Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2012

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Photograph of The Mayor of Gravesham (full size graphic) and Chairman of Higham Parish Council, Cllr Mrs Jennifer Papadopulos reminding us about the Olympic Torch event in Higham
Photograph of The Mayor of Gravesham (full size graphic) and
Chairman of Higham Parish Council, Cllr Mrs Jennifer Papadopulos
reminding us about the Olympic Torch event in Higham.




My Dear Friends,


Celebrations, celebrations, celebrations – what an exciting year lies ahead of us. Firstly, the Annual Band Concert finishing with a firework display to celebrate the Queen‟s Jubilee and Charles Dickens Anniversary and various events over that weekend, then the Olympic torch passing through Higham on 20th July and, finally, the 'Big Screen' in the Recreation Ground on 4th August for all of us to gather together again to watch the Olympic events on that day. I believe that red geraniums were Charles Dickens‟ chosen flower and I am hoping that this year our gardens will be bursting with colour as we all celebrate his 200th anniversary. Please bear this is mind when planting your summer front gardens.

'Gardens'– this leads me on to another topic. Last summer I was privileged to attend my Grandson‟s leaving assembly. The children did a presentation – a historical one – they staged past events, then went to the future – a cloud of dust and the children looking around them. Where have all the birds gone? Where are the insects? Where are the flowers? This made a great impression on me – as I drive around our village and, indeed, over the county. I see more and more front gardens being bricked over. Nothing left for birds, flowers or insects. Please be mindful of this for I find it very worrying.

I am also concerned about the non-conservation of water in driveways built over. Already in February 2012 we have a drought warning and it is early in the year yet, again this is something we should consider.

Following the Parish Council election last May we were pleased to welcome Harold Craske and Les Pearton, as our Borough Council members and, also, Anne Carroll and Graham Ashby to our team.

Again, I use this letter to give my grateful thanks to all who give time and dedication to our village, but I must take this opportunity to mention especially a few. Peter Allinson, who leads the Scout Group, he with his team raised £4,000 in a raffle for our firework display mentioned earlier. It was a marvelous result, Peter, we are so grateful. Audrey Smith – a cook for Higham Age Concern and also team leader of all the cooks. Audrey has just retired from that post, but had given her time and expertise since the early 1980s. I wonder how many meals you cooked over the years, Audrey?!! You will be sadly missed, Audrey, but my sincere thanks to you. My thanks, too, to Barbara West and Carol Mason who organise Age Concern and the three teams of volunteers there – the cooks, the drivers and the hostesses. I know that all our Senior Citizens who attend on a Friday thoroughly enjoy their day out. To Joanne Raff and her helpers at the Monday and Wednesday Youth Club, to our uniformed officers whose presence in the village we all appreciate. To the Parish Council members who work in so many ways for the benefit of us all and, last but by no means least, to Mrs Linda Carnall, our Clerk, who works tirelessly 24 x 7. Thank you so much, Linda. I particularly appreciate and understand the amount of work you do for us.

We would like to thank Gravesham Borough Council for allowing 'The Mayor' (featured on our front cover and above) to reside in Higham Library to remind you all that the Olympic Torch Relay will pass through Higham on 20th July 2012.

To you all, I hope to see you all at our village events in 2012. It should be a year to remember – and may the sun shine for us.

My best wishes to you all,



Your Parish Council likes to acknowledge any very special anniversaries in the village and I would be grateful if you would let me know of any you hear of (100th birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc, etc). Thank you.

Congratulations to Charles and Jackie Parfitt who will celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 19th May 2012 and to Emma Martin (granddaughter of Linda and Peter Parr) who has just been selected as Miss Kent in the regional heats for Miss England.

Pat Oakeshott


Did you buy a ticket for the Village Raffle during 2011 which was being organised by Peter Allinson and the Scouts? We want to place on record our gratitude to Peter and his team of helpers who, through the Village Raffle, have raised the necessary funds for a Grand Firework Display for us all, which will follow this year‟s Friday Night at the Proms event on Friday, 6th July. The entertainment will start at 7.30pm and this year the Medway Band will be installing lights on their music stands so that they can play right up until when the fireworks are lit as it gets dark. This will be the first event of our 2012 Celebrations within the village and it is bound to be a sell out. Advance tickets, costing £4 per adult, are cheaper than on the door and will be available from Higham Library or the Parish Clerk. Please take time to look at the coloured pull-out sheet in the middle of this booklet to see what other events will be taking place within the village this Summer over two weekends.

Did you attend our Assembly in 2011? If not, make a note of this year's date (12th April 2012) and make sure you come along for an excellent evening with refreshments.

Linda Carnall,

Parish Clerk



again present


followed by a

(courtesy of 1st Higham Scouts)


FRIDAY, 6TH JULY at 7.30pm
(fireworks when dark)

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

SORRY – no pets, balls or bikes.
Bring your own chair, food and wine.
Hot food and refreshments available.
Tickets: £4 in advance / £5 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!


I am sure that you have noticed that we currently have ‘The Mayor Of Gravesham’ residing in Higham Library to remind you all that the Olympic Torch Relay will pass through Higham on Friday, 20th July en route to Gravesend. We had no idea that this honour would be granted to our village but we are sure that it may have something to do with the fact that 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens who was Higham’s most famous resident. On 5th February a reporter with the Daily Telegraph reported that to celebrate the Olympic Torch Relay locals in Higham ‘will wear costumes inspired by Charles Dickens.’ SO NO PRESSURE THERE THEN!!! The Parish Council would like to appeal to Parishioners to line the route through the village dressed in Dickensian costume. Why not have a go at improvising an outfit? We hope to have paper patterns available in Higham Library and Post Office for you to make your own mob caps and aprons. It is understood that the children from Higham Primary School will be designing and making their own outfits which they will have used in the Village Parade the week before and Higham will be allocated funding by LOCOG for the route to be dressed with Olympic flags and bunting. Let’s put our village on the map in front of the world’s media by doing something completely different. ARE YOU ‘UP FOR IT’?!!


We are pleased to inform you that we have secured the use of a Big Olympic Screen which will broadcast non-stop live Olympic action for a twelve hour period at the Recreation Ground on Saturday, 4th August 2012. This will form part of our Family Fun Day which will include Soccer and Circus skills workshops, a bouncy castle and much, much more. Hot food and refreshments will be available on site. It is anticipated that The Big Screen will broadcast from 10am until 10pm with free admission to the Recreation Ground. A DATE NOT TO BE MISSED!!



Details are correct at time of going to print.


Date and time



Other information

Contact details


Saturday, 23 June

12 noon

Higham Primary School Dickensian Fair.



01474 822080.

Saturday, 30 June


Higham Choral Group.

St Mary’s Church.


01474 822702.

Friday, 6 July


Friday Night at the Proms followed by Grand Firework Display.

Recreation Ground.

See back of this pull-out for more information.

Tickets from

Higham Library: 01474 823822 or Parish Clerk: 01474 822642.

Saturday, 7 July

11am to 2pm

Scavenger Hunt (11am to 12 noon) followed by Strawberry Tea (12 noon to 2pm).


Please note all children to be accompanied.

Higham Library: 01474 823822.

7.30 for 8pm

A Right Royal Quiz.

Memorial Hall.

Cost: £10 per table of 8.

Keith Bradley: 01474 824150.

Sunday, 8 July


Favourite Songs of Praise.

St John’s Church.


01474 822891.

Monday, 9 July


‘Dickens in Kent’ talk by Chris Bull.

Higham Library.


01474 823822.

Friday, 13 July

9.30 to 10.30am

Victorian Rhyme Time.

Higham Library.




‘Dickens and North Kent’ illustrated talk by
Jeremy Clark with refreshments.

St Mary’s Church.


Katie Lee: 07816 047136.

