Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2011

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Photograph of the recent Lower Thames Crossing meeting held at the Memorial Hall

Photograph of the 2nd February 2011 Lower Thames Crossing meeting held at the Memorial Hall.




My Dear Friends,


As May approaches with the promise of Borough and Parish Council elections, I must take this opportunity to thank sincerely the ladies and gentlemen who have served us in our village over the past four years in their capacity as members of our Parish Council – they have been a great team to work with and I do hope they will all seek re-election.  Their names are to be found on the back of this booklet.  Mrs Carnall, our Clerk, has, and will continue to work tirelessly for us – Linda, what would we do without you?  Our grateful thanks.


It was with sadness that we learnt that Mr Bryan Sweetland will not be standing as our Borough Councillor.  He has been a tower of strength and has shown great loyalty to our village and we wish him well.  A very special thank you goes to Councillor Pat Oakeshott, who, after 20 years of service is retiring as a Borough Councillor too.  I am sure all members of our village send their love and thanks to Pat for all she has done for us over the years in that capacity – and that wonderful year when she was Mayor – and rode through the village in the Mayoral car!  So, we look forward to welcoming two new Borough Councillors…


During the year most of you will have met our new Police Officer, Gemma Pawley and Pete Hylands (Support Officer).  I was delighted when they called here recently and commented on the well-motivated and well behaved youth of the village, which is due in no small part to the efforts of Joanne Raff and her team who organise the youth clubs.  They also commented on the generally calm atmosphere in our village, due in no small part to our Community Warden, Steve Grey, the eyes and ears of our community.


We have enjoyed two excellent Band Concerts and I look forward to seeing you all at this year’s on 1 July.

My best wishes to you all,




Having been your Borough Councillor for 20 years, I have decided to retire in May. I would like to thank you for all your support over the past years and to say how much I have enjoyed working on your behalf and endeavouring to keep our village safe from developers.


I am particularly pleased to have started the Village Housing Projects (Jupp Court and Isis Cottages) and am looking forward to five more affordable houses at the Chequers Inn site for our young families.  Sometimes, I have not always managed to do as you asked and for my failures I do apologise.


I shall (I hope) still be on the Parish Council and so available if you need help.


Again, my thanks to you all.


Pat Oakeshott




The year 2012 will be a year of celebration for our village.  Firstly, it is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens who lived at Gads Hill Place for the last 13 years of his life.  Secondly, is the 150th anniversary for St John’s Church.  Thirdly, it is the Olympic year and, last but not least, celebrations are planned for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.


In addition to our Summer Prom Concert your Parish Council hopes to organise a firework display on the same evening.  In order to fund this celebration a Grand Village Raffle is being organised by the Scouts on behalf of the village with tickets being available to purchase locally between April 2011 and October 2011.  Please look out for the posters throughout the village and on our web site for more information.



at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:

Monday, 4 April


Thursday, 14 April


Monday, 9 May

Annual Parish Council Meeting.

Monday, 11 July


Monday, 5 September


Monday, 10 October


Monday, 7 November

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Monday, 28 November

Christmas meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham.


Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.




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 2011 are listed above.  Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.



Visit www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk


The Higham Parish web site contains useful news and information on village organisations as well as Parish Council meeting dates and documents.  We have between 2,000 to 3,000 visits per month from indexing web robots and people all over the world.  Any village group or club is welcome to publish important information for the community.  Please contact Linda Carnall, Parish Clerk on 01474 822642 or email enquiries@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk.


Clive Stanley,

Parish Webmaster



 You are cordially invited to attend the 




 at 7.30pm


Rolf Williams, Communications Officer for RSPB Kent, will give a talk entitled

‘The Work of the RSPB on the North Kent Marshes’



As most of you will know, the development at the Chequers Public House was started in December and, by the time you read this, will be well on its way to completion in the summer. This will provide five two and three bedroom houses for our young families in the village and will be a welcome addition to the village housing stock.  May I remind you all, that if you need housing, you must be on the Gravesham Council Housing List.


Pat Oakeshott




We would like to thank Kent Highways for selecting our village to take part in the trials for a jumbo salt and grit bag which was supplied to certain rural areas as a self-help measure for the winter months to supplement the salt supplied in the salt bins.  We have purchased a salt spreader and this is now housed with the grit bag close to the centre of the village.  This equipment is available to be used ANYWHERE in Higham it is needed, BUT in order for this to happen we need to hear from Parishioners who would be willing to volunteer to help with snow clearance in the next spell of bad weather and to assist with operating the salt spreader.  If you feel that you could offer to help in some small way in the event of snow please telephone the Clerk on 01474 822642 and leave your details.


We would also like to thank Councillor Barry Sutherland who took over the responsibility for snow clearance in the centre of the village and Gaynor Powell who kindly donated a heavy duty trolley which has been invaluable in moving our grit bag back into storage when it is refilled. Congratulations also to the innovative residents of Walmers Avenue who were quick out of the starting blocks by organising a collection to purchase their very own lockable grit bin for use in the road.  If any other residents wish to join together in such an initiative I now have details of a new grit bin on wheels which can be trundled in the snow but is of a size that it can be stored in either a garden or garage.  Please let me know if you wish to have further details.


Did you attend our assembly in 2010?  If not, make a note of this year’s date (14 April 2011) and make sure you come along for an excellent evening with refreshments.


Linda Carnall, Parish Clerk




We are grateful to Kent County Councillor, Mike Snelling, for funding the wooden bollards to the grass verge at the bottom of School Lane from his personal Members’ Highways Budget allocation.








Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground


Precept 2010/2011


General Administration


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


Insurance claim


Grants made


Proms event


Proms event












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 31.3.10 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.



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 26th 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, 6 September 2010.

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

Deborah Hunt and Graham Edwards, 17 Lake Drive.

SECOND PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Anne and Rob Miles, 13 Highwood Close.

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Dorothy and Fred Figg, 1 Oak Drive.

‘HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45 Bull Lane.

Gladys and Jeffrey Howes, 12 St. John’s Road.

Marlies Browne, 24 Beech Grove.

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

Evelyn and John Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.

‘HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

John Thornton, 26 Chilton Drive.


The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.


Linda Carnall




During 2010, the Planning Committee has inspected all the applications in the village.  Some of these have been very controversial and we have objected to many plans for being unsuitable to our village environment.  Some of these plans have been turned down by the Borough Council, but regretfully, have gone on to a Planning Appeal and we await the results.


Pat Oakeshott and Les Pearton




KALC serves Parish and Town Councils in Kent.  The Association is governed by its membership.  The Gravesham Area Committee is represented by five Parish Councils including Cobham, Luddesdown, Meopham, Vigo and Higham who each have two representatives.  It is essential to have this body (KALC) at a time of great concern to the people of Kent who have been threatened by a Third Thames Crossing, an airport in the estuary and a proposed International Gateway at Wrotham involving 270 acres of mainly Green Belt land with an estimated 5,000 HGV movements per day. KALC through its work with our Councils informs and fights threats to our towns and villages and Green Belt land.

Barry Sutherland




In 2009 we were pleased to inform you of a new Scarecrow Competition within Lower Higham which had taken place the previous summer and which had been well supported. Subsequently, the Parish Council offered sponsorship to the organisers to enable them to keep this novel village event going.  However, sadly, last year the number of entrants had dramatically fallen and the organisers have decided not to organise a competition this year but to launch it again in 2012 to coincide with the village celebrations.  Please watch our web site for further details...




If you should spot a street light not lit or a pothole developing in a road please telephone the Clerk with the details so that Kent Highways can be notified. Please collect as much information as possible, for example, which property is the problem outside of, number on lamp standard, how deep the pothole is, etc, as this means that it will be dealt with more quickly. Thank you.




