Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2009

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photograph of a scarecrow in the Lower Higham Scarecrow Competition 2008
Lower Higham Scarecrow Competition




My dear friends


As I sit to write this letter to you my first thoughts go to our Parish Clerk, Linda Carnall, and all the members of the Parish Council who work tirelessly for us all and for the good of our village.  I offer my sincere thanks to them.


On the whole the past year has been a quiet one.  We had the opening of Jupp Court by Mrs Jupp and I do hope that the residents there have settled in happily.


Speeding and parking in the village are problems that have come to the fore and are discussed at every Council meeting.  We have had talks with Borough and County Councillors to discuss ways to combat these issues, but these difficulties appear to be intractable with increasing car ownership.  In many ways it is up to us, the residents, to improve the situation by not speeding, obeying the one-way system and parking with consideration to others.


Crime and petty offences such as defacing property are thankfully down, due in some measure, I am sure, to our uniformed officers, Steve Cole, Steve Grey and Darren Fielding, but also as a side effect of the success of the Youth Club run by the very enthusiastic and effective Joanne Raff and her team of volunteers, who have shown remarkable dedication to the youth of our village.


The Christmas lights in the village were a disappointment this year in-spite of the £1,400 or so that the parish spent on them.  The local shops were encouraged on more than one occasion to light their windows but mostly they did not.  I was particularly unimpressed by this lack of community spirit.  Your Parish Councillors will be giving thought to next year’s decorations - any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.


Our country is now in recession and the statistics show this.  I would ask you to think about our own village shops and facilities, for without your support we could lose them.  That would be very sad for all.


We welcome members of the public to our Parish Council meetings.  Dates are given in this publication, but I particularly would like to extend an invitation to all to attend the annual assembly on 16 April 2009 at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall.  Come and meet your Councillors and enjoy a glass of wine with us.

My best wishes to you all,






at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:


Monday, 6 April


Thursday, 16 April


Monday, 11 May


Monday, 6 July


Monday, 7 September


Monday, 12 October


Monday, 9 November


Monday, 30 November





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.





We were delighted to learn of a new competition within the village last year which was the brainchild of Fiona Spirals and Linda Parr. This novel new addition to the village calendar ran for a week in September when Parishioners from Lower Higham made their own scarecrows and set them up in some very intriguing poses. With a total of 24 official entries the competition was fiercely contested and the judges took into account the originality, use of materials and how well the scarecrow was made. Such was the success of the competition that it now looks set to become an annual event and so watch out for the signs again in the village during the summer!

Lower Higham Scarecrow Competition 2008 – prize-winners:


ADULTS FIRST PRIZE (Superior Rosette and wine)

Sarah Mallet of Hope Terrace.


ADULTS RUNNERS-UP (Marvellous Rosette and wine)

Sarah and Phil of Bull Lane.


CHILDRENS FIRST PRIZE (Awesome Rosette and chocolates)

The Jordan-Hunter children of Michele Cottages.


Photographs of all entrants are still available to view on the Parish Council Website – www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk/2008/Scarecrow.htm 


We also wish to extend our thanks to Terry Simmonds of Lower Higham who we understand is responsible for removing the graffiti from the walls of the railway bridge and signposts in this part of the village.


Did you attend our Assembly in 2008? If not, make a note of this year’s date (16 April 2009) and make sure you come along for an excellent evening’s entertainment with refreshments.



Linda Carnall

Parish Clerk








Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground etc


Precept 2008/2009


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, N.I., PAYE and expenses for provision of office




VAT Reclaim


VAT paid


Grants received


Grants made


Mayor’s Charity Fund


Mayor’s Charity Fund













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 31.3.08 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.





You are cordially invited to attend the


















Brian Macknish will give a talk entitled
“The Thames and Medway Canal and its future”





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 judge awards points for colour, choice of plants and cultivation, and the overall design of the garden.


Last year marked the 24th anniversary of the competition and the following prize-winners received their awards from Mr Morton Grey, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 8 September 2008.


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

Mr and Mrs R. Walter, “Goldmohr”, Elm Close, Telegraph Hill.

SECOND PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mrs G. Stowers, 42, St. John’s Road.

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Ann Bigwood, 72, Forge Lane.

HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45, Bull Lane.

Mr and Mrs J. Thornton, 26, Chilton Drive.

Mr and Mrs T. Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane.

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

Mr and Mrs J. Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.


The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.


Linda Carnall





As you all know, my year as your Mayor has come to a close and I would like to thank all those organisations in our village who supported me.


Everyone was so very helpful.  Emma Cater’s Street Dance School, in conjunction with HAIRCARE, gave us a wonderful fashion show.  Higham Women’s Institute gave me an enormous amount of support and the Parish Council organised a concert by “STRAIGHT EIGHT” in St John’s Church and also had my portrait painted (see it in the Memorial Hall).  Who will forget the Young Peoples Evening with the Scouts and Guides along with Angela Hills Stage Arts and Claire Buckley Dance School?  Fantastic to see the children taking part and enjoyed by everyone.


All the hard work resulted in my Mayor’s Charity closing at £44,560 (a magnificent sum) with which I was able to help very many local charities and organisations to help people who are not quite so fortunate.


Again, my thanks to you all,


Pat Oakeshott






KALC serves Parish and Town Councils in Kent. The Kent Association is governed by its membership. The Gravesham Area Committee is represented by five Parish Councils including Cobham, Higham, Luddesdown, Meopham, and Vigo, who each have two representatives. Also regular meetings help us share information on local area issues. 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.


Barry Sutherland





There have been many applications over the past year, mostly for small extensions and conservatories, and they have all been inspected by your Parish Council and recommendations sent to the Borough. I do realise that not all our residents agree with our decisions, but we do try to do our best for the village as a whole.


Gad’s Hill School has been given permission to build a new school within their own grounds, which will leave Charles Dickens house free to eventually become a Dickens Visitor Centre and Museum. Planning permission has been given for an extension to Higham Station car park, which will benefit our village by 170 extra parking spaces.  Hopefully, this will stop parking in the approach road, which has become extremely dangerous and cars parking there will be clamped (notices are already displayed in the road to this effect).  Please do not park there.  At the back of the car park will be six small units which will be for rent and the whole site will be covered by CCTV and well lit and fenced.


If you have any concerns over planning in the village, please let me know.


Pat Oakeshott 




As you will all know, the Borough Council turned down the application for ‘affordable housing on the land next to the Chequers Public House’.  This was not because we do not need the housing (We DO) but because the design was unsuitable for the area.  A more appropriate plan will, I think, be put forward later.


You will be asked to take part in a Housing Survey to determine our future needs in the village over the next 10 years.  Do we need more ‘sheltered housing’ for instance?  Do our youngsters want to stay in the village?  Think about it!


