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20th Anniversary Valley Men's Breakfast

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The first of November marked the 20th anniversary of the Valley men's breakfast, this monthly meeting was initiated by the then Minister Rev. Dr. Brian Dodd of Florida who via a video presentation sent a word of greeting and short scripture message.
Twenty years ago the last of the local pits had closed, around the corner from our church was the Anglican Mission Church through its outreach, and soup kitchen during the miners strike an enthusiastic group of men had joined the church. Their building was about to close and the members absorbed into the mother church at the top of the village.

Looking around the three village churches, and the community activities there were seven groups for women but none for men apart from the WMC. The comradeship that the men had had underground had gone, the mission group were finding it hard to adapt to the more formal worship they had been used to in their Pit St. church.
So the men's breakfast was born in Low Valley, invites went out to neighboring churches but it was not to be exclusive in denomination or religious affiliation. John Lowrie with his Scout camp cooking experience was recruited to be cook along with two of his sons; the oven was just an ordinary domestic affair so John borrowed the Scouts two-ring burner fed by a large Calor gas cylinder. Through the blue haze you could just make out young Nicholas standing on a stool turning the bacon over. Each month we have enjoyed a five item full English breakfast with black pudding as an extra from time to time.

Each newcomer is welcomed and shown the airport flasks "help yourself to tea, and coffee, there's the bread and toaster tell Harry what you want from the menu, and we will serve you after our opening Praise song and prayer.

Tim Crowther from Silkstone Common provided music on the keyboard or on the guitar in the early days. Geoff Shone is now our resident keyboard musician. Blessed over the years by our Ministers, and local Rector, we have enjoyed a variety of different speakers whose subjects have ranged from a Gospel message, to overseas aid trips, and local community project work. Cooking is now done on a six ring burner, and two oven cooker, we are a mixed age group Mike Delaney has now joined the cooking team as the boys have grown up, married and moved away. Sadly some have passed on, and others have joined the group for some this is their only church time. We average between 18 – 22 men attending each month, to hear the men sing, Cwm Rhondda especially in the days when the former local celebrity choirmaster Colin Leach was alive it used to make one's hair stand on end. Over £3ooo pound has been given to charities over the twenty years by the freewill giving. A happy Anniversary to all those who have made a contribution over the last twenty years.

Bill Marsden.

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