The Parish of Sandal Magna

Who am I and where do I fit in? John Manners


When were you born and where?

I was born in Birmingham in 1937 and my mother died before I was one so I never knew her. Initially I was brought up by my Grandmother then my Step-mother. I lived and worked in Birmingham until 1956, then spent 3 years in the Royal Engineers. After demob I was chosen to train as a Fingerprint Officer with the Birmingham Police. I got to visit crime scenes grave evidence in courts dealt with a few grizzly situational and was responsible for identifying many offenders they would fail to wear gloves when committing crimes. I always said I had a living from he proceeds of crime!
In 1988 my application to become the Head of West Yorkshire Police Fingerprint bureau was successful, so a Brummy became an honorary Tyke. I enjoyed 10 years of challenging and very rewarding work before retiring in 1998.

Do you have any interesting family memories?

I was married to Margaret for over 30 years, then to Sheila for 6 years, who both sadly died, and for the past 17 years to Pat. So I’ve been married to a brunette, a blonde and a redhead - beat that!
I have two daughters, Heather and Judith, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, so Christmases are becoming ever more expensive!
The one disadvantage of living in Birmingham is that you are a long way from the sea. Our first car, an old Morris Minor, made seaside visits possible. When the girls were young we holidayed at Weston-Super-Mare where they discovered the delights of beaches and donkey rides. A later holiday took us all to Great Yarmouth where we met a fun-loving bunch of Scottish Christians. They took great delight in putting thistles in our beds. The tables were turned when they came into the dining room for an evening meal to find goldfish in their water jugs. Great fun and fellowship.
When the girls were in their teens we all had two great holidays at a Christian holiday centre call ed Herne Bay Court. Super recreational facilities and great Bible teaching each day, and the opportunity to discover the attractions of Kent made this unforgettable times.

How did you come to faith?
I became a Christian in my late teens. My then girlfriend Margaret away insisted that if I wanted to see her on my weekend leaves I went where she went so at a Gospel Hall and the rallies, I heard what Jesus did for me and came to faith and began to follow him. After demob, I became a Youth Club leader, then Bible teacher and preacher and later a Deacon and Elder then Church Secretary before moving up North. The Anglican way of doing things was new to me but eventually Robert Strapps, the then Vicar, was gracious enough to put me into the pulpit. After a few timing issues, (I’d been used to 30 minute sermons), I became part of the Parish preaching team and later a House group leader.
The Lord has always kept His hand upon me, even when I’ve turned away from Him, sometimes in anger and disappointment with the way events have happened. I continue to learn the lessons that His ways are infinitely wiser that mine, sometimes, very hard lessons to learn and I’m still learning.

Who influenced you most in your life?

A Mr Eric Walton, an Elder from my church in Birmingham. He was a lovely gentle and patient man and a wonderful Bible teacher, who encouraged and helped me to develop my gift as a teacher.

What is your favorite film, work of art, book,or piece of music?

TV: New Tricks, Judge John Deed, and World Nature Programmes.
Films: It’s a Wonderful Life, Argo.
Music: Very wide tastes: Chris Barber, Duke Ellington, Queen, E.L.O., Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Film themes, and much more.
Other interests: Cricket, especially Tests against Australia, Football, Ballet.

How do you occupy your time?

Much of my time in recent years is taken in caring for Pat. However, I’ve always loved Quizzes, and a few years ago I was invited to run the Pub Quiz at the New Inn in Walton. I’ve been composing and running it on Monday evenings ever since. What a wonderful opportunity to meet people, serve them and get know them through the quizzes and as the need arises to pray for them. Isn’t this just what Jesus often did even though the religious authorities condemned him for eating with publicans and sinners? I’m convinced that if Jesus were on the earth today I might find Him in a pub, talking and sharing with people.
I thank God for his grace and patience with me. He has given me a wonderful life and it still goes on!




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Registered Charity Number 1131795.
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