Chair’s Report to Annual General Meeting, January 2022

Robin Boucher, chair of PVHG, made the following report of 2021 activities to the Annual General Meeting on 25th January 2022:


During the first half of 2021 we were constrained by Government restrictions on meetings, due to the Covid pandemic. Some of us met on Zoom while others felt unable to do so. In the autumn we were able to meet face-to-face once more. Despite the difficulties, the year was not without some achievements.

Following Yvonne Eaton’s retirement from the position of secretary, Sue Brown agreed to take on the role for the next couple of years. Thank you, Sue, for undertaking this work.

While we were unable to meet, Sue Brown and Robert Dilworth worked on production of a list of baptisms and burials which now appears on the Group’s website at pvhg.uk. Some 3,286 entries are now available for visitors to examine.

In mid-June, I led a walk up Mill Street. The weather for the evening was beautiful and around thirty people turned out, which was close to the permitted attendance for an outdoor event at the time. The walk was well-received – the appearance of a peacock near the starting-point was clearly a good omen!

Meanwhile I had also started preparing a publication, based on oral interviews which our predecessors had undertaken from the late 1980’s onwards. Group members helped with proof-reading and supportive feedback and the Parish Council made a grant from its Solar Fund towards production costs. “A Way of Life That Has Gone” was published in December 2021; the PVHG publicity machine rolled into action (thankyou Robert and Sue) and the book was launched at a signing session in the Memorial Hall. At the time of writing over half of the print run of 100 copies has been sold.

Our autumn meetings included a session looking at the 1735 estate map of Packington, and a very interesting presentation by Sue Brown on the Leeson family, prominent in Packington from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. We concluded by starting to plan our contribution to the village’s Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration to be held in June 2022.

Robin Boucher

2nd January 2022

Annual General Meeting — Presentation to Yvonne Eaton

At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of PVHG on Tuesday 25th January 2022, a presentation was made on behalf of the members to our retiring Secretary, founder-member Yvonne Eaton.

Yvonne Eaton displays the cut-glass goblets she has just received from Chair of PVHG Robin Boucher

Yvonne has been a member of our village History Group since its start back in the ’80s, over 30 years ago, and has acted as both Secretary and Treasurer for decades. Many early meetings were held in her home, Beech House on Ashby Road, before the 2009 refurbished Memorial Hall Meeting Room became available, and were renowned for her kind hospitality and provision of welcoming hot drinks and snacks.

She has retired from her rôle as Secretary, but retains her post as Treasurer, which involves a little less work. Yvonne believes the process, of changing our PVHG bank account signatories from her to someone else, might prove far too daunting for her to consider relinquishing this position!

Three decades ago – an early meeting of PVHG stalwarts shows Yvonne in the foreground, with Keith Haines and Nancy Atherton, seated; standing behind L to R are Peter and Laura Cooper, Dorothy Ireland, Doug Pratt and Vera Haines

In a letter to thank the group for the gift she received to acknowledge her many years of secretarial work, Yvonne wrote:

I wish to express my sincere thanks for the generous gift of crystal glasses given by the history group on my retirement as secretary of the group. What a surprise.

I have enjoyed being part of the group from its humble beginnings in the school room, then to Dorothy Ireland's home in the Grange, then to Beech House when Dorothy moved to Ashby, and now the Memorial Hall, long may the group continue.

Please pass my thanks on to all members of the history group."

Book Launch success – Saturday 4th December 2021

The PVHG Book-Launch and Signing took place on Saturday 4th December 2021 at the Hall meeting room. An early purchaser, village resident Colin Goacher, is seen above outside Memorial Hall holding his signed first-day cover of the PVHG book “A Way of Life That has Gone“.

PVHG Chair Robin Boucher, seen below, who had himself painstakingly edited the original source interviews – from villagers of two decades ago, discussing their memories of eight to ten decades ago – was signing launch copies of the book in the Meeting Room.

