Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2008

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photograph of The Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr Mrs Pat Oakeshott
The Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr Mrs Pat Oakeshott




Dear Friends,


This year has been one of our more exciting years in Higham. Two events have been the highlight. Firstly, Higham’s own Councillor Pat Oakeshott was elected Mayor of Gravesham last May. She works tirelessly for us and more generally for the residents of our Borough. On many occasions I have seen the mayoral car driven through the village on another mission, perhaps on our behalf?


Secondly, the Tour de France passing along the A226 was a rare opportunity for the village to gather in large numbers to witness the spectacle provided by so many cyclists as well as the entertaining entourage that preceded and followed them. The early gathering of people from the village was rather slow, causing Linda Carnall and I to be a little apprehensive, but suddenly the numbers swelled and all the available space on the pavements and grass were taken up by enthusiastic onlookers and digital camera snappers. A report and photographs appeared on the Higham website. My thanks go to those who manned stalls, played music and to those who dressed in Dickensian costume.


Last year I was sad when the Parish Council received the resignation of Barrie Howes as leader of the Youth Club. Our thanks go to Steve Gray who stepped in and kept the Club open for our youngsters through the summer. In the autumn we were happy to welcome Joanne Raff as our salaried Youth Leader. Joanne has worked hard reforming the Club. She has some excellent ideas and we wish her well. To help with funds for the renewal of the Club, Nicky from the Three Crutches Public House held a Halloween party and was able to raise £203. Clearly this required considerable effort but the resulting event was wonderful. Our thanks go to the two of you, and also the team backing Joanne each week.


The official opening soon of new housing, at the far end of School Lane, to be known as Jupp Court will raise hopes for people wishing to live in Higham. The naming of the complex honours Colin Jupp who was a member of Higham Parish Council for many years. This year Higham School has run a competition for the children on ‘Why I like living in Higham?’ This was judged independently, and it is hoped that a similar competition will become an annual event as a way of raising awareness of our children’s surroundings and the merits of their village.


The Gardens for Pleasure competition took place again and there were some interesting gardens to assess.  Our thanks go to Morton Grey for juding these - not a simple task.


Your Parish Council members were dismayed when the children’s slide in the recreation area adjoining the Memorial Hall was vandalised resulting in very serious injury to an unsuspecting youngster. Having spent £700 on welding, the slide was then removed, as the repairs were unsuccessful.  The Parish Council is now looking at the cost of replacing the slide and the provision of new swings and safety matting. There was also the distressing issue of graffiti through the village, an ongoing problem.


The Parish Council was very sad to lose the services of Mrs Anne Waugh just before Christmas. Anne has been a very willing Councillor, her speciality being the upkeep of our footpaths and general care of the village.  Anne, we thank you and wish you well.


I give my sincere thanks to all the Parish Council Members who work unstintingly on your behalf, not forgetting that Linda Carnall keeps the wheels of the Council well oiled.  You will have noticed that the Higham Parish Council website has developed further and has been well viewed by many.  Clive Stanley has provided a very professional service for us all – many thanks. 


I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Parish Assembly on 17 April 2008 at 7.30pm at the Memorial Hall.

My best wishes to you all,





We would like to thank Michael Papadopulos for his photograph of the Mayor of Gravesham on the front cover and Judi and Clive Stanley for those photographs contained within this booklet.






As you all know, I have almost finished my year as Mayor of Gravesham.  One of my first duties was to travel to Virginia, USA, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the ship ‘Godspeed’, which left Gravesend in May 1607 for the ‘New World’.  It was a great moment to stand, in May 2007, on the same spot where the settlers from our town had landed.


Since then I have visited very many clubs and societies in our Borough and have learnt to value and admire those wonderful volunteers who make life so much easier and more pleasant for those less fortunate and less able than ourselves.


Invitations to visit schools and churches have been welcomed and enabled me to meet lots of wonderful children and teenagers who volunteer to help disabled and sick residents.


There have been very many highlights, including:


*            Being winched aboard ‘Lord Nelson’, a ship which takes disabled people on voyages.


*            Taking part in the ‘Doggets Rowing Barge Race’ (imagine rowing a big barge from Greenwich to Westminster!).


*            ‘Beating the Bounds’ of our Borough and finishing up in the Thames for the River Boundary at the end.


I have been supported in my Mayor’s ‘Charity’ by many organisations and clubs in our village and the money will go to those smaller clubs, etc, who do so much to support the elderly and disabled in our community.


If I have not been to visit your organisation, then please invite me.  I will be delighted to meet you all.


Pat Oakeshott





It is always great when we hear of people who put themselves out to do something to help our community.  This year we are particularly indebted to Nicola and Rob, licensees of the Three Crutches Public House, who decided to organise a Halloween Party night to raise funds for the Higham Youth Club.  The pub was adorned with spooky decorations, there were best fancy dress and decorated pumpkins competitions, a raffle and ‘spooky special’ meals were ‘brewed’ in the kitchen.  At the January meeting of the Parish Council Nicola was able to present a giant cheque for £203 to Joanne Raff, our new Youth Leader.


Father Christmas paid another visit to Higham last December courtesy of Mr and Mrs Marsh of Hunt Equestrian who were again able to help him open his grotto at Buckland Farm.  Excited children queued to visit him whilst their parents enjoyed some seasonal refreshment.  Thank you once again Mr and Mrs Marsh for your generosity in arranging this event and showing such community spirit.


Did you attend our Assembly in 2007?  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





at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:


Thursday, 17 April

Monday, 12 May


Monday, 7 July

Monday, 8 September

Monday, 13 October

Monday, 10 November

Monday, 1 December


Annual Parish Council meeting with Parish Council meeting.




Budget and Finance meeting only.

Christmas meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham.


Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.










Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground etc


Precept 2007/2008


Administration Expenses


Allotment Rents




Other Receipts


Miscellaneous Expenses, (including Pavilion insurance)




Flexi A/C Interest


Subscriptions and Fees


National Savings Investment a/c Interest



Clerk’s Salary and Expenses for provision of office




VAT Reclaim


VAT paid


Grants received


Grants made
















TSB Current Account




TSB Flexi Account




National Savings Investment Account




TSB Special Projects Account














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 31.3.07 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.





photograph of the Tour de France 2007 speeding along the A226 through Higham


Mounting anticipation greeted the arrival, several days before the event, of the yellow road signs publicising the Tour de France which seemed to appear on every available post within the village. Early on the morning of Sunday, 8 July, as we glanced up the deserted A226 which had been closed to all traffic in preparation for the race, we wondered if the crowds we expected would in fact materialise.


We were not disappointed!  Villagers turned out in force, some even in Dickensian costume, to line the route and cheer on the competitors for the 2007 race. They soaked up the atmosphere, shopped at the kerbside stalls and enjoyed the excellent music provided by the Temple School Steel Band.


Finally, the arrival of the caravanne, passing through the village at high speed whilst throwing freebies to the assembled crowds heralded the imminent arrival of the cyclists. At last we could see the media helicopters hovering over the village and suddenly the competitors came into view over the horizon. Once the crowds realised that the race was being led at this stage by a British competitor there was warm applause and cheering and then ... the cyclists were gone...!  What was almost as remarkable as the race itself was the huge number of replacement cycles and support teams which followed the competitors and these seemed to be never ending. The click of cameras belonging to foreign media photographers riding pillion on motorcycles captured the scene in Higham and relayed it to the rest of the world.


