Letters: Eileen Drake – September 2019

Eileen Drake

Sadly after battling a long illness Eileen passed away in her sleep on 7th July 2019.

Having lived in the village since 1976 she made many friends, many of whom gave help and support throughout her long illness.

She will be sadly missed by myself, son Ian, daughter Joanne, daughters in law Sarah and Rachel and her lovely grand-daughters Violet and Emerald.

Many thanks to those who made donations to Friends of Dantre Hospital and the Lewis Foundation.


Letters: Norman Trevor Davis – September 2019

Norman Trevor Davis

I would like to say thank you for all the support I have received after the death of my husband, Norman.

Thank you for all the cards and flowers and especially to Norman’s family, my family, friends and neighbours, (including former neighbours) for their love and support. Also thank you to the Bowls Club members for their help and support at this difficult time.

I would also like to thank Peter Wylie for the lovely service, and all the relatives and friends who attended the funeral.

Norman supported the RNLI and to date donations have totalled £140:00 which I was able to pass on to them.

Last of all, I would like to thank Den Taylor for the help he gave Norman and myself before and after Norman’s death, including walking the two dogs, which meant I was able to be with Norman in the hospital.

Sandy Davis

Letters: The Village Fete – September 2019

The Village Fete

What a narrow escape we had! Everyone I spoke to was convinced that the heavens would open, and it would be another wash-out. The bouncy castle had already pulled out by mid-morning, though that may have been down to the wind. I met Alwyne, the fete organiser. She told me it was her first as chief, and the paper on her clipboard being so rain sodden it couldn’t be written on. She was breezily cheerful despite impending doom. Well done her for keeping her nerve.

For those who made it, is was the usual mix of fun. The bar was run with quiet efficiency as always by Faye from the Foresters Arms, and the burger bar next door took the concept of slow food very much to heart. Great burgers – worth the wait.

Off to the side nearest the swings, a less than menacing collection of mopeds lined up (owners ditto). We ended up with no less 4 Honda Expresses, in blue, yellow and orange (the only colour missing was the startling acid green variety). These little bikes date from 1978-1979 and were designed to look as much like bicycles and as little like motorbikes as possible, in order to attract the then largely-untapped women’s market. Also present and correct was a very similar Yamaha QT, and the granddaddy of them all – a 1974 Honda C90, apparently found hidden and abandoned in a pile of nettles, and coaxed lovingly back to life. And so Heyford Moped Club was born. We should by now have had our first ride out, to mix it with the big boys at Jack’s Hill Café. What will they make of us?


James Reed
The Old Chapel, 2a Church St

Letters: Holiday at Home – September 2019

Holiday at Home!

Although my family had organised a lovely holiday in the Norfolk area, unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we were unable to go, although the rest of the family “carried on regardless” (with our blessings). Whilst disappointed, health comes first, and as the Holiday at Home had been planned for the week we were originally going to be away, I had not requested a place. However, imagine my surprise and delight when I was asked if I would like to be included, as another person had been unable to attend.

To say that the two days were brilliant is an understatement. Participants were
greeted at the door with the question “tea or coffee” and find yourself a seat. The theme of the Holiday was a “cruise” starting in England, “sailing” to France on Thursday and on to Italy on Friday.

Thursday – France
Once all passengers had assembled, we were greeted by “the captain” (Stephen
Burrow); who gave a quick run-down of the days activities, including a short prayer. Next came the Captain’s Challenge. Having been given a sheet with a list of “tools” we were allowed to “buy” with our allowance of 30p, instructions were to make a contraption that you could put a fresh egg in to be dropped from approximately 5 feet without it breaking! The table I was involved with quickly got to work with different ideas and a summary of the tools we might need. Our idea (and as it turned out the other teams idea too) was to make a hot air balloon structure. Needless to say, all eggs broke! – but because our team had spent the least amount, we won the round and the prize of a box of chocolates.

Next on the agenda was a craft activity. Deborah Burrow had organised coasters
with glue and mosaic tiles, that all had to decorate. Once finished these were put to one side to dry, to be grouted the following day. We also had intricate pictures to colour at our leisure – this was to allow time for the “catering staff” to put the finishing touches to our dinner. Wow! What a lovely dinner too – Coq au vin, followed by Apple pie & custard.

After dinner activities included Quoits, Jenga, table top curling, along with various table top games, dominoes etc.

Time seemed to pass so quickly, and in a wink of a eye it was time for afternoon tea – cakes, scones, tea & coffee.

First day’s sailing came to a close around 3.30. – Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Friday – Italy
Once again passengers were greeted with tea or coffee and biscuits, on the tables were Crossword puzzles and word search to keep you busy whilst waiting for the ships passengers to arrive.

Again Stephen greeted us with a run down of the days activities, followed by a short prayer.

Captain’s Challenge – each team had information cards with various facts. The idea was to work out the earliest time and day you could get from England to
Transylvanian to “kill” Count Dracula. Again the team I was involved with seemed
very organised, and started by spreading out all the cards, and then gradually
working through the different times and days we had been given for various parts of the journey. It became apparent that we had found the right day and time and again, we were the first team to call. Again, our team won a box of chocolates!

