Heyford Gardening Club – May 2019


At our April meeting we expected to welcome the return of Patsy Rayner, but unfortunately due to a family illness she was unable to attend so Mike Langrish and Tom Dodd put together a presentation on the Community Orchard and the improvements that have been made (and are still being made) to Heyford’s allotments.

The evening also featured our annual tulip bench show. For once the weather has been good for us and there were plenty of entries with some impressive blooms on show.

The large flowered section was won by Pauline Guglielmi, John Dunkley came second and John Wilson came third.

The Small flowered section was won jointly by John Dunkley and Val Jackson, and Jill Langrish got third place.

Our next meeting will be on 13th May when someone from Branch Out MK will talk to us about “Helping People to Grow Through Gardening”.

April is the cruellest month…
At time of writing we’ve just experienced an odd week of weather. After the unseasonable warmth in February the last few days have featured nightly frosts and sunny periods with cold air. These sort of conditions can be very challenging for gardeners damaging fruit blossom and early flowers; it has even pinched shoots of ivy and box. If you like me are growing plants in an unheated greenhouse it is important to keep one eye on the weather all the time as failing to close the house up at night can risk losing tender plants to cold while not opening them during sunny spells can cause the temperature inside to soar to damaging levels despite the chilliness outside. Apparently next week will be much warmer; perhaps I will be able to start sowing the tender crops for the summer after all.

Some Things to do in May
1 Repot cacti, succulents and house plants.
2 Divide and replant spring flowering bulbs
3 Keep a watch for lily beetles and viburnum beetles

Mark Newstead


For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page


Nether Heyford Annual Meeting 2019 – Parish Council Chairman’s Report


Chairman’s Report 2019

At the time of writing, Nether Heyford is awaiting the first signs of spring, and with
luck, a summer. We all look forward to warm evenings and cold drinks.
Unfortunately there are tasks to perform, and obligations to be met, in order for our
lives to be orderly and comfortable. No less so for Nether Heyford Parish Council,
and the conscientious and forward thinking Parish Councillors, with tasks to
perform, and a responsibility to the residents of Nether Heyford.

As in previous years, village organisations have responded brilliantly in a clean up
effort, with volunteers litter picking, up, through, and round Nether Heyford, and the
immediate area. The Neighbourhood Planning Group have got into their stride,
having worked hard to create a Neighbourhood Plan that represents the
development Villagers have asked for, and accommodation that Nether Heyford
actually needs, and which will be suitable for all, rather than the few.

Some amazing things have been occurring in the allotments, and Parish Councillors
with responsibility for this aspect of Village life, have taken the existing system of
allotment management and shaken it up into a sensible, practicable and user
friendly success. A very pleasant leisure area has been created, utilising disused
allotments, and the planting of sponsored fruit trees. Mr Bill Corner has voluntarily
been keeping grass areas between allotments tidy, strimming, and mowing, and
keeping things tidy. The siting of sheds on allotments is also designed to make life
easier for allotment holders. This has been accomplished by communication and
cooperation from all concerned.

The maintenance of our footpaths, and highways is the responsibility of the Local
Authority, and as we know they are in serious financial difficulties. Any and all pot
holes, and subsidence noted should continue to be reported to Street Doctor,
available on line, or by contacting South Northants Council. Although the road
surfaces remain in an appalling condition, generally, I was amazed to note that the
give way signs at all junctions, within the centre of the village are repaired, and lit at
night. That only took two years.

Grass cutting, and tree maintenance continues as always, and the contractors are
aware of their responsibilities, and are responsive to the desire of the Parish Council
to ensure Nether Heyford remains well looked after.

The cemetery is also being serviced regularly, and this will continue. This service is
intended to enhance the maintenance that family members perform to individual

Over the years, it seems, we see less and less of Police Officers patrolling our
Parish, let alone our village. We have seemingly learned to accept, and tolerate this
situation. Nether Heyford, as of April 2019, will share a PCSO, with Bugbrooke. This
is intended to reassure villagers, and provide a precepted community spirited
service for our village. I would encourage residents to get to know him, and
welcome him to Nether Heyford.

The siting of two defibrillators within Nether Heyford, one at One Stop, and the other
near the Bowls Club in the Playing Field area, continue to provide a public service
that will save lives. They are accessed, on need, with a code provided by the
Ambulance Service. Both machines are inspected on a monthly basis, and kept to a
high standard.