Please can we respectfully remind Parishioners that the contents of the grit bins located around our village are to help them negotiate the footways and highways in the event of bad weather.  This winter we have received numerous complaints from residents who have spotted the contents being used in gardens and even to enable local businesses to operate.




The Parish allotments remain in demand and we have a healthy waiting list which requires action to be taken by the Parish Council. It is unfortunate that whilst the majority of allotments are cultivated by extremely hardworking individuals, their work is frustrated by the few overgrown plots, allowing invasion of unwanted weeds and grasses. This is frustrating to the majority investing great time and energy in producing from the cultivated plots, and cannot be allowed to continue. The Parish Council invites and encourages tenants who have found difficulty in cultivation, for whatever reason, to surrender their allotments enabling new tenants to take the plots on for cultivation. In addition, the Parish Council will take stock of the condition of all allotments and those that show evidence of not having been cultivated since the last inspection, and not surrendered, may be taken back into the pool for rental to new tenants.

Happy Gardening.

Alan Howard




The Parish Council is always happy to record anniversaries, big birthdays, etc, and extra special events in our village.  We offer our congratulations to Mr and Mrs M Parsons who celebrated their Golden Wedding in January. 


We congratulate Elizabeth Harradine in gaining a 1st prize at Crufts in March with her dog ‘Ross’.  Elizabeth also got a 1st prize at the Ladies Kennel Association in October.  What a talented lady.


Congratulations to “Our Rose” (Mrs Rose Edwards) of the village Haircare on reaching her 90th birthday in March.


Do let me know of any celebrations during 2011.


Pat Oakeshott




We hope you have all enjoyed using the many public rights of way in Higham Parish – so many of them have such lovely views.  No major works have been done except on a footpath from Lillechurch Road to Buckland Road.  Some new kissing gates have been erected instead of some unsafe stiles. Sadly, six of our public FOOTPATHS are being used by horse and rider and they are ruining the surface of these footpaths.  After all the snow and heavy rain they are getting rather broken up. We have reported the problem to the Rights of Way Officer for the area.


Do go and explore the footpaths that Ranscombe Farm has opened up. There is a free car park off Cuxton Road opposite Medway tip. The views are great. Also Cobham Woods near the Mausoleum have been cleared and are very pleasant to stroll through.


Happy walking,


Anne Waugh




Council leaders on both sides of the River Thames are joining forces to fight plans for a lower Thames crossing east of Gravesend. The leaders of both Gravesham Borough Council and Thurrock Council are both opposed to a scheme backed by Kent and Essex County Councils to create a new link which would put valued green belt land under tarmac and threaten villages on both sides of the river.


In an unprecedented cross-river, cross-party agreement the two leaders have vowed to fight the proposals which will be determined by the Department of Transport. A study commissioned by Kent and Essex counties came down firmly in favour of the east of Gravesend option which would cross the river near Tilbury.


Gravesham Council Leader, Mike Snelling said: ‘The Kent and Essex County Councils have not consulted us and they have come up with a plan which rejects the simplest solution without adequate reasoning. No one doubts the need for extra capacity but it is patently obvious that increasing capacity at Dartford and getting rid of the toll booths would not only be cheaper but also could begin to ease congestion infinitely quicker. The proposal as it stands would see marshland and countryside of international scientific importance sacrificed and rural life threatened on both sides of the river. I am very pleased that we can stand alongside Thurrock Council to fight the scheme. This is an issue which transcends mere party politics because it is about defending local communities and goes to the very heart of the Localism Agenda itself. The views of the people most affected and their elected representatives must be sought and taken fully into account.’


John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council said: ‘No new crossing should be considered until all the alternatives have not only been considered, but enacted. Before going to the expense of building another crossing and blighting land on both sides of the river - financially and environmentally - the tolls should either be removed entirely or replaced by a number plate recognition system to allow the free flow of traffic.’


Bryan Sweetland




All those that use the hall will have noticed the vast improvement in the general appearance of the hall with it being redecorated this year.  On the down side, we experienced a bit of a disaster due to vandalism with the stage curtains being badly damaged, resulting in them being replaced at great cost. Due to these costs being unexpected and, therefore, unbudgeted, a cry for financial help went out to the groups who use the hall for donations to help offset the cost and so far the response has been very good. A huge thank you to those who have already donated.


With the help of a grant from the Council we have purchased 150 new comfy chairs which are available for functions.  Hopefully, by the time you read this the new lights for the car park will have been installed.


Can I ask that all hall users who use the chairs ensure they are put back in the correct stacks.  All the chairs are colour coded on the backs.  Please also make sure the hall is swept and left nice and tidy.


Don’t forget the boot fairs on the 2nd Sunday of the month. We will be putting on an Adults Only Supper Dance on the Royal Wedding day of 29 April, details will be forthcoming.


Finally, a big thank you to all committee members and helpers.


Keith Bradley, Chairman




Frequent complaints come up about this item at both Parish Council and PACT meetings. Recently there have been complaints of dog fouling in the Recreation Ground.  Small children use this facility and we are concerned for their health. Dog bags are available in the Post Office and Library. I cannot do more than appeal to dog owners to be more responsible and clean up after their animals.


Pat Oakeshott




The recreation ground has been fully used this year. There are so many keen sportsmen and women in the village that we could do with a couple more recreation grounds.


The play equipment has survived with only slight vandalism and we are pleased with the new surface under the swings. Sadly, the remaining cross seat picnic table was destroyed and we do not have plans to pay for a replacement at the moment.


We are still hoping to find a few pounds in the kitty to continue fence replacement, but other projects have taken priority in the Council’s budget.


Shaun Walton and Stuart Wright



As I am sure you will appreciate it has been a difficult year at times because of the weather.  We managed to keep both surgeries open during the snowy spells at the beginning and the end of the year. I would like to thank staff who volunteered to cover for colleagues who were unable to get to the surgery.  The patients were all very understanding and for that I thank them.

During the year we have supported several charities including the Poppy Appeal and Daffodil Appeal.  Our Christmas Raffle raised £152 for the Kent Air Ambulance.

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


Isobel Meredith, Practice Manager















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


Bring your own chair, food and wine.


Hot food and refreshments also available.


Tickets:         £3 in advance / £4 on the door.

          Children under 14 years free.


Tickets available from The Parish Clerk (01474 822642)

and Higham Library (01474 823822).


Watch out for the yellow banners around the village!





Gemma Pawley.jpg crop.jpg


This year has seen a change in your neighbourhood team and your officers are now

PC Gemma Pawley and PCSO Peter Hylands.


Pete Hylands.jpg



The areas they are focusing on in your area are:


  • Anti-social behaviour.
  • Burglary.
  • Criminal damage.
  • Vehicle crime.


If there are others you would like them to look into or you have information that could be useful to them, contact them on the details below.


If you would like to contact them or come to see them at a meeting, these details can be found at www.kent.police.uk. Type your postcode into the postcode search.  Higham is part of the Gravesham Rural East policing division.


If you’re interested in starting up or finding out about existing Neighbourhood Watch or Country Eye schemes within the Higham area or have any policing issues you would like to discuss with the officers, contact them on:


Telephone:         01474 366011

E-mail:                 gravesham.neighbourhood@kent.pnn.police.uk.


Our next meetings:

PC Gemma Pawley and PCSO Peter Hylands


PACT (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.


We met three times in 2010 in March, June and September.  Our guest at our March meeting was Tony Holyomes from Gravesham Council, who introduced himself and gave a brief resume of his job and what it entailed. Tony Holyomes looks after all types of animals and also environmental issues. Tony can be contacted on 01474 337334 or 01474 337000 so any residents could report dog fouling directly to him. 

