Ryeish Green Memorial Service – 15th September 2012

The day dawned bright on the Saturday morning of the Memorial Service. We had done everything we could to advertise the event. We had put notices up in all of the village communal places – Spencers Wood, Three Mile Cross and Swallowfield Post offices; Spencers Wood and Swallowfield Village Hall and lastly St Michaels & All Angels Church. We had put an article in Loddon Reach (twice!). We had also written to the Reading Chronicle and they had published an article about the Memorial Service.

Where some of us were still in contact with ex-teachers and pupils from Ryeish Green School, we had used word of mouth to publicise the service … but nonetheless we were still anxious – Was that enough? Would anyone actually turn up?  Would we be faced with an empty Church?

We should not have worried. Over fifty of Ryeish Green’s ex-teachers and pupils arrived in the sparkling sunshine. They welcomed each other warmly and the service began with the Reverend Beatrice Pearson leading.

She commenced with talking of Memories , and we sang “All things Bright and Beautiful”.

William Mearns - Student at Ryeish Green
William Mearns – Student at Ryeish Green

Jeannie Brice from our Spencers Wood Local History Group then read out a poem called “God’s Lent Child”. The feedback was so warm that we have taken the liberty of reproducing it here, in full.

Simon Coster Student at Ryeish Green School (28.9.81 - 24.4.97)
Simon Coster
Student at Ryeish Green School
(28.9.81 – 24.4.97)

         God’s Lent Child

I’ll lend you for a little while, a child of mine, God said
For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years, or forty-two or three
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?

He’ll bring his charms to gladden you and should his stay be brief
You’ll always have his memories as a solace in your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below I want this child to learn.

I’ve looked this whole world over in my search for teachers true
And from the folk that crowd Life’s lane I have chosen you.

Gail Tildsley  - Student at Ryeish Green School
Gail Tildsley – Student at Ryeish Green School

Now will you give him all your love and not think the labour vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take this lent child back again?

I fancy that I heard them say “Dear God, thy will be done.
For all the joys this child will bring the risk of grief we’ll run.

Robert Jones (1978-1993) - Student at Ryeish Green School
Robert Jones (1978-1993) – Student at Ryeish Green School

We will shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may
And for all the happiness we’ve ever known, we’ll ever grateful stay.
But should the angels call him much sooner than we’d planned
We will brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.

~ Author Unknown

Beatrice then said a little  about the children of Ryeish Green and we remembered each of them one by one –

John Taylor
John Taylor

Gail Tildesley, John Taylor, Lorraine Denton, William Mearns, Simon Coster and Robert Jones.

We also remembered the teachers Richard Turner and Maureen Galloway.

Richard Turner (teacher at Ryeish Green School)
Richard Turner (teacher at Ryeish Green School)

All of them will have memorials in the churchyard.

Margaret Bampton, from the History group, then read from the New English Bible.  An extract  from The Gospel according to St Mark, chapter 10, verses 14-1: “He said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you,

Chair built by pupils of Maureen Galloway
Chair built by pupils of Maureen Galloway

whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like child, will never enter it.” And he put his arms around them, laid his hands upon them, and blessed them.”

Beatrice then completed the service with an Address and the Lord’s Prayer, before we sang “Give me oil in my lamp”, and we all left the church for her to bless the actual plaques, and a plant of remembrance was placed.

Our group would like extend their gratitude, although many people have supported making the service possible, in particular to Lesley Somerville, David Maloney, Anne Luckhurst, John Veale, the ex-pupils who came, those from the resource centre, and of course the Reverend Beatrice Pearson.

Thank You.

Ryeish Green Memorial Service – 15th September 2012

A Memorial Service will be held at St.Michaels & All Angels Church, along the Basingstoke Road in Spencers Wood, for the children and teachers that died whilst they attended Ryeish Green School.Robert Jones

When the History group were researching the Ryeish Green book we recovered a number of plaques from the school grounds. Although the School had tried to contact the relatives of the children or teachers commemorated, they had sadly not been able to contact them, and the plaques were set to go into a skip! We said we would keep them, without really knowing what we would do with them! They were in a very sorry state.

We  had them renovated, with the profits from the sale of the books, and tried to figure out where they could naturally be re-sited.

Robert Jones (1978-1993) - Student at Ryeish Green School
Robert Jones (1978-1993) – Student at Ryeish Green School
 After two years of sitting in one of the members houses, we finally got agreement, from all the powers that needed to agree, and the Rev’d Beatrice Pearson will be holding a short service to re-site them at the local Church.
Richard Turner (teacher at Ryeish Green School)
Richard Turner (teacher at Ryeish Green School)
The children that will be remembered are Simon Coster (1981-1997);   Robert Jones (1978-1993); William Mearns (died 1989);  John Taylor (died 1988), and  Gail Tildesley, for which there is a plaque and a fountain which has been converted into a bird bath.

