Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2006

[ Back to Home Page| 2004 Newsletter | 2005 Newsletter ]

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

Dear Parishioners

 

I can hardly believe that 12 months have passed since I prepared my Parish letter to you all. It just shows how the weeks rush by when one is busy with village matters. Parish meetings have on the whole been well attended and the many questions have kept us on our toes. I would like to record my sincere thanks to the Council members for the hard work undertaken on behalf of all of us. Special thanks must also go to our Parish Clerk for her unstinting attention to countless letters and requests for information and help.

 

The question of vandalism in the village has been the single most distressing matter in your Parish Council's business this year. I looked back at two previous reports where I mentioned that this problem was getting worse in the village, but now the situation is well nigh out of control. I mention here some of the items from an endless list of shameful happenings:

 

•  Youngsters have been terrorising residents in Steadman Close and Mountbatten Avenue.

•  The school has been vandalised as mentioned in the school report.

•  The picnic tables and seats on the recreation ground have been damaged using a chain saw.

•  Dog excrement has been taken out of dog litter bins and has been daubed onto parishioners' doors and windows.

•  Private gardens have been defaced.

•  There has been endless graffiti at the Village Hall.

•  The Pavilion was broken into; children's toys were ruined and the floor was flooded when all the taps were left running and waste pipes had been deliberately removed.

 

The Council Tax Precept has had to be raised to pay for all the damage that has occurred. Sadly we have lost the services of Steve Enright, our Community Warden, but we are hopeful that we will have his replacement before too long.

 

There are things that Parishioners can do to help the matter. A leaflet drop has been made in the village asking that all incidents be reported to the police, making sure that a crime number is obtained. If these are not reported, then as far as the police are concerned, they have not happened. Please be vigilant, as we now need to take control to ensure peace around us.

 

Traffic through Higham poses many problems. A meeting has been held with the Kent Highways Authority to discuss traffic management issues in the village and we are awaiting the results.

 

On a positive note, three dwellings have been built on the Youens Cottage site by Hyde Housing to accommodate young people from Higham. There is another site under consideration for similar housing at the other end of the village. The Parish Web site, which is serviced by Mr Clive Stanley, has been very popular; we thank him for all his work. I look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Parish Assembly, on Thursday 20 April 2006 at 7.30 pm.

 

My best wishes to you all,

 

Jennifer

 

FROM THE PARISH CLERK

 

The Parish Council is indebted to Kent County Council for its assistance over the past year. The bus shelter to the A226 has been renewed thanks to a Rural Shelter Grant covering 50% of the cost of the replacement. A further grant of £4,413 was received from the Small Community Capital Projects Fund for replacement anti-vandal steel doors to the Higham Pavilion which is used by the StartRite Kindergarten. Following a spate of vandalism last summer the Insurers had insisted on improved security to the building before the Kindergarten could re-open following the summer break. Such a large sum could not have been budgeted for by the Parish Council and we are delighted that the County Council was able to step in and offer its help in this way.

 

We also wish to place on record our thanks to one of our Parish Councillors, Dougall Goring, who works tirelessly for our community. Dougall is the Higham equivalent of ‘Handy Andy' and willingly tackles a wide variety of repairs to the Recreation Ground area in order to save the village valuable funds. Often he detects a problem, sorts it out and then just reports back to us at our Parish Council Meeting. We wish to thank Dougall for all his help, expertise and good humour over the many years he has served on the Parish Council.

 

Did you attend our Assembly in 2005? If not, make a note of this year's date and make sure you come along for an excellent evening's entertainment with refreshments!

 

Linda Carnall

Parish Clerk

 

WASTE RECYCLING BAGS

 

The Parish Council is grateful to Kevin and his Mum at the Village Dry Cleaners for keeping the spare white bags. Go in, help yourself and PLEASE keep recycling.

 

Pat Oakeshott

 

 

DATES FOR PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS – 2006

at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:

Thursday, 20 April

Monday, 8 May

Monday, 3 July

Monday, 11 September

Monday, 9 October

Monday, 6 November

Monday, 27 November

ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY.

Annual Parish Council meeting.

 

 

 

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Christmas meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham.

 

Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.

 

 

 

SIMPLIFIED DRAFT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2005/2006

INCOME

£

EXPENDITURE

£

Balance B/Fwd

17,525.03

Recreation Ground etc

370.00

Precept 2005/2006

20,863.03

Administration Expenses

 

5,517.36

Allotment Rents

469.00

Allotments

199.58

Other Receipts

1,624.81

Miscellaneous Expenses, (including Pavilion insurance)

 

 

18,312.23

Deposit A/C Interest

100.64

Subscriptions and Fees

917.75

National Savings Investment a/c Interest

 

17.57

Clerk's Salary and Expenses for provision of office

 

 

5,712.00

VAT Reclaim

1,325.68

VAT paid

2,345.99

Grants received

6,113.00

Grants made

910.00

 

 

 

 

 

£48,038.76

 

£34,284.91

BALANCES IN HAND AS AT 31.3.2006

 

 

£

£

TSB Current Account

3,425.68

 

 

TSB Flexi Account

9,759.80

 

 

National Savings Investment Account

 

567.37

 

 

TSB Special Projects Account

 

1.00

 

 

 

£13,753.85

 

£13,753.85

 

 

 

£48,038.76

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 31.3.05 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. During this year Higham Parish Council has received valuable advice on several village issues.

In November Councillor Saunders and Councillor Hinks attended the 2005 KAPC Annual General Meeting and participated in the election of the Chairman and Committee for 2005/2006.

At the meeting they heard of the valued work of volunteer workers in the community. There was also a presentation highlighting the success of ‘Speedwatch’, which is LED technology used in monitoring the speed of vehicles travelling on village highways.

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 Jan Hinks

SPECIAL DAYS


Once again, I would remind you to let me know of any residents’ special days during 2006, ie special anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

Pat Oakeshott

HIGHAM GARDENS FOR PLEASURE COMPETITION 2005

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 and cultivation, and the overall design of the garden.

Last year marked the 21st anniversary of the competition and the following prize-winners received their awards from Adam Holloway, MP, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday,
12 September 2005.

FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy/Garden Gift Token/framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs R. Tonkinson, 26, The Braes.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Ann Bigwood, 72, Forge Lane.

THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs T. Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane.

HIGHLY COMMENDED (Framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs J. Thornton, 26, Chilton Drive.
Mr and Mrs T. Foster, 8, Darby Gardens.

BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs J. Leach – 32 Telegraph Hill.

MOST COLOURFUL PUBLIC HOUSE WITHIN HIGHAM
(Framed certificate)
The Three Crutches Public House.

Runners-up
• Sir John Falstaff Public House.
• The Chequers Public House.
• The Gardeners Arms Public House.
• The Stone Horse Public House.

