Letters: Dee Hillyard

Sadly, our Mum Dee passed away in Northampton General Hospital on 19th February aged 88 years. She had been admitted to hospital following a routine Doctors appointment at Bugbrooke Surgery. Mum was well known in Heyford as she spent 22 years as a school dinner lady at Bliss from the early 70’s to 1997. As a family we still have the newspaper article from the Chronicle & Echo with a lovely photo of Mum with some of the children. The article said she hung up her apron the day before her 65th birthday!

The Prattler also featured a full-page piece written by then teacher Jill Langrish about Mum and all that she experienced at school. (Reproduced below). The lovely comments we have received from past pupils has been really comforting. Especially those messages about wobbly teeth, grazed knees, ‘seconds’ at lunchtime and lots of reassuring hand holding.

Mum was born one of nine, in Kislingbury, and leaves behind her older sister Daph (Faulkner) who still lives in Church Street. When she married Dad (Alan) in 1959 they started married life in Heyford and never left. They lived first at the B&B in Church Street and then in Church Lane where they had Sheena and Mark before moving to Furnace Lane where both Paul and Sara were born. This was the family home, at number 72, until Mum & Dad downsized in 2008 to their lovely bungalow at 5 The Pound. They used to say that they had the best view in the village, out across The Green.

We have lovely memories of Mum and Dad going off to play bingo at the village hall when we were young. Mum also enjoyed a game of cards and kept this tradition going on Christmas Day until a few years ago. It was something she took seriously!

She will be truly missed and we are sure many people have many memories of Mum as she used to walk up and down Furnace Lane, with her shopping, and would stop to chat on the way.

Sheena, Mark, Paul & Sara.

From Spam Fritters to Hula Hoops

Twenty-two years ago on 20 October 1975 a new dinner lady joined the lunchtime staff of Bliss Charity School, a staff that included Mrs Clarke, Mrs Faulkner and Mrs Nial. The new dinner lady was Mrs Dee Hillyard and she was appointed to a temporary post with one month’s probation.

Her duties were to work in the kitchen preparing the food and then serve it to the children. At that time the teachers supervised the children in the school hall but in time, this became the responsibility of the dinner ladies together with clearing away plates and cutlery, wiping tables and sweeping the floor. Then it was out to the playground, in winter to button up coats and help fingers into gloves, and in summer to shelter from the sun and allow trips to the drinking fountain. The playground crazes of Hopscotch, Skipping, Tig, Tazos, Football Stickers and Marbles have all been part of Mrs Dee Hillyard’s “lunchtime diet” over the years.

As the years passed so another area of the hall was developing, that of the packed lunch group. Now the dinner ladies had to open Thomas the Tank Engine lunch boxes, peel back yoghurt tops and pour drinks from flasks. These ‘picnickers’ became more numerous and in March 1992 the school kitchen finally closed, the
kitchen staff departed and lunchtime supervision was left to the three dinner ladies.

But whilst the weather outside remained as unpredictable as ever, the children, like their choices of food changed term by term, year by year. With hundreds of children, Dee Hillyard has watched their games, enjoyed their secrets, marvelled at their appetites and perhaps been surprised by their table manners!

Mrs Dee Hillyard has lived in Nether Heyford for over 30 years and is a mother of four children, Sheena, Mark, Paul and Sarah. When these children grew up she acquitted a new set of children to enjoy – her grandchildren Kelly, Ben and Louise. Several years ago Dee’s husband Alan was very seriously injured in a road traffic accident. It was a difficult time for her and her family but time, patience and care resulted in a full recovery for Alan Hillyard. Although Dee had a few days absences from school at the time of the accident she was soon back at work. We all admired her strength and fortitude at such an emotional time.

So, sadly on 20 June we will be saying goodbye to Dee as she retires on her 65th birthday. We are Bliss School, staff, parents, governors and above all the children, who will miss her very much. We would like to say “Thank You” for the past 22 years. We hope you have a very happy birthday and an even happier retirement. You certainly deserve it, especially the lunchtimes.

Jill Langrish

Article from The Prattler – 1997

Gigaclear Broadband in Nether Heyford

A new Fibre Broadband provider is coming to Nether Heyford.

Following on from building a successful fibre broadband network up the hill in Stowe IX Churches, Gigaclear will be working in the village to build the UK’s fastest, full fibre broadband network. They are getting ready to commence work in the village.

They are asking for any feedback you may have on their plan for the village.

For more information on the network rollout in Nether Heyford, visit: – Use the postcode option “Can I get Gigaclear?” to register your interest.

For all questions or feedback regarding Gigaclear activity in Nether Heyford then contact Stu Haynes, Community Engagement Manager:

Phone: 01865 591137

Mobile: 07887 821442






Do you need help? Grants available from the Arnold’s Charity – Deadline 31st March 2021


Need Help Box

The Arnold’s Charity is able to offer grants to residents of Nether Heyford and Upper Heyford who find themselves in need of help financially.

