In the February of 1980 Martin and I arrived in Winthorpe Village with our baby who was then only a few months old. We knew no one here and so were delighted by the many welcoming neighbours who knocked on our door or greeted us in the street. A great boon to us was also the occasional news-sheet, written and produced by Ken Bark, who at that time was very active in all that went on in the village.
As we got to know more people and joined in clubs, we were aware that there was a desire for a more regular news magazine on which all the clubs and villagers could depend for dates, news and schedules. A small steering committee was established. As this was a quarter of a century ago, I am unable to recall all the names of the members of this group and so will not list those I can recall for fear of offending even one of that hard working team. These people are named in an early edition of the magazine, for those who would like to know. Together we decided to aim for an A5 style booklet, published once a month and free to all householders. Funds were sought from the Parish Council as a donation for disseminating their reports, from the Parochial Church Council for publishing their regular newsletters and from local businesses for advertising their services. Some clubs contributed donations too as they recognized the value of being able to report to their subscribers and encourage new members through the magazine pages. The format of Focal Point was agreed at the Steering Committee. The parish news in the front and the church news in the back came about because both groups had a commitment to the villagers that their news would be published. By having a regular position and a position of importance, regular readers would always know where to find the news. Generous donations were made by them to ensure the success of Focal Point. Two other editorial decisions were made at this time that only articles with a contributor's name on would be published and no article would be altered. It is not always possible to hold to such decisions.
The first cover was composed of drawings of three village buildings and the name ‘Focal Point'. This was the work of three people. Jonathan Spurr and Keith Fenwick, who produced the design work and Peter Milroy who suggested the name. Then a year's work of outside covers was produced professionally and the magazine began. At first the articles were typed on a manual typewriter and cut-and-stuck in place on my kitchen table. The last week of each month was always busy as we endeavoured to get the print work ready for publication on the first day of the next month. This was the target, but sometimes we were let down by the Roneo or Banda machine breaking down in the middle, or even the start, of a print run. There were times when as we collated the magazine in front of the television on printing night and found ourselves short of just a few vital pages. We had to endure the occasional complaint that perhaps page six was not straight or perhaps not legible or was even missing! Soon Martin decided to invest by buying a BBC Computer, memory on tape. The committee was asked to help out by allowing us to buy an electric typewriter, which was compatible with the computer. Then the Volunteer Group from Kelham Hall invited us to print the magazine on their equipment and before we handed it all over to the next editing team we were able to use more up-to-date computers so that the magazine began to look more professional. These days, with the developments in computer technology of the last twenty years, all the editing is by computer but it still requires the dedication of the editor to gather and input all the data. Having made all the magazines and bundled them up they were then distributed to various parts of our community, to the people who delivered them to the households where, I hope, that the Focal Point is still appreciated by old and new members of these three villages.
From the very start producing the monthly magazine has required commitment. Martin and I tried to continue editing and printing it but after I went back to full time work, with a young family at home too, I found that some things had to go and Focal Point was one of them. More dedicated people have continued what we started and we have now just received issue number 284. I hope the magazine continues to run for another couple of hundred issues. I had, until recently, a copy of every issue but I have now passed them on to Keith Lloyd who is keeping them safe for the history books.
Lynne Shapley. Editor December 1980 - November 1987.
David Brooks was a great man who loved to party. He was full of life and a good friend to many people. He will be sadly missed, having died from a heart attack. My most recent news of the Brooks family was when Dave, Sylvia and Nicola were hosts at the pub in Southrey, near Bardney in Lincolnshire.
This tribute was written by Lynne Shapley. Editor December 1980 - November 1987.
David Brooks. Editor, December 1987 - March 1988.
My term as editor of the Focal Point was one of the shortest. I fell into the job when David Brooks left Winthorpe.
I did not have the advantages of a computer so it was back to the typewriter to cut stencils. I then took the stencils to the offices of Hawtonville Tenant's Association on Churchill Drive where, under the close scrutiny of the secretary of the Association, I printed off the magazine on a Roneo machine.
I have vague recollections of assembling the magazine seated on my living room floor prior to it being sent out to the small army of deliverers. A sigh of relief and on to the next deadline.
As I was working nearly full-time and had two young children it soon became clear that I was struggling for time and I handed over to the safe hands of Peter Roach in December 1988.
Jenny Lindley. Editor April 1988 - November 1988.
