Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2005

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CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

Dear Parishioners,

Several aspects of life in our village have been disrupted in the past year by work on the Higham rail tunnel. There has been air pollution, noise and danger to life and limb. We all now breathe a sigh of relief as the project is over. The residents of Lower Higham have borne the brunt of this mayhem. The rest of us marvel at their stoicism.

The future of the station car park is again under threat. It is likely that considerable expenditure will be necessary to bring it up to a recognised standard and the owners are reluctant to spend this money. The Parish Council is in correspondence with South Eastern Trains on this.

This time last year I reported on the continuing vandalism in the village. There is no change, except perhaps that we now have new elements of disorder. The vandalism and rowdy behaviour that intimidates and upsets residents goes on. During the festive period there were those intent on making their antisocial mark and putting their own life at risk. They damaged lights on the village Christmas tree five minutes after it was erected, causing problems with street lighting in the vicinity. This means that lights will not grace the village Christmas tree in the future. Those that perpetuate such actions are part of our immediate community and it is up to everyone in the village to contribute to means of resolving the issues that arise.

Clubs and organisations continue to thrive. Most rely on volunteers, and again I ask you to consider lending a hand. Please contact any member of the Parish Council if you are able to help.

I am pleased to report that many more new faces have shown up at Parish Council meetings and we have dealt with many of the issues that they have brought up.

On 21 April the Annual Parish Council Assembly will be held. It is an opportunity to hear reports from the members of the Parish Council, village organisations, and also to meet fellow residents and to enjoy a glass of wine. We hope to see you there.

My best wishes to you all,

Jennifer Papadopulos


DATES FOR PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS - 2005
at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:

Thursday, 21 April......................ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY.
Monday, 9 May..........................Annual Parish Council meeting.
Monday, 4 July
Monday, 12 September
Monday, 3 October
Monday, 7 November..................Budget and Finance meeting only.
Monday, 28 November..................Christmas meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham.

Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.

* * * * * * * * * * * * SPECIAL DAYS * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last year two residents celebrated 60 years of marriage. Luckily I heard about it in time to send a card and best wishes from the Parish Council. If you know of anyone celebrating a similar event, ie 80th, 90th or 100th birthdays or a special wedding anniversary, please let me know.

Pat Oakeshott
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FROM THE PARISH CLERK

Have you logged on yet? Thanks to the efforts of the talented Clive Stanley, who has designed and built our new Parish Council web site, our village is now on the worldwide web. The web site carries all the information that you need to know about the Parish, from details of its location and history, to Members of the Parish Council, dates of forthcoming meetings, Minutes of past meetings, the Annual Newsletter and announcements of interest. Clive has been out-and-about with his digital camera and also featured are pictures of the 2004 prize-winning garden in the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition, the new village signs and the carol singing which took place in Lower Higham. Our local links page is proving popular, with details of contacts for village associations, and direct links with other Parish Councils in the area. We even know of a Parishioner whose family abroad is logging in to the web site to keep in touch with what is going on in the village. Why not log on today and see for yourself?

Web site: www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk
E-mail: enquiries@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

We are delighted to welcome back Bob Ogley as guest speaker at our Annual Parish Assembly which will take place on Thursday, 21 April 2005 at 7.30pm. Bob has chosen to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War by speaking on 'Doodlebugs and Rockets' and if you missed his last visit in 2003, do make sure that you come along this year for an excellent evening's entertainment with refreshments!

Linda Carnall, Clerk

CHRISTMAS LIGHTING

We are indebted to Mr Alex Burt, Street Lighting Engineer with the Borough Council for arranging for a donation of surplus pole hung Christmas lighting to the village, collecting it and overseeing the installation on our behalf.

Linda Carnall, Clerk

SIMPLIFIED DRAFT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2004/2005

INCOME

EXPENDITURE

Balance B/Fwd

10,975.50

Recreation Ground etc

900.00

Precept 2004/2005

20,354.18

Administration Expenses

 

4,714.77

Allotment Rents

415.00

Allotments

212.47

Other Receipts

1,180.35

Miscellaneous Expenses, (including Pavilion insurance)

 

 

7,567.04

Deposit A/C Interest

31.89

Subscriptions and Fees

843.49

National Savings Investment a/c Interest

 

15.29

Clerk's Salary and Expenses for provision of office

 

 

5,585.00

VAT Reclaim

2,181.79

VAT paid

1,325.68

Grants received

5,354.48

Grants made

1,835.00

 

 

 

 

 

40,508.48

 

22,983.45

BALANCES IN HAND AS AT 31.3.2005

 

 

TSB Current Account

7,928.10

 

 

TSB Flexi Account

9,046.13

 

 

National Savings Investment Account

 

549.80

 

 

TSB Special Projects Account

 

1.00

 

 

 

17,525.03

 

17,525.03

 

 

 

40,508.48

The balance carried forward reflects the unused general and specific contingency funds, as well as funds for work carried out, and for which invoices are still awaited. A copy of the audited accounts for the financial year ended 31.3.03 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.

KENT ASSOCIATION OF PARISH COUNCILS

The Kent Association of Parish Councils (KAPC) is a representative body for all Parish and Town Councils in Kent. KAPC is a member of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC). Being a member of NALC enables grass root level authorities to influence Government policy making and also matters raised by other bodies whose activities could impact on communities like ours.

To ensure that advice and guidance on all matters relating to Councillors and their work is always available, the Parish Council continues to pay an annual subscription based on the number of Band D or equivalent dwellings in the Parish.

Two councillors from each of the six parishes in Gravesham Borough (Higham, Shorne, Cobham, Luddesdown, Meopham and Vigo) make up a KAPC area committee. This year Sylvia Saunders (Higham) and William Richardson (Meopham) also attend quarterly meetings of the Executive.

Further information about the Kent Association can be found on their web site www.kapc.org.uk or through the link on the Parish Council web site.

Sylvia Saunders and Stuart Wright

FAST TRACK TRANSPORT

In 2006 there will be a new bus transport which will run on a dedicated route between Dartford and Gravesend taking in Bluewater, Darent Valley Hospital and Greenhithe, etc.

I have a DVD video if any village organisation would like to borrow it.

Pat Oakeshott

HIGHAM GARDENS FOR PLEASURE COMPETITION 2004

This is an annual competition organised by HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL and judged on our behalf by MORTON GREY, retired Local Government horticultural expert.

There are no entry forms for Parishioners to complete as every front garden in the village is considered when the judges tour the Parish looking for gardens that give the passer-by the most visual pleasure. In reaching a final decision the judges award points for colour, choice of plants, cultivation and overall design of garden.

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the competition and the following prize-winners received their awards from the Chairman of Higham Parish Council, COUNCILLOR JENNIFER PAPADOPULOS, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 6 September 2004.

FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy/Garden Gift Token/framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs R Bolton - 'Courtlands', Crutches Lane.
SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs H Busbridge - 3A Mountbatten Avenue.
THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs A Sinclair - 'Willow Platt', Hermitage Road.
HIGHLY COMMENDED (Framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs R Turner - 6 High View.
Mr and Mrs K Humble - 8 The Adelaide.
BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs J Leach - 32 Telegraph Hill.
HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS - HIGHLY COMMENDED (Framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs D Kent - 25 The Braes.
MOST COLOURFUL PUBLIC HOUSE WITHIN HIGHAM (Framed certificate)
The Gardeners Arms Public House - 2 Forge Lane.
Runners-up
Sir John Falstaff Public House - Gravesend Road.
The Stone Horse Public House - Dillywood Lane.
The Three Crutches Public House - Crutches Lane.