The race over, the crowds enjoyed the traffic-free status of the Gravesend Road for a while longer to meet with friends and some to enjoy something to eat and drink. The race marshals mingled with the crowds and became ‘unofficial villagers’ for the day and there were at least two families who had travelled to the village from Essex (one on cycles!) because they had learnt of our planned festivities from the website. Parishioners commented that the occasion had brought the village together just like the old days and wouldn’t it be fun to do it again.


Intriguingly all the yellow road signs vanished immediately after the race – not retrieved by Council officials but bagged by those who wanted a reminder of the occasion!


I hope that those of you who were unable to join us on the day were able to get some of the flavour of the occasion from the excellent photographs taken by Clive and Judi Stanley which were placed on our website.


Thank you Clive and Judi for giving up your time to capture this for us.


Linda Carnall, Parish Clerk.





Carsharing is when two or more people share a car journey to get to the same place.  Kentcarshare, run by Kent County Council, is a FREE internet based service available to everyone in Kent.  It links drivers and passengers who make similar journeys online and encourages them to share a vehicle. You do not have to be a car driver or even own a car to use this service.


Register your journey details at:











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 23rd 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, 10 September 2007.


FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy, Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Dr Michael Dillon, Phd, 34 Ash Crescent.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs T Greenshields, ‘Courtlands’, Crutches Lane.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs F Figg, 1 Oak Drive.


HIGHLY COMMENDED  (Framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs Turner, 17 The Braes.

Mr and Mrs G Simmonds, 4 Carton Road.


BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS’ (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs J Leach, 32 Telegraph Hill.



(Framed Certificate)

The Three Crutches Public House.


Linda Carnall




The number of planning applications continues to increase and the new team of Parish Councillors who review each application have been busy during the year.


As Parish Councillors we are asked to comment on each application and to consider whether it will detract from the local area or enhance it.  We also consider any other impact the passing of the application may have, particularly to the welfare of the villagers, which includes the amount of additional traffic that may ensue once the development is completed. The Borough Council takes into consideration all comments received, including those from neighbours of the site of the Planning Application.  However, their decision does not have to follow the one recommended by the Parish Council.


Most of the applications are for extensions or small building works.  However, as there have been some of a far greater magnitude, these require more of the team to be involved and if the application could be considered contentious, then the whole Parish Council is asked to comment. We are considering some particularly contentious applications at this time and it is often difficult to decide what the best solution should be, as the lives of villagers could be affected either way.


All of these applications are shown in the Minutes of the Parish Council and Parishioners can make representations directly to the Borough Council or to the Parish Council either via the Parish Clerk or at a Parish Council meeting, although it is best to advise the clerk beforehand that you wish to raise the matter at a Parish Council meeting.


Malcolm L James

Principal Planning Officer for Higham Parish Council




KALC serves Parish and Town Councils in Kent.   The Kent Association is governed by its membership.  The Gravesham Area Committee is represented by six Parish Councils including Cobham, Higham, Luddesdown, Meopham, Shorne and Vigo, who each have two representatives.   Some of the purposes of KALC are to provide information and assistance to Councils for best practice, procedures on law, meetings and chairmanship and other matters. The Parish Clerks make good use of the service.


More information can be obtained on www.kentalc.gov.uk


Barry Sutherland





At the beginning of the year we welcomed two new Registrars, Dr Mahil and Dr Bolina, to the Practice.  We also welcomed Dr Stone on a part time basis as a GP Assistant when she finished her Registrar training.  Sadly we must now say goodbye to the two Registrars who have completed their training and are moving to pastures new.  However, we look forward to welcoming Dr Towoju who will be joining us as a Registrar in March. We will also have two further Registrars starting in August.


At the beginning of November, Ann Clarke retired from the surgery.  Ann worked in the surgery for over 20 years and we would like to thank her for the contribution which she made to the surgery during that time.  We wish her well in her retirement.


Once again we would like to thank everyone who took part in the recent patient survey.  The results of the survey will soon be posted in the waiting room.  We are always willing to listen to ideas from patients as to how we can improve our service to the village.


We now have two fully trained bereavement counsellors on the staff and any patient can use this service. 


May I take this opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy New Year.


Isobel Meredith, Practice Manager




2007 was a good year for Higham's Memorial Hall.

In November 2007 when we decided we would officially open the revamped ‘New Hall’ our Mayor, Councillor Pat Oakeshott kindly agreed to preside over the event and after a few words the assembled hall users celebrated with a few nibbles and a bevy or two.


As always, there are additional requirements to keep the Hall up to scratch. To this end we decided to obtain funding for the installation of a Loop system for the Hard of Hearing and a P.A. System. Something the hall with all its echoes has never had. An application to the Kent County Council Small Community Capital Projects proved very successful as we were granted the full amount requested. This equipment will be installed in the near future.


As always, our Boot Fairs are successfully providing the required boost to our funds.


We are still occasionally plagued by the vandal element but keeping the main gate shut overnight does seem to be a deterrent to the nefarious hooligan.


We are always looking to improve the facilities of the Hall and to this end further projects are anticipated.


The committee must again be thanked for all their hard work over the year together with the help of all the friends that come to our assistance when needed. Their support is much appreciated.


We hope all villagers will continue to support the use of the Memorial Hall, it is there for your benefit.


Peter Morriss




I would like to introduce myself, I am PC Steve Cole and I am your local Police Officer.  I am part of the Gravesham Rural East Neighbourhood Team consisting of two Police Community Support Officers and myself, which covers the areas of Higham, Shorne, Cobham and Luddesdown.


Within Higham you have myself as a dedicated Police Officer and a Police Community Support Officer, PCSO Darren Fielding.  We are also both in close link with the local KCC Warden, Steve Gray.


I am usually in a marked police car with the Kent County Rural Partnership logo on the bonnet and the doors, in addition to the normal police markings.  Darren and myself also patrol on pushbikes as an additional form of transport, which has so far been positively received.


North Kent Police have had a fantastic year, reducing crime in most areas and becoming one of the top performing areas in the county.  Some of these figures include a 40.9% reduction in robbery, a 34.9% reduction in burglary with an 18.9% reduction in all crime across the area.  All of these crime figures can be seen on the Kent Police website: www.kent.police.uk


I look forward to meeting with many more of you in the future and if you need any further information or help with any issues then please feel free to contact myself or Darren on the numbers below.  There is a voicemail system if we are not on duty and any message left will be dealt with when we come back on duty.


PC Steve Cole

07800 675306



PCSO Darren Fielding

07772 226027



Rural East Neighbourhood Team

01322 283161





PC Steve Cole and PCSO Darren Fielding




A pleasing aspect of the last 12 months is the downturn in reported crime.  The three types of reported crime which have shown the largest number of occurrences in 2007 are Criminal Damage, Vehicle Crime and Burglaries from Outhouses, Garages and Sheds.


During the year we have held four Community Surgeries involving your local Police Officer and PCSO and it is our intention in 2008 to hold further surgeries on a regular basis, monthly, if possible. I feel it is only by holding these events that we can hear, in confidence, any concerns or problems you may have. Also we held a Neighbourhood Watch meeting in June where a number of local Neighbourhood Watch representatives got together to exchange ideas so that we could try and establish a more cohesive network within the village. It is hoped to continue these meetings in 2008.