Meetings for 2011 will be held at 7.30pm in Higham Library on Tuesdays – dates to be announced.

Peter Leakey, Chairman

Telephone 01474 822516



In 2010 PACT meetings continued every three months.  It was most encouraging to see regular attendance by Higham residents.

In respect of the bad weather in December it was good to see so many people in Higham helping each other, showing a real community spirit.

We have continued in 2010 with our monthly Coffee Morning/Community Surgery which is held on the last Thursday of every month between 10.30am and 12.00 noon, in the Church Hall, St. John’s Church.  Please remember if you have any queries then come along and enjoy a FREE cup of tea or coffee at the same time.

In February 2011 the Primary School collected a ‘Walk to School Award’, its second award in two years.  We do need further adult helpers on both routes. March 2010 saw ‘Operation Zig Zag’ held outside Higham Primary School and this proved very successful in stopping inconsiderate, illegal parking on the zig zag lines outside the School entrance. As part of National Road Safety Week in November basic road safety training, including The Green Cross Code, was given to the Reception Class of Higham Primary School.  Many thanks to all at the Primary School for their co-operation in 2010 and let’s hope 2011 is just as successful.


Please remember it is only through us all working together that we can achieve our aim of making Higham a better place to live in.


I can be reached or a message left on:


Mobile:              07811 271256 or E Mail:              PhillipStephen.Gray@kent.gov.uk


More information about the KCC Community Warden scheme can be found by logging on to our website: www.kent.gov.uk/communitywardens




The Village Club caters for all age groups.  Most Saturdays there is something going on, which includes a Disco or live acts. The third Saturday in the month is Rock & Roll Night which, as well as a disco, incorporates some great bands playing music from the Fifties.  Sunday is Bingo night and the first Wednesday in every month is our Bingo afternoon, 2pm to 4pm, which is open to non-members.


To view any forthcoming events go to www.highamvillageclub.co.uk


We have an excellent friendly Golf Society which caters for all levels of player.  Snooker, Pool and Darts also available within the club and if you wish to have a go at growing your own vegetables we also have allotments for hire at a reasonable rent.


Our facilities include two comfortably furnished halls, which can be hired out for private functions to members & non-members at a very reasonable charge this is proving very successful being an ideal venue for parties, weddings, Christenings & Funerals, use of kitchen available and large car parking area.


Anybody, especially from the village, is always welcome just to pop in and have a look around and ask about joining or alternatively telephone 01474 822456 or e-mail highamvillageclub@hotmail.com


Lynne White, Secretary




A Tai Chi group now meets at the Memorial Hall on a Wednesday morning from 8.30am until 9.30am. There is no need to book – just turn up. The cost is £4 per session.  Beginners especially welcome. For further information please contact Steve on 07999 346050 or visit www.shizendo.co.uk




Higham Community Day has been an annual event since 2006 and continues to grow in popularity. This year’s Community Day will be held on Friday, 29 July. Any group or society that would like to be involved please contact the library on 01474 823822 or speak to the member of staff the next time you visit.


The author Ian Porter came to the library on Friday, 8 October 2010 to share with us his research about Jack the Ripper and Whitechapel. This research he has used to write a fiction book called Whitechapel.  Copies of his book were available to buy on the night. Francine Payne gave a talk on the History of Joyce Green and the River Hospital which was enjoyed by everyone that came. She has also written books on Stone House; the City of London Asylum, A History of the Darenth Hospitals and has kindly donated a copy of each book to the library which are available for loan.


In the school holidays we hold free events for children and these have proved to be very popular. The events are usually themed depending on the time of year. The next one will be on Friday, 25 March at 10.30am and all your child will need to bring with them is an egg box. There will be limited places so please book to avoid disappointment.


A first for this year was a coffee morning held in September to raise money for Macmillan nurses. The Higham Library User Group and friends made cakes and refreshments which they sold. Also donations were put into collection pots placed around the library. The total sum of money raised was £110.94 so a huge thanks to anyone that came along to support this fund-raising event.


A Craft Group has been formed this year which is held on the first Tuesday of the month at 2.30pm – everyone is welcome.


Higham Library User Group is very pro-active in the library. We meet every couple of months to discuss what they want from their library service. Members of the user group are responsible for the upkeep of the courtyard and its plants which is why the garden looks so great.


We have a new volunteer for the Home Library Service. If you are unable to get to your local library please contact the library to see if you are eligible to have a home visit.


The Mobile Library visits Church Street, Lower Higham every Wednesday morning at 9.30 and stays for 30 minutes. The numbers of people that use this service have dropped. If you feel you would benefit from this service or know someone who would, please visit Graham who drives the mobile as he will be happy to see you. If he does not have a book that you would like he will gladly reserve it for you.


Higham Coffee and Chat is held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 2.30pm.  If you love reading and would like to share your views about what you have read do come along. You will be made very welcome, refreshments are provided.


Baby Bounce and Rhyme sessions are held every Friday (term time only) 9.30 -10am.  These sessions are free and lots of fun so come along.


For more details of library services or upcoming events please contact us by telephone on 01474 823822 or email us at highamlibrary@kent.gov.uk


Glynis Selby

Customer Services Officer

Higham Library




Sure Start’s Stay and Play scheme meets at Higham Library every Tuesday morning from 9.30 to 11am.  Children from 0 to 5 years are welcome to come along and enjoy family fun with craft, singing, toys, books and lots of fun activities.


For more details please contact Rebecca or Jacqui on 01474 814500 or Rebecca on 07754 456921.




Time2Give is Kent Libraries and Archives volunteering programme, offering opportunities at over 100 libraries across Kent.  We welcome people of all ages from the Kent community and pay agreed out of pocket expenses, such as travel to the library. The range of activities we offer is much wider than most people expect, from Computer Buddies to help customers with IT, to library gardeners to create attractive reading gardens.  Or from Knit and Natter volunteers to encourage and retain traditional crafts, to Home Library Service couriers delivering books to those who are housebound, and to their carers. 


Further information, including our volunteer newsletter and volunteers own accounts of their Time2Give experience, can be found in the Libraries/Services For All section of the KCC website at www.kent.gov.uk


Nicola Browne, Project Director, CSV Consulting (Tel: 01622 696468).




Higham Village History Group meet bi-monthly on the third Thursday at 8pm in the Memorial Hall.  Topics for speakers in the last year have included old Gravesend Shops, The Hall Houses of Southfleet and Building a Medieval Cathedral.   Our two books, Higham in Old Photographs l & 2 continue to sell well and plans are in hand to publish a new book, the first volume of A History of Higham by Andrew Roots.  The group hosted the opening of St Mary’s Church in May and produced a self-guided tour leaflet for visitors. Over 100 people visited the church, an increase on the previous year. We have purchased a lap-top computer and voice recorder to assist with the documentation of local reminiscences and a projection screen for talks.


Membership remains strong and we look forward to another successful year.


Sally Starbuck




The school remains popular with all our Reception places being filled, and we have already had a large number of applications for September 2011.

We have received a number of awards, including the Healthy Schools Award, an award for our Travel Plan, and the Foundation Level International School Award.  We have also just received an award for the Best Walking Bus in Kent, a very popular and successful service which  operates entirely thanks to the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers.

Pupils have enjoyed many extra-curricular activities, and our football and netball teams have once again been successful.  This year we participated in the Inter-School Quiz competition, and the team from Higham Primary School won the area heats.  Music has been greatly improved in the school. Our choir has tripled in size, and choir members once again performed at the Woodville Halls.

We have improved our After School Club, with refurbishments to the room and the addition of a dedicated outdoor play area.  The club has extended its hours, and working parents appreciate that childcare is now available to 5.45pm.  We are also looking into the possibility of running a Breakfast Club, and if there is a demand this will be available from 8am.

