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Posts Tagged ‘Gloucestershire’

Christian Book trade – Good News Centre, Newent: a photo update

November 15, 2011 3 comments

I visited Good News Centre Newent again this weekend. It’s always a pleasure to go there. It was looking even more splendid than usual and was really busy – important in the run-up to Christmas. The shop continues to defy all the normal location rules of retailing, situated as it is in rural Gloucestershire.

They have an excellent card and gift range including a really good range of Indian crafts, with which I was not familiar. It was especially good to see lots of books being sold.  Good to see the Bookseller Association’s marketing campaign kit in use – ‘Celebrate Bookshops in Your Community – Keep Books on the High Street’.

I couldn’t resist taking this shot of the CWR Cover to Cover Bible Study spinner! Those of you who know me well know how much I love spinners in shops – something about a poacher and a gamekeeper, I think!

Here’s my mobile phone photo update and my earlier GNC post;

Travel; Dymock Woods, Gloucestershire and the wild Daffodils

March 30, 2011 8 comments

Dymock Woods are made up of 17 separate woodlands on the UK’s Gloucestershire and Herefordshire county border, close to the Forest of Dean. Probably the best known of these woodlands is Shaw Common, registered also as a special ‘seed-stand’ (where acorns are collected in the autumn for use as seedlings) for the Sessile Oak, one of two species of oak tree native to Britain.

Around Eastertide each year, these woodlands are the scene of intense visitor activity as people come to view surely one of the most beautiful – and increasingly rare – sights in Britain; the diminutive and lovely wild daffodil. These were once relatively common in damp woodlands and undisturbed grassland. The countryside around Newent, Ledbury and Dymock constitutes such an area, known locally as the ‘Golden Triangle’ containing as it does large numbers of these exquisite little daffodils. Nowadays loss of habitat and cross pollination is proving to be a significant threat.

There are two wild daffodil species native to Britain; one found in the Tenby / Pembroke area and these – the Lent Lily or Narcissus Pseudonarcissus – within the Golden Triangle. In the 1930’s and right up until the 1950’s, special trains would run to this area bringing hoards of daffodil tourists to view this wonderfully uplifting natural spectacle. 

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is custodian of two small but historic wild daffodil meadows near to Shaw Common; evocatively called Gwen and Vera’s Fields Nature Reserve. As well as being the national flower of Wales, the daffodil is also – quite rightly – the county flower of Gloucestershire.

Promise yourself you will visit the area sometime. It’s truly worthwhile and hugely inspiring.

Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 14; Wye Valley  & Forest of Dean = Map ref SO 677285

Christian Book trade – 30th Anniversary; Good News Centre, Newent

March 22, 2010 10 comments

After so much bad news dominating the Christian Book Trade recently, it is wonderful to be able to post a piece of Good News – all about the Good News!

In this case, the Good News Centre – a registered charity and a rural Christian bookshop and coffeehouse – located on the borders of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Along with a number of other Christian outlets in the UK, this shop opened 30 years ago – on Saturday 22nd March 1980.

How do I know this? Well, because I was there 30 years ago. We were invited by the then Trustees to be the managers of the Centre – a brave act of faith on their part and, in my view, with that kind of start, a miracle it’s still functioning today!  I learnt my trade of bookselling there. I’d done a bit in retail beforehand but I was so pleased to be asked to go and sell Christian books for a living.

In those early days, I was helped enormously by a monthly trip to Bristol to be mentored by Alan Maynard at the then ECL Bookshop in Park Street, Bristol – a shop founded by George Muller of Mullers Homes and another shop that had operated on faith principles (as with the GNC in those early days).

30 years later, both the GNC and I are still going – both a bit frayed around the edges – but still selling Christian material. It’s a privilege that I’ve never taken lightly. If I hadn’t been given that kick start in Newent, I’m not sure that I’d have had the right foundation to go on and do other things – so thank you, GNC!

Like most Christian retail initiatives, this one grew out of the vision of a number of key individuals to see their local town impacted beyond the walls of their local churches; to connect with the shopper and be visible on the High Street.

The history of this shop goes back to the mid 1970’s when a Christmas temporary shop opened in the town. The success of that venture led to other temporary sites and then in 1977, the Parish Rooms in Newent came on the market – and the rest, as they say, is His Story.  

God moved powerfully through various people to ensure that the shop was established in the town.  The story of the years leading up to the opening is quite compelling and if you are interested, a small booklet is now available.

The Parish Rooms are a Newent landmark. This black and white oak timber-framed building was built in the 16th century and was extended in both the 18th and the 20th centuries. The Centre features a Bookshop with two sales floors, the Coffeehouse, an office, a large car park and two maisonettes.  

I managed the Good News Centre from 1980 to 1985.  Over the following 25 years, the Centre has had three truly excellent managers – Heather Morgan (now with Care for the Family) from 1985 – 1989, Tim Lewis (now Chairman of Trustees); 1989 – 1990 and Peter Wathen; from 1990 – 2008 (Pete still has the distinction of being the longest serving GNC employee). Since then, the Centre has been managed by a small team led by Donna Clark.

We were invited back for the celebrations on Saturday. I was delighted to see the Centre functioning so well. These are difficult days for the Christian book trade but the GNC has always seemed able to buck the trend.  

May the Good News Centre long prosper and remain as a witness to Newent and the surrounding area.

For more information, go to www.goodnewscentre.com and for the ‘Good News Centre Story’ (priced at £1.50 + p&p) apply to the Good News Centre, High Street, Newent, Glos, GL18 1AN or telephone 01531 821 456.

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