It is only through us all working together that we achieve our aims of making Higham Village a better place to live in.


I can be reached or messages left on:


Mobile:              07811 271256

E Mail:   PhillipStephen.Gray@kent.gov.uk


Steve Gray, KCC Community Warden






If so, then please don’t forget that hard copies of the Agendas and Minutes of all our meetings are available within Higham Library, as well as on our web site, which is: www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk


Dates for Parish Council Meetings during 2008 are contained within this booklet.  Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.






As far as I know all rights of way are usable at the time of writing. I have had to report a few footpaths not reinstated across farm land. The Rights of Way Officer has taken prompt action to have the paths reinstated. A few paths needed clearance. 


You will have noticed a few kissing gates popping up. These have been supplied by KCC and erected by the land owner.  Also, this year quite a few new way marking signs have been erected. Again, instigated by KCC.


There is a very good web site at www.kent.gov.uk/environment/public-rights-of-way about rights of ways in Kent. Or, just go to KCC rights of way site and all sorts of information is at hand.


Sadly, this is my last report for the Parish Council. I have had to resign for family reasons but am still available if you have a problem with rights of ways.


Anne Waugh






Here we are again at the start of another growing season and there is still a waiting list for the Parish plots off Hermitage Road.  Allotments are going through a national revival for a number of reasons, including environmental issues such as food miles and organic growing methods.  Added to this is the fresh air and exercise required to turn your plot into a productive one.


If you would like to be a plot holder please contact the Parish Clerk and add your name to the waiting list!


Happy Gardening


Alan Howard





Translated from the History & Topographical Survey of the County of Kent

Collected from Public Records by Edward Hasted Esq. 1797


At the east end of the parish of Higham in the road from Frindsbury to Cliffe, is the estate of Mockbeggar, and on the summit of the hill southward, the mansion of Hermitage, below which, in the flat country, at an equal distance from the church, is the manor and hamlet of Higham-ridgeway, a name plainly derived from the ancient causeway through it, leading towards the river.


Plautius, the Roman General, under the Emperor Claudius, in the year of Christ, 43, is said to have passed the River Thames from Essex into Kent, near the mouth of it, with his army, in pursuit of the flying Britons, who being acquainted with the firm and fordable places of the river, passed it easily.


This passage is considered to have been from East Tilbury, in Essex, across the river to Higham.  Between these places there was a ferry on the river for many ages, after the method of intercourse between the two counties of Kent and Essex for all these parts, and it continued so until the dissolution of the abbey here; before which time, Higham was likewise the place for shipping and unshipping corn and goods in great quantities from this part of the country to and from London and elsewhere.


The probability of this having been a frequented ford or passage in the time of the Romans, is strengthened by the visible remains of the raised causeway, or road, nearly thirty feet wide, leading from the Thames side though the marshes by Higham, southward to this ridgeway before-mentioned, and thence across the London Road on Gads-hill to Shorne Ridgeway, about half a mile beyond which it joins the Roman Watling-Street-road, near the entrance to Cobham Park.


M L James




Parish of Higham with Merston, Diocese of Rochester, Church of England


Another busy year. Daily worship was maintained, thanks to a loyal core of communicants. We remain the only Church locally open each day because of CCTV cameras and regulars ‘checking’ the building. The hall-office was recently broken into twice. There is nothing of value to steal but the damage to the doors was substantial. A small bell was also stolen after a funeral service! It indicates how low some people will stoop!


Last Easter the west window was re-leaded and cleaned. Autumn saw the churchyard entrance overhauled. A large part of wall was re-pointed, the gates rebuilt, the pathway widened and renewed. The Lady Chapel altar was refurbished from a bequest. A very expensive problem remains with the collapse of some of the wall at S.Mary’s Churchyard. S.Mary’s Church itself was used a couple of times and, though used this year on Mothering Sunday, because work starts there this spring the only other service in 2008 will be on Sunday, 5 October.


The Archdeacon of Rochester came last July to authorise our Pastoral Assistant. Maureen’s role is pastoral rather than liturgical though she is authorised to assist in distributing Holy Communion; as she does at Copperfield Residential Home with me each month. Fr David Barnes left us in November for Edenbridge.


Our Mayor, Councillor Oakeshott, was with us in January to help celebrate our Dedication Feast. The Church was packed a week later in February when the Bishop confirmed eleven people. On both occasions the pipe organ was out of action.


The Church is blessed with two very efficient, co-operative Churchwardens - so many jobs are kept under control. We are grateful for the practical help that a number of people (not always members) offer in Church and hall – which also gets a lot of local use. We are grateful to all who assist us in worship, with children and young people, cleaning, refreshments, magazine production, church draw, flowers, etc., and for those who support it all financially, often sacrificially. We continue to tithe what we spend on ourselves to local and international missionary work.


For details of worship or any other way we may be able to help contact me at the Vicarage – telephone 01634 717360.


Fr James Southward, Vicar of Higham (& Rural Dean of Strood)





The year of 2007 proved to be quite an eventful one for us. Yes, we did follow the traditional church calendar and Easter, Harvest Festival and Christmas services, as usual, were a great blessing to all of us, with another visit from members of the Gravesend Corps of the ‘Salvation Army Band’ early in December, to lead us in the singing of carols. Hopefully they will be with us this year too. Do look out for these events on the notice board when you are passing and join us, we would love to see you.


We shall be starting our ‘Coffee Mornings’ once again in April, on the second Saturday of the month, running until September. There will be a ‘Bring and Buy’ stall and refreshments will be served. You are invited. If any of you came to the Sunday School as children we would be especially pleased to meet you between 10.30 – 12 noon.


Peter Christopher, Leader Secretary





The Trustees received five individual applications and two from married couples. The Trustees agreed to distribute all of the Trust’s annual income and the resulting payments were £38 and £76, respectively.  The distribution was made by Mrs Kate Haselden.


During the year Councillor Anne Waugh resigned as a Trustee and Councillor Maggi Scott joined. The other Trustees remain the same:


The Trustees are especially grateful for Councillor Waugh’s work, as a Trustee and also to Mrs L Slingsby for, again, collecting application forms at the Post Office.


Les Baker




StartRite Kindergarten has had a successful year and had a great result from the Ofsted inspection back in March.


We were inspected and judged on both the care and education that we provide for the children and the setting and we were awarded with a ‘Good’ in all areas. This is a fantastic result and reflects the high level of commitment and dedication that the team provide and can be attributed to the 100% qualified staff that make up the team.


We continue to provide a balanced curriculum for all the children and as a result of the recently erected fencing are able to provide daily outdoor activities for the children, safe in the knowledge that they are safe and secure.


We continue to open Monday–Friday, 9am–3.15pm term time only and if anyone requires any further information then please do not hesitate to come and visit us or contact Suzanne on 01474 822410 to request a prospectus.


Suzanne Green





2007 was another eventful year for Higham Primary. Our Year 6 pupils said goodbye with a wonderful production of ‘Lights, Camera, Action’. The children put on an enthusiastic and humorous show highlighting events and activities within school. These children have now all moved happily on to an array of secondary schools throughout Gravesham and Medway. In September we welcomed our first intake of 30 reception children who are all in the same class. We have now moved to single age classes across the school with the exception of one year 1/2 class.


