Between them Carole and John prove that nostalgia is much more than just a thing of the past

In addition to compiling and updating MBC’s online Covid-19 Notice Board, sending out regular newsletters and keeping up telephone contact one of the projects that Carole Smith, MBC’s Seniors Worker and coordinator of Lunch Club is currently involved in is promoting a magazine called Shine.

This is published fortnightly in conjunction with Ageing Better, a programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund which aims to develop creative ways for older people to be actively involved in their local communities. 

During a recent conversation with Carole, John Sherbourne (now 71) mentioned that just before lockdown he had bought an old 35mm film camera from a charity shop in Harrogate, loaded it with a roll of black and white film and taken himself off to Headingley and Burley to record in words and pictures just how much the area had changed since he and his family left there when he was 7.

“That,” said Carole is exactly the sort of story Shine magazine is looking for, you need to send it in.” And that’s precisely what John did. Entitled It was all so black and white the article appears across 4 pages in Issue 4 and features many of Headingley’s famous old landmarks including: South Parade Baptist Church, the Lounge Cinema, the former Bennett Road laundry and even a shoe shop on North Lane which in order to guarantee a perfect fit zapped X rays through children’s feet. 

A copy of the magazine together with an up to the minute newsletter and a large print version of a story John wrote for our website about Lunch Club regular and bike mad nonagenarian Cynthia Chandler is currently being sent out to all MBC’s seniors. 

Shine magazine which at this moment in time only has funding until mid July is available free of charge both online or for those who prefer it that way on good old glossy paper. This is a shame as it is proving to be very popular. However, it’s important that while it is is with us we don’t think of it purely as something only produced for seniors. No, on the contrary it actively entourages contributions from them.

So if anyone has any memories they would like to share, and puzzles or poems you can either email them to or you can pop them in the post to Shine Magazine, PO Box 908, Elland, HX1 9WF. 

You can find out more about the whole Ageing Better project and download the magazines at

If this article or the pictures below have whetted your appetite for a touch of nostalgia you read John’s story in full by clicking HERE



Let your heart play a part in MBC history; help Karen complete her lockdown banner

During lockdown Karen Ross has been busy making another banner for Moortown Baptist Church. However, she needs your help to finish it. For almost forty years Karen, often on her own at other times with others has been making the banners that we see displayed at the front of church. Over this time she has skilfully crafted flags and banners that proclaim the importance of specific Christian festivals such as Christmas, Easter, Harvest and Advent and other less ones that reflect certain themes like for example light, hope, love and peace. 

Right now Karen is putting the finishing touches to a spectacular piece of work which encourages us all to put Jesus at the heart of the matter. As you will see from our picture the heart theme spreads out from the centre, rainbow fashion. It’s not far off finished but rather than completing it herself Karen is inviting you to create the outer rim by making or cutting out hearts and sending them to her. 

The hearts which will eventually go on the outside of the orange ones must be red and no bigger than 2 to 3 inches in size. They can however be made of absolutely anything (felt, knitted wool, silk, card etc.) as long as it’s possible for Karen to either stitch or glue them on to the finished banner.

In total Karen is wanting 50 to 60 hearts and all she asks is that when you have done yours you write your name on the back, pop it in an envelope marked Karen Ross, Hearts and that you either drop it through the letter box at church or post them to her at Moortown Baptist Church, 204 King Lane, Leeds LS17 6AA. 

So let’s all get busy. 

When Karen contacted us and asked for our help recruiting heart makers I asked her how it all began. This is what she said.

I think I made the first banner at Christmas 1981: The Light of the World. Someone saw a card I had made for their birthday and asked if I could make a larger one to hang up!  I had a go and enjoyed it.

Initially I made them all myself although Sheila Richardson helped to sew the backgrounds on a couple. The dates are on the corners.
Many years later a group worked on the Harvest banner with me. I plainly remember Jane Pollard sitting on the floor pregnant with Libby!! 
Mainly they were friends who offered to help. Most Banners stayed on my floor for weeks, especially the biggest ones. I had a picture in my mind or a text.
Jean Hiley and Catherine Cudahay also helped to sew pieces on to three later ones. We used to meet every Thursday in church. As the group grew it became impossible for me to make them for a lot of people to work on. When they are hung up you cannot see lovely embroidery so I stopped that. It has to be simple and effective so now I do plain writing so our children can read them.
If you look closely you will see that all my banners have a Christian fish somewhere in the design. When I was teaching I wore my fish badge all the time at school. In fact some of the deaf children I had in one school used to called me Fish! Partly because I was signing and they called me Ross fish fingers but also because of my Christian fish.  I’m still putting the fish into anything I make including my new quilling pictures.

