Every year the Centre submits an article to the Eccleston Parish Council magazine, featuring some of the activities organised by the committee at the Centre.

Here are some:

From 2008/2009

We were honoured with a visit from royalty, albeit 500 years after his reign!. Resplendent in full regalia and sporting a fashionable codpiece, (but alas, no crown jewels) King Henry VIII of England, France and Ireland held Royal court with the members of the ’89 Society. In the guise of the Tudor king was Ray Irving, who tours the country giving an entertaining insight into the life and loves of Henry. Ray can be seen in Henry mode as a regular feature at Salmsbury Hall. A Victorian Millionaire also enthralled us with tales of adventure and excess from around the Empire. Liverpool Ranger Richie Baker donned top hat and tails to give a fascinating peep into the world of the Liverpool Victorian millionaire newspaper magnate and philanthropist Mister Henry Yates Thompson. “Who’s he?” I hear you ask. He was the man responsible for the original Palm House in Sefton Park. The ’89 Society has been entertaining and enlightening members for twenty years with varied programmes of historical subjects, travelogues, music and the arts and wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops… and contrary to the name you don’t need to be 89 to join.

In response to numerous enquires and in addition to the regular bridge clubs our bridge guru Derek has started a beginners bridge club on a Wednesday morning.

The Gardening Circle were consistent in their performance at the annual inter clubs Gardening Quiz hosted by the Croxteth Gardening Club in the library at Croxteth Hall – well done team!


From 2007/2008

“Bring your cameras”, said the lady on the phone, “there will be lots to photograph”. And how right she was! Imagine if you can the world’s largest owl, the European Eagle Owl, flying close over the heads of the ’89 Society members in the Lester Drive Centre. It was an awesome sight. The magnificent predator having a wingspan of six feet, flying so close overhead you could almost reach out and touch it. Its huge talons were as large as a man’s hands and equipped with long razor sharp claws, quite capable of inflicting terrible, even fatal injury on anyone or anything the bird perceived to be a threat. The lady on the phone was Margaret Price who runs a business called Lancashire Hawks and Owls, in Blackburn. She and her business partner drove up to the Lester Drive Centre in a large van with a huge American Owl called Zulu, perched on a special stand between the driver and passenger seats, gazing serenely out through the windscreen. The hawks and owls each one tethered to its own stand, were brought into the hall and placed on a protective tarpaulin sheet laid over the carpet. Each bird in turn was introduced to the audience and its story told. Margaret’s business involves rescuing sick or injured raptors and nursing them back to health. Birds that cannot be released again into the wild are given a home in Margaret’s aviaries to live out their lives in safety and comfort. It was evident to us all that the birds adored Margaret and her partner, and were equally adored in return.

In September Radio Merseyside’s Frankie Connor came along to entertain members of the ’89 Society with songs- he brought his guitar- and anecdotes about Liverpool and it’s people; stars of radio, TV, and films; the Cavern Club and the Beatles, Cilla Black and her ‘stage’ scouse accent – she doesn’t speak like that in everyday life. We enjoyed a wonderful evenings entertainment. Frankie held his audience enthralled for almost an hour and a half, then he joined us for refreshments and stayed for a further hour or more chatting to everyone – what a character! What a thoroughly nice man.

The major upset of the year at the LDC was the loss of the Chiropody service. Due to a reorganisation in the Primary Care Trust the service was moved to the Lingholme Centre in St.Helens. Soon after its inauguration in 1955 the Eccleston Old People’s Welfare Committee – who own and manage the Centre – initiated the Chiropody service in Eccleston for the benefit of the elderly and infirm people in the district. Mr Pye, the chiropodist was engaged and clinics were held on Saturday mornings in the Congregational Church at Kiln Lane. The service was later transferred to our new premises in Lester Drive. After hosting the Chiropody service for over fifty years we are understandably sad to see the service go, and a vulnerable section of the community deprived of a valued local amenity.


From 2009/2010

We all sat spellbound, enchanted by the dulcet timbre of that most ancient of instruments the harp. Performing this pizzicato apotheosis was the most charming Louise Thomson, a professional musician and music teacher from Manchester. Louise gave us a wonderful evenings entertainment, interspersing the history and development of the harp as an instrument with playing a range of pieces from traditional celtic harp music and classical music to West End Show and Broadway theatricals and even treating us to special musical arrangements of her own. She charmed the audience with a quite self effacing passion for her music and real enthusiasm for the harp. It is surprising that Louise finds time for charitable fundraising but she is running the London Marathon in aid of the Alzheimers Society, anyone interested in helping can find more information at:

The Last Lighthouse Keeper also enthralled us with tales of endurance and hardship of the Lighthouse Service men and women. Mister Gordon Medlicott began his career in the merchant navy before working for Trinity House in many of Britain’s on and off shore Lighthouses until the last lighthouses became automated in 1998.