Saturday, 14 July


Village Parade.


The Parade starts at the Village Club.

01474 822080.

Sunday, 15 July


Village walk from Higham Village Club to The Stone Horse Public House.


Following the walk, refreshments will be served at Higham Village Club.

01474 822456 for details and tickets.

Friday, 20 July


Olympic Torch Relay passes through Higham.


Further information here.


Saturday, 4 August

10am to 10pm.

Screen on our Green and Family Fun Day.

Recreation Ground.

Live Olympic action with lots of family events and entertainment. 

Free admission.  Parking available.

Parish Clerk: 01474 822642.


PLEASE NOTE – further information regarding all events will be posted on the website and on Parish Council noticeboards nearer to the time.


Did you know that the red geranium was Charles Dickens' favourite flower? He often wore one in his button hole when speaking publicly or had a specimen in a vase by his desk whilst writing at Gad's Hill. It is understood that the borders to the front of Gad‟s Hill Place were full of red geraniums when he died there on 9th June 1870. To commemorate the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens birth in 2012 the Parish Council will concentrate on the theme of red geraniums for this year‟s Gardens for Pleasure Competition and so don't forget to get yours planted as soon as possible.



at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:

Monday, 2 April


Thursday, 12 April


Monday, 14 May

Annual Parish Council Meeting.

Monday, 25 June


Monday, 3 September


Monday, 8 October


Monday, 12 November

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Monday, 26 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 2012 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.  Our monthly number of web site visitors ranged from 2,915 (April 2011) to 4,024 (August 2011).  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







Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground


Precept 2011/2012


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 refund


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 31.3.11 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.



 You are cordially invited to attend the 




 at 7.30pm


Tim Bell, Head Ranger, North West Country Parks, KCC,
will give a talk entitled
‘Shorne Woods Country Park – Countryside and History’


We are most grateful to Kent County Councillor Mike Snelling for funding two additional yellow grit bins (grass verge outside Alexander Cottages in School Lane and bottom of steps in Irvine Road) from his personal Members‟ Highways Budget allocation. Luckily both were installed just before the snow in early February and proved to be very useful.


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 27th anniversary of the competition and for only the second time in its history the same garden won for two years running. The following prize-winners received their awards from Mr Morton Grey, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 12th September 2011.

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)

Margaret and Terence Greenshields, ‘Courtlands’, Crutches Lane.

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Greta Stowers, 42 St John’s Road.

HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

Anne and Rob Miles, 13 Highwood Close.

Anthony and June Stevenson, 3 Hayes Close.

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)

The Joblin Family, Hill Cottage, 8 Telegraph Hill.

MOST COLOURFUL PUBLIC HOUSE WITHIN HIGHAM’ (Framed Certificate) – Equal Placing:

The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.

The Stone Horse Public House, Dillywood Lane.

Linda Carnall


The K.A.L.C. serves Parish and Town Councils in Kent. The Gravesham Area Committee is represented by five Parish Councils including Cobham, Luddesdown, Meopham, Vigo and Higham who each have two representatives.

At present Higham and the other Parishes have not only the on-going threat of the Third Crossing, the Estuary Airport and the International Gateway at Wrotham but must remain vigilant to threats to our Green Belt such as the recent 'Local Development Framework' consultation.

Barry Sutherland and John Grey


As you all know, this year has seen many controversial planning applications. One was the application for houses and a football pitch on the field on the A226 (at the end of Walmers Avenue). Another was the proposal to build on the field opposite the Railway Tavern. Your Parish Council has opposed both proposals via the Borough Council, as not being conducive to the village environment. Another application, which is being processed, is for six small units on the railway land at the back of the railway car park. Other applications have been mostly small extensions and conservatories.

Be assured that your Parish Council inspects every application.

Les Pearton and Pat Oakeshott


In May of last year it gave me the greatest of pleasure to be elected, together with Les Pearton, as one of your Borough Councillors and I am proud to represent the Parish of Higham at Gravesham Borough Council. Before transferring to Higham I had been a Borough Councillor in Northfleet. Higham is certainly not the same as Northfleet. One of the first things I noticed was the friendliness and approachability of the people of Higham and their willingness to help and take on responsibilities. This, of course, has been fostered by the excellent Parish Council that does so much in the village to make it a better place to live.

A source of worry was the proposal by Gravesham Council to propose the allocation of many areas of Green Belt in its consideration of housing needs. This is part of the formulating of the Local Development Framework – a policy document it is required to have by law. If you went to the meeting at Istead Rise or the one held in Higham you will know the depth of feeling there is against this. The Green Belt is there for a reason – to stop the sprawl of vast areas of housing and to protect the openness of the countryside. Without the Green Belt, Higham would soon join up with both Gravesend and Medway. Once inroads are made then further inroads are made and this cannot and must not happen or we will end up with no Green Belt. Many of you have made your views known to the Council for which I thank you. Over 1,000 responses were received by the Council. My views are certainly well known – no incursions into the Green Belt unless totally unavoidable. Our objections have been listened to and Gravesham Council has listened to us. The Green Belt land has been taken out of the proposal. Thanks to everyone for their support. The only exception to this may be what is known as an 'exception policy' which might result in affordable and elderly residents' proposals coming forward. This is more likely in other rural areas but we must be vigilant with this.

I turn now to something to celebrate. If you have been in the Library lately you will have seen the life size photograph of the Mayor of Gravesham holding up the news that the Olympic Torch is coming to Higham. Although final details of the route have not been released it will be carried through the village on 20th July 2012. The main Gravesend road will be dressed with flags and bunting and I know that most of you will turn out to witness this event. The Parish Council will be helping to organise the events on the day so watch out for further details.

This year we also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, one of the greatest writers this Country has ever produced. The Parish Council will be celebrating with its usual style.

I have attended many events in the Parish. The Prom in the summer was attended in great numbers, a tribute to the Parish Council who organised it so well. With fireworks this year it will be even better. The village Parade was great fun and the various events at St Mary‟s Church are always well organised and well attended. Can anyone forget the showing of films there in the summer, or singing carols around the Christmas tree in the freezing cold?

I am always available to help residents who need assistance with any problem they may have. My telephone number is 01474 567590.

Working with Les Pearton I look forward to many happy years as your Borough Councillor.

Cllr. Harold Craske


A big thank you to the Members of the Snow Clearance Team, and those other Parishioners, who kindly cleared and gritted pavements in our village following the recent snow, as well as the local farmers who brought in their snow ploughs. Your Parish Council has placed several mobile grit bins in strategic positions throughout the village and is still seeking volunteers to help in a snow emergency. If you would like to volunteer please contact the Parish Clerk with your details (01474 822642).


Your Parish Council is very pleased to report that the five houses at The Chequers site have been allocated to Higham families in need of housing and will soon be occupied. Pat Oakeshott


There is very little to report on public rights of way in Higham Parish. There has been no major issues. There are still problems with horse and riders using the public FOOTPATHS which is making the paths very muddy. I have reported this problem to Kent County Council and have noticed that there are some 'no horses' stickers on some of the public FOOTPATH signposts.

I have observed that there are more people walking the rights of way.

Have you discovered the new car park put in at the end of Salt Road (off Buckland Road) by the RSPB? Great place to start several circular walks.

Happy walking and if you have any problems or queries, do give me a ring.

Anne Waugh


The Recreation Ground continues to be very well used and is in good condition. Mild weather has meant that the grass has kept growing and drier conditions than last year have meant that the playing surface has remained in a reasonable state.

The play equipment and seats have also come through the year relatively unscathed.

