Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.00 a.m. 10th March 2014 Museum of Wigan Life

Avis Freeman (Leigh Soroptimists), Geoff Jones (Astley Green Colliery Museum), Jackie Roberts (Bridleways), Richard Sivill (Atherton Heritage)
Mary Pennington (Wigan Archaeology Society), John O'Neill (Greenheart), Glenys McClellan (Leigh Family History Society), Neil Forshaw (George Formby Society), Allan Roberts (Wigan RSPB), Peter Goodwin (Tradition Films), Alex Miller (WLCT)

Tom Price (Civic Trust), Kath Godfrey (Conservation Volunteers),
David Shallcross & Dave Wilson (Leigh Ornithological Society), Ken Barston (Stubshaw Cross Residents Group), Marge Harrop (Leigh Family History Society), Jan Johnston (LENDF),

Avis Freeman chaired the meeting and welcomed everyone present.

Minutes of Last Meeting: True and accurate

Matters Arising:

John O'Neil reported that the Boer War Statue in finally up in Mesnes Park.

The Essay Competition, sponsored by John, will be advertised in Past Forward and the deadline will be December 1st.

The matters James Winterbottom brought to the previous meeting were considered. The Community Investment Fund will be continued this year and £2 million is the expected total offer. Around 200 applications were made for funding last year, the greater majority being unsuccessful.

The next offer is expected to be made in April and details are available for interested parties on the council website.

A discussion was held as to whether or not the Network might apply and it was agreed that we would first have to study the criteria. This matter to be discussed further at the next meeting.

Members Reports:

Everyone present gave a verbal report on their own group's activities and, as every, the wide range of wide work being done by local groups is impressive and inspirational.

Written reports for inclusion in the minutes as below:

From Neil:

The George Formby Society is to have a race in George's honour at Haydock Park on Thursday the 7th of August. It will be called "Zip Goes A Million." George starred in this hit musical in1951 playing the lead part of Percy Piggott a window cleaner from Newton-le-Willows. It is also "Family Fun Day" at Haydock Park with lots of attractions for youngsters.

From Geoff:

We have recently had a lot of interest shown by film crews acting for themselves or as sub contractors for the BBC. The latter have filmed at our site for a 'Songs of Praise' programme on April 6th. It is also 35 years since Golborne pit blew and a former locomotive fitter was interviewed as he assisted in the rescue on the day. I think that the media move to Salford has something to do with it but as we are the last tangible remains of collieries in Lancashire and Cheshire perhaps for an authentic backdrop, they had little choice! Educational visits by schools and colleges continue, as do such varied interests as photography societies and even a Paranormal Group. A recent talk was also given to Mosley Common Community Group.

Work continues on completing Phase 1 of our narrow gauge railway. The track is all laid and track ballasting nearly completed. That should just leave two station platforms and two level crossings to build.

THEN we have to cajole/convince/bribe (delete as applicable) Her Majesty's Railway Inspector to pass us for running trains.

We are desperately trying to excite the local community into a joint venture for funding purposes. H.L.F is not the simplest, or maybe the best, way to pursue this but 'big money' is hard to find these days, hence our interest in the Community Investment Fund.

Unfortunately despite being both a registered charity and museum we are taken as second best to other causes associated with the disadvantaged population. This is understandable to a certain extent but our heritage surely deserves better consideration. I think that the general consensus of opinion at the meeting today supports that point.

Anyway 'Nil Desperandum'. The pain only goes when you stop banging your head against the wall! Now where did I leave the Paracetamol?

Next Meeting:

To be held at the Museum of Wigan Life on Monday 28th April at 10.30, if confirmed with staff.