Heritage Open Days 2021

We would like to thank all those who came along to support us at Flaybrick during the recent open days programme.

We opened on three separate occasions, 11th, 15th and 19th September and as well as showing visitors around the chapel area we also led several groups each day on short tours of the site, pointing out the resting places of many of the town’s most important and influential people and talking about the history of the site.

Once again, it was most rewarding to see the numbers who came along and it is so rewarding to know that the hard work and commitment shown by our group and of course Wirral Council’s on site team with whom we work closely, is so appreciated. Generous donations too are gratefully accepted and supporters can be assured that all we receive is put directly back into the work we do at Flaybrick.

Green Flag Award 2020-2021

On 14th October, Flaybrick was one of three new Wirral sites to receive the coveted Green Flag Award, a benchmark national standard for publicly accessible parks and green spaces.

This is a tremendous achievement; the Council team, both on and off site and the hard working volunteers who regularly turn up to support the gardeners are to be congratulated. Equally important however are those who are now returning to look after graves or simply come along to enjoy a walk around the 26 acre site. The visitor friendly Memorial Gardens are now being used and valued more than they have been for many years and we look forward to seeing the award flag flying proudly before too long.

Flaybrick volunteers together with council staff pictured when the Green Flag Award was announced.

Heritage Open Days 2020

WILL ALL OUR FRIENDS AND FOLLOWERS PLEASE NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH OUR OPEN DAY SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2020 WILL GO AHEAD AS PLANNED, IT HAS BECOME NECESSARY TO CANCEL THE OTHER TWO PROPOSED EVENTS ON 16TH SEPTEMBER AND 20TH SEPTEMBER DUE TO THE RECENT CHANGE IN COVID REGULATIONS. WE ARE MOST SORRY TO HAVE TO IMPOSE THIS CHANGE AT SUCH SHORT NOTICE.

WE DO HOPE THAT YOU WILL BEAR WITH US AT THIS DIFFICULT TIME; PLEASE STAY SAFE AND TAKE CARE.

The Friends of Flaybrick are happy to announce that we plan to open to the public on three occasions during the forthcoming Heritage Open Days programme.

We will be opening the chapels on 12th, 16th and 20th September between 11.00 am and 3.00 pm on each day and will be offering a series of mini guided walks on each day. All activities will of course be carried out in full compliance with current regulations and restrictions.

Four of our volunteers will be conducting the walks and they will each cover a different area of Flaybrick. Five stories will be told on each walk and they should last around 20 minutes. Visitors will of course be allowed to go on more that one walk if they wish.

Regulations require the walks to be pre booked and this can be done by ringing Chris Morris on 07592332519. A maximum of six people will be able to go on each walk and Chris will allocate spaces accordingly.

We look forward to seeing regular faces again as well as new visitors, having had to cancel this year’s guided walk programme for obvious reason. Let’s hope that the weather is kind to us!

Wirral History & Heritage Fair 7th March 2020

Once again The Friends of Flaybrick will be actively involved in the above fair which will be held at Birkenhead Town Hall.

The event is open from 10am until 4pm and as usual admission is free.

There will be in the region of 50 Heritage & History stalls as well as vintage vehicles, family history advice and hot and cold refreshments.

We look forward to seeing you on the day and will be happy to help you with any queries you may have regarding family resting in Flaybrick.

Wirral Horn Award 2019

The Friends of Flaybrick are very proud to announce we have been honoured with the Wirral Horn Award 2019 by the Wirral History & Heritage Association.

Each year the Association presents the Award (a replica Wirral Horn) to an individual or group which has made an exceptional contribution towards preserving or enhancing some aspect of Wirral’s Heritage.

The presentation was made by the Association’s Chair, Paul Smith. And was accepted on behalf of the Friends of Flaybrick by our Chair, Rob Dolphin…but we all got in on the photo 🙂

Couldn’t be more proud of our Charity tonight. Well done everyone…

Freinds of Flaybrick receiving Wirral Horn Award presented by The Wirral History and Heritage Association

Remembrance Service, 11th November 2019

The Friends were grateful for the support received from the local community when we held our latest Remembrance Service on Monday 11th November. We were delighted too that the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral, Councillor and Mrs Smith, were able to join us.

Despite a couple of brief showers, the weather failed to spoil the event which was led by the vicar of Bidston Parish Church, Revd. Ron Iveson. We were particularly happy this year to welcome children from Bidston Avenue Primary School and Bidston CE Primary School and we look forward to working with the schools in the future to strengthen the bond we have now created.

As ever, yet again our growing numbers of supporters in the local community were there for the service. We opened the site from 10.00 am and also for a while after the service in order that visitors were able to see the exhibition which had been prepared with biographies and, wherever possible, photographs of people, both military and civilian, who as victims of war are either resting or commemorated in Flaybrick.

The hard work of members of The Friends of Flaybrick ensured that things went well and the site was looking at its best; the Friends are also grateful for the support provided by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cheshire Freemasons.

