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Val Grieve

Val Grieve was a Christian solicitor (I know that to many people "Christian" and "solicitor" are mutually exclusive terms but .....) working in Manchester (Television House, St Peter's Square?), and he was very influential in the Christian scene in Manchester in the 1960s and 1970s, working with Clary Jefferies and the Christian Businessmen's Association.

I think the crossBeaTs first met him through playing at the Barge Inn (13 November 1964) at Cheadle Parish Church (which I think was his home church, though he may have attended St Cuthbert's?).

Val was extremely enthusiastic about the gospel and about reaching young people for Christ.  I have a clear memory of him, after we played at the Manchester Christian Businessmen's meeting in the Holdsworth Hall (21 November 1964), taking us to see all the renovation work that was taking place in the basement of a warehouse in Back George St, ready for the opening of the Catacombs a few weeks later (17 December 1964).  He was so excited at the prospect of reaching young people of the city for Jesus.  He was also heavily involved in the day-to-day running and financing of the Catacombs during its early period, and then when it openend full-time (24 October 1965).

The dates of other meetings with Val (that we have a record of in the bookings page) were:

29 January 1966 Catacombs Coffee Bar
16 June 1968 Strangeways Prison, Manchester
27 December 1968 Catacombs Coffee Bar
13 February 1970 Sale Baptist Church

There were probably many other occasions when we worked with Val Grieve (where he spoke), but they are not mentioned in diaries.

Val has a number of papers on the Trinity College of the Bible Seminary web site in Newburgh, Indiana USA.  He is also author of the book "Your Verdict on the Empty Tomb of Jesus" - written from the point of view of a lawyer.  Sadly, Val died in 1998.

I have had a number of e-mails fom people over the years who have said how grateful they were to this man.  Here are some examples:

In July 2004, I received this e-mail from a guy called Paul Hodginson.
16 July 2004

My uncle, Harry Hodgkinson, used to travel home on the bus with Val Grieve, probably around 1965-67. One day he gave my uncle his wallet (not sure what the reason was) but Uncle Harry got off the bus with Val's wallet.  This worried Uncle Harry but not Val Grieve - he said he knew that Harry would look after it!  Uncle Harry always had tremendous respect for him after this.

Not sure if this information is of any interest.

My mum and her friend used to wash up at the Catacombs around the same time.  She said they were happy days.

Paul Hodginson

In April 2005 I received this e-mail from Roger Salisbury.
3 April 2005

I benefited massively from Val and his wife Sheila as they ministered among young people in Cheadle, teaching Sunday School and latterly Covenanters as well as chuch preaching.

Val's only desire was that people would be saved, and know Jesus as their saviour. He was generous in spirit, and also with his time, money etc. not only did he share the gospel but he shared his life as well -- he was also great fun.

I can remember being in Sheila's Sunday School group at St. Cuthberts, Cheadle in the mid 1960's and enjoying Val's ministry at St. Marys, Cheadle from 1975 -- 1983 -- around this time I left the Manchester area.

Praise God, Val is with His Lord.

Roger Salisbury

In November 2006 I received this e-mail from Tony Coghlan (Hampshire).
29 November 2006

Dear Eddie

I will never ever forget Val Grieve.  He was the leader of the Covenanters at St. Cuthbert's Cheadle in the late 50s- early 60s.  I attended on a Sunday afternoon mainly so I would be eligible for playing in the soccer team!  There was an exotic range of speakers and I well remember Andy and Billy Bebop (reformed Teddy Boys) coming to speak to us!  Also Phil Gunter who, on being selected to play for the first time for England at soccer, refused the cap because the game was scheduled for a Sunday.

Val was only engaged in those days to Sheila and we never met her sadly.  However someting of Val's strong faith must have stuck to me and as I left school and entered the world of work, I kept in touch tenously with Val.

Moving away eventaully I lost touch until, a few years ago in a Christian bookshop in Ayr, I spotted a book written by Val.  I wrote to him via the publisher and eventually we spoke on the phone.  Sadly Val died shortly after, and I was unable to meet again that wonderful Christian man as we had promised to do.

I credit Val with being my Christain mentor, bringing me to Jesus, and my faith continued from those early days to grow and flourish.  I'm now 64 and a Methodist local preacher in Hampshire.  I'll never be half the Christain Val was, and I give thanks to God for the privilege of knowing Val Grieve.

Tony Coghlan

In May 2012 I received this e-mail from Ray Miller (Costa Rica).
13 May 2012

I was looking up Val Grieve on the web and came across the Crossbeats site. My name is Ray Miller and gave my life to Jesus at a Billy Graham film at the end of February 1967. It was a surprise being interviewed by Val as a new member of the Catacombs Christian Coffee bar team to find out that he did the invitation that night and had organised the showing of the film.

I was soon involved in the committee of the "Cats" and for a time, prior to going to University, responsible for all the bookings of groups like Tony Mathias and the Crossbeats (I think from Bootle) and I remember the group well from those days.

Val was larger than life and became more than a mentor and I think I was privileged to call him my friend. His vibrant faith was always a challenge. I have lots of memories of the guy. Leading Bible studies on a Wednesday night that forced me to think through and apply my new found faith. Visiting him at home and finding him training his son for the following days egg and spoon race - by the time I arrived the lawn was awash with broken eggs (Val wasn't the most practical of men!! He was totally fearless in preaching etc. but when as a team we needed to curb him we used to make an alliance with wife Sheila who was really the only one he would finally listen to!

He was instrumental in launching me into evangelism and preaching. I went with him to give my testimony at an open brethren church in the Cheadle area. Val led the worship with is loud voice and in the process sent the whole congregation off key - to wide grins from most members .... my introduction was "some folk sing like nightingales but Ray here sings like a gale in the night!", typical of his self deprecating humour. Highly intelligent - we often tried to play chess in our heads whilst walking somewhere in Manchester City centre - I could only do it to move 8 or so! He was also very sensitive in his own way and incredibly generous - financially to things he believed in like the Catacombs, O.M. and the City Mission, but also in time and finding and encouraging new young leaders. As a CU leader in Cardiff Uni he came to speak brilliantly and never forever complained at our giving him a mattress on the floor to sleep on but in reality showed his humility in graciously accepting to stay with us and not go to a local hotel!

He was instrumental in head hunting me (1974-78) to be the Youth worker at the Windsor Youth Centre where I eventually replaced Cyril McElhinney - a former leader at the catacombs and delightful godly Christian man with wife Liz - both in key ministries in N. Ireland. This was highly formative in my Christian life. From there I studied at All Nations and I continue to be a missionary with Latin Link (Peru 1980-94), UK (94-2004) and Costa Rica (from 2004).

I'm involved in training Latin missionaries as Dean of Missions at a Christian University in San José and latterly with ProMETA developing online Masters in Missions and undergraduate missions training. We have ex students serving Jesus all over the world - thanks to the mentoring that a young working class teenager received from Val Grieve and the studies that gave me a deep love of the Scriptures and the hands on practical evangelism that showed me the transforming power of Jesus in messed up lives. For me Val was a truly great Christian who managed to motivate a team with people like Alan Godson, Gordon Bailey, Ian Knox and lots of Christian gospel groups like yourselves. it would be fascinating to see just how many of us went into effective ministry because of our involvement with Val Grieve esq. saint.


Ray Miller

Ray Miller & Bridget Bennett, Costa Rica

You can also read some other interesting e-mails about Val (and other things) from Paul Tavernor and Roy Weaver (click the name)

If you can help to supply any extra information, please get in touch. Email

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