Saturday, 7 March 2015

Fr Damien Walne (1940 – 2015)

Please pray for Fr Damien Walne, who passed away today. He was a great stalwart of the CA Pilgrimage and was the Diocesan Director for Northampton Diocese for many years. He died today after a short illness. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. His full obituary is below.

Fr Damien was born 19 May 1940 at Rostrevor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. At the end of the Second World War moved to England – first of all to Norfolk where the Walne family farmed. Damien’s dad being the “black sheep” left farming to enter the Royal Navy in which he fought during the war captaining several vessels.

His dad retired early to be with his family when Damien’s brothers: Victor and Martin were born. The family then moved to Cambridge where Damien’s dad secured a teaching post. They became members of St. Lawrence’s parish where all three brothers served as altar boys for several years.

Attended St. Andrew’s RC Primary School before moving across the road (old site of the Perse School) after the 11+. Victor becoming Head Boy the year the school moved to its present site on Hills Road. Meanwhile his elder brother frittered away his time on sport, representing his school at cricket and hockey.

On leaving school Damien went into the bank, working for Barclays. Three years later he left to join ABC Cinemas…eventually booking the first of the Road Shows (i.e. Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments) around the Eastern Counties from Norwich.

A move then came to Cambridge where he was asked to look after and see to visiting artists who came to the Regal Cinema there for “One Night” stands still popular today in cinemas and theatres across the land.

Damien missed meeting the Beatles, preferring to watch the Varsity Match at Twickenham – the only time the group, which shortly became very famous, ever appeared in Cambridge.

Sensing the call to the priesthood for some time, but not believing that was what God wanted of him, Damien eventually took the step. Damien studied for the priesthood at Oscott College where at the age of 30 years he was ordained a priest.

His first appointment was at St. Augustine’s, High Wycombe (where the CA has held many AGM’s), His second appointment was at Our Lady’s Corby with Canon Galvin. His first appointment as parish priest was at Christ the King in Bedford until 1991. He then moved to Great Billing and Earls Barton, where he stayed until 2015.

Fr Damien was Diocesan Director for Northampton for many years, and worked closely with a number of pilgrims to make sure they had a week to remember. I particularly remember him letting me help promote the Northampton Pilgrimage to Lourdes when I lived in Aylesbury. He was always a perfect gentleman and would often ask after Terri and Joseph. We will miss him very much.

He was also a ghost writer for many autobiographies and a writer of poetry. He never talked about this side, but simply Google his name or visit a book store on-line, and you will see. 

In a recent interview, he said: “I feel nothing but gratitude for an interesting and varied life – for wonderful parents and grandparents, brothers, friends and the support of countless people in the parishes I have served, and most of all for the gift of the Priesthood.”

May he Rest in Peace and rise in glory!

Matt Betts

Thanks to the Parish of Great Billing who have an excellent biography of Fr Damien.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

AGM minutes - 2015

Annual General Meeting 2015 Minutes
7th February 2015, National Shrine of St Jude, Faversham

Chris Buller welcomed everyone to the meeting and led everyone in a prayer. He thanked Matt Betts and Fr Wilfrid McGreal for the hosting and organisation.

In Attendance were:

Matt Betts
Terri Betts
Chris Buller
Louise Child
Margaret Fielding
Simon Gallop
Nicole Gallop-Mildon
Bernadine Gregory
Richard Hargreaves
Anne Hoskins
Ciara Jackson
John Joyce
John Lewis
Merlyn Lewis
Theresa Mahon
Dail Maudsley-Noble
Patrick Maudsley-Noble
Nuala Mellows
Sr. Maureen McNally
Margaret Owen
Hugh Parry
Margaret Parry
Ann Reitchel
Shell Roca
John Sayer
Colette Sharrock
Chris Talbot
Chris Thorpe
Katy Thorpe
Sadie Vile
Dot Wade
Sylvia Walker
Tina Walker
Rebecca Warren-Heys
Sue Woodford
John Wynne-Jones
Mary Wynne-Jones

Secretary’s update

Dail Maudsley-Noble thanked everyone for a successful pilgrimage last year, before discussing full membership. She explained that there has been a significant increase in applications – during the pilgrimage week all application forms that were left in the Acceuil were taken and over 25 new members were presented with their insignia.