Throughout the year our house system has continued to be successful with the children enthusiastically working hard to support their house team. Once again our Year 6 children elected four new house captains and four new vice house captains who have settled into their roles with enthusiasm and determination. They have already helped the school to raise money for Children in Need, and Jeans for Genes day. Captains and vice captains are easily recognisable by their coloured sweatshirts which are in the style of the school uniform but in house colours. This enables our younger children to identify their house captains easily.


As in previous years the school has been well supported by parents and staff through our dedicated PTA who work very hard to raise much-needed additional funds for the school. As a result of some of these funds the school has received educational resources across all subject areas. These have helped to enhance and develop the children’s learning further. In addition to this funding, the PTA continue to fund the payment of our interactive whiteboards and broadband service. In June and November two successful fund-raising fairs were held where the public, pupils and parents came along and supported our events.


Throughout 2007 our enthusiastic and dedicated school teams have taken part in various sporting challenges both within and outside of school. Trips, visiting speakers, workshops and theatre groups enhance the curriculum and these take place regularly and the good behaviour of the pupils is regularly commented upon 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. We are grateful for the hard work of all of those involved with the school as we look forward to another successful year.


Mrs S Greenfield, Headteacher and Mrs C Grattan, Deputy Headteacher






Once again, I am pleased to report that the PTA had another successful year of fund-raising thus enabling us to assist the school in purchasing many much needed items. 


The Summer Fayre and Xmas Fayre made record breaking profits.  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 again not have been achieved.  In addition to the Fayres, our childrens’ discos remained as popular and well-supported as ever.  We have had two more collections for Bag2School which has been an invaluable way to raise funds and is two-fold because it also helps children and families in third-world countries. 


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





Higham Primary School continues to be a happy and sought after school by parents, not only from within the village. We were again over subscribed in this year’s intake into the Reception Class, but as the Planned Admission Number has been reduced to 30 there were no spare spaces. As shown in our report last year, the Senior Management and Governors have achieved one class per year group, with the exception of a small mixed Year 1/2 class (it is not permissible to have classes of over 30 in the Infant section).


We are pleased to recognise the achievements of the children in Key Stage 1 (ie Primary) whose results from the Standard Attainment Targets were higher than the previous year.


Work has commenced at last on the provision of a dedicated Care Suite. It has taken nearly two years of negotiation for the school to have this work commissioned.  Children with specific medical needs, will be able to have the special attention that they require at various times of the day, in a suite that is secure from other people.


The plans for 2008/9 should show a new and inviting entrance to the school being constructed that will provide vastly improved facilities for the Administration Department and Senior Management Team. Already we have extended the car park with an overflow area from which the staff have benefited, particularly during inclement weather.


An intrinsic part of the school is the funding received by the excellent efforts of the PTA and our thanks to them must be acknowledged here.  In fact, everybody involved plays an important part in the life of the school, without which the children would not be as prepared for secondary education or for adult life as they are now.


The Governors thank all the staff at the school and also the support of the Parents and Carers of the children.


Malcolm L James

Chair of Governors




Gad’s Hill School has had yet another successful year academically. 97% of  Gad’s Hill students have a five or more GCSE pass rate, with 86% achieving nine or more GCSE pass grades (A* - C).


Our pupils continue to take part in a range of extra curricula activities from representing the school in sports to learning the skills of leadership and a sense of adventure in our growing Combined Cadet Force.


Our planning application for a new school and Dickens Heritage Centre took a step forward in January, with the Gravesham Borough Council Regulatory Board voting for a ‘recommendation to approve’ subject to certain conditions. The school’s planning application has now gone to the Government Office of The South East and they will report back to the Borough Council in the Spring. This is an exciting period for Gad’s Hill School and of course for the village as we work hard to ensure that a building of such historical importance is sympathetically restored and opened for all to see. The school will continue to work with Higham Parish Council to ensure that the visitor centre has minimum impact on the village and that it offers a much needed boost to the economy of the local area, bringing with it jobs, visitors and trade to not only the house but to local businesses’.


Finally the school will be taking part in the Gravesham Heritage Festival by opening its doors on Sunday, 1 June; visitors will be taken round the house by experts from The Dickens Fellowship and will also be able to enjoy a traditional Gad’s Hill Cream Tea. You will find information regarding booking on the Borough Council’s website www.gravesham.gov.uk


David Craggs, Headmaster



We would like to thank Councillor Bryan Sweetland and Cheryl Russell, from Gravesham Borough Council, for arranging for the scrub clearance to the part of the Recreation Ground overlooking Higham Primary School.  This means that the play equipment can now be seen more clearly from the road which we hope may reduce vandalism.






We thank the pupils of Higham Primary School for taking part in the School Essay Competition and very much hope that this will become an annual event.



1st prize essay by Madelene Hart



What I like about Higham


I live just outside Higham and although I do not live here I still like many things about the small village.


Higham is very small and particularly comforting.  This makes it safer to go to shops and other places.  In Lower Higham, there is a train station, which makes it easier to go to London.


Higham is only fifteen minutes away from Bluewater so people can go shopping for food in the food stores.


In Higham there are shops only a ten minute walk away, for some only ten seconds.  There is also a library with all different books and computers if someone needs to use one for something like homework and studying.


The community in Higham is very kind and welcoming.  Everyone is very friendly and takes care of each other, even in different age groups.


Higham has historic land marks like Gads Hill School where Charles Dickens used to live.  The small village also has many acres of land, green and lush.  Higham is so clean it looks untouched.


These are the things I like about Higham especially Higham Primary School, where you get the best education, with kind caring teachers, and a watching traffic warden.


I think Higham is a community of kindness and working friendship.








2007 has been an eventful year in the life of Higham Library with the 20th anniversary of a permanent branch library in the village, a number of events were held to celebrate this. Our second annual Community Day held on 27 July, thankfully enjoyed much better weather. There were displays and stalls from various village organisations, face painting, children’s activities, refreshments and a book sale. This year the Community Day will be held on Friday, 1 August. Any village organisation that would like to be there on the day, please contact Glynis or Caroline at the library.


The Higham Writing Group gave a performance of their own work at the Library on 12 May which was a complete sell out. Plans for another ‘Showcase’ are well under way – this time for two performances on 16 and 17 May – due to popular demand. Don’t be disappointed – get your ticket early!


On 19 September a plaque commemorating one time resident and Parish Clerk of Higham, Reg Weston, was unveiled by the Mayor, Councillor Pat Oakeshott. Reg who died earlier in the year, was the driving force behind getting a permanent library for the village.


Our regular events are held on the following days and times:


Homework Club: Thursdays 3.30 - 4.45pm.

Rhyme Time: Fortnightly from Friday, 4 January between 9.30 – 10am.

Coffee & Chat Group: 3rd Tuesday each month at 2.30pm.

Higham Writing Group: Every Monday at 10am.

Higham Library User Group: Formed in October, this group meets approximately every eight weeks. Contact the library for the date and time of the next meeting. The purpose of the group is to be involved in the planning of the library services to the local community, to give practical help and support to library events where possible and to encourage all sections of the community to use the library facilities.


If you are interested in joining in any of the regular events held at the library, drop in or contact Glynis or Caroline at the library on 01474 823822 or e-mail highamlibrary@kent.gov.uk 


Zoë Gray, Community Services Development Librarian




The Group has been in existence for just over a year now and we meet every Monday morning at the library under the tutelage of Denise Leppard who was once a professional writer. The aim of the Group is to produce written material, not only for our own satisfaction but for possible publication in magazines and suchlike. A couple of our members have been successful in having articles published, some in magazines and in one case a national newspaper.