I took over as editor in Dec. 1988 and we returned to Stone Age technology with typewriter and stencils; but with lots of help we began to work to schedule. The copy was typed in the village while with Ralph White's help, the stencils were cut and printed at Christ Church, Newark because of the church connection in the magazine. Four volunteers took in it in turns to make up the magazines, which were passed to the deliveries and so to you. My task was much lighten by Ann Page who acted as assistant editor and did all the proof reading besides acting when I was absent. Later came a treasurer and then Christ Church set up a genuine printing machine and we were nearly back to where Lynne and Martin left us. I handed over to the safe hands of Peter Milroy in April 1993.
Peter Roach. Editor December 1988 - April 1993.
A knock on our kitchen door revealed Mr. Peter Roach holding a small cutting from the Newark Advertiser and a copy of Focal Point. He was invited in to witness my wife and I completing the teatime washing up.
"There is an item in this edition of the Advertiser that you are retiring - is this correct?" he asked. "If it is published in the Advertiser it must be correct" I replied. "In that case you can now relieve me as editor of Focal Point." My immediate reply was "NO WAY!"
At that point my wife turned from her chore and announced to our visitor, "That's what he thinks - don't worry he'll be taking over from the next edition." And that is how I was appointed to the honoured position, which, I was amazed to discover, continued for seven and a half years until ill health and modern electronics took over.
Fortunately there was a ‘consultant editor' in Mrs. Ann Page whose assistance I depended on. Each month news copy and articles would be delivered to my house or the Post Office and sometimes a little news chasing would be necessary. This would be read, sometimes edited, and placed approximately into page order. This ‘rough' copy would then be delivered to Ann Page who would check that I had not made a fool of myself with the editorial and that all necessary dates were accurate. This was then taken to Mrs. Pauline Lockwood (known also as the magazine's rambling correspondent) who took on the onerous job of typing and ‘pasting up' the master copy. ‘The Master' was then delivered to the porch of the corner house opposite Christ Church in Newark by the 10 a.m. ‘dead line' of the day of print. Two members of their congregation operated the printing machine, kept in the church hall. Collection was from the same doorstep at 4 p.m. when the printed sheets, then in A 4 size were rushed to whoever was duty collator for the month. Each copy would be assembled, stapled and folded, then counted into the various amounts required by each of the eleven distributors for final delivery to each of the 360 households in the three villages.
Every task was undertaken by a volunteer in very much a team effort - electronics may have taken over but volunteers are still the backbone of this truly ‘village magazine.'
Peter Milroy. Editor May 1993 - December 2000.
This was the start of using the computer to produce and layout the newsletter in a format acceptable to professional printers. (Willsons of Newark) Unfortunately the cost of continuing using colour on the cover was too expensive, so the use of the digital camera to produce pictures of buildings within the three villages was adopted This was also the start of one or two articles being submitted to the editor via electronic mail. Now in 2004 approximately 70% are submitted this way.
The newsletter is still ‘free' to each household and is funded exactly as it was on its inception.
At this point of time (July 2004) the Focal Point is distributed by the following:-
Winthorpe :- Diane McClymont, Margaret Bark, Vivienne Green, Nan Jackson, Ian Wilson, Pat Finn, Keith Bryan, Frank Dennis
Langford:- Sheila Bird
Holme:- Diane Malone
Cliff Newbold. Editor January 2001 -
FOCAL POINT EDITORS
Lynne Shapley December 1980 - November 1987
David Brooks December 1987 - March 1988
Jenny Lindley April 1988 - November 1988
Peter Roach December 1988 - April 1993
Peter Milroy May 1993 - December 2000
Cliff Newbold January 2001 -
- The first Focal Point came out in December 1980.
There have been 283 issues so far but have you been keeping an accurate account?
In 1991, June, July and August all had the same issue number of 127. In 1992, January and February had the same issue number of 132. In 1993, January and February had the same issue number of 144. Issue 172 also appeared twice in June and July 1995. Thankfully in January 1998, (after a dispute over celebrating issue number 200), the issue numbers were re-aligned to issue 206 and since then all has been well.
Issue numbers 6, 83 and 130 were the only ones not to show the issue numbers ???
With regards to the miscounted issue numbers, a good Muslim would say that only God is perfect, in other words ‘To err is human'. The editors were trying very hard to get things right.
Hector Young is mentioned in the first and last issues of Focal Point, and probably most of the issues in between!
The first 241 issues had some red colour on the front cover. The last cover to have red on was in December 2000, so much for progress!
The format has stayed very much the same since the first edition with the Editorial, Parish Council Report and Church Services in almost identical format over the 23 and half years it has been produced.
The Newark chemist H.Whistler Ltd. has advertised in every issue.
