Parish Council – October 2019 Meeting

Nether_Heyford_Parish_Council_2019

The October 7th meeting was held as normal in the  Baptist Chapel Schoolroom.

Like all Council meetings it was open to the public.

Reports from the District and County Councillors
P Bignell SNC gave an update on Local Government Reorganisation, outlining the course of events and the timing. The next Parish Council elections will be in 2020, and will be for 5 years, thereafter it will be for 4 years.

Lighting
Work continues on the plan to renew lighting. LEDs seem to be the preferred option, and show substantial savings. AW reported that the Lighting Working Party was looking to ask for presentations and quotes from 5 companies.

Public Participation
The chair thanked Nick Essex and Dave Musson for their work on the Village Millennium sign, which was being repainted. The work has continued, and the sign now looks stunning.

Roads and pavements
A gutter on Weedon Rd was felt to be badly overgrown. Clerk to ask Mr Gibbins to look at it. There had been complaints about drainage on Watery Lane. Stuart Mann of SNC had been in contact with the clerk and subsequently with Mr Thorneycroft as a local source of knowledge on drainage systems. It was reported that the previous drains in Watery Lane were now disused as they had tended to contribute to problems as water from the river would back up them when the river reached a certain level.

The Green and Play Area
Some steps are missing from one of the Play Area rides, some older children had been seen with them. The Play Area working party were looking at different catalogues and formats and were hoping to recruit some non-councillors. Jez Wilson had been very helpful.

Allotments
There would be 2 volunteer Saturdays on Oct 19th and 26th. New plot holders had come forward. SC asked for the rent letters to go out earlier.

Wildlife area is progressing well.

Footpaths
NH reported a rotten stile remnant was now a trip hazard on the path from the fishery to the church. Clerk to report

Churchyard
Limes to be pollarded when leaves come off.

Youth Club
New lights to be put outside. New helpers had come forward.

Defibrillators
Both checked and working.

External Audit
It was resolved too accept the External Auditors report.
“On the basis of our review of Sections 1 and 2 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return(AGAR), in our opinion the information in Sections 1 and 2 of the AGAR is in accordance with Proper Practices and no other matters have come to our attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met.”

Overgrown hedge in South View
A petition had been put together and given to SNC who were appointing an officer to deal with this long standing issue.

Neighbourhood Plan
SC reported on progress. Midland Homes Association had been contacted regarding a Housing Needs Survey. SNC recommended that this be done again before presenting the NP for consultation. Site allocation would need to be worked on and must be well founded.

Precept Meeting
will take place on November and set the budget for the next financial year. Village organisations wishing to apply for funding must apply by November 25th at the latest.

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: www.fixmystreet.com 

It is easy to use; you can have your own account and can check up on any issues you have reported.

Council meetings take place on the first Monday of each month (unless there is a Bank Holiday)

Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on the first Monday of the month at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 7.30 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners.

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Parish Council – September 2019 Meeting

Nether_Heyford_Parish_Council_2019

The meeting was held as normal in the  Baptist Chapel Schoolroom.

Like all Council meetings it was open to the public.

PCSO. It was resolved that the employment of the PCSO would be continued for the time being, provided that Bugbrooke PC continued with their share of the arrangement, which has proved to be the case since our meeting. The PCSO is felt to have fitted well into the village and is making contacts with residents and businesses.

Car Parking on the Green. This has again become an issue with both Councillors and other residents complaining of vehicles being parked on the Green. This is felt to be unnecessary and unsightly and spoils the enjoyment of our magnificent Green for many residents. Council would be most grateful if those responsible would stop.

Lighting. It was reported that a start had been made on the plan to renew lighting. A brief needed to be written to send to lighting companies willing to quote.

Roads and pavements. Condition of Street Name Signs for The Peak and Manor Walk to be reported to SNC as the black paint needed to be restored.

The Green and Play Area. It was felt that the Play Area was in reasonable condition at the present, but that it would need refurbishment after winter. Clerk had attended a course run by the Open Spaces Society, and had been told that if the property behind Denbrook on Weedon Rd were to put in a planning application, then an Easement in order to allow access across the section of the Village Green would be necessary. Council should ask that this be a condition of the planning permission, and ensure that the applicant paid for it.

