So far this year, the weather has been reasonably mild and we have had a warm spell a few weeks ago, a little out of charactor for this time of year, however,
that changed a few days ago and once again, we were on a flood warning! Thanks to the councils efforts, a proportion of troubles have been dealt with but the
water rose to a freightening level, just a couple of inches from overflow. The council, a little while ago, rebuilt the abutment where the Mill Dam Stream
flows under the road at the entrance to Crooke and into the marina, creating a funnel effect for the water to flow under the road. With the help of the log
dam in Lawns wood, most of the branches and twigs that were once brought downstream by the heavy water flow, are now caught before they reach the road. There
was some flotsum but thankfully, not enough to cause a blockage as has happened in the past. I do have a couple of pics with the high water and some taken on
the next day, just to show you how close we ame to being flooded again! The first couple of shots show how close we were to being flooded and the rest were
taken the following day.
Christmas Dinner was on the menu again this year and all who attended, had a good time. Apart from the good food, Howard provided entertainment which included
a 'Pass the Parcel' game where no-one knew if they were going to actually keep the prize they won. The challenge was hanging on to what you had won! Here are
a few pictures of the event courtisy of Morag and a couple of my own. Although Derek and Christine no longer live in the village, because they have contributed
so much to the village, it was thought it only right that they should be invited to share our Seniors Christman Dinner.
A todays Look at the Village
It has been a while since anything has really happened in the village so I thought to take a few pictures of the village as it is today, the 13th of November.
There is nothing special in these but rather than posting them within the 'Seasonal Snaps' page, I thought to post them here instead. Even though the day was
dull, the village still looks good. We have a great looking little village and I'm very happy to be part of it.
The Summer Fair.
On the 7th July, the weather was brilliant this year when the Summer Fair went ahead, it was beautiful and the Ukulele band who were also in attendance, were
in good form as usual. Even thought the football semi final was on that afternoon, it did not stop those who wanted to come to the fair. It was well
attended. Here are a few pictures of the event:-
The Shevington Fete
The Shevington Fete went ahead on the 30th of June, another lovely day and as usual, Crooke was represented at the show. Thanks to all the helpers that made it
all possible. The show was a hive of activiy and rather than just posting just a few pictures of our Crooke stand, I have included a wide selection of others
for you to enjoy. If you would like to see a wider selection of pictures, if you would like to go to either Paul Collins or my Facebook pages, I posted some of
the pictures I took into Paul's page which were duplicated on mine. So, here is what the day was all about:-
Charity Litter Pick
On Monday, the 23rd of April, Crooke Villgae was visited by the Wigan Lane Beavers where they did a litter pick for charity. I do not know how much was
raised but a reasonable quantity of litter was picked. The Beavers were lead by their leader, Paul Quigley and was helped by a number of parents along with
Derek and myself. After the pick, the members were treated to refreshments in the pub. Because of technical difficulties, I was only able to take a couple
Commemorative Tree Planting
On the Friday the 10th of November, the fourth of five trees was planted in Crooke to commemorate those lost Primarily in the First and Second World Wars and
every other conflict that our service men and women have taken part in. The Mayor of Wigan Borough, Councillor Bill Clarke and his wife, the mayoress were
there to officially plant the tree who were supported by Our MP, Lisa Nandy, our three local councillers, Paul Collins, Mike Crosby and sadly Damion has
stepped down but Marlaine Whitley will be standing in his stead at the next local election and members of the Shevington Parish Council. Also in attendance
were children form local schools and from the nursery. After the planting, refreshments were served in the Methodist Church where contents of a previous event
were still present along with the villages recent achievements in the Britain in Bloom event. Below are some of the pictures of the occasion.
Britain in Bloom in Southport for the Awards
When we arrived, tea and coffee were being served and you had the opportunity of meeting all the other contenders. You then found your place at the
tables and you were then served your midday meal. Some of the presentations were handed out before the meal began and then resumed after the meal. So, here are
a few pictures of the preliminaries along with the program.