Pat Oakeshott





In spite of a wet summer and winter the residents of Higham are still walking and riding the rights of way around the village.  Even though I am no longer on the Parish Council I still keep my eye on the rights of way in the parish.


We have had a ploughed field not reinstated. There is always trouble with this field. Another field has been taken over with grass for horses and the very large field has been separated with fencing and no suitable stiles erected. I have reported this to the rights of way officer of KCC. Unfortunately, he is off on long-term sick leave and the rights of ways are being covered by another officer who has her own patch and only works part-time.  So, sadly, Higham is going to have a rough time for a few months. However, I will keep on at KCC until the problems are resolved.


Have any of you had a walk from the RSPB site near Cooling?  It is only seven miles from Higham and the views across the marshes and River Thames are amazing. Also, Shorne Fort has had a face lift and well worth a visit.  Also, go and have a look at the Mausoleum in Cobham Woods which will be opened by the National Trust in the spring.  Shorne Country Park has brought out some new circular walks leaflets.


We are so lucky to live in Higham, we have a good network of paths and so many interesting walks just outside the village.


Anne Waugh





One of the things I get most complaints about is dog dirt on pavements in the village.  Extra dog bins have been placed around the village and ‘dog bags’ are available in the Library and shops.  This is YOUR village, please try to keep it pleasant and healthy for us all.


Pat Oakeshott





Once again we have had a very busy year. We welcomed three new registrars, Dr Towoju last March and Drs Epstein and Briscoe in August.  


We are now offering extended hours at both Higham and Cliffe Surgeries. At Higham we are offering Doctor and Nurse appointments on a Thursday morning from 07.00 hrs and at Cliffe we are offering appointments on a Tuesday evening until 20.00 hrs. These appointments are proving very popular especially for patients who work.


We have two fully trained bereavement counsellors on the staff.  If you would like to use this service, just ask at the counter and one of the counsellors will contact you to make an appointment.


During the year we have once again supported several charities - Poppy Appeal, Daffodil Appeal, Kent Air Ambulance, Wisdom Hospice and the Lennox Children's charity.


Isobel Meredith

Practice Manager





Looking back to the recent bad weather we have experienced, we would like to remind residents, if you are in need of any help due to adverse weather conditions please contact one of the Parish Councillors.  The snow can be wonderful and exciting for the young, but can be quite frightening for the elderly and can cause them to be housebound.  During the cold weather a good neighbour scheme would be of benefit to those who are not able to grit their path or get out of the house.  We hope the last of the cold weather will be behind us, and look forward to the sunshine.


Amanda Mendzil





Higham library provides a wide range of services for all age groups. We also have a wide range of stock and as well as a large book collection, we also have DVDs to hire, computers with Internet access that are free to use, a scanner, a photocopier and a printer.


Joining is free and an adult can borrow up to 12 items, while a child can take up to 8. These library cards can be used in any KCC Kent library.   


Coffee and Chat:  The Coffee and Chat group is held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 2.30-3.30pm. This consists of a set of friendly keen readers, who chat about the books they have loved, or hated! There is also an occasional guest speaker. All new members are welcome.


Rhyme timeFor babies and young toddlers we run a rhyme time from 9.30-10am every Friday during term time. This is a fun session where the parents and babies get to sing along and follow the actions of famous rhymes and children’s songs. This is run by three volunteers and is a very popular session for both the parents and babies.


Homework clubFor the older children there is a homework club. This runs from 3.30-4:45pm every Thursday during term time. Someone is available to help with any homework queries, and computers are reserved especially for the homework club children. There are also fun educational crafts to do after the homework is finished.


AuctioneerAn Antiques Road Show was held in July last year.  A local auctioneer came to the Library to value items that were brought in. This event was so popular that he was scheduled to come back to do a repeat session on the 20th of March 2009. 


Community DayThis event is held every year and is very popular. We have various organisations come along to this to create awareness of what they do for the community. This year it will be held on 7 August.  Please come along and support your local library.


Higham Library User GroupThis is a small group of people who meet every couple of months to discuss, advise and support the Library. They come up with ideas of what they would like to see in the library. They are our critical friends.


Writing GroupThe Higham writing group has now changed venue to the Higham Village Club and we want to wish them luck for the future. The launch of the group at Higham library proved to be a big success.


For more details of library services or upcoming events please telephone the library on 01474 823822.


Glynis Selby, Customer Services Officer, Higham Library




Partners and Communities Together


A PACT panel which has been running in Higham since June 2008 is a group of people which includes the local police, Community Warden and members of the public who meet to discuss matters of interest and concern to them and, hopefully, help to make Higham a better place to live and work in. The panel is independent of all the other village organisations including the Parish Council although we do work together. Issues that have been looked into include:



Further information about the panel which includes contact details, the dates of meetings and a contact us section to report problems on line can be found on the website www.higham-pact-panel.btik.com  


Peter Leakey, Chairman

(Telephone: 01474 822516)





Firstly let me introduce myself, for those of you who do not yet know me, I am PC Steve Cole, and I am your local Beat Officer.  I manage the Gravesham Rural East Ward along with two Police Community Support Officers.


I manage the villages of; Higham, Cobham, Shorne and Luddesdown. I also have the support of PCSO Darren Fielding, who is the local Police Community Support Officer for Higham.


Within the last couple of weeks you should have all received a card through your doors with our contact details enclosed.  I will also include them on the bottom of this article for you.


This last year has been a good one for Higham with all crime figures falling within the last 12 months.


Anti Social Behaviour is down by 39.3%.

Burglary is down by 50%.

Vehicle crime is down by 7.1%.

Violence against the person is down by 65.3%.

Overall Crime is down by 42.4%.


I think these figures speak for themselves, however, the crime rates could not be cut if it were not for the hard work and devotion from the residents of Higham in reporting crime and suspicious activity to us.  Because of this Darren and myself have been able to target our patrols at certain times and places and proactively reduce the crime before it even happens.


This last year has seen the introduction of PACT (Partners and Communities Together) into the village.  This involves regular meetings with the PACT panel and the setting of priorities in the village that you the residents feel affect your day-to-day lives the most.  These have been set as:



We work with the residents and our partners (KCC, Highways, etc) to try and resolve the problems identified through the PACT panel the best we can.  If you can think of any priorities you would like us to be working on then please contact PCSO Darren Fielding or myself on the numbers below.


We have also seen the introduction of the NTT, which stands for the Neighbourhood Tasking Team.  Each task team is made up of a sergeant and five police officers and works alongside existing neighbourhood officers. As these teams are flexible and not dedicated to a single ward or district, they are able to be placed where they are needed most, targeting specific issues which have been identified by neighbourhood policing and the PACT process.


If you require our assistance then please do not hesitate to contact us on the numbers below.  If we are not on duty then please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.  However if the nature of your call is an emergency then please dial 999.


