured to the point that our sole means of navigation were the ‘snow poles’ which defined the edge of the road. As we tackled the incline at Carter Bar at the Scottish Border we got totally stuck and we were stranded in a complete whiteout. There was no other traffic around – a car was much more of a luxury in those days. My parents must have been really worried as we were stuck there for hours before being eventually rescued by a snowplough. Tail between our legs we followed in its wake back towards Newcastle. I distinctly remember that for the whole day all we had was a packet of Spangles between all of us!  

January 29th    
Patrick Gibbons

Treasurers Report.
You have already been advised that for personal reasons I have had to close the Pelicans bank account, so no further monies can be paid into it. A special \"thank you\"? to those Pelicans who have been paying monies regularly - and anonymously - into the Account. I have sent our final cheque for £530 to the WFs to be credited equally to David Cullen and Trevor Robinson. I have been Treasurer since October 1993. We deliberately did not set ourselves up as a fund raising organisation, but over the years we have managed to raise over £43000.00 for the missions I will re-open our Account when I am able. If, however, anyone is willing to take over in the meantime then please contact me. Thank you for your support and generosity over these past years.

Yours Aye, Patrick  

January 25th    
Chris Cooper

As I remember at Blacklion in Jan/Feb 1963 there was only one very light sprinking and 3 frosts, while family letters from home in the south of England were all about survival in the snow.

January 22nd    
Robbie Dempsey

Dick Kinlen's recent marvellous photos reminded of a crazy old TV programme last weekend. It was called the BIG FREEZE.... a propos of the 2 inches of snow paralysing the UK at present. The programme was in black&white from the winter of 1963 and presented by Cliff Michelmore. Apparently, the snow fell heavily several times from Boxing day through to March across the south of England. Funny thing is I can\'t remember this at all - and me at the Priory then ! Anyone got any memories of that Jan-Feb ?

January 7th    
Mike Ellis & John Joyce (Managers of the AMAP - Africa Medical Appeal Project)

First of all John and I wish all of you and your families a very Happy New Year! We are most grateful to all of you who have already committed to supporting AMAP to supply much needed drugs to Fr. Zacharie Sorgho to allow some of his parishioners to lead normal lives. We now have four Pelicans committted to providing ongoing support for this and we sincerly hope that more of you will commit funds to the project. We are awaiting a message from Fr Zacharie that we can send more products and we will do this as soon as we get confirmation that these will be used. You will find details of the appeal and the rationale for mounting this project on this webisite under the heading Appeals on the left. With many thanks again for all your support so far.

With best wishes, Mike Ellis & John Joyce  

December 23rd 2012
Tom Canning

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Pelicans and White Fathers

November 27th 2012
Robbie Dempsey

I have just been to Google and typed [ how much is 250 dinars in pounds] I don't think you would get a coffee anywhere for that ! Please read the following from Petit Echo - and best wishes to all -  

November 26th 2012
Peter Prof McMurray

Hi All Fascinating note from Nimmo about WF with the Free French. You are not alone in not knowing. I knew about Jap nursing his brother in North Africa and others escaping on trains etc. but actually being there for Liberation escaped me. There again the more I see and read the more that I think I must have dazed through those days on automatic pilot. Had a very pleasant surprise the other day. I discovered Eddy Creaney living in Melbourne. It turns out that he has been there since 1961 so we must have been neighbours for many years. Sadly the lad was led astray and became a St Kilda supporter however I am delighted to report that at least one member of his family saw the light and backs Collingwood.  

November 24th 2012
Gerry Lenaghan

Having read recent notes on Gerry Wynne prompted me to click on the link and read his obituary. It brought back memories of Fr Wynne introducing me to French but his comments on my reports, which I have recently uncovered, were not always favourable. We were taught a way of remembering the list of verbs conjugated with etre – EV’N MAD TRAMPS - with each letter representing a verb taking etre in the Perfect tense. Maybe you were too? In the 30 years I have taught French to thousands of children I have used this same list taught to me by Fr Wynne. There are many other such lists but no-one I have spoken to had ever heard of this one! I have recently been doing a little supply teaching at Battle Abbey School in Sussex – my 13 year old daughter in Year 9, Amelia, goes there! I had the misfortune of covering one of Amelia’s Science lessons. Once they were seated in the lab I announced that I would write instructions on the board. A few moments later, a voice, melodious and with varying intonation, wafted across the classroom. “Da…aad!” “Be quiet, Amelia!” I snapped gruffly with an underlying meaning of – and don’t call me Dad in the classroom! “Dad,” she snapped back. “Why are you writing on the Smart Board with a board writer?” I cursed silently as my hand froze. Making light of the blunder, I wrote their instructions on the adjoining White Board and, once they were set to work, tried frantically to wipe away the evidence from the Smart Board but to no avail! I confessed my sins to the lab technician and together with the aid of a clever aerosol we managed to clean it. That was a week ago. Yesterday, I was teaching there again. Taking Year 10 in the English Room and about to write on the board I hesitated, just to double check that it was the correct board. I explained to the children the reason for my hesitation and told them of my earlier blunder. “Yes, Sir. We know. Amelia put it on Facebook!” Feel free to delete my wittering on, Paul. Just thought this might raise a smile!  

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