Village Hall – News – October 2019

Following the ‘packed house’ success of last year’s pantomime, we are looking forward to this year’s production: ‘Dick Whittington’ to be presented by The Looking Glass Theatre Company in the Village Hall on Sunday 29th December at 2pm. We’re already receiving requests for tickets so we advise you to book early before they sell out again. Tickets – £9 for adults, £3 for children up to age 11. They can be purchased from:

Richard 01327 341044 or 07801 862 140, Alwyne 01327 340803.

Fete Photographs
Tom Dodd, our voluntary photographer has produced a large, colourful montage of this year’s fete, which is now displayed in the village hall. He’s happy to provide individual photographs – no charge but a donation to the fete funds would be welcomed. Contact him on: 07887 743157.

Village Hall Secretary
Following our recent invitation for a new Secretary, we are delighted to welcome two: Judith Cattermole as management committee secretary, and Pat Paterson as our new special events secretary. As next year sees the 60th anniversary of the building of the village hall, we expect to be even busier than usual, so our two new secretaries will make a valuable contribution to our team.

Alwyne Wilson

Heyford Singers & Allotments – September 2019

We’re neither pure nor wise nor good;
We’ll do the best we know.
We’ll build our house, and chop our wood,
And make our garden grow.
The final chorus from “Make Our Garden Grow”
from “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein 1955

Normally Jill Langrish writes a piece for the Prattler on behalf of the Heyford Singers and Mike, her other half, waxes lyrical about the joys of allotments, orchards and all things green. For this September article we thought we’d combine what little talent we have and write about the effect that both music and growing things can have on making us feel good. So this article is a sort of a dialogue; a chance for us to share that sense of contentment, happiness, belonging, achievement, and well being that we believe comes from both activities. Easy? Just read on……

Jill. Music is a very social activity. Whether you play in a band or orchestra, sing in a group or a choir, sit or stand in the audience for a concert, you are sharing that unique experience with lots of other people. You are helping to contribute towards the collective outcome, a shared achievement. As well as the social benefits of music, it also contributes hugely to our physical and mental health. There has been considerable research recently about the value of doctors giving a “social prescription”. In July, Naomi Paxton hosted a BBC Proms panel discussion on music and wellbeing with epidemiologist Dr Daisy Fancourt and GP Dr Simon Opher. Both are enthusiastic advocates of social prescribing and of using music to support health.

“Social prescription is a fairly new idea,” says Dr Opher. “A doctor might give a normal
prescription for a medicine, but they can also give a prescription for an activity.
That could be singing, music, art, poetry, exercise or anything – but not a medicine.
Music can help everyone, but it can specifically help certain conditions – and we
know this from research. One of the areas of the brain that really lights up when you
listen to music is the pre cortical area. That’s one of the last areas that is damaged
with dementia – so people with dementia, for example, retain their ability to enjoy
music. I’ve seen more effect with music for patients with dementia than any kind of

Mike. Gardening, whether it be wandering round the tiny patch of ground outside your back door or maintaining an allotment or huge vegetable patch, vastly improves both our physical and mental health. And the sort of evidence that applies to music is to be found in abundance when it comes to digging and weeding. Kathryn Rossiter, CEO of Thrive, one of the UK’s leading charities in disability and gardening says that

“as well as the strong therapeutic value of gardening it can help people connect with others, reducing feelings of isolation. It makes us more active, gaining both physical and mental health benefits.”

Jill. Then there is the intellectual side of music. Listening to a new song or unfamiliar piece of music demands attention, it keeps the brain’s cells active. And whether it be trying to make sense of all those dots and squiggles in music notation, learning new songs, understanding the different voice parts, learning and playing an instrument, all these are essential in keeping the “little grey cells’ active.

Mike. Now this is a generalisation, but doctors believe that gardeners have lower
levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, leading to improved sleep patterns, relaxation and mental wellbeing. Although sometimes I think it is just exhaustion that makes me sleep!

Jill. And what about the fun side, the enjoyment of it all. During August there was
delightful series on the radio entitled “A Singer’s Guide to Britain” which explored different aspects of British culture through the songs we sing. In the first episode the presenter said that, “a song is like an imaginary magic carpet. You climb aboard and it flies off, it takes you on an adventure”. Now this can be interpreted in so many ways. Special places, special people or special memories are all evoked by the song. It is powerful stuff.

