John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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The Knott End Campaign, and what followed

1965, the year that changed my life
We are baptised

There is a problem with the chronology of the next part of the story. This is what my memoir Johannine Writings says:
Audrey had a nice figure and was attractive-looking. She was unkissed; she had never been out with a boy.[more]
 Now I had met a girl called Valerie when an evangelist had visited Bolton. Many people went to see him; I had met her there.
 So there were two girls whom I fancied: Audrey and Valerie; and I could not decide who was the more desirable.

 It was decided at church—and a new attender Mr. Dobson had not a little to do with it—that we should go over to Knott End, a small town on the other side of the River Wyre from Fleetwood (where our church was) and preach the gospel there.
 So we held a series of meetings there, at the local cinema. And the Lord did not look with favour on the meetings; he did not bless the people there. Not many turned to the Lord, but a young woman was converted with tears and penitence.
 During this time, quite a lot of the young people of the church worked hard, trying to get the inhabitants of Knott End to come to the meetings. Of this number were Audrey Wood and I. And it was while we were going across on the ferry, that I got acquainted with the girl for the first time.

 I still thought of Valerie, but I also fancied Audrey, and could not decide who was the more desirable.
 So I prayed: “If the girl whom Thou hast chosen to go out with me belongs to Fleetwood, let her be the one I shall sit with on the coach going to Knott End.”

 A coach was laid on for the actual meetings; we did not go on the ferry. So when there was an empty place on the coach by Audrey, I immediately sat in it.
 After the meeting, I was very disheartened to find that Peter was already sitting with Audrey; but my face fell and I looked sad; and Audrey said to Peter, “Will you move?”
 And Peter obliged; he moved and sat elsewhere.
 And I sat with her, and talked with her, and became fond of her, and developed a big crush on her.…

 At that time it was the custom at our church for the young people to have Hallowe’en parties every year. (This was later disparaged by the “Chasidim”.*) At such occasions there was much merrymaking and enjoyment.
* Chasidim: my name for a group of the young people at Fleetwood Full Gospel Church, ca.1966–ca.1971, whom I thought of as a bit too “pious” for me, or too daring in their evangelistic exploits: going in coffee bars to witness to people, for example.

 And I had made up my mind to take steps to try to get Audrey to agree to go out with me.
 That night I wept much on account of Audrey, and prayed that I might go out with her, calling on the Lord for help. I kept saying, “I love that little girl.” For I had been prevented from approaching her that evening by Peter, who had spoken with her.

 It was not until two days later that I was able to ask her to go out with me, owing to the (to me) unwanted presence of Peter Gooding near to Audrey whenever I wanted to get her on her own.…

So the principal events, according to Johannine Writings, were:
  • The Knott End campaign, with the response of “a young woman” to John Nelson Parr's end-of-sermon appeal. I have the strong impression that this happened on the first night of the campaign;
  • My resolution of the problem of which girl to court by sitting with Audrey on the coach; and the big crush on her that ensued;
  • A Hallowe’en party (Sunday 31 October 1965; or I thought, perhaps, that it may have occurred the next evening to avoid clashing with the church-meeting), followed by my distress at being thwarted by Peter Gooding.
All very well: except that in 2004 I had an exchange of emails with the “young woman”, Myra Hardaker née Dine:
  • I… need to know the date of the Knott End campaign. Can you remember when it was?
  • To answer your question, the Knott-End campaign was in November ’65.
  • To return to my original subject when I first mailed you, that of the Knott End Campaign: Thought you’d have been able to give me an exact date, because you responded in JNP’s appeal – and “Penties” can usually give an exact date when that happened! I reckon it must have been in October, you know. We had a trip over on a coach, and I sat with Audrey both ways – despite Peter Gooding’s trying to sit with her on the way back! That’s when I started having a crush on her. But I didn’t start going out with her till after Hallowe’en (31 Oct, or 1 Nov if we rescheduled it because 31 Oct was a Sunday), with apple-bobbing and Mrs. Smith telling spooky stories. Tch! Tch! Would never get away with Hallowe’en in church nowadays!
  • You are right, I can remember that eventful night at Knott-End! It was 7th November, 1965.
  • Your definitive date of 7th November, 1965 has really messed up my autobiographical “1965 – the year that changed my life”.
  • I’m sorry my date has thrown yours out but I do have it written in a bible that Robert Miller bought me.
Myra was going out with Robert Miller at the time.


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