With the death of John Haston at the age of 101 last month Whittington lost a great friend, and a man who dedicated so much of his leisure time to raising funds to build a Village Hall for all the community to enjoy. John was born at Church Cottage on 20 May 1917, went full time to Whittington school, and worked on the family farm for the rest of his life. His wife Muriel was born at Gressingham, and they spent over seventy happy years together.
They really were a good team. John and a small group of villagers got together in 1946 to form a committee, which John soon became Chairman of, to raise money to build a Village Hall. The village already had a site that had been given to the village by the Dawson Greene family when the estate was broken up in 1926. It consisted of a small sweet shop, with the men’s reading room above, and a large overgrown garden. It took almost twenty years to raise enough money to start building, and with the help of a grant from Lancashire County Council, the Hall was finally opened in 1964.
When I was asked to join the committee in 1966, the first task was to raise money to build the supper room. After that, new tables and chairs were needed, and later on a new maple dance floor was laid. The central heating was a constant problem which was finally solved when gas central heating was fitted in 1986 just before John retired and left the committee. All these things were paid for with money raised by the sheer hard work of the committee led by a wonderful chairman
John was also chairman of the Horticultural Society, which held an annual show, but ran out of helpers in the 1970s. John’s achievements and his legacy to the village will be a hard act to follow.
The Council seem to have given up on repairing pot holes. The road surfaces just seem to get worse and worse, and no sign of any roadmen. I think they must have made the highways inspector redundant so that they are not being constantly reminded of the poor state of our roads.
I thoroughly enjoyed the church Heritage Day. The presentation was very good and very interesting. As usual the food and drink were very tasty, and my contribution seemed quite popular. As usual, if anyone would like to borrow any of my collected material, I am always willing to lend it out.