Reminiscences formed a major part of the 2008 reunion and some may be viewed HERE

On this page we would like to share some of the varied memories sent in by our members.

1. The Music memories launched by Bob Hilton continue to attract notes (!) and you can follow the continuing story HERE

2. Br. Donald Macdonald SDB has sent in this account of his visit with Fr. Joe Brown SDB to the scene of their Missionary work in Liberia.

3 The Shrigley Church, Work In Hand is Archivist Mike Kilduff's latest offering. Timed to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the cutting of the first sod this is the result of much painstaking detective work and can be seen HERE

4. Robert Caulfield offers these memories of Shrigley and Malta

5. John Austin's memories of the mid 70s

6. Eric Baggaley's MEMORIES  OF  CARMELO  ZAMMIT S.D.B. 

7. Winter at Shrigley

8. Tributes to and Memories of Fr. Felix Glowicki

9. Memories of Beckford

10. Memories from Fr. Roy Fosker SDB And a poster sent by colleagues following his death in April 2011

11. Memories of Shrigley Form Masters

12. A Warm Memory from John Briffa

13. Tony Galcius' memories of Beckford and Shrigley

14. Memories and Tributes: Fr Michael Power SDB

15. The Road to Shrigley by Gerry Wright

16. Shrigley Memories by Andrew Cathcart

17. Savio Meal commemorating 150th Salesian Anniversary

18.1996 Some of the letters of appreciation and Shrigley memories  which Ted Carless received following the 1996 Event.

19. Building The Church Memoir from Blaisdon Past pupil, Tony Brady

20. Fr. Albert Carrette SDB The Association gave a party to celebrate the Honorary President's 90th Birthday

21. Shrigley Memories by Paul Barber

22. Memories of Fr. James Walsh SDB, R.I.P.

23. Memories of Monsignor Thaddeus Rooney SDB, R.I.P.

24. Memories of James McKenna

25. Memories of David Castle R.I.P.


Bob Hilton

From Bob Hilton ('43 - '55)
In the holiday period, previously described, others residents at Shrigley were Roger D'Arafat and his brother, from the Channel Islands, and the two Maltese boys, Joe Ciantar (nephew of Fr Ciantar) and Arthur Pace (known as 'Pax'). I recall, in 1943, another lad, it may have been Eddie Rogers, handing him a pile of dinner plates, with the words 'Pax tecum'. Typical Shrigley humour!

God bless,


See also Bob's longer entry on our Reminiscences page

Back to Top

Dear Bob,


THANK YOU for your brilliant MEMORIES! 

 I have just one detail to add, namely that Bro. Frank Rogers' 1946-1947 Form,  which looked after the saplings  planted near the Top Pitches/Tennis Courts ,continuing down the side drive  and around the corner joining  up with the Main Drive ,was,in fact, LOWER Elements - my first year at Shrigley.

Bro. Frank Rogers had special weeding and undergrowth-clearing implements made for us!  We had  many sessions working around those  trees, to make sure that they had space to breath and  that they stayed well watered in dry weather.  Bro. Francis was the only Form Master I can remember who went out into the orchard (during Evening Study) to get us apples - carried  back in his black violin bag!  He also arranged (with a sister, brother, brother-in-law?) to lay on a pic-nic for us, down in the ravine beyond Oakridge and that weirdly-shaped " Rhetoric Pitch".

When the newly-ordained "Father" Frank Rogers came back to Shrigley, for  "New Priests' Day" (1951-52?) he got up to play a violin solo during  the  evening concert.  I happened to be sitting next to Bro. Eddie Fox - himself a fine violinist, tutored by Frank Rogers, and who  had then , in  his turn,  taught  me and other lads for a number of years.  Eddie whispered - " Eric, now you will hear a really good  violinist!"


Now, I have another couple of  challenges for you, Bob!


1. Can you compose  for us the complete  list of the MUSIC MASTERS at Shrigley (CHOIR, BAND, ORCHESTRA)?

2. Can you trace the history of THE VIOLIN at Shrigley?  Who started off  the playing and teaching it?  Is it true that Frank Rogers was professionally coached,  by a member of the Halle Orchestra - and, if so, who was that tutor?  Who taught whom down the years? (I know that I had a very lowly position in this line!)

3.  YOU, Bob,  were  a distinguished player, for many years  - who were the other Organists/Pianists in Shrigley's history?


Greetings - and renewed thanks!


Eric Baggaley ('46- '53)

Dear Eric,
As I had hoped, gaps and failures in memory are quickly filled and corrected. Thank you! I do remember the hand tools, specially made for you, and very effective.
The original Brass Band instruments were laid out at the far end of the top dormitory for repairs and recycling in 1943-44, by Fr Charles Grace. By then, the Orchestra was well established, though with a limited range and number of instruments. Bear in mind, that the pitch of the Brass Band was higher than British Standard (A=440), so, even with extension pieces, the instruments were not really compatible. Were most of them shipped to Blaisdon?
Bro Frank Rogers went to Manchester, weekly, for violin tuition. His influence on the development of the String section was long-lasting. After him, it was carried on by senior players and whatever skill people like me had. I scrounged instruments from friends, family and Benefactors, and more and more students obtained their own. The Orchestra acquired a genuine Brass section and significant enlargement in each other section.
From 1943-1955: Fr Charles Grace, Bro Frank Rogers, a Bro Patrick (?) whose name eludes me, but who was a very fine musician with perfect pitch and whom I greatly admired, Bro Eddie Fox, myself(Orchestra) and Bro Bob Coupe (Choir).  1955: Bro John Aspinwall.
Organists/Pianists during that period included: Roger D'Arafat, Charles Grace, John Hill (Macclesfield Parish Church Organist and Piano Teacher, who taught us weekly and who occasionally played the Organ and once in a Concert, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No 24 in A with Charles Grace), another priest at the same time who played the Organ proficiently, the Brother mentioned above, John Aspinwall, Kevin Dean, Tony Booth, and yours truly.

I look forward to seeing the gaps filled!
God bless


Great, Bob!
When I joined the Choir and Orchestra (1946) the pianists,  for scales practice, etc were Fr. Kinsley and Bro. Dominic Gettings, the Choir and Orchestra Master  being Bro, Patrick McCarr.When my cello was damaged,being knoked off the cello rack in the music room, Bro. Patrick urged me to start on the violin while the cello was away for repairs.  He insisted the the instrument was known more professionally as "the fiddle"!   When the cello returned, after some months (?), I decided to say fiddling!Violin tuition  I remember was  from  Brothers Edward Fox, Robert  Coupe and Edward Langon.  I also played violin alongside  Bro. Edward Carless, Fr. Clement Rushton and the inimitable Bro. Lorenzo Biello!By the way, would Lorenzo have been the first Salesian to introduce violin "playing" to Shrigley!?!Having risen to the dizzy heights of Leader of the Orchestra, when I was in Rhetoric,ocacasionally as soloist too, I then returned to that same post as Bro. Eric.  The highlight of my Orchestral  career was when, under the baton of  Bro. John Aspinwall , we played the Grieg Piano Concerto - Ist Movement, I think, - with solo pianist Mr. Peter Lally, playing by heart,of course! John Aspinwall arranged for Leader, Conductor and Soloist to make their official entrances and he arranged all the appropriate  bows at the end of the performance - very professional, it was !!Have you any other Musical Memories, Bob?
Do you know the name and status of Bro. Frank Rogers' violin tutor?
What do you know about the music in Shrigley  BEFORE 1942....under  Fr. Roffinella - was it??
Keep going Bob  - more red wine!!!

From: Peter Roebuck ('53 - '59)
Sent: 28 January 2009

Bob & Eric,
I have been following your recent correspondence avidly.
One correction.  It was the SECOND movement of Greig's Piano Concerto in A Minor which we played with Peter Lally as soloist.  The 1st and 3rd were, I am sure, beyond us, though not beyond him.  I remember the occasion very well, not least because, while usually playing the trumpet, on that occasion I played the French horn, the piece being beyond Terry Caldwell, who didn't have  much puff; the fingering for our instrument was the same as for the trumpet!  Later, this was one of the pieces played by the Halle under George Weldon at the Free Trade Hall, the only concert of any kind that I attended while at Shrigley.  Denis O'Leary got cramp in both thighs simultaneously during THAT second movement.
Curiously, and sad to say, I never learned to play the French horn metaphorically in the way that I have long mastered the trumpet!
During my time (53-59) Bro Robert Coupe was Music and Choir Master for two years (I have a photo of the choir in his time), followed by Bro John Aspinwall.  The first was good; the second was brilliant.  Under him we (that is the sopranos and altoes) once sang the whole of Palaestina's Missa Brevis without a score.  It was under him that I learned to sight read and was introduced to a wide raft of classical music.  It was a precocious experience which has left a deep imprint on me.
Keep going!

Back to Top

From: Eric & Tricia
 I had rather thought that we played  only the SLOW Movement of the Grieg Piano......Yes!  - for the sake of the Orchestra!

The point you raise about the pitch of the Shrigley Brass is very interesting, Bob.  Does this mean that the original Brass was  "continental/European" -possibly brought over by SDBs from Italy?
Another MUSIC area  intrigues me - namely  PLAIN CHANT.QUESTIONS...How soon was Shrigley into Gregorian Chant - Who became "qualified"  - and where - Did Bro. Bob Coupe, or any SDB either go to SOLEMNES (or another Monastery?)  and/or attend Courses to become proficient teachers and conductors?
Peter, you mention the  visit to the Halle , to hear the Grieg Piano, under George Weldon.  This had slipped my memory.  Details, please -  Was this in preparation for the Aspinwall/Lally performance - a reward after it -  an outing  for  Orchestra members only?
Keep stimulating the little cells, guys!!

From:Peter Roebuck
Dear Eric,
Yes it was the 2nd, Slow Movement of Grieg which we played.  In your initial mail you said it was the 1st, which was far too difficult for us.  Besides the predictably excellent performance from Peter Lally, we too gave a pretty good account of ourselves and had a fine sense of achievement afterwards.  It was very brave of John Aspinwall to schedule it, because I'm certain that Peter would not have pressed the matter.
The visit to the Halle took place some time AFTER our performance of the 2nd movement of the piano concerto; and in the weeks leading up to it, we were familiarised with other parts of the programme.  That programme included, in the first half, the Egmont Overture by Beethoven, 'Tam O' Shanter' by Malcolm Arnold, and the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky, as well as the piano concerto.  The second half saw a pertformance of The Planets by Gustav Holst.  In comparison with current programmes, it was quite a feast in terms of its extent.
Sat in the back stalls and therefore with a fine panoramic view, we were disappointed not to see Sir John Barbirolli, but George Weldon, then, I believe, officially the second conductor of the Halle, was a superb alternative.  One of the highlights (this illustrates contemporary attitudes) was to see the excellent FEMALE timpanist, then a leading member of the orchestra, and of course The Planets calls for extensive pyrotechnics by the timpanist, not to mention other percussionists, who skipped backwards and forwards to a variety of different instruments.
A splendid and deeply appreciated evening. 


From Keith Dransfield ('58 -'63)


Going to butt in here. 

At Shrigley I was taught to play that most versatile of all instruments, the Human Voice; I was privileged to be in the choir for almost all of my five years there. I think I was “cast out” for a very few months before I crept back in having been transformed, in some way of which I had no understanding at all at the time, from Soprano to a sort of Tenor /Baritone.

Between ’58 and '63, I remember Fr. Collette, Br. John Aspinwall, and Fr. Brendan McGuinness as Choir Masters who between them gave me a love of Choral Singing which made me unhappy whenever I was not a member of a choir.

They also made me very choosy about the choirs I could join; if the choirmaster did not impose a strict discipline which was willingly accepted by the choir members then I “made my excuses and left”. To this day I cannot bear to see choristers who do not fix their eyes on the conductor, who hold the score so low down that the baton can only be glimpsed in peripheral vision, who hardly open their  mouths at all, who “sing” from the throat, who have no notion of organising their breathing to suit the phrasing....................

On that latter point one of my “test pieces” by which I would judge a choir would be the 23rd Psalm. We were taught to be aware of not only our own breathing but of those around us as well so that we did not all breathe in at the same point and certainly not where the sense would be broken. And, one last point, to listen to others so that the voices blended; a chorister whose voice can be distinguished from amongst the others is not a good choral singer.

And we were good at the Plain Chant weren’t we? A real tough test of a choir’s ability to produce a smooth, unified voice which can appear not to breathe at all for minutes at a time. Someone taught us to fade out, snatch a breath and slip back in imperceptibly.

Highlights: chunks of the Messiah especially the Hallelujah and the Amen, Gilbert and Sullivan especially HMS Pinafore and Verdi’s Aida.

Aida provided us with a visit to Manchester, not quite the Hallé, just a cinema for a film version of the opera but it still bowled us over.

Finally, Fr. Collette’s superbly moving rendition of “Die Erlkonig” (accompanied by Peter Lally?) in a concert held in the entrance hall, I think. Fifty years later the emotion in his voice is still with me.


January 30th 2009, Thank God for the SDBs

Back to the Hallé:

From: John McNally
Sent: 06 February 2009
           Re: Concert discussion on web site (Memories)

Hi Eric,

I hate to try to pit my memory against Peter's (a bit like Blyth Spartans v Blackburn), but I was certain that the Egmont was not on the Halle concert programme in '57. I tried the 'horse's mouth' and was delighted to get a reply from the Halle through Stuart Robinson.(See below).

Buoyed by my success, I now wonder about the timing of the 'Shrigley Grieg' played by Peter Lally, and the concert in Manchester. I do think Peter's performance came after the Halle, and that perhaps he wasn't at Shrigley at the time. Maybe an email to Hong Kong might clear our misty memories.

I will email a copy of the programme when and if it arrives from England.

On another topic, I lent the green book of photographs to Paddy Heron's son Mike, and suggested he contact you to pin point any shots of his father. I found two showing walks (perhaps Buxton), but thought that you would be in a better position to help.I don't know if he followed through. Wally Miller now has the book and will hopefully find many familiar faces and happy memories.

I hope all is well with you, and presume United's run of good fortune has pleased you. I enjoyed your submission to Man U sent to me by Terry Prendergast and forwarded a copy to George Grimley. I have been almost reduced to tears watching Chelsea so far this year but hope for better things starting tomorrow!