Fair. It was resolved to allow Mr Freeman’s fair to visit on the Middle Green from Sept 12 – 15.

Playing Fields. Mr Thorneycroft reported that the container for the Scouts and School was now in place. He had been told that the proposed Basketball/Netball court could not go ahead until an archaeological investigation was undertaken, Mr Thorneycroft had arranged this but would have to pay for the hire and fuel for a digger. Council agreed to pay for the digger costs.

Trees. A Robinia on Hillside Crescent had been damaged, and STS asked to deal with it. A Robinia on the Green would need to be removed because of rotting. The Limes would be pollarded after the leaves had fallen.

Allotments. It was reported that further expenditure had taken place on the shed, and more to come regarding a pond. H&S issues would be considered with regard to the pond and other water holding tanks; a risk assessment would be needed.

Footpaths. There had been clearance and strimming work carried out by the Rights of Way team.

Churchyard. The first internment of Ashes had taken place. It was likely that there would be a request for funds to help with re-roofing the Church after the theft of lead.

Canal. The railing had been re-painted on the bridge on Furnace Lane. Chair thanked Lee Pratt and Nick Essex for their continued work on behalf of the community.

Youth Club. To start back on 9th September, with a waiting list in operation. Anglian Water had repaired damaged drains.

Defibrillators. Both inspected and in working order.

Neighbourhood Plan (NP). It was reported that discussions had been held with SNC, who felt the criteria used for the chosen housing areas were not robust enough, and a further Housing Needs Survey needed to be carried out, as the Examiner might well take that part of the policy out if it were felt unsatisfactory. The NP was not as close to the consultation as had been thought. It was now felt that the NP would not be complete until 2021, but that it would be much safer with the additional work done.

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: www.fixmystreet.com 

It is easy to use; you can have your own account and can check up on any issues you have reported.

Council meetings take place on the first Monday of each month (unless there is a Bank Holiday) – the next one being on Monday October 7th.

Clerk to the Parish Council: Guy Ravine, c/o Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe, Weedon, Northamptonshire, NN7 4SH
Telephone: 07935 931787
Email: netherheyfordparishcouncil@gmail.com

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on the first Monday of the month at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 7.30 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners.

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Letters: The Village Fete (Heyford Moped Club) – 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?

HeyfordMopedClub2019

James Reed
The Old Chapel, 2a Church St

Village Hall – News – September 2019

Since our fete in June, we have been asked several times: ‘how did you do?’ In view of the awful weather, especially in the morning, we were resigned to raising less than previous years. However, we are pleased to report that we actually raised a net £3,148.69 – an amazing result, due mainly to the generosity and hard work of so many people: individuals, groups, organisations and businesses, including a recent donation from Starbucks. We repeat our heartfelt thanks to them all – what a great village we live in.

Now, we’re beginning to look forward to next year, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the building of our village hall – entirely by volunteers. We want to celebrate this event in great style and are already considering ways of doing this. But we would welcome your ideas too – any suggestions? If so, please contact Alwyne on 07814 898 336 or email: alwyne76@gmail.com

Finally, on a sadder note, our Secretary, Laura Sullivan, is having to stand down due to the pressures of other commitments, so we are currently seeking a volunteer to join our friendly team to help manage the hall. The Management Committee meets 11 times year, with meetings rarely lasting more than 1 ½ hours. The post mainly involves taking minutes, keeping records, being the contact with outside agencies and, if possible, helping with our fundraising events. A handover and continued support will be available. If you think you may be interested and would like to know more, please ring Alwyne on: 07814 898 336.

Alwyne Wilson

Parish Council – July & August 2019 Meetings

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The July 1st meeting was held as normal in the  Baptist Chapel Schoolroom.

The Chair thanked all involved in the voluntary efforts to make the green look as good as possible for the fete.

He also thanked Nick Essex and Lee Pratt for the renovation and re- painting of the sign on the Green by the phone box, and for all their efforts with painting and repairing on behalf of the village.

A resident noted recent work on cleaning gutters and hoped more work could be
done voluntarily. Chair felt it would be better to have it done professionally.

The PCSO reported that there had been a few minor incidents, but generally quiet. He reported concerns about the safety of the junction of Furnace Lane with Weedon Road. There will be an additional PCSO liaising with Bliss School.