The ’89 Society has a varied programme of historical subjects, travelogues, music and arts, wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops.

The Eccleston Gardening Circle is hosting the annual inter clubs Gardening Quiz with teams from Croxteth Hall, Roby and Whiston Gardening Clubs. So Good Luck Eccleston team!


From 2010/2011

‘Eee turned out nice again hasn’t it?’  is the perfect way to describe one of the evenings  enjoyed by the members of the ’89 Society in this season’s varied programme of demonstrations, lectures and entertainment. Brian Hetherington kept everyone enthralled with his skill and craftsmanship and deft use of the lathe whilst turning one of our raffle prizes. Slowly shaving layers from a stripy piece of ‘firewood’, - as Brian described it, he told the story of where he’d purloined the piece of spalted beech timber from. Gradually  from the wood emerged the makings of a beautiful wooden, hand turned pen.  The pen’s mechanism and metal fittings were assembled and following a quick polish given pride of place among the rest of the prizes. Brain is secretary of the Wigan Woodcrafts and demonstrates at events up and down the country and is scheduled for our christmas fair.

The wildlife and landscapes of Islay proved to be a fascinating evening with superb photography from Gorden Yates who has spent twenty five years of summers there often cramped in a small hide, documenting the island’s flora and fauna.  He showed us some of examples which are usually difficult to spot and even some which are endangered species.

The ’89 Society has a varied programme of historical subjects, travelogues, music and arts, wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops.


From 2011/2012

The Eccleston Old People’s Welfare Committee wanted to start a series of ‘Taster’ classes, its aim being to introduce people to a new interest or hobby and to enable people with similar interests to socialise and share ideas, techniques and equipment. We looked to the talents of our regulars for inspiration and found that a certain former Eccleston resident was a talented card maker! So, with a small grant from a local charity for a selection of materials and some basic equipment we persuaded Lesley and Anita to volunteer. They kindly agreed to run a taster session on Handmade Card crafting, which proved so popular that it  turned into a six week course!  The crafters meet semi regularly on a Tuesday afternoon and recently used a session to make cards to help our fund raising.

The Committee would like to organise more taster sessions so if anyone has any suggestions or would like to run a session please contact the EOPWC.

‘Ere, no - listen’, the second installment of The Golden Age of Comedy was a real hoot, ‘playmates’ were transported back to their childhood days by Brian Halliwell, with tales of great Lancashire (and other) comedians like Rob Wilton, Arthur Askey, Jimmy Clitheroe, Max Miller, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy - I thank you! The ’89 Society has a varied programme of historical subjects, travelogues, music and arts, wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops.

The Lester Drive Centre has launched our website:  On it is a history of the Centre, details of groups and forthcoming events and more information on our building project.


From 2012/13

The Committee decided that they wanted their Jubilee celebration to be something slightly different, something with a small twist, so held a Jubilee celebration Elizabethan style. The hall was decorated with bunting adorned with the Royal Standard of the era, Royal Crest from the Elizabethan court, a portrait of Good Queen Bess in her coronation robes, a 1405 Royal Standard flag and modern Union flag. Roger Mitchell agreed to come and give an illustrated talk on the Progresses of Elizabeth I throughout her lands, showing how she and her entourage would ‘descend’ upon some poor Lord, Duke or Earl and expect the very best of accommodation, entertainment and food! Speaking of food the buffet table was laden with a mixture of Elizabethan foods from across the social ladder. From the poor mans table there was flummery, pease pudding and salmon cooked in ale, from higher up the scale there was cheese and ale, pasties and jumbles. From the rich table there was hedgehog (picture), ham cooked on hay, potted beef, spinach quiche and an Elizabethan casserole served with a goodly trencher, followed by Elizabethan trifle and maids of honour. A glass of tradition style ale was served and a white burgundy or red claret style wine. Thanks to the Smithy for lending some authentic Tudor artefacts and recipe ideas.

Roger Mitchell also gave a fascinating talk to the ’89 Society on George Nathaniel Curzon, Viceroy of India and eccentric Country house fan. The exotic east came to Eccleston in the shapely form of Fatima the Belly Dancer, who was great entertainment and very humorous, not to mention the audience participation! Tom Preston spoke on the History of the Theatre Royal and then there was the Haydock Ladies choir. The ’89 Society has a varied programme of historical subjects, travelogues, music and arts, wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops.