Front cover – “A Way of Life That has Gone”

Copies of the book are available for purchase at £5 – contact Robin Boucher by email to randbboucher at googlemail dot com, or by telephone on 411638. They will also be available:

  • at the PVHG meeting on 25th January 2022
  • at subsequent 4th Tuesday PVHG meetings
  • at the June Platinum Jubilee display by PVHG during the anticipated Sunday 5th June Strawberry cream tea at the Hall.
The rear cover of “A Way of Life That has Gone”

Guided Walk – Mill Street History – 7:30 pm Tuesday 15th June 2021, led by PVHG

Packington Village History Group PVHG offers a FREE guided history walk of our village’s Mill Street, starting at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 15th June 2021 (weather permitting! – else Tuesday 22nd June 2021)

Our starting point is over there, on the “Severn-Trent Corner” of Babelake Street, at the Junction with Bridge Street, across the road from Mill Street – meet before the 7:30 pm start.

The guided walk will be led by PVHG chair Robin Boucher, whose reputation as a fount of knowledge of both Packington and History is well-deserved.

Mill Street has been described as “The Jewel in The Crown” of Packington, containing some of the most beautiful and historic aspects of our village.

However – it hasn’t always been known as “Mill Street”..

It’s 68 years since the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II – do you know where to find this reminder?

This wall, above, is almost 200 years old – 198 already. Do you know where on Mill Street it is to be found?

The ancient Mill Street steps above are 180 years old. Do you know where they are, and where do – or did – they lead?

Answers to many more of our – and your – questions should be available from our Walk Leader, Robin Boucher, on Tuesday 15th June 2021, starting from the top end of Babelake Street at 7:30 pm. PVHG hope to see you there.

A VITAL STORY to be told – YOURS

Write YOUR Life Story.. for future Packington Residents to read – and to be amazed..?

In March 2020, while confined to his home in our village, Adrian Mongredien writes:

At Hay Literary Festival, I heard a historian talk on how to write the story of our lives.

She told us that nothing is more valuable to historians than first hand experiences. The only way these can be discovered and cross-checked is if a number of people can be persuaded to write about their own individual experiences.

In the next few years the number of people who can remember living just after or through the Second World War will rapidly diminish. Every one of us has a unique story to tell. Events that we may see as mundane and ordinary may be fascinating to our great grandchildren. Consider – if you are over 70, then:

  • you probably grew up in a house with no central heating;
  • with coal fires which you were taught how to light and keep going.
  • you may remember what life was like before television.
  • you may have had no shower, but one bath a week if there was enough hot water.

How can we write our own life story? A good way to start is to find your birth certificate. In my case I was able to find, from mine, the building that I was born in on google maps – a nursing home in Weston Favell Northamptonshire in 1942- and discover that it is still there although it is now an old people’s home. Can you remember

  • the house, or area, in which you were born?
  • Where you first went to school?
  • How near were you to your local shops?
  • Was food and sweets rationed?
  • How many people lived there in the city, town, or village where you lived as a child?
  • Where was the nearest Park?
  • What sort of games did you play with other children living on your street?
  • Did you have a birthday party when you were a child?
  • What sort of presents did you receive at Christmas?
  • What was your favourite radio programme?
  • How many times did you go to the cinema every month?

Answers to all these questions will be of interest to future generations who will almost certainly be living very different lifestyles, as indeed are we today already.

I started writing the story of my early life a couple of years ago. Along the way I have found myself searching the internet for photos of New Brighton Pier (now demolished) and my secondary school (also demolished), and recently discovering on the net, the value of the house where I lived in a bedsit for ten months, during my few years in London in the “swinging sixties”. I was amazed to discover that it sold a couple of years ago for over £27,000,000. That is twenty seven million!!

You have no idea what will turn up until you sit down at your lap top and begin to remember your beginnings.

Over two decades ago, our Village History Group produced some fascinating reminiscences in the form of this “Where were you in the War?” booklet. Please will you NOW help us write YOUR history, for future village residents to enjoy? PVHG hope to publish YOUR story in a similar booklet when our current enforced home isolation comes to an end ..

PVHG suspends 24th March 2020 meet

A message from our Chairman

Hello all:

Normally at this point of the month I would be sending you a reminder that our next meeting will take place in a week’s time (Tuesday 24th March).

However, like most or all of you, I have listened carefully to the Government’s guidance concerning the corona virus. It is clear that the over-70’s and those who have  underlying health conditions are seen as vulnerable groups – both these categories are relevant to our Group. The advice is to adopt social distancing from the coming weekend.