Village Fete Felt to have gone very well despite being in doubt due to the poor weather. Despite fewer stalls it had brought in more money than the last fete.

New Homes Bonus – to consider applications. A list was considered and a working party of CK, SC and LD formed to look at proposals for Traffic calming lights, a new Play Area and Lighting. It was stressed that Community Benefit should be foremost in the applications.

Neighbourhood Plan There had been no presence at the Fete but there were 2 pages in the next Prattler to update the village. SC was disappointed that SNC had been unable to give much help with progressing the Plan at this stage.

West Northants local Forum report The Clerk gave a report from the recent forum at which concerns were expressed that “Our” Unitary would be much too Northampton centric, and that the process was not transparent at this stage.

The August 5th meeting was held as normal in the Baptist Church Rooms. The August meeting is a shorter than usual in respect of the holiday season.

Public Participation Concerns were raised about the Oak tree next to the Play Area being damaged by children climbing.

Cllr Adam Brown reported that NCC were progressing towards the Unitary deadline, but there were concerns that changes in government might disrupt this if there were to be a General Election. NCC were trying to improve Children’s social services after Ofsted had given adverse reports. Agency workers were being replaced by Council employees.

Geoff Thorneycroft gave a report on the aspirations of the Playing Fields
Association, and the various projects. Problems had been encountered with the
Environment Agency objecting regarding new changing rooms, despite a previous
time elapsed permission having been granted. He felt that concerns raised about
the potential for vandalism and theft at the allotments were unfounded because of the likelihood of pedestrians crossing the allotments to access the proposed new basketball/netball court. He felt that the opportunities afforded to young people and women outweighed any other concerns about problems caused by public access to the allotments. The Chair stressed that Council was in favour of the new facilities but felt that the issues needed raising.

Street name for new houses off Hillside Crescent. All of Council’s suggestions thus far had been turned down. The following suggestions were made. 1. Horsa Court in memory of a wartime glider crash. 2. Meadow View, 3. Canal View.

Cllr Adam Brown has sent this report.

You will be aware that in recent months there has been a spate of sheep killings
across Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties. In response to the livestock
crimes the Police have established Operation Stock which did a number of things:

• Brought all crimes under one investigative strategy
• Appointed a gold/silver/bronze structure to the issue.
• Received investment from the Office of the Fire Police and Crime Commissioner to kick-start immediate actions including overnight patrols of otherwise remote, rural, un-patrolled roads and locations, the production and posting of A1 correx roadside and gateway signs
• Streamlined response to new calls and information created by the public demand
and interest

The NFU has been incredibly helpful as a critical friend and hosted a farmers’ meeting with Police at a barn in Thornby, attended by over 130 local farmers and landowners. It was a tense but productive meeting where Police explained the very basic and elementary strategy, given the lack of witnesses, intelligence or information.

1. Police wanted to raise the awareness and involvement of the farming and rural
community so that, with our help and advice, they could target harden their
property
2. Police wanted to raise the awareness of the rural community and meat market so that intelligence and information would be more forthcoming.
3. Police intended to mount nightly patrols to be able to respond to farmer’s
requests for visibility and respond to any calls created by 1 or 2. It is not a secret that resourcing levels, reductions in neighbourhood policing, and a proper emphasis on threat, harm and risk, would mean that otherwise, rural communities would not have overnight policing presence, unless part of a response to an emergency call on a rural area.

The road signs have been successful, and the operation has had some notable
successes, falling short of prosecuting offenders (as yet). Of highlight are the
following:
• An unprecedented response to Neighbourhood Alert and media releases. Even a month later, interest and concern is not abating. Last Friday, Northamptonshire Police’s Press team had more media requests in one day than that which usually accompanies a whole major incident. The topic has been covered in the national broadsheets, on national radio, local radio and local television. There has been particular recent interest in deployment of the Police/Fire drone at night time
• Deployment of local farmers patrolling vulnerable areas equipped with front and rear dashboard cameras supplied by the NFU
• Commitment of the Commissioner to supporting particular needs of the policing
operation and response
• Meeting of the Commissioner with representatives of the NFU to receive
feedback and highlight issues of concern
• Meeting of Rural Policing representatives last week at NFU Stoneleigh to discuss tactics, improve communications and cross-flow of information and to plan next steps

Further meetings are planned for this week.