Gravesham Rural East Team:


Sgt Andy Lewis


01474 366363

PC Steve Cole


07800 675306

PCSO Darren Fielding


07772 226027

Office Number


01474 366012

Kent Police Switchboard

01622 690690 – if the matter is urgent but does not require a 999 response.


PC Steve Cole






I am pleased to report that in the last 12 months there has been a decrease in reported crime although this does not mean we can be complacent. If we are to try and ensure the downturn continues it is important that we are all ever vigilant. The three areas which have shown the largest number of incidents are Anti-social behaviour, Burglary and Vehicle Crime.


2008 saw the start of PACT meetings within the Village and it was most encouraging to see residents coming forward and volunteering to be part of this Group. Since the start we have held meetings on a quarterly basis in Higham Library and also have held one village walkabout.  It is our intention to continue holding meetings every three months in 2009 and also further walkabouts, as necessary.


In addition, Community Surgeries were held and we will in 2009 be holding further surgeries, hopefully every month to six weeks, so you can come and speak to either myself or your local Police Officer and PCSO in confidence regarding any concerns or problems you may have.


Another pleasing aspect of the past 12 months has been the success of the Walking Bus scheme and this now operates daily from/to the upper/middle part of the village. In October a second route was started from the lower part of the village up to the Primary School. This is currently running on a Tuesday morning, Thursday morning and afternoon and also a Friday afternoon. More adult helpers on this route would, hopefully, mean we can increase the frequency and also the number of children and eventually lead to daily running.


In closing may I say a big thank you to both the Parish Council and residents of Higham for all their co-operation over the last year.


I can be reached or a message left on: Mobile:  07811 271256 or e-mail: PhillipStephen.Gray@kent.gov.uk


Steve Gray

KCC Community Warden





HandyVan is a jointly run scheme with Kent County Council working in partnership with Help the Aged. The scheme is available to any person living in either Council or private property who is over 60 years of age.


HandyVan brings security and peace of mind to older people by making their homes more safe and secure.


HandyVan provides and fits a range of safety and security products in peoples’ homes.


The scheme is primarily aimed at older people on lower incomes and NO CHARGES are made for labour or products installed.


The range of products installed includes: SMOKE ALARMS, DOOR CHAINS, MORTICE LOCKS and BOLTS, WINDOW LOCKS and DOOR VIEWERS.


Any further information regarding this service can be obtained by calling to see me at the Library in Higham or by telephoning me on 07811 271256.


Steve Gray

Kent Community Warden ,Higham & Chalk





Can I ask you all to be very careful of the items which you leave in your cars.  It is an open invitation to break-ins, which are on the increase, particularly in rural areas.  Possessions are far safer in your house than in a vehicle.  Please be careful and help the police maintain a safe and secure village.

Pat Oakeshott


The Parish Church of ST. JOHN

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

St. John’s remains open daily (because of CCTV cameras) for all villagers or visitors. As worship is offered three times each day a ‘quiet entrance’ is appreciated. Such worship continues thanks to a small, loyal core. One stalwart worshipper and village character, Sam Weller, died in November. Much missed, the entrance porch is to be re-vamped in his memory. Sam served his Church for over forty years in many ways.


This year we have increased the number of All-Age involvement Sunday services followed by refreshments served in the Church.  Junior Church (Sunday School) runs each week. Any school-age child can be left in the care of our leaders and collected afterwards. Our young people’s group meets monthly. We hope to resume a Toddler Service and Group this year if we can find helpers to run it.


Our organist retires at Easter. We will search for a replacement but that is no easy task these days.     


We continue to be blessed with two very efficient, diligent Churchwardens. Thanks go to many people (not always members) who work in Church and hall in worship, with young people, cleaning, refreshments, magazine production, church draw, flowers, etc.  Particular thanks go to those who support it all financially. We do tithe what we spend on ourselves towards local and international mission work.


A very expensive problem remains with the collapsed wall at St. Mary’s Churchyard. At present chestnut fencing seals it off. A small part of the wall was re-built and new (donated) gates for funeral access occurred in 2008. The Church was only used twice because of works but this year it will be used four times.  Details will be in our Magazine.


Contact the Vicarage, telephone 01634 717360, for details of worship or any other way in which we may be able to help.


Fr. James Southward

Vicar of Higham (Rural Dean of Strood)





Back in October we held a Sunday School reunion which was very well supported. Over 30 people came along from all around and we were surprised that one lady made the journey from the ‘Isle of Wight’.


As usual, the Coffee Mornings were appreciated, and these will be continued this year. They will start in April through till September, on the second Saturday of each month, opening at 10.30am - 12 Noon. Entry is 50 pence including refreshments. There will be a ‘Bring and Buy’ stall and, if available, some home cooking may be bought. Make a note and come along. Proceeds go to a different charity each month. Why not come along!!


The annual visit from the Salvation Army band received a warm welcome in December, as well as a visit from a representative of the ‘London City Mission’ telling us of their work. But the month was really rounded off by services of Readings and Carols. Then on Christmas Morning, Mr Jack Shepherd conducted a short service as he has done for many years now.


Peter Christopher





The trustees met three times in 2008 to plan, arrange and review the annual distribution.


This time there were four single applicants and one couple. £40 was awarded to each applicant and £80 to the couple. Councillor Maggi Scott delivered the distributions during December.


The trustees have remained the same as last year; Father James Southward, Councillor Maggi Scott, Mrs Kate Haselden and Mr Les Baker.


Les Baker






The surface under the swings has been brought up to standard and so they are back in commission.  The slide has also been reinstated. Encouraged by lower levels of vandalism, we hope to install more equipment in 2009. Repairs to the north side fence have been postponed.


The ground continues to be very well used.


Shaun Walton and Stuart Wright 




We have had another busy year with the children and we have all reaped the benefits of the fenced outdoor area. We worked hard throughout the summer to remove the huge mound outside the main entrance and flattened the area to provide the children with a large area to explore. The children helped us sow the grass seed and as a result the grass has now grown and we are proposing to equip the area with wooden benches for the children to eat their lunch outside during the forthcoming summer. We received a donation from a parent of a child and will be able to buy two benches and hope that the remaining funds become available shortly.


We are currently running below numbers and are able to offer exceptional quality childcare and continue to open Monday to Friday from 9am until 3.15pm. Should you wish to visit and see what we have to offer then do feel free to call in.


If anyone has access to unwanted large sun shades similar to the ones used in pub gardens we would be very interested as we need to provide shaded areas for the children when they sit on the benches.


We can be contacted on 01474 822410. 


Suzanne Green





2008 was a sad, but successful and eventful year for Higham Primary. We had a successful OFSTED inspection in October and this was due to the dedication and commitment of staff and pupils. We also said goodbye to our Headteacher, Mrs Susan Greenfield, who worked with us for six years. We would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her hard work and dedication to the school during her time with us.