The PTA remains a great support to the school.  They organised very successful Summer and Christmas Fayres, and continue to fund our Interactive Whiteboards.  They have also, amongst other things, contributed money towards ICT equipment, upgrading the sound system in the school hall, and an outdoor stage.

In 2010 40 pupils from years 4 & 5 enjoyed a week at Rippledown, and in 2011 we are taking Year 5 pupils on a very exciting trip to PGL, where they will take part in abseiling, rock climbing and other adventurous activities.

Mrs T Coombs, Head Teacher



2010 has been a year of more accomplishments and amongst those have been the continued good relationships between the children and the adults and between parents and staff.  At the end of Year 2, more than 90% of the children achieved the expected standard (national standard is 75%) and in Year 6, over 50% of the children achieved a higher level than expected in reading and those achieving the expected level in both English and Maths increased by over 10% from a high the previous year. Pupils from Higham Primary School are particularly successful in gaining places at Grammar schools, over 30% moved there at age 11 in September (national average is about 20%).

During the year the School achieved Healthy Schools status and also was accredited with the foundation level International School Award by the British Council and forged bonds with a school in Delhi.  The School has also been awarded the Gold Standard for its Travel Plan and the Walking Bus has been so successful that the co-ordinators and volunteers have received an award too. In 2010, an area of the School was re-developed for the After School children, who now have a bespoke room and playground for their use – more funding is needed for the extra facilities required in the room.


The School’s successful choir performed at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend and the girls and boys football teams have won a number of trophies.  The School was also in the finals of the Kent Children’s Mastermind competition and in contrast held ‘Higham’s Got Talent Show’ where children performed to a sell out audience and received rave reviews.


Pupils participate in fund-raising, often initiating and leading activities themselves. One of their greatest child run schemes in 2010 was to raise money for Children in Need.


None of this is possible without the leadership from the Headteacher and from the dedication and skills of teachers and other staff.  


Malcolm L James



Another busy and successful year in the PTA Calendar of fund-raising by the dedicated parents of the PTA which again has enabled us to donate much-needed items for the benefit of the children and School.

I would like to thank all those involved, especially the fayre organisers as these events are always truly remarkable and a lot of planning and effort is needed.  The Summer Fayre was blessed once again with good weather where there were displays by local organisations and stalls manned by the many mums and dads and teachers and was truly a success.  The Christmas Fayre was once again held on a Friday after school, with the choir singing and welcoming in the visitors through the snow and, as usual, Santa was kept busy in his Grotto.  

Once again, the PTA organised the Village Parade in May and again my thanks go to the organisers as this is a very tricky event to get up and running.  

The children’s discos have continued to do well and two more Bag2School collections were made.

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Danielle Jenken and Amanda Gedney from the PTA as their children left school in July and I would like to thank them for the hard work they have contributed to the PTA over the last five years or so.  However, a new band of parents have joined and are ever-enthusiastic and I look forward to another successful year for the PTA of which I am proud to still be asked to Chair.

Leslie Pearton





You may be interested to learn that whenever I receive letters or emails from pupils who have recently left the school (or from their parents) and who have just completed their GCSE examinations, there is one common factor which they almost always mention when reflecting upon their time here at Gad’s Hill School. Consequently, it is no surprise that when parents write to me, after their children have left Gad’s with a good clutc h of GCSE pass grades, that they do reflect on what an enjoyable time they have had here, at Gad’s, and how much they will look back with very fond memories.  When I receive letters like that it does help to reinforce that on the whole we pretty much get it right here at Gad’s Hill School. 


So I am delighted to report that the 2009/10 academic year was another outstanding success for Gad’s Hill School.  A year which saw some of our best GCSE results to-date; with 100 % of our children achieving five or more (actually nine or more!) GCSE’s including Maths and English, with over 88% of our children leaving Gad’s with a GCSE in French (something very few schools manage). Because of these results we are delighted to announce that according to a number of recent league tables Gad’s Hill is currently the number one Independent School in the country.  


There were some excellent performances in Drama, noticeably our whole Junior School production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Our musical concerts continue to expand and impress with three concerts and also pupil performances at Dickens World, Hempstead Valley and Rochester Cathedral.  Our sports teams continue to do well and dominate other schools in local leagues.


Our CCF also goes from strength-to-strength with a variety of camps and expeditions to Catterick, the 140 mile C2C cycling expedition, shooting at Bisley, Cinque Ports training area as well as a very successful bi-annual inspection and an invite to tea at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party to celebrate 150 years of the Cadet movement.


As you can see our children are very busy.  No wonder they enjoy school!


The year 2011 will be yet another exciting time, with the new school scheduled to commence construction in the Summer, and a change to and expansion in the range of subject options we have on offer for pupils at GCSE.  As ever Gad’s continues to improve, develop and flourish and long may this continue.


David Craggs, Headmaster




2010 was a promising year for us. Gravesham Borough Council obtained some funding and we now have a new slip way and docking area at Mark Lane. Also, a new tow path to the swing bridge and all the chambers, piping, weir pond, and out fall for pumping water into the canal from Denton New Cut. The first section to be restored, about a kilometre, will provide boating, fishing, etc between Mark Lane and the swing bridge. Depending on Network Rail and EDF agreeing to the actual pump installation and connection, and the rate of top up, 2011 could see boats on the canal again.


The footpath/cycle route SCR1 is being restored to its proper state and width and will be ideal again for walking and viewing the RSPB reserve and marshes. We continue to clear around the Obelisk in Canal Road, Higham, for all to see and appreciate this feature erected in 1828 marking ‘the meeting of the waters’.  Gravesend basin, river lock and parts of canal lock have been granted Grade 2 listing and this should assure their future. We seem to be going to lose Strood lock and all its structure and fittings to The Strood Riverside Development Plan. This 200 year old industrial site is being built over, as was Strood Basin, thereby removing all traces of the canal origins at Strood and eliminating any hope of connecting the rivers again.


Our ‘be a friend of the canal for a fiver’ is attracting more interest and encouraging people to keep in touch by receiving our magazine, Cut-a-Way, three times a year.


Brian Macknish, Chairman



Church of England Parish of Higham with Merston


CCTV means the Church is open daily. A new external notice-board will appear soon but remember that most notices can be found in the porch. We are still, unfortunately, awaiting permission to re-vamp the porch in memory of the late ‘Sam’ Weller. Last year we mentioned CD accompaniment to worship. We’ve not had to use them for a while as we have occasional help from a former organist and regular help from an excellent organist who is a music teacher at the King’s School, Rochester. If you like singing or would like to do more with an excellent musician – come and see us on a Sunday. Some Sundays have all-age services followed by refreshments in Church. Junior Church/Sunday School is small; but remember school-age children can be left with a Children’s leader (all CRB checked) and collected afterwards on Sunday mornings. An over-11’s group meets monthly (on Sunday evenings) - ring Mrs Healey for details (01474 822008). A Parent-Carer and Toddler group meets twice a month - ring Mrs Sutherland, our Pastoral Assistant, for more details (01474 824439). All these groups meet only in term-time. Mrs Sutherland should also be contacted with any prayer requests for our community.


The new Bishop of Rochester came to preach this year on 2 February.  Fr. James’s work as Rural Dean, and other diocesan tasks, takes him elsewhere on some Sundays and weekdays. So please telephone if you need to meet him: Sundays are really NOT the best day for making appointments. We are blessed to have Fr David Preston, our honorary assistant priest, who maintains our worship pattern and we also benefit from his erudite preaching.  


