Nether Heyford Playing Fields – ‘A community asset to be proud of’

Nether Heyford Playing Fields – ‘A community asset to be proud of’

There may not have been much organised sport at the Playing Fields since lockdown started, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been abandoned – far from it! Club volunteers have been hard at work keeping the playing surfaces and facilities ready for when sport can resume. Indeed, it has been reported that many people (both new and longstanding friends) have been enjoying the good weather and open space the fields have to offer – and we welcome all to make use of what is a fantastic local asset. Some might find it surprising that the facilities have only been in existence for 34 years – which makes what has been achieved in that period a truly outstanding achievement. With that in mind, here is a brief history of the Playing Fields and our plans…

In the mid-1980s, the Parish Council realised that with the growing population, the village green which had always been suitable for community sporting activities, was sadly no longer fit for purpose. Consequently, the decision was made to purchase 14.47 acres of land to be used for sport from Mr Spokes at a cost of £39,500 which is now Nether Heyford Playing Fields. The acquisition was funded by the sale of allotments on Furnace Lane and the Purchase Agreement was signed on behalf of the Parish Council by Mrs Sally Foulkes and Mrs Joan Kirkbride on the 1st August 1986. There were several conditions to the sale, the main ones being that no building could be constructed on the site without the written permission of the vendor, although this would not be refused if the request was in pursuance of sport. Also, if the land ceased to be used for sport and was to be disposed of, it must initially be offered for sale back to the vendor at the current agricultural price of land. Once purchased the Parish Council set up by a Declaration of Trust, the Nether Heyford Playing Fields Association Committee to administer, manage and financially indemnify the Parish Council from any costs and with the remit to support sport and leisure for the local and outlying community. The Parish Council remain the Trustees.

The formation of the Playing Fields in the early years required the movement of the old portacabin changing rooms from the Village Hall to the Playing Fields to form the  existing pavilion. The following seasons saw the setting up of football and cricket teams at the new location, together with the construction of tennis courts, then later in 1996 a Bowls Club was formed with the grant of £72,000 from the Sports Lottery and South Northants Council.

Over the years the Playing Fields continued to develop with the increase of participation in the four main sports clubs. These four clubs form the Playing Fields Association. They are all independently run with their own committees and finances.

The cost of running the Playing Fields – and excluding the running costs of individual clubs – is in excess of £10k per year (e.g. utilities, maintenance and insurance) and is met mainly from Member Club annual fees, a grant of £400 annually from the Parish Council (although the Parish Council has contributed to specific projects), the 300 Club (currently paused until the end of lockdown), and percentage of the Bar profits.

The Football Club now has two Saturday senior teams and various age groups including U7, U9, U12, U15, and U18s teams and an enjoyable ‘Thursday evening of walking football’ was gathering momentum pre-lockdown. They also hire out their facilities to two Sunday teams. The Cricket Club hoped for the first time in their history to field three senior Saturday teams prior to lockdown. They also enthusiastically promote youth sport with competitive cricket for U11s and All-Star cricket for younger children and have recently completely renovated their nets. The Tennis and Bowls Clubs also have strong membership of about 60 members each. The Tennis Club are currently refurbishing their Tennis Courts with new surfaces and fencing. Also, in recent history (in 2017) an additional 2.35 acres of land was purchased from Northamptonshire County Council with a grant of £45,000 from South Northants District Council, and with further funding from SNC (£10,000) and the London Marathon Charitable Trust (£20,000), a brand-new Netball and Basketball court has been constructed. The planned introduction of a Ladies Netball team has been delayed due to lockdown, but hopefully only temporarily!

The Playing Fields have also established close ties with the village Scouts and Bliss Charity School – with the procurement of a storage container so that they can safely store their own equipment and make use of the facilities. Along with the Parish Council , the  Playing Fields also supported the creation of the Community Orchard at the allotments by planting the hedge that includes several varieties of fruit trees.

The Nether Heyford Playing Fields Committee has been lucky in gratefully securing grants over the years which have been used to construct Bowls Club Changing Rooms, Basketball/Netball Court, Land purchase and other minor projects, and the committee are continuously working tirelessly to improve the facilities… we have plans for the construction of a new building with new changing rooms, storage facilities, kitchen and toilets. It has been designed by Ellis Architectural Design and Planning Permission has been approved (reference S/2019/1393/MAF for those interested). The provision of this building will be extremely challenging as the cost is estimated at approximately £450,000. It is hoped to raise the money by matched grants from South Northants District Council, Sport England and the Football Foundation.

