War Memorial Gary Trouton

Twenty Five Years of the Village Pump!

October 2003

A heart-warming Editorial from the original Village Pump editor!

I really appreciate Ray asking me to contribute an editorial at this significant publication date of The Village Pump.

I well remember going to the parish council meeting, held in the old Methodist schoolroom, and chaired by either the then Vicar, the Revd. Frank Chadwick, or Mrs Muriel Speed, and with Mr. George Coates (my predecessor at the school) taking the minutes. I went to ask for formal permission from the parish council, or perhaps their blessing, to try the idea of community magazine for the six parishes.

The early committee had lots of ideas, and I remember that the design of the cover was contributed by a colleague of John Sim, down at the waterworks, whose name sadly I have forgotten. The design came from his home village in Leicestershire.

Just as today there were lots of issues for the fledgling magazine to tackle: The goods-only railway had closed just ten years before, the design and route of the by-pass was still long in the offing but heavy traffic was crowding out people in the narrow streets. The new school was some years away, but ideas for its design would soon need airing, the stinking ditches in parts of Stoke Ferry awaited mains sewerage, and, meanwhile, the School PTA were keen to develop the facilities of the old school - and to get their hands on the Bradfield Trust funds if possible. So the magazine was a very useful platform for both school and community, giving writers and artists of all ages a chance to air their views, probe historical problems and prepare for future community action in as positive a way as possible.

The Village Pump editorial team met every month to consider who should do what, and then began the lengthy process of drawing the monthly crop of adverts onto wax stencils (which could be used only once) and typing. Jack and Connie Petrie were long-term stalwarts of all aspects of the process, with Margaret Durrance and Janet Stocking between them doing a great deal of the typing, Caroline Waldron (Canterbury House), Pete Duhig, Marion and Rob King. Not only were the stencils hand-cut, but the ink duplicator was hand-turned for a few years until we managed an electric machine. There could still be messy episodes if things went wrong and the pages were not always uniformly clean as they are now. The stalwarts of the monthly collating routine included Heather Durrance, Ivy Kerr, Janet Stocking, Maureen Taylor and many other parents and friends who cheerfully gave their time for half an hour or so after school, picking the pages from the seats of the childrens' chairs reversed on the desk tops. It was even a long time before we could afford a power stapler!

This sounds a really steam-driven operation compared to the slick quality of today: Indeed it would be interesting to learn of the process by which The Village Pump is produced now. At least, from the very beginning, it has fulfilled the purpose of community vigilance. The precedent set has been followed and developed. There has been much quality improvement over the years since 1974 and I certainly enjoy reading The Pump every month .

It would also be interesting to recall the names of everyone who has ever been involved with any part of The Village Pump production history: A fairly mammoth list to be sure, but if you care to write in, giving dates and details to Ray, we should have yet another documented strand of the unfolding history of our community.

On your behalf I would like to thank them all and extend our especial thanks to the present team as they take The Pump on from this milestone, giving present and future community issues their first airing through the medium of its pages.

With best wishes all Pumpers, past, present and future.

Chris Young

Founding Editor 1974 - 1987

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