From 2013/14

The members of the ’89 Society were treated to the ‘sound of times gone by’, when Sid Calderbank regaled them with songs and stories from the County told in the traditional tongue of the region. It was surprising to find that many of the audience needed to ‘tune’ their ears back into the language and dialect that was once regular everyday speech around the lanes of Lancashire. Sid is a nationally recognised exponent of Lanky twang, yet was surprised when a number of old St.Helens dialect words were spoken that even he had not heard before. There is a short video of Sid telling the story, in dialect, of Jone o Grenfilt, who set out to do battle with the Frenchies available to watch on our Facebook page.

We welcomed Roger Mitchell back, (after a promise to feed him) to give a seasonal talk to the ’89 Society on the Victorian Christmas - what the Dickens I hear you say, but Roger put his own ‘slant’ on the subject, by looking at ways the Dukes of Devonshire celebrated at Chatsworth and at their modest town house in London- Devonshire House in Piccadilly! Members were welcomed with a ‘hot bowl of smokin’ Bishop…Bob” then a fine Mrs Beeton inspired buffet accompanied Roger’s fascinating talk, with tastings of potted tongue, cottage pie, chestnuts, sausage, raised pies of pork and chicken, blood pudding, haggis with jellies, blancmange and plum pudding.

There was a brilliant talk on the History of Norton Priory by Keith and Kathy Williams who are regular volunteers there and also a talk on the Williamson Tunnels, so lots of local interest. The ’89 Society has a varied programme of historical subjects, travelogues, music and arts, wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops.

Brian Hetherington was demonstrating pen-making at the Homewatch Autumn Fair and even persuaded the Mayor to have a go! Brian is planning a pen making woodturning taster session at the Centre - places are limited so anyone interested should contact us.

Groups from the Centre have joined in with the Committee’s fund raising for the Building Project and have organised and ran sessions based around their groups’s interest, so thanks to the members of the Bridge groups, the Art group, the Thursday Bingo and the card crafters. The Centre has also been awarded several grants from local fundraisers and the Committee thank the St.Helens Rotary, the Rainhill Rotary and the Rainhill Gala for their generous support.

From 2014/15

The mayor of St.Helens, our very own Councillor Geoff Pearl and Mayoress Carol Pearl unveiled a new commemorative flower bed and plaque, to celebrate the centenary of the outbreak of the ‘Great War’, idealistically known at that time as the war to end all wars..

The Committee wanted to mark the anniversary and commemorate the sacrifices made by a generation during the First World War. The wild flower border had produced a colourful display that included a number of types of poppies so the idea of adding a new flower bed evolved into a WW1 commemorative bed. The design was inspired by one of the British campaign medals, the 1914-15 Bronze star nicknamed ‘Pip’, that was awarded to troops that served in any theatre of war against Germany between 5th August 1914 and 31st December 1915. Some of the plants included have symbolic meaning. Rosemary for love and devotion and remembrance, Lavender for loyalty,  Geranium for folly and stupidity, Snapdragon for desperation and constancy and of course the Flanders Field Poppy so synonymous with WW1. The plaque gives an explanation of the medal, the plants the Flanders poppy and has a list of some of the men on Eccleston’s Roll of Honour.

After the mayor unveiled the plaque, members, friends of the Centre and local dignitaries enjoyed an afternoon cream tea with homemade cakes and a glass of sparkling wine and homemade strawberry liqueur. 

The Committee were invited to an evening tour of the Mayor’s Parlour and enjoyed a lovely buffet courtesy of Geoff and Carol, where he gave us an insight into the day to day business of being the Mayor, his civic role and duties - what a busy schedule!

On the theme of civic dignitaries the ’89 Society members were entertained by a visit from the award winning Liverpool Town Crier, Mr Terry Stubbings and his wife, who told of the history of the role and how it evolved in this country from the medieval waits or watchman.

Ever wondered just how the European Parliament works? Former MEP Michael Hindley enlightened us with its’ history and working practices. The Haydock Ladies Male Voice Choir, ooops!  gave a lovely Christmas concert and there was even a sing along. Local topics included an interesting talk on the Mansion House and Tom Preston spoke about the early days of television. The ’89 Society has a varied programme of historical subjects, travelogues, music and arts, wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops.