A park bench, 2 metres and a flask of tea… an invitation from Jane Coates

The last 13 weeks of social restriction and separation have been challenging to say the least. We are made for connection and communication and as our outer lives have been shrinking and our connections restricted to our own household we perhaps feel that we have ‘closed up’.

There may have been an opportunity for our ‘inner lives’ and our faith to change, to grow and to learn new things but this has been hard. But now we have the opportunity to meet in a new way.

On Sunday I had a welcome face to face catch up with a church friend, over a cup of tea, on a park bench, at the park, in the sunshine, 2 metres apart and in sight of other families meeting up in perhaps the same way. We both felt encouraged, enlivened and hopeful. We will do this again.

Can I make a genuine offer? I have a flask of tea at the ready and I know some wonderful, local open spaces with reasonably comfortable park benches. I would love to have a catch up with you.

We have a Pastoral Care Team who would be delighted to be called, have a cup of tea with you and pray with you.

If you are feeling disconnected or just need to meet face to face would you please take a little step and phone or message one of us so that we can have that cup of tea or pray with you over the phone.

Jane Coates and the Pastoral Care Team

07824 317 650   or   0113 2688642




Hello church, just a quick notice to say our Church at Home service will look slightly different this Sunday as we won’t be doing our live streams before and after the YouTube playlist. However, we will still post all the links to both Church at Home and to the Family at Moortown content on both our MBC and Moortots Facebook pages and our website, so you can watch this just as you would normally.

We’ll then post the questions that come out of the service and offer you the opportunity to comment and post any reflections you might have, along with other members too!

So if you go onto the church Facebook page at 10.45am on Sunday ( there will be a short message of greeting and to introduce the playlist. Then after you have watched the Playlist you can visit the Facebook page to post comments.



The link to our prerecorded YouTube content is HERE.  And the link you need to join FAMILY AT MOORTOWN is HERE


Black Lives Matter

The letter below was sent to press and media and to Tom Riordan (Chief Executive Leeds City Council), Judith Blake (Leader, Leeds City Council) and Mark Burns Williamson (West Yorkshire, Police and Crime Commissioner)

I (Graham Brownlee) support a video from Bishop Tony Parry, New Testament Church of God, Leeds. SEE BELOW THE LETTER

This is intended as a start and spur to building relationships, listening, prayer and taking action together.

Past – Present – Future reports on 90 year old Cynthia’s life long love of cycling, walks in the woods, laying the foundations of a living wall and an act of Amazing Grace

With a zest for life more in tune with someone half her age Cynthia Chandler who last week celebrated her 90th birthday could well serve as an example to us all. Still driving and until just five years ago when a virus played havoc with her balance still riding a bike Cynthia, pictured here at one of MBC Lunch Club’s regulars Wednesday get-togethers is facing the rigours of lockdown with a mix of solid stoicism and good old  Yorkshire grit.

Born near Wakefield in 1930 Cynthia’s love of cycling has spanned eight decades. Her first bike, which owing to its robust build won itself the nickname “Roundhay Park gates” was a hand me down from her dad. However, by the time she was fifteen Cynthia not only had her own slightly less weighty Norton, fixed wheel and with just one brake, but along with some of her friends had become a member of the first ever junior section of the Cycling Club.

The friendships Cynthia formed in those teenage years were to last for years, or should that be for thousands and thousands of miles. Both on and off the saddle Cynthia and her friends became inseparable. “When we weren’t riding round the Yorkshire Dales or peddling to somewhere like York for a rally,” she says “we were on holiday together or at weekends out dancing at the Capitol, the Mecca or the Majestic.”

However, as the cycling bug bit harder, Cynthia, who would go on to work for Leeds Social Services for more than 25 years quickly learned that as far as competitive cycling was concerned she was never going to be a sprinter. “No,” she says, “time trials were my event – anything from however long it took to cover 25 miles to punishing 12 hour marathons.”

