Landmark restoration in memory of local beacon of light

FOLLOWING the success of refurbishing the famous Tejrjwne telephone box, Gee Cross residents are celebrating the restoration of another well-loved landmark.

The village’s iconic cast-iron fingerpost, which sits at the junction of Stockport Road and Mottram Old Road, has now been lovingly renovated including a replica lamp.

A favourite with local photographers, the well-known village landmark which points to Hyde, Manchester, Mottram and Sheffield, has stood in Gee Cross for more than100 years.

Fingerpost 1905

The post originally had three fingers, the missing finger was thought to point to Stockport and London, and an ornamental lamp was decorated at the top. Sadly, over time, the post has fallen victim to rust, and the finial and one arm went missing.

The GX Brabyns Neighbourhood Community Group began planning the project during the first lockdown of 2020 and are delighted with the generosity that has allowed the work to be completed.

The ambitious project, which included preparation work, repainting the post, and adding the lamp, was originally costed at around £5,500, an enormous challenge during the current climate.

A memorial plaque to Roy Shawdale on the newly refurbished Fingerpost

In stepped Diamond Decorators who very kindly offered their services free of charge in doing the groundwork and painting of the post.

“We are especially grateful to the two men who worked on the post. We were particularly heartened to hear that they are local to the area and have fond childhood memories of the landmark themselves,” said Jane Williams, secretary of the group.

Tameside Council has also worked in partnership with the community to assist in the renovations.

Friends and family of Roy Shawdale gather for the special ceremony

But the most significant donation was made by Yvonne Shawdale, who donated the sum of money needed to replace the lantern in loving memory of her husband Roy, a well-loved local man with a great fondness for the village, who passed away last year.

Yvonne said: “Roy was loved by everyone. He brought light into the lives of all his friends, colleagues, and most importantly, his family.

“I thought the restoration of the lantern a fitting tribute to his memory as it aptly reflects the wonderful light he brought into all our lives.”

The plaque was blessed and memories of Roy were shared

Roy, a former customer liaison officer at Scapa Group Ltd, was fondly known as ‘The Father of the Office’ due to his long-term service with the company. When he died, tributes poured in from colleagues around the world.

The replica lantern was designed and created by PG Fabrications.Sadly, the group have been unable to install the missing arm pointing to London, but that could still happen in the future.

“We’re still optimistic that we can find a solution, and that one day our lovely fingerpost will be able to point to all the destinations that it was intended to all those years ago,” added Jane.

The GX Brabyns Neighbourhood Community Group would also like to thank councillors Ruth Welsh and Phil Chadwick for their continued support with the project.

In recognition of the restoration, a dedication service was held on Tuesday, July 6 in memory of Roy and to celebrate what the Gee Cross community had achieved.

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