Knitted poppies on fence in front of chapel
Dignitaries at Remembrance ceremony
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Remembrance Event to be Held on Monday 11th November 2019

The Friends of Flaybrick are pleased to announce that we will be holding a Remembrance Service at Flaybrick Memorial Gardens on Monday 11th November 2019. We are honoured to confirm that the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral will be in attendance.

The service will be led by the Revd. Ron Iveson from St Oswald’s Parish Church and he will be supported by the Revd. Di Watson, the Revd. Keith Addenbrooke and the Revd. Sandra Langerhuizen.

We will begin to assemble at the Cross of Sacrifice at about 10.45 am and are delighted that we will be joined by pupils and staff from Bidston Avenue Primary School and Bidston CE Parish School.

We look forward to seeing as many of our supporters who are able to join us on this important day.

Visit from our patron the Rt Hon Frank Field MP

On Saturday 21st September I was proud to take our Frank around Flaybrick on an hour-long tour. There was just so much in the way of progress to show him. First stop was his tree in the NC section, he was so pleased that he wanted a selfie with it! He was concerned about the bark damage though and he offered to pay for a tree guard.

Onto the Ed McHugh memorial and I explained that Luke Agnew had done a great job in organising and funding this new memorial. I also showed him the nearby Hamm grave with its new headstone paid for by a member of the public and a sign of the increased confidence the public are showing in Flaybrick.

He then walked the length of our woodland walk and appreciated the springy bark mulch underfoot. I told him that Ranger Niel Mutch had assisted the volunteers in making the 400 metre walk which took about 2000 man hours to create. He greatly appreciated the view and that it showed an array of church towers and domes.

Frank Field on The Flaybrick Nature Trail

On then to the CE section where we could see a huge sweep of clearance work along the Loch Ah Tam wall with brash piles all the way down. No doubt at all as to how much work we are doing. I called over everyone and he thanked them for their efforts. As we spoke, two members of the public approached and said how much they appreciated what we are doing and could they join and start work! Couldn’t have been better timed! It was now our chance to thank Frank and I presented him with a copy of the Kemp garden History book to commemorate the completion of 15 years as our patron.

A small token of thanks to Frank Field for his patronage to Friend's of Flaybrick over the past 15 years

We then made our way to the chapels to meet the open day and walks teams. He was really impressed by the clearance of the arch infills done only days before by the council contractors. He appreciated that we had had to work long and hard to achieve the clearance and overcome planning objections.

Frank stops for a photo with volunteers David, Graham, Jayne and Brian.

At the end of the visit he said he had found the morning personally very uplifting and expressed his appreciation and thanks for all that we are doing.

(the original plan for a social event to commemorate Franks 15 years as patron was not possible as Frank had to return to London that day earlier than expected and so could only spare one hour with us in the morning. This should have been made clear to the membership and I apologise for any problems this may have caused).

John Moffat

Angus Tilston MBE

It is with great sadness that we pay tribute to of one of our oldest members. Angus had been ill for 6 months before passing away in early August at the age of 86. He has been a member of the Friend’s for 20 years having joined us in July 1999.

Angus was the the founder of Swan Movie Makers, a group dedicated to many aspects of film making but also to recording the Wirral for posterity. In 2006 he said, “I would like to make a video about Flaybrick and the Friends”. Of course, we said yes. There then followed one of the best projects we have ever done as a group.

Image of  the Video Cover of The History and Future of Flaybrick Memorial Gardens
The History & Future of Flaybrick Memorial Gardens Directed by Angus Tilston.

Nearly all of the Friends were involved, either on camera, narrating, being interviewed or helping with distribution. Angus was at the helm, directing of course and always in his beige tilly hat. A measure of how good a job he did can be seen by its financial success when it went on sale at many outlets throughout the Wirral, including bookshops. I was amazed when I looked back at our accounts to find that in the first year of sales in 2007, the video made £645.79. Sales continued all the way till 2016, when by then, the total sales amounted to £1171.31. Although a percentage went back to Swann Movies the video was a major boost to the society’s income. Of course, the video also considerably raised our public profile.

Angus also produced two mood videos with images of Flaybrick dissolving into each other accompanied by especially commissioned music. Then in 2017 he filmed the chapel opening event, once again producing a lovely and priceless record of this important event. I was particularly grateful to him for this as I was hospitalised the day before and missed the big day.

In 2009 it was wonderful to see Angus awarded the MBE for services to the historic film industry.

Angus Tilston MBE

We were fortunate indeed to have had such a talented film maker as member and on behalf of all the membership we say, “Farewell our staunch and loyal friend”.

by John Moffat

75 years since D Day Commemorations

Dr Arthur Thomas Doodson

Dr Arthur Thomas Doodson now rests peacefully in Flaybrick. A pacifist at heart, he never the less played a key role in the success of this great milatary operation by producing the tide tables for the Normandy beaches.

Two days ago his daughter in law Valerie Doodson MBE spoke on national TV to explain his contribution.

Yesterday in the face of the councils failure to maintain Flaybrick strimming regime, Brian Sinton made sure that his grave was presentable for the anniversary by cutting the grass himself.

Flaybrick is indeed honoured to be the home of this great man his presence is a reminder of how important our task is to preserve it.

John Moffat