Gordon Blackburn

Gordon has been associated with Earlestown Baptist Church for approximately 60 years, firstly as an active member of the Youth Club where he played Table Tennis, Badminton and helped to organise various social activities, variety concerts and pantomime productions which were held in the hall and enjoyed by Church members and local people from the community.

He met his wife Glenys in the Youth Club and were married in the Baptist Church in 1964 and both continued assisting in Church and Sunday School activities until they moved to Manchester for a few years to be closer to Gordon’s work place. They returned in the 1970’s and continued with assisting in Sunday School and social activities

After the Church building was demolished and fund raising work had begun by existing Church members, Gordon was invited to join the management committee and has been able to contribute to the setting up of the New Earlestown Baptist Church and Crownway Community Centre and continue to assist in its maintenance and organisation.

During the fundraising days Gordon went busking all over the North West and composed a Crownway Anthem which he used to sing during his busking – he raised a lot of money about £700 or more.

Gordon is a ‘time-served engineer’. That is where his talent for doing odd jobs comes in. He left industry to work as a classroom assistant at Penkford School. Up to his retirement, he would do as much as he could for the Centre and when he retired in September (I think it was 2007), the Centre became a life saver for him – he likes to keep busy and we have heard him say more than once, he doesn’t know what he’d have done in his retirement if the Centre wasn’t there.

Gordon used to do afternoon tea dances for Crownway just after we opened. That is one of the fables of Crownway. The first week we opened we had events on every day morning and afternoon. One afternoon we did a tea dance and the place was absolutely heaving, we couldn’t have coped with any more and it was really good. Of course everything was free because Beryl got a grant off somebody to put on the events. Anyway, they all kept saying “this is what we want in this area, when are you doing the next one”. We put one on about a month later and charged £2 each, and nobody came!!!! From that Gordon got the idea of line dancing – he’d never done line dancing, but in his own inimitable style, he looked into it and the rest is history.

Gordon is an asset to Crownway and nothing is too much trouble. His present duties and activities include:

  • Setting up audio/visual equipment for centre users when required.
  • General building maintenance and repair that does not require employing outside contractors.
  • Facilitates an informal computer class for beginners on a Monday
  • Runs the Line Dancing class on a Thursday evening
  • Supports the café staff on a Tuesday morning
  • Opens and closes the building on a Tuesday and Thursday evening for centre users whilst working in the café

Crownway would not be the centre it is today without volunteers like Gordon.