Our Year 6 pupils also said goodbye in style with their production of ‘What a lot of bother!’ The children put on an excellent show demonstrating a range of talent and dedication. These children have now all moved happily on to an array of secondary schools throughout Gravesham and Medway. In September we returned to mixed age classes with the exception of our Reception class.


The Governors of the school have also worked hard to help the school move smoothly through the changes that we have encountered over the past year.


Throughout 2008 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.


Easter 2009 will be an exciting time for Higham as we look forward to welcoming our new substantive Headteacher, Mrs Tracy Coombs.


We are grateful for the hard work of all of those involved with the school as we look forward to another successful year.


Miss R Wiles, Advisory Headteacher

Mrs C Grattan, Deputy Headteacher





2008 was an eventful year, with a degree of extreme turbulence during the summer, first with the Head Teacher, Susan Greenfield, suddenly resigning followed by a change of Advisory Head Teacher at a moment’s notice at the beginning of September. However, the Advisory Head Teachers with the immense support of the rest of the management team, the cohesive efforts of all the staff with the backing of the Governing Body led the school to attain a well deserved ‘satisfactory with some good points’ as mentioned in the Ofsted Report on their visit in September.


Security of the School has been enhanced with improvements to the fencing of the school grounds and we are planning to increase security at the entrance to the School this year. We have improved the Reception and Administration area and it is now designed better ergonomically.


Three years ago the Governors and Senior Management Team of the School were advised that due to the continuing reduction in the number of births, the number of children needing primary education would drop, so we were advised to reduce our Planned Admission Number from 38 to 30, ie to a one form intake. This year the Local Authority was caught out by the unprecedented number of siblings living within the village who wanted to join the Reception Year. In fact, over 80% of the intake had siblings already at the school, this is much higher than any previous year. Thus, unfortunately, the School was unable to accommodate all those that applied and despite many demands on the Local Authority to resolve the matter, none was forthcoming.


With the change of leadership and a new substantive Head Teacher, a Mrs Coombs, joining us at the beginning of Term 5 (20 April 2009), we firmly believe the School is well on track to improve upon its already satisfactory performance, thus benefiting the children magnificently. We must commend the staff for their drive and the parents and the PTA for their support, without which the success so richly-deserved would not happen.


Malcolm L. James

Chair of Governors






I can only but praise again the members of the PTA for providing another successful year of fund-raising which enabled us to assist the school in purchasing many much-needed items and presenting each class with an amount for their own individual needs.


September saw a change in some Committee Members when two long-standing parents stood down in their role as Vice-Chair and Treasurer but the positions were enthusiastically filled straight away. My thanks go to Nicola Defrates and Corinne Betts for their time and effort on the Committee.  I would also like to thank our Summer and Winter Fayre Co-ordinators who both took on the challenge to provide much entertainment and profit.  Also, thanks to our invaluable Secretary who has continued to do a sterling job. 


The Children’s Discos continue to be well-attended and thanks to our newly-appointed Co-ordinator and her fellow helpers for their success.  We also had a successful Quiz Night and two more Bag2School collections which boosted our funds further.


I would like to finish by thanking everybody involved in the running of the PTA and their events including the staff of the school and also to the Higham Community who never let us down in their support; without which we could not hold such successful events.


Leslie Pearton,  Chair





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 2009 are listed on page three of this booklet.  Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.




These are exciting times for Gad’s Hill School. In June 2008 we were granted our long awaited planning permission for a new school and Dickens Heritage Centre. Since June things have moved on very quickly and we are now looking at a construction start date of January 2010. First to be built will be our brand new car park which will not only benefit our parents but will also go a long way towards alleviating some of the drop off and pick up time congestion on the Gravesend Road. The rest of the building work is estimated to take approximately three years from start to completion. Once the school is in position and the children have moved out of the main house, work can begin on the Charles Dickens Heritage Centre. Clearly this is a very poignant time in the schools 85 year history and also an important period for the village of Higham.


In other news our GCSE results continue to be well above the national average with a 95% pass rate and in these monetarily difficult times the school remains in a very strong financial position. Our children have enjoyed a wide range of exciting activities over the last year with numerous trips abroad, outdoor pursuits with our Combined Cadet Force and theatre trips as well as some very exciting visitors to the school.


The school is very much looking forward to the changes that 2009 will bring and we hope that it will not be long before our neighbours in Higham will be able to celebrate our new school and heritage centre with us.


David Craggs, Headmaster




The Housebound Library Service is no longer operating in Higham due to so few users.


If you know of anyone who is in need of books, please ring me.


Pat Oakeshott




The tennis courts, weather permitting, have continued to be used throughout the year.


We are grateful to the Higham Parish Council who awarded us with a very welcome grant and this money has enabled us to press on with the lighting box, which is now almost ready for use (and thus the court lighting), for evening tennis and 5-a-side football.


If anyone is interested in hiring the courts, at an extremely reasonable rate, please pop into the Village Greengrocers for information and hiring.


Ann Kevill





Higham Rainbows celebrated 2008 in style as this was a special year for the Rainbows as they have been going for 21 years with a unit in Higham since 2002. The Rainbows had a number of celebrations take place, the first being in May when they held a joint party with the unit in Chalk. The girls showed off their Morris dancing which they had been practising a few weeks beforehand, along with party games and food. Later in the year they were invited to a Princess party along with other units from Gravesend.


At the end of the Summer term the Rainbows, along with the Brownies and Guides, helped run the refreshments stall at the Higham Community Day in the Library. Rainbows is for girls aged between 5 to 7 years old, and meet weekly on Friday evenings in St John’s Church hall. Although there is currently a waiting list, if you have a daughter who might be interested in joining us please do not hesitate to contact Julie on 01474 822008.


Julie Healey





Firstly, Hello I am Sooty Owl (Krissi) and I along with Tawny Owl (Sharon) have stepped into Brown Owls shoes. I have been an assistant guider to Rainbows for 3 years and Sharon is doing her leadership training in Brownies.   We now have a pack of 30 Brownies which certainly keeps Sharon and I on our toes. We also have another 20 on our waiting list.


Since Sharon and I took it over in September we have achieved three badges: our seasons badge, our brownie skills badge and our first aid badge, for which special thanks should be said to the Red Cross for coming out and making the night very enjoyable. Along with a Halloween party, a trip to the life boats and we have even had a pretend camp fire in the hall with some great singing from the girls and the two dads that organised it.


I am not sure of what the girls got up to before we stepped in but we know that in July they did a sponsored stay awake at Hopehill for Kay’s Garden. It was a long night but all the girls that came managed to raise lots of money and stayed awake till 1am. (Surprise, surprise.)


We have got lots planned for this year, more badges to be earned, trips to Monkey Bizz, the Police station, Morris dancing, pottery and glass painting and a pack holiday in October where I will be doing my pack holiday license. Also in September we will be having an opening ceremony along with all the other guiding packs in the area to open the year long centenary celebrations.