Much praise needs to be heaped on our Churchwardens (though they’ll hate that). Their work-load is not really seen or understood. Many thanks also to those Church members, and others, who contribute in any way to worship, pastoral-work, practical activities or fund-raising. Also to those who give, some quite sacrificially, week by week. Our practical issues are kept under control but finance, in these straitened days, will be a concern in the immediate future.


S.Mary’s Church is used three/four times a year. Services are not well supported beyond S.John’s membership.  For 2011 services please look in S.John’s Church porch or our Church Magazine.


Canon James Southward, Vicar of Higham

E-.mail: saintjohn.higham@yahoo.co.uk         Telephone:  01634 717360





As was the case in 2009, the Trust did not earn enough interest during 2010 to make a distribution. Alternative investment strategies and types of account have been considered but the Trustees have not yet found anything that materially increases the Trust’s income without jeopardizing its objectives. There have been no changes to the Trustees.


Les Baker   (Telephone: 07701 036355)




Higham Writers group is now in its sixth year. It is intentionally a small group – no more than nine at any one time, led by Denise Leppard, who was a freelance writer for many years.  Our members, both male and female, vary from university graduates to retired octogenarians – anyone, in fact, who wants to indulge their creative writing urges.  It is tutor led, and the only requirement is that you want to write, and have the time to do so.


The focus is on bringing work to the point where it is suitable for contributing for ultimate publication.  But not everyone wants to get into print, so the process is intended to be as enjoyable as possible, with discussion, tuition and an informal atmosphere to keep everyone happy.  All our present members have seen their work published in one way or another, as well as being contributors to our annual Showcase.


We meet weekly on a Monday morning in Higham.  Please ring Denise if you wish to know more – 01474 822881 or deniseleppard@btinternet.com


Denise Leppard




In May 2010 the church re-opened and our first event was on 6 June with the Higham Village History Group’s exhibition of photographs. The Thames and Medway Canal Association also exhibited at this event.


The 19th June was the date of our Midsummer Tea Party.  This was a national event held by the Churches Conservation Trust across the UK, which we took as an opportunity to have a grand re-opening of the Church. We held a ‘moving tea party’ with St James’s at Cooling, with The Friend’s of St James’s providing teas, sandwiches, scones and fruit between 12 noon and 2pm and then on to St Mary’s for tea and cakes between 2pm and 4pm. At St Mary’s we had the pleasure of David Bowdler providing music and Copperfield Clog performing for us all. We were also pleased to receive the Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Bill Lambert, as a guest, officially re-opening the church after the extensive repair work and the installation of electricity.


One obstacle we have faced in 2010, and continue to face for part of 2011 unfortunately is that the new electric light and power sockets in the church are still not connected to the grid. We cautiously expect to be connected by Easter. 


On the 10th July Higham Choral Group performed a lovely Spring Concert.  On 7th August was our hugely successful showing of Sir David Lean’s 1946 version of  ‘Great Expectations’. This included a matinee and an evening performance and was enjoyed by all who attended.  On 11th September we had the pleasure of hosting a concert by the acclaimed international soprano, Christine Hubbard. She was accompanied by Dan Soper, the Assistant Music Director from Rochester Cathedral and Tonia Moore who also sang a selection of classical and popular songs.


The weekend of 11th and 12th September was also the Lower Higham Scarecrow Festival, and although there were fewer than usual entrants, there were some excellent scarecrows, all with a Dickens theme. These included Magwitch and Pip who were there to welcome visitors to St Mary’s.


We displayed a Christmas tree at the church, as well a great display of other seasonal foliage, during the festive season.  We also offered packs of specially designed St. Mary's Christmas Cards, which were very popular and helped us raise much needed funds over the Christmas period.


We look forward to more events in 2011. A date for your diary is the Midsummer Tea Party on the weekend of 18th and 19th June 2011. Although we’ve yet to finalise details, we also hope to host another film event after the success of last year’s.


Our chairman Joe McLaren has stepped down for 2011 and we are very pleased to announce that dedicated committee member Linda Franklin has been voted in as our new chair.


We would like to thank the kind people who regularly donate their time to ensure that St Mary’s always looks clean and welcoming. These include Joyce and Rodney Theobald whose flower arrangements always look so special, Pat Reeks, Jean Pritchard and Carol Rogers for keeping the church clean. Also, Janet Rogers who kindly makes the lovely individual cards that are for sale in the church and the money from which goes directly to the Churches Conservation Trust towards the upkeep of St Mary’s.  We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped us at our events including anyone who has baked for us, Julie Aldous for her support, Matthew and Lisa Ledger for allowing us to use their field for parking and Pat Wall from Oakleigh Nursery for donating plants, and for supplying our magnificent Christmas tree. 


If you would like to become a member yourself, the annual fee remains £5 for an individual membership, or £8 for a household membership. Please call 07906 409478 and write to the chairman at Nunfield Farm, Bull Lane, Newington, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 7SL for more details.


Our website is www.StMarysChurchHigham.com, and will carry details of all forthcoming events.


Joe McLaren




In 2010 we saw a continued growth in numbers of young people attending our Monday (aged 14+) and Wednesday (aged 10+) evening youth clubs. On Wednesdays we have 50 or more young people attend.  The atmosphere is happy and vibrant with the young people enjoying themselves with their friends whilst participating in a large range of activities.  They can choose what to do from our large range of equipment.  We have table tennis, pool, table football, basketball, karaoke, Wii (including guitar hero band set, snowboarding, Wii fit, dance mat, sports, resorts and many other games), PS2 (including Singstar), we have a musical keyboard, computer, arts and crafts, swingball, circus equipment, cricket, golf and much more....  We usually hire the outside courts near the recreation ground to give the young people additional outside space for sports and activities.


We have lots of extra ad-hoc activities to do including cookery, cake decorating, hair and beauty, craft, t-shirt designing, mug painting, bird box building evenings plus others.  Young people do not have to take part in the extra activities but often choose to do so!  Our young people have attended midnight to 3am ice skating, high ropes activity day, a residential trip to a PGL centre where they could do lots of activities including BMX biking, abseiling, giant swing, zip wires, Aeroball, archery, rifle shooting, and Jacob’s Ladder.  Each week we have a well stocked tuck shop and most weeks we also sell reasonably priced hotdogs.  


On Mondays we are still building up the club and, again our young people choose what they want to do, using our large stock of equipment.  On the nights that Parish Council meet we meet elsewhere such as the cinema or bowling.  Five young people from our Monday club attended Eurocamp in 2010 and will be returning to Hamburg in 2011 to meet up with friends they made in 2010.  They have also attended other residential trips and activity days arranged by KCC Youth Service which are offered to our clubs.


We have representatives from the clubs attend the Youth Advisory Group meetings where they get to have their say about youth related issues.


Councillors, Police and Youth Workers are all there to listen to young people and then help where they can.


We couldn’t run without our dedicated team of adult volunteers who freely give up their time for the benefit of our young people.  The volunteers enjoy themselves just as much as the young people!  All of our volunteer helpers are offered training in such things as First Aid, Safeguarding Young People, Playing Games, Food Safety, and more. This year we have welcomed new volunteers to our existing team. We have also welcomed some girls from Cobham Hall Girls School who assist us as part of the service element of their International Baccalaureate qualification.  A special thanks needs to be paid to Barry Sutherland who is a volunteer at the youth club but also maintains our equipment and carries out any repairs when needed.  An additional special thanks to Kay Pinder who not only volunteers at the club but also is our Treasurer and keeps our accounts in great order.


We always welcome new members at both of our clubs, and also welcome new volunteers (occasional or regular).  Volunteers are checked through the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority to protect and safeguard our young members.


We really do appreciate the support we receive from the local villagers, Police Officers, PCSOs, Community Warden and Parish Council.