Mike. That first snowdrop can make you feel really good. The flowering of the rose you pruned, a lettuce you grew from seed, the blackbird singing just for you. These are small things but all positive and have healing powers that medicine sometimes tries to mimic. It is no surprise that, like music, doctors are seriously considering prescribing gardening as a cure for some conditions. Monty Don, the man that appears on our TV screens on a Friday evening accompanied by two dogs and who isn’t bad at gardening either, says in a telling way that “When you plant something, you invest in a beautiful future amidst a stressful, chaotic and, at times, downright appalling world”

Apologies if we have just taken this opportunity to indulge in our two great passions. It doesn’t matter if you think you can’t sing a note in tune (something we dispute) or you kill everything you plant (also disputable), there is so much to be gained from both activities. A good way to start would be to join Heyford Singers and/or get an allotment.

Jill. The next rehearsal of Heyford Singers is on Friday 6th September at 7.15 pm in the village hall. It will be an Open Evening and everyone is very welcome. Come and meet us, watch, listen, join in and I guarantee that you will go home feeling energised and happy, having sung, laughed and made new friends. If you feel that you would like to know more then please do contact Mary Rice, myself or someone you know who is already part of this community choir.

Mike. If you are interested in trying out an allotment contact either Sue Corner on
01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707. We can offer a range of allotment
sizes, to suit every need. Help is also on hand to offer advice and encouragement.
There you are, two articles in one

Jill & Mike 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.


Jill Langrish

Heyford Picturedrome – September 2019

The Autumn film season begins with Bohemian Rhapsody to be shown in the Village Hall on Thursday 19th September. This is the 2018 British film about the rock-band, Queen, from their formation in 1970 through to their legendary performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985 for Live Aid starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon and Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor. This is a foot-stomping celebration of the band, their music and their extraordinary singer, Freddie Mercury.

Doors open at 7.15 for free coffee or tea with a film start at 7.45pm. The admission price remains at £4.00 per person and there is no joining fee. A licensed bar will be serving wine and soft drinks before the film and during the interval.

The October film will be ‘Fishermen’s Friends’, a 2019 British biographical comedy-drama directed by Chris Foggin about a group of ten singing Cornish fishermen from Port Isaac who have a top ten hit with their debut album of sea shanties after being signed to Universal Records by a cynical London music executive.

Tony Clewett – Phone: 01327 341533

Flower Society – September 2019

Bugbrooke and District Flower Society

We invite you to join us at our monthly meetings to relax and watch demonstrations by a fully qualified NAFAS Area or National Demonstrator. This is followed by refreshments and the opportunity to win one of the arrangements in our raffle. Learn how to arrange and enjoy flowers.

Meetings are held on the fourth Monday of the month at 7.45pm in Nether Heyford village hall.

Our next meeting is on 23rd September when Jo Davis will give a demonstration entitled “Women Who Changed The World”.

Our October meeting will be for members only as we are celebrating our 45th Anniversary.

For more information please follow us on Facebook or contact Dianne on 01604
830063 or Simone on 01327 342167.

The Bugbrooke and District Flower Society meet every fourth Monday in the month in the Village Hall. Our meetings start at 7.45pm and usually take the form of a Demonstration when a qualified demonstrator will create several floral designs which are raffled at the end of the evening and lucky members take home the beautiful flowers.

Flower Society affiliated to the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) promoting Floral Art.


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


Heyford Gardening Club – September 2019

After the summer break our annual programme will commence on the 9th September
with our autumn flower and produce show.

What a year-so far!

I commented on the weather earlier in the year, but since then we have had the
hottest July ever recorded, followed by monsoon like rain and now gale force winds. So how have our gardens fared in this year of extremes? Amazingly our own patch has hardly been affected at all. I have had to do no more watering than usual and there have been no losses to speak of. Our soft fruit crops have been good in quantity and quality, and we have a bumper crop of damsons on our trees. I have noticed that plum and pear trees around the village seem to have little fruit on though. The roses have been good and so were our lilies. Our beetroot were poor but the lettuces were prolific. Some greens plants withered away, but the kale grew better than usual. How difficult it is to predict what will happen from one year to the next.


When weeding our gardens it pays to keep an eye out for the unusual, as all sorts of plants can appear amongst the weeds. Garden compost is a fertile source of tomato plants, chard and even parsley. Poppies and nigella are notorious for self seeding, as are evening primroses. Birds can drop seeds such as cherry stones and elder pips, so maybe that’s where the sunflower came from on our vegetable plot. Rather more mysterious was the beautiful pink nicotiana and the orange coreopsis, neither of which are plants that I have ever grown and the angelica by our pond. A couple of years ago a salsify plant arrived from somewhere, and has spread around with it’s dandelion-like fluffy seeds; a beautiful and edible weed. These interlopers often seem to grow better than the plants that I have carefully planted and nurtured, presumably they have grown so well because the seeds have landed where the conditions are just right for them.

Some Things to do in September

1 Sow some salad plants in pots for the autumn and winter
2 Buy and plant narcissi and daffodils
3 Reduce watering of cacti, succulents and other houseplants

Mark Newstead


For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page



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 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)