Lastly we would just like to thank Brown Owl for trusting us with her pack and to say Good bye and good luck. Also, a Big thank you to Snowy Owl, Molly, Rajdeep and the parent helpers as without them we would not have a Pack. Also, a thank you to the Brownies for being so good and fun to work with.


Contact Details: Krissi 01474 823500 and Sharon 01474 823538


Krissi Higgins and Sharon Maynard

Sooty Owl and Tawny Owl




What a busy and challenging year I have had since taking up the position of Guide Leader last April. Taking on this role was an experience from which I am still learning with the help of the guides themselves.  However, I was thrown in the deep end with seven new girls starting with me culminating in a full pack.


April saw St George’s Day Parade, which many of the girls attended, parading through Gravesend Town Centre to Fort Gardens, saluting the Mayor of Gravesham (Pat Oakeshott) midway, alongside the Scouts, Cubs, Beavers, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides of the Gravesham Area and renewing their promise.  May resulted in sore feet for some after the annual ten-mile Kay’s Garden Sponsored Walk!  In July, we provided not one but two teams to the Discovery Day at Hopehill where they enjoyed events such as Archery, Rifle-Shooting, Cooking and many Arts and Crafts.  Four girls stayed for the Sponsored Stay Awake the same evening, who had no trouble whatsoever in staying awake until 3am (some even longer).  In August, we provided a stall at the Higham Library at the Open Day and in October, the Guides were rewarded for their hard work with a trip to the Ice-Rink.  Weekly activities have included working for Badges and
Go-4-Its which have shown off their many talents providing small dance shows, organising parties, map-reading providing a walk around the village, arranging games, cooking and the list goes on and on. And, from September 2009 until October 2010, the Guide movement celebrates its Centenary Year with many wonderful activities taking place.


Sadly, we said goodbye to four of our eldest Guides, two of whom wish to continue their guiding by becoming Young Leaders.  The waiting list is now empty so if your daughter is nearing the age of ten and would like to join the list, please let me know.


Shirley Pearton






Higham Scout Group is moving from strength to strength. We have a membership of 72. Together the young people and leaders have enjoyed gaining new skills and having fun together.  Amongst a varied programme the Beavers have learned how to play African drums and had a close encounter with a snake and huge spiders. They are currently teaming up with a Joey pack in Australia. Cubs were victorious at the District cross country event and had a fun filled summer camp at Hopehill. The Scout troop is flourishing with nearly 30 young people and they have taken part in many of the events run by the District, including winning the main camping and cooking competition called the JP Bond Trophy.


Part of the Scout promise is to think of others and this year we raised over £2,000, 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 and the Hall Committee for enabling us to have such a splendid meeting place every week.


Our meeting times are:


Scout Group



Beaver Scouts

Fridays 5.30–6.30pm

Kevin Oaten: 01634 727358

Cub Scouts

Fridays 6.30–8.00pm

Louise Warner: 01474 822355


Fridays 8.00–9.45pm

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











on SATURDAY, 27 JUNE 2009 at 7.00pm


TICKETS:  £5 including hot supper – Tables of 8

Refreshments available – bring your own drink




(All proceeds to fund an educational trip to London)




Once again we have had a good year, but, unfortunately, we have lost several of our long-standing members which has placed us in the position of needing new members to bring our membership up to a reasonable number.  If anybody would like to come along to the school on a Friday evening at 8pm to have a chat and see what we do, you would be most welcome. We meet in the hall behind the main building where the car park is situated.  At our Christmas Party we presented the Trophy to Mike Clair and the Cup to June Burton for coming top of our League Table.


If you would like more information regarding our meetings you can contact me on 01474 822567.


Eileen Poulton





We have seen a growth in numbers of members over the past year at Higham Youth Club.  New members are always welcome at any time!  We are here for the young people in Higham aged between 10 years and 16 years.  We are also hoping to set up a separate youth club for the older age group (15+) in the near future.


What happens at youth club?  Young people can come along with their friends to socialise in a safe and happy environment.  We have a selection of activities on offer but generally it is up to the young people to decide what they want to do.  They can play games such as basketball, pool, table tennis, table football.... or sing using the karaoke machine or PS2 Singstar...... play on the Wii....... use the keyboard ..... and we have now ordered Guitar Hero – World Tour Complete Band set for the Wii.... so you really can come along to youth club to MAKE MUSIC!  We also have some circus equipment, and had a circus skills evening last term.


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.


At the time of writing this piece we are looking forward to a residential trip in March to a PGL centre (predominantly funded by a grant awarded by the Kent Community Foundation (Grassroots grants)).  During the course of the weekend the young people will be able to take part in activities such as abseiling, climbing, fencing, giant swing, quad biking, and in the evenings there will be a disco, quiz night and other organised activities.


We have also been awarded £300 from the Gravesham Borough Council Community Chest Fund.


Each week youth club runs due to a small team of dedicated volunteers.  However, we do need some more volunteers to help occasionally.  Volunteers do not need to have any particular skills but just a willingness to help young people.  You might like to help with the tuck shop or supervise the table tennis, or join in with a game of bowling on Wii Sports... Or you might like to supervise a group of young people on the recreation ground in the lighter evenings.  You may only be able to help once or twice per month – that is OK – you could join our rota.  Of course, to safeguard our young members we do carry out a Criminal Record Bureau check on any adult volunteering to help. 


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... we are very flexible. 


You might see a Police Car in the Memorial Hall Car Park during youth club sessions... don’t worry!  It doesn’t mean trouble.  The Police, PCSOs and/or Community Warden often pop in to see us, not because of trouble but so the young people can get to know them.  Our members have benefited from this as they find it so much easier to approach Police Officers, or the Warden, or PCSOs at other times if need be.  The atmosphere is always light-hearted and most of the time the Officers just like a nice cup of tea and use of our tuck shop.  (They have also been known to compete with the young members on the Wii!)  We appreciate the support of our Community Partners and our Village benefits from this too.


If you want any more information please call me on 07934 562085 or contact us through our website which is www.higham-youth-club.btck.co.uk (please note new website address).


Joanne Raff, Leader, Higham Youth Club





As you all know, your Parish Council likes to take note and celebrate all those residents who have very special birthdays or celebrations (ie wedding anniversary).  I do, however, need you to give me the information.  Please ring me on 822771 and I will do the rest.


Pat Oakeshott




Another year goes by in the year of the hall with all of its little niggles, most of which are sorted out by our gallant band of volunteers.  The new sound system seems to be working quite well and there is now an instruction sheet on the inside of the unit – so no excuses for not being able to operate the system!  (Thanks to Roy George for the instructions.) 


Bookings seem to be holding up with the welcome return of a few wedding receptions.  There are numerous activities taking place in the hall, all of which are accessible via the list at the back of your Parish newsletter.  The hall is now in possession of an electric organ which has come via the youth club whose membership seems to be growing by leaps and bounds! 


On a fiscal note we have put the letting fees up this year to all groups due to the increase in our overheads, ie all the utilities.  The water rate has almost doubled!  The stage now has a safety rail around the sides so after 30 years you can now feel safe whilst performing on the stage!  (Regarding the stage could all users please tie back the grey side curtains back after use.)  Do not forget the boot fairs on the second Sundays of the month as this is our main method of fund-raising for the general maintenance of the hall.  Thanks go to all those on the committee who help with the running of the hall and fund-raising.


Keith Bradley





When Parishioners are kindly telephoning us to report a street light which is not lit please could they give us the exact location and the column number which is painted on the post, as Kent Highway Services tell us that they are able to deal with the problem much quicker if both of these bits of information are supplied.


Linda Carnall





We are still continuing to grow steadily with eight teams now running from under-7s to under-15s playing in the Gravesend Boys and Primary League. They are all doing very well some being in semi-finals of the cups and some in contention for league champions.


As always, we are ever thankful for the use of Higham Primary School and the Recreation ground but really are desperate for more ground for the boys to play football on.  If anyone has any ideas to help us, please contact the Secretary.


Boys and girls from 6 years to 15 years are always welcome to come and join us, we try to encourage ability and maintain fitness while having fun. Please contact our secretary if interested on 01474 822607.     



Mrs Pat Jeal  





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 07762 338478. My email address is neil.stephens21@blueyonder.co.uk


Neil Stephens





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


Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club is looking to bring in new players for this season to continue to build on the fantastic growth it has seen over the past two years of competitive cricket. Whether it be as a player, umpire, scorer or helper, the club is fully inclusive of all genders, races and ages and puts an emphasis on having fun over everything else.


We are looking for young and not-so-young cricketers - all ages, all abilities to help fill our U9, U11 and U13 and U15 teams, as well as our senior teams, ready for the new season.


We shall be repeating the CricketForce Event (a sort of ‘Changing Rooms’ meets ‘Ground Force’) that was so well supported last year to see whether we might be able to complete some of the outstanding jobs with as much help from anyone outside the club as possible. Look out for more details coming soon.


Our junior cricket has been a tremendous success in the last few years as we have seen a small, but dedicated, young squad blossom under the guidance of our ECB qualified coaches.


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 would like to hear from you if:


●   You are a boy or girl who would like to learn how to play cricket or join one of our teams.


●   You are interested in donning your whites and hearing the leather on willow, or know someone who might be interested.

●   You are out of touch with the game but would like to join like-minded bodies at our nets.

●   You have no interest in playing the game but would like to be associated with our friendly club as a social member


Our first fund-raising event for the season was planned for 14 March, at Cliffe Woods School, when we had a fun ‘Quiz Nite’.



Nets (Kings School, Rochester)


Juniors (hard ball)        

U11 and U13   

Sundays, 5 – 6pm



Mondays, 7 – 8pm

Seniors (also hard ball)


Sundays, 5 – 6pm


Training (Ham River Hill)




Tuesdays, 6.30 – 7.30 pm,

from April, date tba


10 & over     

Thursdays, 6.30 – 8pm,

from April, date tba


Contact details:             Home: 01634 200817

                                    Email: secretary@higham-mockbeggarcc.co.uk


Keith Short

Honorary Secretary

Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club





Here we are again with another growing season and more challenges to grow the best, tastiest and freshest fruit and vegetables. If you want to reduce food miles and eat good seasonal food, the ideal is to grow your own produce.


We have a waiting list for Parish allotments with the economic downturn making it more attractive for home grown fruit and vegetables.  It is, however, disappointing that we have a small number of plots that remain uncultivated.  There may be sound reasons why this is so, but the Parish Council is keen to encourage and maximise the number of productive plots.   If you wish to give up an existing plot to enable others to take it over and bring it into cultivation we would be most grateful if you could contact the Parish Clerk. 


Happy Gardening,


Alan Howard





Two shows, a plant sale, quiz evening, interesting speakers, a visit to a lovely garden in June, plus, our Christmas celebration made up the 2008 programme for Garden Club members.


Owing to the poor growing weather, many of our crops were not up to their usual standard. That caused a noticeable reduction of exhibits entered into both shows. We were, however, well supported by members of the public with their purchases from the produce/plant stall.


Our monthly meetings are held in the small room of the Memorial Hall on the second Thursday of each month at 8pm.  New members and visitors would be most welcome.


Peggy Husband




HiARA is a voluntary non-profit making organisation and is one of over 70 such clubs throughout Kent.  Since it was formed, early in 2003, the club has proved to be very popular and with a maximum membership of 200 we have operated a waiting list for the last 18 months.


The objective of the group is to provide the opportunity for anyone over the age of 50, who is retired or semi-retired, to keep active in mind and body.  We meet every Friday afternoon and two Wednesday mornings each month, for a range of activities, including short-mat bowls, new age kurling, line dancing, exercises, quizzes and board games.  We also have well supported monthly art, craft and computer groups.


The fourth Friday in the month is earmarked for our general meeting and in the past year we have welcomed some popular speakers.  These meetings generally attract 100+ members together with several guests. 


In addition to the activities in the hall we have monthly rambles, outings to places of interest and holidays. Recently a luncheon club was formed and this is proving to be a success.


We publish a monthly newsletter which is distributed to members and those on the waiting list to keep them up to date with news of the club.  We also post information in the library and on www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk/hiara


As with most organisations we are indebted to our committee and the dedicated band of volunteers who help with refreshments, setting out the hall, running the raffle and book stall etc.


If you are interested in joining us to take part in our programme and make new friends do call us on 01634 715959.


Eileen Rice

Membership Secretary





The Higham Village History Group was formed in May 1997, for those interested in local history.  Our books of ‘Higham in Old Photographs’, Volume 1 & 2, have been selling well and are to be found in homes across the globe.  However, we are still collecting memorabilia/photos and there may be a Volume 3 in the future.


Many interesting talks were held in 2008.  In March, we heard about ‘People, Plots and Plants’, which was just right for the onset of Spring.  Then for our 11th AGM in May, we had a talk on ‘Higham Then and Now’, where Andrew Rootes continued with extracts from ‘Higham in Old Photos’ Volume 2, with comparisons of current scenes.  In July, we heard ‘History in Comic Verse, 1066 to the Internet’ from the Benedictine Monk speaker.  This was an evening full of rhymes, poems & riddles.  September followed with a talk on the ‘Black Death & Aftermath’, which was far less gruesome and much more fun that it sounded! Our year closed in November, when our speaker dressed and acted as Charles Dickens for his talk on ‘Taking Dickens to America’.  We learnt about the huge Dickens fairs which were like real life Victorian towns. Only in America!


2009 began with ‘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. Felt quite thirsty after that one!  The usual question arose as to ‘Do you put the milk in first or after?’


In May, our new season will begin with our AGM and talk on ‘Cobham College’.  And, if you have not been there already, it is well worth a visit! 


Then as part of the Gravesham Heritage Festival, we will open St Mary’s Church, with Reminiscences readings and an exhibition of photos. 


Further talks, will include Evacuees from Gravesend in WW2, Folklore of Chalk Village, The Pilgrims Way in Kent, Gravesend Outdoor Swimming Pool and finally the 1851 Exhibition.

Our Website is proving very popular, with many people sharing information on Higham, whilst tracing their family history.  It is frequently updated with photos and relevant information. 


All talks commence @ 20.00 hrs 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   




What a year 2008 was, to say the least, a very trying year, we saw a few of our members suffering broken bones, operations etc, so I hope that 2009 will be a better year for us. Having said that, we did have fun with the new games, speakers and entertainers. We always manage to have our strawberries and cream afternoon, plus the fish & chip meals.


This year we welcomed Fred and Lillian to the club. We meet every Monday between 1.30-4pm at St John’s Church hall in Higham, so if you would like to come along and join us please give me a call on
01474 824110. Our club has been running now for 18 years and we are continuing to thrive as a voluntary non-profit making group, so I really appreciate the people that help run the club with me and give up their time, especially my treasurer, April, who is always willing to help me in anyway she can, and, of course, look after the money.  Each year we try to vary our programme to keep it fresh by introducing different games etc, in addition to our normal activities we organise coach outings, we do subsidise the coach trips, and, where possible, put on a free trip. The weekly Bingo is always a great success, and the winning stakes are now higher.


During 2008 we have had many events which raised funds towards our Christmas and anniversary party .Each year we support an animal charity and are always in need of towels, and wool which our ladies kindly knit blankets with.


Delia Goldie




The Society has had another busy year, although, due to the ambient economic climate, the number of local planning applications being submitted has been low latterly, however, we have continued our basic work of monitoring these as they together bring about creeping change. 


There have not been any definite new major issues but there continue to be newspaper articles about estuary airports, additional river crossings and tidal power schemes which we are keeping under continuous review.  The various Thames Gateway projects, already approved through the planning systems, also continue to be rolled out and result in increased traffic and loss of open space.


Other items that have received particular attention include:



On lighter matters: The Society was active at several local exhibitions, fetes and fairs, for example, RSPB at Bromhey, Gravesend and Higham Libraries and Cliffe Church.


Mrs Susan Lindley

Committee Member of DCPS





We began 2008 with a concert at Chalk Church where we sang a selection of anthems and sacred music in the first half, and music ranging from The Teddy Bears’ Picnic to the Beach Boys in the second half.


Our tour was a return visit to Ruishton Church in Somerset where we sang to a packed church.


The summer concert was at St James’, Cooling as St Mary’s, Higham was undergoing repairs. We were accompanied on this occasion by a Wind Quartet and, amongst other music, performed a selection from ‘Les Miserables’.


Our Christmas concert was at St John’s, Higham where we sang Christmas music and Carols, old and new, with the audience joining in some of the familiar ones.


The Group has approximately 30 members and welcomes new members at all times. If you would like to join us (there is no audition) please call me on 01474 822702.


Forthcoming Events:


Spring Concert

St Helen’s, Cliffe

Saturday, 28 March

Summer Concert

St. Mary’s, Higham

Saturday, 4 July

Christmas Concert

St John’s, Higham

Saturday, 19 December


Our Tour in 2009 is to Titchfield where we are singing at St Peter’s Church.


Wendy Hance






As always the club caters for all age groups. Entertainment includes Disco’s or live acts on most Saturdays, Fridays occasional Quiz Nights. Sunday is Bingo night and the 1st Wednesday in every month is our bingo afternoon, 2-4pm open to non-members also.  We have an excellent friendly Golf Society which caters for all levels of player. Snooker, Pool and Darts available.


Allotments can be hired at a reasonable rent. We also run several outings during the year to cater for various interests.


Our facilities include two comfortably furnished halls, which can now be hired out for private use to members and non-members at a very reasonable charge. I am pleased to say this is proving very successful being an ideal venue for parties, weddings, christenings and funerals, use of kitchen available and large car parking facilities.


The club now has a website www.highamvillageclub.co.uk and is updated regularly with any forthcoming events. New members especially from the village are always welcome: just pop in and see about joining or telephone 01474 822456 alternately e-mail highamvillageclub@hotmail.com


Lynne White, Secretary





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.


As well as providing a freshly cooked, high quality lunch, we endeavour to provide a regular programme of items of interest to our Members.  During the year this included regular keep-fit sessions; shoe and clothes sales; speakers and entertainers; and a visit to Little Hermitage for a strawberry tea (courtesy of Mrs Geraldine Cox).


We continue to be very grateful to our team of volunteers 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 who act as Hostesses, Drivers and Cooks.


Barbara West, Co-ordinator





Kent Wildlife Trust together with the Royal Horticultural Society and local authorities across Kent, have pooled their expertise in a joint project ‘Wild about Gardens’.  The project aims to inspire local people to take action for wildlife through gardening.  Why not set a good example to your neighbours and join the Wildlife Gardening Awards Scheme which is free to enter.  The scheme is open to all types and sizes of gardens; private business; community groups and schools – even a whole street or village can apply! 


Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates will be awarded.  Gold winners will also receive a plaque to display in their garden and will automatically be entered into the ‘Best Wildlife Garden in Kent’ Award.  The scheme starts on 30 March but the closing date is not until 30 June and the certificates will be awarded in the autumn at a ceremony organised by Gravesham Borough Council.  To enter simply apply on line at www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk or contact Maureen Rainey at the Kent Wildlife Trust, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3BD, telephone 01622 662012 for an application form.  Application forms can also be obtained from Martin Wates at Gravesham Borough Council, Brookvale Depot, Springhead Road, Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent DA11 8HW, telephone 01474 337663.





Our institute has 48 members. Our year has been busy and activities varied. We held three Home Economic events, providing various themes, a Mediterranean night, a casserole, curry and pasta night and lastly a Ration Day evening. In February our President and Secretary manned a table at the Boot Fair.


The Cup Challenge in May took a slightly different format with classes for needlework, flower arranging, cooking and paper craft. We had two joint winners.


The District Quiz night was attended by several ladies, they didn’t win, but enjoyed it.  Nine members went to a Taster Day at Denman College, three enjoyed a Day of Dance and the more adventurous took part in a Canoeing and Curling day. Ten Pin bowling has recommenced, and we hope that this continues. Many went to the outdoor theatre at Hever Castle to see the ‘Pirates of Penzance’, the weather was great and we enjoyed a pre-show picnic and drinkies!  