Linda Carnall

PARISH ALLOTMENTS

Last season the Parish Allotments showed an increase in the number of plots rented for cultivation. This was most encouraging and it was decided to undertake a survey of the condition of all the plots. The survey was completed in November 2004 and showed that there are 27 overgrown and 2 unworkable plots. The Parish Council will undertake to clear the top vegetation from a number of these, which will then be available for cultivation from the early spring.

Water stand-pipes are within reach of all the allotments, so if you are interested please contact the Parish Clerk. An early start in the growing season will be well worth the effort.

Happy Gardening, Alan Howard

FRANK GIBSON

Goodbye Frank... and thank you.

After many years association with all the Gravesham Rural Parishes as the Kent County Councillor representing their interests, Frank Gibson, OBE, has decided not to seek re-election in May.

Frank initially joined the Navy, before going to the London School of Economics. From there he went to Cambridge, before changing his allegiance and going on to Oxford. He then attended the School of Oriental and African Studies before finally entering the Colonial Service.

Frank has regularly attended our Parish Council Meetings, often after being at County Hall all day, and such has been his devotion to duty that he has often had to leave our Meeting early to go on to another elsewhere in the same evening. He recently achieved the honour of serving as the Chairman of Kent County Council. We have been so fortunate to have had such a loyal and staunch member to represent and support us at County level, and we know that Frank will be a very hard act to follow. We wish him a long and happy retirement.

Linda Carnall, Clerk

HIGHAM RURAL HOUSING NEEDS SURVEY

You will remember that last year you all received a Housing Form to enable the Borough Council to estimate our village housing needs.

The results showed a need for 24 more properties plus more sheltered housing and semi-sheltered housing.

Only 58 forms were returned (disappointing), 43 of which were applying for Affordable Housing in the village. Of these, 17 couples were living with parents, 6 of these couples also had children and 32 applicants had lived in our village for more than 10 years.

Two-thirds of our elderly residents said they wanted to stay in their own homes, but needed help with odd jobs, ie minor repairs, broken fencing and grass cutting.

The Borough Council run a 'Handyman Service' and the Parish Council is in touch with them - or you can contact them by telephoning 01474 566283.

Pat Oakeshott

HIGHAM RURAL HOUSING SURVEY, YOUENS COTTAGE SCHEME

This is a small local needs housing scheme of three affordable homes being developed in partnership with Hyde Housing Group. These homes will be let to people with a strong connection to Higham.

Building is expected to start at the Youens Cottages site early in the year and to take nine months to completion. Assessing applications for the new homes will start in June. If you wish to apply for one of these homes in the Parish you must register on the Common Housing Register at Gravesham Borough Council. Forms can be obtained by telephoning 01474 337367.

Jennifer Shaw, Rural Organiser

PLANNING IN YOUR VILLAGE

As always, your Parish Council members inspect every application for any buildings/extensions and put a report into the Borough Council.

If you have any concerns or objections, please ring me immediately on 01474 822771.

Pat Oakeshott

HOUSING NEEDS

Your Parish Council is trying to improve on this need and would be grateful if anyone can find land (even a small piece) for more affordable houses.

If anyone knows who owns the scrub land on the corner of Bull Lane and Gore Green Road, I would be grateful if you would let me know on 01474 822771.

Pat Oakeshott

HIGHAM RIGHTS OF WAY

Again the parish has had a fairly trouble free year. We have an excellent Rights of Way Officer who responds to any problems very quickly. All rights of way that need an annual clearance have been done and I have cleared around stiles, finger posts and steps. I have been given a small pot of money for the upkeep of the rights of way within the parish. I hope to have some steps repaired this year. If anyone knows of any work they think needs doing please do contact me.

Did you know we have over 4,000 miles of rights of way in Kent? The most miles in the country.

Happy walking.

Anne Waugh

HIGHAM LIBRARY

Higham Library continues to provide a wide range of services, including books, videos and DVDs, for both adults and children. There is a general information service, including Reference and Local History books and there are three public computers providing free internet access as well as other packages, such as word processing. There is a charge for printing from the PCs. There is also a photocopier and a fax service.

The county-wide project to extend the library database to smaller libraries took place at Higham in December 2004. This provides improved access to all the stock held in Kent Libraries and library members are able to reserve and renew items for themselves via the on-line catalogue. Staff will be pleased to show customers how the catalogue works. Further improvements will take place at Higham in the early summer, when a computerised issue system will be installed. This system is already operating at town centres and larger branches throughout the county.

Higham Library works to encourage children of all ages to use the library and has recently begun 'Rhyme time' for pre-school children. This is held on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month. Library staff were delighted to receive a hand-made Christmas decoration from members of Higham Youth Club, which was displayed in the library for all to see, over the festive period.

Now running for over a year the 'Coffee & Chat' group meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and is growing in popularity. This informal group talk about books they have enjoyed, or hated, and occasionally a speaker is invited to talk at the session. The Library is keen to promote all aspects of Local History and on 22 May 2004 the library held a book-signing for local authors. A good number of villagers came and chatted to the authors, bought a copy of the book and had it signed. The Library is also pleased to have on display photograph albums of the celebrations held to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee and Higham Village Millennium celebrations.

During 2005 Gravesend Library is celebrating its centenary. There is a full programme of events taking place throughout the year and copies of this programme will also be available at Higham Library.

For more details of library services please ring the library on 01474 823822.

Zoe Gray, Senior Community Librarian

HOUSEBOUND LIBRARY SERVICE

Mrs Jo Smith is continuing to do the Library Service for me and I am grateful to her.

If you know of anyone who can't get to the library for books, please let the Librarian know.

Large print and 'spoken word' tapes are also available for the housebound and disabled - telephone 01474 823822.

Pat Oakeshott

SHAVES' CHARITY

This year the Trustees received ten applications, nine individual ones and one from a couple.

The Trustees granted payments of 40 for individuals and 80 for the couple.

As last year, Trustee Councillor Anne Waugh made the distribution before Christmas.

The Trustees would be grateful if the Council would note that application forms for the 2005 distribution will be available from 1 November 2005.

Les Baker, Secretary to Shaves' Charity

COMMUNITY WARDEN

This year I shall be concentrating on these issues:

FLY TIPPING: Every one can help by being more aware of their surroundings. Higham should be a village to be proud of so let's start this year thinking on those lines. People should not be able to litter the county lanes that so many of you walk or ride. I am in contact with the Enforcement Officer who will back anyone with information on those committing an act of fly tipping: it's not only illegal, it can be harmful to the environment and it's unsightly - we should say no to fly tippers.

Here's how you can help: it is difficult to spot those doing it, but if you do take as much information as you can and include the following:

TIME / DATE /AREA and DESCRIPTIONS OF VEHICLE /PERSONS.
(registration number is very important so if nothing else try to get this)

You can call the 24-hour hot line 0845 345 0210 or my number at the end of this article.

REMEMBER NEVER CONFRONT THEM!

ABANDONED VEHICLES: As for the above only easier using your mobile phone: text the word CAR plus the vehicle's location and description to 60300 and get it shifted.

Don't worry if you don't have a mobile call me and I will do it - either way it is totally confidential.

DOG FOULING: There has been an increase in the fouling of the footpaths. I have had many calls regarding this. Many people walk their dogs and clear up after them but there are those that cannot be bothered. I will be going out early mornings and evenings and if I see dogs fouling and owners not making the effort to clear the mess I will report them and will push for a fine to be imposed.
ALL THESE ARE ANTI-SOCIAL: If left this village will go down and down. Wouldn't it be good for Higham to get the award for best-kept village time after time?

And finally,

SPEEDING: This year I have been able to have speed enforcement out on our roads and will be booking up more dates for this. Most people know we had a fatality late last year, which saddened the community. If you know of anyone driving while disqualified or without a licence, or drink driving then you have a duty to report it.