Street lights in Nether Heyford, have over the years had problems. The existing
lights are dated, and of mixed types. As a result they are expensive to maintain, and
are limited in the light they provide. The Parish Council are considering replacing
existing lights, and adding some in new areas. In effect redesigning the lighting
system replacing them with a more modern, and efficient system. New LED lighting
will be more environmentally friendly, provide more effective lighting, and be
cheaper to run. Consultation within Nether Heyford as to type, style, and placement
of new lighting will be announced, hopefully via the new website.

Nether Heyford Parish Council have a somewhat neglected website, and it has
become normal to communicate and allow communication, in the 21st century, so
that everyone knows what is going on. With this in mind, the Parish Council will be
working with Mr Jez Wilson, to ensure the creation of a new website, that will be fit
for purpose, and accessible to all.

I would like to thank, Mr Guy Ravine, Parish Clerk, for his excellent services, and
patience. Also the enthusiastic, forward thinking and progressive members of
Nether Heyford Parish Council.

There are still vacancies on the Parish Council, please give serious thought to

Charles Kiloh
Chairman – Nether Heyford Parish Council

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.

Heyford Singers – March 2019

Let’s begin with a question this month.
When you read the words above, or think of the song Amazing Grace what springs to mind?

Memorial services or funerals? Gospel choirs? Joan Baez?
Barack Obama reciting then singing these words?
American civil rights meetings? Aretha Franklin?

Rewind nearly two hundred and fifty years to the early 1770s and a man called John Newton. He grew up with no particular religious convictions but his life was to take a series of twists and turns that impacted on his beliefs and attitudes to life. He was conscripted into service for several years into the Royal Navy and after leaving this he became involved in the Atlantic slave trade.

A violent storm in 1748, during which he came close to death, caused him to
undergo a spiritual conversion. His slave trading employment continued until 1754 when he left seafaring to study Christian theology, was ordained into the Church of England and became curate of Olney in Buckinghamshire. In co-operation with the poet William Cowper he began to write hymns. Amazing Grace was written to illustrate a sermon on New Years Day 1773, and was then published in 1779. For many years it was sung either unaccompanied or to a wide variety of melodies.

Amazing Grace isn’t a song of theology – it was John Newton’s own heartfelt expression of gratitude to God, who he believed had helped him turn from his former wicked life to fight against the ills he had practiced. Later in life, Newton became a supporter and inspiration to William Wilberforce who lead the fight to pass the British Slave Trade Act in 1807.

For many years the song settled into relative obscurity in England, but in the early 19th century a large religious movement swept the US (known as the Second Great Awakening) marked by the growing popularity of churches and large gatherings of people. In 1835 it was finally linked to the tune “New Britain” to which it is usually sung today.

In the 20th century the song became a regular for gospel and folk artists, but with the popularity of recorded music and radio, “Amazing Grace” crossed over from being essentially a gospel song to secular audiences, thus allowing artists to perform it in thousands of different forms.

Folk singer Judy Collins recorded it in the late 1960s, and the song took on a
political tone, often included in marches and protests against the Vietnam War. Joan Baez claimed that it was the most requested of all her songs, acknowledging that she hadn’t realised that it had started as a hymn, for Amazing Grace had “developed a life of its own”.

Amazing Grace has understandably been sung at some very noteworthy and prestigious venues over the years, as well as numerous protest marches and political gatherings. It has become a song that inspires hope in the wake of tragedy, a “spiritual national anthem”.

It was performed at the famous Woodstock Festival in 1969. In 2015 President Barack Obama famously recited, then sang the hymn at the memorial service for Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of the Charleston shooting. Opera singer Jessye Norman, performed it at the end of a huge outdoor concert to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday. She stated, “I don’t know whether it’s the text – I don’t know whether we’re talking about the lyrics when we say that it touches so many people – or whether it’s that tune that everybody knows.”

The choir of Heyford Singers will, in their small way add to the history of this unique song, by including it in their forthcoming spring concert, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May.

We do hope that you can join us then.


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

Village Hall – March 2019

The Fete is on its way: Saturday 8th June 2019 2 – 5pm.

Following our ‘Ideas Session’ at the end of January, our enthusiastic and active Fete Group members are now working hard, exploring a range of attractions and events which, in due course, will be announced in The Prattler.

Letters are also going out to local groups, organisations and crafters inviting them to take part again and, if necessary, book their pitches. As tables are in short supply it will be ‘first come first served’ as usual. We’re also inviting raffle prizes for our grand draw, so if you’d like to make a donation, please get in touch with me.

Following Ray and Rosemary Haddon, who organised the Fetes over the past 6 years and therefore were absolute experts, is a personal challenge. I should greatly appreciate your support in any way that you feel appropriate. For instance, as this is my first experience of co-ordinating the planning of the Fete, I may make a few mistakes. If so, I should be grateful if you could point them out to me (nicely, if possible, please) so that I can correct them.