• Daily briefings between police departments to include cross-border information
flow
• Integration of this investigation onto a system known as DAMES – similar to those used in serious or major crimes, to ensure all information and actions are captured and responded to
• Continuation of overnight patrols, press releases and Neighbourhood Alerts. Reports from Neighbourhood Watch and Village Facebook groups that membership is expanding with people asking what they can do, and increased reporting of suspicious incidents (other rural crime has reduced in this time)
• Capture of evidence following forensic investigation of crime scenes. This has yielded some DNA opportunities which have been followed up. A man has been arrested in Portsmouth and interviewed by Northamptonshire officers, with some evidence recovered from his home address. He has been released under investigation.
• Following reports of a suspicious van with the livery ‘Plantation Shuttering’ at a sheep farm in Warwickshire, this appeared on a number of occasions in our
county. A Neighbourhood Alert prompted reports of this van in the villages of
Thornby, Sibbertoft, Kilsby, Long Buckby, Naseby and Arthingworth, all in one
day. Farmers saw and contained the vehicle and its two occupants in Naseby,
and called the police. The van was seized for being suspected used in crime, but
there was insufficient evidence to arrest the occupants, whose details were
confirmed. It has been returned to its owners and continues to attract our
attention, and/or that of colleagues in Warwickshire.
• Work continues with automatic number plate recognition enquiries and the
checking of many vehicles using the county’s country roads at night-time. This
has led to the removal of a number of unconnected vehicles for being uninsured
or untaxed (given the ability of the mobile ANPR system to detect such vehicles).

It is vital that local residents in rural areas, remain vigilant particularly those who live on or close to farmland where livestock are grazing.

Next Meeting
The next Parish Council meeting will be on the first Monday of the month at the Baptist Chapel Schoolroom at 7.30 pm and is, like all Parish Council meetings, open to all Parishioners.

Parish Council Notes by the Clerk; Guy Ravine August 2019

For further useful information about Nether Heyford Parish Council and full contact details for the clerk and the councillors please visit our Nether Heyford Parish Council page.

Roads and Pavements.
Parishioners are reminded that anyone can report a pothole or other highways
problem online to the Fixmystreet service, and this can refer to problems outside the village too. https://fixmystreet.northamptonshire.gov.uk/
Alternatively, phone 0300 126 1000 and ask for Streetdoctor.

The Story of Heyford: Cricket on the Village Green V4C5

Like most villages in England Nether Heyford sported the idyllic sight of twenty two people dressed in immaculate whites playing the age-old sport of Cricket on the Village Green.

A team game remarkably like cricket was being played in England as early as 1300 and by the 1700’s it was being played by the landed aristocracy and so became part of our culture. In the early 1890’s County Cricket was established with clubs being admitted only when the MCC judged their standard to be acceptable and the county of Northamptonshire was admitted in 1905.

The period 1890-1914 is regarded as the golden age of cricket with interest in the sport becoming widespread. Today it is not quite so popular with the young and it is not surprising that India and Pakistan have such magnificent teams as children take up cricket there as soon as they can hold a bat and at week-ends you can see teams and teams of players on any given space practising their skills -far more than even our local lads play football.

The tradition of a local cricket team still goes on in Heyford, but not on the Green. For the last few years you could see Julian Rice and his merry men playing on the well-tended sports ground by the Pavilion built ten years ago and situated just as you enter Heyford from the A45. (The Pavilion used to be the football changing rooms which were moved from the village green to the sports field). Still an idyllic sight but not the same perhaps as when cricket was played in the centre of the village.

The early years

The Cricket Club in Heyford was founded by Henry Isham Longden when he came to the village as Rector in 1897. He was, according to Joan Wake in her book ‘The life of Henry Isham Longden’, fond of cricket and apparently he had played for the Northampton Cricket Club in his curate days, so it is not surprising that he was always ready for a village cricket match. Hevford’s Bob Browning (1892-1997) recalls cricket being played on the green in the early 1900s, but these were in the days of friendlies against neighbouring villages.

There must have been a lapse of all activities during the 1914-1918 war with all able-bodied men fighting, but cricket resumed in the 1920’s. At this time the green was more uneven than it is today as it was grazed by cows. There was continual debate about whether a proper pitch could be laid. According to the rules laid down for the management of the green no digging could take place, and much argument went on about laying such a pitch. However agreement was eventually reached and a wicket turf was laid on the centre part of the green by Jack Nickolls and Tommy Kingston.