If anyone has any questions on the above please call me on 07811 271256 or email me at wardenh@hotmail.com

Update

As of 1 March 2005 my area was extended to cover Chalk as well as Higham.

My workload is now prioritised and issues are dealt with on a scale of importance. I am very flexible, working between the two areas but there is no change to my commitment to the village.

My office remains at Higham Library and you can continue to leave messages for me there, or contact me on my mobile. This arrangement is reviewed on a monthly basis by representatives of Higham Parish Council and the Chalk community.

Contact: Steve Enright
Telephone: 07811 271256
E-mail: wardenh@hotmail.com

Steve Enright, Kent Community Warden, Higham and Chalk

KENT POLICE UPDATE

Higham has continued to suffer, along with other local areas, a nuisance youth problem, including graffiti, criminal damage and anti-social behaviour. This, unfortunately, is normally by the same small number of youths. When problems like this occur I can request extra patrols to the village but in order to get extra patrols I have to be able to show Senior Management that there is a particular problem or problem area. This is why I would ask that members of the public call in when they see or suffer any incidences of damage or nuisance behaviour. I cannot promise that they will, in all cases, receive an immediate Police response but these calls are always logged and they will provide evidence that will support the need for extra patrols.

We are hoping shortly to have a Youth Shelter erected in the Recreation Ground in School Lane. This is provided so that youths have somewhere of their own that they can use to meet up at, instead of places where they may cause a nuisance to local householders by their noise and behaviour. Youth Shelters are designed to be resilient to damage, they provide seating and protection from rain and they are being installed by many local councils across the country.

If anything positive came out of the Railway Tunnel Closure it was that the break-ins to vehicles in the car park declined. However, with the end of the bus service and site traffic, I would advise users of the car park to ensure that valuables are not left in vehicles or vehicles left vulnerable.

I can be reached or messages left on:

Telephone: 01474 565008
or
Mobile: 07800 675306.

Anyone requiring immediate Police attendance should always call Gravesend Police on 01474 331055 and if urgent 999.

WPC Alison Duffort

DICKENS COUNTRY PROTECTION SOCIETY

With the continuing pressure for increased housing in the area, the Dickens Country Protection Society has been busy this year looking at planning applications. We have noted among them, an increase in garage conversions and back-land development, which gives us cause for concern. We also feel that any encroachment on the Green Belt needs to be fought at all levels.

During the summer DCPS had a presence at several local fetes and fairs. This was not only enjoyable but helped to raise our profile. We held a very successful Barn Dance at the Barn, Buckland Farm, Cliffe and this will be repeated on 16 April 2005. (Tickets and information from Kay Roots on 01474 822797.)

The recently announced Judicial Review judgment brought to an end almost two years of uncertainty for local residents campaigning against a proposed airport at Cliffe, when the judge ruled that the White Paper was lawful on the Cliffe issue. The words 'No Airport at Cliffe' are now a statement rather than a demand. It was surprising to read recently in the Medway News, a report that the Prime Minister had said in a key pre-election speech that 'The Government was obliged to look at all the proposals, but Cliffe Airport was never seriously considered'. If this was so, perhaps all the organisations and people concerned should receive some form of compensation for the effort and money spent!

We have recently noted another possible threat to the area: 'Floodscape'. One of the purposes of this organisation was to seek out the issues and concerns in advance of the start of the Thames Estuary 2100 project regarding managed flooding. The idea has already been implemented in Essex, with some success. DCPS held a gathering at Higham in December for local councillors in advance of a proposed public meeting in 2005, in order to acquaint them with the project. The pilot project in Lincolnshire was mentioned together with another proposal put forward by Sir Terry Farrell, the Lower Thames barrier. We shall continue to monitor all these projects.

Pat Lippiatt

S. JOHN'S CHURCH Ecclesiastical Parish of Higham with Merston - Church of England

S. John's is open every day for private visits as well as daily public worship. The CCTV system and regular 'visitors' enables this to be so.

The Bishop of Rochester was with us in May 2004 to confirm and administer first communions. Cuxton Parish joined us that evening.

Children's work continues on Sundays in three groupings: 0-5 years, 5-10 years and over l1 years. Our parent/toddler group meets at 12.15pm on the first and third Thursdays of the month. In 2004 we celebrated, and hope to develop more, all age worship on certain Sundays.

Some work was undertaken to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act and we continue to try and anticipate potential needs. We have ramp access, can produce large-print material (including 'The Bridge') and refurbished the loop-system in October.

S. Mary's Church was used four times again for worship last year. By kind permission of the owners we will be there again in 2005 on 6 March (4pm), 4 June (noon), 14 August (10am) and 2 October (10am). The number of services may be reviewed due to lack of support.

Summer 2004 saw the beginning of fund-raising for the repair of the huge stained glass window by the Church door. It will cost over 12,000 but, with generous donations from individuals, in conjunction with funds from the very well-supported Windows in Time Icon exhibition, we are about a third of the way there (January 2005). Our successful exhibition, organised by the Churchwardens and Mrs P Baker, was to mark the 1,400th anniversary of the foundation of Rochester diocese.

Churches are frequently accused of always asking for money. S. John's is heavily involved with the annual Poppy and Christian Aid appeals. Additionally we give at least 5% of our income away to a variety of mission and charity work. Furthermore, I am proud to announce that throughout January 2005, by means of a special weekly collection and sales table, we raised over 2,500 for the Tsunami appeal.

Once again, many thanks to all those individuals who give of their time and talents with all sorts of practical help in and around both churches.

Fr. James Southward
Telephone: 01634 717360

HIGHAM CHAPEL

Progress was made with essential maintenance work, but there is further work to be done.

The coffee mornings, held between April and September, met with mixed response. In 2005 it would be nice to welcome many more of the folk from the community.

The Good Friday service, followed by the serving of Hot X Buns went well. A good chance for fellowship.

Visiting speakers over the year included representatives from the Protestant Alliance, London City Mission Seamen's Christian Friends Society, The Leprosy Mission, Gospel Print Mission and Children for Jesus.

Once again, our 'Harvest' Service in September was a wonderful display of God's provision, and the 'Special' services in the month of December were a great joy to all. Not all the toys that were given would fit in the transport to London after our Toy Service. The carols and lessons, led by one of our members, was a chance for members of the congregation to get involved and it was a privilege once again to welcome the musicians from the Gravesend Corps of the Salvation Army led by their bandmaster, Gary Shelton, which was a blessing to us all. A fine end to the year.

Peter Christopher, Leader
Telephone: 01634 362939

HIGHCLIFFE MEDICAL PRACTICE

Once again we have had a very busy year. The new GP Contract was introduced and we have been very busy implementing it. We also took delivery of a new computer system at the end of May 2004.

Because of the rural nature of the surgeries, it was decided to run a HEARTSAVE CAMPAIGN to raise funds to purchase a defibrillator for each surgery and also to train the staff in its use. At present we have raised 1,229.61 thanks to the generosity of the patients and friends of the surgery. During the coming year we will be organising other fund-raising events.

We have once again conducted a patient survey and would like to thank all those patients who agreed to complete the questionnaire. If you have any comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact either of the surgeries.

Isobel Meredith, Practice Manager

HIGHAM BOWLERS

We continue to meet weekly on a Friday at the village school and maintain a full membership of 27. Sadly we have lost a few long-standing members but those places have now been filled by new members from our waiting list. Currently we have five people waiting to join us.

It was not possible to have any social event in the last year other than our Christmas Dinner, which was held at the Falstaff pub and enjoyed by all those who attended. At this event the Chairman presented Keith Pearce, who won the competition for 2004, with a shield.