Linda Carnall, Parish Clerk

PLANNING SUB COMMITTEE

There have been many applications this year, lots of them for extensions and conservatories. Of course, there have been a few controversial ones and I am always grateful for residents’ letters of objection to these.

Each application is visited by Parish Council Members before we make our reports to the Borough Council. If you have any concerns, then let me know.

Pat Oakeshott

RURAL HOUSING

Isis Court I hope some residents have been to see the three new houses at Isis Cottages, Grove Road, Gad’s Hill, which are for our young couples with children who are in need of housing and have lived in the village for more than 10 years.

Your Parish Council has worked hard to get these houses built for the village and we look forward to further development of small units for our young families in the future.

Pat Oakeshott

 

THAMES GATEWAY DEVELOPMENT

A new web site has been launched for people to find out more about plans to develop the Thames Gateway, air their views and put forward ideas.

Log on to www.communitywatchdog.co.uk to find out more.

KENT POLICE

This last year has without doubt been very difficult for the residents of Higham due to unprecedented problems with local youths and criminal damage. This resulted in thousands of pounds of damage to village amenities and Kent Police has to put in extra resources both in the village and behind the scenes to try and resolve these issues. It has been very frustrating to see this damage and mayhem caused in the community knowing that it is being committed, in the vast majority, by local youths. However it is very easy to tar everyone with the same brush and I would like to stress that it really is a small minority who have been causing these problems. I would like to ask that residents bear this in mind when dealing with local youths and not have any preconceptions.

I know that the Senior Management Team at the Police Station were impressed with the community spirit shown by Higham residents, attending meetings and plainly airing their grievances.

It is too early to say that these problems are behind us, and these kinds of problems are unique only to Higham, but they are suffered by residents all over the country. I would like to thank those people who have come forward and provided the vital evidence that we need to gain convictions and deal with the main protagonists and I would ask people to continue to contact Gravesend Police or myself with any concerns that they have, or information that they wish to share. It is only through working together that we can deal with these crimes against your community.

I can be reached or messages left on:  Telephone: 01474 812208  Mobile: 07800 675306.

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

WPC Alison Duffort

HIGHAM LIBRARY

The Library provides a wide range of services, which is not limited to books alone. We also have a wide range of videos and DVDs for hire, as well as a Reference and Local History section.

The popular book ‘Higham in Old Photographs’ can still be purchased at the counter.

We have three computers in the library, with internet facilities, Microsoft Word and other software, which are free to use. They can be pre-booked up to seven days in advance, in one hour sessions. There is a nominal charge for printing from the computers and the scanner.

At Higham we aim to encourage children to use the library from a young age. On the second and fourth Friday of each month, between 9.30 and 10am, we hold a ‘Rhyme and Story time’ for pre-school children. The children and their parents sing and play along, with our instruments, to their favourite rhymes. This has now been running for over a year and continues to grow in popularity.

The ‘Coffee and Chat’ group is held on the third Tuesday of each month, and continues to go from strength to strength. This informal group of readers meet to talk about the books they have enjoyed, or hated, as well as an occasional guest speaker. Last year we visited the Sikh temple in Gravesend as part of our cultural awareness theme.

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

Glynis Selby
Customer Services Officer

HOME LIBRARY SERVICE

The Home Library Service is free and available to anyone confined to their home through illness or disability. Large print and talking books, videos and CD’s can be chosen to ensure maximum enjoyment and meet individual needs.

A free reservation service is offered to enable us to provide the books you would like to read.

Let us bring the library to you. Our volunteer for this service is Mrs Jo Smith who delivers the books every fortnight.

If you would like to use, or know of anyone who would benefit from this service, please ring Higham Library on 01474 823822.

If you would like any more information please ring Gravesend Library on 01474 352758 and ask to speak to Ann Thomas or Sharon Murphy.

HIGHCLIFFE MEDICAL PRACTICE

2005 has been a very busy year. We have continued our fund-raising and are now in the position to purchase two defibrillators for the surgeries. We have raised over £3,500 due to the generosity of patients and friends. Much of the money has been raised by the sale of the books at both surgeries and I would like to thank those who have donated the books and those who have bought them.

We recently carried out a survey requesting patient views about various aspects of the surgeries. It was pleasing to see that, in general, patients are very satisfied with the service which they receive from the Practice. However, we do not wish to be complacent and are always open to suggestions as to how our services can be improved.

Isobel Meredith
Practice Manager

PARISH ALLOTMENTS

I am pleased to report that the Parish Council allotments are proving very popular and nearly all plots are taken which is extremely encouraging. During the spring of 2005 the Parish Council undertook to clear a few of the overgrown plots to make them more attractive to new tenants. In addition to clearance work the Council initiated, it is evident that some individuals and families have put a good deal of effort into further improvement and cultivation. Indeed, two previously unworkable plots are showing evidence of major clearance work. This is to be congratulated.

If you enjoy gardening and feel that an allotment would be ideal for you, there are a few vacant plots available for cultivation, the location of which may be obtained from the Parish Clerk. As I have stated before, there are water stand-pipes within easy reach of all the plots enabling seedlings and young plants to have the best start to the growing season.

Happy Gardening,

Alan Howard

HIGHAM GARDEN & ALLOTMENT SOCIETY

Higham Garden & Allotment Society was founded in May of 1942, and throughout the past years it has attracted many members.

Over the past year we had excellent speakers on a variety of subjects. In June we visited the lovely garden of Restoration House in Rochester.

Our meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month in the Memorial Hall, but, due to the work to be carried out in the hall soon, the July and August meetings are to be held in the Church Hall. We have with regret cancelled this year’s Summer Show, however, we hope to be able to hold the September Autumn Show at the Memorial Hall.

New members are always welcome.

Peggy Husband

RIGHTS OF WAY

We have had another trouble free year in the Parish. The annual clearance organised by the Rights of Way Officer seems to be working well. I have cleared around stiles and sign posts where necessary, have had some new steps put in off Lower Rochester Road and also had steps cleared of earth in Hermitage Road.

I applied to KCC for money to improve the footpath that runs past the old Sun pub to the railway line. In the winter it is so wet that you go paddling. Through KCC Community Paths Project they have agreed to pay for the work to be done. Hopefully it will start some time in the spring depending on the weather.

I do hope you have enjoyed walking, riding or cycling on the many Rights of Way through the Parish. If you notice an obstruction please let me know and I will try and get it resolved.

Happy walking,

Anne Waugh

HIGHAM CHAPEL

Higham Chapel still wants to play its part in the community and, with this in mind, held Coffee Mornings once a month, with an invitation to everyone to come along to meet and chat, whilst having beverages and biscuits and to buy from the sales stall. We shall continue to do this from April to September, on the second Saturday of the month, opening at 10.30am to 12 noon. The proceeds are given to worthy causes, such as ‘The Rescue Helicopter’ service. Why not make a note in your diaries and come along? Please take a look at the notice board when you are passing: you will find all the speakers and events listed there.

