A Seaside Tale: The story of St. Mary’s Church, Trecco – continued:
A slight change to our originally planned three part story, as some interesting personal memories from Peter Fenton have been sent to me. I met Peter at the Carols by Candlelight service at St Mary’s on 5th December and he told me something of his memories of St. Mary’s when he was a young server. I was so pleased when he offered to write some of his memories to share with you, our readers. I am sure that some of you will know – or will remember – people that Peter mentions, so this instalment of our Sea-side Story is thanks to Peter.
I shall be interested , and I know Peter will be, too, to hear from any others in the Parish who have memories of Trecco Caravan Park and St. Mary’s during the 1970 to 1990s, or even the early 2000s.
Peter Fenton’s Memories:
As promised I have put some memories together about my youth and the time spent at St Mary’s :
I remember well Archbishop Glyn Simons Consecrating the Church with Rector Hector Evans. Michael Thomas and Peter Fenton were Mitre and Crozier Bearers.
Each summer thereafter a caravan was provided for visiting Priests and their families to use during the summer period, providing they took the Services at St. Mary’s and generally took care of the visitors to Trecco. There were, of course, residents on the site who were there for the whole summer, making it quite a little community – as happens to this day. One Parish Priest to spring to mind immediately is Father Evan Sedgemore, the Vicar of Fochriw and Deri, Bargoed who came year on year. He loved Porthcawl so much that he retired to Hookland Road with his wife Mrs Sally Sedgemore. I believe that Mrs Sedgemore still lives in their family home there.
Father Peglar the Vicar of Bedlinog was also someone that we got to know. Each year he would arrive to do duty at the Church and enjoy a few weeks by the seaside.
As word travelled that help was needed, each summer many Priests and their families would book a week or even two on the site. Another that I recall was Father Stuart Ramsdon who came from as far away as Wakefield. He would arrive with a family each year for several years. They really loved Porthcawl and all that it had to offer. They became well known in the Parish as they also came to Parish Services and any events which were being held locally.
During these times Daily Services were held and our very own Parish Servers would attend and assist, thereby enabling a regular Mass to be celebrated. Again our young Servers were on hand as it was the school holidays.
Next came the Franciscan Brothers under the leadership of Father Silan SF. They came for several summers in the 60s. The Youth Group of the Parish were often seen in and around the Church. One particular year I remember that we youngsters performed a Passion Play on the Site under the theatrical guidance of Mrs Muriel Evans who was the long-time Concert Director for the Parish. Certainly for many many years she was leader of the Sunday School at All Saints’. She was the mother of Roddi Evans who recently died and of his brother Peter who became a priest and is now retired.
As youngsters we were very blessed with two leading lights who took care of us – one being Father Derek Ford, who later became a Franciscan and who spent most of his life in America. The other was Roger Howells who was ordained in the 1970s and his incumbency was in Porth. His life was sadly short.
Our grateful thanks to Peter for his interesting memories.
The next instalment will be the final part of our Seaside Story with an outline of the recent history of this much-loved small church on the caravan park – a true mission-field in our midst.