In the 1920’s the Heyford team consisted of such people as Bert Thompson, Frank Reeve, Bob Foster, Dick Foster and Ron Humphrey. They played friendlies against local villages, Farthingstone and Everdon. Before each match nets were erected along the far side of the green to protect the windows and slates of the houses nearby. And of course they all met afterwards in the clubroom of the Foresters Arms.

In the 1930’s the players included Bill Kingston, Bernard North, Charlie Copson, Jack Butcher, Dennis Clarke and Reg Collins. The main umpire for Heyford was Sonny Thompson and they played against Everdon, Pattishall, Astcote, Bugbrooke, Kislingbury and Harpole. Bill Kingston recalls that before they could play they had to make up the pitch. They had to fill in the holes, patch it, turf it and roll it because the cows had been on it all week! And according to Charlie Copson the pitch was so well prepared that it was used on Friday evenings for tennis matches.

Cricket as it appeared on the Green in the 1940’s and 1950’s

NetherHeyford_Cricket_1

NetherHeyford_Cricket_2

The team in the 1960’s

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Standing, left to right: Jack Draper, Peter Brodie, John Draper, Michae Ingray, Norman Fonge, Bernard North, Ron Copson, Bert Thornicroft, Ben Spokes

Kneeling, left to right: Dennis Clarke, Jim Blood, Harry Haynes, Charlie King, Reg Collins 

Twenty years without a club

Then the cricket ceased. In the Sunday Telegraph a few weeks before Easter 1999, it was reported “The village Cricket Club has been forced to close after the wives and friends of the players refused to make their teas”. This, I hasten to add, was not what happened to Heyford. By the 1950’s Tommy Rolfe had left the Foresters and houses had been built alongside the green between Middle Street and the Post Office, making it difficult to protect them against damage from the balls. Also there were few young men in the village in the post war years because many were moving to town to take advantage of modern work and housing opportunities.

In the Mercury & Herald November 6th 1969 a little piece about Nether Heyford appeared. “Heyford is developing fast with an attractive diversity of new and stylish housing running in price to the five figure bracket, but in the heart of the village the scene remains much the same as half century ago – thanks to the preservation of one of the most expansive village greens in England. It is a curious fact, however, that Nether Heyford has no cricket club. It used to have one but the young people have cars these days and go where they will for their sport and pleasure”.

The club reformed

However, on the 16th June 1977 a meeting was held with Charles King asking the question “Would it be possible to raise a cricket team in the village?” and no article about cricket in Nether Heyford would be complete without a mention of Dave Jenkinson who, after this initial meeting, was elected Chairman of the newly reformed Cricket Club with Charles King, who lived in Hillside Road, becoming the Secretary.

Charles told the local paper that when they had started up again they played half-a-dozen evening games with limited overs to test out the interest. But with no pitch and little equipment and the green being used all winter for football, it was becoming very difficult to keep interest going. He reported that “we’ve had talks with a local farmer about using one of his fields, but at the moment we’re playing all our matches away from home; we book pitches on places like the Racecourse in Northampton. But the real snag about a square on the green, is that we’d need to spend £160 on safety netting along the roadside”.

Thus a new venue for cricket was being called for. Plans for playing fields were being started and fund-raising events taking place. And an apt headline appeared in the paper: “Cricketers bat on and refuse to be stumped”.

Discos at the Foresters Arms followed and on December 23rd 1977 a Christmas Supper Dance was held, music by the Neal Stanton Band, and tickets at £2.50. At this time the membership fee of the Cricket Club was £1 a head and the match fees 10p per game. More and more local people became involved with the Club and Mrs. Rosemary Haddon was elected Treasurer having the grand sum of £155.4p in the kitty.

In 1978 on the 25th May the Mercury and Herald reported some memories from Mr. Albert Garrett who was clerk to the parish council for 35 years and at that time 79 years old. “We used to play cricket on the green” he said “they’ve just started the club up again. I played until I was 60” and he laughed. “We used to break a lot of windows but this time I think they’re getting something to protect them. Even so, we always had a collection to pay for them, especially for one old chap who had his broken regularly.”