God bless you all,

Peter Christopher
Leader (01634 362939)

THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. JOHN

St. John’s remains open each day for private visits as well as public worship. Our CCTV system and regular ‘visitors’ enable this to be so. There is daily worship, each morning and evening, so may we request people to please enter the building quietly so as not to disturb services.

The Church, and Village, lost one of its great characters in February 2005 with the death of Mrs Mabel Lambkin aged 97. She is missed by us and many who knew her. A new lectern in the Lady Chapel was given by her friends in her memory. Canon Roger Davison left us in April after
17 years as honorary ‘retired’ assistant. Aged 86 Fr. Roger now lives in a college of retired clergy in Surrey. Much time and money was spent refurbishing the assistant priest’s house and in July Fr. David Preston became our honorary assistant.

A year ago we were a third of the way to the £12,000 needed to repair the huge stained glass window by the Church door. This year, in which it is a hundred years old, we have enough to begin after generous donations. Our next project is the Organ. It needs £5,000 or so to restore it to full working order. Despite our own needs we remain involved with the annual Poppy and Christian Aid collections. We donated 5% of our total income to a variety of missionary work and also raised over £4,000 for international disasters or national needs.

St. Mary's Church was used four times in 2005 and will be so in 2006. Do ask for details. Some tree surgery was needed in St. Mary’s Churchyard. Problems continue in the Churchyard with people placing unauthorised articles on or around graves. Do remember Churchyards are under legal regulations and families do not own the graves as in civil cemeteries.

Our children’s work continues on Sundays and the parent/toddler group meets on the first and third Thursday of the month. The Bishop of Rochester will be with us in May to confirm and administer first communions to some of our young people and a few adults.

Details of any aspect of St. John’s worship or activities can be obtained from Fr. James Southward at the Vicarage: Tel: 01634 717360.

Fr. James Southward

STARTRITE KINDERGARTEN

Yet again children, parents and staff at the Kindergarten have shared another busy and successful year.

The children and parents of the group took part in a fund-raising event last summer to help the children who were the victims of the Tsunami.
June Read (a staff member) was to pack her rucksack and head for the affected area on 31 August and would not be returning until 17 December! The children and parents raised £300, which June put to great use helping children who were far less fortunate than our children.

We had a few setbacks in the summer, which resulted in the pre-school building being closed from August until January this year. These problems were well publicised and caused a great deal of disruption but are now in the past and I feel more positive about the future after the installation of new doors after a successful grant application to KCC.

The group, which is now open from 9am to 3.15pm continues to grow and we will be celebrating our 10th birthday in April.

May I take this opportunity to thank all parents and staff who have remained positive and supportive throughout the past year and look forward to another successful year ahead.

Suzanne Green
07813 705136

HIGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL

The year 2005 was, as always, a busy one for Higham Primary School. We said goodbye to our year 6 pupils who went happily on to various secondary schools in Gravesham and Medway, and welcomed a new intake of reception children. We have also had a number of pupils joining existing year groups throughout the year.

Last year we developed our house system. We have four houses named after Dickens characters: Pip, Copperfield, Peggoty and Twist. House Captains and Vice House Captains take responsibility for a range of aspects of school life such as assisting in the smooth running of the school council and organising events to raise money for charity. Captains and Vice Captains are easily recognisable by their sweatshirts which are in the style of the school uniform but in house colours. This enables young pupils to identify their house captains easily.

From within the staff a new deputy, Mrs Catherine Grattan, was appointed and she has taken up her role with enthusiasm and energy. We said goodbye to Mrs Sallyann Green and Mrs Carol Brown who had both been with the school for some years and moved on to new schools to further develop their careers. We welcomed Mrs Elizabeth Miller, Mrs Claire Speirs, Miss Christina Jenner, Miss Sarah Knott and Mrs Alison Smith to join our growing teaching staff. We also welcome new midday supervisors, office staff and teaching assistants to our team.

The school, as always, is well supported by the parents both within the school and through the ever active PTA who work hard to raise much needed additional funds for the school.

School teams take part in various sporting activities and challenges both within the school and outside. Trips to enhance the curriculum take place regularly and the good behaviour of the pupils is often commented on and this makes us very proud of the children and the way in which they represent themselves, the school and the village of Higham of which we are an integral part. I am grateful for the hard work of all involved with the school as we look forward to another successful year.

Susan Greenfield, Headteacher

GOVERNORS OF HIGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL

As I report for the eighth consecutive year on behalf of the Governing body for the school I reflect on the changes that have happened to the school and to the increased responsibilities and time involvement that the Governors have.

The amount of available money to spend on the education of the children effectively reduces each year as the workload increases and the funding does not keep pace.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to balance the budget and this year it has been exacerbated by the increased mindless vandalism by the youth of the village on the school. The cost of replacing broken windows, repairing doors and replacing damaged roof tiles has been the highest yet. The expense of this repair work comes from the same budget that is used to provide facilities (books, equipment, etc) for the very brothers and sisters of some of the vandals!

The school is undertaking a review of how best it can become an ‘extended school’. This basically means that the school will be open for longer each day and offer facilities outside the normal education ones that one expects. Already we have an afternoon club, where children who are waiting to be collected by their parents, can have a drink and something to eat and then join in some games. We shall be looking at the possibility of having a ‘breakfast club’ offering the opportunity for children to be dropped off by their parents on the way to work.

The Parish Council is watching the development of the school with interest and is sure with the professionalism that exists throughout the school and with the support of the staff, parents and PTA and also the Governors its future as a pleasant, effective centre of learning is assured.

Malcolm L James
Vice Chair of Governors

HIGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL PARENTS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

Once again, I am pleased to report that the PTA have yet again had another successful year of fund-raising thus enabling us to assist the school in purchasing many much-needed items. Over £4,000 has been spent on various items for the school since September for the benefit of the teachers and the pupils.

Again, the Summer Fayre and Christmas Fayre 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.

In addition to the fayres, our children's discos remained as popular and well-supported as ever. We held another successful Quiz Night and have had two more collections for Bag2School. The latter has been an invaluable way to raise funds and is two-fold because it also helps children and families in third-world countries. Two more dates have been booked for this year - 20 April and 1 November - so hold on to those unwanted clothes, bags, blankets and shoes, etc and bring them to the school between 8.30 and 9am on those days.

The ‘100 Club’ which has been running now for two years has spare numbers for anyone interested in joining our monthly draw. For an annual fee of £11 (no draw takes place in August), two numbers are drawn every month for an instant cash prize.

Everyone has helped tirelessly this year but new blood will always be welcome to give fresh new ideas and also to help spread out the hard work which is involved in producing these fund-raising events. Finally, once again, I thank everyone for their help and support.

