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Calderdale Methodist Circuit : Ann Ashton

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Brought up locally in Halifax (parents) and Mytholmroyd (grandparents) – initially all links were Anglican until I went to boarding school – Queenswood near Halfield, Herts. This is loosely a Methodist School with more Anglicans than Methodists. The headmistress was a very impressive person. Worship in the school chapel (very boring at times) became a most important part of school life for me. The vicar of Halifax at that time was Archdeacon Eric Treacy, a fantastic preacher and pastor. Very much a lifestyle model for me in my teens.

I attended Queens University in Belfast where I read social studies.

This period introduced me to ways of existing that I never knew about – smelly apartment houses where the wallpaper was constantly on the move due to lice etc. – state of housing which has now disappeared, thankfully, although it is still possible to stick to the floor.

I became involved in guides at the Parish Church which attracted youngsters from very deprived backgrounds, who lived in the Parish. Later I ran Guides at St Michael's Dewsbury then helped at St Andrew's in Halifax. I was also divisional leader for Postal Guides and Sea Rangers – seems a long time ago now.

My employment history is perhaps as diverse – from medical secretary at Royal Halifax Infirmary then, privately to two Ophthalmic Surgeons and after this I became a probation Officer in Dewsbury, Deputy Warden at a residential home in Birmingham, for women and their children, to teach the basics of running a house (what did I know!!). Then Bursar of an overseas Student Hostel in Liverpool. A very Interesting time.

Arrival of son Peter saw a move to more a 'normal' occupation.

Training for teaching at Oastler, Halifax – an outpost of Huddersfield College, I taught in secondary schools until 1990 when after five nervous breakdowns I was advised to retire.

In 1968 Dr Dorothy Farrer invited me and son to attend St. Andrews, where I am still. In 1970 I was made a full Methodist and in 1976 became a fully accredited Local Preacher.

I remain both an active Methodist and Anglican, I find the two styles of worship complementary. I find I have been able to use all the experience gained as an active member of Church Mission Society – loads of fascinating people – as a member of the United Nations Association (UK) which includes study tours to interesting (non-tourist) venues.

Other recent activities have been as School Governor in a primary and a secondary school.

My son is married with two children. He has worked for the British Council since he married and overseas before that. He has had appointments in Egypt, Borneo, Poland, Kenya, China, Bangladesh and now Bulgaria. It has been wonderful to visit all these countries and meet many ‘ex pats’ of all ...... as well as the locals themselves.

Looking back life seems to have been very busy but with wonderful experiences.

My own health has now forced me to slow down a bit – but not much – and I am spending more time doing jig-saws, reading and watching T.V.

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