Sadly the Rev. Derek Shaw died on Wednesday night October 21st, in the Marie Curie hospice at Solihull.
Those who knew him will not forget easily his gentle concern for others. His funeral on the 13th November had a number of the chapel who were able to attend and celebrate his wonderful contribution to our chapel lives.
Derek was born and brought up in Zimbabwe together with his three brothers. He came to London to train for the ministry and met his future wife Mollie there. They married and had a son Geoffrey but later moved to Kenya. Here their daughter Jessica was born.
When they returned to the UK Derek held several posts around the Reading area before he retired and they moved to Birmingham to be nearer Jessica. In 2009 Derek volunteered to be the minister of Nether Whitacre for one year and ended up staying for three! We have never had a minister solely responsible for our church and will probably never again experience such luxury. Throughout his time with us Derek was not paid nor claimed any expenses. He asked for gift aid envelopes and regularly put his collection in our plate each Sunday. When he retired again in 2012 he continued to lead some of our monthly Bible Studies, attend our quizzes and all fund raising events. He has taken the Christmas candlelit services for the last 10 years and will be sorely missed. Truly he practised what he preached and his quiet but strong leadership inspired us all. We sent £200 to the Marie Curie hospice in Derek’s memory.
It is with deep regret that we record the passing of our longest serving member, Mrs Mavis Coggins.
She was born Mavis Webb at Kingsbury in August 1922 and had a twin brother Maurice.
When she was 21 she married Jack Coggins ,a miner ,at Kingsbury Methodist Church in August 1943. Jack had to get his Father’s permission to marry as he was not 21 until the September. They lived with Jack’s family in Dosthill for their first year together and in 1944 moved to Station Road Whitacre. Using their tandem they continued to attend Kingsbury Methodist Church until the birth of their children Valerie and then Vincent. Finally they crossed over the road to worship here. The minister at that time was Rev.Hodges and the organist Harry Hill. There were over twenty members and Mr & Mrs Dryden ran a flourishing afternoon Sunday school, supported by Mr.Shaw. Every year there were anniversary celebrations when the children sang and were presented with attendance certificates. Annual outings were organised. The other main activity at the chapel was the Women’s Social Hour, which Mavis joined of course.
She became a dinner lady at Nether Whitacre school and when her children were bigger, went to work at Woolworths in Birmingham. She cycled to Nether Whitacre station and when it closed used Water Orton until 1982 when she retired. That gave her a year with Jack because he died in 1983.
She has worked tirelessly for our chapel in many capacities and told me she particularly relished the many friendships she had made and the hymn singing at services. One of her favourite hymns was "O Jesus I have promised to serve Thee to the end." This she most certainly did!
We shall miss her so much.
Today was the funeral, at Coleshill, of our resident drummer Rob Sheward. Always found at the front of the church when we have had special services playing his drum kit. What many did not know is that Rob once supported the Beatles in a support band. His contribution to these services is now only a memory and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pauline and all the family.
In case you missed Rob here is a poignant reminder of the joy he brought to our services taken in November 2014.
Betty was such a fun loving person. When her kids were small she was a full time Mom who has always had a busy social life. She loved celebrations such as bonfire night when family, friends and neighbours when she could often be found in the kitchen cooking an amazing amount of food for everyone to enjoy. Betty loved having a full house.
Betty was involved in everything. She loved to sing, dance and act. For many years she could be heard singing at church and was involved in acting in local plays at the working mans club in the village. When not rehearsing she would be helping with costumes using her old hand wound sewing machine which saw a lot of use over the years.
Betty was so well known in the village that her children found they could not get away with anything as she would always find out. Latterly her beloved red mk1 ford fiesta car announced her progress around the area as she travelled to her many activities.
As an older Mom she became more active with the WI. She loved going to the meetings and would often host at home too. She helped out with anything they did; shows, jumble sales parties. She loved to play whilst too and had her own club for many years too.
Betty loved to be around people and she will be missed by all who knew her in the village and in the church.
Today Methodist church was privileged to host the funeral of Don Brown.
Don always attended the monthly coffee mornings (see our October coffee morning post with a lovely picture of him) and was due to talk at this year's Remembrance service. The church was full of his family, colleagues and admirers. He was a well known and respected figure in the village. From 1954-1990, together with his wife, Alice, he served as Publican in the Swan Inn. He enjoyed looking after the donkeys there and was a proficient carriage driver himself, taking part in local shows. A member of the caterpillar club, he was very proud of his war record and had many amusing tales to tell of his days as a prisoner of war.
The choir sang Stuart Townsend's the Lord' s my Shepherd, one of Don's favourite hymns and the wake after cremation was held at Langley Cottage in Cottage Lane, where Don could often be found drinking with John and Carol Morgan.
The collection was for the RAF Benevolent Fund and already has nearly reached £500.
We send our condolences to his son Gordon, his wife, and the rest of the family. Don will be missed by so many people.
Bernard Wheeler’s funeral was held on Friday August 10th in the Chapel he had attended until his very recent move. Family and friends filled the church and paid tribute to him. Born and bred in Whitacre, he was a faithful member of the Church for many years and we shall miss him greatly. After a service of thanksgiving for his life, at the Methodist Church, led by Rev. Derek Shaw, he was buried at St Giles. A collection was made for Walsgrave Hospital, where Bernard was cared for during the last 2 weeks of his life. We continue to remember Christina, Deborah, Darren, Laura, Jake, Heidi and Steve in our prayers.
Whitacre Congregation is a vibrant mix of young and old who enjoy meeting for Sunday worship. Do come and join us.