With regret we cannot say that the History Group is an essential service! I therefore believe it is appropriate to suspend our meetings for the time being. I have learned that the Memorial Hall Committee has taken the decision to close the Hall for the time being, which rather takes things out of our hands anyway.

The Government advice is that measures will be in place for the next twelve weeks, which has implications for our April and May dates – I will however take one month at a time and will confirm about these dates nearer the appropriate times.

I look forward to our meeting again when it is considered safe to do so, and wish good health to you all in the meantime.

With best wishes – Robin Boucher  

Minutes of our Meeting on 28 January 2020 (After our AGM)

At Venue 35 – the Memorial Hall Meeting Room – on Tuesday 28th January 2020 at about 8 pm

Present: Chairman Robin Boucher, Secretary & Treasurer Yvonne Eaton, 10 members, and 4 visitors

  • Robin had been approached by Peter Last to see if the History Group were interested in having the hand-written minute book of Packington WI during the period March 1994 through to September 2011 for the archive. The thick bound A4 book was produced, and members agreed it would be a useful addition.
  • Visitor Janice Sumnall described a problem she and Andrew Sumnall were having with the Shire Horse Society in registering their stud in the name of “Packington”, the reason being the Packington Blind Horse. She asked for the groups help in this matter. Sue told Janice she thought the farmer’s name where the Blind horse stood was Hood, but this needed to be researched.   After further discussion Robin read a letter he had drafted to give to Janice to forward to the Shire Horse Society before their AGM  in April, members agreed the letter should be sent.
  • Janice also mentioned  that it will be the 10th year they have opened their farm to the general public for “Farms Open Day“, a national event.  They have had as many as 2,000 visitors  at the event, and this year they want to make it special by displaying agricultural equipment past and present. Many other activities were planned, and she invited the history group to put on a display – the event takes place on Sunday 7th June.
  • The Parish Council have asked the history group to take part in VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations on 8th May, however details of the councils plans have yet to be decided.  Members agreed the group should take part but we need to search the archives to see if any Packington men were in the forces at that time.  The book the history group had previously produced entitled “Where were you in the war” may be of use.
  • Adrian’s history is progressing and now covers the period 0-1100 CE .  He is now almost ready to place this on the website in order that more can be added as time goes by and more historical evidence may emerge.
  • Digitising the oral histories was discussed. An estimate of the cost of this process needs to be acquired, an application to the Solar Fund could then be made.
  • Robin proposed he leads a walk down Mill Street and he has much information to hand – members agreed this should take place at the end of June, weather permitting.
  • Sue put in a request for any pottery pieces anyone finds on their premises.  On a similar quest, visitor Stephen Plummer asked whether PVHG could use metal-detecting equipment to scan the village environment, especially near footpaths, for historic artifacts, perhaps a “Packington Hoard” – he had discovered items dating back to early 1800s this way.
  • Sue also suggested encouraging members to transcribe wills and inventories from the 1600s onwards. Our members agreed this could begin at our March meeting as these documents give a clear insight as to how people lived.
  • Visitor Stephen Plummer encouraged the group to advertise, especially by putting a piece in the Packington Communications Group’s “Welcome Pack“, which is given to all newcomers in the village when they first arrive. Members were in agreement and Robin will proceed with this.  
  • The meeting ended at 9.40pm.
  • Our next PVHG meeting is Tuesday, 25th February at 7.30pm.

Minutes of our PVHG Annual General Meeting AGM on 28 January 2020

At Venue 35 – the Memorial Hall Meeting Room – on Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 7:30 pm

Present: Chairman Robin Boucher, Secretary & Treasurer Yvonne Eaton, 10 members, and 4 visitors

Apologies: No apologies received

Robin welcomed our four visitors. The minutes of the previous AGM were read, approved and signed. Matters arising:–   The hall insurance policy has not 2been checked with regard to key holding members entering the venue to withdraw any archive material at any time, this to be looked into.

Chairman’s report:- 

“2019 began on a positive note with the provision of a cupboard in Venue 35, the Memorial Hall Meeting Room, which was large enough to contain the group’s archive material.  During the year we have begun to sort through the material, though there is much more work to be done on this.  Group members have become more familiar with the size and scope of what we have.   

