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Val Grieve, 'Barge Inn' and Stuart Briscoe
(A letter from Paul Tavernor)

In August 2006, I received this e-mail from Paul Tavernor, then a minister at the New Frontiers International church plant in Wrexham, North Wales.  It sheds a little light on Val Grieve, the 'Barge Inn' coffee bar, and the work of Stuart Briscoe there in the 1960s.  The e-mail has been slightly edited.
 
9 August 2006

Hi, There

My name is Paul Tavernor and I attended St Cuthberts Cheadle for a number of years during the 1960's, and recall much of what is talked about on your website.  Fascinating after all these years.

I attended Val and Sheila Grieve's home for Bible study once a week.  They lived, if I recall, on Arlington Road off Broadway in Cheadle.  Sheila was a GP.  They were brilliant with the teenagers and I recall that we all thought Val was a bit mad!.  Often, after the Sunday night service, Val would gather the youingsters, about as many as he could fit in in his Vauxhall 101 estate (and a few extra), and we would drtive like mad to either Blackpool, where there was a Christian coffee bar, or to the Catacombs in Manchester.  We used to get home after midnight, often really tired but full of Val's infectious faith.  What a guy!

I also recall the 'Barge Inn' coffee bar in Cheadle, and the Crossbeats.  I would attend with my pals Ken Percival, Mike Carrier, Stuart Pinchbeck, and I remember Barbara Milne mentioned as one of your prayer partners.  Some of the leaders were Keith Harris (still faithfully serving at St Philips today), a guy called 'Frag' and of course the Curates and Vicars.  I think Fred Moate was a leader.  On one of the nights in 1964 we had some trouble from the local gang known as the 'minnie gang'.  The leader was so called because he was small but tough.  They kept raiding the meetings and were disruptive.  I remember Stuart Briscoe was speaking, and he called them to account, "Sit and behave" he said "or go outside".  They ignored him, and he marched off the stage, grabbed the leader by the scruff of the neck and marched him outside.  I think he cuffed him round the ear!  No more trouble from them then!  Rumour had it that Stuart had done some boxing, but I don't know whether that was true.  The Crossbeats were also playing, and a number of us gave our lives to Christ.

Now I am 56, married with 3 grown up children, and am leading a Church Plant in Wrexham North Wales with New Frontiers International.  I owe a lot to the men and women of faith of that era, and look back on the fond times - but thanking God that there were such men as Val Grieve around.  Nice to read of some other accounts also.

Love to you all.  I was sorry to read about Barbara's husband it would be great to hear from her.

Paul Tavernor


 

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