Leslie Pearton
Chair
(01474 822080)

GAD’S HILL SCHOOL

That Gad’s is a unique and exceptional school was highlighted to me during our recent, successful Open Evening. Afterwards I received a substantial number of letters from prospective parents who had visited that evening and were incredibly impressed with our facilities and ICT equipment.

Having come top of the Kent and Medway GCSE league tables in 2003 and 2004 and having achieved yet another 100% GCSE pass rate in 2005 visitors to the school naturally assume that what we care about more than anything is academic success. In fact, that is only a part of what is important. What I feel matters probably more than academic success is the strength of someone's character.

I would like to think that at Gad’s we not only provide children with the academic success which is important in life but we also develop their character and their personality so that they will be better people, better equipped and more able to take on the challenges of the world in which we live.

David Cragg, Headmaster

SHAVES’ CHARITY

This year the trustees received nine applications, eight 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.

Again, there have been no changes to the trustees during the past 12 months.

Les Baker
Secretary to the charity (Tel: 07970 276468)

HIGHAM MEMORIAL HALL

Another year passes by in the never-ending cycle of village hall life.

As some of you may have already heard we were awarded a Lottery Grant towards the refurbishment of the hall. However, having been awarded the money does not mean we can just start work. You would not believe what is involved as we have to confirm ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘why’ at every step of the way and not only are we dealing direct with the Big Lottery Fund, but also with solicitors. I think the Versailles Treaty was less involved - but never mind - onwards and upwards. The down side to all this is that we cannot confirm when work will commence so to all the various organisations that use the hall – Please bear with us! When we do eventually start can I let everyone know that the hall car park will be out of use to the public – I know this will be inconvenient to all the Mums and Dads who use it when they pick up the children from school, but let’s hope it's for as short a time as possible and hopefully during school holidays.

Our boot fairs still generate a lot of interest in the village (as well as funds for the hall). If you haven't yet been to one please come and see us. They are usually held on the second Sunday in the month.

As usual I would like to say a big Thank You to the Committee Members for their efforts and an extra big thank you to Andrea Martin - our Lettings Secretary - for being so understanding.

Keith Bradley
Chairman

PLEASE NOTE
Whilst building works are in progress at the Memorial Hall this summer, the Parish Council Meetings scheduled for 3rd July and 11th September respectively will be held in the Church Hall at St. John’s Church. The Parish Council wishes to thank Fr. James Southward for kindly allowing us to use this venue.

Linda Carnall

HIGHAM YOUTH CLUB

Over the past year the Club has been open 40 Wednesday evenings with an average attendance of 30 and on one evening 44 youngsters attending.

On these evenings, youngsters have taken part in activities including table tennis, pool, table-football and a variety of team sports such as football, rounders, cricket & team building exercises.

Other activities the young people of the Club have completed are as follows: ice skating from midnight to 3 in the morning, a sponsored
24-hour ‘stay in a sleeping bag’, raising over £1,000 for the NSPCC (the young people chose the charity). Ten youngsters had a go at skiing, tube riding and tobogganing at the John Nike Sports Complex. One evening the whole club attended the Unit 1 indoor skating complex. A number of youngsters and their families walked 13 miles around Bewl Water to raise money for the club.

On 8 February the Club launched its own Web Site www.highamyouthclub.co.uk where past, present and future activities can be seen. Go on, have a look, see the past year and be amazed that youngsters of the village are not all bad.

Youngsters of today are under different pressures to yesteryear. The Club is a place where the youngsters can socialise in an environment with no pressures, exchange views and ring-tones, take part in activities if they want to, listen to those Ipods and share music and talk to each other in a group, without being asked to move on. The Youth Club is about social education for youngsters, so they can learn from each other and gain knowledge for the life ahead.

Contact Barrie Howes on 01474 822847 or info@highamyouthclub.co.uk

Barrie Howes

DICKENS COUNTRY PROTECTION SOCIETY

The Dickens Country Protection Society was involved last year with the following projects:

Floodscape
Local consultations have now been completed and future management of the Thames Estuary will be carried on by the Thames 2100 project.

Jeskyns Farm, Cobham
Jeskyns Farm was purchased by the ODPM as a green lung for the Thames Gateway. At the first meeting we were told everyone would be consulted. The Forestry Commission have now ditched and fenced Jeskyns Farm to secure it and they intend to reinstate hedgerows and coppices.

Wind farm
We have supported the siting of a wind farm at Grain comprising
10 turbines which are sited within the BP Fuel Terminal on an existing industrial site but we are against any development on the North Kent Marshes.

Development
Of great concern to everyone is the escalating development and so-called regeneration of the area. The Environment Agency has been pointing out the dangers of building on flood plains, we have a drought situation with not enough water for those at present living here and the infrastructure is already under stress. In both Gravesend and Medway, back gardens are being commandeered and small blocks of flats built in any available space. Gravesend is using as brown field sites most of the car parks in the town. All these flats have one-and-a-half designated parking spaces. I have yet to see half a car! This means severe problems for rural dwellers trying to access banks and hospitals and the disabled and elderly who find it difficult to walk.

Eileen Harding
DCPS

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 £5 per person, with visitors at £2, which includes all refreshments. Membership is for 12 months, renewable in May.

Further interesting events were held in 2005, namely our 8th AGM, with a costumed talk entitled ‘A Benedictine Monk from a Bygone Age’, where the speaker emerged from the store cupboard, ringing his bell, to atmospheric music! Other talks included ‘Jane Austen - Her Kentish World & Naval Connections’ – very topical with the Nelson Celebrations last year.

On a hot summer’s evening in August some members visited the Kent Fire & Rescue Service HQ/999 Control Room at Godlands, Tovil, where many interesting displays/artefacts are to be seen along the corridors.

Future events being planned for 2006 are talks on ‘The Origin/History of Nursery Rhymes’, ‘The Politeness of Princes - Medieval Etiquette/Table Manners’, ‘Were the Good Old Days that Good?’ and for our Christmas event, ‘Puppets, Piers & Pantomimes’ complete with a working puppet! A summer outing will also be arranged.

All talks commence at 20.00 hours in the Memorial Hall and please look out for the posters displayed around the village.

If you would like more information on the History Group, please contact Claire Howes on 01474 822847 or via the website www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk

Claire Howes

1ST HIGHAM RAINBOWS

Higham Rainbows is the youngest group in the Guide Association, open to girls aged between 5 and 7 years old. We currently have 15 girls who meet every Friday in the Church Hall. Each week they have an opportunity to create and learn about a variety of topics.

2005 has seen a big change with a new structured programme known as ‘Look, Learn, Laugh and Love’, along with a bright new uniform. During 2005 the girls have worked and achieved their red roundabout badge. In the summer the Rainbows visited Shorne Country Park where they took part in pond dipping. One Saturday in November, ten of the group participated in the annual Rainbow Rumpus in Northfleet, which gave them an opportunity to meet other Rainbows and an afternoon of fun and games, along with making a variety of creations to do with bugs and insects.