Dail also spoke of the positive comments that she received regarding the number of young members that decided to join this year.

She then asked that if anyone is due to become a full member, to please let her know. 25 people have applied to become full members this year and they should expect to receive details of a meeting in the first few days of the upcoming pilgrimage, detailing the process. Information will be circulated a few weeks prior to travel.

She also requested that all members please ensure that their contact details are up to date with her, as Tangney Tours who now print and mail the newsletter have had quite a few returned because of incorrect details. Dail reiterated a request to anyone who wishes to receive the newsletter via email, to please let her know, as this is a simple way for the Hospitalité to save money.

Dail then discussed the newsletter and thanked members for their input over the past year, as recent issues have received fantastic feedback. She asked for more ideas and items for upcoming newsletters, and asked that anyone who would like to discuss content, please contact her. Dail also made a plea to anyone with photos of their time in Lourdes and asked if they would be willing to allow her to use them in the newsletter. If anyone would like to share their photos for use, please contact her – copyright will be acknowledged.

Next, Dail outlined the results of the Elected Member election. Christopher Page was elected to replace Simon Gallop on the Council and Dail passed on Christopher’s thanks to all those who voted for him.

Chris Buller thanked Simon for all his hard work during his years of service on the Council.

Finally, Dail announced that due to unforeseen circumstances she has had to step down as Secretary. She revealed that Chris Talbot, another candidate for Elected Member, has agreed to take over the position and asked members to take the opportunity to speak to him as he was present.

Dail thanked all the members of the Hospitalité, the Council and the President, Chris Buller, for all their support over the last three years, and stated that she was very proud to be a member of the Hospitalité and she will continue to join the Pilgrimage.

Treasurer’s update: Hugh Parry presented the AGM with the Hospitalité Accounts.

Hugh explained that the report will be included in the next issue of the newsletter, but he circulated an accounts sheet of finances to those present.

Hugh announced that the fundraising led by Elected Members had not yet begun. He reiterated that volunteers to help with this will also be sought in the newsletter, and asked that people do not think of it in terms of amounts of money, but in terms of what that money is able to do.

The example of Nuala Mellows and Theresa Mahon was suggested – their efforts in speaking in their parish were very successful, and lastly, Hugh echoed Dail’s sentiments asking that anyone who wishes to help by receiving the newsletter via email, please let him know.

Lourdes 2014 review

Chris Buller thanked everyone for a successful year and handed over to Ciara Jackson and Matt Betts.

Ciara thanked everyone for their support in her first year.

Matt reported that the travel went well and said they were indebted to the flight team and Tangney Tours, however, he stated that more help with loading at airports is needed.

Matt explained that there were many successes during the week – leading the Torchlight Procession on Sunday worked well, as did scheduling the Grotto mass on the Wednesday, and reported that the Youth Service was once again successful. Matt and Ciara thanked the Trustees for funding the helpers’ party.

Ciara reported that there were changes made in the Accueil that worked very well, although the number of new helpers made it difficult to put teams together.

Matt thanked Chris Talbot for co-ordinating hotel wheelchairs.

Lourdes 2015

Chris Buller thanked Fr. Tony Lester, who has resigned as the Chaplain, for all his hard work in developing the role and announced that Fr. Nicholas King, SJ has agreed to act as his replacement

Chief Brancardier/Chief Handmaid

Matt Betts announced that his term as Chief Brancardier is ending this year and he will be replaced by Richard Hargreaves.

Richard will be shadowing the role during the pilgrimage week.

Ciara thanked Matt for all his hard work in the role over the past five years.

Matt and Ciara announced that changes have been made to the prep days – the days will now be solely aimed at brand new helpers to allow more time to talk to them and arrange DBS checking for new helpers, and also those who have not travelled with the pilgrimage for the past three years. Some experienced people will be asked to come and help.