The grants which can be applied for are varied and include two categories.

Social Grants: All ages

The social grants are available to help residents who may be struggling financially. This could be an unexpected expense i.e. new glasses, dental treatment, a larger than anticipated bill, the need to travel to hospital appointments, heating, clothing, medical costs etc.

Eligibility: Resident of Nether Heyford or Upper Heyford

Educational Grants: Persons under 18 & Persons 18-24

Cash grants for Apprenticing and Education are available to or on behalf of persons who have not attained the age of 25.  This could be for learning purposes i.e. books, equipment, tools, etc.

Eligibility: 1. Under 25 years old. 2. Lived in Nether Heyford or Upper Heyford for over one year OR have been educated in the parish for over one year. 3. In need of financial assistance for educational purposes, subject to the terms of the scheme and approval of the trustees

The applications are considered by the Trustees at their meetings twice a year, in April and November. Deadlines for completed application forms are March 31st and October 31st.

Next deadline for application forms:

March 31st 2021



  hours  minutes  seconds


Grant Application Deadline

Application forms are available from:

Rev Stephen Burrow (Parish Church) – Trustee | 01327 344436 | 07511 544375

Jez Wilson (The Prattler) | 07761 672376

Nick Adams – Trustee | 07812 032509

Bethany Kay (Clerk to the Trustees at Wilson Browne Solicitors) | 01604 876697

Alternatively – Download, Print, Complete and Return:

Charity History:

The Arnold’s Charity was founded by the will of Edmund Arnold, in or about 1689. The Charity was set up to help five Parishes in the County of Northamptonshire – Stony Stratford, Nether and Upper Heyford, the Ancient Parish of St. Giles -Northampton, Stowe-IX-Churches and Weedon Bec and also Merton College, Oxford.

Edmund Arnold:

Born: Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire

Baptised: Stowe-Nine-Churches, Northamptonshire, 1607

Graduated: Merton College Oxford, 10th October 1661

Career: Lawyer – Doctors’ Commons, Knightrider Street, London (Described in ‘David Copperfield’ and referred to by Sherlock Holmes)

Died: Kensington, London, 27th March 1676

Buried: Beneath the chancel in St Bartholomew’s Church, Furtho, Northamptonshire

Edmund Arnold’s Charity – Registered Charity number 260589

Arnold’s Education Foundation – Registered Charity number 310590

Parish Council – February & March 2021

Due to government regulations prohibiting public meetings the Jan 7th, 2021 Parish Council meeting was held online, using the Zoom platform. This is in line with national advice. There is no indication of how long these conditions will persist, but it is likely that meetings will take place online for the next 3 months at the very least.

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.

We have no idea at this stage of how long the present lockdown will continue, but it will be months rather than weeks. The new variant of the virus has made it more widespread and I imagine all of us now know victims personally. There have been a number in the village, and many more in the locality to the point where the General Hospital has struggled to cope.

The Parish Council is now 4 members short of its full quota of 11. There is an election due in May, which we hope will take place (it having already been postponed once). In the meantime, we are able to co-opt new members, subject to them being eligible. The Parish Council really does need active new members, preferably familiar with IT – so if you feel that is you – please contact me or the Chair (details below this article).

Reports from the District and County Councillors.
Cllr Phil Bignell expressed concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and anticipated stricter regulations.

Cllr Adam Brown reported that the LGR was ongoing, that West Northamptonshire (WN) authority would come into being on April 1st. Parish and District elections were still set for May. WN leadership team is now in place and further appointments can now be made. A budget will be set shortly with a “safety first” intention. There will be a full review of all services. It is hoped that a combination of a new Highways contractor and new technology/methods will improve the situation on the roads. Children’s services will be bought in house again.

Cllr David Harries expressed concerns about shadow councillors talking about keeping rates as low as possible. He felt that this was the very attitude that had caused the demise of NCC – not putting up the rates and driving the authority into the ground. Cllr AB said that WN would increase the rates by the maximum allowed without going to referendum.

Lights Bracket lamp on junction of Weedon Rd and Church Lane reported out. AW/CK to inform Clerk of which other lights were out.

The Green / Play Area – NH reported a bin overflowing. Clerk to check. The bid for New Homes Bonus money towards a new Play Area had been turned down. This would be the last opportunity for this form of funding. CK had identified another possible source of funding.

Allotments Virtual Rent Night to take place on Jan 21st. Rent letters would include Bank details and encourage online payment.

Churchyard In good order, STS to pollard the Limes in the Churchyard shortly.

Joint Burial Board No meeting had been possible. A co-option would enable a meeting on Jan 25th.

