'Marvellous' speaker at New Ferry


undefinedThere was a most warm-spirited Tuesday Fellowship at St Mark's Church, New Ferry, Wirral, when the man who was inspiration for the hit BBC2 TV film ‘Marvellous' – Neil Baldwin – was the key speaker. Read on to find a FILM CLIP further down this report ...

Clips from the film were shown in church and Neil Baldwin talked about his life and the crucial importance of his Christian faith. Every joined Neil in singing ‘How Great Though Art’ (his favourite hymn) and he also sang ‘Abba Father’.

Neil Baldwin (widely known as ‘Nello’) was played in the film with great humour and sensitivity by Toby Jones.  The biopic has been nominated for two Royal Television Society awards – Best Single Drama and Best Male Actor (Toby Jones).   

The film chronicles the life of a man of great innocent, strong Anglican faith, and a very entertaining sense of adventure and optimism.  It depicts Nello during his times as a professional clown, as an ‘unofficial’ chaplain at Keele University, and – in great style – shows how he got himself a job as kit man for his beloved Stoke City FC.

Neil proved a big hit at the event at St Mark’s on Tuesday 17 March. The audience learned how he’d become friends with well-known people, ranging from Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  our own Bishop Libby Lane, comedian Ken Dodd and the late Labour politician Tony Benn.

Neil’s pal from Keele University days, Malcolm Clarke, was also at the event.

Later in the day, Neil went to visit Bishop Keith Sinclair.

The Tuesday Fellowship (covering matters affecting soul, mind and body) meets each week at 2pm. Twin sisters Betty Cartwright and Sheila Drury run it. 

Among past events organised by the Fellowship are: talks of Christian witness; coach outings (a recent one was boat trip along the aqueduct at Llangollen); garden parties; folk concerts by Joe and Flaming Pixies; bible talks; local history talks; and appearances by the very moving young gospel singer Alison Thomas. 

Betty and Sheila also do a lot visiting people who are lonely, ill or close to death – often people who used to come to the fellowship meetings but can no longer because of illness.

Betty said: “We feel it is very important to go along and chat and pray with these older members and fellowship friends of ours. I’ve sat with people who have only hours to live; and we hold their hands and sing gospel songs with them, and we pray with them and for them.”

The fellowship has been going since 1987.

Above - Neil Baldwin pictured between Fellowship organisers Betty Cartwright and Sheila Drury. Malcolm Clarke is on the left of the photo