The group have also read some of their work in the form of public performances. Last May we presented a selection in a ‘Showcase’ which seemed to go down well with the audience. Since then we have read to the Age Concern group in Merston Court before one of their luncheons. The response was such that we have been asked to go back again some time. Due to the reception we had last year we are putting on another ‘Showcase’ this May. Because of the increased demand for tickets we will be appearing for two days, Friday and Saturday, 16 and 17 May, at 7.30pm, in the Higham library. Admission will be by ticket only at £3 each and they can be obtained from Glynis Cordery on 01474 365906 or you can leave your requirements at Higham library where they will be passed on to Glynis. Although none of our material is offensive in any way we feel that this type of entertainment is not for young children. Make a note in your diaries, we will be very pleased to see you there.


Stan Egginton, OBE





As you all know the Parish Council is anxious to mark any special birthdays/anniversaries in our village, but I do need you to tell me about these events.


I was delighted to take flowers and chocolates to Mrs Hilda Cole at Copperfields Home on the occasion of her 100th birthday.  This was a wonderful day and Hilda enjoyed the company of all her family and friends.


The Parish Council offers its congratulations to Mr and Mrs F Figg for their 50th wedding anniversary on 28 June.


Pat Oakeshott





Higham Choral Group has sung in various locations in the Gravesham area and beyond during the past year.


The Spring concert was at Chalk Church where we sung Schubert’s Mass in F, and in the second half music by Lennon/McCartney and Simon and Garfunkel amongst others.  For our tour in May 2007 we were invited to sing at Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds, where we had a very successful concert.  In June we sang a mixed programme of religious and secular music at Shorne Flower Festival and at our summer concert in July at St Mary’s Higham we sang music by Scarlatt, and again a selection of religious and secular music.


The Christmas concert, to a capacity audience, was at St John’s Church where we sang Benjamin Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’, and carols for choir and congregation.


If you have not heard us sing, please visit our web site




and if you would be interested in joining us please contact me on 01474 822702.


Dates for your diary:


2-5 May 2008

Choristers on Tour

Rushton, near Taunton, Somerset.


Saturday, 5 July 2008


Summer Concert

St James Parish Church, Cooling.


Saturday, 20 December 2008


Christmas Concert

St John’s Church, Higham.



Wendy Hance





I was appointed as the leader of the youth club in September and have enjoyed settling in, and getting to know some of the young people in Higham. 


Since September the young people have been able to enjoy many activities such as glass painting, making clay models, and other art.  They have been able to enjoy playing table tennis, badminton, pool, volley ball and indoor football, amongst other games.  As a group we went ten pin bowling which was an extremely enjoyable and fun evening, with a very competitive atmosphere (especially between our young helpers!).  We held a Halloween party, and a ‘ready steady cook’ style evening.


photograph of Higham Youth Club cheque presentation from the Three Crutches PH


I am very pleased to be able to report that we have just secured some funding through a grant application to enable us to purchase some new equipment.  The Three Crutches Public House also raised an incredible £203 for us by holding a Halloween event.


Our most recent purchase has been a Nintendo Wii..... yes!  We got one!  We have purchased an additional controller and some additional games.  This most popular games system is very interactive and can be played by multiple players at once. 


The youth club is a place where young people can come along with their friends to socialise in a safe and happy environment. 


We are looking for new members at the moment.  Young people can join the youth club from when they have their 11th birthday and they can stay members until their 16th birthday.  Come along and meet us! 


The youth club is open on a Wednesday evening at the Memorial Hall between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.  If you are a parent/carer of a child who is at the younger end of the age range you may not feel comfortable with the idea of them staying until 9.30pm on a school night, so you might want them to come along for an hour. 


Yes – we do have rules and a code of conduct, but that is to enable all young people to feel happy and safe whilst spending time with us. 


We have many plans for an exciting year ahead.... with lots of fun..... trips out, activities....


If you want any more information please call me on 07934 562085 or email contact@highamyouthclub.co.uk.


Joanne Raff





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, 2007, saw yet another very successful year for the workshop.  The climax for the year was in July when the children performed a spectacular production of ‘Time Heroes’. 


As well as the major production, we put on displays at the end of each term to which parents, family and friends were invited.


In June, some of our Stage Arts pupils took part in the festivities of the Dickens Festival in Rochester, and we have been asked by the organisers to do the same during 2008.


The Stage Arts Workshop is run by Angela Shade.  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 a call on 0845 664 7469.


Angela Shade





What a year we’ve had!!! 


Rainbows and Guides, had a Christmas Bazaar to raise funds for our packs and to raise money for Children in Need.


We have been bowling, tobogganing and we had a party at Monkey Biz. We also challenged our families to a game of Rounders finishing with a BBQ, which turned into a water fight (I need to mention here that it was 24 Brownies against 1 Brown Owl!!!). We also had a Chocolate Party, a Halloween Party and a Christmas Party.


This year we will be experiencing quite a few changes and we have already begun as we welcome Sharon, known as Tawny Owl, into Brownies. We will also be losing 16 girls as they move on to Guides and to other things. We are looking forward to welcoming the girls who will be taking their place and joining us. We are also pleased to note that Zoe who was a guide helper has now become our young leader. Zoe and I are also hoping to do some training this year so that we, as a pack, can begin to go on sleepovers, have holidays and camping.


All that’s left for me to say is THANK YOU to all the mums that come in and have helped me run Brownies over the past year as without their help we would not have been able to run.  Also THANK YOU to Julie Healey who has stood in for me over the past year when work commitments have prevented me from attending.


If your daughter would like to join Brownies get her name down on the waiting list as soon as possible, as the list is getting bigger.  My number is 01474 824174.


Karen Pennells, Brown Owl




Higham Rainbows continues to thrive, with a full unit of 15 girls.  During 2007 we have met weekly during term time where the girls participate in a variety of activities such as cooking, creating a craft and playing games.  At the end of March the Rainbows joined Higham Guides and Brownies and other units from Chalk and Riverview, on an excursion to Wildwood.  The Rainbows had a session with the keepers of the otters and badgers to learn about their habitats and feeding.  The day was thoroughly enjoyed by them all despite the chilly weather.


In May a few Rainbows took part in the annual sponsored walk from Meopham to Luddesdown, covering a distance of three miles. This was achieved with ease and was a very pleasant day in the sunshine. Towards the end of the year Rainbows took part in the Rainbow Rumpus, a fun afternoon of arts, crafts and games, also a great opportunity to meet other Rainbows from around the Gravesham area.


Rainbows is for young girls aged between 5 and 7 years of age, so if your daughter would like to join us, please contact Julie Healey on 01474 822008.


Julie Healey



In March three guides took part in the local Guiding Star competition. The winners of the competition would be appearing alongside well known stars at the annual Guide Big Gig pop concert. Although the girls were unsuccessful in gaining a place in the next round their performances were very professional with much thought going into their acts. Congratulations to Aimi Stanley, Amy Graves and Lucy Pearton.


In July Higham Parish Council asked if we would like to run a drinks stall for the Tour de France. Several girls assisted on the day and there was a great atmosphere.


