Village Hall – News – December 2019

Pantomime : Sunday 29th December at 2pm.
Our ‘Dick Whittington’ posters are now all distributed around the village (on a telegraph post near you) and our remaining tickets are going fast. They are £9 for adults and £3 for children under 11, and can be purchased from Richard on 01327 341044.

Christmas Decorations
By the time you read this, our village hall will be sporting its Christmas decorations, with thanks to our team of helpers.

Carols on the Green
This is a new venture by one of our regular user groups, the Heyford Singers, and will take place on the Village Green on Friday 20th December at 6.30pm. Full details are given elsewhere in this issue. However, knowing what the December weather might be like (remember the Fete in June?) we are on standby in case of: ‘If wet, in village hall’.

This time last year we appealed for someone to help us restore our village hall website after it had been hacked. Thanks to Jez Wilson who volunteered to do this, our new website has now been in use for several months, attracting around 20 new hits each week and helping to generate additional bookings. So thanks again, Jez.

Main Hall Flooring
For many years the wooden flooring has been cared for with regular cleaning and polishing. Unfortunately, in recent years the floor has suffered some water damage, so it now needs a complete restoration. A specialist company will undertake the work, hopefully immediately before Christmas, during which time access to the main hall will be restricted until the new coating has dried out completely. Please check the website for the dates

Recently the radiators along the back wall of the hall have not been working adequately (or at all, at times), caused by some problems with the boiler in the storeroom. The cause has been identified but will require a lot of work to fix. Meanwhile, there is now a notice next to the boiler telling hirers how to deal with the problems.

Additional Storage
We have been awarded a grant from the Northants Community Foundation to fund a new external storage facility, which will release more internal storage space for our many regular user groups. This will probably be a self-build steel building which will be delivered as a ‘flat pack’. So many hours of Ikea-type fun lie ahead for our volunteers.

Alwyne Wilson



The Prattler – December 2019


The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle, Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future issues, please get in touch.

The Newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Garden Club, Heyford Singers, the Bowls Club, the Village Hall and Heyford Picturedrome as well as the advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

Please note that this issue covers December and January. The next issue will be
available on 1 February 2020.

In the meantime, we would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year.

The Prattler – November 2019

The Prattler

The Prattler is run by an active voluntary committee comprising of Sue Boutle, Christine Watts, Vicki Hamblin, Jez Wilson, Nick Essex, Richard Musson and Mary Rice. If you would like to submit articles or have any suggestions for future issues, please get in touch.

The Newspaper is supported by donations from the Parish Council, the Parish Church, the Baptist Church, Heyford W.I., Heyford Garden Club, Heyford Singers and Heyford Picturedrome as well as the advertisers.

Thanks are also due to the volunteers who distribute it every month.

2020 Village Award Scheme – October 2019

2020 Village Award Scheme
(organised by ACRE – Action for Communities in Rural England)

My husband and I came to Nether Heyford for 18 months in 1987 and have been here ever since, having realised what a great community this was. It still is – with a wide variety of activities going on around the village, many based in the village hall, in the school, on the sports field, in the churches, in the youth club and on the village green. In addition, I have recently been inspired by the fact that next year marks the 60th anniversary of the building of the village hall, built entirely by volunteers – and throughout the ensuing 60 years, volunteers have continued to manage and maintain it.

With these two facts, we could stand a good chance of being recognised as a very special village community.

As a villager myself and appreciative of all that Nether Heyford has to offer, I would be pleased to co-ordinate an application, with the help of others. To this end, I propose to contact and, I hope, meet representatives of the various activities. If I contact you, please be gentle with me.

The application deadline will be next April, with judging from late May to early June. That seems a long time ahead but, with Christmas and New Year in between, we need to make an early start.

Alwyne Wilson

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