For more information please take a peek at our website – www.higham-youth-club.btck.co.uk or call me on 07934 562085.


Joanne Raff

Leader – Higham Youth Clubs




This group is disbanded at the present time but could reform if there is sufficient interest.  For further information please contact Brian Thompson on 01634 295195.




Something2do Pre-school is a new soft play hire and playgroup opening in Higham on Monday, 11 April 2011.  Something2do caters for children from birth to five-years-old.  We will be meeting in Higham Memorial Hall on a Monday and Thursday morning, from 9.30 to 11.30am.  The cost is £3 per child, second child £1.50 and non-walking babies £1. If you would like any further details, please do not hesitate to contact me as follows:


Mobile:  07824 360435.          E-mail:  Beverley.smith@something2do.org


Beverley Smith




We have had some great successes this year. We embarked on a project to raise parents and children’s awareness to make healthy choices for children and improve physical development. The project resulted in us working with ‘Arsenal Sporty Tots’ to coach the children once a week on a variety of skills such as football, hockey and tennis. The session currently runs on a Tuesday and has proved to be extremely popular as well as improving children’s physical skills. We also extended our snack bar to invite the children to think about healthy food choices and provided them with a variety of healthy food to select. The results were very pleasing and were endorsed in June when the setting was awarded a plaque from KCC to confirm the success of our project. The setting was also inspected by Ofsted in September and was found to be ‘outstanding’ in supporting parents, promoting healthy choices for children and deploying resources for the benefit of the children. The full report can be read via the Ofsted website www.ofsted.gov.uk  The setting continues to open term time only Monday to Friday 9am - 3.15pm.


If any prospective parent would like to visit or request a prospectus, please do not hesitate to call on 07774 224808 and speak to the Manager.


Suzanne Green




During 2010 the courts have had continual use (apart from the snowy and icy weather conditions) for tennis and five-a-side football. The lighting is still working fine so that the courts can be used during the evenings.


A reminder that to pre-book the courts and to obtain keys and lighting tokens, just pop into the Village Greengrocers, or ring them on 01474 823954.  During the summer months it is best to book beforehand.


Ann Kevill




Higham Rainbows have been busy throughout 2010, along with the Brownies and Guides, celebrating the Guiding Centenary. In March after the Mothering Sunday service at St John’s Church the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, along with their leaders, planted a tree in the grounds of the Church. We also held a joint disco as part of our local celebrations.


In May the Rainbows, along with girls from units not just from Gravesham but throughout the south east, visited London Zoo where the Rainbows went wild and took over the zoo. It was a long day but very enjoyable and certainly one to remember. The Centenary Celebrations finale took place on 20 October with ‘Vision’, a big party for all the units throughout Gravesham held at the Woodville Halls, which concluded with all the Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Senior Section, Guiders and Trefoil Guild members linking up throughout the country and world in renewing their promise together. All the girls that took part received a special promise badge to remember the day by.


Higham Rainbows, for young girls aged between 5 and 7 years old, meet every Friday during term time in St John’s Church hall.  Each week we hold a variety of activities from cooking to arts and crafts.


Julie Healey




We have a full Brownie pack of 30 girls which is lead by Krissi and Sharon.  The girls have taken part in many activities such as an American night, Mad Hatters Tea Party, they all brought their bike to Brownies and completed their cyclist badge, the Rainbows visited for an evening of fun and games and much much more.  Visits last year included Bowling, a trip to Shorne Country Park, Pizza Hut party and as part of the Guiding Centenary 16 girls had the chance to go on a steam train trip from Victoria to Windsor.  A fun day was had by all, with Brownies from all around the South East.  The Centenary Celebrations ended with an event for all sections in the Division at the Woodville Halls.  Many girls went to see Disney on Ice too. We also took some girls away on what is becoming an annual Pack Holiday in the October half term for three days.  This year we went to Paxwood in Wilmington and had lots of fun. A big thank you to Vikki who was a coach driver and cook. 


Earlier in the year girls took part in a sponsored skip and raised over £700 for the British Heart Foundation. This year finished with the girls first ever panto.  They put on two performances of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and raised over £200. The money from the panto was donated to The Kent Air Ambulance Trust and we recently had a representative who came and gave a talk and accepted the cheque and was impressed with the amount the girls raised. We, too, think that raising nearly £1,000 for charity is amazing.


We would like to thank Zoe who is training to be an Adult Leader and our young leaders Molly, Rajdeep and Kacey who are three local girls who all give up time each week to help us run our group. We are always looking for more help and if you have a particular skill you think our girls would enjoy learning then please let us know. 


Our waiting list is growing, so if you would like to add your daughter’s name to it then please contact Sharon on 01474 823538.


Sooty Owl and Tawny Owl



2010 has been a very busy year in the Guide Calendar continuing with the Centenary Celebrations.  In March, the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides planted a tree in the grounds of St John’s Church to commemorate the last and the next 100 years.  In April, the annual St George’s Day Parade was attended parading through Gravesend Town Centre and finishing at Fort Gardens for the renewal of promises.  In June, a service was held in Rochester Cathedral attended by representatives of all the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides of the North Kent Division displaying their colours.

I am pleased to say that I continued as Guide Leader in September with my new uniformed helper Maureen Sutherland and my stalwart adult helper Sharon Harper both of whom have been a wealth of support.  In October we attended ‘Vision’ at the Woodville Halls to see the ending of the 100 years celebrations; with a link up to all the groups in the whole of the country and renew their promise at 20.10 hours on the 20.10 day in the year 2010. One of our new Guides, Jasmine, had the honour of being enrolled on this special occasion.

At present, we are making plans for Thinking Day, working on Go-4-Its and looking forward to an exciting timetable for the Summer.

We are a small group at the moment and any girl aged between ten and fourteen is invited to join 1st Higham Guides.  It is not only a social group but provides a service to the community and everyone part of the Girlguiding organisation should feel proud to belong.  Who knows what the next 100 years will bring….


Shirley Pearton, Guider
Telephone: 01474 822080




A Zumba dance/fitness class meets at the Higham Village Club on Wednesday evenings from 8 to 9pm.  For more details, contact Andrea on 07967 312613.  Web site www.zumbafituk.com



Higham Scout Group has enjoyed another successful year. We have a membership of 84 young people and adults. The highlight of this year has been our celebration of 50 years of scouting in Higham. We held a special ceremony at the garden at the end of Mountbatten Avenue next to our tree which commemorates 100 years of scouting. We unveiled a plaque which is dedicated to the memory of Sam Weller who started off the Scout Group in 1960.  From the ceremony we made our way to a field, kindly lent to us by Mark Leeson, where we held a barbeque and overnight camp for all members of the group, past members and friends. A lovely night was had by all, followed by the traditional cooked breakfast the following morning. We also held a competition to design a 50 years anniversary badge which will be displayed on the group scarf until it is replaced by the 60 years one!

All sections of the group have followed challenging programmes and we have seen the young people we work with developing and growing into confident, skilled members of society.

Once again our annual charity event for Children in Need raised over £2,000. Thank you for all your donations. 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 727258

Cub Scouts

Fridays: 6.30 – 8pm

Dale Blake:             

01474 823187


Fridays: 8 – 9.45pm

Peter Allinson:  

01474 823806

Explorer Scouts


Carolyn Shulver:

01474 823187

At present both Beavers and Cubs are full, but there are no waiting lists. There are spaces in Scouts.  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



During the past year there were several newspaper articles about estuary airports, additional river crossings (see below), new Thames flood barrier and tidal power schemes which we kept under continuous review.  The various Thames Gateway projects, already approved through the planning systems, continue to be slowly rolled out and result in increased traffic and loss of open space.