From: John McNally
Sent: 02 February 2009
To: Liz Robinson
Subject: Old Concert

Many years ago in the 1956/1957 season, our boarding school, The Salesian Missionary College, organized an outing to see the Halle. It was a source of inspiration to many, and has turned some of us into a life time concert goers. Recently there has been discussion on the programme for that night, but the mists of time have blurred some of the details. What is certain is that George Weldon was the conductor;  'The Planets' by Holst, 'Tam O'Shanter' by Malcolm Arnold, and 'The Nutcracker Suite' by Tchaikovsky were featured. It is claimed that 'Grieg's Piano Concerto' and 'The Egmont' were also played which would have made for an extremely long concert, but possible in those days.

My question is if there is any web site or other means to get a full description of this concert. I feel that February or March of '57 is the probable time frame. I would appreciate any help you could give me in this matter.

Many thanks
John McNally

From Stuart Robinson to John McNally
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009
Subject: FW: Old Concert

Dear  Mr. McNally, Liz has passed on to me your enquiry below. I only work part time here at the Hallé office (one day each week) hence the delay. Ten out of ten and many congratulations on remembering the programme. The only black mark is against the Beethoven!

The concert took place on Sunday, 24th March 1957 at the Free Trade Hall Manchester.
The conductor was George Weldon, the soloist Valda Aveling.

The programme was:-

Arnold Overture Tam o'Shanter

Tchaikovsky, Ballet Suite, Casse Noisette ( The Nutcracker)

Greig, Piano Concerto in A minor

Holst, The Planets.

Regretfully we don't as yet have a web site with all our programmes listed. It's an ambition for the future! For your interest however I have mailed a photostat copy to you of the printed programme for the concert. If nothing else the advertisements will  bring back further memories of those years! With kind regards
Yours sincerely
Stuart Robinson
Assistant Archivist.
Back to Top

From: John McNally
12 February 2009

I wrote to Stuart Robinson of the Halle to thank him for the programme of the '57 concert (I will send it to you soon),  and to ensure there were no copyright issues if you posted any part of it on the web site. I also mentioned that the concert must have been 110 minutes playing time, much more than we normally hear these days. I am pasting his reply below as I found it interesting. I'm sure you and Peter R will also. I'd forgotten, or never knew, about the abridged versions played that evening.

Warm regards

John McN

Dear John, Thanks for the below. No problem over copyright please go ahead if you wish. As far as the programme timing is concerned and in fairness to the programme planners of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the timing of the Hallé's programme would be no more than eighty five minuets music! In 1957 you did not hear all of the Planets it was the Suite, so only five movements were played instead of the seven and indeed only six pieces from the Nutcracker were included. I know all about this as my grey hairs testify to thirty seven years worrying whether the orchestra would go into overtime at the end of each concert. The  Hallé programmes were timed very carefully! In these more 'enlightened' days  the length of the programme is not as critical, as far as the Hallé is concerned, as the musicians contract has changed recently. However this may not be the case in Toronto!  With all good wishes.
Yours sincerely

From: John McNally
Sent: 14 February 2009 21:30

Subject: The very last message!

Hi Eric,
Much to your relief and everyone else's, this is my last note on the now infamous concert of '57. I wrote to Peter Lally in Hong Kong and got a lovely reply. It turns out his concert at Shrigley must have been after the Halle, and Eric, you were correct in saying that it was the first movement that was played. Maybe Peter R was at another concert. 
John McN

Excerpt from Peter Lally's note
Re  your query..You are quite right, your visit to the Halle was before I came to Shrigley. There were no visits to orchestras while I was there. But you are mistaken in thinking it was the Slow Movement I played. It was the First Movement - which probably sounded like the slow movement because I couldn't play the double octaves very well in the opening cadenza.

John!  What a sleuth you have proved to be -  very well done!

The message from Peter Lally is most enlightening.  I am not at all  surprised that PETER  played the First Movement - I am  quite sure he could have easily played the whole Concerto!  This confirmation  about the First Movement, however, does rather heighten  my admiration for the  SHRIGLEY  ORCHESTRA! 
I  imagine that  BOOSEY & HAWKES  (and/or John Aspinwall?)   probably supplied us with special  (simplified) scores - "Schools, for the use of" (!) - but nonethless, I think it is great that Shrigley Pupils  and Staff were playing music of this standard.
THANK YOU, Salesians - Frank Rogers, Charles Grace, Bob Hilton,  Paul (Ivo) Pisacane, Pat McCarr, Bob Coupe, Bill Tracey, Eric Darwell,George Robson, Eddie Fox, Jimmy Colette, Eddie Langon, John Aspinwall, Tom Carroll, Kevin Dean, Brendan McGuiness, Peter Lally,  - and all the other musicians who educated our taste and our talent for good music-making and  good music-enjoying.
Greetings - and thanks - to all Shrigley Past Pupils and Staff

Following on the sterling detective work done by JOHN McNALLY (1955-60)  we can now confirm  both  a)the date  of the HALLE Concert we have discussed and b)the fact that Peter Lally  played Movement I (ALLEGRO MOLTO MODERATO) of the Concerto in A minor, Op.16, for Pianoforte and Orchestra by Grieg (1843-1907) at Shrigley.
We are reproducing  here the front and back cover of the HALLE Programme - the back cover showing how "PC" Smoking was in 1957!
The full photocopy of 6-page Progamme, obtained by John, will be preserved in the Shrigley Archive.

Hallé Programme
I do want to record, however, one brief  quote from the Programme Notes - regarding Grieg.  "GRIEG'S great-grandfather was a Scotsman who became involved in the Pretender's rising in 1745 and was forced to flee.  He settled in Bergen and changed the spelling of his name from the Scottish form to the present"
Many thanks to John Mc Nally and to all present contributors to the item, "MUSIC AT SHRIGLEY".

Eric - for the SA WebTeam

Back to Top


Br. Donald Macdonald has sent in this account of his visit with Fr. Joe Brown to the scene of their Missionary work in Liberia

Tuesday December 30th 2008
Where has the time gone - it's now less than 48 hours before Maureen, Fr Joe, Br Donald and Sally head off to Liberia via Accra and the last minute panic is setting in…. where are the malaria tablets, oops forgot to get US$, should I pack my shorts or accept that maybe at my age baggy linen trousers would be more appropriate! Need to check the baggage limits for the airlines and make sure that we don’t get clobbered for excess baggage - I have got everything from mobile phones to bouncy balls and skipping ropes in my luggage - don’t know why I am worrying about what clothes to take as there is unlikely to be any room anyway! I haven’t even started on the paperwork we need to take or loaded up the laptop with various relevant documents! I was going to be so organised but I am sure it will all come together in the end.
It is going to be so interesting to see how much has changed since our last visit 3 years ago - we are all hoping and praying that the situation has improved and that the work of the Fund is making a real difference. One of the key objectives of our trip is to get a detailed understanding of where we can help to support sustainable projects. We have had so many successes with the school in Brewerville and the start of building the vocational centre in Tappita.
Hopefully we will have Internet access on occasions whilst we are there so keep checking back for new updates.
Happy New Year to you all!
Thursday, January 1st, 2009
We arrived safely in Ghana but the heat was a real shock! We had all forgotten what it is like to feel hot after the cold weather in England. We have been well looked after by the Salesians. They have a wonderful complex just outside Accra with a boys hostel, car mechanics workshop, football field, schools etc. They have also just finished building a Girls hostel - a mile or so down the road (for obvious reasons!). The girls will be educated here but they will sleep in the hostel. They have a really good project set up here managed by Br. Gunter with the assistance of a local Ghanaian called George. They are very organised and thorough and this gives us great confidence that the funds we sent are used wisely and efficiently.
We are just about to head off to Liberia where the real work will start in earnest. The last 24 hours have been quite relaxing although we did have a tour of the local Salesian projects yesterday. The accommodation here is really good so we are a bit reluctant to leave the comfort of this complex but at least our time in Liberia will kick start the New Year diets!
More news to follow soon…….
Sunday January 4th, 2009
At last we are here in hot humid Liberia - it is hard to believe that it is 3 years since our last visit. Some things are slowly improving. The arrivals hall at the airport has been updated and the road to Monrovia has been repaved thanks to the World Bank - there was also only one UN military checkpoint. We didn’t arrive in 8th Street until almost 5 pm so no time to do any work other than unpacking our belongings and trying to find a cold beer! Very little has changed in the Salesian house but there is a new building in the playground which is 3 storeys high and has about another 10 classrooms so things are really moving on. Today we went to Mass at St Patrick’s church which was packed. Fr Joe did a sermon about Sean (no surprises there!) it was lovely to see all the vibrant colours of the women’s clothes and the beautiful singing and general participation in the service – it’s great to hear Hark the Herald Angels Sing with an African twist and bongo drums - so much more upbeat that our usual organ versions! After lunch we had what we thought was going to be a short informal meeting with various organisations - more than 20 people turned up. It was good to see so many people working in the name and ethos of Sean but a bit overwhelming. There were representatives from Tappita who had travelled down especially for the occasion as well as Don Bosco Homes, Devereux FC, the SD Youth Centre, Brewerville and others. Sally tried to take notes but there was so much talking so it was difficult to understand but Cletus from Volunteers of Sean will send us all the details. We then went to Logan town to meet Devereux FC. We had to explain that we really couldn’t help with their request for funding as we are such a small organisation but that we would continue to send equipment when we can and that we will keep working to try and find them a link with an English football club who may be better able to support their players. They are starting to do a small amount of youth work and maybe we can support this sometime in the future but for now they need a bus, money for training and travel etc which is outside of our remit.
Tomorrow we head off to Buchanan to meet Sr Carmen - apparently its 3-4 hours on a bumpy road but if Iain McGrory can manage it we can too! Girl Power - Oh Yes We Can! 

Monday, January 5th, 2009
We set off early this morning for our trip to Buchanan stopping off en route at Don Bosco Homes office for a short meeting. The road was not nearly as bad as we had expected and it took about 3 hours to travel the 90 miles or so. The scenery was beautiful - so much to look at on the way, rural markets, 20 people to a taxi (some sitting in the boot), small mud hut villages and, as always, despite the living conditions people were always smiling - we Brits could learn a lot from the Liberians. We travelled in 2 cars which made things much more comfortable, with Lewis Hamilton (also known as Fr Joe) in the lead all the way!
In Buchanan we visited a few shops that had been set up with the help of the Fund - a hairdressers and barbers. The students that we had helped to train are now helping to train other children under the guidance of Don Bosco homes. As always though they need more - they asked us for small generators, hairdryers, hair straighteners etc so we will have to assess all this on our return.
We then had lunch with Sr Carmen - it was a joyful reunion for Maureen, Fr Joe and Br Donald. This was followed by a tour of the clinic. The work that Sr Carmen and her team achieve with such limited means is amazing. We are hoping to meet with the Health minister this week and see if we can persuade the Liberian government to provide a bit more support. Everything that we have sent her is put to good use - operating cloths have been stitched together to make pillows and sheets, wool has been knitted into baby caps or sold to generate funds for more medicines, medicines are dispensed in handmade paper envelopes, used plastic bottles are sold for funds. We felt very humble by how everything is used so wisely and frugally and how things are recycled. So… start saving your empty medicine containers, medicine spoons, unwanted sheets, haemoglobin meters and microscopes - she can use them all!
More news tomorrow..
Tuesday January 6th 2009
Its hard to believe that we are complaining about the heat and humidity here when the England is experiencing its coldest weather for years! John Monibah phoned first thing to say he was ill – not the usual English excuse of man flu but malaria so we had to fend for ourselves today.
Our first meeting was at 8am at the United Nations building to see if there was any way we could hitch a ride on the helicopter to Tappita on Friday. We had a really good meeting with them and are hopeful that we will be lucky as it will be a very long and bumpy drive otherwise involving an overnight stay goodness knows where!
We then had a meeting at the Planning Ministry to try and secure the Liberian Government accreditation for Volunteers of Sean as an NGO (non governmental operation) which will enable them to open a bank account as well as accessing Government support and resources. We were pleasantly surprised to find the accreditation had already been approved so we picked up the certificate and went to celebrate with a Latte coffee and chocolate muffin at Starbucks (if only!).
We had hoped to go to visit the mission in Bomi Hills in the afternoon but Fr Gary Jenkins was away so we will have to try and fit that in some other time. This meant we had a free afternoon. While Maureen and Fr Joe caught up on some beauty sleep (we couldn’t see that it had done much good when we saw them later hahaha) Br Donald and I walked to the youth centre at Matadi. It took us about 50 minutes and was a very hot dusty walk but you see so much more when you are on foot. We stayed there for a couple of hours playing with the kids – trying to teach them the Oki Koki and Ring a Ring a Roses was a bit of a challenge but great fun. Luckily Fr Joe and Maureen found the note we had left them and came to pick us up so we didn’t have to walk back.
We spent most of the evening reviewing the container list and trying to work out what items to allocate to which group – it is always so difficult as there are so many needs to fill.
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Fortunately John was back with us today though not quite his usual self. We started with a really productive meeting with Sr Barbara at the Mother Patern School of Health Sciences – we discussed the unloading of the container as well as how best to try and get funds from the Government for medical aid. We then went on to the Health Ministry and met Napoleon Braithwaite who was really supportive of what the Fund is trying to do for the health clinic in Buchanan. We have to submit a report to him and then John Monibah will arrange for him to meet Sister Carmen.
We then headed out of town to the Samuel Doe stadium for a meeting with Minister for Youth and Sport. Again it was a really productive meeting – it is so refreshing to speak to politicians who appear to be so open and willing to help. Mrs Narbeh’s vision is to encourage the young people through sport but to widen their appreciation of sport from just football, football, football – she even threatened that Liberia would win some medals at the 2012 Olympics – here’s hoping! Once again she will meet with VOS and John and Amadu in a few weeks to discuss how the Government can assist with their projects. She is very keen to work with existing organizations rather than setting up Government projects.
After lunch we had a meeting with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Again this was so helpful as it gave us a really clear understanding of the TRC and the role that the Fund played in supporting the work of Don Bosco homes in this process. This was a venture that was also supported by Unicef and it is the first time that children have been treated separately in a TRC process. We were given snippets of information about the stories that had been told – I think we all felt grateful that we hadn’t been involved in the statement taking process as it must have been a really harrowing experience listening to the children’s stories of what happened to them during the war both as victims and perpetrators.
For a bit of light relief we went for yet another meeting – this time at the SD Youth Centre in Matadi. We had a lovely welcome from the Don Bosco band and had the opportunity to meet some of the students that the Fund has sponsored. Sadly the meeting took up most of the time at the Centre so we didn’t get time to play with the kids and teenagers.
The “boys” were last seen leaving the compound with a young lady in the back of the car – if they are not in by 10pm questions will be asked!
More tomorrow…..
Bomi Hills
Thursday, January 8th