Cynthia and her late husband Reg married in 1950 and have a son who makes frequent visits from his home in Gibraltar. So thinking back over the last three months how I ask has she been? “I can’t say I’m suffering that much,” says Cynthia. “I have some lovely nieces and nephews who live in Meanwood and they make sure I’m OK, they do my shopping for me and despite me perhaps making it sound as if I’m a real live wire I’ve always enjoyed my own company.”

As restrictions start to ease, besides pottering in her garden and tending to her flower tubs one of the things Cynthia is particularly enjoying are John Hornby’s alfresco street concerts. “Even though we all have to keep apart” she says, “it’s lovely to hear him playing and to join in with the singing.”

As the uncertainty surrounding all things Covid continues, speaking with Cynthia and having been both touched and inspired by her outlook and spirit I have to say it’s a pity we can’t find some way of bottling it. Because if we could I’m certain that after just one small glass looking forward to what remains of 2020 would be a far more pleasant experience than many of us are currently imagining.The old pictures in the body of the story show Cynthia competing in the Isle of Man 25 mile time trial in 1959 and one taken in 1962 during a 12 hour time trial. The ones in the collage were taken at home in 1954, at Roundhay Park in 1959 and a snowy day in the Dales in 1958.

As if to underline my point I need to tell you that all our pictures you see here were copied and emailed to me by Cynthia on her Samsung tablet. The only exception being the much more recent one that I took on one of my visits to Lunch Club. 

The idea of a constructing a living wall sounds a fascinating idea. But for Kate and Howard Slater an idea is fast become reality. Let Kate explain: “We’ve started making a living wall in the rear garden and Howard is having a second go at growing tomatoes; his first attempt was curtailed when our dog dug them up!As you can see from the picture as and when it’s complete the wall will be covering what can only be described as a very boring fence panel. It needs more plants but its a start. The framework is made from some old metal wine racks that we brought back from France (huge expense, they cost us 5 Euros) and I have cut the bottom off some plastic tonic bottles, put pots inside to make them longer enough and slotted them in where the bottles would normally sit.”

How successful the Slater’s efforts will be is something only time will tell, but no one can say they don’t deserve 10 out of 10 for imagination and ingenuity. 

Staying with Kate she has also sent us this picture and a lovely bit of video, shot in her garden which she says shows two sparrows nesting. That might be one word for it Kate, but to me it looks as if these two love birds have their minds set on something far more romantic than building a nest. You can watch the video HERE 

Staying, loosely, on a nature theme many thanks to Susie Newhall for sending in two pictures that she took whilst walking Murphy in Roundhay Park. “They might be too boring,” said Susie half apologetically in the note that accompanied the snaps. Never, Susie, the day I tire of walking through the woods and watching sunlight dance you can nail the lid down.  

Thanks also to Jane Coates for sending us this link to another epic choral work. This unlike the UK Blessing and for that matter MBC’s own Penteost song reaches out across the entire world as singers from countries as far apart as Iran, Ireland, the USA and China come together to present their rendition of John Newton’s Amazing Grace







How the technical skills of a number of MBC members is contributing to the fight against COVID-19

Martyn Gray works for Anaesthesia Technology Ltd a company that designs medical devices. Here Martyn describes how with the help encouragement of friends here at MBC he and his colleagues set about responding to the government’s urgent call for help. 

Looking back now, mid March was a surreal time.  Saturday 14th March was the first Saturday without sport and BBC 5 Live had turned the day over to a COVID-19 phone in.  I was listening to it in the background, two professors called in with slightly different views on the disease and then an anaesthetist called in to point out that it wasn’t just intensive care beds that were required if the worst happened.  At that moment the word ventilator became the buzzword.  On Sunday morning Rt Hon. Matt. Hancock announced that Rolls Royce and JCB were going to make ventilators, a surprise to all that work in the medical device industry.

We had a project in waiting, to add gas supply and patient airway monitoring to a resuscitator, a device that can be used to help people breathe or in its automatic mode breathe for them.  It is a simple device to use, supplied to our ambulances and emergency helicopters for patient transfer and in developing countries frequently used as a ventilator.  Following Matt Hancock’s announcement we quickly pulled a team together.  The resuscitator is manufactured wholly in the UK which was important because obtaining components from abroad was becoming very difficult, the mechanical design of the monitor and regulatory compliance would be managed by a second company and we would design the monitor’s electronics and software.

