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50-YEARS-AGO: PHASE 70 GROUP IN ECCLES UNITING ALL THE TRIBES OF ECCLES


History With Flynn

I loved this story which was in the October edition of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal in 1970 and talk about gripping the reader by the throat with the first line, have a read of this, word for word.

"Soccer hooligans, skinheads, hippies, yippies, Hells Angels - the headline hoggers of today.

"Youths with a vengeance and a vandal breeding boredom, quite incomprehensible to their forefathers with the abundance of recreational facilities available.

"Gangs sharing the view that violence and theft are OK, offloading their consciences onto friends by collective action, Nomadic groups sharing an ideology.

"A small element who through their rejection of society's accepted standards, make the news, yet those who do help their "neighbour", so often go without a mention".

Have you any idea what he is wittering on about?

Hold on because it's not all wild and crazy kids, slashing the seats, shooting and a looting.

Into the limelight come Phase 70 a Peel Green based group devoted to aiding charities, one of the founder members was The Rev Dick Hatch, Vicar of St Michaels and All Angels, who was alarmed at the falling numbers at the church's youth club.

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Rev Hatch explains all or most of it,

"There are no individuals in Phase 70, we are a non - denominational group who have gathered together in a form of experimental communism, that is we sit down and plan projects which we execute together for various charities."

"There were 17 founding members whose occupation range from labourer to tax inspector and we have five new members all eager to pool their talents"

One of their first projects was a marathon dictionary read outside Eccles library in February, working in relays and finishing at five in the morning after having completed 60 hours of continuous dictionary reading which raised £100 for the Moat Hill Autistic Unit in Peel Green.

Since then they raised money for a concert for Senior Citizens, £20 for Shelter, a folk concert at Worsley Court House and £20 to sponsor a boy in Nigeria.

The group meet on a Sunday and take it in turn to act as Chairman and listen to talks by the Police, Probation Services etc and regardless of age it's Christian names all round.

"Young people wishing to become members have to apply in a fairly formal fashion" said Rev Hatch.

"We only accept those who are prepared to give themselves to the aims and works of the group"

Were you a member of Phase 70? I have read quite a bit about Rev Dick Hatch and he was quite a character by all accounts ending up having a Radio Show on the BBC.

Would the youngster of today join such a group though? to be honest I can't see it, sound in principle but those days have gone I'm afraid and as for standing outside Eccles library reading aloud from a dictionary for hours on end.....


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