And in 1982 when Dave Tite was secretary, the Club was looking back to 1977, the year that Heyford Cricket Club was reformed and remarking on how well the club was doing since it started without money, equipment or fixtures. In March 1983 Geoff Garrett was voted Captain and Paul Horrocks was persuaded to take on the job of fund raising- a difficult but necessary job in the circumstances. They had a full fixture list and entered for the Watney Mann Cup.

All matches ‘away’

In 1984 still without proper grounds the Cricket Club flourished, meetings were held still at The Foresters Arms with Mine Hosts Alf and Marg Parker and youngsters were being recruited. At the Parish Council Annual Meeting members raised the subject of their need for practice nets in the village, perhaps on the green, and these “would not take up a great deal of room and could be used by the School and would add to the attractions of the village”. If you look at the fixture list for July 1984 you will see that not one of the matches were played at home. And amusingly on the front of the fixture list you will see the following:

REMEMBER:

It is better to have played and lost than never to have played at all.

(Gayton excepted)

At the 7th AGM of the Heyford Cricket Club on Sunday, 31st March 1985, the Chairman reported sadly that there was now no prospect of home fixtures being played within the Parish Boundary but that it was to be hoped that progress on the Heyford Playing Fields project would mean a ray of hope for future seasons.

The following report in September in the Prattler went “Came second to Ryland 0/B’s in the Clenbury / Haine Shield. Lost in the final. Watney Mann Cup got through to the second round by having a bye in the preliminary round – and beating Gayton in the first round. Lost to Buqbrooke in the second round. We have started a Youth Team with the lads doing most of their own organising. They have been going for about six months and have had two fixtures against very good sides. They tied their first game against Wootton Youth and narrowly lost to Rylands Under 15’s. They have a practise net on the Green every Monday evening. The lads show a lot of promise and hopefully next season we call get them into a league through the Cricket Association. “

But it was to be some time before cricketers could enjoy the game on their home turf. An article appeared in February 1987 stating that “The Parish Council, through its Leisure and Amenities Committee, has been looking into the possibility of acquiring enough land to provide a playing field for the use of the inhabitants of both Nether and Upper Heyford. This matter was also discussed at the last Annual Parish Council meeting. A steering group has been formed to consider the matter, and the outcome of their enquiries to date is that Mr. J Spokes of Upton is prepared to sell approximately 10 acres of land, which seems to be ideally suited to a games area. The land forms part of a flat field, which is situated behind the allotments and Mrs. Smith’s field on the Upper Road.”

The team in 1980

NetherHeyford_Cricket_4

This photograph, taken on Jeremy Rice’s front lawn, shows the team as proud winners in 1980 of the Clenberry / Haine Shield.
Standing: Julian Rice, Ray Haddon, Dave Tite, Tony Charville, G Starmer, Graham Drake
Seated: Alex Kirkbride, Geoff Garrett, Geoff Sturgess, Mike Tharby

Home turf at last

In July 1988 the cricket square was making good progress “thanks to the efforts of the Grounds Committee headed by Jeremy Rice.” And in 1989 Geoff Sturgess of Hillside Crescent was very encouraged by the good turnout for the Youth Cricket Under 16’s Team as nets were now available down on the Playing Field.

In the Prattler, May 1989, the following article appeared compiled by Alex Kirkbride:

“The merry click of bat against the ball, the expectant rush, the cheering that proclaims skill of the greatest of all English games; Flutter of the flags, the branches of the trees swaying beneath the summer breeze; No sweeter music in the world is found than that upon an English cricket ground.

R Ratcliffe Ellis; Cricket Music

Yes, the dream is now a reality. Heyford Cricket Club is back at home”.

And now in 1999 Simon Legge has taken over the captaincy from Julian Rice and will lead his team in League Cricket. The village Green has seen the very last of the cricket but thanks to all the efforts of the stalwarts of the village, the cricket heritage will continue.

 

With grateful thanks to Barbara Haynes, Julian Rice and Dave Tite

Julie Rands-Allen

~~

Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 4 of 4 | Chapter 5 of 8 | Pages 22 to 27

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Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

Index  |  Covers

The Story of Heyford: Heyford Feast – The Visiting Fair V4C4

Heyford Feast
The fair has been coming for Heyford Feast in October for as long as anyone can remember. Heyford Feast is the anniversary of the dedication of our Parish Church and takes place on the first Sunday after the 11th October. This is also the time of year when Harvest Festival activities took place – they continue to do so today — marking Heyford as one of the churches to celebrate Harvest late in the season.