On the Monday 15th March we sent a short specification to No 10.  Rolls Royce announced to the media that they didn’t make ventilators and we got a call from a JCB director who said similar but that they would provide whatever help they could and he provided some contact numbers.  The government arranged for consultants to coordinate the technical effort, advice from clinicians was being sought and over nine or ten days we had to work through a dozen ventilator specifications – each an update of the previous one.  At the start the requirements were minimal but as we learned more about treating the disease the technical requirements became more detailed. 

It became clear that the virus was very contagious and with the issues around supply of PPE there was a requirement to reduce clinical staff involvement with patients to a minimum.  We decided to add remote monitoring to our device.  My consultant in this field was John Duffy who had become well acquainted with the “internet of things.” With John’s up to date knowledge we were able add the WiFi functionality to our device.  With rapid prototyping of the case in Germany and fast turnaround of the electronics, by the 10th April we had a fully functioning prototype ready for mass production.  A team of software engineers in Serbia developed central monitoring software so that data from up to 50 monitors could be displayed on a single remote computer.

At work we could supply gas to the resuscitator for it to drive a lung simulator for testing and calibration of the system,   whilst working at home the equipment was limited but I was able to use my son’s leading edge ventilator simulator.

We have supplied 150 systems to the Manchester Nightingale but I do not believe that they have been required.  We are now getting enquiries from countries that lack the healthcare infrastructure that we have, places where our system may be a lifeline for some but even if it isn’t used for the pandemic it will be used when life returns to normal.

As well as John’s technical input it was both useful and encouraging to get clinical information from two other MBC members, Claire Taylor (consultant respiratory physician) and Paddy Colling (consultant anaesthetist) both working at the front end throughout.

Meanwhile Professor Phil Coates who is director of The Polymer Interdisciplinary Research Centre, a world class research laboratory at the University of Bradford has two COVID-19 projects running.

The first involves the design and precision mass production of face visors in conjunction with Leeds company ActiveCell Ltd (who were making 3d printed visors).  The Bradford Team developed an injection mouldable solution. This offers significant advantages over 3D printing, with better surface finishes for skin contact; significantly improved process repeatability; better geometric accuracy; significantly higher volume production rates; and lower cost. 

The final design was created, based on successful candidate 3D printed designs, but with key enhancement: low cost; compatibility with regulatory frameworks for optical safety devices; improved comfort; hooks for surgical masks to relieve ear pressure; and the ability to quickly and easily be completely disassembled into its component parts to enable sterilisation for either reuse or recycling. 

This is a key feature, as many of the existing devices used in the NHS use expandable foams and adhesives to join components which, while cheap, cannot be sterilised so all visors must be incinerated after use.  The Bradford visor is also designed for use in workplaces as people return to work, so a recyclable option will dramatically reduce the requirement for incineration and the volume of material for landfill.  In addition, the device can be supplied as a flat pack solution that can be quickly assembled, which requires much less storage space than existing solutions.

In 5 weeks the team moved from design and prototype to full production.  The device is now approved by a PPE test centre.  We produce up to 4,800 devices per day and manufacture of an initial order of a batch of 30,000 components is underway.  CE marking is being completed and further orders of 400,000+ devices are in negotiation.

Initial press releases:;  

The second piece of work is an antiviral materials project, again coordinated by Phil, which started a couple of weeks ago. A novel polymer has been synthesised by our chemists, which may have a similar virus killing action to soap, but with good properties for coating PPE or making devices. 

Coated samples are being manufactured in our laboratory, and are due for antiviral testing at two centres next week – if this shows promise it could clearly be very significant, by removing or reducing virus contamination on treated articles, or lengthening usage time of PPE items such as gloves, masks, visors and gowns.


Just heard that CE marking of our visor is now completed, that crucially opens up NHS and other supply lines. Also, after a meeting this morning (Thursday) our antiviral materials project now has Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Lancaster University undertaking the testing for us, starting next week.



Teaching a 3-year-old to ride a bike…and other reflections! Week 4 of Nathan’s meandering thoughts and analogies

Welcome to a 4th installation of my meandering thoughts and analogies! For those of you who are stumbling across this for the 1st time, the premise is simple. As I take my 3 year-old daughter out for a daily ride on her bike, I hear myself repeating the same few phrases. As I have reflected on these, I have realised that there are some truths within each that link directly to my life and walk with Jesus, and hope and pray you get some encouragement too and maybe a new glimpse of God, from a fresh perspective.

“Look where you want to go!”

