Village Hall – News – September 2020

Great news – the village hall is returning to life! Under the current Government guidance, we are planning to open the hall again on 1st September.

To bring us to this stage, a great deal of work has been done, thanks mainly to the tremendous efforts of two of our Management Committee members – Peter Squire and Pat Paterson – who have spent countless hours over several weeks to interpret the many directives issued by the Government.

To re-open the hall, we must demonstrate through Risk Assessment that the building can be ‘Covid-19 Secure’. This risk assessment highlights the mitigation’s required to exclude the virus from the hall. Some of these will be actions by the Management Committee to provide equipment etc., and others will be actions required by the users. The latter are set out in a Special Conditions of Hire
documents that will be supplied to all users.

Significant changes in the use of the hall will be to restrict the number of people in the hall to a maximum of 30, close the kitchen for the preparation of food and drink, and create a one-way system to access the washrooms from the main hall via the kitchen and back to the hall by the entrance lobby.

Entrance to the hall will remain unchanged but, to avoid people passing each other in the front lobby, exit will be via the front fire escape door.

Users and event organisers will be asked to hold a contact list of their members / guests, and to make that available if required by the Government’s Track & Trace system.

The Risk Assessment and the Special Conditions of Hire will be supplied to all regular users, in both the bookings and documents sections and are also on the website:

If, as a non-regular user, you might consider hiring the hall but would like to know more first, contact Peter Squire on 01327 342167.

The Management Committee is committed to doing everything necessary to keep the hall as safe and Covid-19 Secure as possible but, if you see something that needs to be added, or could be done better, please let us know about it – on Peter’s number above.

And finally, when you return you will be welcomed to a newly decorated hall, in a fresh new colour scheme. We hope you like it.

Alwyne Wilson – 01327 340803

Chairman, Village Hall Management Committee



Village Hall – News – July & August 2020

Saturday 20th June – should have been our Village Hall Fete – with the same strong winds and heavy rain as last year – seems to be becoming a tradition. However, thanks to C-you-know-what, it had to be cancelled.

That’s not the only sad news for the Village Hall, as our Vice-Chair, Eve Matthews, has had to stand down. We want to record our thanks to Eve, not only for her enthusiastic and valuable contributions to our management committee meetings, but also for her willingness to help with our fundraising events. With our Events Secretary Pat Paterson, Eve worked hard at the beginning of the year, not only to help organise the village hall fete but the April garage sale too, also cancelled.

Throughout the village hall’s 60-year history, volunteers have been joining and leaving the management committee – each member bringing in fresh ideas and energy – to help ensure the hall’s continual maintenance and development into the splendid community facility that we still enjoy. As we are keen to continue this tradition by finding a successor for Eve, we have issued an invitation to Nether Heyford people to join us – please see our advertisement in this issue.

This should have been a special year for the village hall – with lots of planned events to celebrate its 60th anniversary – now on hold. However, next year we will celebrate ‘60+1’ so come and join us and help us make 2021 special instead.

Alwyne Wilson – 01327 340803

Chairman, Village Hall Management Committee



Village Hall – News – June 2020

Little to report, other than the village support group’s continuing work on Wednesdays to prepare and deliver food boxes to vulnerable and isolated local people – the first time the village hall has been used in this way in its 60-year history. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that, because of the enforced isolation of many of the village hall’s management committee and friends, we have been unable to clear the weeds around the area. Apologies for this – although I reckon the insect population will be enjoying the benefits.

Alwyne Wilson – 01327 340803

Chairman, Village Hall Management Committee



2020 Village Award Scheme – Update – June 2020

2020 Village Award Scheme
Northamptonshire Action for Communities in Rural England

We have just learnt that this year’s competition has been cancelled. However, we have taken up ACRE’s option to leave our submission with them for next year. Meanwhile, as mentioned in May, we have asked the Prattler to include in its June edition our 500-word statement in support of this year’s application. Whilst, because of Covid-19, most of our activities are on hold for the time being, there are several positives.

Our village’s voluntary support group is continuing to support vulnerable and isolated local people with weekly food boxes and also with prescription deliveries, both greatly appreciated.

The Foresters is running a food bank, and The Olde Sun Inn is now offering takeaway meals on Fridays and Saturdays as well as Sunday dinners.