The fair and the church’s celebrations were closely linked: together they formed the greatest village occasion of the year and would last one week. In the early 1900’s, the fair families attended Evensong at the church and contributed some of their takings to the collection. Today, there is no longer a link between the church and the fair but this still remains the time of year when the fair comes to Heyford.

When the Parish Council was originally set up in the late 1890’s, it stated that no fairs could use the main part of the Green. However, by then, the fair was so much part of our tradition that this ruling was later rescinded. It was a major event to be shared by all and men employed locally were often given the Monday off work to be able to enjoy the festival to the full. Likewise, pupils at Bliss School were allowed the Monday off in order to meet the fair at Upper Heyford and walk down with it into the village.

After Heyford, the fair went on to Daventry to become the centre for the ‘Mop Fair’ – so called because it used to be a time for hiring domestic staff This was at the turn of the century when fairs were still more business and trading occasions than anything else. Workers would advertise their availability for hire by standing with mops in their hands. It was a big occasion there too, and the fair would block the main roads in the middle of Daventry.

Swing-boats and roundabouts
Bob Browning recalled the fair in the village from the early 1900’s. There were swing-boats and roundabouts with wooden horses and most rides charged 1d. All along the road from the Post Office to the schools were stalls: coconut shies, hoopla and darts. Fred Browning remembered the game of Aunt Sally in which you had three balls for one penny and had to throw them through a hole in a door to release ‘Aunt Sally’. There was no prize in succeeding, just the thrill of seeing Aunt Sally appear. Fred even commemorated the fair in verse as part of a poem called “Heyford Green”:

Remember the fairs, wooden horses and wares
would collect to the joy of us all…

By contrast to such ethereal thinking, The Foresters pub was central to the fair’s activities because of its place on the Green and it wasn’t unusual for there to be fights there.

Great anticipation
Many villagers can still recall the fair from the 1930’s and 40’s. There was great anticipation for its arrival. The children would save up money for weeks beforehand and girls sometimes knit purses to hang around their necks with the three or four pence saved for the rides. They gathered rose hips which they could sell through the school for 3d. per lb. for making rose hip syrup. They would also collect acorns from ‘accern orchard’ which they could sell as pig fodder. Some people would collect eating apples which the fair folk would buy for making toffee apples.

On the day of the fair’s arrival there was great excitement. School children – now no longer allowed out to greet it – would often hear the fair setting up on the Green across the road. This caused them enormous frustration because they were all itching to get out and see it. If the fair happened to arrive out of school hours, the children would go to meet it along what is now the A45. They would put their ears to the ground to try to pick up the vibration from the rumble of the steam engines.

The Steam Engine

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This photo, taken in the 1930’s, possibly leaving Finedon, shows George Billing’s Burnell 2625 ‘Lady Pride of England’

Photo lent by Ted Garrett

George Billing
The fair was run at that time by George Billing. He wore a bowler hat and a navy blue suit and his wife collected the money in great heavy bags full of pennies. The fair would set up near the shops and The Foresters and the main attraction was the merry-go-round. It had horses on the outside, cockerels in the middle and smaller horses on the inside. It had its own steam engine to drive it and George Billing stoked up the fire to keep it going. However, sometimes the steam would give out and the children would push the merry—go—round around by hand.

The other main attractions were the big swing boats at 1d. a go. There were many battles to see who could take their boat the highest and the fair people got cross if anyone tried to swing their boat right over! There were stalls for the coconut shies, darts, roll—a—penny and skittles. The skittles were tall and white – four in a line – and the prize for knocking them all down was a packet of nuts or Players cigarettes.

The fair also made its own sticks of rock known as ‘Feast Rock’. It was humbug flavour and striped brown and yellow. The rock stall made it by hand by pulling the sweet mixture out into long strings. By all accounts it was delicious!