I love that Daisy is interested in her surroundings. The issue here is that as she turns her head, she turns the handlebars as well. As such, she can end up, accidentally steering all over the place as different things catch her eye. We have ended up in hedges, bumping into walls, bouncing over grass and…occasionally, veering towards the road.

Because of this, I have to say to her (several times per trip) “Look where you want to go!” The things that draw our eye and our attention can so often set our direction.

As I ponder this, in light of my own life and situation, I can’t help but think this applies to me as well. I wonder if, in the moments when I pause and listen, I might hear God saying to me, “Look where you want to go!”

How often am I distracted and thereby drawn off course, and then I pause to consider, I realise that this isn’t the direction I want anyway. As a Christian I say that I want to follow Christ and his path, and so to do that, I need to keep my focus on that! I need to look where I want to go…but it can be so difficult. I can see all sorts of other things that look tempting, or interesting. Nothing wrong with those things, until they start to pull me off my path…the plan God has for me…which I know, ultimately, is the best way to walk – the best direction of travel!

And like Daisy, heading toward the road, there is a risk that some of these things take me toward danger. It might not be that the thing I am looking at is bad, but just that heading toward it the wrong way or at the wrong time could end up causing me harm.

So what do we do? What does Daisy do (or at least, what should she do)? She listens to the voice of a loving father who encourages her over and over, to keep her eyes fixed on the path she is on, so that no harm will come to her, so she can enjoy the journey and can come home safely.

As Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 30:21), echoing the voice of God,

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”



First virtual Church Meeting draws over 100 attendees

At its peak there were 73 separate devices tuned into Tuesday evening’s Zoom Church Meeting. Based on that figure a rough calculation tells us that means that there would have been somewhere in the region of 100 to 110 different people on line.

Co-hosted by Shona and Graham the 90 minute meeting included a discussion, with breakout group feedback on what we are learning during lockdown both in terms of MBC being a “dispersed” church and about the wider society;  a brief presentation from Shona on an interim report titled Relating Well Together; statements from the Leadership Team regarding a number of staffing issues and a catch up on a couple of in-house notices. 


Carers Week, 8th to 14 June

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to recognise the vital contribution made by unpaid carers across the UK.

This year’s Carers Week campaign (8-14 June), supported locally by Carers Leeds and citywide partners is asking people come together and help “Make Caring Visible.”

Leeds has at least 74,000 unpaid carers, and more people are taking on extra caring responsibilities at this time, for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill or older and who need support.  Caring roles are many and varied – including those who support people living with dementia, those who care for children with additional needs, those caring for people who have mental illness, those who care for their parents due to disability or age.

During the coronavirus lockdown, many carers are experiencing the added challenge of caring for someone 24/7, when previously there were groups, activities and support for their loved one to be part of in their weekly routine.  Charities and services have adapted to provide as much support as they can in other ways, but life is not the same.

Those looking after someone should be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding.

There will be many people we can think of in our own families, friendship groups and throughout our community at Moortown who are carers. Perhaps you yourself are a carer…

What can we do to help?

  1. Raise awareness

– Add Your Voice on the Carers Week Website or on social media to help make caring

   visible using the hashtag #CarersWeek

  1. Recognise the impact of caring

– Talk to carers and help them to access the support services in our community, for  

   example, put them in touch with Carers Leeds (details below) or let them know about

   the ‘Looking after someone guide’ (updated coronavirus information on this page):

  1. Do something for carers

– Could you reach out to someone who you know is caring, in a time when they may be

  feeling isolated? A telephone call, a card or letter could help make that connection.

-Could you start a zoom group for people you know who are carers? It could provide a

  time for them to chat or perhaps you could try learning a new skill or craft together?

Carers Leeds is here to provide vital information, advice and support to carers throughout Leeds. Their expert team of Carer Support Workers are available via the advice line which is open Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm. Call 0113 380 4300 or e-mail

They also offer free online events every week for carers including wellbeing workshops, relaxation, zumba zooming, and support groups for carers in different situations.

You can read and listen to the moving, challenging and encouraging stories of Leeds carers here:

Thank you to all the dedicated, wonderful carers out there – you are not forgotten. 

Carole Smith (MBC Seniors’ Worker) Shelley Dring (Children and Families Worker)

Shona Shaw (MBC Co-Minister) Graham Brownlee (MBC Co-Minister)

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