At our AGM Fred Figg, our outgoing Chairman, was thanked for all his efforts during his term of service. Audrey Pearce was also thanked for her secretarial duties. Don Phelps was voted in as new Chairman, and Pat Merrison as Secretary.

Pat Merrison

STARTRITE KINDERGARTEN

StartRite Kindergarten has continued to grow over the past year and has realised many successes.

We have now achieved 100% qualified staff, a true achievement and justifiably praised by Ofsted in our recent Curriculum and Care Standards inspections. In both inspections we achieved the highest possible outcome and will be working to improve and differentiate the care and curriculum even further.

Our new 'Summer Open Day' was a huge success. The children enjoyed the sunshine, pony rides, soak the teacher, BBQ and variety of races. Those leaving to go to primary school were presented with Achievement Diplomas. The local fire brigade rounded off the morning by challenging us to a Tug of War competition - which they won!!

A big thank you to Mary and the Guides who recently raised money for us by holding an opening evening.

Our new opening hours of 9am - 3.15pm have proved very popular, as has our Lunch Club.

If you would like a prospectus with further details of the group please do not hesitate to contact Suzanne Green

Mobile: 07813 705136
E-mail: startrite.suz@btopenworld.com

There is no longer a Parent and Toddler group.

Suzanne Green

DIARY REMINDER

Have you put the date and time of the Annual Parish Assembly Thursday, 21 April 2005 at 7.30 in your diary yet? If not, why not do it now?

GARDEN AND ALLOTMENT SOCIETY

Another successful year was enjoyed by the Garden Society. The ever popular sale of plants provided the public with plants of interest at reasonable prices. The two shows held at the Memorial Hall during the year were well attended by the public, with some very good exhibits staged by the members. Throughout the year speakers on a variety of subjects gave talks accompanied by coloured slides; adding interest to the talk given.

A visit to a garden at Hartley during June, a nice sunny evening it was too; just right for the occasion. Trees, shrubs and flowers; with just a small patch for vegetables. Refreshments afterwards were provided in the way of tea, cakes and biscuits. We finished our year off with a ploughman's supper and a glass of wine during December.

Several new members have joined us this past year, a most welcome addition to our membership.

Our meetings are held at the Memorial Hall at 8pm on the second Thursday of each month. If you would like to join us, you would be most welcome.

John Husband

COPPERFIELD QUILTERS

Our patchwork and quilting group is now in its fourth year and we now have a membership of 17.

This craft is becoming more and more popular. We are one of five groups in this area of Kent and now belong to the national body of the Quilters Guild. The nice thing is making lots of new likeminded friends from other groups as we all attend shows and exhibitions around the country. Last year we held workshops on various techniques, went to shows at Sandown Park, Chilford Vineyard, Hever Castle and Alexandra Palace. We are repeating these trips in 2005 plus a visit in September to St Ives, Cambridgeshire, to admire the quilters work there.

At present we are making friendship quilts. Our names go into a hat and the chosen one has a quilt made for her by the rest of the group to her design.

We continue to meet every other Thursday evening in Merston Court lounge where the group makes beautiful bed quilts, cot quilts, cushions, etc. We look forward to this year with lots of ideas and enthusiasm.

Linda Parr

OPTIONS SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB

This year will be our 14th anniversary and members still pull the stops out when needed. We were able to donate to many animal charities through the year and two of our ladies religiously knit blankets to send to the sanctuary. If anyone has any wool to spare it is very much needed, as the ladies are knitting faster than I can find the wool.

Mondays is still our club day at St John's Church Hall between 1.30 and 4pm. New members are always welcome & if you would like to make new friends or come on any of the coach trips please call me on 01474 824110.

A full programme has been planned for 2005 and coach trips have been finalised, so if you would like to join us, Betty will give you dates, destinations and further information on 01474 822154.

This year we have invested in a Karaoke machine, so we will be able to entertain ourselves: boy am I looking forward to that! Watch out 'Pop Idol', Higham pensioners are on the way up. New games, speakers and entertainers are ready to enthral us with knowledge, fun and frolics. Not forgetting a wild party or two thrown in for good measure.

I would like to thank all the villagers who have helped us with donations & items for the animals. Our club goes from strength-to-strength due to my dedicated team of volunteers who strive to help me in every way, so many thanks to Betty, June, Reg, Phyllis and John for your continued support.

Delia Goldie

HIGHAM AGE CONCERN LUNCHEON CLUB

The Higham Age Concern Luncheon Club meets every Friday at Merston Court and provides a cooked lunch each week, with the occasional seasonal 'specials'. During the year January to December 2004 we have gone from strength-to-strength, providing 1,010 meals. Currently we do have a waiting list, but if there is anyone who would like to join us, please contact Mrs Audrey Smith on 01474 823380.

Last year we had two footwear sales and two dress sales. Mrs Teresa Irvine gave us a very interesting and informative talk about pensions. At the meeting before Easter all the members were given Hot Cross Buns and an Easter decoration, with entertainment provided by Mr Nick Downs.

Each member receives a birthday cake on their special day.

A party from the Luncheon Club went to see 'Hello Dolly', which was performed by Gravesend & District Theatre Guild, which was excellent. In June Mrs Geraldine Catrell very kindly provided us with a wonderful strawberry tea at Little Hermitage. We were truly spoiled that day with that and the superb weather. Our thanks to Geraldine for her continuing support of our Club.

In July we held a raffle to raise funds, in conjunction with the WI sale, at the village library. This year we raised just over 150 - so thank you to everyone who bought tickets and contributed to this total.

Our AGM this year was held on Friday, 30 July, which was our last Friday before we broke up for the summer holidays. This year we decided to have it at lunchtime and provided a buffet meal beforehand. The change was voted a hit and will be repeated in 2005.

Halloween was celebrated by Dot Figg and Barbara West dressing up as witches - complete with broomsticks!! In November a party of members were taken to Millbrook Garden Centre to get us all in the spirit for Christmas. We then all had a cuppa and a cake before heading home.

The run up to Christmas is always very exciting. Mrs Jan Morriss came one week to show us a Christmas decoration and Higham Primary School choir came to sing carols for us. At our last meeting on 17 December Mrs Wendy Hance played carols for us. We had mince pies and chocolates! Our Easter and Christmas dinners are both free to members and our superb cooks do a wonderful job. We were entertained by Twin Trax who played a selection of music ending up with Auld Lang Syne. Our dinner tables had bags of sweets for each member together with a Christmas present which was a parcel containing biscuits and preserves.

We are always in need of extra hostesses, drivers and cooks, so if you feel you could give a couple of hours (or more) once a month please get in touch with one of the Co-ordinators, Mrs Dot Figg on 01474 822135 or Mrs Barbara West on 01474 822453.

Our thanks go to the Parish Council for supporting us, to Father James Southward who makes regular visits, and to Mrs Annette Davies from Gravesend Age Concern. Last but not least, many, many thanks to all our volunteers who give up their time on Fridays, without whom we could not function.

Dot Figg & Barbara West

Higham Parish Council On-Line

Don't forget you can see Higham Parish Council's web site at:

www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

Please do not hesitate to e-mail me if you have any comments - or your village organisation would like to link up with us.

Clive Stanley

Email:- webmaster@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

HIGHAM CP SCHOOL

2004 was a busy year for Higham School, culminating in a successful Ofsted Inspection in the Autumn Term. We are, therefore, very proud to have achieved our goal of improving the school while continuing to maintain the long established, friendly, caring atmosphere. Our National Curriculum results were very pleasing with most children reaching their expected targets and six Year 6 children were successful in local selection tests and gained places at grammar school.

