Past and Present

(Please, note that since Google closed down the Picassaweb gallery some of the photos links below may not work.)

Blacklion 2018 Sept 10th 2018   Report & photos
White Fathers' 150 Anniversary Aug 26th 2018   Report & Photo
St Boswell's area 2018 July 14th 2018 Organised by Ian Scott & Mike Ellis Report & Photos
Bishop's Waltham June 3rd - 4th 2017   Report & photos
July 13th - 14th 2015
Organised by Mike Ellis

Report and photos by some pf the gathering.

Templeogue September 2013  

Photos by Fr. Jean Paul Cirhakarhula M.Afr (via John Byrne)

Glasgow & Elsewhere
July 2013
Robbie Dempsey

WFs' Centenary Celebrations
at Galashiels

26th August 2012
WFs' Centenary Celebrations
at Heston Parish
July 4th 2012
WFs' Centenary Celebrations
at Bishop's Waltham
26th /27th May 2012
Photos no longer available since closing of Picasa.
4th September 2010
24th July 2010
Late April 2010
April 5th 2010
February 2010
26th September 2009
11th/12th September 2009
26th July 2009
12th July 2009
June 2009

May 29th -31st, 2009

May 1st-3rd 2009
October 10th -12th 2008
September 24th 2008
September 11th 2008
August 12th 2008
May 9th -11th, 2008
July 07
May 07
October 06
June 06
May 05
June 05
Bishop's Waltham
May 2004
Why no photos?
September 2003
Eugene's summary
October 1999
May 1998


Dear Peter (Finn)

I am addressing this short note of thanks to you principally but want to copy it to the others who made the effort to be at The Priory this weekend:

I thought everything went so well, what with the A-1 weather, the singing on Sunday morning (thanks to John Morton) and the steam train journey on Saturday (thanks to Peter Vale-Humphreys) plus the bonus trip to Jane Austen's house.  And what an excellent job John and Margaret (Morton) made of the story of their Holy Land trip at Easter.

Terry Butler phoned Fr Buckley on his sickbed in Ireland and he sent us all his best regards.

Dryburgh Abbey Hotel is fully booked for Hogmanay and has a long waiting list.  What if we tried for 2007?

My deepest thanks to you, John Morton and Margaret, John J. Deeney and Maureen,  Tommy Kelly and Margaret,  Peter Vale-Humphreys and Edith, Mike Byrne and Andrew Cotton (my missing chorister), and Verna Burdett Clark (with son Steve).

Who else?  I'm sorry if I've missed anyone.

Love to Brenda,


A Trip to Rome (October 2006)
The trip to Rome took place 21st October 2006. A group of 23 people travelled from various destinations—as far afield in one case as Albuquerque, New Mexico—to meet up at Domus Aurelia, just ouside Rome, where they were to board for the week.

Here is a photo of them at the start of what developed into a most convivial and unforgetable week:

(source : John & Margaret Morton)


ZD Zelda Daws (Zelda's daughter) + 2 children, MD & AD Matthew & Anna (France)
CB & JB Chris and Josie Benton
LC & JC Les & Joyce Croughan(Albuquerque)
CC & MC Chris & Mary Cooper
PF Peter Finn, MH Martin Hickey (New York)
TK Tommy Kelly, BEB Brother Eric Brink
PM & PM Pat & Pauline Menzies, FM Frank Murphy
BO & PO Bernie Osborne and her husband Peter (Eugene's sister and brother-in-law)
JM & MM John & Margaret Morton
(sometimes resident in UK . . . .)

Missing from this picture : Mr & Mrs Carey, Pat Murphy & Margaret Kelly

Pat Menzies
4th November 2006

I think that the general feeling of the group was that the trip was a very successful one and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Its success I think was greatly enhanced by the contribution from the White fathers in their Generalate in Rome, from Fr. Menoud, the Secretary General , Fr. Otmar Superior of the Generalate, Fr. Herman, Fr. Ivan Page, Fr. Donal McLeod and Br. Eric Brink. Fr. Jim Green, who is one of the Superior General's Assistants gave us some of his time to show us around the Generalate. When we arrived in Rome, we were invited up to the White Fathers place and given a presentation by Br. Brink on The Basilica of St. Peter's. Br. Brink is an expert on the history of the Basilica. Following his presentation, Fr. Ivan Page who is resident Archivist gave us a brief history of the Society quoting from original documents which were sent to Cardinal Lavigerie by the early missionaries.