Our day at Southport was a great experience. Over a period of three days, over a 1000 awards were given out for the various categories that were on offer. Of
all those in the Small Villages category who entered the North West or Britain In Bloom competition, there were three that earned first prize winning the Silver
Guilt Medal on their certificates, including Crooke Village. They were Bidston Village Green, The Parish of Theales, Nuseacre & Wharlee and Crooke Village
After the presentation pictured below, we all began to process off stage and as we were about to leave, the MC announced:- "And the overall winner is Crooke
Village". Once again we came back to the stage where we were presented with another certificate and the Silver Guilt Cup, The Mayor of Trafford Trophy. We in
Crooke are very proud of our achievement.
I took a couple of pictures of the cup to try and show it more clearly but the second picture is more blurred than the first, but you can make out who had it
Derek's Gargen Award
During the time the judges were coming into the village for Wigan Borough in Bloom, as we had entered the competition as a small village, Tracey Williams, the
Wigan Borough in Bloom Co-ordinator saw Derek at his home and when Tracey saw Derek's garden said that he should enter his Garden into the competition. A
couple of days later, a photographer arrived and pictured his garden. Derek then received word that he had been invited to the Leigh Sports Centre where on the
28th of September, he was awarded by The Mayor of Wigan Borough, Councillor Bill Clarke, The Christine Hession's Best Overall Individual Garden Shield.
As well as that, he was also presented with the Gold Award certificate for the Wigan Borough in Bloom 2017 and the Wigan Borough in Bloom 2017 Best Overall
Individual Garden certificate for the whole of the North Werst, so WELL DONE TO DEREK. I personally offer my congratulations. I am also to understand that
while he and Mick Thomas the chair of the Village Association were there, Crooke too also received an award which read, 'In Recognition'. I'm not quite sure
what it is supposed to mean as this is the first certificate we have receiver like this? So, below are the awards presented and a few pictures of Derek's
garden for your pleasure. For the moment, I do not know much about Christine Hession but I will find out and let you know.
Anne's 'Celebration of Life' party 12th August 2017
For the third year running, Anne has now held her 'Celebration of Life' Party, open to the villagers of Crooke and to her friends. Just to re-cap, four years
ago, Anne became seriously ill and was not thought to survive, but thankfully, she did, As a result, she became very grateful for her recovery and thought to
celebrate the event by holding a celebration party. Up to now, like today, she has been very lucky with the weather and so I took a selection of photographs to
record the event. The entertainment was provided by The Ukulele Club and by Allen, Anne's close friend. Thanks Anne, it was a great party and fun was had by
all. I think it right to say a word of thanks on your behalf to all those who helped you to make it happen.
Shevington Community and Gardening Show 2017
The Shevington Show this year was a much smaller event because there was a lack of volunteers to make into a Fete like last year. Most of the exhibitors were
indoors, mainly in the Youth Club building where all the fruit, veg, blooms and photography entries were on display and in the dance studio building of the
Methodist Church. This year, there were no stands or stalls on the field but were erected along the front of the main buildings as in previous years.
There was play equipment for the children, a Brass Band and a few other stands and the good weather made the day. By all accounts, it seemed to be well
attended. Sadly, I did not take any more pictures on the day.
Defibrillator Training 1st August
On the same day as the WBIB judging, from 2pm onwards, Ed Ellis ran two training courses on how to use the defibrillator which were well attended and found to be
excellent in their delivery. Everyone who attended were well impressed with the instructions given, including myself. At least there is now a nucleus of
members who now know what to do if we ever have the need to use it. It is a wonderful piece of kit and hopefully one day, should it be needed, it will save
someone's life. Thanks Ed for giving us the training and thanks again for providing your training for free, most generous.
Judging Day for WBIB (Wigan Burough In Bloom).
On the Tuesday the 1st of August, the judges came to Crooke along with Tracey Williams, our WBIB council representative and Dave Green, Oy, the photographer to
capture the event. This is one of those occasions when I neglected to take any pictures. There were three of us villagers to escort them around the village,
Charlie, Derek and myself after they were given a portfolio for them to take away with them. We met at the entrance to the marina, made our way past the chapel
and nursery, along the path next to the green and went into Lawns wood. We then came back making our way down the defunct track way, past our recycling bay and
then on down to the tip. From there we made our way along the road to the marina where the judges said their goodbyes and left. We felt, as we have before,
that, because the judges do not give anything away with regard to how well we have done, we felt we stand a reasonable chance? We will now have to wait to see
what happens next? When I get some pictures from David, I will post them.
