Our picture of Raymond Smith holding a copy of his musical “Samuel” did not go unnoticed last week.
Cathy Hurley emailed to tell us that she clearly remembered Mr Smith as someone who, following in his father’s footsteps, ran a dairy herd at White coppice.
She told Retro: “He wrote quite a few musicals for his choir at Hillside Methodist Church and he played the keyboard there. Samuel was one of these. He is retired now and his barn is demolished and he keeps a rose garden in White Coppice, which I think he has opened to the public on occasion to raise money for charity.”
“This photograph was obviously taken in one of his fields to demonstrate the two contrasting parts of his life at the time. He never looked like a farmer but was obviously a successful one. He probably still is a wonderful musician and had, at the time, a big, happy, successful choir at Hillside.”
And Mr Smith confirmed that he does, indeed, now grow roses rather than farm dairy cattle. In fact many local people will have had the pleasure of visiting the Stones and Roses garden at White Coppice, which Mr Smith opens each year as part of the National Gardens scheme. He told the Guardian: “The musical Samuel raised £40,000 altogether for National Children’s Homes and was staged at the Guild Hall in Preston as well as the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. My son, Edward, sang the lead part.
“I still play the organ at Hillside Methodist Church and I give talks called from “Muck and Music to Stones and Roses” but I don’t put on musicals any more: growing roses is much more relaxing.”