Youth Club Still closed and would be until the tier system ends.

Canal Furnace Lane bridge brickwork not yet repaired. Paths boggy.

Yellow Lines around School It was resolved to request that yellow lines be extended along Middle St to the bottleneck on both sides of the road. Form to be filled in and passed to the school for comment.

Grass-cutting Contracts 3 tenders had been received. It was resolved to accept Mr Simons’ (the existing contractor) quotation for cutting the village green and verges.

Police Liaison Representative to act as a single point of contact with Northamptonshire Police. It was resolved that Charles Kiloh to take on the role.

Budget and Precept for 2020 -21
Budget set at £91,450.00 as recommended by the Finance Committee.

Precept set at £90,000.00. This represented an increase of 12.4%. Any shortfall to come from the general reserve.

Increased expenditure on maintenance was anticipated on the Green, in the cemetery and churchyard, especially on trees and benches. There would be annual wage increments on salaries for the PCSO, Clerk and Linkman. Election expenses were also anticipated.

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.

Streetlights within the village can be reported to the Clerk, who will report them to the maintenance company.

Parish Council meetings in 2021 will continue to be on the first Monday of each month, (unless a Bank Holiday) and start at 19:30. The next ones are Monday February 1st  & Monday March 1st (Online on Zoom Meeting ID is available from the Nether Heyford Parish Council Website )


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 

Astronomy on the Green – February 2021

This month I will concentrate on a significant patch of the winter night sky. Looking to the south west in the mid-evening you will observe two main stars; Sirius [a] (the Dog Star – blue colouration) the brightest star in the night sky, and Betelgeuse [b] a large and luminous red star.

These two distinctive stars take us into mythologically linked constellations. Sirius is found in Canis Major (the great dog) and is a bright blue star some 8.7 light years from us. It appears so bright as it is close to us, actually it is a fairly unremarkable star around 23 times more luminous than our sun, and some 1.8 times larger. This dog constellation has a partner constellation Canis Minor and the pair apparently chase a small constellation Lepus (the Hare).

The Hare nestles under another bright star Rigel [c] , which is part of the same constellation as Betelgeuse; to the right of our Hunting dogs is Orion (the Hunter). Orion is a large constellation containing some of the most visible nebula in the sky. Betelgeuse is the star at the top left of the hourglass and is a red giant, forming one shoulder of the Hunter. If this star was in our solar system it would cover the sun, and the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and part way to Saturn. Luckily for us this giant is some 600 light years distant from us, it is around 100,000 times brighter than the sun and 1000 times its size. This star is near the end of its life, and within the next 100,000 years it will go supernova and explode, when this happens it will be as bright in the sky as a full moon.

Central Orion forms the shape of a tilted hourglass in the night sky, across the waist of the hourglass lie 3 stars forming a belt [d, f]. From that belt hangs a starry sword, and towards the bottom of the sword a fuzzy area can (on a clear night) be seen. This is the Orion Nebula [e], together with a dimmer nebula known as the running man (due to the shape in its centre). Even through a small telescope some detail (not colour) can be seen.

Now we travel back up the sword to the belt, near the first star (left) two less visible objects hide, the famous Horsehead dark nebula [f] , and above it the Flame nebula. Our noble Hunter chases the constellation to its right, one of the Zodiac signs, Taurus (the Bull). Taurus is the home of another red giant star Aldebaran [g] (13th brightest) and is the eye of bull, alongside this is a small open cluster (the Hyades [h]) completing the head of the bull. Follow the gaze of the bull up and to the right and you will find the Pleiades [I] a spectacular open cluster of bright blue stars, covered with a mist of nebulously from which they form, these are the Seven Sisters of mythology. Some 440 light years away this is one of the closest clusters to us. We end our brief trip across the sky here, noting that all we have seen is in our local group of stars in our own Galaxy the Milky Way.

Before I end I want to throw some numbers at you (great huh…).

Our sun is 93 million miles from us, the light it produces travels to us as 186,000 miles a second and it takes 8.3 light minutes to reach us. So now, consider that a light year is 186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 miles, or (as you are dying to know) – 5,865,696,000,000 miles.

Astronomy therefore makes us into time-travellers we see the seven sisters as they were 440 years ago (so that big number times 440). The closest spiral Galaxy (Andromeda- similar to ours) is 2.5 million light years away.

Hums the tune to Dr Who… Bye.

Tony Boutle

Heyford Singers – February & March 2021


A belated but heartfelt happy New Year to everyone.

2020 is past, a year to put behind us, but not to forget. It seems that each and everyone of us had our own personal suffering, lost someone very special or experienced difficulties. Kindness, compassion, empathy, love and community have never been so important in our lives. May we take these virtues with us into 2021 and beyond.