A Further Addition to our construction
As a result of the new rails being laid, it has now been possible to add the latest thing that helps to make it look more authentic. A few years ago, a friend
of Mike found, sticking out of the ground, a buried John Pit pit tub which took him 3 days to recover. Thanks to this unknown beneficiary to us, he has
donated this truck to our care and it has been duly mounted on the inner track way of the new assembly. It needs attention which it will receive over the next
few weeks in order to preserve it for as long as possible.
Some New Track In Crooke
Thanks to Railtrack and Derek for contacting them, it was asked if they could supply and fit a short legnth of rail track on the footings of the coal tip where
the barges were loaded with coal so that it would give an onlooker an idea what the tip may have looked like in its day? We know it is not exact but it will give
the viewer an idea of how it may have looked. The project is not yet finished as there is more to be done but it has been a great start.
And these are the guys that made it all happen. Thanks fellows.
It is the first time I have seen Surf Boarders in the village. They came through on the 7th of July, stopped for some refreshments then made their way on to
Apply Bridge and beyond.
The Road Completion.
The job is now complete and since these pictures were taken, Morag and steve planted some flowers near to the new wooden fence panels. Those who have done
the work have also built a log dam in Lawns wood. The aim is to stop tree branches from being swept downstream when the water is fast flowing. There is some
doubt if this will be effective or if it will create more flooding in that area? We will have to wait and see what happens next? For now, here's what it
looks like now.
The Road Into Crooke
A couple of weeks ago, from the 27th of March 2017, the council came into the village to make some alterations around the bridge that crosses the stream that
flows down through Lawns Wood, down by the side of the green and then crosses under the road and passes into the marina. In the past, when thwere has been
heavy rain, because of the tree branches and twigs were being swept downstream and we stopped by then restriction inn flow under the road and causing it to
back up and flood.
As a result of many complaints about the situation to the council, the council devised a plan to help eleviate that problem by putting in a surface drain
from the road directing it into the stream, by building a catchment area for a quantity of water to help the reduction of risk of flooding and by building a
tree trap much further up stream. Today, the 18th of April, the job is nearing completion with the recurfacing of the roadway. The posts that were there
before work started will be resited in the curbed areas on the roadway and a footpath will be installed on both sides of the road behind the posts. The job
should be finished within the next couple of days but here are a few pictures of the work that has been carried out.
I called down this morning, 20th April to check on the progress and the road marking guys arrived while I was there. The reason why I was there is because
two of the QR's for the history trail, are mounted within the wooden posts that were part of the barrier where the road norrows over the stream that flows
into the marina under the road. There was a discussion with the guys working there and they explained what they were about and all is well. So here are a
couple more pictures of the work in hand and will follow up when the job is complete.
The Seniors Christmas Dinner
The seniors Christmas Dinner was attended by 13 and the 2 who were absent for the Dinner at that time, were given their meals by delivery. There was pleanty
to eat and everyone had their fill and everyone praised it highly. There was no additional entertainment this year so the gifts and prizes that had been
brought were shared out with the attending members for those who wished to claim and the remainder were given to the chapel. I left it a little late to get
any pictures but I did get at least one which is posted below. We are now looking forward to a similar event next year.
Britain in Bloom Awards for Crooke Village.
At the last CVRA meeting which took place on the 13th of December, the awards that were presentred to Crooke for their efforts in preparing the village for the
Wigan in Bloom were on display for all to see. This year, we came joint first with Ashton-in-Makerfield so the silver platter is shared. Once again we
reached leven 5, outstanding with our score being well up in the 90's out of 100 available points. After the presentation at St Peter's Pavilion, one of the
judges chatted to us about the future. For now, here are pictures of the awards we received including the first one presented to us at Southport.
