May: A meeting of miscellany

May. One of three months when our meetings end and there is still some light in the sky. May. June. July. Longer days and light evenings. Leaving Chadkirk Chapel and walking down the lane as night falls, this evening, light in the northwest and the gibbous moon, just off full, rising in the east. On the air, the spicy tang of wild garlic and the warm animal smell of cattle grazing on the pasture in the meadows.

At this evening’s meeting of Friends of Chadkirk, it seemed that all of life was in the mix.The discussion ranged over activities from biodiversity and animal rescue, to footpaths, wood carving, tombstones and easter eggs – a flavour of the many ways in which this group gives time and energy to this special landscape.

During the meeting we learned that Chadkirk Chapel had attracted over 400 visitors (making it the busiest heritage site in Stockport that day), many of those took part in the Easter Egg hunt organised by our resourceful volunteers. The money raised by this and the sale of Mary’s Easter chicks is a valuable contribution to the fund that is used to maintain Chadkirk Chapel and gardens.

Gorton Animal Sanctuary is a popular attraction at the Chadkirk Festival and our Easter service retiring collection made a contribution to this charity. The certificate we received in return ( a thank you for the donation) this is now proudly displayed on our notice board in the Chapel.

Two of the volunteers are working on a project to update a 30 year old booklet which provides an historical record of the tombstones and gravestones in the Chapel and the Chapel grounds. This is a work in progress as we look to explore ways of making this information available to people who are interested in the lives of local people over the centuries.

As we look forward to the summer months, plans are crystallising for the Festival. Stall holders have received letters requesting confirmation, and at a future meeting we’ll have a list of the full range of attractions on offer. Before that there’ll be the Plant Sale on June 13th. It was emphasised that this starts at 2-30pm.

Under Any Other Business there was a request for information about the woodcarvings at Chadkirk. There’s a wooden carved St. Chad outside the Walled Garden. Who is the artist/craftsman who made this? Is it the same person who carved the giant woodpecker on the tree overlooking the garden? And who, we wondered , made the giant wigwam on the hillside , by the path through Kirk Wood? A local writer is interested to know the answer to the first question. We’d also like to know the identity of the others who have made their own contribution to the particular quality of Chadkirk Country Park.

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