Over the years the Playing Fields have been supported by the Parish, Local and District Councils, local farmers, grant bodies, professionals and numerous individuals all of whom are too many to mention. The Committee and Clubs are lucky to have so many enthusiastic individuals serve on their respective committees and give their time for coaching and ground maintenance. The 17 acres of Playing Fields are now a valuable and much prized community asset of which we should all be rightly proud. We encourage and welcome everyone to enjoy all it has to offer and thank you for your ongoing support.

NHPFA Committee – June 2020

Published in the July / August Edition of The Prattler 2020

Heyford Bowls Club – June 2020


Good news is in short supply at the moment, but Heyford Bowls Club has some. The Club has been successful in obtaining £3,700 from the Sport England Community Emergency Fund to help with ongoing running costs, incurred while there is no income from members because of the Covid19 pandemic.

This takes financial pressure off for a few weeks while we decide how and when we are going to re-open the club. We are moving cautiously as many of our members are in the vulnerable category. At the time of writing these notes, Bowls England have just released some guidelines which include: –

  • Playing on rinks 1/3/5 or 2/4/6 only, to allow for social distancing.
  • Singles or Pairs matches only, but only from the same family.
  • Booking system for games.
  • Clubhouse and changing rooms to remain closed.
  • No spectators.
  • One person to handle jack and mat, with sanitisation of this equipment after play.
  • Copious supply of hand gel.
  • No use of bowls pushers, scoreboards, and other communal equipment.
  • No handshakes, high fives, and definitely no hugging!!!!!

The list goes on.

We intend to have a remote committee meeting in early June to consider our position. Until then, no bowls at Heyford I’m afraid.

It is galling to report that the green is in immaculate condition. The best it has ever looked.

Geoff Allen 01327 349909

For more bowls club information please visit our website:

Heyford Bowls Club – May 2020


We’ve all heard the expression “no news is good news” but I’m not sure in this context that it is necessarily true. I understand – good old internet- that the phrase originated in the reign of King James I when he said, “no news is better than evil news”, but he had not experienced Covid 19.

I believe in a pandemic you can get too much news. If you watch the television news too much it can have a deteriorating effect on your mental health. A case of too much news is not good news, because all the news is gloomy. And I’m still waiting for David Shulman, a journalist in the BBC, to produce a positive report that is not full of gloomy predictions.

Meanwhile in the world gone mad category: –
Wednesday: the UK is heading for the biggest depression in living memory; two to three million people unemployed. Thursday: farmers charter an aeroplane to fly in crop pickers from Romania.

In any case, won’t every economy in the world suffer some degree of depression?

One final thought. Have you noticed the unprecedented use of the word unprecedented?

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Keep safe.

Geoff Allen 01327 349909

For more bowls club information please visit our website:

Heyford Bowls Club – April 2020



Our last three matches in the ‘WARDINGTON LEAGUE’ have been very successful. A hard match at Moreton Pinkney saw us win on one mat and lose on the other. Unfortunately we lost on the final aggregate score. However a really good win at home to Middleton Cheney on both mats. This led to the final aggregate score in our favour by the magnificent score of 74-8.

The ‘LADIES PAIRS’ was played on Saturday 14th March. The knock-out matches produced some really good bowling. An excellent and close final saw Liz Davison and Pauline Thackray beat Eileen Everard and Jean Cullin by the score of 5-4.

We have a few matches coming up now in quick succession. A very popular fixture the INDOOR v OUTDOOR will be played on the 26th March. The Mixed Singles will be played on the 18th April. Both matches will start at 1.30 pm.

Good support has once again been maintained on our Wednesday bowling sessions.

Den Taylor


I always knew that nuclear bunker I built in the 1960s would come in handy one day. I’ve promised my wife that this crisis will all be over by the time of our wedding anniversary on 18th June, but when I hear of national organisations suspending all meetings for four months, I fear that my deadline may be a trifle optimistic.

This is my first missive for The Prattler this calendar year, and it should have been telling you of the dates for the enrolment night, the fish and chip supper, the spring quiz, the working party on the green, and fixtures. Instead all I can report is they are all cancelled. This leaves the residents of Heyford free to spring clean their houses and make their gardens immaculate. At the end of the pandemic I will be round to check.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

PS Don’t go to the shops specially to buy us an anniversary card. Use one of the ones you panic bought at the start of the pandemic. They’re up in the loft. On top of the toilet rolls.

Geoff Allen 01327 349909

For more bowls club information please visit our website:

Heyford Bowls Club – March 2020



A good turnout of 21 players contested the ‘THE DAVID JULAND PRESIDENTS CUP’ on Saturday 8th February. The eventual winners after a hard fought final were Jean Cullin, John Dunkley and Peter McClean over Gill Guglielmi, Barry Cole and Roger Schofield by a score of 9 to 3.