Stuart Wright


The hall once again has been very busy over the last year with a wide range of events such as psychic fairs, dances, quiz nights, weddings and parties, as well as its regular bookings by various village groups. As a committee we strive to update the hall one way or another every year. So far this past year we have installed new stage curtains and backdrop curtains for the rear of the stage, replaced the flat roof over the store room, installed outside lights for the car park and purchased a new fridge. Our shopping list for the forthcoming year looks to be just as expensive, so please support the hall boot fairs as these are our major money raising events. Those who use the hall may have noticed the floral displays for Christmas and Remembrance Sunday: this is due to the hard work of Jan Morriss our very own resident florist.

Once again we would like to thank all members of the committee for their help and support during the year and to the various groups for their continued support through hire of the hall.

Keith Bradley,



What a peculiar year for gardeners! Spring was late in coming but having arrived the growing season galloped on apace so that it was all over by August. Our stores and freezers might be full but what about the show in September? Well it turned out to be surprisingly good with many interesting things to see and it was a pity that more people did not come to view. Our programme planner did well again with engaging talks and a delightful garden in Gravesend to visit and our Christmas gathering was a happy event. Nature continues to amaze us. How did all that whitefly survive the previous winter‟s snow? This year‟s battle with the elements is well on course.

Barbara Manley


Church of England Parish of Higham with Merston

The new external notice-board (made by a church member) was erected in 2011. It has facilities for notices though most information can be found in the porch. The CCTV means the Church remains open daily so you can visit, sit quietly, pray, leave a prayer request any day between 9am and 6pm. Request for prayer from the community are welcomed and may be made through Mrs Maureen Sutherland, our Pastoral Assistant, (01474 824439).

Permission has finally arrived to re-vamp the porch in memory of the late 'Sam' Weller. We also hope to have the renewed Sanctuary floor in place by S.John's Day (27th December) when the Bishop of Rochester will be here. Donations for this and fund-raising events (such as the 'Magic Moments' Supper and Show) have been excellent. The acting Bishop of Fulham visited on S.John's Day 2011 and will be here on 24th April to Baptise and Confirm. Fr. James's work as Rural Dean, and other diocesan tasks, continued to take him elsewhere some Sundays and weekdays. The Rural Dean role ends in March 2012. The honorary assistant priest, Fr. David Preston, moved to Scotland in July: his 'replacement', Canon Allan Buik, a Scot, arrives in March 2012. Prebendary Andrew Davis (a native of Higham) preached at our wonderful 150th Anniversary Service in January 2012. Two days before a Burns Night supper and dance raised £1,000 for the floor fund. Harvest Lunch and donations raised over £600 for the Barnabas Fund (which assists persecuted Christians abroad). They, with other charities/mission work, also received a share of the £3,000 that we gave away in 2011.

We continued with some Sundays that are 'all-age' services followed by refreshments in Church. A pew was removed at the rear to create a pram/buggy area for young families. Junior Church (Sunday School) remains small and meets in school term-time. Remember school-age children may be left with a Children‟s leader (CRB checked) and then collected afterwards. The Sunday evening over-11's group and the mid-week Toddler group have not met since the autumn and their viability is under review.

Many thanks, once again, is offered to the Churchwardens (in particular) and to all Church members and others who contribute in many ways to worship, pastoral-work and practical activities. Our gratitude is extended to all those who support us financially: despite the anxiety of last year we remained solvent!

S.Mary's Church, though redundant, continues to be used three/four times a year for worship. Sadly services are not really supported beyond S.John's members. For 2012 services please look for posters or notices in the Church Magazine.

The Revd. Canon James F. Southward,
Vicar of Higham
E-mail: saintjohn.higham@yahoo.co.uk
Telephone: 01634 7173600


Part of the community for over 150 years

With support from Chatham, Strood and Gravesend we continue the work that was started just over 150 years ago in 1821. Probably the most disappointing happening in 2011 was the accident that made it impossible for our secretary for over 16 years to continue travelling to Higham. We are not under new management (Jesus is Lord), just a new secretary. We are here for Higham and invite you to visit us at 11am on Sundays.

Easter, 8th April, is the time when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Why not join us to worship Him. On the 15th April, those especially who have connections with the sea, are invited to join us as we remember the tragic event of Titanic on the 100th anniversary of its sinking. On the 11th November we invite you to join us as we, with the nation, remember those who have given their lives so that we may freely worship our God without let or hindrance.

Our Church has been targeted by vandals who removed the lead from the roof. Be aware of the rogues out there.

Peter Relf,

Telephone: 01474 322195


The Friends of St Mary's Church has had a very successful year with a full programme of events. The events began on 8th May with a three parishes guided walk organised by Higham Village History Group and led by Christoph Bull.

On 18th June we had a Mad Hatters Mid-Summer tea party which was opened by Jools Holland. There was a fabulous array of hats and some very original designs. We all enjoyed music courtesy of David Bowdler and a wonderful spread of tea and cakes.

The Higham Choral Group sang at St Mary's on 9th July 'Sounds for a Summer Evening' – indeed it was a beautiful summer's evening.

Back by popular demand, our film night was held on 6th August. In the afternoon we showed the ever popular 'Oliver!' and in the evening 'The Long Memory'. This film starring Sir John Mills was filmed locally in 1952 and parts of Gravesend are still recognisable.

To celebrate Heritage Weekend we held a Celebration of the Marsh day on 10th September. This included exhibitions and stalls from the RSPB, The Thames and Medway Canal Association, The Anti-Airport Campaign and the Dickens Country Protection Society. There were talks, poetry readings, photographs and art, all with a connection to the wonderful North Kent Marshes.

The Friends of St Mary's were pleased to host the Higham Scarecrow Festival on the 8th October: there were many excellent entries, including a bride, a vicar, Felix the cat, a pirate, a scooter girl and Woody from Toy Story. We hope to make this a regular feature so please start thinking of ideas for next year.

Our final event of 2011 'Carols by Candlelight' was held on 10th December, which started with the decorating of our beautiful Christmas tree. Visitors assisted in the decorating, some bringing their own decorations to hang on the tree. Following this, popular Christmas carols and songs were sung led by Kate and Paul from Higham Choral Group. We had music provided by Jane on the violin and Jen on the accordion. The delicious mulled wine and cakes were enjoyed by all and the raffle and lucky dip provided opportunities to win additional Christmas presents. This was a very popular event and we are sure it will become a regular event on our calendar.

We would like to thank the kind people who regularly donate their time and have done for many years 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. Matthew and Lisa Ledger for allowing us to use their field for parking and David Bowdler for playing music at our tea party.

Anyone wishing to support the work of the Friends can become a member by sending their name and address to Katie Lee, Secretary at 6 Kent Terrace, Church Street, Higham ME3 7LF; telephone 01634 725018. The subscription is the same as last year £5 for an individual and £8 for a household. We cannot stress enough how important you are to the future of St Mary‟s Church and we, therefore, hope that you will remain a loyal and valid member.

St Mary‟s Church has a direct link with Charles Dickens and to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth we have a full schedule of events planned for 2012; Higham Choral Group with their Jubilee Concert, varied talks, Rochester Swing Preservation Society with a Summer Jazz concert, a Midsummer Tea Party based on Miss Havisham's wedding feast, Celebration of the Marsh Day to name but a few. Please check our web site www.stmaryschurchhigham.com for events and information.

Linda Franklin


Higham Primary School has enjoyed an exciting and successful year in 2011, and our successes were recognised by Ofsted who inspected the school in October. The inspectors said that the school was satisfactory and improving, with many good features. Attainment is securely in line with national averages, and an increasing proportion of younger pupils are attaining levels in English and maths that are above those in similar schools. Inspectors said that pupils' attainment and progress demonstrate a rising trend, and that the school has ambitious targets. Other notable features of the report include the good behaviour of pupils; the good care, guidance and support they receive; the positive, respectful and caring relationships; and the excellent attendance. Parent questionnaires showed that the overwhelming majority of parents and carers are pleased with almost every aspect of their children's experience at school.

