Business is booming for one of Standish's more unusual shops
PUBLISHED: 12:10 15 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:17 20 February 2013
The curtain is about to go up on shows which will put the spotlight on local talent in Standish, while business is booming for one of the village's more unusual shops. Paul Mackenzie reports PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
Two things that get us excited here at Lancashire Life are stories of Lancastrians doing well and a good pun. So the story of Tim McAvoys business move was music to our ears a good story about a local mans business success which came complete with its own pun.
Tim ran his gun shop on Standish high street for almost 30 years, during which time the business grew steadily. He had doubled the size of the shop but with every available space filled with guns and equipment and no more room to expand, he had to move.
In a compact place like Standish, space is at a premium so he knew he was unlikely to find a large shop that was ready to walk into but when the pub round the corner became available, he 177made his move. The historic Dog and Partridge became a victim of the all too frequent pub closures in July and since then Tim and his family have been busy renovating the building on School Lane at a cost of around 500,000, but not all trace of the buildings past will be lost.
The new shop will rejoice in the name The Dog and Cartridge. Hats off to Tim for the pun and also for the restraint he must have exercised in deciding against giving it both barrels and calling his new place The Gun Dog and Cartridge. The move was necessary not only for the opportunity for witty word play but because of the growing popularity of shooting as a sport. There is growing interest right across the board as a hobby and it is a very social thing, Tim said.
It appeals to a total cross section men, women and children, although I admit it COCKSis mostly men. Big game shooters tend to be affluent but you dont need stacks of cash to be interested in shooting.
We do sell expensive guns and equipment but we also sell cheaper air pistols.
People havent been aware that shooting is available to them, there seems to be a view that all guns are banned but it is gaining a higher profile and it is becoming more socially acceptable.
Tim, who enjoys rifle and clay pigeon shooting, added: There is a local trade but people travel from across the region and from further afield, we occasionally have people travelling internationally to visit us, too.
We had 1200 guns in stock in the shop on High Street which was fairly small and could get very busy, hence the need to move. It was a big step and we had to do more work than we anticipated on the new place but hopefully itll be a good move.
But while Tim is moving into bigger premises Wayne Jones is happy in what could well be the smallest shop in Lancashire.
His Just Jars sweet shop on the corner of Market Street and Pole Street measures just a few square feet but sells just about every sweet you can remember from your childhood.
The shop looks out on the market place and three of Standishs historic artefacts the stocks, the well and the ancient market cross, all of which have been restored by the villages active community forum.
Since they formed in the mid-1990s the group have also restored the cenotaph, uncovered the old stone sets of the market place and placed a pit tub and plough on the High Street to commemorate Standishs farming and mining heritage.
St Wilfrids Church, which stands beside the market place, is the only Grade I listed building in Wigan borough. There has been a church on the site for at least 800 years the sandstone blocks in the north east corner are relics of the older building but most of the present church dates from the late 16th century.
The spire, which is visible from all over Standish, was re-built in 1867 since when the church has had just seven vicars.
Nikolaus Pevsner said St Wilfrids was the most important Elizabethan church 179in the region and the Peace Gate, erected in 1926 by public subscription as a memorial to the dead of the First World War, gives an imposing entrance to the church grounds.
The church has a peal of eight bells, five of which date back to the early 1700s, and ringing has become a family business for Val Barr who joined the bell ringers at St Wilfrids 16 years ago, shortly after she moved to the village.
And she has now been joined up the tower by her two sons and husband. My eldest son Chris is quite musical and is studying music at university, Val said. He was quite keen and he is much better than me now.
His younger brother Michael didnt bother about it at first but then last year he said he fancied giving it a go.
He has picked it up well and hes even persuaded a couple of his friends to come along as well. And now my husband Ken has decided he wants to come along I think he was feeling left out.
Joining the bell ringers was a great way to get to know people and a great way to become a part of things in Standish. Its a lovely place to live and theres a nice sense of community.
And Viv Newman has been ringing the changes too. She is a founder member of Standishs Shoestring Theatre who will present their latest show this month.
The society was formed by three former school friends over a bottle of wine and Viv, who is directing this years production and plans to sing As Long As He Needs Me, said: We started the group in 2005, the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, with a show in aid of War Child which raised about 1,000.
The group has staged an annual variety show ever since featuring songs, sketches and monologues on a different theme each year this year the show will be based on musicals.
Viv, Jean Stone and Shiela Lucas first met at high school in Shevington and Viv added: We used to be part of an amateur dramatic group which doesnt exist any more and we thought that was a shame. It was rather hard to find a venue at first but we eventually found a base at the Methodist hall.
We hit on the name Shoestring because thats how things were. We had no stage, no sets, no costumes, no anything.
In fact, for that first show we borrowed some bits of uniform from the TA. We will beg and borrow, but we draw the line at stealing.
And students from the Christine Raynor Dance School will be taking to the stage next month in a charity show at the Astley Bridge Theatre Church in Bolton. Christine Matthew who runs the school Raynor was her maiden name said: Well have about a 180 people aged from two and half to adults taking part in the show, which will feature a mix of dances modern, ballet, tap and jazz as well as some numbers from Grease and a festive finale.
The school runs shows once every two years and rehearsals are now well underway under the watchful eye of Christine a trained dancer who always wanted to teach rather than perform and her two daughters, Claire Crosby and Katie Nolan.
Where it is: The village stands a mile or so east of junction 27 of the M6 and a couple of miles north of Wigan on the A49. If you have a sat nav, WN6 0HF should take you to the high street.
Where to park: There is plenty of on-street parking available around the village and a free but small and pot-holed car park on School Lane.
What to do: Explore the shops, admire the church and if you time your visit right, youll be able to take in a show. Theres a scores of great walks around Standish too and through the glorious countryside which surrounds the village.
The print version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Lancashire Life
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