As I write this the rain is thundering down – in the middle of the dry season? I think we must have bought the British weather with us!
Thanks to the kindness of UNMIL in providing us with a lift in their helicopter to Tappita tomorrow we had a “free” day – but not for long… We made a trip to see Sister Laurene at the Stella Maris Polytechnic but she was not available although later in the day we spoke to her assistant who told us of the plans to move part of the Polytechnic outside of Monrovia but keep a campus in the city for the benefit of those students who were working. It appears that work on the extension to the Sean Devereux library will start this year at long last.
We also had a meeting with the Port Authority to try and help Wannatoe Derrick get his container of bikes from Recycle cleared – it arrived in port in November 2006! After some wrangling an agreement was reached and once Wannatoe has inspected the contents of the container it should be released fairly soon. There is some concern that the bikes will have degenerated having been kept in storage for over 2 years! It was an enlightening experience and we have encouraged Wannatoe to get his charity status established so he can claim duty free exemption.
After lunch we headed up to Bomi Hills to see Fr Gary. It is an amazing mission that he has set up with loads of facilities for the children, many of whom are former child soldiers. We had a long chat about his recent forays into the interior to contact the remotest tribe in Liberia along with being bitten by a snake whilst crossing a river – according to local belief he will now be immune to any future snake bits, lets hope so! He showed us the new memorial that he has erected in memory of some 300 children who were massacred in the 9 month war which occurred in the locality which many Liberians were not even aware of. Its hard to sum up the work of Fr Gary, you have to see and speak to him to believe the atrocities that have occurred in Liberia and how the country is slowly recovering.
We managed to squeeze a quick visit in to see Liesbeth who has moved from Fr Gary’s mission to set up the Oscar Romero deaf school across the road. This is another wonderful facility – they have over 50 deaf children boarding at the school and have also got a small farm going with plans to expand. Her next ambition is to get the necessary equipment to test the children’s deafness and, where appropriate, provide hearing aids.
We have an early start tomorrow and hopefully the internet will be working so we can post the blog on the appropriate day – I will never complain about internet access at home again!
Friday, January 9th, 2009
We had to check in at Spriggs Payne airport in Monrovia at 8:00 am this morning - we arrived in plenty of time for our 9:15 departure. “Airport” is not really how I would describe it though - a small concrete building with a waiting room measuring about 12×10 crammed with people. After an hours delay we boarded the helicopter and then were told that we had to get off again due to technical difficulties - not very reassuring! We finally took off at 11:30 and arrived in Tappita just before 1pm. We were told to be back at the field where we had been dropped off at 3pm so we only had 2 hours ground time.
We had a wonderful reception from the City Mayor and other dignitaries and Maureen was presented with a white chicken which represents peace and purity of the heart. Some of us then piled into a car for the journey to the Sean Devereux Vocational centre. We were surprised to find that the vocational centre was not in the immediate environs of St Francis church and it was a 20 minute journey over extremely rough road to the site. Maureen, Joe, Donald and I all travelled by car with motorbike outriders accompanied by the Lord Mayor riding pillion - it had to be seen to be believed. The welcome there was amazing, the whole community had turned out to greet us. We were treated to dances and songs and hugs and handshakes galore. As we only had an hour before we had to return to the airstrip the speeches were cut short but we were given copies of what people wanted to say. Wogbeh lead most of the introductions and there was also an interpreter for the local language. Three young girls sang a wonderful song that had been written about Sean - sadly we didn’t manage to capture this on video but it certainly brought a tear to some eyes! We met lots of young people, football players, scouts, teachers etc in the short time that we were there. It was wonderful to see what had been achieved with the support of the whole community who not only donated the land (some 150 acres) but who have also voluntarily helped with the construction of the buildings. There is still a lot of work to do but they have great plans to make it a fully self-sustaining project with not only vocational trades being taught but also agriculture and animal husbandry to support themselves and the local community. We were all presented with wonderful carvings representing friendship and tenderness.
We all came away wishing we could have spent much longer there and we were all very impressed with what had been achieved so far and how much further the community want to go.
It was a real rush to get back to the airport so we all hopped on to the back of motorbikes - which was such good fun and far more comfortable than travelling over the bumps in an old car. We arrived at the place where the helicopter had dropped us off in plenty of time and waited, and waited and waited. Eventually, almost 2 hours later we saw the helicopter fly overhead but it didn’t land. We learnt that it had landed at a different area so John and Cletus had to flag down passing motorcyclists to give us a lift to the UN airfield and luckily we managed to board the helicopter for a safe flight back to Monrovia at 6pm - 4 hours later than planned so this afternoon’s programme will have to be squeezed in tomorrow (no peace for the wicked!)
It was a really long and eventful day - one thing we have learned about Liberia is to always expect the unexpected and also patience!
Saturday, January 10th
Another early start from 8th Street to get to Brewerville for 8:30 in order to get through traffic in Duala Market. We met the rest of the party at the Bible College on the Bomi Hills highway. At first there were only a small number of school children but by the time we set off for the Walk for Sean to Brewerville there were hundreds. Several of the leaders got the group "in the mood" by playing games such as "Sean Says" and some clapping games which got all the children (and adults) laughing.
I couldn't believe that the party marched off to the Don Bosco Band on the main highway out of Monrovia- all the cars came to a grinding halt and I am sure that Maureen was as worried as I was that the children would not get hit by passing cars. The band kept us all motivated on the long, hot walk to Brewerville.
It took about 45 minutes to walk to Brewerville and we were all exhausted by the time we arrived. The committee had organised a wonderful programme for us which started almost immediately. A lovely palm shelter had been built so that the children would not be sitting out in the side whilst all us "dignitaries" were under the veranda. We had the usual speeches thanking the Fund for our efforts but this was interspersed with songs, plays and talks from the children at the centre - they were so creative in the interpretation of Sean's life.
After the entertainment we visited the farm in Brewerville - a really well organised venture with all of the community being involved. Those that have jobs give their time to work on the farm at weekends whilst there is a weekday rota for those who do not have jobs. They have planted rice, pineapples, watermelon, sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and other local crops which are all used to feed the community. Fr Joe did his “bit” by planting a handful of sweet corn seeds!
After visiting the farm we walked back to the complex and enjoyed lunch which included their home grown produce. We then went to visit the other farm at Levuma where we were delighted to see the cassava grinder in action. A wonderful building has been erected so that the cassava grinder is secure and this also provides space for the workers to process the cassava. The whole process was demonstrated to us from grinding the cassava by machine to sieving it by hand to pressing it overnight to drying it over an open fire. Absolutely nothing is wasted. Even the excess water which is produced from pressing the cassava is used to make starch for clothes! It is a very nourishing crop with everything being used, even the leaves. A few farm houses have also been put up for the local people so that they can work on site and keep an eye on the machinery and the farm. As we left we were presented with pineapples and a huge bunch of plantains.
We then headed off to the Don Bosco homes complex at Savio. We met some of the street children who are being taken care of there whilst the organisation tries to trace their parents. Most are relocated to their families within about 6 weeks but a few of the boys have been there for a couple of years as their families have not been traced. There was a ceremony to dedicated the farm to Br Donald as he helped with the construction many years ago. It is called Br Donald MacDonald farm so we all sang a few verses of Old MacDonald Had A Farm which raised a few laughs. We had a good look round and were introduced to the pigs, ducks, chickens and guinea fowl. Another really good venture where the local people are looking to support themselves and become self-sustainable.
I think we have all been impressed by how the groups we met today are trying to do things on their own. At Brewerville the farm is a team effort, the teachers are mostly volunteers and at todays event all the participants and locals were urged to contribute no matter how small their contribution. Don Bosco homes have become acknowledged experts in the field of war affected children in Liberia and I think all of us are very humbled by what they have managed to achieve with such limited resources.

Back to Top

From Robert Caulfield
Robert Caulfield

Thanks for the info and card concerning Bro Chris. Yes I did know him very well as we spent some years together in Malta as part of the community there. He was a real gentleman, great with the boys, always smiling and had a wonderful sense of humour.
Yes I was known as 'Rab' at Shrigley and arrived there in 1952 to commence a very unique educational experience! I believe it is no wonder that Shrigley Old Boys are scattered all over the world - a tribute to our Missionary education?
I went to the Novitiate in 1958 and from there as a Bro. to Farnborough to teach (aged 19) alongside Frank Clifton, Michael Scott, Michael Delmar - Fr Wrangham was our rector.
From Farnborough I went out to Malta and combined teaching with printing. Michael O'Meara was teaching tailoring Fr Joe Nolan was rector with Fr Patrick McLoughlin Provincial Delegate. St Patrick's was to be my home for 20 years - during that time I studied in London for my City & Guilds in Printing and also my Teaching Certificate. I left the Salesians in 1980 returning to Scotland to work as assistant manager with ICS (Printing Correspondance Courses) and Josephine and I were married in Malta 1982. We have two children; Anton now 26 - with an Honours Degree in Journalism (Edinburugh)  and Marie-Rose 22  with an Honours Degree in Business Studies (Glasgow). I spent 3 years with Britoil in charge of their in-house off-set printing dept. before returning to lecturing at Glasgow College of Printing now the Glasgow Metropolitan College. I'm now retired but continued to mark the apprentices Pre-Press SVQ's (until last month) until the college could get a qualified marker in my place.
I havn't been to the reunions as we tend to spend most of our summertime in Malta. But I did manage to visit Shrigley last April with my son as we were in Manchester for a few days. The place is looking splendid but it's a pity that the church was not kept for weddings etc. I felt that with all the spcae available thay could easily have built a all-purpose indoor gym and pool. The young polish lad in charge of the gym that I spoke to said the church conversion would never have happened in Poland. I guess I'd better stop rambling on (old age creaping in I expect) and conclude with wishing you and your family and dear friends a happy 2009. God bless.
Bob Caulfield. 

Click on the Thumbnails below to open pages from the Maltese Salesian Bulletin sent in by Robert

Malta Booklet 1
Malta Booklet 2


Malta magazine

From: John Austin
Sent: 24 April 2009
Just a brief note to say how much I appreciate the website.

I was a member of the assoc some years ago, but due to many moves lost touch.

It is a great pleasure to read about the old school,I attended 1974-1978. Although some of the argot is unfamiliar to me, it must have fallen out of use (eg 'rhetoric'). Are you, I wonder, familiar with the phrase; 'the stinkers', and do you know what they were used for?

I note there is little input from my years, possibly because Shrigley had lost some relevance in the 70's, a pity.

I remember visiting that old barn with Bro Michael Grix in the summer of 1986 (or 1985 not too sure) when I cycled up for the day, he was the only person there, the whole place was empty. Those lockers were purchased from a womens prison circa 1975- they had some pretty fruity graffiti penned inside. I also remember that it was the site of a mass burial of old books by Fr O'Neil ("the parthenon, the parthenon") in 1975.

I purchased a set of books published by the assoc when I visited last northern summer with my wife (greeted by the very boy who greeted me in 1974, John Prior!!!). I often think it is such a shame that so many Salesians led such amazing lives, now forgotten (Frs Haughey, Morrin, Houlihan, Perla etc). Although google searches have turned up some interesting stuff.

I would like to pay my subs, especially now, as the pound is worthless, but you do not have credit card facilities, I'll have to send you a pony by post.

Once again thanks for the website, I plan to visit again in a couple of years and will try to get to a function...and pay my subs!!

Kind Regards,


John Austin


PS On that visit in 1986, picked up an Ogilvie and Fisher shirt, and Medal given by Don Vigano to Shrigley (used to hang in the corridor outside the church) from a skip, which I still have, as well as my tie, badge and jubilee cup. It is likely they would be better with the assoc.


From: Eric Baggaley
Sent: 28 April 2009

It was a great joy and boon for us on the WebTeam and in the Shrigley Association to receive your E-Mail - with so much interesting "NEWS".
YES! The "argot" changed over the Years. The early names for the Shrigley Forms/Classes were taken from the "classical" study of Language - progressivey l named LOWER ELEMENTS, UPPER ELEMENTS, GRAMMAR, SYNTAX, LOWER RHETORIC (aka Rhetoric I) UPPER RHETORIC (aka Rhetoric II).

What did NOT change, I think, was the naming of those cloths, for wiping down tables and other surfaces in the Boys' Refectory , as "STINKERS".....and they were, over many years, quite horrendously smelly!!
I recall that, as Brother Eric, on the Staff (1956-59) and In Charge of the Boys' Refectory, I strove manfully to re-invent these cloths - also the cloths for putting on polish and shining the tables - by frequently scalding, washing and drying these "Cleansing Aids."..!!!

There are quite a few Past Pupils of your Era who are in touch with the Association (many in Scotland) and if you were to give us some names of those you remember we might be able to put you in touch, John...
Incidentally, have we got your address to send materials to you?
Now that we have your E-Mail we can begin to contact you more regularly. Our Secretary, Mike Kilduff, sends out very informative WELCOME PACKS, NEWSLETTERS and EVENTS documentation.
I am forwarding this reply to him - and to our Chairman - so that you have more E-Mail contacts to use already, John.

Eric (for the WebTeam)







At Burwash: 2nd row from front, 5th from right


At San Gregorio Oratory, 1957, Back Row 3rd from right

Thanks to information provided by Fr. Victor Mangion SDB (Beckford 1967-70) now working in St. Philip Residence, Senglea, Malta (* NOTE 1) and by Robert Caulfield, who worked for many years in Malta as a Salesian, we have the opportunity to put on record some remarkable facts about the life and apostolate of  Fr. Carmelo Zammit.

Although this documentation attests that Carmelo "went to Shrigley in 1953 as a pre-novice", I have not been able to find evidence of his stay there. It is certain, however, that he joined many novices from the Anglo-Irish Province (which then included Malta and South Africa) at Burwash in 1953-54. (See the photograph taken during the visit of the Rector Major, Don Ziggiotti, April 1954). 

Some time later Carmelo left Burwash, began another novitiate year in Sicily and was professed in 1956.  In 1957 he sent the present writer (then on the staff at Shrigley) a photograph from San Gregorio (Catania) showing Brother Carmelo with "Squadra Italia", one of the teams competing in the Oratory soccer league.  