Extra curricular activities continue to thrive and include sports, gardening, computer club and musical opportunities for our pupils. A group of Year 5/6 children work with members of staff to keep our website up to date. This can be accessed at www.higham.kent.sch.uk. The Year 6 leavers gave a splendid performance of the 'Rocky Horror Show' and Christmas was celebrated with a nativity performed by the infant children and a Church Carol Service.

During the year we raised money for various charities including Medical Research into Genetic Conditions affecting children, Guide Dogs for the Blind and over 1,000 for the Tsunami Appeal. Our Year 5 pupils enjoyed their residential trip to Rippledown House, and visitors to the school this year have included a skipping group, mini circus, science based theatre group, the Mayor of Gravesham and representatives of various religious faiths. Some of our children will take part in the Vaisakhi Education Day at the Woodville Halls in April.

Susan Greenfield, Headteacher

YOUTH SHELTER

We are indebted to both WPC Alison Duffort and Community Warden Steve Enright for applying to Kent County Council for grants which have enabled us to install a youth shelter in the Recreation Ground.

Linda Carnall, Clerk

GOVERNORS OF HIGHAM COUNTY PRIMARY SCHOOL

This year has been one of consolidation of the good practices which had been commenced during the previous year. This culminated in a 'Good' report from the Ofsted inspectors in September, even the Chief Education Officer at Kent County Council wrote to the school commending it on its results.

The level of involvement by the Governors of the School, acting as critical friends, has grown over the last year. All have benefited from this additional interest and the SATs results, particularly in Level 2, have been even better than before.

Class sizes in the middle of the school are larger than we would like, however, we have managed to fund an additional teacher to provide extra, more personalised education for Numeracy and Literacy for those more able and those less able. This has boosted both sets, the lower ones having a better level of understanding than they might have had and the more gifted children being stretched to attain more.

None of this would be possible of course without the incredible level of input by the teaching staff and their assistants. This is backed up by administration and other staff. Most important is the support of the parents in continuing the children's education when they come home and their support in fund-raising, both via the PTA and other school-run events.

Malcolm L James

HIGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL, PARENTS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

Another successful year of fund-raising has helped boost our profits to assist the school in purchasing many much-needed items.

Our Summer Fayre and Xmas Fayre again both broke profit records. Our whole-hearted thanks go out to all the community, for without their support - whether helping out or just turning up on the day - these records would not be achieved. Last year at the Summer Fayre many of you would have seen the colourful sight of red, white and blue balloons released into the sky for our Balloon Race. This was a trial run and, hopefully, we can better the event this year and double our sale of balloons.

In addition to the fayres, our Children's Discos remained as popular and well-supported as ever. The introduction of our '100 Club' proved very popular and each month there are winners of 50 cash and 25 cash.

A new venture in April of a 'Bag 2 School' was tremendously well supported. So much so that another was arranged in October and now that it has seemingly become a twice-yearly event a further one is arranged for Wednesday, 20 April. This entails each child being issued with a blue sack which can be filled with clothing, bedding, curtains, soft toys, shoes, belts and handbags. On the nominated day, a van arrives to collect the sacks. The total weight in kilos collected rewards the school with a grand cheque. The items collected are sold-on for the benefit of third world countries. Extra bags are available and if anyone would like to request a sack, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Everyone has helped tirelessly as ever, old faces have gone and new faces have arrived which gives fresh new ideas. I thank everyone for their help and support.

Leslie Pearton, Chair
Telephone: 01474 822080

GAD'S HILL SCHOOL

2003/2004 saw Gad's Hill School leap to prominence in terms of academic success by heading the Kent and Medway GCSE examination league tables with a 100% pass rate for our students. This is an extraordinary achievement but also a result of a lot hard work, enthusiasm and dedication by both our students and my teaching colleagues over the past four years. I am also pleased to say that our GCSE results in the summer of 2004 were equally as good; with another 100% pass rate, which saw us again lead the Government league tables in 2005.

During the Autumn of 2003 we saw the beginnings of the largest construction project at Gad's Hill School since the 1930s. Early in 2003 the Governors wisely foresaw the need for increased teaching space not only to cope with an ever expanding school roll but also to help maintain the historic fabric of Gad's Hill Place by removing from the Grade One listed building those subjects which, by their very nature, are least sympathetic to a historic building. Therefore, an application was made and eventually granted by Gravesham Council for the construction of the Hewlett Pavilion (named in honour of Miss Rosemary Hewlett, Headmistress and teacher from 1936 until 1976. This project, costing in the region of 300,000, has revolutionised the teaching of Design and Technology, ICT and science subjects and for the first time Gad's Hill School pupils are able to benefit from extremely spacious teaching accommodation. Looking back only a few short months it is extremely difficult to imagine how we ever functioned before the availability of the Hewlett Pavilion.

It is very encouraging for me to see the school become so successful and I must say that none of this would be so without the excellent support I have received from the Governing Body and my teaching colleagues at Gad's Hill School. We are very lucky in having the people that we do on our team and it is very much a joint effort, which has made the school the success that it is.

David Craggs, Headmaster

HIGHAM MEMORIAL HALL

Another year flashes by with all of our organisations still making full use of the facilities. We have one new group using the hall on Sunday afternoons who fly model helicopters, might be worth popping down to have a look. They charge a small entrance fee. We have finally got everything together in the way of quotes and forms to send off our application for the funding to do the refurbishments to the hall.

The boot fairs are still going well (these are still our main fund-raiser) so a big thank you to all involved in the running of these. The battle still goes on between the dark forces and the good guys, ie, those of us on the hall committee and the little B****** with the spray cans.

And one last thing the committee sends a big THANK YOU TO JEAN COLEMAN for her sterling work on the committee.

Keith Bradley

HIGHAM RECREATION GROUND

Spring is here and we are all enjoying the thought of being able to get out and about and where better than on the Recreation Ground, which is a lovely open space for all to use. There is a brand new shelter in the corner by the steps which we hope the teenagers will enjoy using. The provision of this shelter has been completely funded through our WPC from the Police and our Community Warden from the KCC. To both our sincere thanks.

In addition, in the very near future we hope to be receiving two picnic tables from Gravesham which will be placed near the play area. This time it's our thanks to Gravesham for the tables and for regularly cutting the grass. So please respect the Recreation Ground and consider others that will be using it after you and, in particular, please take your rubbish home with you.

Dougall Goring

HIGHAM ACTIVE RETIREMENT ASSOCIATION(HIARA)

It is good to be able to report the continued growth of Higham Active Retirement Association. The old saying is 'from little acorns doth big oaks grow' - I have to report that it really does apply to HIARA!

From a monthly Friday afternoon general meeting with speaker, cup of tea and a biscuit and the fun of the raffle being drawn, we have spread our wings in fine style and the monthly Art Group have not only been producing some excellent work but very kindly agreed to put on a display for us at our November meeting. Courtesy of Lottery funding we have been able to purchase short mat bowling equipment which has been put to good use, to such an extent that already it has been decided to have a specific Friday afternoon for short mat bowling only. We shall, of course, still have our usual Friday afternoon Drop-in Session where folk can either play cards, have a cuppa or play short mat bowls or use any of the other equipment very kindly made available to us by Barrie Howes and his youth club members.

Our Ramblers still kept on rambling and, in some cases, 'getting lost!'

We had some delightful day trips out, including a really great visit to the Thursford Extravaganza, and a welcome summer break in Bournemouth, but the highlight of our HIARA year must be the wonderful (free) Christmas Party which was, sadly, over all too soon. But, the big surprise of the day was the debut of our own band of musicians who meet regularly to practise and who received loud acclaim.