The Gardening Circle have enjoyed talks on orchids, the floating Island at Brockholes Nature Reserve, the National Garden Scheme in Lancashire and also growing Dahlias and sweet peas, oh, and the team came joint first in the inter club gardening quiz, so well done team! The ever affable Vicky Myers from Annie’s Flowers, agreed to do a talk and demonstration of Christmas table centres and to support our fundraising did not charge.

From 20015/16

The Eccleston Old People’s Welfare Committee have celebrated a milestone as it was formed 60 years ago in 1955. Mr John Barron was chairman of the Old Age Pensioners Association and was ‘…deputed to convene a meeting with the object of forming a local old people’s welfare committee…’ The first meeting was held at Chapel Lane school on Monday 14th March 1955 with a guest speaker being a Miss D. Cooper the county (Lancashire as it was then) organiser of Old People’s Welfare. There were many representatives from local organisations ‘encouraged’ or cajoled onto the committee. It also happens to be 50 years since the Committee purchased Stanley Ellison’s old builders hut on Lester Drive and began the process of conversion.


The ’89 Society members were entertained by the superb talent of Mark Dowding with Lancashire songs, stories and poems. Mark is a member of the Lancashire Folk Group and sang traditional Lancashire songs by local writers like Harry Boardman, Edmund Hill and poems by Harvey Laycock, Henry Clifton and Cliff Gerard, all with wonderful titles like ‘Billy Suet’ and ‘Bodle un Mischief un Poncake un me’. Mark even had the original tune for, ‘She was very fond of dancing’. There is a clip of Mark on our Facebook page. There was a fascinating talk by Tom Preston on the Gerard Family of Garswood Hall. A history of Nursery Rhymes- who would guess that ‘Hey diddle diddle’ is about a pub crawl or that so many innocent tales recall treachery, torture and bloodshed. Brian Arnold ‘let the cat out of the bag’ and explained the origin of many everyday phrases in his humorous talk, Naughty Nautical Terms.

A special team of crack gardeners came along to help redesign our patch of garden. Eccleston Brownies and their leaders, veni, vidi, vici! Leader Vicky Myers had them plan out the space before they turned out in force to ‘get grubby’. It rained all night and all the day. stopping just before they arrived. Fortunately they are Lancashire Brownies and despite mud everywhere they battled with weeding, raking, digging, a little trimming then enriching the soil, learning about worms, planting and sowing! There was mud, weeds and worms everywhere but they thoroughly enjoyed digging in and helping. Thanks to the brownies, leaders and to a couple of our own Gardening Circle members who helped. The reward  was a superb variety of wildflowers, which came out in our ‘meadow’ which attracted a huge variety of insects from butterflies, bees and hover flies to damsel and even a dragonfly.

Local duo, Harmony Unlimited entertained at the Christmas concert and there was even a sing along.

The ’89 Society (not the average age of the members, but formed in 1989) has a varied programme of historical subjects, travelogues, music and arts, wildlife and nature, in the form of talks, slideshows and workshops.

The Gardening Circle have enjoyed varied talks ranging from local subjects, The Changing Nature of St.Helens by local lad Tom Ferguson, to Composting techniques  and Mount Pleasant Gardens in Cheshire.


From 2016/2017

The Parish Council Magazine changed to a smaller A5 format.

The hall was full of antiques, all had been brought along by their wives!

What an hilarious evening was enjoyed with television personality, auctioneer and valuer Adam Partridge, who recounted some of his humorous experiences in the business.

The Committee have been fundraising and managed to purchase the garages that are adjacent to the Centre and aim to annex them to it when funding permits.

The Committee would like to thank everyone, helpers, volunteers & users for their continued hard work and support.

For more info please Telephone 01744 26813

or e-mail:


From 20017/18

The Centre is celebrating a milestone, it was officially opened 50 years ago this year, on a cool autumn day by Mrs Mary Wilson, wife of the Prime Minister.

The Committee have held lots of fund raisers including a fantastic wine tasting evening from the recently opened Eccleston Winestore. Keep an eye out for more fundraisers towards the annex conversion project. The annual bedding plant sale is on Sunday 6th and Monday 7th May.


From 2018/19

Some of you have probably noticed an addition to the roof of the Centre.

As part of our ‘Green Energy’ project

we have installed a Solar PV system

to help reduce Carbon emissions and energy bills. We had advice from the Carbon Trust and thanks to the support from The Rainford Trust, Co-op and the Rainhill Rotary. This means that Phases 1 and 3 of the Annex Project are done!

Keep an eye out for more fundraisers towards the annex conversion

The annual bedding plant sale is on Sunday 5th & Monday 6th May.