One of the highlights of the year was our summer camp. 15 girls, only two of whom had camped before, spent three nights at Kay’s Garden camp site in Meopham. Everyone had a great time and many new friendships were made. A lot of the autumn term was occupied preparing for a Christmas Bazaar and on Saturday 8th December the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides helped to raise a profit of £375 which was split equally between the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. I would also like to thank John Mendez for being our Father Christmas and all parents and friends who supported the event. We also raised £20 for Children in Need.


Sadly, at the end of the year we said goodbye to our three eldest girls who are approaching 14.  I would like to wish them well in all they do and thank them for their enthusiasm.  Best wishes to Amy Saunders, Gemma Healey and Lisa Hartup.


If you would like your daughter to join guides or would like to find out more please contact Mary Lane on 01474 822107.


Mary Lane, Guide Guider, 1st Higham Guides





Scouting is flourishing in Higham. All our sections are full and there is a waiting list for Beavers.


Together the young people and leaders have enjoyed a memorable centenary year in 2007.  In May we participated in a District Centenary Camp at Hope Hill where there were several hundred Gravesham scouts celebrating together. On 1 August some of us renewed our Promise at sunrise with other Scouts across the World. To crown the year a party went to the World Jamboree at Gilwell in Essex and came home having made friends with scouts from across the world. We tried to take part in a 100 activities during the year when we camped, went on marches and hikes, played many games and learnt new skills.


Part of the Scout promise is to think of others and this year we raised a record sum for ‘Children in Need’. Thank you all for your support.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Parish Council for their support in helping us purchase equipment, especially benches that we use on camps, and the Hall Committee for enabling us to have such a splendid meeting place every week.


Our meeting times are:


Scout Group




Beaver Scouts



Kevin Oaten     

01634 727358

Cub Scouts

Fridays: 6.30-8pm

Louise Warner

01474 822355




Peter Allinson 

01474 823806

Explorer Scouts


Carolyn Shulver

01474 823187


If your son or daughter would like to join us or you would like to help, please contact Carolyn on 01474 823187.


Carolyn Shulver, Group Scout Leader




Copperfield Clog, Higham’s own women’s north-west morris dance side, continues to meet for practice sessions most Thursday evenings from September through to April/May in St John’s Church Hall, Higham, after which we embark on our spring/summer dancing programme.  Last year we kicked off our season at the Rochester Sweeps Festival and then danced at various venues including the RSPB Wildlife & Country Fair, Cooling and the Museum of Kent Life, Cobtree, Aylesford.


Copperfield Clog would be very interested in hearing from new recruits – musicians and, especially, dancers.  If you are interested in joining us, then why not come along to one of our rehearsal sessions or, perhaps, come along to one of the events when we dance out.  Clog dancing is a great way of meeting other people, having a laugh and, most importantly, keeping fit.  We really do have fun and would welcome enquiries from anybody interested in joining us. 


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


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 or www.tinyurl.com/2yvoos


Judi Stanley

Publicity Officer




(Formerly Higham Working Men’s Club)


Our facilities include two comfortably furnished bars, with entertainment most Saturday nights which can be live acts or discos.


Bingo is held on Sunday nights and the first Wednesday in every month is a bingo afternoon which you do not have to be a member to come along to (2pm-4pm). This is proving very popular. We run several outings during the year to cater for various interests and have more planned for 2008.  We have an excellent friendly Golf Society which caters for all levels of player.  Once a month we have a Rock & Roll night which is very popular.  Snooker, pool and darts are available.


We have several Allotments for hire at a reasonable rent.


We also hire out the main hall and in the very near future a smaller function room, both with bar and kitchen facilities, at a very reasonable charge to members and non-members.


New members, especially from the village, are always welcome. Just pop in and see about joining or telephone 01474 822456.


Lynne White, Secretary





The Parish Council is sponsoring the new Walking Bus at Higham Primary School which will be launched after Easter. This is a new initiative to get children to and from school and to reduce the amount of traffic congestion on the village roads in the vicinity. The Walking Bus is an organised column of children who are escorted to and from school along a set route. All involved wear high-visibility tabards for safety and routes are approved by council traffic engineers. To find out more about this initiative or to become a volunteer helper on the bus please contact Higham Primary School.


Linda Carnall





Our main expense in 2007 was repairing the boundary fence at the far end of the ground, as we are required to do. We hope that we have left enough gaps for ball retrieval. We will complete repairs to the north side fencing in 2008.


We are very grateful to Bryan Sweetland, one of our Borough councillors, for using a part of his special councillor’s allowance to pay for scrub clearance at the School Lane end of the ground. This means that we can see the play area more clearly from the road and may help to reduce vandalism.


Our priority is to re-establish some play equipment. Limited funds have been set aside this year and we have been looking at surfacing materials that meet Health and Safety standards. The swings will be first, fingers crossed.


Shaun Walton and Stuart Wright





A varied programme kept members interested throughout the year with talks on ‘Organic Vegetable Growing’, Sissinghurst Gardens and a postman turned nurseryman.


An evening spent trying to identify natural history items really taxed our brains, as did a general knowledge quiz held later in the year.  We visited the garden of an old thatched farmhouse with oast, deep well and animals grazing in the surrounding fields on a very damp evening!


After the refurbishments of the previous year, we held two shows including plant sales.  In December members enjoyed a Ploughman’s Supper, followed by a light hearted quiz.


We meet on the second Thursday of each month, at 8pm, in the Memorial Hall.  Come and join us.


Peggy Husband





During the past year the courts have been let mainly for tennis, though not for the Saturday morning tennis club which has now disbanded. Our thanks go to John Forbes who kept the tennis club running for the last few years.


Unfortunately, no netball teams have played, due partly to the fact that new netball rules mean that the area outside the marked courts is not wide enough nowadays.


Also, the new lighting box has not yet been installed, but, hopefully, this will be up and running shortly, thus providing tennis and five-a-side football during the evenings. There is a new locked walkway to the lighting box that should now provide vandal-free protection.


Our sincere thanks go to Dougal Goring who had been our Chairman for many years, who decided to ‘take retirement’ during 2007. He worked tirelessly for the Sports Association and we are very grateful to him. However, we have moved on and welcomed our new Chairman, Shaun Walton who has thrown himself into the role with gusto.


If anyone would like to hire the courts for tennis or five-a-side football please book through the Village Greengrocers.


Ann Kevill and Pat Jeal, Secretaries




Since our last report we have six new members, who came to see what we do, then decided to come along every week. We had our Christmas Meal at The Rose & Crown, Shorne and during the evening The Champions Trophy was presented to Don Phelps, who won the most points in the Special Matches played during the year. The cup was won by Ian Downs as runner-up.


We now have almost a complete complement of Bowlers, but there is always room for a few more if you are interested.


Eileen Poulton, Secretary





We are continuing to grow steadily and now have over 100 children registered with us, starting us young as six years old. Some new coaches have volunteered their time and we have been able to start two new teams, bringing our teams to a total of nine. These teams play in both the Gravesend Boys and Primary Football league and the Medway News Youth League.  They are all doing really well and a few teams are in contention with becoming league champions. This is an incredible achievement on its own and surprisingly this applies to some teams that have only been formed this season.


As always we are ever thankful to Higham Primary School for using their ground but we are desperate for more facilities for the club. With so many children attending and more joining, the pitches and training grounds are becoming overcrowded. We try to encourage ability and maintain fitness whilst having fun, we believe that sport should be enjoyed by all and do not want to turn any children away. We are, therefore, trying to obtain funding to reclaim some farmland and if anybody has any ideas on how they could assist us with this project, please call the Secretary on 01474 822607. 