Our pupils have had many successes this year, with our School Choir performing at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend; participating in the Voice in a Million concert at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford; and reaching the final eight of a Kent-wide singing competition which resulted in them having their song recorded at a professional recording studio.

In sport, our girls' football team won the Football Festival Trophy, while our boys' team were O'Reilly Cup winners, and runners up at the Early Sevens and Easter Sevens which was hosted here at the school. Our girls' netball team were runners up in the annual Netball Festival, and our Tag Rugby team were runners up at the Tag Rugby Festival.

A number of our Year 5 pupils participated in an Adventure Week at Marchant's Hill in Surrey, where they took part in many exciting activities such as abseiling, rock climbing, fencing, archery, quad biking and a challenge course.

After considerable development in the teaching of maths, we achieved our highest results at Key Stage 2 in many years. Our Year 6 pupils were very successful, achieving good results and moving on well-equipped to deal with life at secondary school. In their last term with us they participated in a number of activities including, for the first time, an Enterprise Week, where they set up a number of 'companies' and raised in excess of £260.

In September we introduced Read Write Inc, which is a new approach to the teaching of reading and writing throughout the school. We are seeing the benefits of this approach in the speedy progress our children are making, with younger children and less fluent readers in particular making very rapid progress. Just as importantly, children tell us they now very much enjoy their literacy lessons, and they are much more motivated to read and write.

This year we said goodbye to some long-serving members of staff. Mrs Sandy, who took care of the school's finances, and Miss Parfitt, who was most recently a Teaching Assistant in the Reception Class, moved on after both having been employed at the school for eleven years. This year also saw a change to our Chair of Governors. At the AGM in September Mr James, who has had a long and supportive association with the school, stepped down, though he continues as a Community Governor and Chair of the Curriculum and Standards Committee. Mr Maynard, an experienced Parent Governor, was appointed as the new Chair.

All in all, 2011 was a positive and exciting year for the school, and we are very much looking forward to building on our successes in 2012.

Mrs T Coombs,

Head Teacher


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.


2011 has been a year of notable successes, culminating in a very acceptable result from the visit by the OfSTED inspection in October. They reported that the school overall was satisfactory with a number of good points. In the review with the Headteacher, Mrs Coombs, myself and other Governors, they predicted a higher classification if the school were to be visited in 2012. In other words the pace of improvement is increasing and the indications are that the long term plans which commenced two years ago, when Mrs Coombs took over the management of the school, are bringing genuine, consistent and improving results.

Last year has been a year where the more personally prescribed education programmes are really showing their effectiveness at both Key Stages. (Key Stage 1 at the end of the Infants, ie covering Years 1 and 2, and Key Stage 2 at the end of the Juniors, Years 3 – 6). Pupils are tested at the end of each Key Stage and the school is judged on its performance by how many levels each child in Year 6 has achieved over the previous four years (ie since last formally tested).

Without going into too many statistics, the Governors have noted that Reading, Writing, Maths and Science at Key Stage 1 are at least equal to other Local Authority schools similar to our own and in many more areas are above. At the end of Key Stage 2 (ie just before entry to secondary education) the number of pupils attaining the standard (Level 4) or higher (Level 5) is at its highest for four years. The number of pupils making the standard two levels of progress in Maths is at the highest level for some years and considerably above the national average. This also applies to Science, and English is at a consistent good average.

Pupils enjoy coming to this caring school (OfSTED Inspectors report), their attendance level is high and well above average. Behaviour is good and pupils feel safe because of the good care, guidance and support provided by the adults. Pupil‟s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good and they are understanding and tolerant of each other‟s views.

As we know, the children make a good contribution to the local community and many are extremely engaged in charitable work for both local and international organisations.

The Governors of the school have always been self critical and check their effectiveness against accepted standards. The ultimate test is of course the outcome of governance as judged by H.M. Inspectors. We were delighted to have been found to be effective and supporting of the Headteacher and the leadership's strategic vision for the school and we are committed to its achievement.

All in all, this is probably the most positive report that I have had the pleasure to tell the village about. The efforts of all concerned under the enlightened guidance of Mrs Coombs including not only all of the staff (including the support staff), the Governors but moreover the children themselves with the support of their parents and carers, has collectively achieved this result.

Malcolm L James


The Headquarters of the Dickens Fellowship based at the Doughty Street Dickens House Museum in London use the geranium on their badges. Have you planted your red geraniums yet?


Congratulations to our Chairman, Cllr Jennifer Papadopulos, who was presented with a Pride in Gravesham Award for the "special contribution to the lives of older people" category of this competition last May.


Once again, I would like to thank all those involved with the PTA who enable such smooth running of all the events organised to raise extra funds for the benefit of the children.

It has been another busy and successful year in the PTA Calendar of fund-raising by the dedicated parents of the PTA. The Fayre Co-ordinators, in true form, exceeded profits for both the Summer and Christmas Fayres. The Village Parade was well supported by the village organisations and watched by the many villagers as it passed by from the top of the village to the school; culminating in a family picnic/disco on the school field. I would like to thank all those involved as these events are always truly remarkable and a lot of planning and effort is needed. And more is to come! 2012 is a very important year for all, with many celebrations being held for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary, St John's Church 150th Anniversary and finally the 2012 London Olympics. On 4th August 2012, Higham have been awarded a Big Screen for villagers to view the Olympics on that day on the recreation ground. The PTA are jointly involved with the Parish Council in the organisation of this event. I hope that this will be a truly successful and memorable day.

My thanks are also extended to Mr Vasler of LV Distribution who is kindly loaning the PTA the use of some of his lorries for this year's Village Parade as floats to carry some of the organisations taking part. Hopefully, we will be blessed with a glorious day on 14th July for this event.

Finally, the children's discos have continued to do well and two more Bag2School collections were made.

Please do make a note in your diaries of all the events planned for 2012, and enjoy!! I look forward to another successful and exciting year for the PTA which I am proud to still be asked to Chair.

Leslie Pearton,



I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the warm welcome to Higham; it really is good to see so many of you making use of the library. I have worked in libraries for five years, based in Maidstone. I am a current serving Justice of the Peace as well as being a Primary School Governor. Since my arrival in December there has been little opportunity to organise events and work with the residents of Higham to promote library services. This is something I am very much looking forward to doing in 2012.

We continue to hold weekly Rhyme time sessions on Fridays, which are energetic for both grown-ups and toddlers alike. This informal group is open to Mums/Dads/Grandmas and Granddads with children aged 0-4 and is always on the look out for new members. From one energetic group to another – Higham Coffee and Chat. This group meets the third Tuesday of each month in the library, for coffee and chat. They discuss a wide range of topics including current events, and then get down to the business of discussing books they have read. It is lively, light-hearted and a real advocate for the power of a good book.

2012 is bringing with it many celebrations including the Olympic Torch and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We will be working closely with the Parish Council to offer a range of events during these auspicious times including a scavenger hunt.

We continue to have a small dedicated group of volunteers who maintain the courtyard, flowers and plants as well as running the Rhyme Time Sessions. There are a variety of opportunities to get involved in volunteering; a list of available vacancies can be obtained from the library.

I look forward to seeing many of you in the forthcoming year.

Shaun-Michael Trevithick,

Customer Services Assistant


Last year kicked off in spectacular style as we were awarded the position of Top Performing Independent School 2011 by the BBC and Telegraph as well as being awarded 8th best performing school in England in January. I was delighted to see that our pupils and staff achieved this wonderful result and justifiably we are recognised as one of the top performing schools in the country. Interestingly we don't just focus on academic excellence. In fact we do our best to ensure that our children enjoy school and are able to take part in a whole range of interesting and fun activities such as competitive games, drama, music, expeditions and our army cadet force.

Cadets were honoured to take part in the annual General Gordon Memorial parade in Gravesend again this year. Students from Gad's were, again, among the participants in Armed Forces Day Parade in Gravesham. Combined Cadet Force students joined veterans in a Parade outside the Civic Centre, Gravesend, ahead of the National Armed Forces Day (26th June).

Pupils Alexis Boscia and Cameron Wilkins, accompanied by family members and Mr Wadey, headed for Westminster Abbey, London to participate in the Abbey's Charles Dickens Memorial Service, on the 141st anniversary of the world-renowned writer's death. On behalf of the entire school, Alexis and Cameron laid a wreath of red geraniums (Dickens' favourite flower), ivy and laurel on his gravesite.

A student from Gad's was all smiles after scoring seventeen A* and A GCSE grades – a record for the School. Sixteen-year-old Chloe Wheeler from Darby Gardens, Higham exceeded all expectations by achieving the grades.

In 2012 our Combined Cadet Force will be supported by the Royal Engineers when they launch their own marching band. In February 2012, to celebrate the Dickens Bicentenary, many children from the school took to the stage at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend for their performance of Oliver!

The past ten years have seen a significant period of growth and progress for the school, and it is this success that has enabled Gad's to invest in a new school construction. The school continues to work closely with local residents and Higham Parish Council with regards to this project which will benefit Higham greatly for years to come.

David Craggs,



Kent has a higher than average proportion of businesses and properties suffering from poor broadband services. Kent County Council has prepared a Local Broadband Plan in order to secure Government funding to improve broadband speeds across the county, but in order to achieve this ambition investment by broadband providers is needed. The greater the demand, the more willing broadband providers will be to invest in high speed infrastructure.

It only takes five minutes to register your demand and it could make a big difference. Please register now on www.makekentquicker.com and encourage your family, neighbours and friends to do the same. At the same time please also complete the expression of interest form for BT superfast broadband at www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/expression-gen.aspx

REMEMBER - Market demand alone is unlikely to deliver fast broadband services to our village so help us by spreading the word locally and sign up today!

To register and place your vote at makekentquicker.com, why not use your smartphone and app to scan this bar code. Scan this QR Code with your smartphone and register your interest for better broadband in Higham

If you do not have broadband access it is still important to register your interest. You can do this at Higham Library, via a friend/family or by telephoning Kent County Council on 08458 247 247.


2011 has been as busy as usual. We had a difficult start to the year with the inclement weather and would like to thank all who helped to keep the Practice open during this time.

Staffing – During the year we welcomed Dr Bell as a permanent member of staff and Dr Hossain became a partner on 1st October 2011. We also welcomed registrars Dr Uche, Dr Ilepe (back from maternity leave) and Dr Asha to the staff. They are fully qualified Doctors who spend a year with us training to be General Practitioners. They are trained by Dr K Stone and Dr C Markwick.

In October we did a collection for Breast Cancer during our Flu immunisation campaign and just before Christmas we had a collection for 'Children in Need'. Thank you to all who supported these charities with us.

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 19.30.

Patient Participation Group – We are hoping in the near future to start a Patient Participation Group for the surgery. This is something which is encouraged by Medway Primary Care Trust. It is a way for you to bring ideas to the surgery as to how you would like to see the surgery develop in the future. It is hoped that this would be a group run by patients for patients, although initially there would be surgery and Primary Care Trust input. If you feel you would like to be a member of this group, please leave your name at either Higham or Cliffe surgery and we will contact you with the date of the next meeting.

As some of you will know Carol King, Nurse Practitioner/Partner will be retiring on 7th April 2012. Carol has been an integral part of the surgery for more than 10 years and we will all miss her immensely. Her dedication to both staff and patients is there for all to see and she will be greatly missed by everyone. May we take this opportunity of wishing Carol a very long and happy retirement.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for 2012.

Isobel Meredith,

Practice Manager


We look forward to 2012 and the events involving The Queen's Jubilee, Charles Dickens and the Olympics and have 'Great Expectations' of a good year with The Thames and Medway Canal restoration programme.

Our big hope for 2011 did not happen. Network Rail and EDF are still deliberating about connecting the water pump to the electric supply to fill the canal at Mark Lane. It is essential that agreement is reached soon, to enable us to top up the level in the first section.

On a brighter note the Albion Quayside outline planning application has been approved with the first section of canal being included. This will be an excellent start to eventually restoring the canal to Higham Wharf for boating and fishing, etc. To have the facility to come in from the Thames and cruise to Higham, moor up and explore the area should be a benefit to all.

Our talks go well with local groups and we have conducted several walks along the canal, marshes and sea wall. These seem to be enjoyed by all.

Our static display attracted much attention from families visiting Higham Library's Open Day where we encouraged the children to paint, draw and colour canal related pictures and lace plates.

Brian Macknish,



Oil of geraniums is often used in aromatherapy. It is known to be good for chilblains, general skin care, diabetes, blood disorders and throat infections. Have you planted your red geraniums yet?


We have continued in 2011 with our monthly Coffee Morning/Community Surgeries, although the number of people attending has been slightly disappointing at times. In 2012 we are switching from a Thursday morning to a Thursday afternoon from 2.30pm to 4pm, so please remember if you have any queries to ask of me then come along and enjoy a FREE cup of tea or coffee at the same time.

The Walking Bus scheme was in 2011 suspended mainly due to lack of numbers in respect of adult helpers which is a great pity. However, we hope that maybe in 2012 we will be able to resurrect this healthy and beneficial scheme if we can secure the necessary number of adult helpers which would be needed on both routes. On a more positive note it is good to report that a Drugs Awareness Evening was held in conjunction with Higham Youth Club in November and was, I believe, a qualified success. It was encouraging to see just over 40 people attending with a mix of Youth Club members, Parents, Parish Councillors and other concerned local residents. The evening consisted of three speakers including Kent Police, an Independent Drugs Consultant and the Mother of a young girl who died from a drugs overdose. All three speakers spoke about the dangers of drugs from a different perspective and hopefully at the end of the evening all those attending were agreed that the need to say NO to drugs is paramount.

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.

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 message left on: Mobile: 07811 271256 E-Mail: grayp03@kent.gov.uk

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

Steve Gray


Firstly, I would like to introduce myself. I am Police Community Support Officer Rob Meader. I am the new dedicated PCSO for Higham. Over the past three months I have been working with PCSO Hylands to help deter crime in the village and introduce myself to the community. I have attended the Higham Neighbourhood Forum (PACT) and local Parish meetings, the local youth club and visited Higham Primary School, which was great fun!

I would like to promote Neighbourhood Watches in the village and am looking to expand the amount we have. If you are interested in starting a Watch please call me and I will help explain what is involved.

If there are any issues that you would like me to look into or meetings that you would like me to attend, please call me on 07772 113127.

PCSO Rob Meader


The Forum met five times in 2011 under its old name Higham PACT Panel and during that time set up a speed watch scheme which is just one of several in Kent and all over the country to monitor the speed of traffic. The index numbers of speeding vehicles are passed on to Kent Police who then write to the keeper of the vehicle. Drivers are not prosecuted. If speeding is found to be a problem in a certain area the police may carry out their own checks. Speeding is not the only concern of the Forum. We want to know what others you have so they can be considered by the Forum as a priority. So please come along to our meetings and raise any concerns you may have.

Further information can be found in 'The Bridge', on notices advertising our meetings and on our new web site – www.spanglefish.com/highamneighbourhoodforum

Peter Leakey,



2011 was another exciting year for our Monday (aged 14+) and Wednesday (aged 10+) evening youth clubs.

On Wednesdays we generally 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 Essex where they were able to camp (in tents with bunk beds!), and take part in lots of activities including climbing, kayaking, canoeing, banana-boating, tunnelling, mountain boarding, cage football and lots more.... We also enjoyed bellboating at Leybourne Lakes where PC Gemma Pawley and PCSO Pete Hylands were able to join our very competitive young people having fun on the water. Some of our young people took part in the Kent Youth centenary celebrations at Leeds Castle, and we also took part in the Village Parade and Picnic.

The young people who attend the Monday club regularly meet elsewhere and have enjoyed ten pin bowling on a few occasions, a few cinema trips, and a trip to Capstone Ski Centre. The Wednesday night club have enjoyed a couple of trips to ten pin bowling.

We held a fund-raising disco in support of CHYPS (Ellenor Lions Children's and Young People's Hospice Service) raising over £200 for their important work.

Each week we have a well stocked tuck shop and most weeks we also sell reasonably priced hotdogs.

Coming up in the forthcoming year is a further Midnight to 3am Ice Skating (with a sleepover afterwards), a residential trip to a fantastic activity centre, a camping trip (combined with lots of activities), and lots more.....

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 and committed 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 continued to welcome some girls from Cobham Hall Girls School who assist us as part of the service element of their International Baccalaureate qualification. Some of our “young helpers” are using their volunteering as part of the service element of their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

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 about our club please email me on highamyouthclub@blueyonder.co.uk or call me on 07934 562085 (or if unavailable leave a message on 07817 746097)

Joanne Raff,

Leader, Higham Youth Clubs


It's hard to believe that we have now been running for a year, and a very busy year we've had. The group has seen the number of Mums, Dads and Carers attending increase dramatically and it's been a particular pleasure to welcome the many new families moving into the village. Along with all our regular soft play activities we've had visits from Pudsey Bear, Peppa Pig, the puppet lady and Father Christmas, who came to give gifts to 65 very excited children at our highly successful Christmas party which was featured in the Gravesend Messenger.

We continue to open every Thursday from 9am to l2 noon at the Memorial Hall with children under one year costing 50p and children over costing £2. At each session we also have musical instruments to use for our singing and Nursery Rhyme time. We are looking forward to welcoming the Easter Bunny and other friends throughout the year as well as offering a variety of exciting individual products available for purchase at each session. Finally we offer a variety of drinks and snacks to enjoy in a relaxed and happy atmosphere enjoyable for children and adults alike.

Mobile: 07824 360435 E-Mail: beverley.smith@something2do.org Facebook: Something2do

Beverley Smith


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 (Daisy Chains Children's Centre) or 01474 354253 (Little Gems Children's Centre).


The Kindergarten has had a very successful year. We have successfully completed a national project Every Child a Talker (ECAT) which demonstrates a commitment to raising the communication techniques offered to young children. As a result we have noticed an increase in the achievements in language and literacy amongst the children. We are very grateful to parents and members of the community who have volunteered their time to come and read to the children or talk to them about their professions.

We have plans this year to refurbish the lights in an attempt to provide a more economical system but, more importantly, one that contributes towards an enhanced play and learning environment. We are also looking to complete the outdoor area to install shades/sails to provide a protected/sheltered area for the children to ensure they have shelter from all weathers. We continue to open term time only, however, will be exploring the possibility of opening during the Summer break. We operate Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm and should you require information or to register your child please contact the Kindergarten on 07774 224808.

Suzanne Green


Higham now has a village correspondent who is your link to the local press in the Gravesham area. 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


There is little to report as the Trust's funds still earn barely any interest resulting in another non-distribution for the year. Mrs Anne Carroll has been appointed to The Trustees.

Les Baker,


Telephone: 07701 036355



Higham Rainbows have been busy throughout 2011 taking part in activities within the group and jointly with the Brownies. In May, four Rainbows and their families took part in the three mile sponsored walk from Kays Garden in Meopham to Luddesdown. The weather was kind and the girls enjoyed the morning walk. During the summer term we held a joint meeting with the Brownies taking part in team games. In September some Rainbows went to 'Go Quackers' an activity day held in Cudham. Despite the downpour this did not stop the girls having fun with a variety of events, including hunt the duck, hook a duck and duck games and songs. We ended the year with a joint Christmas Party with the Brownies.

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


2nd Higham Brownies has had another busy year, with a full unit of 30 and many on our waiting list. We have earned badges such as Crime Prevention, Designer and Cook. We have had a Christmas themed sleepover, run a circus day where the girls learned how to juggle, spin plates and have a go at tight rope walking. Some girls joined the District Cubs for a historic treasure hunt around Gravesend, lots was learned especially by the leaders. We have had a few trips out such as swimming, Shorne Country Park, a visit to Pocahontas and the Gurdwara Temple. When we are not on trips or days out we do crafts such as paint porcelain bowls, make candles and decorate plimsolls. All this could not be achieved if it was not for the parents help each week so, thank you. If you have a skill you think our Brownies would enjoy or some spare time we are always looking for new ideas and help, please call us.

We would also like to thank Rajdeep, Mollie and Kacey our young leaders for their amazing support throughout the year.

Krissi and Sharon,

Sooty and Tawny Owl

Telephone: 01474 823500


It has been an exciting year for Higham Scout Group. We have had some changes in leadership, but are lucky to have many committed and enthusiastic adults who are working with the young people to enable them to have fun and gain skills which will stay with them for life. All sections of the group have followed challenging programmes, camping, cooking, hiking, shooting, taking part in archery, visiting Pets at Home and Gravesend Police Station, taking part in a Second World War re-enactment, and many more weekly activities.

All three sections take an active part in events run by Gravesham District where we are one of the largest groups.

We have put a great deal of effort and time into helping the Parish Council to raise the money for the Fireworks and are really looking forward to the Prom in July.

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

Once again 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 Meet Contact
Beaver Scouts Fridays 5.30-6.30pm Andrea Jarman 01474 822192
Cub Scouts Fridays 6.30 – 8pm Kevin Oaten 01634 577888
Scouts Fridays 8 – 10pm Peter Allinson 01474 823806
Explorer Scouts Various 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


Once again we have reached the time for the annual report and we are pleased our numbers have increased yet again. We endeavour to make our meetings interesting and encourage our members to become actively involved.

Our home economics events always prove popular and each year there is normally a themed evening when most members participate fully. The competitions are well supported and it gives everyone a chance to show off their cooking and craft skills.

The Drama group continues to provide great entertainment several times during the year and find it harder to come up with more productions to entertain everyone.

Scrabble mornings remain popular, as well as walks and lunches afterwards. Another quiz night proved very successful and the profit made added to our Institute's funds. Craft mornings and evenings continue to be popular and new skills are being learnt. A visit to the new Police Station was enjoyed by several ladies who saw and experienced their up to date premises and facilities.

Our speakers have been varied. A lifetime of keeping chickens, a ladies life on board for a lengthy cruise, and a good presentation from our local police on how to remain safe in your home and lives. The Retired Greyhound Trust provided an insight into what happens to greyhounds once they have finished their racing lives. Another speaker told us about forensics and finger printing whilst another enjoyed talking and showing slides about his many visits to New Zealand.

County and district events have been attended and we hope that all members will continue to support all aspects of our Institute which will ensure continued success.

Pat Merrison,



HiARA is a voluntary non-profit making organisation and is one of over 80 such groups throughout Kent. Since it was formed, early in 2003, the club has proved to be very popular. Due to the length of the waiting list in 2010 it was agreed to increase the maximum membership to 240 and having reached that total 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 each month, for a range of activities, including short-mat bowls, new age kurling, quizzes, puzzles, board games and tea and chat. We also have well supported monthly art and craft groups and several themed evenings each year.

The fourth Friday in the month is earmarked for our general meeting and in the past year we have welcomed some popular speakers covering a wide range of subjects, plus time is allowed for a raffle, visiting the book stall, refreshments and having a good chat. These meetings generally attract 100+ members together with several guests. 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. We also take part in countywide activities and were the first holders of the KentARA quiz shield in 2009.

