On Thursday, 2nd November 2000 the "Newbury Weekly News" published in NWN2 an article entitled "Bartholomew Street Past & Present. It included this picture and caption. The picture was loaned to the "NWN" by Ian Bennett of the Lighting Centre, Bartholomew Street who allowed me to photocopy it and scan it in - thank you Ian.

This photograph of a Remembrance Day service at the War Memorial in Bartholomew Street, taken by Sidney Collins around 1944 - 1946, features the following: front, far left: Gilbert Sellick, choirmaster and organist of St. Nicolas Church, Newbury. An honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, he was organist at the parish church from 1932, and adjudicated as an organ examiner and in organ competitions in Australia, South Africa and Europe.

With him are pictured Mr. S. Lewis, landlord of the Wellington Arms, Newbury, who was a chorister from 1925 - 75; his son Michael Lewis; head choirboy, Derrick Buxton; Ian Bennett; Peter Robinson; Ivor Meacher, Robin Stillman, the verger's son; Michael Lewis (?); David Dubock, son of the manager of Elliot's of Newbury; and Harry Welch. In front of the memorial stands the curate at St. Nicolas, the Rev. William Read, a former naval chaplain.

The then rector, the Rev. Bertram Russell, is not pictured. To the right of the picture are Counclllor Gordon Wickens, Councillor Charlie Burns (his tailor's shop was in Bartholomew Street), and Alderman Bassett, the solicitor. Major Cole and the Earl of Carnarvon are also thought to be pictured. At the rear of the picture are the Misses Biddis, two Newbury teachers.

I never knew Gilbert Sellick. When I transferred to St. Nicolas Church Choir in 1972 from St. Mary's Speenhamland, David Reynolds was the organist and choirmaster. Mr. S. Lewis was still in the choir as was his son, Michael. By that time Michael was singing tenor and was an accomplished soloist. His rendering of "Comfort Ye" which I heard him sing on Advent Sunday 1972 was superb. Although no longer in the choir - he is not very agile these days - I still see him from time to time and he continues to take a keen interest in the choir and organ at St. Nicolas. When I saw this pictured I puzzled for some time why Michael and his father are pictured at St. Nicolas. (The Wellington Arms is opposite St. John's). Then I remembered that St. John's was bombed during the World War 2.
I know Harry Welch well and his wife Majorie, who was a nurse. Both are retired now, although Harry still sings in the St. Nicolas Open Choir and Festival Chorus.

I met Ian Bennett through the Old Parkonians Associations and through the Newbury and District Organists' Association some thirty years ago, but it wasn't until I saw this picture that I associated him with St. Nicolas Church Choir.

Footnote:  This page is being created on Remembrance Sunday 2000 (12/11/00). It is 8:30 am and I must get ready for church soon. As I write the storyline I am wondering what the present choir will make of the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial today. Unlike those pictured none of us few of us were alive during the War.

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