Mrs P Jeal, Secretary





Playball has been running pre-school football coaching sessions at Higham Memorial Hall since February 2004, for boys and girls aged between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years.


The football sessions do not only teach children basic football skills but also teach co-ordination, patience, balance and improve listening skills.  All of this gives children a head start into football and sport when reaching school age.


If you would like more information log on to www.playballcoaching.com or alternatively telephone me on 01634 311481 or mobile 07919 405749.


Neil Stephens




Our Cricket Club is a small, friendly, family-orientated village club (with Clubmark Status) fielding senior and junior sides midweek and weekends.  We are fortunate to play our home matches at the lovely ground at Ham River Hill.


The club has made great strides this winter, having electricity installed in the pavilion. This was due, in no small part, to the support that we had from the community during the CricketForce weekend in 2006.


We will be repeating the CricketForce Event this year to see whether we might be able to complete some of the outstanding jobs with the help of our members and anyone from the area who might be able to assist.


We are also looking for young and not-so-young cricketers – all ages, all abilities to help fill our U9, U11 and U13 teams, as well as our senior teams.


There is a full fixture list for both sections, the junior teams playing in the Medway Youth Cricket League, and the senior teams playing in the KVCL on Sundays and friendlies ONLY on Saturdays. 

 We will be holding our popular Race Night on Saturday 12 July at Cliffe Woods Community Centre.  If you would like more details or would like to book a table, or come and join some of us, please give me a call. We would be very pleased to meet you.


Nets (Kings School, Rochester)

Juniors (hard ball) – Sundays, 4-5pm

Seniors (also hard ball) –  Sundays, 5-6pm.

Training (@ Ham River Hill)

U9s – Tuesdays, 6.30-7.30 pm, from April.  Please telephone for dates.

10 & over – Thursdays, 6.30 – 8.00 pm, from April.  Please telephone for dates.


Keith Short, Honorary Secretary

E-mail: secretary@higham-mockbeggarcc.co.uk




I decided at the last AGM to hand over the Chair of the Swimming Club.  I am sure that under the new leadership the Club will continue to thrive.  I wish it well for the future.


The Club benefits from the professionalism and dedication of the instructors who voluntarily give up their free time twice a week to teach youngsters to swim.  Commendation must also be given to all the Committee Members who also give up their precious spare time but, most importantly, also to 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 its numbers are continuing to grow. 


The Club is based at Hoo Swimming Pool and the 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, 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 me in my role as Chairman of the Beavers Swimming Club.


Les Pearton 




The Society has had another busy year, but with mercifully few new major issues, although there is always concern about what may be being planned for our area that has not yet been revealed to residents, particularly around the various threats to Green Belt land and our countryside in general. 


It is important to maintain constant vigilance as there continue to be intermittent reports and newspaper articles about another Thames road and rail crossing. Other items that have received attention include: 


On lighter matters: 


Mrs Susan Lindley, Committee Member of DCPS




We have enjoyed yet another busy and active year.  In February we visited Chilston Park, in June we visited the Little Bentley Garden Show and later that month enjoyed a pamper day in Teynham. We also had two evenings out at the Medway Little Theatre.


During the year there has been a Mini Produce show, a birthday party in our Presidents garden, with the Drama group providing the entertainment and our Darts ‘A’ team won the district cup, which was great. We also provided a Cake Stall on the Tour de France Day, which was successful.


We ran a cake stall, plant stall and had a coffee morning to raise funds for our Institute. We have had a variety of speakers at our meetings ranging from a Belly Dancer, talks on the Lindesfarne Gospels, Haunted Pluckley, the King’s mistress through the ages, Refugees of Palestine, Puppets, Piers and Pantomime and a visit from St. Dunstans.


The New Year looks to be busy again and we started it with a hot supper evening provided by two of our members and a Food and Drink quiz. We are planning to participate at the February boot fair and look forward to another happy and successful year.


We have enjoyed yet another busy year, so here is our forthcoming programme:


5 June


Horatio Nelson and Emma.

3 July


History of John Lewis.

4 September


Calendar Girls.

6 November


Practice Evening on Christmas decorations.


We always enjoy getting to know each other better over coffee and food and widen our interests in County and District events.


Do come and join us on the first Thursday in any month at 7.30pm.


Pat Merrison, Secretary




2007 was another great year for HiARA and we look forward to 2008 with confidence and optimism. The club continues to be extremely popular and with a membership of 200, we now have a waiting list. We can claim to be one of the largest organisations in the village and anyone over 50 who is retired or semi-retired is welcome to apply.  Even if there is a waiting list, you are still welcome to join us as a visitor.


We are a voluntary, non-profit making organisation and one of over 70 such clubs throughout Kent. Our prime objective is to provide the means and opportunity for our ‘Senior Generation’ to keep active in mind and body. We meet every Friday afternoon in the Memorial Hall where a variety of activities are available including short mat bowls, periodic quizzes and a number of specialist groups for Art, Craft and Computing. 


The fourth Friday in the month is reserved for our general meeting, which usually includes a talk on some topic of interest. We have had some superb speakers in the past and these meetings are proving to be very popular with attendance now regularly exceeding 100.


In addition to our activities in the hall, we try to organise regular outings to places of interest, to see a show, or we just go for a day out. The 2008 programme includes visits to museums, famous houses and gardens, guided coach tours, a trip on the river and a day trip to the continent. Our monthly rambles are extremely popular and although they have occasionally been reported to have got lost, they usually manage to find their way to the pub for lunch.


Our holidays for 2008 include a spring break in Yorkshire, a 10-day holiday in the Bavarian forest and a Turkey and Tinsel break in Torquay. All our holidays are by luxury air-conditioned coach and are door to door from the village.


We publish a monthly Newsletter, which is distributed to all members and contains all current information on activities and reports of events. We welcome feedback, so if you have any comments, please let us know.


If you would like more information on membership or fees, please contact Eileen on 01634 715959


Roy George, Chairman




2008 began with ‘Kentish Village Signs’ which highlighted the history behind them, as well as the material they were made from. The Millennium certainly produced many new signs, with the WI’s being very proactive. In March, we heard about ‘People, Plots and Plants’. Just right for the onset of Spring!


In May, our new season will begin with our AGM and very popular Talk on ‘Higham Then and Now’. Andrew Rootes, will continue with comparisons of current scenes, with extracts from Higham in Old Photos Volume 2.  Further talks will include ‘History in Comic Verse, 1066 to the Internet’ from the Benedictine Monk speaker. ‘Black Death & Aftermath’, which is far less gruesome & much more fun that it sounds! Followed by ‘A Nice Cup of tea’, tracing teas from their origins, Japanese ceremonies, the Cutty Sark and the Victorian Temperance Movement to the modern tea bag. Then ‘Buzz Bombs and Bicycles’. How and why the Germans built the V1, with a cyclists photographic tour of the French secret launch site.


Raffles are held at the AGM in May and at our Christmas event, which raises money towards Group Funds. Our website is proving very popular, with many people sharing information on Higham, whilst tracing their family history. It is updated regularly with photos and relevant information.


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





In April we will be reaching 17 years at ‘Options’, many things have changed over the years, but all the preparation for each year stays the same.


