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Helen Rouse Helen Rouse from Bournemouth wrote on 15th January 2016 at 2:25 pm:
We lived in Finchley, but I attended St Michael's as a child from approx. 1956 - 1966 because my father was headmaster of St Michael's Primary School, then in Arlington Road and on the Parish Council. My father is recently deceased but had many happy memories of this time. The priest was Father de Langdale and I remember Sister Moore, who was also attached to the church and whom my parents visited for many years until she passed away. As well as her community work I remember that she used to ring the bell for each service using the bell rope hanging in the entrance near the font. My mother worked as a teacher in another area of London, but was part of a women's group who cleaned the church silver and brass, did the flowers and mended to vestments. I remember accompanying her to the vestry to do this and watching her sew the vestments and altar cloths at home. I was in the Brownie and Guide packs attached to the church, which met at the church hall, and there were often church services which we attended in uniform and offered our flags to be blessed. The altar was at that time under the stained glass window and there were choir stalls on either side as we always had sung masses. I remember very clearly the Mothering Sunday Masses in which we children collected posies of primroses from Father de L. at the altar rail to give to our mothers. The church felt quite cold and dark at that time, maybe because I was quite young, and I remember the congregation was mixed in terms of social diversity but not especially in terms of ethnicity. There was a Mother's Union and also an unmarried mothers help group to help such girls with possible adoptions etc. so I surmise that that this was not yet socially acceptable and there was not yet local authority healthcare in place. The church was an integral part of my childhood and I hope to re-visit it soon, as I have never been back since we left. I found the statue of St Michael to be a little frightening as a child, and I have never forgotten it. However, above all, I remember the friendliness of the people at St Michael's at that time and the sense of community.