As we said “Goodbye to 2020”so we also bade farewell to Hugh Adams, who sadly died just before Christmas. A gentle giant of our community, Hugh touched so many lives in his long and happy life, not least Heyford Singers of which he was a proud and enthusiastic member since it was formed in 2002. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. But like so many friends and family that we have lost recently we dearly hope, in time, to come together, to share memories, and to celebrate the lives of all those special people.

With such positive thoughts in mind the committee of Heyford Singers have begun, albeit tentatively, to plan for rehearsals in September and a programme for a Christmas concert. How joyful an occasion that will be! And maybe something else in the summer… who knows!!

Take care as we weather the cold, dark days of winter, but look for early signs of spring. Stay healthy and content, look after one another, and may music feature somewhere in your life every day.

Jill Langrish


If you would like to find out more, visit the Heyford Singers page or our website:

 alternatively come along to one of our rehearsals in Nether Heyford Village Hall.


Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – Services – February & March 2021


Following discussions with the Benefice Council and PCC’s we have decided to keep our church buildings closed during this third national lockdown, as they were for the first two in 2020. We do not take this decision lightly, but with a new strain of Covid19 infecting many more people, our hospitals at capacity, and government ministers urging us to act as if we had the virus and stay at home, we feel it is the right thing to do. It’s important that we all demonstrate self-discipline and play our part in preventing the spread of the virus, and closing our church buildings is one way in which we can do that. Our hope is that the roll out of the national vaccination programme will gather pace, and protect the most vulnerable, reassuring us that this lockdown will come to an end, even if we don’t yet know the exact date on which it will be lifted.

While our church buildings are closed, the church community will continue to gather virtually, spiritually and intentionally to worship God and bring before him our prayers and concerns for our village communities and their people. During the lockdown the weekly pattern of services will be:

Sunday 10:00AM Service of Holy Communion via the Benefice Facebook Page, which can be found at:

Wednesday 9:30AM Service of Morning Prayer via WHYPAY? Telephone Conference Call

Friday 9:00AM Service of Morning Prayer via Zoom

Details of the midweek services are available from the Rector (tel: 344436). Please watch village Facebook Pages and notice-boards for details of any changes to this service pattern, and for news of our Lent Course for 2021.

Although our church buildings are closed, we know that God is with us in all the circumstances of our lives, and he hears our prayers.

During February we shall be praying for people living in Hillside Rd and Hillside Crescent here in Heyford, Sutton St, Yew Tree Gardens and Sutton Acre in Flore, The Manor in Church Stowe and the Gate House and the Old Dairy in Brockhall.

During March we shall be praying for: Close Rd, The Pound and The Peak in Heyford, The Avenue and The Glebe in Flore, The Old Dairy Farm in Upper Stowe and the outlying farms around Stowe and the Mews Houses in Brockhall.

The Benefice Facebook Page can be found at

Rev Stephen Burrow (Tel. 01327 344436)

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – February/March 2021

Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Dear Friends,

I wonder, when something is worrying you, do you make a note of it, just in case you forget it? No, I don’t do that either. In fact, the opposite is true. Unless I focus on other things, whatever I’m anxious about takes over my thoughts. It’s like my mind is full of fog, slowing down my thought processes such that things seem to take longer to complete. Anxiety and worry are distracting, and being told not to worry doesn’t really help.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul understands that for us to worry less, we must consciously think of other things. Addressing the church in Philippi, Paul writes “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil4:6-8). Paul advises us to focus on the things we are thankful for, and stay alert to the little signs of hope and blessing in our daily lives.

With the miserable weather of late, the shorter, darker days and the ongoing and frustrating impact of the pandemic, we might be forgiven for worrying and thinking that this crisis will never end, that life will never be ‘normal’ again. When such thoughts invade my mind, when ‘lockdown fatigue’ strikes, I try to keep a mental list of the good things that are happening in my life, however small they might be, and I thank God for them daily. These positive things are like little seeds of hope, reminding me that whatever my circumstances God is always with me.

Most surprisingly for me, one of the positive things recently has been the little rescue dog, Niamh, that my son adopted five months ago. She has been a great source of laughter, joy and de-stressing and has got us out of the house, regardless of the weather, to take her for regular walks. Walking her around the Rectory garden in recent days, I’ve noticed little yellow flowers (aconites?) pushing up through the mulch of damp, dead leaves and crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils putting up shoots, despite the frost, rain and snow. These really are little signs of hope, reminding us that after the winter comes the spring, just as the growing number of people who have been vaccinated tell us that this pandemic too, will pass.

Please be assured of my continued fervent prayers for all the communities in the benefice, and especially for those impacted by the coronavirus through illness, isolation, hardship or uncertainty. If there is anything else the Church or I can do to help, please let me know and we’ll do what we can.

With prayers and blessings,

Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile: 07511 544375 Email: