During the St Cedd’s rebuild in the early part of 2004, I was printing the church magazine in the main hall. However my time of magazine printing has been over many years now.
Apart from one spell when I was off work for six months in 1986 and 1987, I have done my bit for the church now for more than forty years.
All the early work was done on a Gestetner machine, these were messy black stencils where the operation could be motorised or by hand. In those days I think I was printing off over 600 copies. Often the stencil slipped on the roller and had to be lifted and placed down again, and you did tend to get very dirty.
However eventually the church decided to invest in a new print machine, and I believe myself, the vicar at the time and probably the churchwardens all trekked off to Maldon to look at a Riso machine. However when the machine eventually turned up, the decision had been made to get a photocopier instead, and that was to be a nightmare experience as instead of a couple of hours of printing, I think it turned into one of about 9 or 10 hours every month.
I was literally there the whole of two or three evenings for printing. Often my father would turn up late at night to see where I had got to and tell me that I should come home. The problem was that the machine continually jammed up, the first side was not too bad, but the reverse effort of printing took a lot of time, as sheet after sheet jammed, then you had to wait until the machine recharged up again.
Finally after a few comments from me the PCC eventually gave in and we got the Riso machine and 2 million prints later, it is still just about hanging on. It could best be described as an up to date electrical version of the Gestetener, it still runs on a basis of ink going through a stencil but not quite so messy.
Despite a broken disposal box, and a few jams and problems along the way, I can normally do the whole magazine now in about 90 minutes. Often it is a very early print before I go to work, at some unearthly hour like 5am or before. However the print run is now down to 280 copies.
My source of print comes from three areas, one gets me supplied with – white paper, stencil rolls and ink tubes. another normally brings me the coloured paper for the cover.
Numerous people have typed up the magazine material, the current lady’s husband normally brings me the copies for all the pages (bar five). These come from the vicae a few days later via Email and I juggle these around to fit them into the five spaces. The former is normally pushed through my letter box. To speed things up, each supply is printed on two visits to the St Cedd’s Committee Room where the printing takes place, first it’s the lady’s then the vicar’s. It often means very early there before I go to work.
Once all the printing is completed, I try and remember to ring the assembling lady and she collects them, takes them away, and a team of helpers, normally sorts these and staples them up to deliver to the people who take them to the various houses.
Whilst I have done my job for 40+ years, there are have been numerous people who have done the other work. So how did I get the job ?
From what I can recall the Reverend David had the job when he was here, and when he left to go and be a Parish priest in Rayne, I got the job. At the time the vicar then asked me the vital question. Now if he wanted a job done, he got it done, and I think the conversation went along the lines …. David is leaving, you don’t mind printing the magazine do you !!!
I recall I had not long been at work, after leaving school, so as I started in my accountancy job in 1970, it was in the couple of years after that. Numerous have done the job over the years.
There have been numerous assemblers, but the current lady in charge has done it several years now. She recalls a lady called Mavis was about up to 1968 when she got involved. In the early day of my work, 600 copies were printed, about 500 were distributed, others were left in the churches or taken by the clergy on visiting sick rounds and other house calls and there were 39 distributors.
At that time I was printing them, when one lady collected them to collate, she then took them back to St Cedd’s when the other team led by a lady in charging of the whole operation took over and did the stapling. She had a team of five people.
Then these were left at the back of the churches for the distributors to take away. My mum use to have a round of about 30, I now have 3. In modern times, The current lady in charge says we distribute 235 magazines with 18 distributors. These are put together by a team of four now.