If you would like your daughter to join the Rainbows, please contact Julie Healey on 01474 822008.

Julie Healey

HIGHAM BROWNIES

Brownies had an enjoyable time at camp at Hope Hill in June and, in September, we all attended Church Parade.

Prior to Christmas, the girls each made a full size Christmas cake which we marzipaned and iced on different evenings. The year ended with our usual Christmas party and a visit from Father Christmas. Over a few weeks in January/February, the Brownies worked for their Environment Badge.

While the Memorial Hall renovations are being carried out in June, we will be joining 7th Strood for three weeks to do an interest badge. As ever, we have a full pack and waiting list.

Linda Cooper

1ST HIGHAM GUIDES

2005 was a busy year for Higham Guides.

Many of the activities are organised by the Guides themselves and in the last year they have had fashion quiz evenings, made chocolate muffins, iced cakes, made fresh fruit salad, held a song and dance evening to raise money for Children in Need, a football activity evening, a dancing contest and a Bollywood Party. Most of the girls have also done their Craft badge. We held a summer camp at Kay’s Garden and the girls that hadn’t camped before gained their Camper Badge or, if they had camped, completed some of their Advanced Camper badge. They also gained their Traditions of Guiding Badge.

During the summer term we had some activities away from the hall. Some girls took part in an Outdoor Activity Evening at Paxwood, went dry slope skiing at Capstone Park and trampolining at Jumpers Rebound Centre.

In the autumn we had two teams enter our first Division Discovery Day at Hope Hill and Kay’s Garden. The girls had to undertake nine different challenges during the day for which they were awarded points. The weather was kind to us and the girls had a great day. Later in the autumn term several girls went to the annual Guide pop concert – Big Gig – at NEC Birmingham. It was a long day and very noisy but they had a great time.

We have several girls working towards their Baden-Powell Challenge Badge, which is the highest award they can gain as a Guide. To gain this badge they have to undertake ten specific challenges and then take part in a Baden-Powell Challenge Adventure weekend.

We finished the year with our traditional Christmas party.

We are a thriving unit with 22 members. If you would like to find out more about 1st Higham Guides please ring Mary Lane on 01474 822107.

Mary Lane

1ST HIGHAM SCOUT GROUP

The Scout Group is going from strength to strength. We now have 58 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, including 3 girls and 9 uniformed leaders.

Last summer we had some excellent camps and days out. The highlight was a trip to HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge, in late September, for the Cubs and Scouts. This started with a train journey on the Friday evening to London Bridge, a night sleeping aboard HMS Belfast in the seamen’s mess deck (in bunks not hammocks unfortunately!), followed the next day by a talk and tour around the Belfast and then a climb up Tower Bridge. We arrived home on the Saturday evening with some very sleepy Cubs and Scouts.

We had a very successful BBC ‘Children in Need’ collection again in the village last November and raised a record amount - £1,602 – for the appeal. Thank you all for your support.

Scout group
Meet
Contact
Beaver Scouts Fridays: 5.30-6.30pm Carole Rough: 01474 823492
Cub Scouts Fridays: 6.30-8pm Louise Warner: 01474 822355
Scouts Fridays: 8-9.45pm Peter Allinson: 01474 823806
Explorer Scouts   Peter Allinson: 01474 823806


If you would like to join the group or offer help, please do not hesitate to contact Peter on 01474 823806.

Peter Allinson

FASTRACK

Dartford and Gravesham together form an area called Kent Thameside, which is expected to acquire at least 50,000 new jobs and 30,000 new houses over the next 20 to 30 years. This amount of development will place a major burden on the existing transport infrastructure if everyone continues to use cars for local journeys.

30th March 2006 saw the launch of Fastrack, a new rapid transit service extending across the Boroughs of Dartford and Gravesham. Travelling partially on its own specially created priority busways, Fastrack eventually aims to serve most of Kent Thameside, connecting nearly all of the major existing and new developments in Dartford and Gravesham with core express routes.

The first Fastrack route (Route B) links Gravesend and Temple Hill, passing through Bluewater and Dartford town centre. It is hoped that a further route will be opened towards the end of the year.

As well as 14 new, high-tech vehicles, Fastrack aims to provide real-time service updates, travel information and even e-mail access for waiting passengers at its interactive stops.

Over time the network will be expanded to match the growth of North Kent, with total expected investment of around £500 million.

More information about the service can be found on the Fastrack website: www.go-fastrack.co.uk.

Jacqui Carnall

KENT COMMUNITY WARDEN

A new warden, to replace Steve Enright, will shortly be appointed. More details will follow on the Parish Council website at www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk in due course.

Linda Carnall

HIGHAM VILLAGE SPORTS ASSOCIATION

The Higham Village Sports Association had an anxious 2005. Along with other organisations in the village we too suffered from mindless vandalism. But in spite of that in 2005 we undertook planned works, and the multi-purpose games area was jet washed, the tennis posts were renewed and then re-seated, making the games area fresh and ready for the spring season. We are grateful to the volunteers who gave up their day to clear the perimeter paths and tidy up surrounding vegetation.

There was a fall-off in the number of netball and football clubs using the facilities last year. The football clubs have not been able to use the five-a-side pitch as usual, as the lighting box was destroyed by vandals last summer. Consequently we suffered a noticeable drop in revenue last year and now with meagre resources need to purchase a completely new lighting meter box. It was decided to postpone buying the new meter box until we see whether vandalism in the village subsides, only then can we justifiably fund the work in the hope it will not be destroyed again.

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 at Village Greengrocers, School Lane, Higham 01474 823954

On a sadder note; Pat Sawyer who died on 24 January 2006 after a long battle with cancer, was the founder of the HVSA and the driving force behind the construction of the Multi-Purpose Games Area we all benefit from today.

Pat was much involved in fund-raising and organised dog shows for several years. Many will remember Pat from the years she spent tirelessly collecting the money for the Sports Association’s Monthly Draw, which eventually funded the changing rooms attached to the Memorial Hall. Pat also gave up her Saturdays to run the Higham Tennis club for young tennis enthusiasts, with her colleagues Cliff and Ron.

Pat Sawyer resigned as Secretary to the HVSA in 1997 due to ill health. She will be remembered by the HVSA for her hard work and commitment to the Sports Association and Higham village.

Christina Gladwell
Secretary to the Higham Village Sports Association

TENNIS CLUB

The Tennis Club continues to tick over with a constant number attending just the one session on a Saturday morning (9.30 to 10.45am). I am pleased to report that the members continue to show improvement with Matt Greenwood receiving the Jack Wright trophy for the most improved player for 2005. Well done Matt.

We continue to run the club at very low fees: £5 membership with £2 fee for the Saturday morning session. The tennis season this year started on the first Saturday in March and ends on the last Saturday in September.

