Our longstanding vicar, the Reverend John Dawson, retired earlier this year. He had the care of four parishes, Breedon on the Hill, Worthington, Isley Walton and Staunton Harold. In recent years he has overseen changes at Breedon and Worthington, with the introduction of kitchens and toilet facilities.
His replacement, the Reverend Mary Gregory, has come down from parishes in Lancashire. She has an even bigger territory, including Ashby de la Zouch and Coleorton. Much of the information she is gleaning comes from talking to relatives before conducting a funeral One such conversation recalled an incident when a couple were touring Italy about forty years ago and their car broke down. Expecting trouble explaining the problem at the local garage they were delighted to find a mechanic who spoke English. Even more surprising he’d learnt his English close to where they lived, as a prisoner of war at Staunton Harold.
I was able to tell Mary something of the history of the Hall during the war years, and of an unusual sequel. One prisoner returned to an Italy much impoverished and contacted the farmer for whom he’d worked in England. Sam Aldridge found him work and somewhere to live. He married, and his family still live in the district.
Of course, John Dawson would know all this. He’s a Worthington man himself.