200 years celebration of the opening of the Leeds/Liverpool Canal
On Saturday, the 22nd of October 2016, The Kennet, a barge run and owned by The Canal and River Trust made a stop in Crooke while in the process of travelling
the full length of the Leeds to Liverpool canal as a mark of celebration and commemoration of the opening of the canal on its completion on the 22nd of
October in 1816. Members of the local canal community, provided refreshments for the members on board and many visitors were there to witness the event
including a guy named Oliver and partner who calls his website Skywalk Aerialography and posts on Facebook, who took some arial pictures of the event. I
have posted his video on the 'Crooke Slide Show' page. The two individuals pictured last are Louise and Mike Gott who are two members of the Canal and River
Trust team who were on the commemorative sailing. Along it's journy, other canal boats sailed with the Kennet from time to time.
This is Olliver (Olly) with his partner followed by his aerial camera.
This the video I took on the day.
Celebration of Life
A couple of years ago, one of our village residents fell dangerously ill and was in hospital for some time and was unsure if recovery could be achieved?
Fortunately for her, she did recover and eventually returned home where she later decided that life is perhaps a little more precious than at first thought
and decided she should celebrate the fact by holding a party. So, last year, 2015, she held her first party on the 13th of August, the day she recovered from
her illness. This year, she held her second party and like the first, she invited all her friends and all the members of the village that she knows. I was at
last years party and was invited to go along to this years also so I took some pictures of the event. The lady in question is Ann Parkinson who lives at the
far end of the village near to where the coal loading tip used to be. With the help of her friend Alan, all was made ready for the day. The weather was not
as good this year as it was last year but the sun did come out a little later in the day as you can see. Thank you Ann for inviting us to your party while we
too celebrated with you on your behalf. The first picture is of our host and her companion Alan.
The village Coach Trip.
On Tuesday, the 9th of August, members of Crooke Village joined a coach in Shevington and went to Llangollen to travel across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in
both directions standing at 126 feet above the valley floor, built by Telford and then went on to visit Chester for the afternoon. The weather stayed very
pleasant with a little sunshine in the afternoon. Everyone seemed to have a good time except for a couple of people who made a poor resturant choice but
apart from that, all went well. Our members were not dropped off until a while after Seven in the evening. Here are a lot of pictures of the day. Because
we arrived back too late to have the regular CVRA meeting which happened to fall on the same day, it has been postponed until next month, so the next meeting
will now take place on Tuesday the 13th of September in the Crooke Hall Inn.
Judging day for Britain in Bloom.
On Monday the 8th of August, we were visited by two judges on behalf of Britain in Bloom. Wigan council had decided this year that we in Crooke should represent
part of Wigan in Bloom. Members of the council were there to support the village, Nick Burdekin and Sam Cross as well as Mike Thomas, Derek Keen and myself
and Dave Green or Oy as the council phtographer. They were limited to 20 minutes to make their assessment of the village. Apart from letting them have a copy
of the village portfolio, they were also shown our cetificates showing our 'Canal Adoption' papers and the 'Community Waterway Adoption cetificate itself.
Now we will have to wait for the results of their deliberations.
The 6th of August was the day of the Shevington Fete. The weather held and it was hot at times. The show was opened by Adrian Speakman, the gentleman who
starred in the television program 'Call the Council' and was supported by the Lord Mayor of Wigan, councillor Ron Conway and the deputy Mayoress, councillor
Susan Louden. The show opened officially at 11.30am and was well attended. Here is a selection of pictures taken on the day.
Judging Day for North West in Bloom.
The tip heading was discovered on the 15th of July and soon after, it was discovered that a gentleman who worked on the tip was still around and so
he was invited to come down to Crooke to tell us something about it. His name is Bill Hart who lives in Shevington and he is now 85 years old. He recalled
many memories and explained how the tipping system worked. He began working on the tip in 1945 at the age of 14 and he was the weighbridge clerk where he did
that for four years and in 1949, he joined the Royal Air Force for two years and then came back to Wigan. He resumed his job but was based at Giants Hall
Colliery but also spent time at Crooke. When he returned from his military service, there were two other men doing his job but he got his old job back
anyway and recieved the same wage he was recieviing before he left. In 1953, he retired from the coal industry and moved on to something else but he gave us
a good insight as to how things were. He came down to Crooke on judging day and he too met the judges.
Preperation for the big day.
Before this excavation started, the flower bed was a little high and this is what it looked like before any work began.