Meanwhile, there’s always room for one or two more Fete Group members so if you’d like to join our team, please contact me.

Alwyne Wilson, Nether Heyford Village Hall Management Committee

01327 340803 | alwyne76@gmail.com

Village Hall – February 2019

First, a huge thank-you to the many volunteers who helped to make our traditional Pantomime ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ such a great success. We had a packed house, making all the generous contributions of time, effort and raffle prizes well worthwhile. The atmosphere was amazing. This was my first experience of our village panto and I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and goodwill of everyone involved.

Our next Pantomime by the Looking Glass Theatre will be ‘Dick Whittington’ at the end of the year. More information nearer the time.

And now – the Annual Fete, which this year will be held on Saturday 8th June.

We are so fortunate in Nether Heyford to have such a splendid village green and
over many years our Fete has proved to be a very special event for our village. It has also represented our main fundraising effort to make sure that we have
enough funds to maintain our village hall in first class condition for everyone who wants to use it. As such we have a great tradition to maintain.

For this we need ‘all hands on deck’ again to make sure that we have an
enthusiastic team of helpers to work together to organise not only the regular events but also perhaps some new attractions. By the time this issue appears we will have held an initial ‘ideas session’ on 29 January, to be followed by regular team meetings as we work together to create yet another amazing Fete.

In the meantime, I would like to issue a warm invitation to the many villagers and friends who have helped in the past – and also to those who might fancy getting involved for the first time. Come along and join our team.

Alwyne Wilson, Nether Heyford Village Hall Management Committee

Call Alwyne on 01327 340803


Heyford Singers – February 2019

Its that rather gloomy ‘hibernating” time of year, when our indoor companions are memories of Christmas festivities, family gatherings and the long hot summer days of 2018. As I write this, members of Heyford Singers are still enjoying their winter break, but preparing to return to rehearsals for the spring concert (May 10th and 11th). I thought I would therefore take this opportunity to write about another side of Heyford Singers – the incredible amount that has been raised and donated to various charities over the years. Following the recent Christmas concert we sent two cheques of over £225.00 to The Brain Tumour Charity and New Life the Charity for Disabled Children, a not inconsiderable sum!

This is how it works, and has done since the choir was formed seventeen years ago in 2002; during rehearsals choir members put their pennies and pounds into a sealed box which is opened a couple of weeks before the concert, and counted. This money is used to purchase all the raffle prizes for both concert evenings, with the occasional top up from funds if necessary! Meanwhile choir members offer suggestion for charities that are special to them, or that relate to local or national issues. We each vote for our two preferences. The money taken during the concerts from the sale of raffle tickets is divided between the two chosen recipients. The recent Christmas concert charities I have already mentioned above, in 2017 we donated to Medical Detection Dogs and The Carers Trust, in 2016 to Live at Home and Reach For Health, in 2015 to Tommy’s Fund and Dementia UK, and in 2014 to the British Legion and Alzheimer’s Society. Donations in earlier years have gone to such organisations as Special Baby Care unit, Northampton General Hospital, SHAME, East of England Air Ambulance, Meningitis UK, Singing For The Brain, and there are many, many more worthy recipients that I could list! We are understandably very proud of having been able to support so many wonderful charitable causes over the years!

The spring concert is slightly different in that Heyford Singers made a decision, when first formed, to annually support both the local Parish and Baptist church. This as also by way of a thank you for allowing us to perform our concerts in St Peter and St Paul Church (before the choir became too large in numbers), and for the good neighbourliness and use of equipment by the Baptist Church. This has continued to this day and each May we are proud to help and support the churches in our local community.

There are also other instances when Heyford Singers feel privileged to support charities and organisations. Whenever one of our fellow singers dies, or a close family member, we always donate to the family’s chosen charity. David Smith had been so well cared for in his last few months that a donation, in his memory, to the Emergency Assessment Bay of Talbot Butler Ward, was most fitting. Bob Wilson’s tireless commitment (with Alwyne) towards Northampton Live at Home scheme, enabling older people to stay living independently in their own homes for as long as possible, with the best possible quality of life, was a very special recipient from the choir. I could continue ….

As a choir, of mixed ages, lifestyles, experiences, even where we live and work, we delight not only in coming together to sing and enjoy music, but in so doing, raising some pennies to ultimately help those less fortunate than ourselves. To date we have raised and donated over £14,000 !

As the song says ………

Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.


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