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Remember When: Sir Cliff discusses faith at Skindles

Welcome to Remember When, which takes a weekly look back through our archives, spanning nearly 150 years, to bring you snapshots from Maidenhead's past.

Martin Trepte

Remember When: Sir Cliff discusses faith at Skindles

1982: Pop superstar Cliff Richard talked about his faith in an intimate charity performance at Skindles in aid of a Christian centre for recovering addicts.

Cliff played a one-man show to an audience of 450 at La Valbonne Club at the famous venue in aid of Yeldall Manor in Hare Hatch, which helps young men recover from addiction to drugs or alcohol.

He had visited the centre earlier in the evening before taking to the stage at Skindles where he spoke frankly about his faith in between performing some of his most popular hits on his acoustic guitar.

Cliff outlined his own personal journey to accepting Jesus. He told his audience Christianity was for ‘any time, any place’ – so why not Skindles.

He said: “Jesus set the example, being so often found in the market place with people his own society considered ‘not the right sort’ for him to be seen with. So I can certainly talk about Christ in a nightclub.”

The evening raised about £3,000 for Yeldall Manor.


Holy alliance raises smiles

1987: Have you heard the one about seven clergymen who spent an evening telling jokes? They had the congregation rolling in the aisles.

The sacred seven had banded together in holy alliance at Maidenhead United Reformed Church in West Street for the sponsored laugh-in.

The aim was to tell as many gags as possible with all the proceeds going to help buy a lifeboat in memory of four boys who had died on a school trip off Land's End in 1985.

It was organised by Rabbi Jonathan Romain from Maidenhead Synagogue who was joined by six other clerics and together they told about 300 religious jokes, raising a grand total of £2,000.

Top scorer was the Rev John Copping from Cookham Dean who managed to tell an impressive 52 gags.


Cox Green Community Centre opens its doors

1977: An eight-year wait which had seen a huge public effort came to an end with the opening of Cox Green Community Centre.

The opening ceremony, attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, MP Dr Alan Glyn and the Bishop of Reading, was the result of an ambitious project that began in 1969 with the formation of the Cox Green Community Association.

Funded by the community, county council and Anglican church, the centre replaced Victory Hall, built in 1919.

Used seven days a week, it was to be home to many groups for people of all ages, hosting a playgroup, toddlers club, youth clubs, dance and fitness classes and a senior citizens club.

On Sundays it was to be used for church services and it was possible to hold weddings and receptions under the same roof.

There was also a baby clinic, library and hopes of a doctor’s surgery.

Manager Jim Barnaville said it would become the focal point of Cox Green.

He said: “It’s a family centre.

“I want to dispel any illusions it is only a youth centre, only a church, only an extension of the school or only open to societies affiliated to the community association.

He continued: “Now built it belongs to the people.”


‘Rocket’ haunt of drunks

1977: Concerns were voiced over the nuisance caused by drunks congregating around the ‘Rocket’ sculpture in Nicholsons Walk.

Councillors complained the precinct was fast becoming ‘an open public house’.

No one, it seemed, from landlords Costain to the police – who had stepped up patrols and made several arrests – could solve the problem.

One shopkeeper said: “At times there have been about 20 of them and there are some who seem to have drunk rather more than they ought to. I think they are encouraged by the older people, the alcoholics, who get round there all day and every day.”

Police said their powers were limited. Chief Inspector Fred Timms added: “We can only deal with the situation when offences are committed and when we have evidence of this.

“Unless these people are drunk and disorderly or drunk and incapable, no offence is being committed. But we will continue to keep an eye on it.”

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