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, on the Memorial Hall notice-board and on www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk/hiara.

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

For more information about the group please visit our web-site or call us on 01474 823121 or 01474 822686.

Eileen Rice,

Membership Secretary


Recreational Writing Group

Higham Writers group, is a small gathering of writers drawn from Higham and the surrounding local area, and is now in its seventh year. Our members vary from university graduates to retired folk of all ages – some who write purely for pleasure and others who are heading towards publication – anyone, in fact, who wants to indulge their creative writing urges is welcome. The group is kept small, no more than eight or so at a time, and is tutor led, by Denise Leppard, herself a writer for many years.

Since early 2010 we have had our own web site – HIGHAM WRITERS GROUP – which highlights some of the pieces written by our members. These include researched historical articles, mysteries, humorous pieces and memoirs by past and present members all of which are representative of the work we do in the group.

We meet weekly on a Monday morning in Higham. Please look at the web site if you wish to know more or ring Denise on 01474 822881. Alternatively, email: deniseleppard@btinternet.com. We usually have a small waiting list, but would be glad to hear from anyone, particularly if you have enjoyed the work on our web site

Denise Leppard


Our patchwork and quilting group continues to meet once a fortnight on Thursday evenings at Merston Court to practice and update our craft and hobby. We have new members which is great! We have attended workshops on varying techniques with other quilt groups in Kent and visited shows and exhibitions in Aylesford, Cambridge and Birmingham. We have made many friends and enjoy a good social relationship. If you would like to know more please ring Linda Parr on 01474 823129.

Linda Parr


The group meet bi-monthly in the Memorial Hall where topics in the past year have included The Women's Land Army of WWII, The History of the Port of London and an update on the Shorne Woods Archaeology Project. Andrew Rootes launched a new book at the May meeting; 'A History of Higham in Old Photographs Volume 1' that complements his previous two books, 'Higham in Old Photographs 1 & 2'. All are selling well and a launch of a further volume is scheduled for the May meeting this coming spring. Proceeds from the sale of books are used to fund the group‟s activities and donations are also made to the Kent Air Ambulance. A Three Parishes Guided Walk, led by Chris Bull, was arranged as a joint venture with Chalk Parish History Group as part of the Discover Gravesham Festival.

One of the group projects is the documentation of local reminiscences and a reading was given at the Merston Court Lunch Club.

A busy programme has been arranged for the coming season. Topics will include Gad's Hill – Dickens' Little Kentish Freehold (Discover Gravesham Festival) and Strange Kentish Folklore. To celebrate the bi-centenary of Dickens' birth there will be a conducted tour of Gad's Hill Place followed by a cream tea. In June there will be a tour of the newly restored Darnley Mausoleum. Full details can be found on the web site www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk

Sally Starbuck


Now in our fifth year, we are still going strong and growing! As well as classes we have a workshop day, evening classes and occasional all-day classes. We have also changed our venue. We meet now at St John‟s Church Hall in Hermitage Road. Ladies of all abilities are very welcome. Call Irene on 01634 685478 or 07917 673221 or Pauline on 01634 272785 or 07721 006007.

Irene Love and Pauline Powling


Higham Village Club is pleased to say we are continuing to do well, especially with the hiring out of our facilities, being an ideal venue for parties, weddings, christenings, funerals and meetings for local clubs. There are two comfortably furnished halls, which can be hired out for private functions to members and non-members at a very reasonable charge, use of a kitchen is available and there are large car parking areas to both front and rear of the building.

We also have a lot going on for members and try to cater for all age groups. Forthcoming events are a Rod Stewart Tribute Act and an Elvis night which is in aid of the Darent Valley Hospital Premature Baby Unit. Another fund-raising evening is in aid of Help the Heroes. We will, of course, be celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with Annie Love singing songs from years gone by, followed by a Disco and Barbecue. I‟'m sure a lot of you will already know Annie as she has performed many times at the club's Christmas lunch. This I'm sure will be a great day.

If the main hall is not hired out for a private function, there is usually something going on. 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 1st Wednesday in every month is our bingo afternoon from 2pm to 4pm which is open to non-members. On various Fridays throughout the year we have a Quiz Night which always proves to be very successful and popular. I think we all have a little bit of that competitive streak in us.

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

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

Last year we landscaped the front of the club with an outdoor patio and garden area. Those of you who may walk past or visit the club must admit it has made the front of the building much more attractive and is a lovely sunny spot to sit on a hot afternoon or evening sipping a nice cool drink.

Clubs and pubs are a meeting place for friends, families and neighbours, without them a great slice of the whole village social life will be gone and if this happens they will be sadly missed.

Anyone thinking of joining the club is always welcome. Just pop in and have a look around or, alternatively, telephone 01474 822456.

Lynne White,



We have had another successful year with the continued support of the Women's Institute, Parish Council and many friends in the village. We have been running for nearly 30 years and for much of this time Audrey Smith our Head Cook has been involved. She is now handing over to Joan Campbell (Thank you Joan!). I can't calculate how many lunches Audrey has organised over the years but I can't remember a single complaint.

Apart from continuing to produce a varied menu of home cooked meals (our maximum 5 Star Food Hygiene Rating has been renewed for 2012) we have again provided a regular programme of exercises, entertainment and shoe sales, etc. Yet again Mrs Geraldine Cox laid on an excellent Strawberry Tea at Little Hermitage. Finally, I must again thank our Hostesses, Cooks and Drivers for their loyalty and hard work and also Carol Mason, Pat Oakeshott and Jennifer Papadopulos for their support.

Should anyone wish to add their name to our lengthening waiting list for Membership (we are, unfortunately, limited in the number we can accommodate) or would like to volunteer (a few hours once a month) could you please contact me on 01474 822453.

Barbara West,



The Society has been very busy again this year, continuing the basic work of monitoring and commenting on when considered appropriate, the various local planning applications being submitted to both Gravesham and Medway councils.

Other items that have received particular attention include:

 The Chattenden and Lodge Hill redevelopment projects.

 The restoration of Upnor Pond which was driven forward by the society.

 The on-going action against Network Rail to re-open the pedestrian crossing point at Queens's Farm.

 The draft National Planning Policy Framework (which can be regarded as a 'Developers Charter').

 The draft Local Development Frameworks from the two councils. The society submitted a 9-page document in response to the Gravesham proposals.

 The society also particularly opposed the suggestions around various sections of Green Belt land locally being attacked through being identified as housing development sites.

On lighter matters:

 The Society's annual Barn Dance held at Buckland Farm continues to be very popular and the next barn dance will be on Saturday 19th May.

 Updated merchandise is available with a new design on notelets, tea-towels and shopping bags.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Society, which was on 10th February 1972 in response to one of the many previous serious threats to the environment of the area – it goes almost without saying that this work will be continued as regards the many present-day threats.

Mrs Susan Lindley,

Committee Member of DCPS


There is a waiting list for the Parish allotments and the Council is keen to enable more villagers access to plots for cultivation. Ways to make these available are under development and we will bring you news as soon as possible. Being able to grow your own food and contribute to reducing food miles is something we should all be proud of achieving and is supported by your Council.

Have a good growing season for 2012 and Happy Gardening.

Alan Howard


The courts have had steady continual use during 2011 by young tennis players and also by Higham Youth Club for 5-a-side football. The unusually mild weather conditions during November and December enabled more use than the previous year.

We are trying our best to save for renewing the electric box/meter and electricity to be reinstated to the changing rooms after vandalism a couple of years ago. Once this has been done we will then, hopefully, be able to sort out the water problems (new piping needed) to enable showers and toilets to be used.