In addition to the prep days, there will be a new event for team leaders and deputies to explain to them how things work and what is expected of them to ensure they are prepared for the week. It is hoped that this will take place in July once the teams are arranged.

The two prep days will take place on 7th June at Stonyhurst College and on 27th June in Walworth.

Sadie Vile stated that DBS forms for those who won’t be at a prep day but have and expired form will be arranged in other ways.

Chris Thorpe asked what themes will be covered during the prep days, particularly the event for team leaders and deputies.

Ciara outlined key themes as the Pilgrimage, Lourdes itself, a general overview of what we do in hotels and the Accueil and wheelchair training. She pointed out that there is a fine line between overloading and enough information to start work on arrival.

Chris Thorpe opined that such meetings should emphasise the idea of service.

Ciara agreed that is very important and stated that the team leader meeting should help to give emphasis on that, but then it is their responsibility to pass it on to helpers within their team. The idea of service will also be emphasised accordingly elsewhere.

Ciara noted that the number of helpers was reduced this year and asked if all could encourage anyone who may not have been for a while, to return.

Matt noted that we especially need people for the Piscines and to distribute tea and coffee.

Louise Child asked if team leaders could be told in advance of the team leaders meeting and Matt confirmed that this will happen so that team leaders will find out their roles earlier.

Matt then invited John Tangney to speak about travel.


John Tangney spoke at length about this year’s pilgrimage – he drew attention to leaflets he had brought along – and stated that reductions have not been possible as much due to fuel prices, although they try very hard.

It is hoped that some reductions will be available next year.

John noted that Ryanair is paid for by Lourdes airport to compete against Tangney Tours, but as it is paid for by high taxes and they will not take the sick or those with a disability, it is a problem.

He announced that 2016 will be the 40 year anniversary of Tangney Tours looking after the Catholic Association Pilgrimage, so next year, if anyone has been travelling with them for the 40 years they will be entitled to a 40% discount.

John encouraged members to book early and reported the following flight information:

Birmingham: midday flight
Stansted: there will be two flights, 10am and 11am, and the second flight will be the main sick flight
Southampton: 4pm flight and this is already popular, with 80 or 90 people already booked

John also apologised for the late departure of the Manchester flight last year.

Chief Nurse

Theresa Mahon reported that she sent applications forms to nurses a week ago and has already received 18 applications, which is very positive.

She is aiming for 30 nurses and is working hard to achieve that.

Chief Medical Officer

Nuala Mellows asked for more doctors and made a plea for more APs.

She stated that parishes are very supportive if we go to them and there are funds available to help financially if necessary, but we must make that personal approach.

Any other business

Nicole Gallop-Mildon announced that the Trustees have appointed a deputy leader of HCP – Steve Drake. Once he has completed a year in the post, a successor will be determined so that she and Simon Gallop can resign the post and Steve can take over as leader.

It was noted that there is a mistake in the pilgrimage brochure – a child aged 16 can still join HCP, but the brochure incorrectly states the age limit as 15.

Sadie Vile commented that the Young Helpers group will now accept helpers from age 16 after David and Judy Ball have spoken to other youth groups.

Recruitment will include 16 year olds but those people who are only 16 and new 17 year olds will follow a programme similar to that of other youth groups with no work in the Accueil or rolling, but David and Judy Ball have knowledge of alternative activities.

The large age range for the Youth Group has led David and Judy Ball to ask John Tangney if he can identify an alternative hotel for older helpers, as some in the older age group were not happy with a curfew and requested more independence.

The application process, accommodation and travel cost will remain the same, but accommodation will be different.

The Trustees have approved the idea.

Nicole Gallop-Mildon queried if there is a plan to identify the lower age group of Youth Helpers vs 16 year olds in HCP. Sadie Vile agreed to discuss with David and Judy Ball.

Matt Betts offered to contact the clothing supplier with regard to a polo shirt in a different colour if necessary.

Mary Wynne-Jones asked if anything could be done to identify helpers that can assist with tasks such as toilet trips in the underground Basilica. Ciara Jackson replied that this will be addressed at the team leader training day.

Sadie Vile commented that the Trustees have no firm views on the matter.