Following the discovery and after all was revealed, it was dressed with wood chip to help keep any weeds down and to make it look more presentable.
On the right hand side of the footings, Dawn will be planting this area with Ferns and other plants while the tree stumps and small branches will provide
shelter and a home for insect and other such life.
And a few extra bits were added to the floral displays around the village.
On the 15th of July, Mick and Derek unearthed the footings for the beginning of the tip bridge structure. The land was considered to be too high and so
the plan was to level it to make it more presentable. It was then discovered that the soil was hiding the beginning of the tip upon the abutment wall. Some
of the bricks that were used in the structure was stamped with NCB. I have since applied for a copy of the plans for the tip from the National Coal Board,
if they are prepared to let us have a copy, that would be great? For now, this is what has been uncovered.
Saturday 16th July
Thanks to the voluntry scheme the council workers have where they come to a place where they offer their labour for nothing, they came on that day and helped to
do some of the jobs that were outstanding in preperation for 'Wigan in bloom'. There were several task that needed doing and most were at least attempted.
Sam Cross busied herself with another and planted flowers into the new tree planters. Sam and Keith were those in charge.
Tree Trunk Planter
While that was happening, others busied themselves with path edging and widening.
On the same day, the 15th July, the tree management team came into Crooke and they cut down two dead trees. THere are more to come down yet but at another
time and once the larger tree was down, they cut the trunk into two large pieces and using their chain saws, cut a potting trench into them both thus making
them into planters.
On Friday, the 15th July, the Defibrilator was fitted outside the Crooke Hall Inn, about 9 months after we received it courtisy of Councillor Danian
Edwardson. Because the land lord of the pub had changed, alernative mountings were saught but it was considered unsuitable so the brewery was consulted again
and it was agreed that is should be mounted on the outside wall of the pub, so that took place on Friday the 15th.
Towards the end of June, the hedge by the park needed tidying up but a local resident advised us that it should be checked for birds nests so we stopped.
Graham Workman the Wildlife Ecology expert was called in by the council to check it out and we were given the all clear so on the 4th of July, the hedge was
Moss Bank Nurserys and planting
At the end on June, Derek an I went to Leigh and collected a couple of trailer loads of plants from the nursery. When we unloaded, we made it known that
we had them and invited villagers to come and help themselves and to plant them into either hanging baskets of window boxes. many did and by the 15th, there
were still some left. Prior to the 15th, Dawn bought some window boxes which residents bought and made window displays for all to see. Those plants that
were left, were planted at the entrance of the village by Dawn, Christine, Sam and myself.
I'm splitting these into two. Those of the planting and those of the window boxex.
Part 2 are the window boxes and hanging baskets. I may have missed some in my haste so if I have, my apologies.
Crooke School Study Centre
Some time ago, Derek found a sign that had been abandoned and it had been tossed into Mill Dam stream, the stream that flows under the road at the entrance
to Crooke and into the marina. This sign had been mounted on the boundry wall of the school which became a Study Certre from 1983 to 1988 after the school
had closed. while it was a Study Centre, David Bellamy came into the village and took the children then present on a nature trail around the village which
was reported and pictured by the press at the time. We are not sure how long this sign had been abandoned but with Dereks due care and attention, he has been
able to salvage the majority of it and preserve it. Over the last couple of months, we have been debating where this sign could be mounted but thanks to the
work that has happened over the weekend, it was decided that this would probably be the best place for it, so here it is.
In 2011, the pub had a hive of bees in the roof over the entrance to the pub and someone was employed to come and take them away. Well, it seems they are back
again only this time, they are hold up in an expell air vent. It would seem the queen may no longer be around but some of the bees are! I've included a shot
of them being taken away the first time.
tree trimming Plus
Meanwhile, while all this was going on, some of the council guys pruned the trees and cut back the over growing grass over the footpath around the green.
Last year, a quantity of Balsom was pulled in Lawns Wood which was taking over the floor of the woods. Where it had been pulled lasy year, very little Balsom
grew. This year, once again we have pulled Balsom and hopefully, next year, we may be able to see the woods for the Balsom. Here are a few pictures of the
pulled Balsom with more yet standing. All being well, we'll pull more next year.