Just as a reminder: the Club’s primary function is to introduce new players to the game of tennis developing the basics enabling them to join larger clubs with a degree of competence on the court. We can also assist in help refining basic techniques for existing players. We encourage the more able players to seek LTA registration, whilst not compulsory for entering local competitions it will help in assessing progress. At the moment we have two LTA rated members. The club has affiliation with the Kent LTA which allows members the opportunity to attend large tennis competitions and enter junior countywide competitions.

Hope to see you on the court soon.

John Forbes
Coach

HIGHAM RECREATION GROUND

Early last year, thanks to Gravesham, we inherited two picnic tables which were installed on the recreation ground between the nature trail toys and the football pitch and many people enjoyed using them. Unfortunately our local vandals got to work and covered them in graffiti and then damaged the legs of one of them. Once again Gravesham came to our rescue and took both tables away. They have since returned them, cleaned up, repaired and secured to concrete pads. The other two picnic tables over by the slide have been so badly damaged that it is now under consideration which will be more cost-affective – repair them or remove them completely.

The perimeter fence has collapsed in many places. The Parish Council cannot afford a complete repair at one go so will repair a section each year until the work is complete.

In spite of all this gloom and doom, it is great to see so many people using the recreation ground, particularly the youngsters during the lighter evenings and at the weekends. If you haven’t visited the recreation ground recently, then please do – it is yours to enjoy.

Dougall Goring

HIGHAM BOWLERS

We continue to meet on Fridays in the school hall at 8 o’clock, where we enjoy an informal evening of short mat bowls.

At the present time we have a full membership of 27, but if anyone is interested in joining us please contact myself on 01474 822958 or our Chairman, Don Phelps, on 01474 822985.

Our Chairman presented Betty Clayton, our club champion for 2005, with the shield at our Christmas dinner which was held at the St John Falstaff pub.

Audrey Pearce

EAGLES FOOTBALL CLUB

We are now in our 26th year of running football teams in Higham. This year we have six teams running: two under-8s, one under-9s,
two under-12s and one under-13s. Next year we hope to run teams from under-7s to under-14s.

Our under-12s and under-13s have reached cup finals. Good luck to them both.

Boys and girls aged between 5 and 14 years interested in football are welcome to come along and join us. Training is on Saturday mornings from 9.30am to 11am, 5 to 10-year-olds at Higham Primary School and 11-14-year-olds on the Recreation Ground. If you require more information please contact the secretary on 01474 822607.

Pat Jeal, Secretary

PLAYBALL – Football Coaching Sessions

Playball football coaching has been holding pre-school football sessions on Monday afternoons since February 2004. The sessions are split into two half hours, starting at 1 to 1.30pm for 2 to 3 year olds then 1.30 to 2pm for 3 to 4½ year olds.

Since we have been holding the sessions at Higham Memorial Hall obviously the children have grown older and started school, so we have moved them up to Legends sports facility in Thong Lane – five-minutes away from Higham – on Tuesday evenings 5 to 6 o’clock when the skills they learn will be more advanced.

All the sessions we hold are based on enjoyment in a happy atmosphere where learning becomes fun and the skills the children learn start to shine through.

Please phone Neil Stephens on 01634 311481 or mobile 07919 405749.

Neil Stephens

BEAVER SWIMMING CLUB

Beaver Swimming Club has had another successful year thanks to the stalwart committee, the professionalism of the instructors and, most importantly, the dedication of the swimmers themselves. Beaver Swimming Club has always had a reputation for being a great teaching club rather than a competitive club and our numbers are continuing to grow. From the age of five, children can be taught through to their teenage years; when some prefer to transfer to competition swimming whilst others are content to remain with Beavers for its fun but positive attitude.

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.

One of our instructors, Martin Chester, this year had the privilege of becoming the President of the Medway ASA and a Dinner was held in October to mark this occasion.

For anybody who is interested for their child(ren) aged five and over to
join this successful teaching club, please contact either myself on
01474 822080 or Mrs Mary Hassell (Membership Secretary) on
01634 270374.

Finally, I would once again like to thank all those who have supported the Club.

Les Pearton
Chair

HIGHAM AND MOCKBEGGAR CRICKET CLUB

The cricket season ended with us maintaining a respectable position in Division One of the Kent Village League.

This year we took part in a nationwide Cricket Force weekend, whereby local businesses supported our on-going work to improve the ground and facilities by very kindly and generously donating the materials required to do the job. There was a very good turn out of friends and family armed with cleaning materials and paint brushes!! The pavilion has certainly benefited from some TLC, cleaning and new paintwork, and the showers are almost there! To this end thanks go out to all who came along and gave up their time to don overalls and rubber gloves. 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!

Following on from our successful kwik cricket ‘taster days’ last season, the club has now started up its own junior section. This coming season we shall be concentrating on the under-11 side, with training and practice matches throughout the summer. Next year we hope to enter a side into the Medway Youth Cricket League. Although we are concentrating on the under-11’s, boys and girls of ages 8-18 will be more than welcome to come along to our Thursday evening training sessions 6.30-8pm.

For further details, contact the Junior Co-ordinator on 01634 200817.

Christine Abernethy
Social Co-ordinator

HOT OFF THE PRESS

The Parish Council wishes to thank Clive Stanley for all his hard work updating the website on our behalf over the past year. Clive always has his digital camera with him to capture those special moments and his photographs and report of the Lord Lieutenant’s visit to the Higham Youth Club on 2nd March were posted on our website only two hours after the event! Thank you, Clive, for such superb service and enthusiasm.

Linda Carnall

THE CLAIRE BUCKLEY SCHOOL OF DANCING

Classes are held at the Higham Memorial Hall every Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm. We offer Ballet, Tap and Jazz for children from the age of
three years. Adult Tap and Jazz classes are also available. We have also just started a musical theatre group within the school for children to learn drama and singing as well as to dance.

2005 was a good year for us at the school as we held our first show at the Brook Theatre in Chatham. All children who took part had a fantastic time and are looking forward to our next one in 2007! We are also holding exams at the end of the year where children are rewarded for their talents.

During the summer holidays we are hoping to hold some workshops for the children in the village and surrounding communities. More details will follow soon.

If you would like any information on any classes, please call me on:
01634 220766 or 07813 050493.

Claire Buckley

STAGE ARTS WORKSHOP

Every Monday afternoon during school term time, you will find the Higham Memorial Hall bustling with activity as groups of youngsters sharpen their talents in the performing arts under the guidance of qualified, professional teachers. Here the children learn to develop their skills in acting, singing and dance.

Last year, 2005, saw yet another very successful year for the workshop. The climax for the year was in October when the children performed a spectacular production of ‘An Adventure in the Land of Disney’. This production, which was performed at the Higham Memorial Hall, told the story of a naughty boy who finds himself in the Land of Disney. In this fantasy land he meets all sorts of Disney characters who explain the need to behave correctly and be nice to people. The show was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone and it attracted huge audiences which completely filled the Hall.