An excellent result in our ‘WARDINGTON LEAGUE’ match was a win on both mats over Boddington with a combined winning score of 57 to 10.

The ‘LADIES PAIRS’ Competition will be played on Saturday 14th March at 1pm for 1.30pm. Entrants as usual via the notice boards.

Members’ support has been good in maintaining attendances at our Wednesday bowling sessions.

Den Taylor

For more bowls club information please visit our website:

Heyford Bowls Club – February 2020


It is nice to say 2019 turned out to be a very good year for the ‘INDOOR BOWLS SECTION’ and good attendances were maintained throughout the year. The Wednesday afternoon bowls section has shown good attendances regularly. Well done to the organisers and supporters of afternoon bowls for creating an enjoyable afternoon bowling section.

The Christmas fun night turned out to be another hilarious bowling occasion. A good turnout was treated to a very enjoyable evening.

2020 will see the start of another year’s bowling competitions. Last year they produced some excellent bowling. Competition was keen, making it hard to win a trophy. Our first competition, ‘THE DAVE JULAND PRESIDENTS CUP’ will be played on the 8th February, 1pm for 1.30pm.

January 6th saw Heyford entertain Syresham in a Wardington League match. An enjoyable competition saw Heyford win on both mats. This enabled us to pick up 4 points from this win. Our next match is away at Middleton Cheney on the evening of 23rd January.

It would be nice to say thank you to Ray and Rosemary (EVENING) and Sandy (AFTERNOON) for all their hard work throughout 2019 in helping to maintain a thriving INDOOR BOWLING SECTION. Also a thank you to all our members for making 2019 a successful and happy year for the IBC. Good luck to all our bowlers in the coming year.

Den Taylor

For more bowls club information please visit our website:

Letters: RNLI Thank you for your ongoing support – Sandy Davis

Thank you for your ongoing support

It is good news to report Sandy is still receiving monetary support to be donated to
the Gorleston branch of the RNLI.

A monthly raffle organised by Sandy on an ‘INDOOR BOWLS CLUB’ afternoon is steadily raising more funds for the Yarmouth Lifeboats. They very much appreciate all the hard work put in by Mrs Davis. The branch has three life boats to maintain, and most of the money to keep them operating is raised by public donations.

A thank you to all the ‘INDOOR BOWLING CLUB’ members for their generosity in supporting this very worthy cause.

All monies raised will be given personally by Sandy at the Gorleston RNLI branch in Great Yarmouth. Sandy is a dedicated collector for the RNLI and anyone who would like to donate please contact Sandy on 07759 007 279.

Sandy Davis

Published February Edition 2020

Heyford Bowls Club – December 2019



The indoor bowls section has been involved in a number of competitions during November. It was the start of the Wardington League winter games. Our first game was at home against the present champions Moreton Pinkney. Unfortunately we lost on both mats, though on one it went to the very last end. Our second match was away at Boddington. This proved to be a very good side and we were beaten on both mats. Never the less both games were enjoyed by all and it is very nice to
play people we would not normally play against.

The ladies versus the men proved a great laugh and played in a wonderful atmosphere. All games were played with a great spirit and of course both sides wanted to win. However after a fantastic afternoon of bowling and fun, the men were the eventual winners. We can once more look forward to the game next year. This year our annual Xmas fun night will be held on Wednesday evening 18th December.

After a very hard fought game the ‘BENCO SHIELD’ was won by Graham Drake and Jean Cullin. This was our last indoor club competition of the season, but there will be lots of ‘WARDINGTON LEAGUE’ games to look forward to during the winter months.

Den Taylor

For more bowls club information please visit our website:

Heyford Bowls Club – November 2019


Wednesday bowling sessions are going very well with good turnouts. The ‘BENCO SHIELD’ was played on the 19th October and will be reported on later.

Our next eagerly awaited competition is the ‘LADIES v MEN’ on Saturday 9th November with a 1 pm start. No doubt this will be very keenly fought. This will be the end of our competitions till the spring, so let’s have some really good turnouts.

We are entering the WARDINGTON league again through the winter months that was very much enjoyed by our bowlers. It gave us the opportunity to meet and make friends with bowlers from the south of the county. It was a charity league and over £800 was raised and presented to four worthy charities. It was our first year in the league and we finished a very respectful runner up. It looks like being a very busy and enjoyable winter season for ‘HEYFORD INDOOR BOWLERS’.

Our first match is at home to MORETON PINKNEY on Monday 4th November with a 7.30pm starting time. Our second game is away against WOODFORD HALSE and BODDINGTON on Wednesday 13th November with a 2.30pm start. These will be two hard games to start the season.

Den Taylor

For more bowls club information please visit our website: