Gordon Pratten receives military honour


Parishioner Gordon Pratten, 92, received France’s highest military honour on Friday February 3rd 2017. Together with three other war veterans, he was awarded the Légion d’honneur from French consulate Josette Lebrat at a ceremony in the Guildhall, Bath. Seven of his fellow parishioners along with his family were there to congratulate him. 

Gordon was on Juno beach at Courseulles-sur-Mer on June 6th 1944, carrying out his duties as a Royal Engineer. He still remembers the beach landings and described the experience as ‘quite frightening’. Gordon’s job on D-Day was to drive a bulldozer; pushing landing craft back out to sea in order to collect more tanks and vehicles to bring ashore. To his alarm on the journey to France he discovered his bulldozer wasn’t waterproof but was reassured by an officer he would not need to drive into deep water. However on the beach in the heat of action, Gordon received different orders. An officer ordered him to pull a lorry out of a hole – blown in the ground by a mine – which had been submerged quickly in water. Gordon tried explaining his vehicle wasn’t waterproofed but the officer was determined. Gordon said “There was no use arguing with him and he was trying to do right thing. But instead of having one lorry in the hole you ended up with a bulldozer and a lorry! It’s just unfortunate this officer picked the wrong bulldozer.”


Gordon Receives Military Honour

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A new organ for St Michael’s

The parish has been most fortunate in acquiring a Sweetland organ, built in 1876, from a redundant Methodist Church in Writhlington.  Parishioner Michael Smith, and some helpers, has painstakingly dismantled it, transported it to Shepton, and bit by bit rebuilt it in its new location.

Since the beginning of Advent the congregation has been able to enjoy the rich tones of the new organ, in the capable hands of Tony Bevan, organist.

Our little Flight chamber organ which has served the parish well since 1972 has now been offered for sale.

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St Michael’s and St Mary’s enjoy an evening of wine tasting!

Friday 7 October saw St Michael’s host its first wine tasting evening and was joined by parishioners from St Mary’s, Glastonbury.  David Schroetter, from Sante Wine Imports in Wells, provided our 35 guests with the challenge of identifying nine different wines.  It was no easy task but two guests managed to get eight correct, with Fr James scoring seven!  Another evening is planned soon; it looks set to become a regular event! It was great fun and helped raise funds for the parish.

Wine Tasting Evening

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Ride for Vocations 2: Ride Across Britain – Fr Matt’s off again!

Fr Matt Anscombe is currently in training for his next big cycling challenge; riding from Lands End to John 0’Groats to support our seminarians in training and to promote a culture of vocation in the diocese.  This comes on the back of his very successful ‘Ride for Vocations’ last year, which saw him cycle to every parish of the diocese. Follow the link  Ride for Vocations 2 to follow Fr Matt as he prepares to head off at the beginning of September.

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World Youth Day Pilgrims visit Auschwitz and Birkenau

As part of the World Youth Day events in Poland, the Pilgrims for Clifton and Plymouth Diocese made a visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau. Pope Francis will be visiting this site later in the week and will spend some time in quiet personal prayer.

Phil Gibbons accompanied the group and recorded some of their thoughts, fears and reflections.  Follow this link to the Clifton Diocese website to hear their podcast and see photographs of their experience.  

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Fr James celebrates the 10th anniversary of his ordination

The parishes of St. Mary’s, Glastonbury and St Michael’s, Shepton Mallet came together to give Fr James a ‘surprise’ party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his ordination.  Given that Fr James knew that he had to arrive at 7pm at St Michael’s parish garden it wasn’t a complete surprise! although he said he had been practising his ‘surprised’ look which he did very well!  However, he was surprised at quite how many of his parishioners were there to celebrate with him and also how a slideshow of photographs of his life had been obtained!

The food was exceptional, MasterChef beckons some of the parishioners!  The cake, adorned with a photo of Fr James on the day of his ordination looked almost too good to cut! It was a wonderful evening and a true community effort to bring all the celebrations together.



Fr James – Celebration Of The 10th Anniversary Of His Ordination

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Collett Festival – our stall in the park

Well before 8am a group of parishioners were in Collett Park, next to the church, busy erecting gazebos and setting up stalls – tombola, books, bric-a-brac, puzzles, music and video, plants and cakes. Unfortunately preparations were hampered by a persistent drizzle, but by the official opening time of 11am, the outlook was drier and the customers started to arrive. Sales were steady, and the well stocked tombola was popular, as ever.

Our ‘pitch’ was right alongside our Christian friends in their large tent; so very handy for a good cup of tea. We are grateful for the use of their bigger tables in exchange for ours which are better suited for their catering needs.

The whole park was buzzing with charity stalls and food stands, plus entertainment of every kind in the central arena – everyone enjoying a warm dry day – until about 3.30pm when the rain started again. That prompted a somewhat premature packing up of our stalls to avoid the remaining unsold goods being damaged.

Overall, attendance seemed to be down a bit on last year, the changeable conditions probably being to blame. Our takings were correspondingly down, but creditable none the less. Huge thanks must go to all who cheerfully manned the stalls or who donated the fantastic goods we had for sale.

We will do it all again next year.

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