During the Easter and Summer school holidays, Stage Arts ran special four-day holiday workshops which were also well attended. The short productions performed at the end of these workshops were ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘All Kinds of Eurovision’.

You might also have seen some of our very talented pupils featured on television during the last year. We regularly receive requests from the producers of the Basil Brush Show and Ministry of Mayhem for youngsters to appear on their shows.

The Stage Arts Workshop is run by Angela Shade and her daughter, Bonnie. For further details about how your children could benefit from these workshops or to find out how you can obtain tickets for the shows, give Angela or Bonnie a call on 01634 403926.

Angela Shade

COPPERFIELD QUILTERS

In May this year will be the 5th anniversary of our Patchwork & Quilting group. We now consist of 18 members. This has been another successful year. We have been making Friendship Quilts for each other besides our own projects. Two workshops were also held. One on appliqué tutored by Jean Ball and the other by Sylvia Critcher on whitework quilting and Trapunto. Both of these ladies are experts in their fields: we learnt such a lot. Some of our quilts were exhibited at the Rochester Tourist Information Centre. This was to support the Kent Air Ambulance and we raised £250 for this charity.

Thursday, 19 January saw us all at The Knowle for our annual dinner. This was superb and enjoyed by everyone.

Now we are looking forward to this year, organising more workshops and outings to shows held throughout the South of England. Oh, gosh!! This means we’ll have to buy more fabric!

Happy Stitching,

Linda Parr and the Copperfield Quilters

COPPERFIELD CLOG

Copperfield Clog carried out a full programme of dancing during 2005. However, we decided to have a change to the start of our season last year and we kicked off at the Hastings Jack in the Green Festival from 30 April to 2 May 2005. This was an excellent weekend festival and culminated in a long winding procession through old Hastings before performing a dance on the stage in the castle grounds.

Copperfield Clog’s programme for 2006 is beginning to take shape and this year we plan to start our season at the Rochester Sweeps Festival. To keep up to date with our diary, then please do visit our web site – details below.

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

For any enquiries concerning Copperfield Clog – or to request a copy of our programme – please do telephone our secretary on 01474 824346 or, alternatively, e-mail us at copclog@aol.com.

Information about Copperfield Clog can be found on our website, at http://members.aol.com/copclog/Clog1.htm

Judi Stanley
Publicity Officer

HIGHAM CHORAL GROUP

The aim of the group is to provide an opportunity to those members of the community who wish to do so, to come together and sing and, by giving concerts, to raise money for charity. The group rehearses every Monday at the Higham Chapel and performs regularly in local churches in the area at Christmas, Easter, during the summer and at other times when the opportunity arises.

The Easter concert in 2005 was at St. Mary’s, Chalk, where we sang a varied programme which included Five Mystical Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams and music by Rutter, The Carpenters & Lennon/McCartney. In the summer we sang at St. Mary’s, Higham, accompanied by a string quartet and percussion for Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’.

The very successful Christmas concert at St. John’s included some Far Eastern Carols arranged by Sir Malcolm Sargent and carols and Christmas music, old and new, for choir and congregation.

Our tour in 2005 was to Ruishton near Taunton where we sang in 2002. This year we are returning in May to Kemble near Cirencester, by invitation, to sing at their Music Festival.

If you haven’t yet heard us sing do come along to one of our forthcoming concerts:-

Spring Concert Shorne Church Saturday, 8 April
Spring Concert St. Nicholas, Strood Saturday, 13 May
Summer Concert St. Mary’s, Chalk Saturday, 8 July
Christmas Concert St. John's, Higham Saturday, 16 December

If you would like more information about the concerts or would be interested in joining us please see our new web site at
www.highamchoral.org.uk or contact me on 01474 822702.

Wendy Hance

HIGHAM WI

This year we will be celebrating our 60th Birthday. As it is a special occasion we are planning a big celebration with a meal and entertainment.

We had the good fortune to win a Bursary from County at the Annual Council Meeting in March. Names were put into a hat and the draw took place at the Chequers Inn – where we held our May meeting due to the elections taking place in the hall. We also decided to give our own Bursary and this draw took place at our June meeting. The two lucky ladies got together to choose a topic and enjoyed a two-day course on Textile Jewellery, at our own Denman College. Denman is a lovely Country House in its own grounds amidst the beautiful Oxford Countryside and is not only a college but is sometimes available for short breaks.

Speakers have included Colonel Hoskins on his work as a musician on the royal yacht, Marion Baldwin on Christmas anecdotes, Dawn Palmer with her beautiful doll collection, as well as dance for health with Mrs Goodwin.

The weather smiled on us at a fund-raising lunch followed closely by our Birthday Party meal, both held in members’ gardens. Then we enjoyed a Christmas meal as well as our Christmas party, followed in January by a fish and chip supper.

Our two darts teams are thriving and our drama group is going from strength to strength, with our most recent production having been scripted by one of our members.

Our bi-annual Craft Fair ‘Mid Summer Madness’ is to be held in the Library on 23 & 24 June. There will be a selection of craft items as well as mouth-watering cakes and preserves.

We meet on the first Thursday of every month in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm – while the Memorial Hall is being refurbished this year we will meet at the Church Hall. New members are always welcome to come along. Telephone Sue on 01474 823322 for further information.

Sue Buck

HiARA (Higham Active Retirement Association)

Once again we are delighted to report another very successful year. Membership continues to grow and we can claim to be one of the largest organisations in the village. We meet most Friday afternoons between 2pm and 4pm in the Memorial Hall. The first, second and third Fridays are dedicated to various activities which include an art group, short mat bowls, our music trio, computing and various card and board games. We will shortly be starting a craft group and also hope to begin exercise classes in conjunction with the Gr@nd in the near future. The fourth Friday in the month is dedicated to our general meeting, which usually includes a speaker on a topic of interest. We now have a full programme of speakers for this year and look forward to some more entertaining afternoons.

In addition to our regular meetings, our rambles, outings and holidays have become a major part of HiARA activities. Once a month, our ramblers explore the various footpaths and byways, often getting lost but usually managing to find the pub for lunch.

Last year 45 members had an enjoyable 8-day coach holiday in Switzerland. This was a first for us but was so popular that this year we are organising a similar holiday in Austria.

HiARA is affiliated to KentARA which covers the whole of Kent and comprises some 70+ similar ARAs. Many additional events are organised by KentARA and are open to our members. Membership of HiARA is open to the retired or semi-retired, over 50 years of age and new members are always welcome. Eileen will be pleased to give you more information, her telephone number is 01634 715959.

Roy George

LORD LIEUTENANT VISITS HIGHAM

 

Barrie Howes and the Lord Lieutenant

On Thursday 2nd March, Higham Youth Club was honoured by the visit of the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Allan Willett CMG.

