Parish Council – May 2020 Meeting


Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the May 4th, 2020 Parish Council meeting was held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice and is the first interruption in public meetings in the history of this parish. At this time there is no indication of how long these conditions will persist, but it is almost certain that the next meeting, will also take place online on June 1st. Parishioners wanting to participate in the Public Session should check the Agenda on the Public notice boards or the Website for the meeting ID on Zoom.

Due to difficulties experienced by Councillors unused to using the internet, a reduced number of Councillors attended the online meeting, but a quorum was achieved and was supplemented by the District and County Councillors and one Member of the Public.

The May meeting is the Annual Meeting of the Council at which the Chair is elected, and councillors’ responsibilities apportioned.

Election of Chairman & Declaration of Acceptance of Office. Charles Kiloh elected as chair.

Election of Vice Chairman and Acceptance of office Lesley Dilkes elected as vice – chair.


Public Question Time Jez Wilson reported on volunteer activities during the emergency, and wondered whether councillors were happy with the website. Councillors thanked him for his efforts with food parcels etc during the last months.

Cllr Adam Brown reported that NCC were looking to re-open tips. He reported a tremendous response to the coronavirus all round, but 200 plus deaths. There had been a severe impact on NCC Finances that they would look to central government for help. On Local Government Reorganisation the first meetings of the Shadow authorities were due to take place. Highway repairs were still being carried out.

Cllr Dave Harries reported that SNC finances had been in good order; but that the Emergency had severely affected all Council incomes and felt central government would have to plug these revenue holes. He expressed concern for Councils who were less well placed.

Cllr Phil Bignell reported that the first virtual Planning meetings had taken place, and re-iterated that no site visits could take place. He encouraged applicants to send photographs with applications.

Annual Parish Meeting. There had been no Annual Parish Meeting due to the Covid 19 Emergency and the meeting was postponed until the situation improved.

Reports. Lights AW reported that it was hoped that quotes from Aylesbury Mains and Balfour Beatty would be forthcoming. AW had consulted the latter regarding “Smart Management” but it was not felt that this would be cost effective in such a small lighting system. NHB scheme had been reopened. DH cautioned that the wording on an application would need to be carefully considered.

Roads and pavements. It was noted that repairs were still being carried out, but that some areas such as Hillside Road were in very poor condition and were not being attended to.

The Green and Play Area Inspection due. The Play Area was still locked up, but it was felt that the inspection should go ahead. CK continued to do weekly inspections.

Allotments Allotments were felt to be in the best condition for years. There were no empty plots now. LE commended DM for work on the wildlife area.

Footpaths Felt to be in reasonable condition; apart from the section between Church lane and the river footbridge which had subsided and was felt to be dangerous.

Churchyard Tree work has had to be paused.

Joint Burial Board There had been complaints about the grass and foliage in the cemetery. CK would check this.

Covid 19 Emergency reports Leaflets had been delivered. It was reported that food parcel distribution was proceeding well and now included Upper Heyford. Medications from Bugbrooke surgery were now routinely delivered. It was felt that village volunteers were on top of the situation. Councillors thanked Jez Wilson and Faye Brassett for their efforts.

Internal and External Audit Clerk reported that the AGAR forms had been received from the External Auditor PKF late because of the Emergency, and that the Internal Audit would take place remotely. It was hoped to keep within the standard timeframe, although deadlines had been relaxed.

Further Grant Funding for Church Roof In light of NCALC advice, the Chair felt that further contributions should not be made; as Council had been advised that it was unclear whether such donations could, or should, be made to a religious organisation. Council were, however, obliged to take responsibility for the Churchyard, and there was a power enabling them to pay for the upkeep of the church Clock.

Reporting Highway and Footpath Issues. The Clerk will report issues that Council is made aware of, but Council would encourage residents to use the FixMyStreet service to report issues themselves as there will then be no time lag and first-hand reports are almost always better than 2nd or 3rd hand reports. The service can be found here:  It is easy to use; you can have your own account and can check up on any issues you have reported.

Parish Council meetings in 2020 will continue to be on the first Monday of each month, (unless a Bank Holiday) and start at 19:30. The next one is on June 1st.


Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the Councillors please visit:

Nether Heyford Parish Council Website 

The Story of Heyford (Extra): Furnace Lane Bomb – John Butcher


The copy of the local paper dated May 1952 does not give a very accurate account of what actually happened. My friend Robin Ellis (a Daventry Grammar School boy who was taking Chemistry lessons) believed that the powder inside the shells that littered the wood at Stowe could be used to make fireworks. We were not picking primroses as the article stated. We visited the woods and carried home in our cycle bags 6 bombs which we believed were dud.

