|Lea Road URC||
“I was born in Springfield, Maryland Jamaica on 1st October 1923. I came here with nothing and ended up with 2 houses, 2 cars and 7 kids. In 1955 I came into the country. I buy the newspaper in Jamaica. It advertise vacancies here, in Wolverhampton for labour and such like.”
“When I came here my first job was in the foundry. I came to Blakenhall to my aunty and her husband. I was single. This chap get a job for me at C&B Smith. I went to Nechalls Lane1955 until 1985 in the foundry. I married in 1960 in the Registry Office in Stafford Street and came down here to Claremont in 1966.”
“I usually worked 7 days a week, Sunday to Sunday. Then I went to the foreman and said. I want to stop Sunday I got three kids and I want to see them. He said "Sam, yes but if I am in difficulty will you come in?" I say "Yes" Sometimes he called me and sometimes not.”
“I came down here to Mr Jordan (minister 1970/77) All of us. Me my wife and kids. I got 7 kids. They all come here to Sunday School here. I usually came down and helped at the Day Centre when I retired in 1985.”
“These people cheer me up. I will never leave here now. No way. Always been a friendly church.”
Ruth has been a part of Lea Road Church since she was a baby.
“I was at Peter Pan playgroup. I was a Brownie at Lea Road as well. I remember Mrs Cowells. I got lots of badges.”
“I went to Gateway Club (Gateway is part of Wolverhampton Mencap) on Friday nights. We did gardening and cooking with Roger and Olive. We used to do the Gateway Awards. I ran the tuck shop. I've got lots of friends. I could walk to Gateway and transport took us in the winter. (Gateway has now moved to The Maltings). I remember Joan Lloyd teaching me and Anne Peters and and Mrs Dora Kimberley. They taught me in Junior Church. I wanted to be a member of Lea Road Church so I was baptised by Reverend Bert Jordan.”
Ruth was asked what kind of things she is involved in at Lea Road Church:
· I'm a Sunday School teacher's assistant. I sit with the children and help if they need any help. I like helping the children.
· I set the tables for Oxfam lunch.
· I collect stamps for charity and ask people to recycle their Christmas cards.
· I help with Christian Aid.
· I sold bottles on the bottle stall at the Summer Fayre.
· Sometimes I read from the Bible in the services and do the prayers with my mum
“I like the services at Lea Road. It's near home. I walk there by myself. I'm independent. I like the new church building. It's a community church and we get lots of different people in. It's nice there – friendly”.
Gauda and Sonto’s story...
Gauda and Sonto have come to us from South Africa. They have two lovely daughters, Thieo and Rorisang.
“I came to England in 2002 and I used to live next to Bingley School in Norfolk Road. One rainy night I walked past the church with a colleague and said that I am going to that church on Sunday. But I didn't go that Sunday.
When I moved house I used the car wash in Lea Road opposite the church. When I went over I spoke to Adella and that first interaction was something I didn't expect. Adella talked about Bloemfontein. It was love at first sight for Lea Road Church. I came back home and told my wife, Sonto.”
“In South Africa our church was a black church. I was so nervous because I thought the church was white. When we went on the first day we met Monica and Tesfaye - this is unusual because most churches in South Africa are separate.”
“Everyone was waiting for us. I have been to other churches, and I wanted to feel at home, you know, and the United Reformed Church is simple. Another thing I liked about the church is the Aid to Africa. They think of people, in Angola, everywhere, and giving help. I was happy to see Oxfam mentioned. Joan, our minister, is very down to earth.”