Ann Kevill


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


With the Club celebrating our 50th year in 2011 it was only fitting that in true Cricket Club tradition the culmination of our celebrations was a complete wash-out on a cold, very wet and windy day in July. This was a particular disappointment considering the amount of work which had gone into the celebration day. It did, however, give more time for past members, many who had travelled far and near to come together to meet with old friends and reminisce of the good cricket days of the past 50 years. The Club continues to develop, with this year the purchase of new sightscreens to enhance the playing conditions at our ground. Our coaching and training sessions continue and we are currently running TWO U11s, U13s, 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. We are particularly looking for more members from the Higham village area to come along.

Seniors Training:

Sundays 6-7pm until mid-April Kings School, Rochester.

Juniors Training:



U13, U15

6.30-8pm until mid-April.
8pm-9.30pm until mid April.

Robert Napier School, Gillingham.
All ages
6.30-8pm from end April
to mid-August
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 get local people and firms 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.

The Club may reside outside the village, but it truly is YOUR local cricket club.

If you would like to volunteer in any other capacity, we would be very grateful to hear from you.

For more details about your local cricket club please contact:

Keith Short,

Honorary Secretary

Telephone: 01634 200817



We are a very friendly group and meet every Friday at Higham Primary School from 8pm to play short mat bowls. Established over 20 years ago the group has been very popular socially as well as competitively.

The last year has seen us lose many members through age and the other activities in the village.

We are urgently looking for new members to save the club from disappearing this year. We would like to hear from anybody who is interested in joining by ringing Don 01474 823633, Ian 01474 824367 or simply turn up on a Friday night at the school at 8pm with a mug for your tea/coffee and enjoy. Beginners welcome.

Ian Downes,



Another year and the club is still growing. We have 12 teams running this year with over 120 children signed on under 8s to under 16s playing in both the Medway Youth League and the North Kent Youth League, with under 7s training on Saturday mornings for entry into a league next year.

As always we are ever grateful for the use of Higham Primary School and Higham Recreation Ground, but we are still looking for more ground to accommodate all the children wishing to play football.

We would like to thank all the local businesses that have kindly sponsored our teams this year. We have been able to buy three full kits for our under 10s teams and very grand the boys look in them.

Boys and girls from 6 years to 16 years are always welcome to come and join us. We try to encourage ability and maintain fitness while having fun.

Mrs Pat Jeal,
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


Higham Choral Group had a busy year in 2011 with three usual concerts at Spring, Summer and Christmas and an extra concert at Shorne Church to raise money for their roof fund.

At the Christmas concert there was also a carol written by one of our members, Frazer Westmoreland. The audience of 150 people joined with the Choir to sing popular Carols.

This year we will be singing a Jubilee Concert as part of the celebrations in the village. This will be at St Mary‟s Church on 30th June. We are also singing a special concert on 13th October to celebrate St John‟s Church 150th anniversary.

We always welcome new members, especially tenors and basses – there is no voice test.

Forthcoming Events

31st March 7.30pm Concert Chalk Church.
2nd June –Tour 7.30pm Concert Penshurst Church.
30th June 7.30pm Jubilee Concert St Mary's Church.
13th October 7.30pm 150th Anniversary Concert St John's Church
15th December 7.30pm Christmas Concert St John's Church

Wendy Hance


A “pay as you go” Zumba dance/fitness class meets at the Higham Village Club on Wednesday evenings from 8 to 8.50pm. For more details, contact Andrea on 07967 312613. Web site www.zumbafituk.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. Over the past year we have been busy participating in local events, the first of which was a fund-raising event in aid of St John's C of E Church. We provided the entertainment for the 'Magic Moments' evening. In July our pupils thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to perform in both the Higham Parade and the Higham School Fete.

We sadly had to say farewell in the summer to our fantastic teacher Jamie Terry as he is now studying Drama at University. This meant, however, that we were able to welcome the amazing Hayley Faye Rheins. She's full of ideas and enthusiasm…. perfect!

If you would like to know more about our weekly workshops, please contact myself, Rebecca Hill on 07896 780593 or 01474 873287.

Rebecca Hill


Emma's Street Dance classes are held at Higham Village Club. They are for dancers of all ages who wish to learn new 'street dance' routines. Expert dancers can perfect their moves for competitions, while beginner dancers can come and have fun and get fit! Emma's Street Dance is for everyone, so come and learn new skills and make new friends. Classes are held on:

Mondays 5 - 5.45pm
6 - 7pm
7 - 8pm
8 - 9pm
3 - 6 years
7 - 11 years
11+ and teenagers

Thursdays 4.30 - 5.30pm Mixed abilities and ages

Emma Cater

Telephone: 07766 886827


Following a successful and busy 2011 season, Copperfield Clog, Higham's local north-west Morris dancing side, continue to meet for practice sessions at 8pm on most Thursday evenings from September through to May in St John's Church Hall, Higham. Our main performance season usually commences mid/late April through to early September although we are always ready to dance out at other times of the year subject to availability.

During 2011 Copperfield Clog danced in the dawn on 1st May, performed at the Rochester Sweeps Festival and at many local pubs. Copperfield Clog also joined St Clement Clog's for their anniversary day of dance on board the Princess Pocahontas, sailing from Gravesend to London where we performed outside the Greenwich Museum, as well as dancing on board the ship as we sailed under Tower Bridge and some of the other famous London bridges before turning round and commencing our journey back to Gravesend.

We are a small, friendly, group of dancers and musicians and 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.

For full details on Copperfield Clog do visit our very comprehensive web site. You will be able to read all about Copperfield Clog's dance performances over the last few years, view some of our many photographs, as well as monitor our programme for the forthcoming season which is now beginning to take shape.

Copperfield Clog can be contacted as follows:

Telephone: Programme Secretary – Mary – 01474 822929

E-mail: info@copperfield-clog.org.uk

Web site: www.copperfield-clog.org.uk

Judi Stanley,

Publicity Officer for Copperfield Clog


The Claire Buckley School of Dancing had a busy 2011.

In July we held our show which was performed at The Brook Theatre in Chatham. This was dedicated to our former student Maisie Cook, who sadly lost her fight against Cystic Fibrosis. Money raised from the show will go towards building a new adult CF unit at Kings.

2012 looks to be another busy year with our Olympic themed show, Higham Parade, school fete, workshops and more exams!!! Our next show will take place on Sunday, 24th June here at the Memorial Hall.

We offer 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. 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:

Home: 01634 220766

Mobile: 07813 050493

E-mail: claire.buckleys@virgin.net

Claire Buckley




Age Concern

01474 822654

Age Concern Referrals

01474 823380           


01474 822192


01474 823500 

01474 823538

Choral Group

01474 822702

Claire Buckley School of Dancing

01634 220766

Community Warden (Steve Gray)

07811 271256

Congregational Church

01474 322195

Copperfield Clog

01474 822929

Copperfield Quilters  (Higham Quilters)

01474 823129


01634 577888

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

07816 047136

Garden and Allotment Society

01474 822072


01634 715959

Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club

01634 200817

Higham Bowlers

01474 824367

Higham CP School PTA

01474 822080

Higham Craft Club

01634 685478

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 Dave Smith

07980 770598

Liz Jeffrey, Village Correspondent

01474 747090

Memorial Hall (Bookings only)

01474 822007

Higham Neighbourhood Forum – Peter Leakey

01474 822516

Parish Clerk

01474 822642

PCSO Peter Hyland

07772 226081

PCSO Rob Meader 07772 113127
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 / 01474 354253

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 Graham Ashby 28 Norah Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7EP 01474 822139
Cllr Anne Carroll 13 Highwood Close, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BQ 01474 824687

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 Barry Sutherland

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

01474 824439

Cllr Stuart Wright

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

01634 717336


Cllr Les Pearton

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

01474 822080

Cllr Harold Craske

6 Pepper Hill, Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent DA11 8EY

01474 567590


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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