On Tuesday 24th. of October, Br. Eric followed up his presentation by acting as our guide round St. Peter's pointing out all the interesting aspects.

The highlight of our trip was without doubt the audience with the Pope. Through the good auspices of the Secretary General we received tickets to attend the audience and were privileged to gain booked seats.

On Friday the 27th. October, a Holy Mass was arranged for us at the Generalate which was just a few minutes walk from our Hotel. Led by Les Croughan, the Pelicans were in good voice and so our 'pilgrimage ' came to a fitting end with a special Mass. This was an opportunity to remember Eugene in our prayers led by John Morton.

Our group 'gelled' extremely well and we quickly established an excellent rapport with the WF's. They really went out of their way to do what they could for us, from choosing a hotel for us to 'capping' everything with a Mass at the end.

A week is a very short space of time to take in Rome, but somehow we managed to get round to many of the hotspots,including the catacombs. Thanks to John and Margaret Morton, a bus tour was organised in no time at all. Most evenings we ate together in a local restaurant and this gave us a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other better.

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OR view a selection of photos taken during this trip

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Bishop's Waltham 2007
(Weekend, starting Friday, May 25th)

5th March 2007

The annual reunion at Bishop's Waltham will take place on Pentecost weekend as in previous years. Most people will travel down on Friday 25th May, to meet up for a modest evening meal in the village—after booking into a local B+B. (See the Maps & Accommodation Appendix for details). People generally set off for home early Sunday afternoon, after attending Mass held in Our Lady, Queen of Apostles Church (set in the old Priory grounds).

We are hoping to have a large turn-out this year in memory of our friend, Eugene MacBride, who left us for greater things in November. To ensure that the weekend is well-co-ordinated, please inform Paul West that you will be attending.

At some time during the weekend a meeting will be held to discuss the future of our Association—specifically for those who are willing to take an active part in its continuuing success.

14th May 2007
People Hoping To Attend

Zelda MacBride
Peter & Bernie Osborne
John & Margaret Morton
Pat & Norma Gibbons
Pat & Pauline Menzies
Mike Byrne & Andrew
Chris & Josie Benton
Chris & Mary Cooper
Peter Finn
Bernard Melling
Tommy & Margaret Kelly
Peter & Edith Vale-Humphreys
John & Sylvia Dawson
Lionel Holland
Paul West

19th April 2007

John Morton has negotiated a special deal with Bank's' in Bishop's Waltham for our meal on the Saturday evening of our reunion. They have offered us a 3-course set menu at £22.95 per head, as detailed below. John has kindly agreed to pay the £5.00 deposit required for each person who intends to join us — on the understanding, of course, that you refund him on the night !!

By 12th May, John has to submit a list of everybody attending the dinner, along with their choices from the menu. Please make your selection and send him a list of the items as they are numbered.

item number
Home made soup of the day
Crayfish and avocado tian
Goat cheese and caramelised tartlet
Chicken livers wrapped in pancetta, with balsamic dressing
main meal
Rib-eye steak with whisky and peppers
main meal
Crispy confit of duck with honey and ginger sauce
main meal
Fillet of sea bass with prawn bisque
main meal
Wild mushroom risotto (V)
A trio of desserts or cheese and biscuits followed by coffee.
All drinks paid by individuals by arrangement with the bar.

14th May 2007
Reunion Arrangements

1. Friday 25th May, 8.00 pm : meet up at the Priory Inn, Bishop’s Waltham — as a convenient place for a welcoming drink, followed by a stroll into town.

