Frank Doran & St Monica’s RC Church Bootle

Despite not having a religion I have always found church architecture interesting and yesterday I got quiet a pleasant surprise when I attended the funeral of my old friend Frank Doran. I know that sounds odd but Frank would have laughed!


The ceremony was held in St Monica’s Church, Bootle which I had not seen before. Completed in 1936 it is art deco style and brick built. Interesting from the outside it is truly impressive on the inside. With massive vaulted brick arches running down each side you could be forgiven for thinking it is constructed like two railway viaducts with a roof between them. I was hugely impressed and it also felt a little tardis-like as on the inside it looks far bigger than the scale of it outside seems to be.

If you get the chance, have a look at it – especially the inside; it’s quite a treat.

The Parish web site is at

Goodness knows how many people crammed into this very large church, which could easily pass for a small cathedral, but the turn out did Frank proud – at least 500. It was also great to see players from Bootle Football Club forming a guard of honour.

I met some old PCS friends such as Jackie McWilliams who is stood next to Frank in the photo below.

I find it hard to believe that Frank has gone.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

Frank with Jackie McWilliams taking part in a PCS Trade Union protest outside the Triad building in Bootle.

PCS and UNITE to merge?

As a PCS member and former Branch Secretary of some 22 years service, this question both concerns and interests me and it features in Private Eye edition 1344.

The Eye seems to think that the trade union barons in both of these huge unions will want to merge to create more political muscle and that this could well be outside of shovelling more money into the Labour Party.

PCS has helped sponsor trade union candidates for UK elections and did so at the recent Eastleigh Parliamentary by-election. Clearly, it was PCS (and other unions) waving two fingers at Labour; trouble is their candidate got so few votes (62 in fact which was 0.15% of the votes cast) the move was pointless and merely cost PCS members and others a few bob in a lost deposit and other election costs.

PCS and indeed its predecessor unions were all basically been non-politically aligned i.e. their members being mostly public servants have not paid a political levy to the Labour Party. Personally, I have always thought that stance correct as public servants have to serve the Government of the day no matter who they are and to do so whilst paying a party political levy would hardly make public servants look impartial.

But UNITE is presently Labour’s biggest financial supporter (and problem?) and its members are affiliated to Labour. So how can two unions merge that are fundamentally split on supporting Labour? UNITE backs Labour and PCS backs trade union candidates who stand against Labour!

PCS is certainly playing down the merger and simply talking about forms of co-operation with UNITE.

An odd situation all together but I think PCS would be well advised to stop wasting PCS member’s money in local or Parliamentary elections. But underneath this process the real problem is the inability of the trade union movement to effectively find a way forward during our present economic down-turn.