Lorraine Denton (d 1979) plaque was returned to her parents on closure of the school.

There are also two ex-teachers that will be remembered Richard Turner and  Maureen Galloway.  Richard Turner was an English Teacher, and his inscription bears a quote from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – “I go to encouter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race”. Maureen Galloway was also a teacher at the school, and has a chair that her pupils built for her, and her husband has lovingly restored.

The  service will take place at 11.30am on 15th September (rearranged from 8th as originally published in Loddon Reach).

All are most welcome.  Please pass on this message to anyone else that you think might be interested in remembering these individuals.

Thank You.

Jubilee Bash – A “Diamond” Day was had by all!

On Monday 4th June 2012, Spencers Wood Local History Group collaborated with Shinfield History Group to put on a display at the Jubilee Bash on Spencers Wood Recreation Ground.

The display’s purpose was to show how the area we live in has changed over the period of the Queen’s Reign.

The information displayed was on each decade starting at the 1950’s right through to the present day. Each decade took a newsworthy event or topic –  whether it was the opening of a motorway (the M4 in 1971);  a celebration e.g. the 300th birthday of a school,  Shinfield Infant and Nursery School; or the 100th birthday of Lambs Lane School in Spencers Wood; or the opening of a new facility, the Health Centre in Shinfield; or the closing of another, Ryeish Green School in 2010.  The only criteria used was that each event had to be specific and important to the people of the Parish.


Additional informaton focused on maps of Shinfield and Spencers Wood and the changes in the development of the areas. There has been much building, with many new roads and houses being seen in both areas. Shinfield’s map included two aerial views and sited areas like Wychelm, Fairmead, Oatlands Roads being developed from the 1960’s; School Green area being built up and Chobham House being built; the M4 during the early 1970’s, and the NIRD closing in 1985 amongst others things. Spencers Wood’s focused on specific roads, for example Apple Tree Lane (1963); Askew Drive (1971) and the Swallowfield Bypass in 1981. Certainly we are also seeing a lot of development in this decade.

There was a summary of what activities the history groups undertake. The final piece of information was of the royal family tree from the Queeen’s father, George VI and mother Queen Elizabeth and all their descendants.

Jackie Blow & Jeannie Brice
Spencers Wood Display

There was lots of piece of memorabilia from the lifetime of the Queen – magazines , silver spoons and mugs. We also now have a “Junior Historians Box” which has all sorts of treasures in it! We will be showing the display and taking this box with us to the Lambs Lane Summer Fete on 30th June, so if you are interested in seeing it, please come along!

The Bash itself included bands – the Reading Scottish Pipe Band and others; Dog Shows; Classic Cars; Dancing Competitions; Food Stalls etc.

All in all a brilliant day!

St Michaels & All Angels Church – Christmas Displays

Church Window Christmas 2010 - picture taken by Lesley Rolph

Over many years our Group has been involved with St Michaels & All Angels Church either through exhibiting at their Church Fetes, buying their superb tea & cakes at the Caf D’Active or presenting at the Junction club (see article 30 April 2011) which meets there.  We  also often helped at Christmas with decorating the church through putting up local pictures and decorating them. One year we were behind the choir stall.

Since December 210 we have started photographically recording our displays.

In 2010 our theme was entitled “An Edwardian Christmas” (see article in Loddon Reach January 2011) where we were given a window to dress.  The Edwardian Christmas was inspired by village living and the display reflected this – in addition to the holly and other simple foliage, there was an old fashioned mixing bowl and wooden spoon, various types of nuts and pine cones, jars of sweets, an orange, brass candle stick with candle and a red and white checked cloth.

Christmas 2011 Display - picture by Lesley Rolph

In December 2011 the Church adopted the theme of “12 Days of Christmas”. The group was given “Ten Lords a Leaping” as a subject to interpret.  The carol (originally French) is based, some say, on reminding Christians of their faith, with Ten Lords a leaping representing the Ten Commandments. In any event, whether true or not, we had lords a leaping in abundance.

The display was inspired by a members daughters book featuring the 12 Days of Christmas. On the display there were ten colour silhouettes of top-hatted men leaping about,  an actual top hat and cane and an old hat box,  a variety of colourful festive flowers in glass vases with foliage and a mini decorated Christmas tree. 

Who knows what idea 2012 will bring!

The SWLHG Members responsible for the displays
1 2 3 4 5