Fr. Mangion writes, "(Carmelo) was ordained on 19th March 1964….He spent nearly 30 years in Sicily, filling various posts of apostolate, e.g. Director of Oratories and teaching English to students, until he returned to Malta in 1981. (**NOTE 2). In Malta he was bursar at Savio College, Dingli, and Rector at St. Patrick's, his former 'alma mater'.  Later he was in charge of the Junior Section of the Oratory in Sliema and teaching at St.Patrick's.  He was a natural Delegate of the Association of Past Pupils." 

As a teenager Carmelo showed great promise as a soccer player (centre or left mid-field) and represented Hamrun Minors, Siggiewi, Salesian Youth and Birkirkara in the Maltese B League.  An admirer and collector of the sketches of Carmelo Silva in "Calcio Illustrato", he began to do his own football sketches, illustrating famous incidents during Italian and Maltese league games or International matches and the more humble soccer exploits of youngsters playing   at Salesian Oratory level. 

An article by Claudio Bagni ("La Gazzetta dello Sport", 25 March 1993) recounts that he also gave some of his sketches to Signor Sacchi, manager of the Italian national team, during  one of his team's   visits to Malta. More normally he would pass some sketches around fans in a soccer stadium or Oratory playground or even to the driver and passengers when travelling by bus!  The intention would be to make a friendly approach, to strike up an interesting conversation and perhaps eventually persuade a youngster to attend the Oratory more frequently or fully.  On other occasions, as Fr. Magion suggests, he would be able to persuade a bus driver and others to make "a well-needed confession." 

Robert Caulfield writes, "Carmelo was truly a sports pundit in his own right!  I remember him doing his soccer sketches back in the early 60's".  Published in various periodicals and newspapers, the originals became collectors' items - as well as the treasured possession of the Oratory soccer players who had asked Don Carmelo to "immortalize" a moment during one of their matches in his own inimitable style.  Photocopies of some of his work, found in Carmelo's room after his death, show that his work ranged from the 1948 Stan Mortensen goal, "scored from an impossible angle", and legendary in Italy, during the England 4-0 victory over Italy in Torino (the other scorers being Lawton and Finney 2) through to the European Championships and World Cups of the 1990s and 2000s. 

Carmelo suffered a stroke and died shortly afterwards in January 2004.  At his funeral one of the mourners was a former classmate of his, teenagers together at Saint Aloysius College, Dr. Fenech  Adami,  President of Malta. 

It is easy to connect this unique form of Carmelo's apostolate with the tight-rope walking and circus tricks of young Giovanni Bosco and with the sporting, musical, dramatic and artistic talents of numerous Salesians down the years - their intention always, as for Carmelo, to win over young people and others to the  deeper, spiritual  values of the Salesian apostolate. 

"Fr. Carmelo Zammit" (writes Bob Caulfield) "was a lovely person; he helped me immensely whilst on holiday in Sicily.  We used to make our retreat every year there and then stay on for a holiday afterwards." 

I recall that at Burwash Bro. Carmelo and his fellow novices were allowed on only  a few, rare occasions to share our soccer enthusiasm and expertise.   More importantly, however, something else which Fr. Mangion writes about Carmelo I do remember and very clearly - "He was much loved by all and sundry for his friendly approach….He had an easy smile which reflected the inward peace and joy that was within him."

AMEN to that!    THANK  YOU , Carmelo   -   I remember that smile still….REST  IN  PEACE…..

Eric Baggaley  (Shrigley, 1946-53; Salesian 1954-77) 

*NOTE 1.   St. Philip Residence, Senglea, where Fr. Victor Mangion works presently, is a new Salesian House, opened as recently as October 2008 and blessed by the Rector Major during his visit, on December 6th. that year.   
**NOTE 2.   In 1980 Malta joined South Africa as part of the Irish Province.
Fr. Frank Clifton (Shrigley 1952-54) still works at Savio College, Dingli.
Fr. Lawrence Essery (Shrigley 1948-56) works at Manouba, Tunisia (an offshoot of the Malta Delegation).  A once famed tailor who worked in Malta and known as Brother "Gerry" O'Meara (one of Bob Caulfield's mentors) is now Father Michael O'Meara at work in the Salesian Parishes of  Easterhouse, Glasgow.

Back to Top


From Keith Dransfield ('58-'63)

I offer this pic from January 1963 for the memories section.

Charles Sultana (R) and I were hauling the milk from the main road where it had been left along with the bread when the drive was impassable. I think some of the Maltese lads had never seen snow before. Do others remember making huge, seven-eight? seater sledges with nothing more sophisticated than a hammer and nails? Where were ‘elf ‘n safety when we needed them? No school closure, rather, (do I remember correctly?) the opportunity was taken to re-arrange the timetable to take every advantage of the snow to have fun.

The Milk Run
Click image to open enlargement in new window

Our Archivist, Mike Kilduff, has provided these photos to show how much fun the winters provided. click HERE to aee the photos in a separate gallery,

Slide show below will begin when Flash has downloaded

Back to Top

From: Robert Caulfield []
Sent: 31 May 2009 20:32
To: eric baggaley
Subject: South Africa



Fr.Christopher McMahon ( Thornleigh  Past Pupil - and Shrigley 1956-58 ) was headmaster in St Patrick's Malta who went to South Africa and died there  in November 2005.  He was a very good friend of mine over the years and a great Salesian who gave himself unselfishly 24/7 to the welfare of the boys under our care. I was his deputy and greatly admired his calmness under extreme pressure. He raised the status of the school - we became an exam centre for City & Guilds of London Institute. Many of the more capable  young boys left the School with C & G trades certificates at the age of sixteen; a good command of English and most could play a musical instrument. St Patrick's was a very hard but rewarding place to work but unfortunately very prone to burn-out.
But I expect that's another story!!
Just as a matter of interest - I know you're a football fan - when Malta became independant many ex-pats left the island - one being Sir Stanley Mathews. He was a very humble person. Michael O'Meara got Stan to coach the boys at football and he would then 'take tea' with the staff. Strange thing is we never thought to get his autograph on any of the occassions he came to the school. Fr. Chris and I also met Stan on a number of social occas
ions especially those film previews organised by Arthur Pace of KRS (film distributors for Malta)  who also supplied the School with films -   yours truly was the projectionist!    Stan left Malta   -  also for South Africa ! 

All the best



 ps.   Fr. Patrick Luke Boylewho worked in St. Pats in the 60'swent out to South Africa after ordination and died out there.
        Fr Patrick Morrin,who also worked in St Pats during that time , went to Ethiopia and died out there

Back to Top


Bolton Three
Thanks to Fr. A. Bailey (Shrigley,1950-54) we are able to add a photograph to our correspondence about  MALTA/SOUTH AFRICA

Jim McGarry, Michael O'Meara, Bob Caulfield, Pat Kelly, Des O'Riordan, Tom Williams
Bob Caulfield and Pat Kelly had been Brothers on Malta



Taken at the Memorial Service, held at Thornleigh to thank God for the life and work of Fr. Chris McMahon (Past Pupil of Thornleigh and Shrigley), it shows Confreres who  worked as Salesians  with Fr. Chris during his years at St. Patrick's, Malta.   Present also, not pictured here, were Fr. Dave O'Malley  SDB  and  ex-music teacher at St. Patrick's, Rosie Bayes.


Another photograph and further Details of this Memorial are available on the SDB Website


8. Fr. Felix Glowicki

From: Fidel Orendain
Sent: 14 May 2009

Subject: Fr. Felix Glowicki
We regret to inform you of the passing away of Fr. Felix Glowicki last May 11, 2009.
In the morning of April 24 a staff found Fr. Felix unconscious in his office just after his regular routine of meeting the workers. He was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed to have suffered a slight stroke. Unable to speak, he wrote that he simply lost his footing and fell down, indicating that he will soon be up and about. He waved the offer to be given anointing and jokingly wrote “do you want me to die?” He yielded after and allowed a young confrere to pray over him.
His health improved for a while, but a week after confinement, he was in a down slope and quickly deteriorated. Less than three weeks later, he quietly surrendered his soul to God.
Born on May 18, 1931 to Franciszek and Anna, Fr. Felix Glowicki was a young Polish soldier with a General Certificate on Education before he entered the Salesian Novitiate in Burwash, England. He spent his formation years in Shrigley where he recalls with fondness the friends and Salesians who influenced him to try the missions. He came to the Philippines in 1957 as a practical trainee for two years. He was ordained as a deacon on January 1, 1963 and a priest on March 25, 1963 after which he came back. He would spend 46 years of his life serving the Filipino youth, teaching and ministering the sacraments, attracting and promoting vocations, building structures, cultivating beautiful friendships, and more importantly leading people to God in the style of St. John Bosco.
Those who knew him would always remember a smiling friend, a cheerful priest, an indefatigable worker, a firm educator, a gardener, a musician, a youth-club leader, a warm-hearted confrere, a model religious.

Don Bosco Alias Fr. Glowicki SDB

Fr. Felix will be laid to rest in Don Bosco Missionary Seminary, in Lawaan, Talisay City, Cebu Philippines this May 16, 2009, two days shy of turning 78. We all know what a blast he will have celebrating his birthday in the Salesian garden in heaven. “Look down kindly on us Fr. Felix, great man, good friend! We will miss you.”
Fr. Fidel Orendain, SDB


On November 25th 1947 FELIX stood in the Shrigley playground - with Wladyslaw Gurgul and Marek Schwetz - all 3 still in their Polish Army uniform...Remembered as a hard-working and determined defender he was a CUP WINNER in Plunkett Seniors, 1949. (Note the army khaki shorts and webbing belt!)...At Sports Days he always vied with Wlady for the FIRST and SECOND place in "Cricket Ball Throwing". Both were prodigious throwers (army training here?) and together they probably held and improved the Shrigley record for years...Felix also scored House points in the MILE FINAL (1952?), coming in Third, behind "Bill" Tracey and Eric "Baggs"...

He returned Shrigley, on the Staff - see Christmas Dinner, 1956 - before going to work on the Missions, in the Philippine Islands...He returned to study Theology, at Melchet Court, and was ordained Deacon at Bollengo and Priest, in the Basilica of Maria Ausiliatrice, Torino, 25 March 1963...In 2002 he attended his first, and only, Shrigley Reunion and then wrote a fine "REMINISCENCE" for the 2008 Reunion...Both as a Brother and as a Priest Felix achieved his boyhood dream - to become a Salesian Missionary, living and dying in his beloved Philippines...

Eric Baggaley (for the WebTeam) 13-05-09

Felix   Felix
Felix   Felix


From: Bernard Grogan
Sent: 27 May 2009
Subject: Felix Glowicki RIP

Dear Eric,
Greetings from Rome - where Man. U. have just lost!.
Earlier I was catching up on the Shrigley Association web-page and came across,  among other items, the tribute to Felix Glowicki including the youtube video which I found especially interesting and moving.
We were fellow novices in Burwash 1952-3 and "philosophers" in Ingersley/Bollington 1953-5. After those years we were never again in the same community, but I did attend his ordination in Turin in 1963 when he and his companions came in to the Basilica of  Mary Help of Christians from Bollengo while we were at the Crocetta.
The next (?) - certainly the last time I saw him was in Victorias on the island of Negos in the southern Philippines when I had the opportunity to stay in his community there for a couple of days in October 2001. That year they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Salesians in the Philippines, and indeed in Victorias.
I had been preaching  a retreat in the North Philippines Province when the Provincial Francis Gustilo arranged for me to make a flying visit to Cebu.
Thanks to his generosity I was able to meet up with Felix there and he made me very welcome. May he rest in peace.

With best wishes,

Eric Baggaley writes:

Thanks to the good offices of Lai Hizon and Davey Domingo (Salesian Past Pupils?) the SA has  received a copy of an extensive Tribute to Fr. Felix Glowicki R.I.P


Headed "STO LAT! (May he live a Hundred Years!)" and subdivided under section titles ,  "Zeal for Vocations  - Junior Aspirants Club -- Knights of the Altar - Family - Happy Hour! - Group Singing and the Outdoors - Green Thumb - Amorevolezza - Beard-Scraping Jokes - Going Pinoy! - Care for Confreres - Love for the Liturgy - Hard Work - &&&&"  the document has these words in its introduction,  " Pardon me for the loosely-organised bits and pieces of memories and for my poor English.  I simply hope to evoke some happy memories and wonderful lessons we all learned from this great priest!"


At almost 5 A4 pages, the document is rather long for  RECENT E-MAILS, so we provide a LINK to the original for Shrigley Past Pupils.


With greetings to all!


Eric (for the WebTeam)



Established in its present form in 1996, the Shrigley Association is open to all those who, whatever their current persuasion, were staff or boys at Shrigley from its foundation in 1929 to its closure as a junior seminary in 1982.

Members send their greetings and condolences to all those in the Philippines who were colleagues, friends and past pupils of Fr. Felix, recently deceased, and we thank you sincerely for keeping us closely in touch with news of his illness and death.

We have clear and fond memories of him - as a boy at Shrigley and later as a Clerical Brother there and elsewhere in Britain. Gratifyingly for us, he travelled far to attend our annual Reunion in 2002, and he sent us a fine 'Reminiscence' for our Reunion last year. He took care to keep in touch and, he told us, was a regular visitor to our website.

Below are three tributes to him. The first and fullest is from Eric Baggaley, Minutes Secretary and IT Co-ordinator of the Association, Felix's contemporary as a boy at Shrigley, and also later. A second is from Mike Kilduff, Shrigley 1953-59, who is the Association's Secretary and Archivist, and who knew Felix as a Form Master. Briefly, I add a third from the same period.

Felix Celebrates His First Mass, May 1963

1. FELIX at the Salesian Missionary College, Shrigley Park 1947-52

I remember seeing three 'new boys' standing together and looking rather lost in the Shrigley playground. It was 25 November 1947 and an English winter at 700 feet above the Cheshire Plain. Yet these three were in what seemed summer wear, including short trousers (Polish army issue for weather in Palestine!). Speaking very little English, Felix Glowicki, Wladyslav Gurgul and Marek Schwetz had arrived to begin their studies at Shrigley. Marek stayed for only a short time. 'Wlady' remained for his A' level studies before moving on into the priesthood, and a Superiorship, with the Marian Fathers. He attended the Shrigley Association Re-Union in 1996 and has kept in constant contact since then. Felix became a Salesian - for the rest of his life.

