Danesford Community Centre

Danesford Community Centre, West Road, Congleton.

(Building now known as Woodlands)

In 1993, Cheshire police launched a full-scale investigation into Danesford Community Home, run by the Methodist charity, National Children’s Homes (NCH), where Hudson and Smith had been employed as full-time care workers. The police traced and interviewed former pupils. In the process, they collected a number of allegations of sexual abuse.  Hudson and Smith were subsequently arrested.

In Cambridgeshire, Keith Laverack worked with numerous colleagues, four of whom are now also suspected of abusing children. Dennis Grain worked in Doncaster for the same group of private schools as Terence Hoskins who went on to become headteacher of St Aiden’s Community Home in Widnes, where he liked to thrash naked boys with a cane, which he then pushed into their backsides, while his housemaster, Colin Dick, indecently assaulted those who caught his eye. Dennis Grain had previously attacked boys in Danesford Children’s Home in Congleton, opening the door to three others, John Clarke, Joseph Smith and Brian Hudson, who set about the boys with relish. Dennis Grain, in the meantime, went off to work at Eton, where he became a housemaster. The web is almost endless.

The Guardian April 1988


JURORS were told this week how a former housemaster at a Congleton children’s home indecently assaulted a teenage pupil over an 18-month period.

The allegations were made by an ex-pupil of the former Danesford children’s home at the trial at Knutsford Crown Court of 73-year-old William Charlesworth.

Charlesworth, from Rochester in Kent, denies seven charges of indecent assault against three 12 and 13-year-old boys at Danesford between 1973 and 1975.

Tom Teague, prosecuting, said the offences did not come to light until three years ago when police were making inquiries as part of a general inquiry Charlesworth was not thought to be part of.

He said the defendant befriended the youngsters while they were at Danesford, and continued the offences against them when he moved to Booths Town childrens home near Leigh and a drug dependency unit at Edenfield, Bury.

Mr Teague said Charlesworth targeted particularly vulnerable boys for ”grooming” for sexual abuse.

They were known as teacher’s pet, and one still carried the scars of a crude tattoo spelling the word ”poof,” inflicted on his arm by fellow pupils.

The pupil in question, who is now 37 and living in London, claimed boys at Danesford were bullied by staff and fellow pupils, as well as being hit across the head by staff and picked up by their ears.

Bullying by pupils included punching and hitting, he said, crushing them until they passed out and stripping one boy and smearing shoe polish on his penis.

He said Charlesworth befriended him in the home, and over an 18-month period indecently assaulted him in the dormitory, a kitchen, and in a car on trips out.

”I looked up to him as a father figure, and he was kind to me,” he told the jury.

”I got extra privileges like being able to smoke in his presence, and he took me out in the car.

”I didn’t complain at the time because I guess I liked the attention, and he was always friendly.”

In cross-examination the former pupil denied he had broken a 20-year silence over the abuse because he stood to receive compensation.

He made a statement to the police in the summer of 1997 after seeing a TV documentary about child abuse.

The trial continues.

Wirral Globe 18/03/99


17 responses to “Danesford Community Centre

  1. Simon Gravante

    I was in there in the early nineties the police came to question me but still being young I never said nothing and still never have

  2. Lynsey

    You should come forward you deserve justice like all the many other lives this has affected and destroyed !!!

  3. len

    was in danesford 1978/1981 wasnt the best. nothing happened to me. but feel sorry for people that had it done to them.

  4. Gillian Whittaker

    I think that people should stop persecuting innocent people for something that is all HERESAY. most of the accusations are unfounded and still ” QUESTIONABLE” In my opinion the persons accused have not been convicted ,and have a life that is hung in the balance. Also, there should be some assistance for all involved and a change in the Law to protect innocent people in these situations…….. I have just read this account of what has allegedly occurred in a good town . Any one that comes to Congleton is always welcome regardless of their beliefs or nationality. A certain person whom I have heard about should be left alone and not judged. God bless all.

    • Key king

      My husband was there in sixties but when the police came he decided he did not want to hurt his mum because she could not have handled he was there for sagging school and they kept there and in another for five years he knows what went on he also knows of one ex pupil who they screwed up so badly he killed someone so stop trying to protect these evil men are you related to one of them

    • Lynsey slater

      Don’t make me laugh!
      I have lived 18 years with a broken man from what those parasites did to him !! They need stringing up 😡
      Where is the justice for the boys that were raped,abused,tortured I know what those creatures have caused I watch it everyday so by defending them you are just as bad

  5. thomas

    were the people named found guilty

  6. Steve

    I was there in the 60s for 5 years in Mr grains hse for a time also Mr Oldham scout master
    Mr williams head master Mr bazon woodlands all 4 of them were talked about by the lads while I was there Mr bazon had more than friendly motives towards me and Mr williams beat me black and blue with the cane across my back i believe he lives in Cumbria now if I ever see him again I’d probably kill him for what he did.

  7. Justin hall

    I was there in 1988 and that Danny smith who was there was a brutal person to any one who he had in front of him ,but loads of the staff was realy nice ,on some of the units I was in ?think I was in living stone ,where Steve and Simon and others where great people .

    • ben

      I was their in from 1986-89 I was in grenfell and I thought it was OK but just knew Danny smith was a wrongin I could tell just by looking at te red faced nonce. R

      • Manchester lad

        I was there in 86 and was abused by John Clarke I was in grenfell Clarke was in next unit. It always happened at swimming pool

  8. gerald taylor

    my name is gerald taylor and i was in danesford in the mid to late 80s/90s and i never saw or heard anything going on i started in woodlands then livingstone then went to the the leaving care house

  9. ben

    I was in grenfell from 1986-89 and I knew that Danny smith was a nonce just by looking at him. But loads of the staff were great gill Taylor who was my case worker. And Jeremy dawson who use to take us climbing and camping ☺.

    Ben peters

    • Manchester lad

      Ben you scouse get still got them blonde locks. How’s things I was there Jill tailor was my case worker and Jerry was cool. Remember alistar derek brough. Did you go on concord?

  10. i was there late 80s..livingstone house..it was the big old house,with the slow kids in,that had me suspect..when uno..uno .. they would always have them seperate from us,walking to assembly in the morning,they werent allowed near us and what i clocked,was that house would have new staff regular…2 top staff in there..mandy and rachel,everything else is a blur..they kicked me out,i did get a few beats in there but thats not really abuse..its being put in your place

  11. Peter King (Hughes)

    I was at Danesford from 1959-62. Went there at 9 and left at 13. The last year in the Woodlands hostel with Mr Bozon. I was a good looking lad and I was alone on many occasions with staff, for hours even, during those years, but there was never a hint of anything improper. Some staff have since been accused of sexual crimes. I find this very hard to believe this happened to anyone while I was at Danesford. I know we would all have soon heard, the grapevine etc. If anything genuinely happened to YOU and you are reading this then I apologise for my doubts. But my memories of Danesford are positive and very pleasant. I was later at Bryn Estyn in North Wales where similar accusasations were made about some staff but again, my own experience was different. Peter Hughes, Gordon House (House 3) at Danesford and Windsor House at Bryn Estyn.

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