2. Saturday 26th 11.00 am, Winchester:
You will be given a copy of the "Winchester Pocket Guide" which contains maps of the City and lots of useful information. There is a good Park & Ride scheme which gives you all-day parking for £2.70. (See city map, Page 5).

A 90-minute guided tour has been arranged for 11.00 am. Our guide will meet us at King Alfred's statue in Broadway. The tour is limited to 25 people and will cost £45.00 for the group. This will amount to £1.80 per person if it is fully subscribed.

3. Saturday afternoon :  Freedom to find a lunchtime snack and have a stroll around the city.

4.Saturday afternoon, 4.00 pm : return to BW in time for a meeting in the church hall of Our Lady Queen of Apostles (where The Priory once stood)—for those who would like to help continue the good work that Eugene and Jarlath started all those years ago when they founded "The Pelicans". (More details on the day).

There is a 6.00 pm Mass in the church for those who would like to attend.

5. Saturday evening, 7.30 pm : An evening meal at Banks's restaurant in Bishop's Waltham.

6. Sunday 27th May, morning
: Mass in the Church, where you might like to help with our traditional contribution to the service : a verse or two of Veni Creator/ Salve Regina/ Adoro Te Devote etc

The words and music for this can be found on the website’s ‘Sounds Familiar’ Appendix. Please print off your own copy and bring it with you.

7. Depart for home—or off to enjoy more of this lovely part of the world on your own, including a walk around well-known haunts in the BW  area itself (such as The Priory grounds, Galleydown etc).

Please note :This schedule has been made to give a structure to the reunion weekend, but each organised arrangement should be seen as purely voluntary.

Minutes of the Meeting
convened at 4.00pm on 26th May 2007
in the Church Hall of Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Bishop's Waltham

(Recorded and written by John & Margaret Morton)

Those attending were:

Chris and Josie Benton
Mike Byrne
Chris and Mary Cooper
John and Sylvia Dawson
Peter Finn
Pat and Norma Gibbons
Zelda MacBride
John and Margaret Morton
Peter and Bernie Osborne
Peter and Edith Vale-Humphreys
Paul West
Apologies : Pat & Pauline Menzies, Bernard Melling, Robbie Dempsey

Paul West welcomed those attending and an open discussion began with members expressing their sadness at the death of our founder, Eugene. It was strongly felt that our Association should continue and the Pelicans should not be allowed to fold up. Chris Benton was in full support of this determination but reminded those present that none of us was getting any younger and that if we wished continue we ought to ensure that our objectives were realistic.

Various opinions were expressed as to the future of the Pelicans and Peter Finn summed up by saying that the Association should fulfill two main aims :

1. Communication with ex-students, the White Fathers and well-wishers, using the internet as the focus

2. Reunions—getting together as friends (for as long as is feasible)

All members agreed.

Paul West was thanked for running the website and readily agreed to continue as webmaster. He reassured the Meeting that the costs of running the site were not substantial and that he was happy to make this contribution. With regard to the general security of the website and its long-term maintenance, Peter Finn asked Paul to make sure that others were privy to all passwords and security procedures.

Chris Benton agreed to be responsible for one important aspect of "Communication" : that of answering emails from 'newcomers' and responding to general enquiries left on the website's Messageboard.

Chris Cooper
took on the task of updating and maintaining the membership database, with initial help from Zelda MacBride and Paul West. This would ensure that the CONTACTS section on the website was always up-to-date and, importantly, enable us to send a single email to all members when the occasion arose (which had not been possible at the time of Eugene's passing).

Pat Gibbons
confirmed that he was happy to remain as Treasurer and suggested that the funding to WF missionaries such as Fr David Cullen should continue. He reminded the Meeting that the Pelican's association was not originally set up to be a fundraising organisation; funding came about as a bi-product. Pat also suggested that whilst we should encourage more donations to the White Fathers, fundraising generally involved a great deal of work for what was often a modest return. He cited the case of the late Jimmy Johnston's mammoth effort to raise £1,500.

Peter Finn said that he was prepared to work with Pat Menzies to liaise with the White Fathers. Together, they would start by making contact with the Provincial in London. (Pat had previously suggested to John Morton that he would be happy with this role).