Other items that have received particular attention include:

Upnor Pond Restoration:  Chris Fribbins, our Vice-Chairman undertook considerable work applying for grants and encouraging other persons/official bodies to restore the pond.  The major work took place over two weekends in early November to dredge out the pond and remove excess rushes and choking weed, and to plant hedging saplings etc.

Lower Thames Crossing:  After many months of rumour there has been publicity and a local meeting recently after Kent County Council suggested a location between Gravesend and Shorne that would have great adverse impact on this area.


Mrs Susan Lindley

Committee Member of DCPS




We have had a successful year with several new ladies joining us, so let’s hope this trend continues.  Speakers have been very varied during the past year and we hope those booked for 2011 will prove just as enjoyable.


Our committee works hard to provide as much content as they can for our members.  Several have enjoyed the Craft days and been encouraged by the new skills they have acquired. We continue to have our theme evenings when we not only enjoy the food and wine but the quizzes that accompany it. We still have a very successful Drama section and we are always looking for more of our members to start ‘treading the boards’. Sports minded ladies have thoroughly enjoyed their attempts at sailing at Danson Park, even though they ended up rather wet by the end of the day! Others have jointly become involved in a triathlon and recorded their time spent walking and swimming. 


We endeavour to continue to improve our knowledge and a visit to Maidstone’s courthouse for several members proved most enlightening.  We were lucky to be given an introduction to the proceedings of the day by the Judge and he also explained how his career had started and progressed.


We now look forward to a successful 2011 and would welcome any new ladies to our Institute.


Pat Merrison




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 with the maximum membership of 200 being reached in 2007. Due to the length of the waiting list in 2010 it was agreed to increase the maximum membership to 240 and we are, again, operating a waiting list.


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 one Wednesday morning each month, for a range of activities, including short-mat bowls, new age kurling, quizzes, puzzles, board games and tea & chat.  We also have well-supported monthly art and craft groups and several themed evenings each year. In addition to the activities in the hall we have monthly outings to places of interest, holidays and a luncheon club plus twice monthly rambles and dancing.  

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.  

As with most organisations we are indebted to our committee and the dedicated band of volunteers who help with refreshments.

For more information about the group please visit our web site (www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk/hiara) or call us on 01474 823121 or 01634 715959.

Eileen Rice, Membership Secretary



The Higham Craft Club was formed in 2007 by two crafters who wanted to share their love of card making and paper craft with others.  We hold two classes: one on alternate Tuesdays and the other alternate Fridays.  We enjoy all aspects of card making and paper crafting, including decoupage, embossing, pergamano, punching and we have even made clocks!  We organise trips to shows and anything else that interests us.


We welcome new ladies of any abilities.  Anyone interested should contact Irene Love on 01634-685478 for details.


Irene Love




Again our Report will sound much the same as previous years but I am pleased to be able to say this since so many Age Concern Clubs have closed through lack of volunteers, but with the support of the Women’s Institute, friends in the village and the Parish Council we are still managing.  However, if anybody reading this would like to volunteer (a few hours once a month) we would be delighted to hear from them.  In particular we are short of drivers but we also need hostesses to stand in from time to time.


Our cooks have worked hard to produce a well-cooked varied menu which our Members have enjoyed. We have provided a regular programme of exercises, entertainment, shoe sales etc. Again one of the highlights of the year was a visit to Mrs Geraldine Cox at Little Hermitage, who again laid on a superb Strawberry Tea. In conclusion we must again thank our hostesses, cooks and drivers for their loyalty and hard work and also
Pat Oakeshott and Jennifer Papadopulos for their continued regular support.


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


Barbara West, Co-Ordinator




For gardeners 2010 was a bit like the curate’s egg - good in parts. Awful spring weather caused the cancellation of our show as we were unlikely to have sufficient exhibits, although things did improve later in the year. Talks on China, Sweet Peas, The Saxon Shoreway, Vegetable Growing, Winter Gardens and The Natural History of Kent were mostly riveting and the Gravesend garden we visited in June fascinating. Weather struck again in December and our Christmas celebrations were abandoned in the snow. Some of this global warming would be welcome in 2011.


Barbara Manley




Our club has been running now for 20 years. This year we are celebrating our 20 years with a trip to see ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’.  Every year we still support our charities to help in any way possible. We donated about 40 dog coats, which I managed to get at a reasonable price, to a sanctuary in the north that had put out a plea for coats, the dogs were in outside pens and the weather was more severe there. What satisfaction we got when we had a letter saying that all the dogs were now warm and parading their new coats.


Last year we had many interesting speaker.  As always our Fish & Chips afternoons and the raffles help us raise money as we are a voluntary group. Sylvia manages to keep us all stocked up with lovely jams through the year. "Options" meet every Monday in  St John’s Church Hall, Higham between 1.30 and 4pm. Whatever we do it involves all the members and they have a chance to let their hair down and have fun. Why not come along and be a part of it - 01474 824110.


Many thanks to my helpers: John, April, Delcie and everyone that contributes each week.


Delia Goldie




Another year gone by, what a year that was with all that snow, etc.  We missed out on our Friday nights enjoyment, and I am sorry to say we also lost a couple of our members who passed away.  That’s the downside of 2010.


We are looking for new members who fancy a Friday night light relief not too serious. Want to know more?  Ring Joan on 01474 823537 or Don on 01474 823633.


Joan Johnson



AFC Higham is the football team that has been started in 2010 by young men from the village. There currently are 22 members who have carried out fund-raising events to fund the club and we have gained sponsorship from TOTSLOTS, an internet baby shop run from the village.


Our first season in the North Kent Sunday League Division 3 is proving to be successful so far. We have lost only one league game, and are still in two Cups.   If we continue to play as well as we have done so far we could win promotion to the second division. If you want to follow our progress the league table is displayed in the Gardener’s Arms or online at: http://full-time.thefa.com/Index.do?league=7601746


We are playing our home games at Kings Farm Recreation Ground, but would like to play in Higham.  Why not come and watch us at 10.45am on a Sunday morning. If you are feeling sporty and would like to join us, please contact the secretary, Stuart on 01474 823187 or at sshulver@gmail.com


Stuart Shulver




Our patchwork and quilting group meets every other Thursday evening, 7.30 to 9.30pm, at Merston Court Lounge to sew quilts, make cushions, bags, etc, really any item that can be quilted or embellished with embroidery.  We now knit too, mainly fashion items.  We have some really talented ladies who share their knowledge and enthusiasm.


If you can sew a straight line, have a sense of humour and would like to join us, you can quilt.  Do drop in and see our work, you would be most welcome.


Linda Parr

Telephone: 01474 823129




This year we are running 10 teams from under 8s to under 15s with under 7s training on Saturday mornings for entry into a league next year.


As always we are ever thankful for the use of Higham Primary School, Gad’s Hill School and Higham Recreation Ground, but as always more ground is required for us to accommodate all the children wishing to play football.


We would like to express our sincere thanks to the Higham Parish Council for their efforts in trying to find us more ground but understand that this has not been successful so far, so if anyone can help with this please contact either myself or the Parish Council.


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.


Mrs Pat Jeal, Secretary

Telephone: 01474 822607    




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




This year Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club will be celebrating its 50th anniversary and plans are afoot for some special celebrations, so keep a look out for what is happening at the club!


We were very proud to have been nominated for the Club of the Year Award at the Medway Sports Awards this year, and although we did not win, it certainly showed that the club was heading in the right direction. The hard work that has gone into ensuring our Clubmark (and Focus Club) status is beginning to pay off and we have witnessed the ever increasing junior section integrate with the senior sides of the club.  


