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Saint Thomas' Church Sunday SchoolLorraine Glenys Dewhurst

by Lorrie Speranza

A photo from 1954, Saint Thomas' Church Sunday School in Bentick Street, Farnworth. It was the Rose Queen Day, the Queen being Susan Crossley and I presented the bouquet of flowers to the lady who had crowned her. I am just leaving the platform, Lorraine Glenys Dewhurst. It was summer, probably late June as these things tended to coincide with the old pagan festivals and could have been summer solstice. Most of what we did in church had its origins with our forefather's religion.

I was born Lorraine Glenys Dewhurst in Townleys Hospital now Royal Bolton Hospital, 14 April 1948 and lived first in the pre-fabs donated by the USA after a bomb dropped on the terraced houses in Piggott Street, Farnworth. I lived in Great Lever for a couple of years before moving to Southport. I belonged to St John's Brownies and lived for many years in Westland Avenue before moving to Darley Grove, Farnworth. I married Alan Burrows in 1967 and had two children, Nicola (1968) and Wendi (1971). We migrated to Australia in 1979 and divorced in 1996.

My father was a pharmacist for a manufacturing chemist, he also worked at Birds Eye frozen foods, Old Chester Toffee Company and had his own business - G & R Dewhurst, frozen meats.

My great-great-grandfather and his brother started a cotton mill in the Bolton area. George and Richard Dewhurst began working together and gradually built up the mill and eventually they formed the Manchester Cotton Exchange where their pictures hung for many years.

My grandfather, Richard Dewhurst, had a bent leg which he claimed had happened when he was a small child and was put on the bed on his dying grandfather. In his death-throws he was working the looms and twisted Richards leg. My grandfathers aunt, Elizabeth Dewhurst, had worked in the mill as a young girl but had fallen through a trap door and fallen through to the next level, damaging her back. She was given the job of raising my grandfather whilst his mother worked. Aunt Lizzie lived until she was over 90, dying in late 1968 a few months after holding my daughter Nicola, her great-great niece who she said she had been waiting for before she would go.

Later my grandfather had a green grocers shop in Glynn Street, Farnworth and my father had to take the horse and cart to Bolton Markets several times each week before school. He was often late, as he had to unhitch the horse and unload the cart before he could go to school.

My earliest memories of Farnworth were watching the farmer plough his field opposite our house in Piggott Street. His two Sheppard dogs standing guard in the driveway and our black Labrador chasing them back up the lane to the farm. The post office at the end of Piggott Street decorated with tinsel and foldout Father Christmases and glitter falling from the cards. Also, Farnworth market, with "the pot man" throwing dishes into the air, as he yelled out to customers, offering to drop the price if they would buy.

I attended Hill Top Primary School and George Tomlinson Secondary School in Farnworth - I still remember things from my school days:

Primary School

I remember a fireplace in my first classroom where we used slates.

The dinner ladies cooking delicious meals with the door wide open and the wonderful smells wafting out.

A hot day and playing outside on the equipment, which was only used on hot days! Wet lunch times were spent in the school hall, playing London Bridge is Falling Down.

I remember afternoon naps on blue mattresses.

Also I recollect 13 children squashing into the head-masters car to visit the school we would be moving on to.

Lying on the fields making daisy chains and watching the boys play football.

Mrs Omo, our dinner lady.

The quadrangle, in the centre of the school, with lovely green grass.

Mr Toze, the head teacher.

The teacher who stole my lovely leather bag!

The dreadful killer, flu that got all but 6 of us from a class of 42.

Christmas parties and the "special day' with films and Walls ice creams.

Learning to spell the word 'because' and my Mother being delighted.

The old piano which accompanied our morning assemblies and music lessons.

Walking to school in the snow with snow coming over the top of our wellies, wearing a burberry navy jacket with hood over our clothes, scarf tied around our backs, gloves on elastic and underneath it all, our vest, liberty bodice and underskirt, boy was it cold. We would take off the wellies and inner socks and dry them on the pipes that passed underneath every peg.

Senior School

The long cold walk across the Moss to school each day, several miles, and a particularly day when the snow was deep.

The smell on the chemical works next to the school!

The uniform, I was small and it was always far too big!

The roses outside the headmaster's window.

The cookery classes twice a week, I still love to cook, thank you Mrs Whitaker, and the "flat" behind where we learned to look after a home.

Lining up after break time, our lines had to be straight and silent.

The long corridors in the school and the sound of PE teacher getting closer, we were terrified of him and he gave the "slipper" to many a boy.

The wonderful food, except the tapioca!

The assistant head teaching us "religious studies", she had huge breasts and would hitch them up all through class to the giggles of all the boys.The history class, taken by the dreaded gym teacher who was also our "home" teacher, we had to face him twice a day!

Sports day and the high jump and long jump which I was pretty good at.

I still have fond memories of my friend Jean Campbell in junior school and Myra Cornthwait and Ian Cornthwait.

For entertainment I would go to the pictures (cinema) every Saturday afternoon for the kids matinee. We were given a penny each to go to the toffee shop in Brackley Street and buy a penny worth of toffee scraps. My big brother took my cousin and me and we loved to watch the Three Stooges and Roy Rogers and the Keystone Cops.

I also remember the rationing and having to take the ration book to the corner shop to buy sugar and eggs.

Lorrie and TonyChoir Boy - Anthony Raymond Dewhurst

A photo of myself (Lorrie Speranzo) and my brother, Anthony Raymond Dewhurst. It was taken on walking Day and I was a "Little Singer" and Tony a choirboy. Every year all the churches in the district would gather and walk around the street. There would often be a band from the church, banners carried by "young maidens", followed by the Little Singers and the choir. People thronged to the main roads and waited on the pavement for each church to pass and when their church arrived they would rush out into the road and press coins in our hands. I remember being shocked at the number of relatives I never knew I had. We would walk back to the church where we had to sing and then to the school hall where everyone gathered to have tea from giant urns and sandwiches prepared by our Mum's. We all looked forward to Walking Day, it was great fun AND we got money!