John Dawson suggested that he would make contact with our friends and colleagues in Scotland, to encourage them to attend a reunion at Dryburgh in the Autumn of 2008.

John and Margaret Morton were invited to arrange future reunions, assisted by Zelda MacBride, Chris and Josie Benton and Peter and Edith Vale--Humphreys.

The Meeting went on to discuss next year's reunion at Bishop's Waltham which would coincide with the 10th anniversary of the parish church of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles. The reunion organisers would liaise with Fr Buckley and Terry Butler to make this a truly memorable occasion.

The Meeting ended at 5.45pm, with a vote of thanks to Fr Buckley, Terry and Anne Butler for providing a comfortable meeting place and most welcome refreshments.

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Rutherglen 2007
(July 3rd)

A 'mini-reunion' of old friends was held at Rutherglen recently.
Those present included Vinnie Callaghan, Frank Dillon, Chas Robinson and Mike Creechan
with Fr.Steve Collins and Fr.Pat Harrity.

(source : Mike Creechan)

(source : Mike Creechan)

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Reunion at St Columba's
Fri 10th - Sun 12th October 2008

URGENT MESSAGE from Chris Benton
February 12th 2008

" We need to know who is having dinner with us at the Dryburgh on the Saturday evening. Naturally, everyone including 'day trippers' will be most welcome to join us but we do need to know 'numbers' ASAP so that we can decide if the big room is needed and booked.

I would like to let the Dryburgh know final numbers by the end of this month if possible."

Update from Chris Benton
November 29th 2007

Dear Friends

Herewith list to date of those intending to come to St Columba's bash Oct 2008. With wives/ partners we are about 50 in number. From replies to my last message, it seems most are in favour of Saturday afternoon for the Mass in St Columba's Chapel. So I will discuss further with Brian McGowan and let you all know the outcome. Brian has told me he can arrange for the College to be open all day and I will confirm this later. I'm inclined to Mass starting at 4.30 or 5.00pm. If we have dinner arranged at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel for say 8.30pm that should give us time for a chin wag after mass for those travelling back home Saturday evening. Watch this space.

The E mail addresses of all below appear in the Contacts or elsewhere on the Pelican website if anyone wants to make advance arrangements with old friends. Why not contact them now?

Please spread the word about the reunion. Even if ex-students can only make the Mass or a short visit I'm sure everyone will enjoy meeting again after so many years.


Chris Benton
Derek Biewer
Mike Butterworth
Vinny Callaghan
Ed Cherrey
John Paul Dawson
Frank Dillon
Patrick Gibbons
Gerry Gordon
Owen Gormley
Martin Hickey
Lionel Holland
Christine Hughes
Nicky Kendellen
Martin Leonard
Zelda MacBride

Mike Mearns
Kay Mearns
Andy Mooney
John Morton
Frank Murphy
Danny O'Hagan
Bernie Osborne
Peter Osborne
Chas Robinson
Tony Smyth
Pat Tierney
Peter Vale-Humpreys
Paul West
Jim Youdale
Fathers Harrity, Collins & Donoghue

Regards & Godbless to all

Chris Benton

Update from Chris Benton
October 28th 2007

I trust everyone will be aware by now that the date for the St Columba’s reunion has been set for the above weekend.

We will be having the customary evening meal (now more or less a feature of our reunions) for all who want to, in the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel on the Saturday night  followed by a couple of hours in the Lounge Bar discussing solutions to every problem known to man.

It would appear that quite a few of the Scots will be ‘day tripping’. These people are, of course, most welcome to join us for the dinner and the problem solving session. Later in the new year I will be asking for names of those wanting to book dinner so that we can if necessary book the ‘big’ room well in advance.I spoke yesterday to my contact at St Columba’s ( Brian McGowan). Brian will be available to open the college for us. I am grateful to Vinny Callaghan who has secured the attendance of Frs Packy Harrity and Steve Collins to celebrate our reunion Mass which will be in St Columba’s chapel ( now an Audio / Visual Conference Centre). What we have yet to decide is whether to have the Mass on the Saturday or on the Sunday. I understand from Vinny, that Packy will be happy to go along with what we decide. But I would like to get this sorted and set as soon as possible.