We have an even better programme arranged for the forthcoming year! We may be classified as 'old' in years, but certainly not in our attitude to life!

Of course none of the above would have been possible were it not for our happy band of helpers - A HUGE thank you to each and every one!

Eunice West

1ST HIGHAM RAINBOWS

1st Higham Rainbows has continued to flourish with a full pack of 15 girls aged between 5-7 years-old. The girls meet weekly to take part in a variety of activities from creative crafts, cooking, nature walks, songs and games.

During 2004 1st Higham Rainbows visited Strood fire station for a tour, which was a very interesting evening, including an opportunity to climb aboard the fire engines and create plenty of noise. Some of the rainbows attended the Brownie 90th Birthday party in the summer which was held at Riverview School. The girls took part in a number of activities taking place, all based around the theme of celebrations. We also visited Higham Brownies for an entertaining evening of fun and games. The girls have also undertaken their duty by attending Church Parade on Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival and Remembrance Service.

In November, 10 of 1st Higham Rainbows joined other Rainbow units from the Region at the Rainbow Rumpus, which was an afternoon of crafts and games. Good fun was had by all.

We meet weekly on Fridays from 5pm at St Johns Church Hall. If your daughter would like to join please contact Julie Healey on 01474 822008.

Julie Healey

HIGHAM BROWNIES

We have a full Brownie Pack so are always appreciative of any help Mums are able to give during our weekly meetings and, with continued help, activities like going bowling and summer camp may be possible. In the autumn all Brownies had the opportunity to do a new Road Safety Interest Badge. Also, seven Brownies will be carrying out their Entertaining Badge and two Brownies their Hostess Badge. Future activities include a visit from Copperfield Clog in May to dance with the girls - we may follow this up with a Dancing Interest Badge. There will also be a Higham v Chalk Brownies Rounders match in the summer and making Gingerbread Men for Father's Day.

Linda Cooper

1ST HIGHAM GUIDES

The girls have tackled many things during the past year. In unit meetings they take an increasing lead on the type of activities they undertake. There are a group of older girls who have started working on their Baden-Powell Challenge badge, which is the highest award a Guide can obtain. During the autumn term they organised and ran a very successful dance evening where the rest of the girls were taught a dance, made up costumes and then devised their own dance.

The younger group organised an entertainment and fund-raising evening to which they invited parents and friends. They also had refreshments and a raffle during the evening and raised 52.24 for StartRite Kindergarten.

The girls have also taken part in activities further afield: one girl attended County Camp at Blackland Farm, Sussex; several girls went to an outdoor activity evening in the summer at Paxwood and we had a team enter for the Division Incident Hike - and they came first!!

In 2005 we hope to try some new activities - skiing has been mentioned - and we will also have a camp later in the year.

If your daughter is interested in joining us and you would like to find out more about 1st Higham Guides please contact Mary Lane on 01474 822107

Mary Lane

RECYCLING WASTE BAGS

Once again we are grateful to Kevin at the Village Dry Cleaners for giving up space for spare bags.

Pick them up when needed and please keep recycling your waste.

Pat Oakeshott

1ST HIGHAM SCOUT GROUP

We had a very successful BBC 'Children in Need' collection in the village again last November and with your help we raised over 1,500 for the appeal. Many thanks.

The Scout Group is very healthy at the moment with 54 members (leaders, beavers, cubs and scouts).

During the last year a team of our Scouts took part in the District two-day 15 mile hiking competition; cross country competition; go-karting; cooking and several night hikes. Cubs and Scouts attended weekend camps, and took part in abseiling and swimming, along with many other activities. Plans for later this year include an over-night stay on HMS Belfast and various group and individual scouting events.

If you would like to come along and join us in the Memorial Hall, or just come along and see what we're doing, give us a ring.

Scout group...........Ages.......Meet.............Contact
Beaver Scouts 6-8 years Fridays 5.30-6.30pm Carole: 01474 823492
Cub Scouts 8-10.5 years Fridays 6.30-8pm Carolyn: 01474 823187
Scouts 10.5 -14 years Fridays 8-10pm Peter: 01474 823806
Explorer Scouts 14-18 years Monday evenings(not in village) Peter: 01474 823806

Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts are open to both boys and girls. Helpers are open to young at heart men and women from 16 to 65! We always need helpers, so if you fancy giving it a go please call Peter on 01474 823806.

Peter Allinson

HIGHAM YOUTH CLUB

The Club has been running for over five years now and is part of the village community. During this time, youngsters that started at the Club as members have now become volunteers and regularly help to set equipment up and organise activities. On Wednesday evenings, youngsters have taken part in a variety of team sports from football, rounders, cricket and team building exercises.

Other activities the young people of the Club have completed are as follows: Midnight Ice Skating was an adventure for 18 youngsters in February. In April, 10 youngsters took part in the UK Youth Festival of Fun weekend. During October an activity day at John Nike Leisure Sports Complex was enjoyed by 10 youngsters including Skiing, Snowboarding and Tobogganing. In November the girls took part in a makeover evening, involving a professional beautician and a Bungee Run was hired for an evening in December, from which the youngsters took great delight of flying through the air.

During the year three youngsters gained their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. That took time, commitment, dedication and motivation. In
March 2005 a number of youngsters were scheduled to take part in a sponsored 24-hour 'stay in a sleeping bag', raising money for the NSPCC.

Once again, the Club has been well supported by the Parish Council during the year.

The Youth Club is about social education for youngsters, so they can learn from each other and gain knowledge for the life ahead of them. If you believe you can show the 34 members of HYC something new and involve them in a new experience please contact Barrie Howes on:

Telephone: 01474 822847
Email: clairebarrie@howes007.freeserve.co.uk

Barrie Howes

HIGHAM VILLAGE SPORTS ASSOCIATION

Higham Village Sports Association has had a successful 2004 with new and seasoned clubs alike enjoying Higham's sports amenities.
In 2005, maintenance work will be undertaken to jet wash the courts, so they are squeaky clean ready for the spring sports onslaught. We will also be renewing and reseating the tennis posts to complete the picture.
We look forward to a thriving year for Higham's sports facilities. Please come and take a look at the work that has been undertaken and make use of our village facilities. Have fun, stay fit and healthy!

Bookings can be made at the Village Greengrocers in School Lane.

Secretary Christina Gladwell 01474 822329
Booking Secretary (Affiliated Clubs) Ann Kevill 01474 822448
Bookings Village Greengrocers, School lane 01474 823954

Christina Gladwell, Secretary to the Higham Village Sports Association

HIGHAM TENNIS CLUB

This is my eighth year of coaching at Higham Tennis Club and I'm pleased to report that the junior players continue to improve and particular mention goes to Chris Greenwood here who won the most improved junior player award. It is also pleasing to report that the Jack Wright Award was given to Rab Forbes this year. Rab has been with the club for seven years.

During the year the club purchased a tennis ball machine along with other coaching aids which have added a new fun dimension to the coaching sessions. Assessment of the players' skills has seen the new aids give an added edge to the quality and consistency of shot making.

Although disappointing for our membership numbers it is pleasing to see our senior players move on to bigger clubs having learnt the basics at Higham. As a junior tennis club our primary objective is to introduce new and young players to the game of tennis. Over a set programme we aim to develop skills to enable players to compete at a higher level.

The club is affiliated to the Kent LTA. This affiliation enables us to have our players gain an official LTA ranking and enter Kent-wide competitions as well.

A special thanks also goes to Stephanie Forbes for her enthusiastic coaching assistance with the juniors in the earlier part of the tennis season.

With current membership numbers the new season will start with just the one session on Saturday 5 March at 9.30am until 10.45am, although this may vary from time to time. The tennis season will run to the end of October 2005. Please note that membership remains at 5 per year with Saturday fees remaining at 2.