FELIX on the Shrigley Staff 1955-57

In 1956-57 I knew Felix as a fellow Salesian member of staff at Shrigley. He was a well-respected and well-loved teacher, assistant and Form Master. Hard-working and professional in all he did, he particularly liked cross-country running; played for the Staff soccer team - he was a dogged, determined and no-nonsense defender; and he worked to prepare a Missionary Congress. His desire and determination to become a Salesian missionary were well-known and always evident. It was never a question of 'if', only of 'when'. He was a fine role model to inspire Shrigley pupils.

FELIX in the Theologate 1959-63

I was with Felix at this stage too. Together with fellow Salesians of the then Anglo-Irish Province, we were on course for ordination. For some years we attended the Salesian International Theologate at Melchet Court in Hampshire, which helped the worldwide spread of English-speaking Salesians. However, following a serious fire which badly damaged Melchet and led to its closure, our group completed studies at Bollengo in Italy. Along with a number of his Shrigley friends Felix was ordained on 25 May 1963. His Ordination Card proudly proclaimed him a 'Salesian Missionary'.

My personal impressions of Felix were always of a man with a deep piety and spirituality - quiet and unostentatious. He was possessed of a single-minded determination to work in the Salesian Missions. He also had about him a calm sense of gratitude and privilege at being a Salesian, which was for him the opportunity to be 'Don Bosco' for others.
There shone out of him a quiet and happy confidence that, in seeking to fulfil his ambitions, he was fulfilling the will of God for him in his life.

Most of the 2,000 or so pupils who passed through Shrigley did not become Salesians, priests or missionaries. Many others did sterling work, both as Salesians and priests, for varying numbers of years until their life experiences and circumstances convinced them that their vocations lay elsewhere. They then joined the majority of Shrigley Past Pupils who - in marriage, family life, education and many other walks of life, including also perhaps the lay apostolate and continuing association with the Salesians - transferred their 'Bosco spirit' to work effectively in a new milieu. Felix, I have to say, was one of those much rarer Shrigley pupils: one who was able fully to achieve his boyhood dream - to live and die as a Salesian priest in the mission field.

The tributes from his beloved Philippines make abundantly clear just how effectively that dream was realised. For this, many of us from different countries have to be very grateful.

Thank-you Felix - 'happy' not only in name, but especially in spirit, in vocation, and in Salesian missionary life. Now rest in peace, Felix, eternally happy.

Eric Baggaley (Shrigley 1946-53; Salesian 1954-77)


Form Masters were important to boys at Shrigley, particularly in their early years. They were in many ways the main link between the boy and the Salesian life that he aspired to live. The Form Master was the one Salesian that one saw and spoke to every day of the year, the one who monitored performance and progress, the one to whom one turned in moments of difficulty. The Form Master was important, too, because one sensed that his judgement of a boy's character and suitability was essential to those more senior, Fr. Rector particularly, who ultimately made decisions about the future. So esteem for and confidence in a Form Master were key.

Bro. Felix was my Form Master in my third year at Shrigley (1955-56). By this time I was, I believe, well adjusted to life at Shrigley, happy and willing to be there. He, like all my Form Masters, had also been a boy at Shrigley, so he knew what life in the College was like and he encouraged me to share his aspirations. I tried to do so during my six subsequent years at Shrigley, Burwash and Beckford. Though I then left the Salesians, and my life took a different course, I have never forgotten Bro. Felix.

As students at the Salesian Missionary College, we were aware all the time of the missionary vocation, but of all those I knew at Shrigley there was no-one who had so obvious an intention and fixity of purpose - not just a hope - of serving on the missions. His piety was so evident to me that I sensed that his superiors would be unable to resist his intention to fulfil his Salesian vocation by serving in this way.

That he so successfully achieved his life's objective is evident from the tributes paid to him. I feel privileged to have known someone who has so benefited so many lives and served so faithfully.

Mike Kilduff (Shrigley 1953-59)

3. An exact contemporary of Mike's, I too had Felix as a Form Master in my third year at Shrigley.

In his commitment, personal behaviour and attitudes he was as near a saint as anyone I have ever met. Because of this I found him somewhat awesome, though immediately approachable and someone in whom one could place absolute trust.

I particularly recall his imaginative efforts to win our full support for impeccable behaviour and performance - a 'star' reward system under which we could readily measure, and he monitor, the progress which he challenged us to make. It was a happy time for me precisely because he was open and friendly as well as challenging, and someone in whom I placed my full confidence. No-one followed Don Bosco more faithfully. It is no surprise to learn that on the other side of the world so many subsequently blossomed under his benign influence. May he, deservedly, rest in peace!

Peter Roebuck (Shrigley 1953-59)
Chairman of the Shrigley Association

Back to Top

Fr. Gowicki Back to Top

Shrigley Missionary College
Church as known by Felix Glowicki 1947-52
6th form
Felix as a Sixth Former back row first right Buxton walk 1951/52
Provincial Visit
Shrigley Staff - Brother Felix, centre near pillar - Provincial visitation 1956/57
Soccer Team
Staff soccer team - Brother Felix - back row right 4th in - 1956/7
Fr. Glowicki
Shrigley Missionary Congress - Felix centre - 1956/57
Sub deacon
Felix ordained sub deacon Melchet Court - leading procession
Easter Sunday mass as sub deacon March/April 1962
Malta magazine


From: Fidel Orendain
Sent: 17 May 2009

For your viewing:
Tribute to Fr. Felix.


The original You Tube video may be found at the following link


Back to Top

Memories from Rev Fr. Roy Fosker SDB

Dear Eric,

 Please excuse my addressing you by your Christian name.  I am Fr Roy Fosker, a Salesian who remembers you as a boy in Shrigley in 1948-1949.  I receive regular emails from Fr Pat Sherlock and today followed a link on the GBR website to the Shrigley Association website, where many memories were recalled for me.


After just over 5 years in the army during WW2. (I landed on D-Day 1944 in the Royal Signals section attached to a self-propelled medium regiment of the Royal Artillery, the Essex Yeomanry, and was in action until the war finished in Europe. I was then sent to India until December 1946, when I was demobilised.) I finally decided that Don Bosco could use me and in 1948 came to Shrigley as a 'Son of Mary'.  I had already the School Certificate and obtained the Higher School Cert. in 1949 with the help of teachers, Brothers Edward Fox, Martin McPake and George Williams.  From there I went to Beckford and made my 1st profession on 08.09.1950.  I was then sent to the Rebaudengo Institute in Turin with a view to my getting a Licentiate in Philosophy.  Brothers Perla & Jerstice were already students there.

After a couple of months I decided that I was like a fish out of water and by Christmas was back in Shrigley to continue philosophy there.

Towards the end of 1951 the then Provincial, Fr Couche, told us of his recent vist to Cape Town and said he was looking for volunteers to go there.

I wrote a letter to him and towards the end of December was told that I was to sail for Cape Town in January with Fr Martin Daly.

We arrived there on 31 January 1952, Don Bosco's feast.


To go back to my year in Shrigley, there were never more than 3 Sons of Mary at one time and we led a secluded life.  We had a small study with Fr Daly, a separate small table in the refectory with our backs to the rest of the Community and we were forbidden to fraternise with the boys, although I attended classes with Rhetoric.  In my spare time I was given the job of stoking the boiler with coke to keep the house warm.  A job that I also got in the novitiate but using slack coal.


I returned from the Cape in 1956 and did 1 year of theology in Bollengo (Cardinal Bertone was a fellow classmate) but then transferred to Benediktbeuern for the final 3 years and was ordained in Munich on 04.08.1960.  By 29 September I was back in South Africa and Headmaster of our school in Daleside. Then in 1965 I was asked to be P.P. of the Salesian parish in Lansdowne.  After that I remained a Salesian parish priest in various parts of South Africa and Swaziland till 1996 when I was asked to go to Nairobi as confessor for our Salesian students of theology.  In 2001 I moved on to West Africa (Gabon and Cameroon) and then to a short stay in Nigeria before becoming Provincial Secretary of the AFW (Anglophone West African Province) in Ashaiman, Ghana.  I am still doing the job although I shall be 87 in 11 days from now.


Over the years I have met up in Africa with some boys who were in Shrigley in 1948-49: e.g. Canice Dooley, Michael Power, Charles Scollard (he was a Brother on the farm).  If you remember me at all, you will probably remember me as Mr Fosker.


I am attaching a photo of me taken shortly after my 1st profession and one taken last year.

Roy Fosker SDB   Roy Fosker SDB

Just to let you know that  our Dear Fr. Roy Foster is dead. Can you put this poster on  memories website.
Philip Bua sdb

Roy Fosker RIP


Dear Eric,


Thanks very much for your kind welcome  to the website and for accepting my contribution to the Memories Page.  It is a long time ago but you are one of the boys in Shrigley that have stood out in my memory.  I suppose you must by this time be at least in your early seventies.


As you requested, I have put together a few more memories that you might find useful.  I thought it might be useful to provide a bit of 'background', since I have spent very little time in the UK since the end of 1951.  Even my infrequent visits I spent in Ipswich, which is far from any Salesian house.  Only since 2003 have I stayed in Farnborough 2 or 3 times, when I had to come for medical check-up.

Thank God, I am still in pretty good health.  I have BPH for which I take 1 tablet a day but that is all.  My legs are not as steady as they used to be and for that reason I have given up the idea of making long journeys, so do not intend to visit the UK again, unless there is an urgent reason.  Both my parents had died before I joined the Salesians and Africa is for me my true home.


If you think the attached piece is not suitable, please do not be afraid to tell me so.  I shall try to provide some more particularly Shrigley memories soon.


Affectionately in DB,



Back to Top


It is 61 years since I got off the bus and made my way for the first time up the drive to the house at Shrigley.  I had come face to face with a Salesian for the first time in May 1948 when I went for an interview in Battersea with the then Provincial, Fr Frederick Couche. 


I had grown up in Ipswich as an ‘Anglo-Catholic’ member of the Church of England.  When I was 17 a new Vicar was appointed, a ‘Broad Churchman’.  That made me ask why there were so many different theological positions amongst Anglicans and I started reading the history of the C. of E. from the Reformation.  So I learned of the Oxford Movement and John Newman’s life and conversion.  Finally I came to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church was the one true church.  I knew no Catholics personally so just went to the nearest Catholic Church and told the Canon who answered the door, ‘I want to become a Catholic.’  After a course of instruction I was received into the Church on my 19th birthday, 25 October 1941.  On 30 October 1941 I reported for war service in the Royal Corps of Signals, at Catterick Camp, Richmond, Yorkshire.


During my last year of military service, in India, 1946, I wrote to the Canon in Ipswich and told him that I felt the call to become a priest, preferably as a religious.  In reply he sent me a leaflet that he had received from an Indian Salesian, appealing for funds.  On the leaflet there was a short account of Don Bosco’s life and work.  I had never heard of the Salesians but after being demobilised I got books about Don Bosco and the Salesians.  After my mother’s death in April 1948, I wrote to Fr Couche and on 21 June 1948 (Feast Day of the Rector, Fr Aloysius Sutherland) I arrived in Batteresea in time for tea.  I remember a Brother telling me, ‘We don’t have cake every day.’


After about 2 months, while I was looking after the front door and answering the telephone, the Rector called me and to my amazement (in my innocence I had thought that I had left my family for ever) told me that I should go home for a holiday before going to Shrigley in September to spend a year as a Son of Mary and to study to get the Higher School Certificate at the end of that year before applying for the novitiate.  Among the staff in Battersea was Fr George Davis, who taught Classics, and was able to confirm that I really did know Latin.  After arriving in Shrigley I found that Fr George had been transferred to Shrigley and in fact we had travelled from Paddington on the same train without knowing it.  He told me later that he had been in a compartment with some journalists, had played poker with them all the way and cleaned them out.  Fr John Corcoran used to keep fit by felling trees and chopping them up and it was said that he invited Fr George to join him but the reply was, ‘Fr Provincial sent me here to become a good fellow, not a good feller.’


I’ll leave you here where I began, walking up the Shrigley drive, but I hope to tell you later some of my memories of the life of a Son of Mary at that time.


Back to Top



Having reached the front door of Shrigley Hall, I found myself in a considerably different Salesian Community from the only one I had known so far – Battersea.  This was to be my first experience of a Salesian ‘formation house’.

This Community was headed by Fr Terence O’Brien as Rector.  He struck me as a kind but rather shy Scotsman, one of whose interests was psychology.  The Prefect (and in those days Second-in-Command) was Fr Harold Wrangham, a quiet but kindly man.  Next in the hierarchy came the Catechist, Fr Pat McQuaid, a plump, cheerful. witty man.  The Prefect of Studies was Fr Thomas Swanzey, who struck me being somewhat highly-strung but friendly and efficient.  Other priests included Frs Joseph Dunne, John Corcoran, Peter McCusker (in charge of Salesian Cooperators), Martin Daly (still a ‘young’ priest) and the newly arrived George Davis.  There were several Brothers, among them Neil McIlwee (the cook), Charles Scollard and another whose name I cannot recall, both of whom worked and lived at the farm.   In addition there were 1st Year students of theology and some ‘clerics’ in practical training.  My memory is a bit hazy about them but I think they included George Williams, Martin McPake and another whose name eludes me.  The latter taught English and later became the Provincial until he found his true vocation in marriage.  Of course there was a good number of ‘philosophers’ (‘post-novices’ in today’s Salesian jargon), of whom a good half would have been Irish and the rest British or Maltese.


I was the first Son of Mary that year and for a while the only one.  I was told that Fr Martin Daly would be the mentor of the Sons of Mary (henceforth the SOM).  He was a very friendly young man, only a couple of years older than me.  I little knew then that he and I would sail together in January 1952 to Cape Town.  A small study was assigned to the SOM and was also used by an unfortunate deacon who had been ‘stopped’ in Blaisdon, possibly for having been caught smoking.


That evening in the refectory I saw the whole Community assembled for supper, a quite awe-inspiring sight for me.  The main table, at which the Rector presided, was in the centre.  Another long table ran parallel towards one side and was for the philosophy students.  That evening and for a few days I was privileged to eat with the ‘philosophers’, who plied me with questions about my past, especially about my army experiences.


Soon a second SOM appeared.  He was a Pole named Wenceslas, about my age, and claimed to have served in both the German and the Free Polish armies during the war.   He said the Germans had conscripted him in Poland and later, in Italy, he had been captured by the British and sent to a POW camp.  After a time there, where he told me that he and some other enterprising prisoners used to catch rats, make them into sausages and sell them to the other prisoners to supplement their rations, he was enlisted into the Free Polish Army in Italy until the war’s end.  It could well have been true.