This last month of July has been full of activity both socially and community wise so I will go through each event and those that belong on the 'Community'
page will be copied in there as well.
To begin with, the Summer Fair took place on July 2nd which was well attended as usual by young and older alike. Here are a few pictures of those in
attendance on the day.
On Monday, the 13th of June, a group of cubs with their helpers came into Crooke and practiced their fishing skills, maybe to earn their badges? Thanks to
Derek because he was kind enough to capture them in action.
Charity Cycle Ride
On Staurday, the 4th of June was the first of four charity rides arranged by Wigan Vets on behalf of Christies charity on behalf of Garry Cooper beginning at
Bescar near Southport and finishing at Sam's Bar in Wigan stopping at various hostelries along the way and Crooke was one of them. Usually, I attend these
events but I have found myself to be busy doing other things at this time. There are three more scheduled those being on the first Saturday in July and
August, the last taking place on the 28th of August. Derek was kind enough to take a few pictures of the event as it passed through the village.
A Fallen Tree
In the early hours of Sunday the 15th May, A Beech tree came down over the canal and blocked it for both canal traffic and padestrians. Padestrians had a
better chance but barges is a definate no. Members of the Canal & River Trust came out to it around 3.00PM and with a chain saw, cleared the towpath but it
will be a couple of days before the tree can be removed from the canal. The reason why it came down is that the tree was rotting at its base and it was leaning
towards the canal and it just gave way. So here are a few pictures of the tree in the canal.
This is what the canal looked like before the tree came down as I pictured the same sceen a few day ago and below is what it looks like now!
The Crooke Village QR History Trail
The village QR history trail has now been installed with the exception of one more sign. Once that has been delivered and installed, it will be available for
anyone to follow. When the final sign is in place, I will notify the various bodies who would like to know about it which should increase the want for local
historical knowledge within our area. We hope it will be a success and a worthwhile historical attraction for students of every age. Once complete, I will
add pictures to help indentify their locations around the village.
A Smattering Of Snow
What a change from Christmas. Never thought the rain was going to stop. Well, thankfully it has and has been replaced by a little snow. The
weather forcast is suggesting we may get some more snow later in the week as we seem to be within another cold snap. Maybe, if that happens, I
may be able to get some better shot. We will have to wait and see. For now, here is a reminder of what was on the ground on the 17th of January.
This Christmas has been one you would wish to forget. A good proportion of the countries towns and villages were wrecked by flooding, Crooke
included. Regretably, I was not arround and had no idea that the village was in such a state of flooding. Mill Dam stream was knee deep across
the road near the marina. I was aware that the river Douglas was raging as it passed under the road bridge near to Tesco's in Wigan but never
thought how other areas would be affected. Thanks to Kathy Bradley, she took a couple of pictures of the flooding at the entrance to the village.
Kathy and Howard parked their car near the entrance to the village and waded through the flood water to reach their home. Thankfully, thanks to
some neighbours, other houses near to the marina avoided total flooding but those at 100 Crooke were not so lucky. They had 6 inches of water in
the house which will take some time to sort out. Thankfully, no-one was seriously injured but it has caused a awful lot of dammage.
Here are Kathy's pictures and a couple I took near to Tesco's
These are the pictures I took in Wigan.
Our Seniors Christmas Dinner
It may have been miserable outside, but inside it was nice and cosy and warm. The food was good and plentiful and the company even better. For most,
the meal started with a good vegetable soup with half a baguette and others had pate followed by a sumptuous Turkey dinner. During the
meal, members were challenged to a three page quiz which they discussed while eating as well as chatting. While chomping mince pies and drinking
Tea or Coffee, the answers were given. Soon after, a game of bingo was played for a line and a full house for which there was only one winner!
Mike Smith won both the line and the full house, well done to him. There were several gifts donated to the event so two were put to one side for
the bingo winners and the remainder were chosen by ticket winners. Everyone seemed happy with the event with a look forward to something similar
for next year. Thanks must go to Alison for providing the bingo game and to those who donated gifts for the members. Thanks too must go to Greg
and Jenny plus compliments to the Chef. Here are a few pictures of the event.
The Christmas Tree
Once again, it is that time of year when the Christmas Tree is put up, so here it is again in Crooke for 2015.
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