We then took them into Mr Ellis’s garden shed at 19 Furnace Lane and proceeded to dismantle them. Robin then discovered that the detonator in one shell (Mortar bomb) had not been used. The pin however had fallen out and could not be found so we substituted it with a wood screw. We then decided to see if the detonator would go off ignoring the fact that if it did the bomb would also explode. We threw the bomb out of the door about 4 feet away from where we stood. It exploded making a hole in the ground about 4 foot round and 4 foot deep. The resulting noise being heard in Northampton. The shrapnel from the bomb split the chestnut fencing and went through Mr Denny’s (the next door neighbour) Greenhouse.

However Rob and I were unhurt and our first thought was to fill in the hole before his Dad returned from work. Before we could complete this though many men from the village arrived in the garden and we were both escorted into our homes by our mothers.

The local press arrived and interviewed our mothers and the attached cutting was the result. My mother was accused of bribing the press to change my name but I was very disappointed not to have my correct name in print.

The next day the army arrived and dug out the hole in the garden. What did they find? A piece of mortar bomb with a wood screw through it. This was the first of Rob’s and mine 9 lives.

John Butcher – December 2019

Poem: Grace Ramsey – May 2020

Grace Ramsey Poem

A bit of background to the poem and author.

The author, Grace Ramsay, was the pen-name of Kathleen O’Meara (1839-1888). She was an Irish-French Catholic writer and biographer, responsible for 11 novels and three works of non-fiction during the Victorian period. Her fiction covered a variety of topics from women’s rights to Eastern European revolutions, all dealing with social reform.

This poem appeared in her second novel, Iza’s Story, which dealt with the struggle of Polish patriots against the Russian, Austrian and German occupation. She was well-known during her lifetime, never married and travelled widely throughout Europe and the United States.

By Grace Ramsey – Printed in The Prattler – May 2020

Poem: Do you remember that spring ? – Becki Johnson – May 2020

Do you remember that Spring?


Do you remember that Spring, mum?
The one where we learned to dance?
We had loads of time together, mum,
I learned lots about flowers and plants!
Do you remember that Spring, mum?
The one when daddy was always home?
We ate all our meals together, mum,
And spoke to nana lots on the phone!
Do you remember that Spring, mum?
Where we did loads of Arts and Crafts?
We had whole days in our pyjamas, mum,
And had loads and loads of tickle fights!
Do you remember that Spring, mum?
When you put the tent up in the front room?
We had so many cuddles and snuggles,
I hope we have a spring like that soon!

By Becki Johnson – Printed in The Prattler – May 2020

Poem: My Guinea Pigs – Jemima Thompson – May 2020

My Guinea Pigs 


My guinea pigs are cute & fluffy,
I like to see them when I wake,
One is brown & one is white,
We call them Nutmeg & Milkshake
My guinea pigs make lots of poo poo
We have to clean it out,
My guinea pigs love fruit & vegetables,
When they see dinner they squeak & shout
My guinea pigs are cute & fluffy,
And very cuddly too,
One is brown & one is white,
Nutmeg & Milkshake we love you.

by Jemima Thompson (Age 7 & in Year 3 at Bliss) – Printed in The Prattler – May 2020

COVID-19: New Northamptonshire Mental Health telephone support line launched 24/7

New Northamptonshire Mental Health telephone support line launched

“Northamptonshire has launched its very first Integrated Mental Health Response Hub – a 24/7 telephone support system for our community.

If you are feeling anxious or stressed or feeling that you need a bit of support with your mental wellbeing, you can get support from a helpful Mental Health Navigator by calling 0300 330 1011.”


2020 Village Award Scheme – Update – May 2020

2020 Village Award Scheme
(organised by NACRE – Northamptonshire Action for Communities in Rural England)

In this edition I had been hoping to announce the date when the NACRE judges would be visiting Nether Heyford to see our community in action. They were due to come in April or May. Sadly – for obvious reasons that will not now happen. At best, this year’s competition will be postponed until later in the year or, at worst, it will be cancelled. However, I would like to thank the many organisations who responded to my request for detailed information by sending in their completed questionnaires. Together they have helped to compile a vivid picture of our village community life in the early months of 2020.

If the judges eventually decide to cancel this year’s competition, I will ask the Prattler to publish our 500-word submission in a later edition so that you can see how fortunate we are to live in Nether Heyford.

Alwyne Wilson 01327 340803