We still meet every Monday between 1.30pm - 4pm at St John’s Church Hall in Higham; members enjoy a chat, playing games, pushing the grey matter for our quizzes, which at times can be rather hard. Whenever possible we will arrange a free trip to members if our funds allow it. Entertainers always make for a good time to have a sing-a-long and let our hair down. Mandy Winters from Radio Kent spent the afternoon with us at our Christmas party, she sings country and western and has a beautiful voice, it’s always a pleasure when she visits us.  The Turkey/Tinsel in Paignton was great and we go to Llandudno in Wales for a Turkey/Tinsel.


Loose change is still being collected to send to the animal sanctuary and we are still in need of wool for our ladies who are knitting blankets for the animals (I will collect the wool if anyone has any to spare).  I visited the sanctuary and it was great to see the cats and dogs sleeping on the blankets our ladies had knitted, everything they have has been donated so it’s a very big ‘thank you’ to all the people who help. Rosie, our adopted donkey, is doing fine and keeping well, she is still giving rides to disabled children which can make such a difference to their lives. Our other club mascot, Barney the goat, is also loving life now he is in the safe hands of the sanctuary.  We can visit them both if we are in the area.


There are a couple of places available at the club, so if you feel like joining us and meeting new friends please give me a call on 01474 824110.


Delia Goldie





The Club has been running for over 25 years and its purpose continues to be to provide a weekly lunch and social gathering for those residents who live alone and may find it difficult to get out without transport.


We would like to welcome Mrs Carol Mason as the new Deputy Co-ordinator. Carol has been involved with the Club for a while and is well known to all the members.


In the summer we enjoyed a strawberry tea at Little Hermitage, kindly provided by Mrs Geraldine Cox and at which we were able to welcome the Lady Mayor, Mrs Pat Oakeshott, who has been a volunteer at the Club for many years.


We continue to be very grateful to our volunteer hostesses, cooks and drivers for their hard work during the year and to our other supporters who give time and financial assistance, including the Parish Council. 


Should anyone wish to add their name to our waiting list for membership, could they please contact Mrs Audrey Smith on 01474 823380. 


As always we would welcome anyone who would be willing to give a few hours of their time to join our team of volunteers.


Barbara West, Co-ordinator





The Higham Craft Club was founded in May 2007 by Irene Love and Gillian Whitehead. The intention was to bring a group of ladies with a couple of hours to spare, together to be creative, make new friends and enjoy a couple hours in a friendly atmosphere. 


We were fortunate enough to get a grant to help set up the group with all the latest craft equipment and storage to enable us to teach all aspects of card making, including painting, stamping, embossing, iris folding, decoupage etc, etc.


We have gone from strength-to-strength and had a waiting list of ladies keen to learn what is now the most popular hobby of the decade(!), so we decided to start another class this year. We now have classes on Tuesdays and Friday mornings alternately.


We are currently planning a coach trip to Alexander Palace Craft Show in April. We did this last October and it was a huge success.  There are still places available for the Friday class if anyone is interested.  We meet in the Memorial Hall, School Lane, Higham. Please contact either Irene on 01634 222229 or Gillian on 01634 722300.





Our quilting group continues to flourish.  We are still producing some lovely quilts in between the chatting and cookies!


Some of our group went to a Quilters Retreat in Valencia, Spain, for one week last October.  The workshop sessions taught us how to do Trapunto (Italian quilting).  The scenery and weather were wonderful.  Our tutor was Sylvia Critcher from Sevenoaks. 


We are in the process of organising workshops for other projects in 2008 at home.  Also, our visits to exhibitions around the country are on the agenda again.  Our first trip out will be to Chilford Vineyard in March.  Let’s hope the weather is good.


Linda Parr




The Claire Buckley School of Dancing offers dancing classes at the Higham Memorial Hall every Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm.


We teach ballet, tap and jazz for both boys and girls from the age of three years. Adult tap classes are also available at Gravesend with a NEW beginner's class starting very soon!  So if you fancy having fun and keeping fit give me a call on the number below.


We held our show this year at the Brook Theatre in July and all the children had a wonderful time performing on stage. We also had two students, Harriett Harrison and Lucy Pearton, who were successful in auditioning for the Pantomime at Maidstone this Xmas, well done to both girls.


If you would like any information on any classes please call me on:


Home:    01634 220766

Mobile:  07813 050493

E-mail:   clairebuckley@ntlworld.com


Claire Buckley 



Age Concern

01474 822654

Age Concern Referrals

01474 823380           


01634 727358

Beavers Swimming Club

01474 822080


01474 824174

Choral Group

01474 822702

Claire Buckley School of Dancing

01634 220766

Community Warden

(Steve Gray)

07811 271256

Congregational Church

01634 362939

Copperfield Clog

01474 824346

Copperfield Quilters  (Higham Quilters)

01474 823129


01474 822355

Dickens Country Protection Society

01322 275389

Eagles Football Clubs

01474 822607

Explorer Scouts

01474 823187

Garden and Allotment Society

01474 822368


01474 822107


01474 822476

Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club

01634 200817

Higham Bowlers

01474 822567

Higham CP School PTA

01474 822080

Higham Craft Club

01634 222229/01634 722300

Higham Library

01474 823822

Higham Rainbows

01474 822008

Higham Village Club (Working Men’s Club)

01474 822456

Higham Village History Group

01474 822847

Higham Village Sports Association

01474 822448

Higham Youth Club

07934 562085

Kent Police – PC Steve Cole

07800 675306

Memorial Hall (Bookings only)

01474 822007


01474 824110

Parish Clerk

01474 822642

PCSO Darren Fielding

07772 226027

Playball Football

01634 311481

Saint John’s Church – Fr. James Southward

01634 717360


01474 823806

Stage Arts Workshop

0845 664 7469

StartRite Kindergarten

07813 705136/01474 822410

Women’s Institute

01474 823772








Cllr Mrs Jennifer Papadopulos


‘Hanklit’, 12 Charles Dickens Avenue, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7NL


01634 717113

Vice Chairman:

Cllr Stuart Wright


‘Hillyfield’, Hermitage Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7PB


01634 717336

Cllr John Grey

61 School Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7JR

01474 822789

Cllr Alan Howard

1 Taylors Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7AX

01474 822108

Cllr Malcolm James

‘Hollybank’, Crutches Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME2 3UH

01634 724483

Cllr Mrs

Pat Oakeshott

30 Ash Crescent, Higham, Rochester,  Kent ME3 7BA


01474 822771

Cllr Les Pearton

16 Michele Cottages, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7JZ 

01474 822080

Cllr Mrs Maggi Scott

41 Walmers Avenue, Higham,

Rochester, Kent ME3 7EH

01474 823091

Cllr Barry Sutherland

1 St John’s Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BY

01474 824439

Cllr Shaun Walton

27 Villa Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BS

01474 823149


Cllr Mrs

Pat Oakeshott

30 Ash Crescent, Higham, Rochester,  Kent ME3 7BA

01474 822771

Cllr Bryan Sweetland

52 Downs Road, Istead Rise, Gravesend, Kent DA13 9HG

07976 309171


Cllr Mike Snelling

5 Dormers Drive, Meopham, Gravesend, Kent  DA13 0ES

01474 812404


Adam Holloway, MP

c/o House of Commons, London




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

Web site:  www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk


Copies of the Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are available for public inspection within Higham Library or here on this web site.

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

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Last Revised ~ 09 April 2008

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