John Forbes, Coach

HIGHAM AND MOCKBEGGAR CRICKET CLUB

We are very pleased and proud to report that the cricket season ended with us gaining promotion to Division One in the Kent Village League. As a result we have some exciting new fixtures and this season promises to be even more challenging!

Work on the ground and pavilion are on-going - the showers are almost there! To this end thanks goes out to all our valued supporters and members who regularly attend the various fund-raising activities. Anyone else wishing to join the merry throng, be it in a playing or supporting capacity, can give me a call on 01634 221677. Here's to the new season!

Christine Abernethy, Social Co-ordinator

PLAYBALL FOOTBALL COACHING
Fitness, Fun & Learning In One

We have held these coaching sessions at Higham Memorial Hall for
pre-school children for well over a year and have found them very popular. They are made up of two half-hourly sessions from 1-2pm every Monday, school term only, where the sessions are separated into two age groups:

2.5-3.5 years from 1-1.30pm where catching, throwing, shooting and running with the ball are learnt. Parents often join in on this session.

The 3.5-5 years age group are introduced to fun football related games, plenty of running and learning to take orders as a group.

Both sessions finish with mad, but fun, matches. These sessions help with co-ordination, listening skills and working within a group, where eventually confidence will improve. All this gives them a head start into sport before the children reach school age.

In both sessions soft sponge footballs are used to prevent any injuries happening or damage to the premises.

We also run various coaching sessions around the surrounding areas for 5-11 year-olds, plus coaching weeks through all school holidays.

If you are interested and would like more information please ring Neil or Claire Stephens on 01634 311481 or mobile 07803 588282.

Neil Stephens

EAGLES FOOTBALL CLUB

This year we have three teams up and running: under-12s, under-11s and under-8s and are in the process of forming an under-7s team. Training is on Saturday mornings at Higham Primary School between 9.30 and 11am. Boys and girls aged between 5 and 13 years who are interested in joining us please come along.

All our teams are doing well in their leagues and have all reached semi-finals in Cup rounds. Well done to all.

Thanks must go to all our managers and assistants for all the hard work they put in to keep the club going. If you require any more information regarding the club, please contact the Secretary on 01474 822607.

Pat Jeal, Secretary

BEAVER SWIMMING CLUB

Last year I reported that the Beaver Swimming Club had been saved from closure by a brand new Committee and with the dedication of parents and their children (the swimmers) alike. I am pleased to say that our first year has been very successful. Our numbers have built up, not only by existing members and some new members, but also by many ex-members who happily returned when they discovered that the Beaver Swimming Club had not 'drowned' and had surfaced from its troubles. Beaver Swimming Club has always had a reputation for being a great Teaching Club rather than a Competitive Club and it is that strength which we have drawn on to rebuild the Club.

We are based at Hoo Swimming Pool and our teaching nights are on Tuesday and Friday evenings. Although not exactly in the jurisdiction of the Parish of Higham, it has been established and run, amongst others, by many residents of the village.

For anybody who is interested for their child/ren aged five and over to join this successful teaching club, please contact either myself (see below) or Mrs Mary Hassell (Membership Secretary) on 01634 270374.

Finally, I would like to thank all those who have supported the Club and who have aided its resurrection.

Les Pearton, Chair
Telephone: 01474 822080

HIGHAM VILLAGE HISTORY GROUP

The Higham Village History Group was formed in May 1997, for those interested in local history. Membership has steadily grown and is 6 single and 9 family with visitors at 2.

More interesting events were held in 2004, namely our 7th AGM with the exciting launch of the book 'Higham in Old Photographs' by
Sue Williams & Andrew Rootes. Extracts of the book were shown and the local press covered the story. This was then followed by more book signings in Higham Library. The book has proved extremely popular, so much so, that it's now been reprinted. Price is 5.50, with any monies after costs, being shared between the History Group and the Kent Air Ambulance. In January 2005 we presented 1,000 to the Air Ambulance and heard about their work, prior to the illustrated talk on 'Keeping The Tall Ship's Traditions', where we learnt about The Jubilee Sailing Trust.

Future events planned for 2005/early 2006 are talks on 'Jane Austen - Her Kentish World & Naval Connections', 'White Christmas' and 'Museum of Kent Life - The Development of Kent's 50 Acre Open Air Museum', as well as others awaiting confirmation.

A new venture for 2005 was the creation of our new web site at www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk, which is linked to the Higham Parish Council Site.

All talks commence at 20.00 hrs in the Memorial Hall - please look out for the posters displayed around the village. For more information on the History Group, please call Claire Howes 01474 822847.

Claire Howes

HIGHAM IN OLD PHOTOGRAPHS

We would like to thank everyone who bought copies of our book and for all the very positive feedback that we have received. All the proceeds from the sale of the book are being shared between the Kent Air Ambulance Trust and Higham Village History Group.

On behalf of the History Group, we are still looking for old photographs of Higham so that we can make a copy for the growing collection.

Do you have any photos of our village? We are interested in all areas of life in the past: people in front of shops or buildings that are no longer here; social occasions and carnival processions; school or church activities; agricultural scenes - farm workers, machinery, hop or fruit picking. The list is endless and we are interested in any old photos that you have.

You do not have to part with your precious photos because we can copy them whilst you are present. Please can you have a look in your cupboards and drawers and see what you can find. We look forward to hearing from you!

We can be contacted on 01634 724313.

Andrew Rootes and Sue Williams

THE CLAIRE BUCKLEY SCHOOL OF DANCING

The school began in September 1999 and has become popular with the children in the surrounding communities. Classes are held at the Memorial Hall, Higham, every Tuesday and Thursday's for children aged three-years and up.

We have held two shows at the Memorial Hall, with this year's show being held at The Brook Theatre, Chatham, on Saturday, 2 July. We have also taken our first exams and passed with outstanding results.

A new adult Tap and Jazz class was started in September 2004 with classes being held at The Old Gravesendians Rugby Club.

For details on any classes please give Claire a call on 01634 220766.

Claire Buckley

COPPERFIELD CLOG

Copperfield Clog carried out a full programme of dancing during 2004, including appearances at the Rochester Sweeps Festival, the Museum of Kent Life, Aylesford and Upnor Castle, as well as at many pubs around the Kent countryside. Copperfield Clog also danced at the Conservative Club in Gravesend to help raise funds for the BBC's annual 'Children in Need' day on Friday, 19 November.

Copperfield Clog continue to rehearse most Thursday evenings throughout the autumn/winter in St John's Church Hall, Higham. If you are interested in joining us - either as a dancer or musician - then why not come along and introduce yourself. New dancers are always welcome, especially when we begin our practice sessions in September. If you would like to join us as a musician then you would be most welcome at any time.

Copperfield Clog's Summer programme 2005 is taking shape and will be available shortly - some dates are already listed on our website. We will formally 'kick-off' our season over the May Bank Holiday weekend
(30 April - 2 May) by joining in the Jack O' the Green Festival in Hastings.

To request a copy of Copperfield Clog's programme, then please telephone one of our secretaries on 01474 822148 or 01474 824346 or, alternatively, e-mail us copclog@aol.com. The programme, along with information about Copperfield Clog and several photographs, can be found on our website, at http://members.aol.com/copclog/Clog1.htm

Judi Stanley, Publicity Officer for Copperfield Clog

STAGE ARTS WORKSHOP

On Monday afternoons, the Higham Memorial Hall continues to be filled with the sounds of children acting, singing and dancing as they sharpen their talents in the performing arts under the guidance of qualified, professional teachers.