The options :

Mass on Sunday 10 or 10.30 am :
I am conscious of  those facing long journeys home (eg from south of England) and if the Mass is at say 10.am Sunday there would be very little time left to meet, socially, with old friends (who have come for the Sunday only) before setting off for home at say 12 noon to 1pm.Mass on Saturday at 4 or 5pm :
Brian can arrange for the College to be open for us from say 10 am on the Saturday and remain open for us until the Mass at 4-6 pm on the Saturday giving us 6/7 hours social time. This latter proposal would also leave Sunday morning free for a walk (or drive !!) perhaps to Scott’s view. My drive home is only 4 hours so I’m happy with either day for the mass.

I have asked Brian if I can leave a decision about the Mass time till a later date. In the meantime could you let me have your views/comments on the Mass time/day and, of course, I welcome any suggestions regarding the weekend as a whole.

Accommodation :

For those wishing to stay at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel I re-state my earlier advice – Book Now !!

The Dryburgh Abbey Hotel. Tel : (01835) 822 261

For those not staying at the Dryburgh  go to  http://www.aboutscotland.co.uk/bbse.htm.

I can personally recommend the following B & Bs  but once again I advise booking now!!

•Clint Lodge Guest House Scotland
Bill & Heather Walker, Clint Lodge, St. Boswells, Melrose, Scotland. TD6 0DZ
Tel: 01835 822027 Fax: 01835 822656

•The Whitehouse
Please contact Angela and Roger Tyrer,
email: whitehouse.tyrer@tiscali.co.uk
St Boswells,
Roxburghshire, TD6 0ED,
Scotland, UK
Tel: 01573 460343
Mobile: 0772339 1205
(or from outside the UK:
Tel: 44 1573 460343
Mobile: 44 772339 1

•Greenside Farm B+B
(recommended by Bernie Aherne and Paul West)
Main street
St. Boswells
Melrose Borders TD6 OAJ
Tel: 01835 822140

For those coming as a party of 4 or more, have a look at the ‘Rentals’ icon on http://www.aboutscotland.co.uk

I’ve never stayed at Eildon Cottages but I believe it’s good value and pretty new.

The current list of those attending the reunion will follow shortly.

Regards & Godbless to all.

Chris Benton

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Pentecost Reunion at Bishop's Waltham
9th—11th May 2008

UPDATE from John Morton (10th March 2008) :

I thought that you might like to see the current list of people who will be attending our reunion at Bishop's Waltham this year :

Chris & Josie Benton
Mike Byrne & Andrew
Chris & Mary Cooper
Robbie and Jackie Dempsey
Peter Finn
Zelda MacBride
Bernard Melling
Pat & Pauline Menzies
John Morton
Peter & Edith Vale-Humphreys
Paul West

Others, such as Tommy and Margaret Kelly, are hoping to join us but cannot commit themselves at the moment.

If you are in touch with anyone who might be interested, please pass on the details and encourage them to contact me a.s.a.p.
mortonsestate@yahoo.co.uk )

UPDATE from John Morton (20th February 2008) :

Many people have confirmed that they wish to attend our reunion at Bishop's Waltham this year. Have you added your name to list yet ?

The main evening meal on Saturday 10th will be taken at the Marwell (see below). It is hoped that everyone will join us for this occasion, regardless of whether they are actually staying at the hotel.

The Marwell are pleased to accept our group booking as long as people state their choices from the menus provided by the end of March (at the latest). Please send your requests via email, if possible, to : mortonsestate@yahoo.co.uk

Click here to view the menu.

Please note : the Marwell has reduced the price of their double rooms to £99.00 (incl. 2 people plus breakfast, of course).

John Morton
writes (23rd January 2008) :

On behalf of the parish of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, Terry Butler extends a very warm invitation to The Pelicans to join them for the 10th anniversary celebration of the blessing of the church.