Horses and steam
Two traction engines were operated by the fair. The larger one stood up by the Baptist Chapel and generated electricity needed for the lights. As there were still only gas lights in Heyford at the time, the electric light display on the Green was rather a novelty. Hilda Collins remembers how the steam engine would stand on its own beside the chapel, chuffing away: “There were clouds of steam and it would be spitting scalding hot water – quite dangerous really!” She also recalls the organ on the roundabout and how, as children, they would ride round and watch the different instruments ‘play’ in turn in the centre of the ride. The roundabout organ used a pianola device of perforated cards that played the music and – being limited to the number of cards the ride had – the same tunes would start up over and over again.

All the caravans were horse drawn and were set up in a row. At first, water for the fair had to come from a private supply but then the fair people used a public tap that was set up on the Green opposite the Denny’s house. The tap was spring—loaded, i.e. it required you to hold the tap open all the time otherwise it shut itself off again. The fair’s horses were left to graze in a nearby field or in the hollow at the far end of the Green.

When The Foresters closed at 10:30 pm each night, some men came out rather the worse for wear and would head onto the fair site. On occasion, George Masters and Herbert Clarke – both big men — came out of The Foresters and climbed up on one of the horses waving their hats and shouting “giddy-up.” Albert Garrett recalled how once, so many men came out of the pub and clambered onto the merry-go-round that it wouldn’t start. George Billing is remembered for throwing his hat on the floor and pleading with some of the men to get off.

When the fair finally closed around midnight, the last tune played on the steam organ was ‘Christians awake, salute the happy morn’ – Mrs Billing’s favourite tune. When it was all over, the children walked around looking for halfpennies and pennies that had been dropped in the grass. It wasn’t unusual to find threepence or sixpence, which was a lot of money in those days.

The Abbotts and Thurstons
After the Second World War, the Abbots brought the fair and they continued coming for another thirty years. The fairground attractions essentially remained the same, but the Abbots introduced the dodgems. The steam engines were eventually replaced by diesel and by the 50’s, the horses were replaced by vehicles.

The fair continued to be very popular and is remembered for being very crowded during this time. Many families had relatives coming to stay with them for the duration of the fair and Heyford Feast. It was also an attraction to other villages in the locality, for although the fair moved on from Heyford to Bugbrooke for a time, the site in Bugbrooke (a field on the outskirts) was not considered very suitable. Hilda Collins remembers how, on the Green, you could hardly see the stalls for the crowds of people around them. If the fair is quieter today, it is probably to do with easier access to the larger towns and the development of Northampton’s own autumn funfair.

While the fair was at Heyford, the fair children would attend Bliss School. This included old Mr Abbot’s daughter, Norma. In 1971, she married William Thurston from another fairground family and in the following year, the fair began coming under the Thurston name — as it still does today.

Around that time there was debate about the positioning of the fair on the Green. Its site near the shops was considered disruptive because of the noise and there were also complaints about the state of the football pitch on the Green after it had gone. For a time the Thurstons alternated year by year from one end of the Green to the other. Eventually they settled on its present location opposite the school.

Mary Warr, who wrote about the fairground family in her short history of Heyford published in 1970, had a far rosier view of the impact that the fair made on the village. She said, “For as long as we have been here (1953-70) the fair has been in the family. Older villagers have seen the fair people growing up and there is much friendship. I can only speak of my own experiences. We have nearly always had the fair opposite the school and have always known them to be friendly, considerate and peace—loving visitors. At night when the fair closes down, all is quiet and nothing happens to disturb our rest. I hope this wonderful relationship continues. Our places of worship have been visited by them and they have given generously to us on occasions.”

The fair in 1998

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Photo lent by Stephen Ferneyhough

Nowadays the fair continues to be assembled on the middle section of the Green and it is always tidy and compact. The Thurstons bring only a selection of their total fairground equipment because they do not stay many days and space on the Green is limited. They bring the Waltzer, two or three ‘children’s rides including a helter-skelter, a range of gaming machines in an amusement arcade and a variety of side stalls. The Thurstons are based in Wellingborough with a season that runs from March to November, touring all over the East Midlands and East Anglia. Then during the winter months, they do all their rebuilding and maintenance work. William Thurston’s grandson is the seventh generation in his family to work the fairgrounds.

Sarah Croutear with contributions from Hilda Collins and Ted Garrett

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Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 4 of 4 | Chapter 4 of 8 | Page 18 to 21

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Heyford’s Historical Heritage  |  How the books were created

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