2004 was another successful year for the workshop. The first highlight of the year was a spectacular production of the pantomime 'Cinderella' in March. This was followed by a cabaret evening of 'Stage Arts Stars in Their Eyes' in November. While cheese and wine were served to the audience, ten talented Stage Arts students entertained us as the artists of their choice while the rest of the workshop students impressed the audience with song and dance numbers. We had a panel of professional judges and the final winner was Rebecca Hopkins as Emma Bunton with runner-up,
Emily Baker as Shania Twain.

The high points during 2005 will include a major production based on Disney musicals towards the end of the year. Special Holiday Workshops will also be run this year during the Easter and Summer school holidays.

The Stage Arts Workshop is run by Angela Shade and her daughter, Bonnie. For further details, including the Holiday Workshops, or to find out how you can obtain tickets for the shows call us on 01634 403926.

Angela Shade and Bonnie Hill

HIGHAM CHORAL GROUP

Higham Choral Group began 2004 with a concert at St John's Church where we sang Stainer's 'Crucifixion'. The next event was a tour to Kemble near Cirencester on the May Bank Holiday. We have since been invited back in 2006! The summer concert was very enjoyable when we sang 'Five Childhood Lyrics' by Rutter and Vivaldi's 'Magnificat' accompanied by an excellent string quartet.

If you haven't yet heard us sing why not come along to one of our concerts? - details below:


Spring Concert Chalk Church Saturday, 19 March
Summer Concert St Mary's, Higham Saturday, 9 July
Christmas Concert St John's, Higham Saturday, 17 December

We are touring this May Bank Holiday to the Taunton area.

We welcome new members in all voices. If you would like more information about the concerts or would be interested in joining us please contact me on 01474 822702.

Wendy Hance

HIGHAM WI

Although not as busy as last year, we still managed to cram plenty of activities in.

Members enjoyed shopping trips to Romford market in spring and November, the Woodville Halls to see 'Hello Dolly', The White Pit walk (a nature reserve) as well as the Annual Harvel Garden Trail and our own mini-garden trail, organised by one of our committee members.

More ladies have joined our two darts teams, enabling them to both keep going and compete in the District Tournament. Our drama group is going well with another new member joining during the year. We like to entertain our members twice a year and this year performed an amusing short play, which was written by one of our members. The quality of the writing was so high that we persuaded our member to put it forward for the National WI competition. We were thrilled for her when she got through the
County Round and disappointed she did not win but she was up against stiff competition.

The County competition this year was to make a book suitable for a blind child and, although our entry did not win, our ladies produced an entry of excellent quality. We have another busy year ahead and meet on the first Thursday of every month in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm. New members are always welcome to come along.

Sue Buck

HIGHAM WORKING MEN'S CLUB

The club was formed on 22 April 1893, was registered under the Friendly Societies Act in November 1893, and became a member of the Workingmen's Club and Institute Union in December 1893.

The first meeting took place in a room in a house opposite St John's Church, then in a garage in Villa Road and later in a barn behind the Congregational Church in School Lane.

The land in Hermitage Road was purchased in September 1898 and was originally one small room on the site. The present building was started in the 1920s and there were various developments in the 1930s and after the Second World War. It is interesting to note that in the early 1900s the membership was 124 and the turnover was 566 and there was a mortgage of 250.

There was little change in the membership for some years so that by 1939 the numbers amounted to 190, the turnover was 1,671 and the mortgage was 765. After the Second World War the membership gradually increased to the present day figure of about 450, and about 90 lady members, with an annual turnover of about 185,000 and all loans paid off.

The foresight of the founders of the club has been well and truly justified. In the year 2004 the club was revamped with three new bars, one of which is an adult only bar with new seating and was redecorated throughout, with new lighting to create a light and relaxed atmosphere.

The club arranges various activities, Sunday night bingo, Line dancing, Saturday family night Discos, live bands, cabaret nights, Elvis, Mike Reed, Bobby Davro, etc, and is in many sporting programmes, including fishing, golf, pigeon racing, snooker and also support a local youth football team.

Bill Cowper, Secretary

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Community Meals Service

Are you over 60?

Would you like a two-course hot meal delivered direct to your door daily at a cost of £4.15 per meal including delivery?

If the answer to these questions is 'YES' please ring 01474 350525 for further information.

All dietary needs catered for.
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CONTACTING YOUR VILLAGE ORGANISATIONS

Age Concern 01474 822654
Age Concern Referrals 01474 823380
Beavers 01474 823492
Beavers Swimming Club 01474 822080
Brownies 01474 822313
Choral Group 01474 822702
Claire Buckley School of Dancing 01634 220766
Community Warden wardenh@hotmail.com 07811 271256
Congregational Church 01634 362939
Copperfield Clog 01474 822148 / 824346
Copperfield Quilters (Higham Quilters) 01474 823129
Cubs 01474 823187
Dickens Country Protection Society 01322 275389
Eagles Football Clubs 01474 822607
Garden and Allotment Society 01474 822368
Guides 01474 822107
HiARA 01474 321119
Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club 01634 713060
Higham Bowlers 01474 823772
Higham CP School PTA 01474 822080
Higham Library 01474 823822
Higham Rainbows 01474 822008
Higham Village History Group 01474 822847
Higham Village Sports Association 01474 822448
Higham Youth Club 01474 822847
Junior Tennis Club 01634 290754
Memorial Hall (Bookings only) 01474 822007
Options 01474 824110
Parish Clerk 01474 822642
Playball Football 01634 311481
Saint John's Church - Fr James Southward 01634 717360
Scouts 01474 823806
Stage Arts Workshop 01634 403926
StartRite Kindergarten 07813 705136
Women's Institute 01474 823772
Working Men's Club 01474 822456


HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL AS AT APRIL 2005

PARISH COUNCILLORS
Chairman: Cllr Mrs Jennifer Papadopulos
'Hanklit', 12 Charles Dickens Avenue, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7NL 01634 717113
Vice Chairman: Cllr Mrs Pat Oakeshott 52 Walmers Avenue, Higham, Rochester Kent ME3 7EH 01474 822771
Cllr Dougall Goring 9 The Larches, Higham ME3 7NQ 01474 822666
Cllr John Grey 61 School Lane, Higham ME3 7JR 01474 822789
Cllr Mrs Jan Hinks 4 Chilton Drive, Higham ME3 7BW 01474 823628
Cllr Alan Howard 1 Taylors Lane, Higham ME3 7AX 01474 822108
Cllr Malcolm James 'Hollybank', Crutches Lane, Higham ME2 3UH 01634 724483
Cllr Colin Jupp 11 Colewood Drive, Higham ME2 3UE 01634 713298
Cllr Mrs Sylvia Saunders 4 The Adelaide, Higham ME3 7LU 01474 822217
Cllr Mrs Anne Waugh 'Mill Barn', Hermitage Road, Higham ME3 7ND 01634 712012
Cllr Stuart Wright 'Hillyfield', Hermitage Road, Higham, ME3 7PB 01634 717336

BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Cllr Colin Jupp 11 Colewood Drive, Higham ME2 3UE 01634 713298
Cllr Mrs Pat Oakeshott 52 Walmers Avenue, Higham ME3 7EH 01474 822771

COUNTY COUNCILLOR
Cllr Frank Gibson, OBE 'Mariner's Cottage', 116 Windmill St., Gravesend, DA12 1BL 01474 564595

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Chris Pond, MP c/o House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

CLERK TO THE PARISH COUNCIL
Mrs Linda Carnall 24 Chilton Drive, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BW Tel: 01474 822642Fax: 01474 824437
E-mail: enquiries@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

Copies of the Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are available for public inspection within Higham Library.

 

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Last Revised ~ 11 April 2005

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