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The second link is that when Mel’s mum & dad were visiting Mel and his wife, in Canada, in the 1980s, his mum was not very impressed with the Altar cloth at St. Johns, his present church, (which she said looked like an old curtain!) and so she decided to make a new one. She had saved the lace from his brother Tony's Crucifer surplice. So she wrote to his sister, Jannice, in Chesterfield and asked her to send out the lace. Viola – a beautiful new Altar cloth which is still in use today!


A Brief History of St. John’s church, Quick, Canada

In brief, the church was built in 1914 during the coming of the Grand Truck Pacific Railway. However, the place where it was built became a ghost town and in 1928 it was taken down, each part numbered, moved by flatbed rail car and horse wagon to its current location and there reassemble like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Top Left: St. Barnabas choir , New Whittington, Christmas, 1960 - Crucifer Tony Coulson.

Top Right: A close-up of his surplice lace!

Above Left: St. John the Divine Anglican Church, altar.

Above Right: A close-up of the altar Cloth.

There are two links between Saint Barnabas Church, New Whittington and a church in Canada - the first is that one of the young boys in the photograph of  the Saint Barnabas Choir, Patronal Festival, in May 1957, is Mel Coulson.

Mel, who was born on Handley Road, is now the Rector’s Warden at Saint John the Divine Anglican Church, Quick in Canada. Baptized at St. Barnabas Church he attended Sunday School under Mrs Fenton and was a member of the choir from about the age of 8 to 19.  At 19 he left for college in London, and after gaining a BSc. in Civil Engineering, he worked briefly in the UK then overseas in the Sultanate of Oman and Algeria.  In 1972 he emigrated to Canada, where he met his wife, Evi a Swiss girl.  They married in 1974 and bought 160 acres of bush land in north west BC, cleared 8 acres and built their own log house entirely from scratch. They still live there on the fringes of the wilderness surrounded by deer, moose, bear, coyote plus the occasional elk, wolf, and lynx.  

Mel’s parents, Tom & Myra, attended St. Barnabas for most of their life until his dad was laid off from the Derbyshire Carriage & Wagon Works (later Numech) and had to move south to find work.  They retired in Old Whittington, became stalwart members of St. Bartholomew's where they had been married in 1938 and where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the old Church Hall before it was sold and torn down.  Both are buried in the churchyard there.

Mel still drinks his tea out of a St. Bartholomew's 1996 Centennial mug, and has very happy memories of all the concerts, plays, teas, youth groups, bazaars, dances (called by Tom Fane) and Sunday Schools etc, which were held in the old St. Barnabas Church Hall at the top of Station Lane.

Mel’s sister, Jannice, still lives in Chesterfield, and Mel is still in touch with old St. Barnabas Choir members John North, Tim Hunt and Glyn Turner in the UK - those early friendships are always the strongest.

Above: Carvings and Stained Glass windows in the church.

Above Left: St. John the Divine Anglican Church, Quick, B.C., Canada- December. 2014.

Left: Saint Johns Church interior - Christmas 2014.

Links with Canada