Last year we were able to buy a practice cage for the club and we are hoping to supplement that this year with a bowling machine so that all our members can experience some quality practice and coaching.  Our coaching and training sessions continue and we are currently running TWO U11s, U13, U15s and U17s sides as well as our Senior sides on Saturday and Sundays and are ALWAYS looking for new players for every age group. So come along, or/and bring your children and see what our friendly club has to offer.



6.30-8pm until Mid April


Robert Napier School

Mondays: 6.30-8pm from end April to mid-August

All ages

Ham River Hill

Cliffe Woods


If you are not wanting to play cricket but have any time on your hands whatsoever, perhaps you would like to help us at our CricketForce Event where we are hoping to have the ‘Big Society’ get involved with helping us to improve the grounds and pavilion at Ham River Hill. Everyone will be welcome and there will be a free BBQ for all helpers.  If you would like to volunteer in any other capacity, especially in this important year, we would be very grateful to hear from you. For more details about your local cricket club please contact … 


Keith Short, Hon. Sec.


Telephone: 01634 200817




Our first concert of 2010 was at Chalk Church where we sang Schultz ‘Seven Last Words’ and Vaughan Williams ‘Towards the Unknown Region’ in the first half.  After the interval we sang music by Cole Porter, Abba and Simon & Garfunkel.


The ‘tour’ was to Upper Hardres near Canterbury where we sang a varied programme of sacred and secular music to a capacity audience.  (We were surprised to find our Chairman of the Parish Council in the audience.)


The summer concert was at St Mary’s Church and was hosted by the Friends of St Mary’s. There was a large audience who listened to the ‘Birthday Madrigals’ by John Rutter, the ‘Hallelujah’ from ‘Shrek’ and ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ among other music in the varied programme.


New members are always welcome.  If you would like to join us (there is no audition) please call me on 01474 822702.


Forthcoming Events


Spring Concert

All Saints, Frindsbury

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Summer Concert

St Mary’s, Higham

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Christmas Concert

St. John's, Higham

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Wendy Hance                                                           





Higham now has a village correspondent who is your link to the local press in both the Gravesham and Medway areas. If your group or association has any news they wish to share please contact LIZ JEFFERY on 01474 747090 or e-mail her on: jefferyelizabeth18@googlemail.com




Stage Arts is a Performing Arts Workshop held weekly in the lovely surroundings of Higham Memorial Hall.  It provides an opportunity for children aged between 6 and 16 to discover the joy of participating and performing in Musical Theatre.  Many of our students have utilised what they’ve learnt from our workshops and taken it into further education or employment. Indeed, one former talented student, Elena Benocci, has recently performed in the touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Sound of Music’.

Over the past year we have participated in many local events and a few further afield!  Early on in the year, a number of our pupils entered The Medway Festival of Music, Speech and Drama with fantastic results.  Five place Cups were awarded and many students were presented with certificates for distinction and commendation in both singing and speech categories. In the summer months our pupils thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to perform in both the Higham Parade and the Higham School Fete.

Many months of rehearsals came to fruition in our annual production, ‘Olivia’, which was performed to a delighted audience in the splendid assembly hall of Rochester Grammar School. The Dickens Winter Festival enabled our pupils to display a selection of numbers taken from ‘Olivia’, to a cold yet delighted audience!

For more information and to hear how your child can benefit from what we have to offer at Stage Arts, contact Rebecca on 07896 780593.


Rebecca Hill




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.


In 2010 we performed our show here at The Memorial Hall transforming the stage with lights and tinsel curtains; all children had a wonderful time performing in front of all their family and friends. Our next show will take place on Saturday, 2 July at The Brook Theatre, Chatham.  We are also preparing the children to take their exams in January, so we wish them luck.


We currently have spaces in all our classes, so if you would like some information about any of the classes we offer then please do not hesitate to contact me on 01634 220766 (home) or 07813 050493 (mobile) or via e-mail: claire.buckleys@virgin.net


Claire Buckley



Emma’s Street Dance classes are held on Monday and Thursday evenings at Higham Village Club.  Classes are open to all ages and abilities and are a great way to learn Street dance and keep fit.

2010 has been a successful year with many of Emma’s dancers performing in shows, regattas and dance competitions. There are lots more events coming up this year and we are looking for new dancers to perform in individual and team events. Emma has been lucky enough to recently tour with ‘Diversity’ as part of the ‘Dolls’ dance crew playing to arenas all around Europe. The tour was so popular that it has been shown as a Sky1 3D spectacular on satellite television. Emma is looking forward to teaching some of her new skills and routines to Higham’s up and coming Street dancers.




5pm to 5.45pm

3-6 year olds



6pm to 7pm

7-11 year olds



7pm to 8pm

12-16 year olds



8pm to 9pm




4.30 to 5.30pm

Mixed ages



5.30 to 6.30pm

Competition practice.

Emma is also available for private lessons.


Emma Cater
Mobile: 07766 886827)




Following our successful 2010 dance season, Copperfield Clog, Higham’s local women’s north-west Morris dancing side, continues to meet for practice sessions most Thursday evenings, at 8pm, from September through to April/May in St John’s Church Hall, Higham.  Copperfield Clog has a large repertoire of dances and we are currently learning one new dance, as well as continuing to practice and tighten up some of our existing dances. At the time of writing, Copperfield Clog is planning to begin dancing out for the new season on Sunday, 1 May when we plan to dance in the dawn (05.32) at Windmill Hill, Gravesend.  This will be followed by a hearty breakfast before dancing at the Rochester Sweeps Festival.  Copperfield Clog is now in the throes of putting together a dance programme from May onwards.  Once dates are confirmed they will be added to our web site, as well as published in The Bridge magazine. 


If you feel you would like to have a go at clog dancing or, indeed, join our group of musicians, then do please contact us – see details below.  We are a small and friendly group and would welcome enquiries from anyone who feels they might like to join us. Copperfield Clog can be contacted by telephone on 01474 822929 or e-mail info@copperfield-clog.org.uk   Web site:  www.copperfield-clog.org.uk

Judi Stanley,
Publicity Officer for Copperfield Clog




Age Concern

01474 822654

Age Concern Referrals

01474 823380           

Art Group

01634 295195


01634 727258


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

01474 822929

Copperfield Quilters  (Higham Quilters)

01474 823129


01474 823187

Dickens Country Protection Society

01322 275389

Eagles Football Clubs

01474 822607

Emma’s Street Dance

07766 886827

Explorer Scouts

01474 823187

Friends of St Mary’s Church

07906 409478

Garden and Allotment Society

01474 822368


01474 822080


01634 715959

Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club

01634 200817

Higham Bowlers

01474 823537

Higham CP School PTA

01474 822080

Higham Craft Club


Higham Library

01474 823822

Higham Rainbows

01474 822008

Higham Village Club (Working Men’s Club)

01474 822456

Higham Village History Group

01474 823342

Higham Village Sports Association

01474 822448

Higham Youth Club

07934 562085

Kent Police – PC Gemma Pawley

07870 252526

Liz Jeffrey, Village Correspondent

01474 747090

Memorial Hall (Bookings only)

01474 822007


01474 824110

PACT – Peter Leakey

01474 822516

Parish Clerk

01474 822642

PCSO Peter Hyland

07772 226081

Playball Football

01634 311481

Saint John’s Church – Fr. James Southward

01634 717360


01474 823806


07824 360435

Stage Arts Workshop

07896 780593

StartRite Kindergarten

07813 705136 / 01474 822410

Sure Start – Daisy Chains

01474 814500 / 07754 456921

Tai Chi

07999 346050

Thames and Medway Canal Association

01732 823725

Women’s Institute

01474 823772


07967 312613






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 the web site.

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Last Revised ~ 16 April 2011  

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