After his arrival a small table, facing the wall at right angles to, but separated from, the philosophers’ table was set for the exclusive use of the SOM.  This cut off our view of most of the rest of the ref.  I often wondered whether this was from fear of the SOM scandalizing the young philosophers or of the SOM being scandalized by the occupants of the main table!    Luckily, Wenceslas and I got on quite well and were joined only once for a short time by a third SOM, whose name I have forgotten.  I was attending class with Rhetoric for the 3 subjects I was to do in the HSC, English, Latin and French.  Wenceslas’s English was not very good and I don’t know whether he was getting help with it.  We used to work together during manual work periods.


Strangely enough, although I attended class with the boys of Rhetoric, the SOM were told that we should not mix with boys on any other occasions.   We had some limited access to the philosophers but not to the boys.  I was asked to take on the job of stoking the boiler for heating the house and used to spend most recreation time down in the boiler room.  One day during recreation a boy of about 12 came down and asked if he could look at the furnace and how it worked.  I was happy to see him and chatted a bit with him.  He came again for a day or two and tried his hand at shovelling coke into the fire.  Shortly after that I was told by Fr Daly that Fr Swanzey had forbidden boys to come to the boiler room.  I don’t think that the boy persevered for long in Shrigley.


In spite of these restrictions, I enjoyed that year in Shrigley before going to the novitiate.  Things that stand out are the liturgical celebrations – High Mass and Solemn Vespers on Sundays and feasts; concerts in which the youngsters displayed their many talents and the genuinely happy Salesian family spirit that prevailed and made me feel accepted and following the right vocation.


From: John Briffa
Sent: 14 November 2009
To: 'Eric & Tricia'

Here is something that may go down in Shrigley’s history.

One of the most impressive Salesians that I met in Shrigley, was Fr.  Wrangham. As far as I was concerned, he was kindness and thoughtfulness personified.  As Prefect (Bursar) of the house most of the administration was in his hands, literally. He was a ”hands on “person.  

A strong memory of 1946 was when I was making heavy going of spreading the truckloads of cinders dumped on the St Joseph’s playground between the main buildings and the winter games rooms.  On those cold, damp, frosty mornings, my post-breakfast job was to pick up the shovel and spread the cinders heaped up from the previous day’s delivery the day before.     Coming from a warm climate, a fairly ‘soft’ upbringing and never having held a shovel in my hand, with chilblains on hands and ears, I was near the end of my tether.    Over comes Fr. Wrangham with a larger shovel, strips off his cassock and without a word, spreads the cinders at an amazing rate.  Life became more bearable after that.

Back to Top


“So you want to be a priest laddie” Said my teacher in total disbelief.
“You, you a priest, Good God, good heavens, good grief.

“And you want to be a Salesian. Then you better understand.
You’ll have to go to a place called Shrigley. Aye and it’s in a foreign land.”

This was in late ’57 with some rations still on the card.
To find the money to go was going to be very hard.

But soon the word was out and the parish rallied round.
And they put into a special collection, went pound after pound after pound.

At last the day it came with an early morning rise
And we set off to the station, with a trunk, three times my size.

Then some twelve hours later, with a minimum of fuss.
I came up the drive to Shrigley, in a rattling old Trojan bus.

As I alighted from the bus, after this rattled ride,
I saw a magnificent mansion, and a cathedral, side by side.

We had settled in, had supper and went to the cathedral on the right.
Where the Rector gave a sermon, and finished with,” goodnight.”

We then went to a bedroom, the largest I had ever seen.
With rows and rows of beds, with cabinets in between.

A bedroom of this size surely wasn’t the norm,
But I learned the next day; it was actually called a dorm.

But on that first night I can tell you, I didn’t get much sleep.
Not because I was homesick, but because bleating sheep.

Up early the next morning and by the bed, no rug
And queue up in pyjamas to get hot water in a jug

Then off down to breakfast, but I didn’t eat a lot
It was a sticky, gooey mess they called porridge, an insult to me, a Scot

I remember picking potatoes and getting covered in mud and muck
I remember thinking ‘these English are strange; in Glasgow we get spuds from a truck’.

I remember learning to play cricket. Down came the ball with a lob.
Next thing I knew I was in sick bay. The bat had smashed me straight in the gob.


I remember learning to play the violin and how the bow did creek.
And because of the sound it made, Fr Boyle nicknamed me –Squeak.


I remember Fr Boyle taking me down on to the big lake.
He taught me to skate real fast, but didn’t teach me how to brake.

I remember dodging football and hiding under some chairs.
But Fr O’Connor found me and made me scrub the back stairs.

I remember doing the triple jump and thinking I was really fit
I did the hop, the skip, and the jump and didn’t even reach the pit.

There’s lots of thing I remember, most good, some bad.
But what I remember most is it was the best years I ever had.


Gerry Wright (Squeak)

Back to Top

Memories 1951-53: My life at Shrigley by Andrew Cathcart

On reflection; my most vivid memory when I think about Shrigley, is being part of a male community in which all its individuals cared about trying to be good to each other. Morality was codified and practiced at all the levels I encountered. There were many instances when my problems were managed sympathetically by caring staff and perhaps as importantly, instances where my enthusiasms were managed equally well. For example, two teachers readily come to mind, Brother Lawrence, nurturing my interest in Science and Brother James facilitating my academic development particularly in early English literature.

Memories of fellow students are vague; names, faces are remembered in a random way and that seems to suggest I passed my time at Shrigley more as an observer than as an active participant. More easily, I recall the exciting thrill of whole school games in the quad, such as playing ‘Rush’ in the evening and the whopping big snowball fights. Then there was the singing as we marched off to games, the long walks on the wonderful moors and peacefulness of evening benediction. In sum, Shrigley was a beautiful period in my life. I felt safe and respected. When I was told not to return, I was unprepared for reality.
Memories: After Shrigley;
Reality soon intruded upon me after Shrigley. I was placed back in the school system. In 1953, St Bede’s Grammar School, Manchester was characterised by priests who physically abused their pupils. At the end of four terms I was expelled. A letter written by my chief abuser stated “The last of many bad reports.” My sense of release from that place still feels good.
Eventually, I married, had four children and developed a career in education, retiring in 1996, as a headteacher and feeling thoroughly fed-up. We emigrated to Australia. I lectured, taught infants and at the present time, I tutor at Queensland University. My wife, children and grandchildren continue to be amused by my activities.

With commendable insight to my time at Shrigley and my subsequent experiences in large bureaucracies, Rector Father McQuade, wrote on my final report;
                     “You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.”
I could hug him for his wisdom. I want those words as my epitaph. I am unique 

Back to Top

Shrigley Association Christmas Meal Savio House
16th December 2009

A dozen diners sat down to an excellent meal at Savio, served to them by Fr Martin Coyle, Rector. It was the first venture of its kind, thought up and organised by David Murphy. The community welcomed the Association members warmly.
Getting to Savio through the Manchester traffic at rush hour is never easy, and on a dark winter evening was a slow journey for those attending who came from the north of Greater Manchester to the south of the city. The diners had been invited to BYO, which, for those not familiar with the term, is an invitation to ‘bring your own’ drink. Some of those attending obviously understood the term and there was no shortage of good cheer.
It was a good opportunity to meet in a leisurely way and exchange news and Christmas greetings

Mike Kilduff


Happy 150th Birthday to the Salesians of Don Bosco From the Association of Shrigley Past Pupils and Staff.
Eric (for the SA web team)



Savio Meal Eric Baggaley, George Robson SDB, Michael Winstanley SDB, Joe Lomax, Donald MacDonald SDB, Jane Murphy, Kevin Dean, Albert Carette SDB   Savio Meal

George Robson SDB, Michael Winstanley SDB, Donald MacDonald SDB, Jane Murphy, David Murphy, Kevin Dean

Savio Meal
George Robson SDB
  Savio Meal
Eric Baggaley
Savio Meal
Michael Winstanley SDB, Joe Lomax

Kevin Dean, Donald MacDonald SDB, Albert Carette SDB

Savio Meal
David Murphy

Also attending were Tricia Baggaley, Helen and Mike Kilduff.  Two special toasts were proposed, "DON BOSCO AND THE SALESIANS" (Eric Baggaley) and "SHRIGLEY" (David Murphy).

Back to Top

From: Patrick Sherlock

Sent: 12 February 2010

Subject: Building the church


Dear Friends


Blaisdon past pupil Tony Brady has sent this wonderful recollection of the building of Our Lady of Lourdes church in Newent fifty years ago.

It highlights the ingenuity and energy of two of our outstanding Salesian brothers, Br Alan Garman, now 92, and Br Joe Carter, who died in 2002.




A notable feat of Brother Alan's engineering skills was accomplished in the building of the catholic church in Newent. A particular architectural feature of the church is the series of load bearing roof supports which are set in footings and the space between them in-filled with brickwork by Billy Udell. These supports were made at Permali's factory in Gloucester where wing-struts were constructed for The Gloster Aircraft Company. They are of immense strength because of the lamination and remain undeviating under stress and also allow an unimpeded space as cross beams are not required. No specialist firm was engaged for their erection due to huge estimates, and as hiring a crane would be very expensive, the prevailing can do approach typical of Brother Alan Garman and Brother Joe Carter determined their placement with engineering ingenuity. In today's newly re-furbished church, the original stained brown and highly varnished supports are painted white now, to give a faux stone or concrete impression possibly.


At Stud Farm, the Brothers both designed and made an extension to the standard tractor hydraulically lifted and lowered front loader. This would extend to the church's roof height: bolted to it was a large dustbin-like container which held two persons. From this the roof supports could be connected at their peaks and permanently fastened. Up and down trials were carried out on the Stud Farm high Dutch barns.

Apart from being selected for the first test ride - my absolute faith in Bro. Alan precluded me from asking Fr. Dan for the Last Rites - while Bro.

Joe said "It would be the closest you ever get to heaven Brady!" I have two particular claims to fame here.


First: because this extension was so long when fixed to the tractor, there were hazards in getting it around a number of the bends on the Clifford's Mesne and Solomon's Tump road, as the whole device, made from welded scaffold poles and connected to the "Horn Draulic" tractor was driven from Stud Farm to Newent. I had to go ahead driving another tractor to warn approaching traffic and take up position at these pinch points. Brother Alan and Joe following and keeping me in sight, then had to steer directly into the roadside hedge with the appliance raised above it and gradually negotiate the bend reversing back and forward in order to get round without damaging hedges, trees, telephone poles, buildings and the extension itself.



Second: on site once the roof supports were positioned upright - the tractor was employed for that operation too - my job was to control the machine and raise the fitters - Bros. Alan & Joe - to the optimum height. Very careful skill was required to maintain their position and safety with my hand on the tractor's hydraulic control lever, while the engine was kept running to maintain the hydraulic pressure on which their lives depended. I should mention that Lawrence Curly Stanton was equipped with the same operating skills and was involved also. Father Bill Boyd stood by in silent prayer.

 Back to Top


Photos below are from the Association's Special 90th Birthday Celebration for the Honorary president Fr. Albert Carrette SDB





Fr. Albert Arrives


Fr. Albert is greeted


Fr. Albert and Maria Burke


The Birthday T-Shirt


Fr. Albert reads his card


Signing Autographs

Back to Top



From Paul Barber  Shrigley  September 1944 to July 1947

                                    Beckford  September 1947 to March 1948.



I was very interested to read the memories  of Shrigley  by Tony Galcius,  and it has prompted me to give some of mine.  


I joined the Syntax boys at Shrigley  in Sept 44 and was placed in the Syntax form to prepare for the Schools Certificate Examination, I had  moved from the De La Salle College in Pendleton Salford.    I  was accepted by  the other boys in the class even though I was a week late.   Some of  the  boys that  I remember  are Peter Burns, Ivo Pisacane (later called Paul) Gerry Mc Guinness, Peter Boyle, Edward De Rivera , Tony Galcius, Gerry McGuinness ,  Peter Grace and  later John Briffa joined us, possibly in Rhetoric.  I remember  the class had eleven members but the other names elude me now.


For the first month or so I was very home sick,  and often wondered why  I  had left home.   About the half term  I started to feel  more settled and things got better as time went on.   During this time there were some changes in the staff.   The Rector, Fr Hall,  was moved  and,  after two weeks without a Rector,  Fr.  McCabe was installed as the new Rector and he stayed in that position all the rest of my  time there.


 I must have seemed very strange to rest of the class as I  had never played football,  and I  made it plain that I disliked having to play, every day.   I always welcomed a rainy day when  we went to St Joseph’s  into the hobbies room where I learned to do bookbinding  and kept this up all  my time at Shrigley (and indeed, rebound a prayer book  only last year).   Eventually I got used to the football but was never any good.   An experiment was tried in which I was put into the Fisher junior team as captain.  We lost the next match  twelve nil   The experiment was dropped and never tried again.


I found the class work very good .   My previous school had classes of thirty   while  my largest class at Shrigley was eleven,  but when we did Physics and Chemistry  we  were  down only three .   The three were Peter Burns, Ivo Pisacane and myself.  We took the  Oxford School Certificate. And I was very pleased with my results.  The teaching was always very good  and help was given whenever  it was needed.  The Syntax staff I remember included Bros.  James Wilcox,  Francis Rogers,  Louis O’Dea , Cyril Kennedy, Andrew McNeil

James Conway , Charles Chauvel and Fr Garman who was moved  and his place taken by Fr Wrangham  (who was Prefect of Studies).   Fr  Wrangham was an ideal  Geometry teacher;  he had a way of explaining  the Geometry of the circle which I never forgot. - and used in my own Mathematics teaching.


The next year in Lower Rhetoric we were joined  by another lad,  a Scot, but I can’t remember his name.   Our little group started on the Higher Schools  subjects of Mathematics, Physics. Chemistry and Geography.   We were not very happy with the Geography in that combination of subjects and   I  pressed for us to  replace it by Applied Maths.  The Brother, James Baron,  who was  teaching us, was happy to do so,  and we changed to Applied Maths.   In those days you had to pass in all subjects to get an H S C Certificate.  I was the only one in  the group who did so   I have often felt guilty that  the others may have had a better chance with Geography  than  with  Applied Maths.   