  • In February we heard from village resident Paula Dring about her researches into the life of Rev. Joseph Goadby who played a major part in the establishment of the Baptist denomination, both in Packington  and in the wider locality.   
  • In April we took part in an open evening at which Memorial Hall user groups displayed information about their activities to local residents.  This was valuable publicity for the group and led to prospective new members joining us. 
  • One of these, David Oakley, told us about soldiers of Packington who had fought in the wars against Napoleon. 
  • David also agreed to co-ordinate a project to collate a photographic record of Packington in 2019 – all group members contributed and the results are available on our website.   
  • In June I led a walk up Packington High Street, which was reasonably well attended despite the weather making its best efforts to frustrate us.  The walk was complemented with a display of photographs of the High Street over the last hundred years and more.   
  • Although we did not meet formally over the summer, we completed publication of the booklet “Gems from the Gilwiskaw” which Laura Cooper had drafted shortly before her death in 2017,.  From a print run of 100 copies, around a quarter have been sold at the time of compiling this report. 
  • We also put on a display of photographs and other relevant items as part of the village Open Gardens at the end of August.
  • In the autumn group member Sue Brown told us about her work on medieval Packington
  • Also in Autumn, Adrian Mongredien produced a draft document on the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.  This led to wider discussion both at our meetings and via email about the origins and early history of our village.  

I believe this summary of activities reflects a Group which has become more firmly established over the year – it has been pleasing to see new faces at our meetings and we will continue to present an open and welcoming face to the village and the wider world. My personal thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Group’s work over the year – roll on 2020! “

Adoption of the chairman’s report proposed by Sue and seconded by Pam. All agreed.

Treasurer’s report:-

  • The group is in funds with the sum of £515.19 in the new Lloyds current account.
  • As members are aware we were forced to close the Nationwide Building Society account as they are no longer providing a savings service for small groups.
  • I must thank Robin for his help in opening the Lloyds account especially as 2 lots of applications needed in hard copy were not received by Lloyds head office, fortunately the third application was, it took from the beginning of December to 24th January to have a valid current account.
  • We still have books on hand, for sale and so far, 29 copies of “Gems from the Gilwiskaw” have been sold.

Adoption of treasurer’s report proposed by Sue and seconded by David. All agreed.

Election of Officers:

  • Chairman – Robin Boucher, proposed by Yvonne, seconded by Adrian. Carried
  • Vice Chair – Again to be left in abeyance.
  • Secretary/treasurer – Yvonne Eaton, proposed by Nev, seconded by Sue. Carried.
  • Committee members appointed –
    • Robin,
    • David Oakley,
    • Robert,
    • Yvonne, and
    • Diane (not present) if she agrees.

Any Other Business:-

The question of membership fees was agreed at £10 each and £15 per couple, as last year. Anyone attending 3 meetings is expected to pay, but any new members attending from September onwards, their membership fee would also cover the following year.

The meetings to be as previously, every fourth Tuesday of the month with the exception of July, August and December. Members agreed that these AGM Minutes be circulated again prior to the 2021 AGM. AGM closed!

PVHG Publishes new Packington History Booklet – “Gems from the Gilwiskaw”

Packington Village History Group PVHG is delighted to welcome publication of “Gems from the Gilwiskaw”, which author Laura Cooper completed shortly before her death.

Gems” represents a lasting tribute to Laura’s participation in Packington life, and illustrates her commitment to recording the village’s history.

Laura was born in Packington in 1931, but lived for her first four years in Ravenstone. (Laura said that her parents decided to move back to Packington so that she could attend the Packington School). She remained in Packington for the rest of her life.

In “Gems” she paints vivid pictures from her childhood in the village (and Ravenstone) in the 1930’s and 40’s. Laura completed the manuscript shortly before her death in 2016.

Copies are available from:

  • Robin Boucher tel 411638 email: randbboucher@googlemail.com
  • Yvonne Eaton tel 412269 email: yvonne.eat@outlook.com
  • at a cost of £3.50 each copy
Robin Boucher
Packington Village History Group 
August 2019