The Lord Lieutenant had come to meet the young people, and find out what they thought made their youth club successful.

Mingling with them while they took part in the usual club night activities, he found some answers and even had time for a cup of tea!

The Lieutenancy is an ancient office, dating back to the 16th century. Its initial function was to protect the county, maintaining order and local defences. Today it serves the Monarchy in Kent, celebrating the county’s history and culture and protecting the interests of its people.

The Lord Lieutenant was accompanied on his visit by Graham Clewes, Chief Executive of Kent Youth, Godfrey Linnett, Chairman of Kent Youth and Colonel David McDine from the Lord Lieutenant's Office.

Barrie Howes

 

HIGHAM AGE CONCERN LUNCHEON CLUB

The Higham Age Concern Luncheon Club meets every Friday at Merston Court and during the year has provided over a thousand lunches for our Members. In addition we have organised shoe and clothes sales and regular entertainment. Also we had outings to a strawberry tea (courtesy of Mrs Geraldine Cox) and visits to Woodville Halls and Millbrooks Garden Centre.

2006 is our 25th Anniversary and we plan to celebrate this by inviting all our Friends, past and present, to visit us.

We have a full membership at present with a waiting list, but if anyone wishes to add their name please contact Mrs. Audrey Smith on 01474 823380.

We continue to be extremely grateful for the hard work of our Hostesses, Cooks and Drivers as well as the help provided to us by a number of supporters who give their time and financial and other assistance.

As always we would welcome anyone who is able to give us a few hours of their time to join our team.

Dot Figg and Barbara West

HIGHAM WORKING MEN’S CLUB

The club has been in existence for over 100 years on its site in Hermitage Road. Our facilities include snooker, pool and darts and we have live bands, hold regular discos and bingo sessions. We show sports events on our large screen and can cater for 600 members.

New members, especially from the village, are always welcome. Call 01474 822456.

Shaun Bevan
Assistant Secretary

OPTIONS SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB

We are entering our 15th year at ‘Options’. We still all gather every Monday between 1.30-4pm, a chance to catch up on all the interesting things that have gone on. Our membership stands at 42, which means we have 3 vacant seats, maybe you would like to come to the club if you feel lonely and would like to meet other people.

This year we are going to Bracklesham Bay for four days for the Paul James variety show, and a five day holiday to the Isle of Wight, plus five days in Blackpool for the lights incorporating Lake Windermere and other interesting places. Betty will give more information on 01474 822154.

All the money for our speakers, free coaches, etc, has to be raised by having raffles, produce sales, book and plant sales, members bake lovely cakes, jams & chutneys. Elizabeth will be returning at Easter to sell those gorgeous Belgian chocolates that we purchased at Christmas. Shirley will be revisiting us with her music and Carol from Millbrooks will be explaining all our gardening problems.

This year the anniversary party meal will be held in London with a variety show from the radio heydays, to name a few: ‘Music While You Work’, ‘Have a Go’, ‘Workers Playtime’, etc. This will be pure nostalgia for those of you that can remember!

We are still collecting loose change, and we have just sent £100 to the next charity on our rota, which was The Dogs Trust. At this point I must say a very big thank you to Mr & Mrs Markham from Lower Higham who have supported us for a long time helping us to send money to our allocated charities, and, of course, to all the other members that contribute. All charities are struggling to survive and we are glad to help in any way we can: we still need wool which our ladies are frantically knitting up into small blankets for the animal sanctuary.

Dates for your diary:

12 June Great Yarmouth & boat trip.
10 July Longleat.
18 September Brighton/Worthing.
27 November London Lights /Fish & Chips.

A big ‘Thank you’ to Betty, June, Margaret, Reg, Phyllis, John, Betty C, Delcie, Eva G, Nellie, June W – I rely on these people every week to give up their time.

Delia Goldie

FATHER CHRISTMAS VISITS HIGHAM

Father Christmas travelled in style in an open carriage pulled by two fine grey cobs accompanied by his two helping ‘Elves’. Leaving Buckland Farm, Higham, they travelled up Taylors Lane, along Forge Lane, Brice Road and Villa Road, waving to the villagers as they passed, before travelling down School Lane arriving at Higham County Primary School about 3 o’clock. There they were met by the schoolchildren, along with their parents, and Santa stopped to chat to the children for 15-30 minutes. The ‘Sleigh’ then returned to Buckland Farm via Chalk Road where Father Christmas stepped into his ‘Grotto’ awaiting visiting children from 4-8pm. Mulled wine and mince pies welcomed the adults whilst the children visited the Grotto and received a free gift.

This was the second year for this event, organised by the local business now occupying Buckland Farm – ‘Hunt Equestrian’. They wish to build on this event each year to bring together the village and its businesses. Further plans include ‘Roasting Chestnuts’, ‘Carol Singing’, etc, and, maybe, even real reindeers!

Watch out for Father Christmas in 2006!

Shirley Pearton

SECOND WORLD WAR MILITARY AND CIVIL DEFENCES IN HIGHAM

Do you know where there were any Second World War military or civil defences in the Parish of Higham? If you do, a researcher, Victor Smith, would like to hear from you.

The answers will help Kent County Council’s new survey of the 20th century defences of the county. This will record both surviving and disappeared sites.

We know that there was a Battle Headquarters for the Home Guard at Higham but where were the road blocks, weapon pits and other defences?

There must have been a civil defence organisation too, with air raid wardens and at least some shelters.

Your information can help take forward this project. The results will be included in a report on all the findings from the Gravesham local authority district. It will be available to all. In time, the results for all the district councils will be put together in a comprehensive study of the county. There should be a variety of educational outputs too.

So, why not have a think about what you might remember and perhaps discuss this with others who may have memories of the wartime years in Higham, then please let Victor Smith know. His address is:

65 Stonebridge Road
Northfleet
Gravesend
Kent DA11 9BA

Telephone 01474 323415.

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 To Be Announced
Congregational Church 01634 362939
Copperfield Clog 01474 824346
Copperfield Quilters (Higham Quilters) 01474 823129
Cubs 01474 822355
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 822958
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 2006

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 Oakeshot 52 Walmers Avenue, Higham ME3 7EH 01474 822771

COUNTY COUNCILLOR

Cllr Mike Snelling 5 Dormers Drive, Meopham, Gravesend DA13 0ES 01474 812404

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Adam Holloway, 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 822642 Fax: 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.

[Back to Home Page| 2004 Newsletter| 2005 Newsletter   ]

Contact us by email: enquiries@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

Website comments or queries? Email the Webmaster: Webmaster@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

 

Last Revised ~ 09 April 2006

Web site design and creation by

Clive Stanley Associates 01474 822676

Clive Stanley Associates 01474 822676

Copyright © Higham Parish Council 2006