 The Rhetoric staff, Bros. Cyril, Louis  and James Baron, started us on our course but in the second year they were replaced by the Brothers who came back to Shrigley  to study Theology.   They had all been out in the other Salesian schools and were experienced in the needs of  the 2nd year H S C courses.   I believe we were very lucky to be coached by these  Brothers.  Mine were  Bros. Bernard Higgins (Physics). Laurence Martin (Maths and Applied  Maths) and Edward O'Shea  (Chemistry).  Bro. Herbert Douglas was the Form Master, Fr. Thomas Swanzey  taught Apologetics and Fr Bricknel  Latin, which I failed   at Intermediate level,  even though I  had passed at School Certificate level.   These Brothers taught all day and did their Theology  course in the evening.   Fr Bricknel was a character.   He was an Army chaplain  and  had to readjust to community life.  He still wore his army boots  and to us seem like a law unto himself.  When I  didn’t get one of my homeworks back from marking, he told me to try The British Museum - in either the Chamber of Horrors or the Freak section.


 Much of the practical work in Chemistry involved the  analysis of specimens, to find out what they were and the quantities present.   The qualitative analysis involved  passing hydrogen sulphide gas through a solution and seeing  whether  a solid was precipitated and determining  its colour.   Our Science lab didn’t have a fume cupboard  for the Kipps apparatus which made this gas  ( known as bad egg gas).  One very hot afternoon we had the window open,  with a fan to blow the gas out,  and we were using this Kipps frequently.   Fr. McCabe‘s room was above the lab and he also had his window open.   He came down to see where the smell was coming from.  Shortly afterwards we got a fume cupboard made for us!


I have been writing this during a period of very heavy snow.  This weather has been compared to the 1947 snow,  bringing  to mind our  long period of confinement from Jan 29 until some time in March.


I have worn glasses since I was four years old and cannot read without them.

 In fact I  was lost if they got broken.  This is one of my excuses for not being good at football and cricket because it was too dangerous to wear glass during a game.  They did get broken during the prolonged snow.   In my final exam year’ I could do no study, or even sit in at a class because I could not see the board.   Eventually I was allows to walk to Bollington to get a bus to Macclesfield to go to the optician  and to repeat this journey to collect the new glasses about a  two weeks later. 

At this time Peter Boyle was in the Whalley Range Private Hospital  having been taken there  for an operation on his appendix.  While I was still  glassesless,  Fr McCabe got a message that Peter needed some clothes   so he could be discharged.  Fr McCabe asked if I would   take his case to him.   Again I walked to Bollington, got a Bus to Macclesfield,  then one to Manchester, then another  to Whalley Range (after having sneaked a lunch with my sister who worked in Manchester) I was the only person from Shrigley Peter had seen for some time,  and we had a good chinwag. When  visiting  time was over ,I returned by the same route to College.  Peter was glad to see me and we were always good friends        


 At  my previous school,  our  class  had put on a concert,  to raise money for St Joseph’s Penny ( The Rescue Society,  for Children in Salford).   At this concert I had  recited a Lancashire monologue..   When I found that concerts were held at Shrigley,  I got a copy of the monologue and asked if I could do it at the next concert.   The Staff liked it (I don’t know about the boys)  and was then asked to fill in  at any concerts when  the acts were scarce.   I did this throughout my time at Shrigley and it followed me to Beckford  where Fr Simonetti  liked me to do the one about Noah and his Ark.


Doing these  monologues led me into being recruited for the various plays that were put on.   Acting  in this way helped me enormously with my own personal development,  but also in my friendships with  the other boys  who also acted.  Special ones who come to mind were Billy Bott  who acted a lot  with me,  Peter Grace and Peter Boyle.  I only hope I didn’t take too many of the parts that Tony Galcius would have liked…


I think  our Rhetoric’s crowning glory was when we  put  on  "1066 And All That".  It was produced by our Form Teacher, Bro.  Herbert Douglas,  helped in the music by Bro. Michael ("Jock")McGovern.  There were so many characters  that we all doubled up.   I had three different  parts to play.   It was,  of course, a musical.   Any one who had ever knelt near  me in Chapel would know that singing  and me do not go together.  I can sing  all the notes but not in the right order.  I have been told I am the only person who can consistently hit the a wrong note  when ever I sing a hymn,  and each time I try it I get a different note.   Bro Michael  tried valiantly  to train me to sing my songs,  but I defeated even him.   I had to have  an understudy to sing my songs while I stood next to him performing the actions    I think the show was a great success but we only put it  on for one night.   As  a priest at Thornleigh,  Fr McGovern was a great  friend, teacher and band master for my son, but he  never accepted that he failed   to  teach me to sing my songs!


Other boys who became friends  included Vincent Donnelly, his brother Joe and Louis Hannett  their cousin.   I met up with Vin Donnelly again at Hopwood Hall Teacher Training  College and we became very close friends. We joined a Manchester  Old Boys and Girls Society and there met our respective  future wives.   Mine was called Eileen and Vin’s was Marie.   We remained close friends, helping each other out, whenever  needed.   We both acted in a Passion Play  and I also acted with Louis in  "When Fools Rush In".

During  my various illnesses, Vin was always ready to help.  He suffered  a heart attack in 1974  and I had a cardiac arrest in 2000.  Vin was a tower of strength both then and especially  when Eileen  died. I  felt honoured to be asked to read at Vin’s funeral..  


There were many events and occasions at Shrigley which deserve mention.  1944 to 1945  was the period in which the war was turning our way.   We were kept up to date with the news by Bro  Andrew who gave us a resume of the news as we started our breakfast.   We enjoyed  the    ‘V E’ day celebrations,  a High Mass, a feast dinner, a match,  Benediction with the singing of ‘Te Deum’ and a beacon  bonfire on "Hill 60".


The many feast days were always uplifting.   I loved the sung High Masses and Solemn Vespers.  There was often a sacred concert on the eve of a feast and a play or other entertainment on the night of the feast.   The sermonettes  that we gave during May and June were also very memorable.


There were also many things to enjoy, e.g. potato-picking week, followed by a Chip Supper,  and some of the jobs, such as  cementing and building a wall.  There was also the long list  of  the various  games that would follow each other from time to time, in  due season, in the quad.


The efficient running of the college and the great care of the boys was due to the hard work of the Rector Fr McCabe and the rest of the Community.  For me a special mention should be made of the dedication  of Brothers such as James Conway,  who was mostly the dormitory master, and  Bro Andrew McNeil,  who was the refectory master.   These two jobs were demanding  and always has to be done.    The other Brothers had special jobs too  but all, whenever possible, liked to join the boys in the quad for recreation.   Another Brother who deserves a special mention is Bro. Neil McElwee, the cook.   At that time,  food was very scarce and money to  buy it even more scarce.   On reflection  he did a very good job with few resources  and,  when it came to the big  Feast Days,  he did us proud.  Where the diet went wrong was in the over reliance on bread  (breakfast, tea and supper,  plus soup).  I got very serious stomach problems,  which may have been the forerunner to my present condition of coeliac disease,  in which I cannot eat anything containing  wheat flour - even the Host.


Tony Galcius mentioned the way we had the Shrigley Staff weighed up and mimicked them. The best I can think of was the time  one of the Theologians  preached a spoof sermon.  They set up a pulpit on the stage, dressed him up for a sermon and he preached (exactly as Fr. Musgrave would have done) using the text of Old Mother Hubbard.  It was hilarious and even Fr. Musgrave enjoyed it, even knowing it was he who was being copied!  Those Theologians, having been out in the schools, were "wide boys", having got over the over the overt piety shown by the Philosophers; they were deeply pious but did not wear it on their sleeves.


Fr. Musgrave was a marvellous old priest.  He loved to be with or working for the boys. Always out first at recreation, he spent a long time walking up and down the quad with a group.  He also loved to celebrate the daily School Mass, but when Fr. Swanzey took over as Prefect of Studies, he also started to say this  Mass, so Fr. Musgrave started to hear confessions. I got to know him very well, as he was in charge of the Co-operators, and I had a couple of maiden aunts who were deeply into supporting the Co-operator movement.  There was great amusement one day when a furniture van drove up the drive to the main door marked "Barber’s Removals".  No, we were not in the removal business, but these two aunts had been commissioned by Fr. McCabe to buy some antique furniture for the parlour, and this was it!


Mentioning sermons, we knew that the priests took turns to preach at Vespers on Sunday night. We waited in anticipation for Fr. Bricknell’s turn. As I said earlier, he was readjusting to Community life after working as an Army Chaplain. He seemed like a hard, brittle man marching to a small side altar to say Mass, the sound of his army boots echoing round the church. 


We knew the pattern they all took for their sermons: a Gospel passage read,  then retold in their own words, the  text picked over for ideas for us to follow and four resolutions for us to take. By the time we came out of church most of this was forgotten! Fr. Bricknell would have none of this. He simply told us the story of Queen Esther from the O.T., her influence with the king and how she could get favours from him for her friends. It finished there: no morals drawn, no resolutions for us to forget and we were flabbergasted. When we came out, and during supper, we argued over what had happened. One of the Brothers, I think it was Bro.Herbert Douglas, our Form Teacher, pointed out that Queen Esther was a well known figure for Our Lady in the O.T.  Fr. Bricknell had done one thing - we had remembered what he had said,  and we were discussing it!


Fr. Bricknell had a soft side too. He came to Beckford for the retreat at the start of our Noviciate. He met me, wished me well, and told me to "stick at it" - in spite of my homework being "in the British Museum"!  


There was one point that Tony Galcius mentioned that also struck me. I often wondered why, on leaving the novitiate,  I could not say ‘Good bye’  and  wish  well to friends  I had worked and lived with for three years. Many of them I would never see again.   I note with sorrow the appearance of their names in the Obituary of the  John Bosco Magazine.


After leaving Beckford,  I did eighteen months National Service in the RAF  (what a change,  from the quiet of Beckford,  to the  rough and tumble of a hut of  30   recruits). Then,  after teacher training, I taught for many years in various kinds of schools and colleges.  As I have mentioned earlier,  I married  and we  were blessed with two children,  a girl  we called Mary,  who became a teacher, and a boy we called Francis, who became a priest and  is now an Army Chaplain..


When I entered Shrigley, I thought I had an idea of God’s Will for  me but He later showed me that He had a different Will for me,  which was far better for me,  and I wouldn’t  wish it to be any other.


My prayers  and  best wishes to all the Shrigley Old Boys .




Back to Top



Memories of Fr. James Walsh SDB, R.I.P.

1. From Eric Baggaley

I was very happy to be able to pay my final respects at the (Thornleigh) funeral of Fr. James Walsh  last week.

James (or Columba, as we often called him) was in the Community and on the School Staff at Chertsey, during the final years of my SDB career (1974-77). He also knew Tricia well, on the Chertsey Staff and in the Salesian Sisters Community, until she left in 1976.

A gentle and kind man always, he was very generous and warm in his best wishes to me when I had announced my intention to resign from my Salesian priesthood and to marry Tricia.

Columba  attended a Jumble Sale sometime during my last days in the Community.  He bought a present  - to help  us set up our new home, he said - a metal mincing machine, with a mechanism to fit  onto a kitchen work surface.

Tricia and I were suitably touched  by Columba's very human gesture, so typical of the man.  
His gift gave us years of good service and we were always happy to chat with him and exchange memories and stories at numerous Shrigley and Thornleigh Events.

May his good soul rest in peace!

Eric Baggaley

2. From Ted Carless

Reference Mike's article and lovely photo on our website, I attach some photos of Fr James's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. I was happy to celebrate the event and subsequently send a CD of photos to Fr James complete with one of the photos on the cover of the CD.

          Fr. James Walsh Fr. James Walsh
Fr. James Walsh Fr. James Walsh

From Mike Kilduff
Received Dec 28th '10

Fr James Walsh SDB RIP
Though I knew the name of Fr James Walsh as one of the Salesians who were at Shrigley in the early 1930s, it was not until October 2004 that I came to know him. He had attended the 75th Anniversary Celebrations that year and he was one of the first people I contacted when I began work on The Salesian Cemetery at Shrigley.
He responded initially to my request for information about those who died and were buried at Shrigley through Fr Albert Carette who forwarded to me what he had written. Much of what he wrote was about Andrew Gallagher and Daniel McAfee, the first two boys to die at Shrigley, and the account he gave of those early years was fascinating. After I thanked him for what Fr Albert passed on to me, he continued to correspond with me up until earlier this year.
He took a personal interest, once sending me a cutting from a magazine – “Ireland’s Own” or something similar – about the origin of my family name Kilduff. Whenever he wrote about former Shrigley pupils, whether they had become Salesians or not, he seemed to know what course their later lives had taken.
Much of what Fr James wrote about the two boys can be read in the book, and he is one of four boys photographed at the side of Andrew Gallagher’s grave, and he was the one who named the boys present.

Jack Power, Andrew Keogh, James Walsh and Michael Coffey

Of the boys in the photograph, he wrote,
Michael Coffey left Shrigley to become a White Father – on the missions in Africa – did great work (built a church in Algeria). Jack Power (Derry) who came to Shrigley a year later – a great footballer with Derry City, and Andrew Keogh (Derry) who became the 1st Headmaster of Savio High, Bootle – now living in Toronto – and myself.
He began writing to me from St James’, Bootle, but was shortly to move as Chaplain to the Benedictine Convent, More Hall, in Gloucestershire, from where he continued to write, occasionally repeating information he had already sent to me. However, there were sometimes further observations on life at Shrigley, which, as Archivist of the Shrigley Association, I found it important to record. On 24th June 2006 he wrote,
We did not pack much in those days, 2 shirts, 2 vests, 4 hankies, 4 pairs of socks, 1 pair of trousers – everything else we were wearing. Life was simple in 1931.
I remember going home to Derry in those days. There were over 100 travelling, and Fr Murray (from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford)) was bursar in those days – got our tickets for us.
From Adlington Station – Liverpool – to Belfast 7/6!!! Fr Murray got the concession travel for us.
A month’s holiday.  New shirts, vests, trousers etc.
He added.
This year is my Diamond Jubilee of Ordination on 14th July. I was ordained in Pallaskenry, Co Limerick by Bishop O’Neill. But I am holding it not on 14 July but on Sunday 16 July. And then in Derry on the following Sunday 23 July.
For those celebrations, he said, his brother Paul and his wife, and sister Magdalene, were coming from Florida, another sister Lena (a nun) also from Florida and a friend from Newcastle on Tyne.
So I’ll be back in the Benedictine Convent at the end of August – a good break! As the nuns find it almost impossible to get a priest who is retired – but still active. And I fit the bill at 88 – and am feeling the years!
He came to the launch of the Cemetery Book at the 2007 Reunion and spoke in the cemetery beside the graves of Andrew Sheehan and Danny McAfee. Photographs of that occasion can be seen HERE
Fr James once a year enclosed a £10 note in a letter to cover his annual subscription to the Shrigley Association. I was saddened this year that before the Reunion he wrote, from St Joseph’s, Bolton, his new home, to say that because of his age and, principally because of his deafness, he would not be able to attend any more reunions. The fact that he gave that news in a letter indicates that, to the end, he thought not of himself, but of others. Having established a relationship with the Association, he maintained it for as long as he could.
Mike Kilduff
Secretary, Shrigley Association

Back to Top

Monsignor Thaddeus Rooney

We heard from Geraldine McAlinden, a niece, of the death of Monsignor Thaddeus Rooney, who was a member of the third cohort of boys to enter Shrigley.  Monsignor Rooney died peacefully in his sleep in New York on 24th July, 2011 aged 93. Mons T. Rooney
T. Rooney as PP in New York some years ago
T Rooney


The President of our Association, Fr. Albert Carette SDB, has sent the following memoir.

