Dorothy Skinner

Mrs. Dorothy Skinner (née Dorothy Hunt)

attended Christ Church in the late 1930's / 1940's

I have lived in Rayleigh all my life and my parents being Church of England I was christened at Holy Trinity Church. When I was about 4 or 5 my mother decided it was time that I went to Sunday School; but after attending for several weeks she found that I did not like attending and was reluctant to go. She decided to try the Sunday School at the then Congregational Church on Crown Hill.

Much to her delight I loved it and went there for the whole of my childhood. It wasn't until later that she found out the reason why I disliked going to Holy Trinity Sunday School, it was because I was a very imaginative child and when I went to the school in the Parish Rooms I looked up and there were small windows level with the gravestones in the churchyard and I thought that I was down with the dead people.

I loved the Congregational Sunday School; looked forward to going for first class there every Sunday and soon obtained my bible class attendance certificate. Gertie Purkiss was the teacher and I was very fond of her. I made many friends who I still see from time to time.

When I was older I joined Junior Friendship, which was very aptly named, and we had some lovely times. At Christmas we used to go out carol singing, we never seem to go any further than six places as we were always welcomed in with drinks and mince pies and the time went by quickly. I remember one frosty night Queenie Lavender, Alan Hiscock and myself had been carol singing and Alan kindly said he would see us home. We were going across the playing fields at Victoria Avenue and Queenie was being cheeky to Alan who promptly picked her up and deposited her into a littler basket and he and I walked off arm in arm. We listened to her plaintive cries and went back for her much to her relief.

Another time we went on a cycle ride round Woodham area and finished up at Coventry Corner, Hullbridge, where there was a very nice fish and chip shop where we all partook of fish and chips and made our way to a field nearby where there was a haystack and sat there and thoroughly enjoyed the repast.

I can remember when in the Sunday School every year we used to go to a field in the Hullbridge Road for our outing, always thoroughly enjoyed. We had games and a nice tea and it always seemed as though the sun was shining.

I can remember one memorable outing just before the war when all the Sunday Schools in Rayleigh banded together and hired a train from Rayleigh Station to take us to Maldon. Our mothers accompanied us and it was a magical day. This was in the days when the railway went to Maldon. We had a lovely time there and when we boarded the train at Maldon to come home, the various clergy had large bags of buns and they threw them into the carriages for us to eat. We had such a lovely day and it has always remained in my memory.

Another memory was when in Friendship we attended the evening service and we usually filled two pews. This particular night it was terribly foggy and Alan Hiscock, as usual, arrived just in time for the start of the service. He told us that he nearly lost himself coming through the Mount owing to the fog. We stood to sing the first hymn, but did not really join in as we were laughing so much - the first hymn being 'Lead kindly light' - which amid the encircling gloom seemed very appropriate.