Stories of the people, the place and the areas surrounding Formby. Formby is a coastal town with a beautiful beach, fabulous sand dunes, pine woods, red squirrels all managed by the National Trust. The town boasts an attractive village shopping centre where there's much to see, eat and drink. Because of its popularity, parking close to the beach is limited, often full and large queues form by noon at weekends and bank holidays.
This weekend, (Sunday 9 December), a Christmas Craft Fair will be held at Southport hospital.
Stalls will be located in the gymnasium area of the Northwest Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, from 12-4pm.
Local craftspeople are welcome to sign up for a table at a cost of £10 each. Come along to sell your crafty creations or Christmas themed gifts and decorations! All are welcome.
Visitors on the day can chat to local charities, browse the stalls, and enjoy delicious refreshments and Christmas entertainment.
The fair will raise much-needed funds for the refurbishment of the spinal injuries centre’s garden. This garden is used for recreation and rehabilitation by patients, many of them being long-term residents.
Parking is free for visitors, bring the ticket along to the fair and it will be validated.
On Wednesday 5 December, the annual baby and child memorial service will take place at Ormskirk District General Hospital.
All who have experienced loss, whether recently or in the past are invited. Everyone is welcome to come along and join in this non-denominational service of carols, Christmas music and readings. Music will be provided by the Salvation Army Band.
Refreshments will be provided from 6 pm and the service begins at 6.30pm, in the baby garden at Ormskirk hospital. The service will last for approximately 20 minutes. There will be an opportunity to record names of loved ones on a Christmas bauble, and place these on the tree during the service. Visitors will be able to take a bauble, with their loved one's name, home after the service to hang on their own Christmas tree. One staff member also makes personal candles for families to take home as a keepsake.
Hospital Chaplain Martin Abrams will be leading the service and he explains:
“This is the fifth year that Southport and Ormskirk Hospital has offered support in this way, to families remembering lost loved ones at Christmas.
“The run up to Christmas can be a fun exciting time, but for many, it can heighten a sense of loss, grief and isolation. We hope that this short, informal service will be supportive to anyone who has lost a baby or child, not just recently but anytime in the past.
“We know many some people appreciate coming every year and some many years after a loss. Anyone who would find the service comforting is welcome to come.”
For more information please contact Martin or Jan on 01704 704639 or email: email@example.com
During December there will also be an opportunity for people to record the name of a loved one - of any age - on the trees of remembrance in the prayer rooms at Ormskirk and Southport hospitals.
The Trust started using trees of remembrance four years ago, giving people an opportunity to remember loved ones by recording their name and placing it on the Christmas tree in the prayer rooms. In 2017 approximately 200 names were registered across the two sites.
I first wrote about Hector McLellan in August 2014, I had been looking through the early minutes of Formby Parish/Urban District Council and the story jumped off the page.
Mr Hector McLellan was a young housing officer working for Formby Urban District Council when World War I started. He promptly joined up to fight. As a result, local Council members met to consider the consequences.
Special meeting on Thursday 13th August 1914 at Council Office at 8 pm
The Council members met shortly afterwards to agree the following.
That the Council do pay each employee in their service on an actuarial basis the difference between the pay received from the Army and that received from the Council whilst on active service and that their position be open for them on their return from such service.
Moved by Cllr Bolton Sec by Cllr Porter And resolved unanimously:
That in the case of Mr H McLellan the assistant collector he be paid seven shillings (7/-) per week after the 25th instant and to Messrs Aindow and Brooks the difference between the amounts received through the Army and that of £1-1-0 per week paid by the Council.
(Source: Blog Entry August 8 2014)
The special reference to Hector McLellan arose out of the fact that his widowed Mother was utterly dependent on his salary and she was penalised because of his act of volunteering.
His name is on the War Memorial in the Formby Memorial garden and on the Roll of Honour Memorial in the Swimming Pool grounds Since then I have thought little about his story but entirely by accident, I stumbled on the final sad chapter to his life, while looking for a story for the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day blog post.
Ormskirk Advertiser - Thursday 14 November 1918
FORMBY COUNCIL OFFICIAL KILLED. -
The death in action is reported of Sergeant Hector McLellan, Royal Fusiliers, whilst engaged in one of the great battles in France on October 25th.
Prior to the war, Sergeant McLellan was assistant clerk of the Formby Urban District Council and had been in the employ of that authority since leaving school.
As a member of the 7th Liverpool Territorials, he was mobilised at the outbreak of war and was given his corporal's stripes on the first day of hostilities.
Subsequently transferred to the Royal Fusiliers, he proceeded to Italy, and was in General Plumer's command, seeing much fighting there, and later in Belgium.
Next time you're in the village take a minute or two to find his name. Now, you'll have a small glimpse into his personal life and public service and death in the service of the Nation so close to the end of hostilities.