Teddy Rooney came to Shrigley in the same year as myself, 1932.  He was a Northern Ireland lad, from Belleek in Co. Fermanagh, and no doubt one of Fr. Joseph Ciantar’s ‘catch’.  I was always pally with him and you can see him on the group photograph of 1932: he stands in the row above me on the right of Brother Peter.

(Teddy Rooney is the one clasping his hands right-centre.  Behind and above him to our left is Andrew Gallagher; behind and above him to our right is, Fr. Albert claims, Patrick Wosser, both of whom died in the 1930s.  As far as I know, this is the only decent photograph of Wosser that we have and I wish we had used it in the Cemetery book. Peter Roebuck) Group Photo  

He went with me to the novitiate in Beckford in 1937.  Several lads from that group went straight to the missions after their novitiate – Joe Murphy, Harry Butters, Paddy Ryan and Teddy Rooney.  Teddy went to Siam and came across Francis Van der Voort from Holland.  When war broke out the Japanese occupied Siam and held the missionaries captive.  Years later when it ended Teddy, Francis and James Maher (who was also in Siam) came back to England, while Paddy Ryan spent all his missionary life in the Phillipines.
Teddy joined me in Blaisdon for Theology and we were ordained together in 1947.  After ordination he taught with the Salesians for a while in Ireland, and was then sent to do missionary publicity work in the United States.  It was at this point that he decided to join the secular clergy.  He did some great work there and was made a Monsignor.
He was the last of the other Salesians, twelve of us in all, who were ordained with me. 
God rest their souls

Peter Roebuck adds .
Monsignor Rooney went to the U.S. in 1952 and worked there for the rest of his life.  In 1974 he was appointed Parish Priest of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the diocese of New York, a huge parish which has over 7,000 Catholic families.  He lived in the parochial house there until his 90th birthday, and spent his last years in the diocese’s house for elderly clergy.
He was in touch with the Association over several months in 2007, avidly read each of our publications, and greatly enjoyed spotting himself and his old friends in photographs from the 1930s.  He very much wanted to attend a Re-union but, to his great regret, was advised not to travel by his doctor.
One of his colleagues once described him as ‘a priest from his head to his toes’.  His niece Geraldine adds: ‘he was a great advertisement for Shrigley’!
May he rest in peace.

Back to Top


James McKenna

Shrigley Association – An addition to the Archive

On the 5th July I had a phone call out of the blue, the blue being Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. The caller was Paddy McKenna who had just come across our website. As a boy, living in Liverpool, he had been taken many times to Shrigley by his father.
His father was James McKenna, one of Shrigley’s first intake in 1929. He said he had a group photo with his father on it and some medals he had been awarded.
This was the photo he sent me by e-mail that evening. His father is the boy in the first row behind the clerics, first to the left as we look at the photo of the Bishop. In fact, he is the boy closest to Fr Ciantar who is next to the Bishop.

  J McKenna  

James McKenna was a Geordie and went to Shrigley from his home in Wallsend. Our records confirm he went to Shrigley in 1929, but do not give any date for his leaving. Fr Albert Carette who entered Shrigley in 1933 remembers the name, but being younger obviously had little to do with an older boy. So James was still at Shrigley four years after entering.

Medal 1 Medal2

Above are pictures of the medals he sent.

The medal on the left is inscribed:

The medal on the right is inscribed:
The Wizard Winner Medal

Paddy said one of the medals was inscribed ‘1930-31’, and we were welcome to have them. I said they would be treasured in our Archive.
The initials ‘JMcK’ appear on the other side of the medal.
Both medals are silver, with hallmarks. I find this luxury surprising, and wonder how long silver medals were awarded at Shrigley.

Back to Top

David Castle

David Castle was at Shrigley from 1958 until, about, 1961. The following correspondence began, unfortunately, just after the Association had closed in September 2011 but it is added here because it demonstrates some of the great good we hope the Association was able to do.

Dear Keith
                      My name is Madeleine J. and I am the sister of David Castle who was at Shrigley round about the time you were there,I think. David died when he was 27 but my sister and I would greatly appreciate any photographs of him or memories from anyone who may have known him. Because we were young at the time we didn’t know as much about his time at school as we would have liked and since the years are passing quickly we don’t want to have missed anything about him.
I know this is asking a lot after all this time but anything you can add to our memories will be much appreciated.
Best Wishes  Madeleine J.  nee Castle

Thanks for your mail, Madeleine.
I have only one photo in my very small collection on which I have written David’s name and it is only a partial view. I have mislaid the original for the moment but I printed copies a few years ago and have rescanned it to attach here. I am sure David is second from the right in his school cap. It seems to have been taken on one of our many walks in the surrounding countryside which we took when the football pitches were unplayable.

David Castle David, in cap, with a group of his classmates with Br. Kevin Deane SDB.

I believe David started at Shrigley with me in Sept. ’58 and stayed for about three years, I think. I left after five years in July 1963. We used to travel to the college with the Hudson lads in a minibus driven by Fr. George Williams, the rector.

I discovered a thriving Shrigley Old Boys Association in the early 2000s and In 2008 we had a special reunion of all those we could find who began with David and me so there was a special section on the site devoted to the ‘58ers when we tried to trace everyone. We knew, of course of David’s early death but other contemporaries who remembered him were Fr. Bernard O’Neill SDB, Bernard O’Neill and Gerry Wright.
Unfortunately we none of us could place him on a photo of the ’58 intake but maybe you have photos of him at the time which would help you find him. The actual 1958 page is not active now on the web but this link will take you to the page

Fr. Bernard Parkes and Bro Joe Adams are the only two from the group in the photo who went on to become Salesians (not unusual at all!) but I have not met anyone at the reunions who does not thank God and the Salesians for their time at the college. Without exception we were all happy and I’m sure David was too; we really did “work hard, play hard and pray hard” But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the Memories section (linked from the Left panel) . You will soon get a flavour of life at Shrigley over the years; we believe it did not change from its beginnings in the ‘30s through to the 70s though the earlier lads always say that we later students had it easy!.

I’m sorry not to be more specific but I will pass on your request to Fr. Bernard, Bernard O’Neill and Gerry Wright who all have much clearer memories than I do. There is always the possibility that they have a photo and maybe a particular memory of David.

I also remember your Mum and Dad (and vaguely that David had sisters!); I always thought they were very gentle people. We would have met on visiting days such as Boxing Day and at Easter; there were so many relations coming from the Stalybridge and Droylesden area that they used to hire a bus........I suppose we called it a charabanc then, I certainly remember using the abbreviation “Chara”.
Do you have any photos of you and your family at Shrigley on those days? I would love to see them.


From: Bernard O'Neill

I remember David as a quiet boy, kept a lot to himself but certainly joined in at sports. He was good at maths and our teacher was Fr Brian Jerstice who is still going strong today on the missions in central east Africa. He also was in Class plays. Our Form Master was Fr Francis Sutherland who is now living in the Salesian house in Farnborough.
The other boys from Stalybridge were the Hudson brothers and Keith, who you have emailed.
David was also a friend of a boy called Francis Clare who was also a quiet lad. It's amazing that we all lived together for 3 or more years and when we all left, we left!!! Went our own separate ways and only now in the last 15 years have we tried to remember our past and the part we all played in our growing up. 
Keith stated a fact - that no matter how small, Shrigley left some mark on our future lives and we can only hope and pray that David felt some relationship with Don Bosco and our maker.
Every reunion we remember deceased Old Boys at the cemetary at Shrigley and at a reunion several years ago, David's name was read out in remembrence. I do not have any photos of David but do remember he had a 'quiff'  hairstyle. 
If I remember any other detail, I will forward on to you.

Kind Regards
Bernard O'Neill

From Gerry Wright

I too remember David being quiet sort of chap. I also remember him being a friendly chap.

Many incidental memories of those days have faded away with the passage of time but I do remember being in David's company in 1961 as we walked from Shrigley to Buxton in Derbyshire, especially having just walked through a place named Chapelle on le Frith (I think) and passing some farm barns. There was quite a stink coming from them and I said to David something like' God, I've never smelt anything like that before.' I do however, remember well David's reply. He said, 'That's because you come from Glasgow and that's the smell of the country'.

On the way we stopped at the Goyt Bridge for lunch, and I think a paddle in the river, and that is where the attached picture was taken. I am looking over David's right shoulder. Bernard and Keith are also in the picture so I have attached a second copy with the four of us identified.

David Castle Form Three at Goyt Bridge, Tuesday May 23rd, 1961

Close up Slightly enlarged section

Names (We have agreed that Gerry is wrong in his identification of Keith)

I hope these picture are also of interest to Keith and Bernard.

Enjoy your retirement.

Regards and God Bless
Gerry Wright

Dear Keith, Bernard and Gerry
                                    It is so kind of you to reply so quickly and with so much information,I am just trying to take it all in. As you may have guessed from my e mail I am at work but due to retire at Christmas.I was browsing the Shrigley website whilst eating lunch when I spotted your link as you thought Keith. I didnt expect so much so soon and must admit to a few tears this morning. My sister,Margaret,doesn't  even know about my enquiry yet!    I will reply properly soon but just wanted to thank you so much for your kindness in replying right away.
Very Best Wishes

From: Keith
I thought you would come up trumps with a photo, Gerry, and it is a clear photo of David alright. Bernard is right however about me, I don’t think I figure on that photo. Didn’t you have another one of a group, maybe around the same time which does figure me; I think I saw it in 2008.
And well done with that memory of the chat. there was quite a bit of rivalry/ribbing between the Scots and English but all very naive and without the edge of racism ( we just felt sorry for you all in the frozen North, Gerry!)

I’ve just brightened the photo slightly and following Bernard’s memory of David’s friend, Francis Clare, also attached the colour photo of the two Bernards and me which includes Francis.  Hope it helps you, Madeleine, to put your brother in context... he would have been out on the playing fields with us that day. We were in 1st or 2nd year, I think long trousers came in for 3rd year

I am at the back, keeping score probably, but we don’t know the name of the lad beside me.  In middle are Pat Hannaway (great actor, whom I met later when he played a policeman in a Lord Peter Wimsey play in Hammersmith. He has been in rep in Glasgow for a long time). Next to him is Francis Clare, head in hand. At the front left is Bernard O’Neill ready to go in, and at right Bernard Parkes. All classmates of David

It’s amazing with that photo of yours, Gerry, that none of us can find David on the ’58 photo of Forms 1 & 2 but there is one he at front, extreme left with his head down, hiding his face? (With Madeleine's help we have now realised that David is number 25 on the photo on this page)

Best wishes to everyone

From Madeleine

Thank you so much everyone! what have I done?  Opened up a  40 odd  year old rivalry reunion!  I have copied all this to Margaret,she is so thrilled as well ,we have just decided to make a visit to Shrigley in the new year. Margaret's daughter, Helen, was married there.  We had a few worries about how we would feel but it was fine and good to know that David and our parents had been there with us. Margaret says sorry that we ate in the Chapel, it felt a bit like a desecration but lovely at the same time.

It is so good to "talk" to you and know that he had kind friends and feel that he is still a part of your memories and history, it keeps  him alive with us.

I now haven't done any work for two days so if I wasnt retiring I would probably get sacked!  That would be something, for David to get me sacked.
Thank you for all your efforts for us, it means a great deal.
 With Love,
Margaret and Madeleine

From Keith.

I looked through my 1961 diary for references to David Castle and I found him with also a reference to Fr Daly, from Glasgow.

The entry shows:

Saturday 22nd April 1961
Celtic 0 v Dunfermline 0
Fr Daly hung out a green pennant from his window; Castle and me hung a black and white pennant (Dunfermline FC) from Fr. Booth’s window
Worked on Senior Dorm in afternoon
Library at night

So we did not imagine the rivalry with the Scots

I can remember completely bamboozling Fr. Daly by telling him that Stalybridge Celtic FA played in blue and white. I think he knew then that the English were mad

Next day, St George’s Day, I see I had an artificial rose...probably flashed it in front of Fr. Daly................ and in the Cup Final Fisher beat Plunkett 6-2.
At night we watched a cartoon and “The Song of Bernadette”.
The diary also shows our annual outing to Buxton that year was on Tuesday 23rd May when Gerry's photo was taken. I also wrote that I had two ice-creams but I don't know about the rest of the class. We had a lie-in next day after all the walking - 8.30am.

Eric Baggaley wrote:

I have been very interested to read the correspondence which you and other  '1958-ers'  have engaged in - helping the sisters of David Castle to learn more about their brother who died so young.

By 1958/59  I, as Brother Eric, was one of the Salesians who was helping Shrigley Boys "to play, work and pray - hard!" ( I had also experience this, as a pupil, 1946-53)....

As that year I was Form Master to the  2 Upper Forms (Rheteric I and II) I cannot remember David very clearly, but I probably DID attempt to teach him - some Geography, History or Latin...?  
I may have been in charge of the Boys' Refectory then also - making sure that David  was helped to be polite, reasonably quiet - and keep his table clean and well-polished..!? 
If I was also "IN Charge Of Work" that year, I would have written David's name  regularly onto the Lists of Jobs - after Breakfast, Dinner, Tea and Supper (unless he was in Choir practice each morning and Instrument practice each evening) - and then there were the bigger jobs to be done all around the House every Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. 
Not forgetting Sport - I must have taken charge of numerous football and cricket matches in which David featured too.....

I am very pleased that the MEMORIES page of the Website has come to this assistance to David's family. I share, with you, the hope that Shrigley's  Archives, Publications and Website will continue to be of great interest and service in years to come.

Well done, 1958-ers all!

Greetings !




Back to Top



Malta magazine Malta magazine