The Lord Nelson public house has advertised in nearly every edition of Focal Point and is on the back of issue number 1 and on page 19 of issue number 283.
The Tuesday Club has published in nearly every issue.
Issue number 1 had 16 pages and the latest issue has 12 pages more.
Issue number 142 was printed October 1992 instead of November 1992.
Issue number 12 had a yellow cover instead of the usual white.
The pages of issue numbers 87, 113, 114 and 142 were yellow.
The pages of issues numbers 115 and 118 were grey.
The coloured issues occurred when the printing ran out of white paper. Not every one received a coloured copy. It could be like the unperforated stamps - the rare ones are worth a lot.
The cricket club had a report in issue 1 and the latest issue but reports were missing for a long time up until this year.
Despite a request to find a cleaner for the church in July 1988 nobody came forward. In January 1989 a volunteer rota was organized. Amazingly, Mrs. Shelmerdine, Mrs. Roach and Mrs. Watts were on that first cleaning rota and have featured in it right up to the present day.
The Post Office advertised in the first issue and is still with us.
EDITORIAL PAGE OF THE FIRST ISSUE.
December 1980 No I
Dear Fellow Villagers,
Here is the first edition of our new magazine, Focal Point, the monthly news magazine of Winthorpe, Langford and Holme.
The magazine is intended to keep you abreast of current happenings in the parish; to inform you of future events and to provide you with interesting news, views and articles about the parish and its inhabitants. I hope that you will all help by writing articles for future editions.
May I also take this opportunity of wishing you all a happy Christmas.
Mrs. L. Shapley - Editor
Mrs. E. Coyne
Mrs. M. Lillington
Rev. H. Langford
Mr. H. Young
Mr. K. Bark
Mr. P. Milroy
Mr. D. Warrington - Holme News Collector
Mrs. P. Bennet - Langford News Collector
Mrs. M. Shackleton - Winthorpe News Collector
Cover designed by J. Spurr and K. Fenwick
PAGE THREE OF THE FIRST ISSUE.
The following letter has been received from Mr. Shooter following the presentations to him at the end of October.
"May I take the opportunity through the columns of the first Parish Magazine to thank the residents of Winthorpe for their kind wishes on my recent retirement.
It was indeed gratifying to see so many friends at my retirement presentation, and to receive so large a cheque (£124 to be exact) made one speechless. May I also add how my wife was made to feel at home, and say how much she appreciated such a beautiful bouquet. My particular thanks also go to those who organised and made the evening possible.
I will of course retain many fond memories of my years as postman at Winthorpe where your friendliness has been nothing but 'first class.'
Once again, my thanks to you all."
The Tuesday Club Christmas Party will be held on Saturday 6th December in the Youth Centre at 6.30pm. All members are invited to attend and may bring guests if notified in advance. Newcomers to the village and anyone else who is interested, will be very welcome to attend Tuesday Club meetings which are normally held in the Youth Centre on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday monthly at 2.30pm.
Meeting - December 9th - Mr. Geoff Hoyes. Talk on Heathrow Airport, illustrated by slides.
Lynne Shapley. Jenny Lindley. Peter Roach. Peter Milroy. Cliff Newbold. Peter Bateson and Pat Finn.
EDITORIAL PAGE OF THE SILVER ANNIVERSARY ISSUE.
FOCAL POINT Issue No. 301
It would seem one or two of you were pleased to receive the update on 'Who's Who' and as you will find on page 21 it is included again as there has been one or two additions and revisions. In the hope that some of you might even save the list; as and when I am notified of future changes, I will just list them for you to amend your copies. Unless I have a spare page of course!!
December 1980 to December 2005 and still going, is the story of the Focal Point so far. One wonders when it will end in its present format?? When everyone has computers I guess!!
When we started in 1980 Sony had introduced their 'walkman' that enabled those that wanted to, to listen to a tape of some IS or so songs whilst on the move.
In 1980 Philips introduced the Compact Disc which later took the place of the tapes.
2005 some 25 years later, we have the 'iPod'.
What a device this is? Four inches long two and a half inches wide and less than a half inch thick weighing less than 5 ounces, (i.e. the size of a mobile phone) it is capable of holding 250,000 photographs, 15,000 songs, 150 hours of video.........Mind blowing!!
What will the next 25years bring us?
'Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen'? Who was Stephen? St. Stephen was the first 'Deacon'. A Deacons role is to help others especially the poor. David Milner in his article gives us similar 'food for thought' at this special time.
With that, may I wish you all:-
A very enjoyable Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Pat Finn January 2006.
Further reading can be found in
Focal Point - The First Five Years in Volume 3.