Speakers have ranged from ‘The Darling Buds of May’, the ‘Sutton Hoo Burial Ship’, the ‘History of Dreamland’ the ‘Story of Waitrose’, ‘Horatio Nelson and Emma’, ‘Where there’s a will there’s a relative’ and the ‘alternative Calendar girls’. Our Drama group has gone from strength to strength and provided some enjoyable entertainment, especially at the Christmas evening.  We plan and hope to have a successful 2009.


Pat Merrison, Secretary





Copperfield Clog, your local women’s north-west Morris dancing side in Higham, continues to meet for practice sessions most Thursday evenings from September through to April/May in St John’s Church Hall, Higham. We are now in the throes of putting together our spring/summer programme – so do look out for further details.


Copperfield Clog is always keen to hear from new recruits – musicians and dancers.  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. 


To contact Copperfield Clog please do telephone our secretary, Janice, on 01634 376654 or, alternatively, e-mail us at copclog@aol.com.  The programme, along with information about Copperfield Clog and a photo gallery, can be found on our new website, at www.copperfield-clog.org.uk

Judi Stanley

Publicity Officer for Copperfield Clog





Dance classes are every Friday at St John’s Church Hall, Hermitage Road, Higham.



Age 3 to 7

Age 7 to 12

Age 12+


6.15 to 7pm

7 to 8pm

8 to 9pm.


The classes teach street dance and are suitable for all abilities.  You can learn new moves, keep fit and make new friends!


Shows have included: Higham fête, Eleanor Fun Day, Big Day Out Gravesend, fashion shows and street dance competitions.  We have raised over £3,000 for the Mayor’s charities.


Established: 3 years.


Contact:  Emma Cater – 07766 886827.


Emma Cater




Higham Writers were formed in 2005, initially meeting in Higham Library, where under the guidance of Denise Leppard, they are tackling just about every aspect of writing for pleasure and profit. Denise was a freelance writer for most of her life, and has been able to help some members get into print and others simply to improve and enjoy the process of self expression through writing.


One of our most enjoyable activities is writing and planning for our public presentations. We prepare plays, sketches, monologues and short stories suitable for reading aloud - and have presented these for local groups such as Age Concern and HiARA, and more recently for the Ellenor Hospice. Our grand annual Showcase is held in May of each year, at the library, where it will be advertised for those who would like to attend.


We have a varied bunch of members; all ages and with different interests in pursuing their writing. Though tutor-led, individuals can work at their own pace, and tackle either the given assignments or their own choice. It is not all hard work – the meetings are fun – but, of course, the object of the group is to improve and expand writing skills and to produce work that others will enjoy listening to or reading.  Having said that, we are not an amateur dramatic group – just a bunch of writers – and potential new members do not have to perform publicly if they have no wish to do so.


This year we moved out of the library due to space constraints, and now meet each Monday morning from 10.15am to 12.15pm in Higham Village Club.


Further details, including membership vacancies, are available from Denise Leppard:


Telephone:         01474 822881

E-mail:                 delep@tiscali.co.uk






This is the craft clubs’ second year and we have gone from strength to strength. We now have two classes on alternate Tuesdays and Fridays with 12 to 15 ladies in each class.


We have been on several trips to craft events using the Medway Villager. These were a great success. We think we have helped a lot of ladies find a hidden artistic streak!


We had a Christmas dinner at the Gardener’s Arms which was very nice. We feel we have really achieved something with the club and, hopefully, helped a few bored housewives find a creative hobby and make new friends.


We look forward to another successful year.



Irene Love and Gillian Whitehead





Our patchwork and quilting group continues to meet every other Thursday evening 7.30 to 9.30pm at Merston Court.


We enjoy helping each other learn new techniques and patterns, producing some beautiful quilts and cushions, etc.


We are members of the South Eastern area Quilters Guild, attend workshops and exhibitions around the south and enjoy general days out to shows.


If you are interested in patchwork and quilting and would like to join us or know more please call me, Linda Parr, on 01474 823129.


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.  Our aim is for children and adults to dance for enjoyment and this is a fun way to exercise and keep fit whilst also learning different styles of dance.


2008 was a great year for the dancing school.  We performed at the Mayor’s show which was a great success.


Our exam session was held in November and all children gained outstanding marks. We also gained 19 honours, which is the highest mark that can be achieved.


Pantomime season was soon upon us and Katie Smith successfully auditioned to gain her place in Cinderella.


We are currently rehearsing for our 2009 show ‘Dance to the Music’, which will take place at The Brook Theatre on Saturday, 20 June. Tickets are available direct from the Box Office if you would like to join us for this evening of entertainment and dance.


If you would like information about any of the classes we offer then please do not hesitate to contact me on the number below:


Home:                 01634 220766

Mobile:              07813 050493


E-mail:                 claire.buckleys@virgin.net

Web site:           www.cbuckleydance.co.uk


Claire Buckley






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, 2008, saw yet another very successful year for the workshop.  An early highlight in the year was in April when we took part in ‘An Evening of Entertainment’ for the Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Mrs Pat Oakeshott.  The pupils at Stage Arts staged an outstanding performance of ‘A Touch of Oliver’ much to the delight of the very special audience.  All proceeds from the evening’s entertainment went to the Mayor of Gravesham’s charities.


In June, our Stage Arts pupils once again took part in the festivities of the Dickens Festival in Rochester, and we have been asked by the organisers to perform again in 2009.


As usual, the climax for the year was in November when the children performed a fabulous production of ‘Time Heroes II – Double Trouble’.  This production was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone and it attracted huge audiences.  Our major production for 2009 promises to be just as impressive – details will be published later this year.


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 08456 647469.


Angela Shade















FRIDAY, 3 JULY at 7pm


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A chance for us all to get together with

light and varied music.


Bring your own chair, food and wine.


Tickets:  £3.    Children under 14 years free.


Tickets available from Parish Councillors,

Higham Library and various shops.





Age Concern

01474 822654

Age Concern Referrals

01474 823380           


01634 727358


01474 823500 / 01474 823538

Choral Group

01474 822702

Claire Buckley School of Dancing

01634 220766

Community Warden and PACT

(Steve Gray)

07811 271256

Congregational Church

01634 362939

Copperfield Clog

01634 376654

Copperfield Quilters  (Higham Quilters)

01474 823129


01474 822355

Dickens Country Protection Society

01322 275389

Eagles Football Clubs

01474 822607

Emma’s Street Dance

07766 886827

Explorer Scouts

01474 823187

Garden and Allotment Society

01474 822368


01474 822080


01634 715959

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

PACT – Peter Leakey

01474 822516

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 Mrs Pat Oakeshott


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


01474 822771

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 Amanda Mendzil

7 Telegraph Hill, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7NN

01634 725929

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 Stuart Wright

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

01634 717336


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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