Next came the craft session. More colouring in the shape of a Postcard, designed
by participants, with a sea as the theme, with the view to sending to someone who we thought would like to join the Holiday from Home next year. Whilst busy with this, each of us took turns to finish our mosaic coasters with the grouting, and then they were left to dry.

Lunch today was Lasagne, Garlic bread, Salad and Tiramisu.

Today’s entertainment was courtesy of the Heyford Singers, who entertained us with a medley of songs taking us from London to Italy. Many of us joining in, and I’m sure thinking of times gone by. Whilst listening to the wonderful sounds, and joining in where I could, the “crew” where busy getting afternoon tea ready. This consisted of cream and jam scones, with a choice of cheese scones, tea & coffee – again the time between lunch and afternoon tea just seemed to fly by.

Then, in a blink of an eye, we were back in England – time to go home. What an
absolutely fabulous, enjoyable two days – one I would highly recommend to anyone who isn’t able to go on holiday.

I just would like to say a huge big THANK YOU to everyone involved in the two days of wonderful company and activities, as well as fantastic food – not forgetting the person who unfortunately couldn’t make it and gave me my place on the Heyford Cruise.

Wonder what next year will hold, and will I be able to join in again – I hope so.

Christine Phillips


Letters: Village Hall – 60 Years in 2020 – Request for memories

Nether Heyford Village Hall celebrates its 60th Anniversary next year

“It is the 60th anniversary of our village hall in 2020 and we would like to commemorate it by publishing memories of its existence in our village, particularly if you have resided here for 60 years plus. ”    
The Prattler is helping the Village Hall compile personal accounts, list volunteers who have worked on the hall, gather some photographs, memories and stories; ahead of celebrating their 60th anniversary next year.
  • Do you have a story to tell about its history ?
  • Were you a volunteer who helped out with any of the work ? Perhaps you had a relative who did ?
  • What are your memories of events at the village hall ?
  • Do you have any old photographs of the village hall or events there ?

The Prattler would love to hear from you via email heyford_prattler@yahoo.co.uk or comment on this article below.

If you know any residents who would like to participate but are not online, please send us their contact details via email and once we have a list of participants we may visit for personal interviews during the Autumn.

The story so far…. 

Nether Heyford Village Hall was built with the help of volunteer labour and completed in May 1960 as a prefabricated cedar-wood building.

1991 – Brick extensions were added to provide new toilets and kitchen at one end, a storage room and committee room with toilet and kitchenette at the other and an access ramp to the front door.

2003 – New UPVC double glazed windows, new insulation and cladding to the front and rear of the wooden section was fitted together with new front and kitchen doors. Again all the work was done by villagers giving their time and expertise voluntarily.

2006 – A new insulated roof was added.

2008 – Nether Heyford Pre-School transformed the area at the rear of the hall with an outdoor play surface to make a secure outdoor area for the young children.

Since then the remaining doors and windows have been replaced, new gas boilers fitted and decoration carried out annually whilst maintenance continues by our volunteer team. Other improvement projects have included:

  • Sound System & Induction Loop (hearing) system (2002)

  • Replacement Fire Doors (2008)

  • New energy efficient boilers for heat and hot water.

  • Replacement of rest of external doors & windows (2009)

  • Finger guards on doors (2010)

  • In the summer of 2011 the kitchen was completely refurbished

  • Ceiling fans were installed in April 2013

  • In 2014 the ladies toilets were completely refurbished

  • Also in 2014 new chairs were purchased for the main hall and lockable storage cupboards for all the regular users

  • 2 thermostats were installed in the main hall in 2014

  • Lighting in main areas of the hall upgraded to LED during 2016-17

Over the years, it has been used for all manner of events, from pre-school to pantomimes and dances to dinner parties. It is conservatively decorated and can offer seating for up to 120 people. 

Village Hall Committee 2019

(Last update 12/9/2019)

Letters: Heyford Entry-preneurs – July 2019

Message from the Entry-preneurs

Just thought it would be nice to say a massive thank you to Knights Engineering Services on Furnace Lane for mowing around the entry sign flower plot. They have done this off their own backs because they like looking at the flowers every morning when they arrive to work. How nice are they? Thank you guys. It’s really nice to know that people are keeping an eye on them and looking after them when they can.

Jill Cullen and Chris Cullen have been our ‘waterers’ during the warmer days which gave the flowers a really good start. Not to mention dead heading. So thank you too guys.

Thank you to anyone else who looks after them because without you all, and our lovely volunteers it would be super hard. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

Jill & Sue

If you are interested in joining us, please either speak to Jill Garratt or check in at our Facebook page:  Heyford Entry-preneurs  

In memoriam: Carol Baker – July 2019

On behalf of myself, Matthew and Jade, Kate and Mark and my beautiful granddaughters, I wanted to pass on our gratitude for the support and friendship we have received during Carol’s illness, and on her death.

Carol loved her family and friends selflessly. Her focus was always on the happiness of those she cared about. The last weeks have demonstrated how many of you had also been touched by her friendship. She loved Heyford, and especially Heyford Singers where she had so much fun.

Thank you to everyone who managed to join us to say goodbye. I think it was the send off Carol would have wanted.

Many thanks too for those who have made donations to Cynthia Spencer Hospice in memory of Carol. I am particularly indebted to the contribution from Heyford Cricket Club members who have raised more than a staggering £1000.

Graham Baker