Finally, the allotment revitalisation project in its several forms is continuing, and already showing beneficial results. I would strongly recommend that you use your exercise time to walk down and see for yourselves.

Therefore, despite these difficult times, we are indeed fortunate to live in Nether Heyford.

Alwyne Wilson 01327 340803


2020 Village Award Scheme – Update – May 2020

2020 Village Award Scheme
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


Village Hall – News – May 2020

While the village hall is not presently being used by its usual groups and individuals (all much missed) it is nevertheless being put to an amazing use.

Every Wednesday a group of village volunteers are working together to receive large deliveries of food, sort, make up food parcels, then deliver them to local vulnerable people.

As a recipient of these regular food parcels I know how much this must mean to all of us who are in isolation, many lonely and no doubt anxious about this dreadful time we are all going through. On behalf of us all I want to say a huge THANKYOU to all our ‘angels’ by helping to make a bad time feel better. It is greatly appreciated.

Alwyne Wilson – 01327 340803

Chairman, Village Hall Management Committee

PS: Sorry about all the weeds around the hall – hopefully when this is over we’ll be able to gather a great team of volunteers to help us clear them (fingers crossed).


The Story of Heyford (Extra): VH 60th Grand Opening: 7th May 1960

Nether Heyford Village Hall 60th Anniversary

Grand opening: 7th May 1960 


Left to Right: Lieut.-Colonel C C S Genese, Miss L N D La Touche, Viscount Althorp, Major W Blaney, Viscountess Althorp, Mr R H Adams, Mrs M M Bartlett and Mr C E North.

Their children and grandchildren will owe them gratitude

‘A memorial to industry and good sense’. That is how Viscount Althorp described Lower Heyford’s new village hall when he declared it open on Saturday Afternoon. Not one penny, he said had been spent on labour costs since the first soil was turned by the villagers in 1958, apart from the short period when the roof was being erected by contractors. He mentioned the generous help from the Rural Community Council and the grant from the Ministry of Education. Village organisations he mentioned with gratitude were the Parish Council, Parochial Council, Methodist and Baptist Churches, British Legion, W.I., Darby & Joan, School managers and the local Athletic Club.

Viscount Althorp said he was sure the Hall would not become a passive venture –
this was most likely to happen when there was a lack of youth among the committee members. The children and grandchildren of those concerned in the building would owe them a great debt of gratitude. Viscount Althorp, accompanied by the Viscountess was introduced by Major W Blaney (president of the building committee) who said the opening was an outstanding day in the life and history of the village. The committee had been exceptionally good, and he mentioned especially Mr George Masters and Mr H Thorneycroft.

Mr Hugh Adams (committee member) gave a history of the building from the first decision (by the W.I. in 1933) to form a special building fund and praised the determination and loyalty of those who gave up their spare time to work on the hall. He also paid tribute to Major Blaney as chairman of the committee. The hall must now be utilized to the fullest extent he said. The building committee would hand over to a management committee.

Mrs M Bartlett, chairman of the executive committee of the Northamptonshire Rural Community Council, said the hall should be used for everybody in the village and supply the social needs of both the old and the young. She mentioned a conference to be held in the County Hall, Northampton next October at which representatives of all village halls in the county would meet. She paid tribute to the help give by Lt-Col Charles Genese (secretary of Northants Rural Community Council and Miss L N La Touche (HM Inspector, Ministry of education). Mr C North voiced thanks to the speakers and Major Blaney a comprehensive vote of thanks. Two visitors from London who attended the ceremony were Miss M Hann (Architect from the National Council of Social Services and Miss O Emerson-Price from the Ministry of Education.

An opening dance was held at the hall in the evening.

An article from the Mercury & Herald – Friday 13th May 1960

Published in The Prattler – May 2020

The Story of Heyford (Extra): VH 60th “Gentleman’s Smoking Club”

Friday 27th February 1987

A highly entertaining evening was enjoyed by a predominantly male audience. The noise level reached 7.3 on the RICHTER scale on occasions due to some of the younger members getting overexcited, too much beer probably.

A good appetite was worked up by the time the food was served which consisted of pork pie, cheese, roll & pickle. Some people were lucky enough to have marshmallow for dessert. Over £300 was raised.

Reprinted from The Prattler May 1987 Edition