I am very pleased to say that Fr. John Buckley (Parish Priest) is improving and hopes to be around when we visit in May.

The parish has a special affection for the White Fathers and is even considering a link-up with a parish in Africa.

Our re-union will take the same format as in previous years :Saturday morning / afternoon set aside for catching up with old friends and / or visiting local places of interest (such as the zoo at the Marwell hotel)
A meeting in the parish hall at 5.00 pm on Saturday.
Dinner at the Marwell Hotel for 7.30 pm.
Mass on Sunday morning at 9.30 am.

The Pelicans are asked to take an active part in the Mass, i.e. helping with the readings, offertory procession and our usual plainchant rendition.

After Mass there will be a social gathering with the parish in a marquee.
Drinks and buffet-style food will be provided by the parish.

I am hoping that The Pelicans will make a maximum effort to attend for this special year. Last Thursday Margaret, Zelda and I stayed overnight at the Marwell Safari Hotel (www.marwellhotel.co.uk) The hotel is just a 10 minute drive from Bishop's Waltham.

The Marwell is a 3-star hotel offering a number of facilities
—including a swimming pool, jacuzzi,fitness room, sauna etc
and, of course, a full restaurant service and bar.
Next door to the hotel is the Zoological Park.

A number of double and single rooms are availabe to us. The cost of a double room is £119 and a single is £109. These prices include a full breakfast, of course. There is also a limited amount of Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the area, details of which can be found in the 'Maps & Accommodation' Appendix. (Tom Wilkie no longer runs a B+B, by the way).

Early booking is highly recommended, as May is the beginning of the summer season.

Please come and support the reunion, even if you are not able to stay overnight, to show that you value our long-established connection with the the parish.

I'd be grateful if you would send me an email if you intend to participate.

John Morton
Organiser of this event

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Pentecost Reunion at Bishop's Waltham
May 2004

by Paul West
taken from the Website Diary
15th July 2004

Mrs Anne Butler gave me 2 photos to start us off when we met up at the Priory reunion in May. Fr Buckley kindly gave me a few minutes to make an appeal for memorabilia / reminiscences etc to the congregation. As yet, there has been no response, but life has a habit up dumping surprises on the doorstep, so I'll wait patiently before having another push.

People were delighted to see Chris Cooper (from Sandhurst) at the May reunion, though he was the only new face who made it. We all had high hopes that there would be a swell of people from 'the south' this year, but apart from Chris there was/were just the regular few : Eugene and Zelda (from Grantham), John Morton and Margaret (from Sutton Coldfield), Tommy Kelly and his own Margaret (from Maldon), Bernard 'The Kid' Melling (from Blackpool), Mike Byrne (from Reading) and me (from North Wales). Mrs Verna Burdett and her daughter
Paula (Yeomans) joined us at the Mass celebrated by (the ever-welcoming) Fr Buckley on the Sunday morning.

The size of the turn-out was a disappointment to all, but particularly to Eugene, who has been trying to keep this old engine from stalling for over 12 years now. He is beginning to get tired of the effort involved and wondering whether to give up. He didn't feel able to write his normal Newsletter this time and has gone off on holiday to think about things.

Now it might be a bit unrealistic to expect to have two reunions in a year that are well attended — and your response to Eugene's reaction might be "get a life" — but you cannot deny that whilst most of us can have a take-it-or-leave-it approach to "the Pelicans" someone has to give it their all in order for that to be possible.

And Eugene has done us proud over the years. As many of you will know, he is a very generous man. On the first night of the reunion, for example, he paid for everyone's meal ! And it wasn't a cheap place to eat, either. Over the years he has spent a fortune in time and postage writing to people, maintaining contacts, sending out regular Newsletters, organsing reunions, comforting the bereaved, collecting and annotating huge amounts of memorabilia which we now all enjoy, etc.

As a relative new boy, I only have half an idea of all he has done to keep it going this long. I also have no right to speak on his behalf — or yours. Even so, I hope that you will join me in asking him to keep manning the helm and thanking him for his past efforts.

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