Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2013

[ Back to:  Home Page | 2004 Newsletter | 2005 Newsletter |
2006 Newsletter | 2007
Newsletter | 2008 Newsletter | 2009 Newsletter
2010 Newsletter | 2011 Newsletter | 2012 Newsletter

photograph of the 2012 Olympic Torch in Higham. Courtesy: Clive Stanley
Photograph of two Olympic Torch Bearers amongst the crowds in Higham.
See more about the Olympic Torch event in Higham.



Dear residents of Higham,


As I write this letter on this icy Monday, and look back on the past 12 months, the events that took place in our village, spring to life.  What fantastic events they were!  Firstly, I mention our band concert followed by that superb fireworks display that was made possible by the funds raised by Peter Allinson and the Scouts in the village.  We all watched in amazement as they lit our sky – an evening we will never forget.  This was the fourth year of this concert and, again, the weather on the day was perfect.


It is estimated that up to 5,000 people from the village and beyond turned out to wave and cheer as the Olympic torch was carried along the A226.  Many were in Dickensian costume to also celebrate Charles Dickens’ 200th anniversary.  The television coverage of the event was very well received. The weather during the Queen’s Jubilee river pageant was atrocious.  It was much better during Higham’s procession through the village, although still very damp.  Participants on the floats and those on foot ensured a very brave and colourful show.  They made their way down to the school for their summer fayre.


Lastly, but by no means least, Gravesham provided a ‘big screen’ on the recreation ground for the people to enjoy watching the Olympics together.  We had the pleasure of the company of the Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Lyn Milner.  We had various stalls and also entertainment for families.  Again, the weather was a slight deterrent, but those that attended had a happy day.


During 2012 St John’s Church celebrated 150 years since its consecration.  Invitations were extended to preach, to the Bishop of Rochester and a number of priests who had earlier connections with Higham.  There was also a stunning exhibition of icons, many painted by local iconographers.

Early in the year the Parish Councillors were faced with a very severe issue, relating to the recreation ground.  It became very clear that if the problems could not be resolved, the village stood to lose the use of the football ground, the multi-purpose games area and the building housing the nursery school.   St John’s College, Cambridge owns this land and the Parish Council pays a yearly rental for it.  Their land agent commenced on a negotiation for the increase of the rental.  Imagine our horror when on Maundy Thursday last year we were presented with a new figure, which in effect amounted to an increase of 15 times the present rental.  Tense negotiations and visits to a solicitor followed.  To our relief we have managed to agree a rent six times the present one.  However, Higham Parish Council has entered into an agreement with the nursery school to pay a rent, which thus defrays some of the costs to the Parish.  This has all now been agreed and we can breathe a sigh of relief! 


The Memorial Hall, although not a part of discussion on the rent mentioned, is a very important building in our village and I/we must all be thankful to the Committee that runs and looks after this on our behalf, particularly Keith Bradley and Peter Morriss.


None of last year’s events could have materialised without the exceptional help from many, many people.  Linda Carnall must have a special thank you as she worked so tirelessly for us all.  Peter Allinson and the Scouts deserve our gratitude for the fireworks.  All the members of the Parish Council who helped to organise the events and you the parishioners who turned out and supported everything; giving of your time and talent so generously, I congratulate you all.  Barbara West and Carol Mason continue their dedicated work with ‘Age Concern’.  They have three teams of helpers, drivers, hostesses and cooks.  Together, they work to get the 22+ senior citizens from their homes to Merston Court every Friday for a home cooked lunch and the opportunity of company and entertainment.  Thank you to you all.


As I started my letter I remarked about the snowy Monday.  As I write we have a team of snow clearers out working in the centre of the village.  Our thanks go to team leader, Barry Sutherland and Alan Howard, both Parish Councillors, and a group of volunteers. Where would we be without them?


May I wish you all a peaceful and happy year ahead.

My best wishes to you all,




A BIG ‘THANK YOU’ to all the Parishioners who supported our 2012 events within the village. Were you amongst the hundreds who enjoyed our annual Friday Night at the Proms event followed by a spectacular firework display?  Or were you in the crowd of 5,000 who turned out to witness the Olympic Torch Relay make its way through our village, or to watch the Olympic Big Screen on the Recreation Ground as our athletes completed a record gold medal haul on ‘Super Saturday’?  One person who was at all these events (and many more throughout the year) was our fantastic webmaster, Clive Stanley, who captured all the memories of these days on his camera for our website.  If you haven’t yet seen his results you can still do so by visiting our website  www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk  and following the links.  We must also thank Clive’s wife Judi who turns all of the copy material that we receive each year for our newsletter into this superb booklet.  Thank you Clive and Judi for keeping us all so well informed.


So many of you enjoyed our events last year that we have now been asked by Gravesham Borough Council to run a Community Event in Higham this summer.  ‘IN THE MOOD TONIGHT’ will take place in the Recreation Ground on Saturday, 15 June from 7.30pm when The Peninsula Big Band will play the sounds from the 30’s and 40’s such as standards from Glen Miller, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, as well as other more modern favourites.  Bring your chairs and picnics to enjoy an evening of nostalgia, be it just listening to the music, or getting up for a dance on our special outdoor dance floor.  The evening will conclude with a spectacular firework display with the theme being the Diamond Jubilee of the Coronation.  We wish to thank Gravesham Borough Council who has kindly provided the funding for this event.  Put this date in your diary now as with FREE ADMISSION it is bound to be very popular!


In addition, our annual Friday Night at the Proms concert with the Medway Band will take place in the Recreation Ground on Friday, 12 July commencing at 7pm.  Advance tickets costing £4 per adult are cheaper than on the door and will be available from Higham Library or the Parish Clerk. WATCH OUT FOR THE USUAL YELLOW BANNERS AROUND THE VILLAGE WHEN THEY GO ON SALE!!

Did you attend our Assembly in 2012?  If not, make a note of this year’s date (11 April 2013) and make sure you come along for an excellent evening with refreshments.


Linda Carnall, Parish Clerk



at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:

Monday, 8 April


Thursday, 11 April


Monday, 13 May

Annual Parish Council Meeting.

Monday, 8 July


Monday, 9 September


Monday, 14 October


Monday, 11 November

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Monday, 25 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, here.


Dates for Parish Council meetings during 2013 are listed above.  Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.










Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground


Precept 2012/2013


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


2012 Grants Received


Grants made


Proms event


Proms/2012 events












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 31.3.12 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.


 You are cordially invited to attend the



on THURSDAY, 11TH APRIL 2013 at 7.30pm


Jeremy Clarke, Education Officer

at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester,

will give a talk entitled

‘Dickens and his associations with North Kent’



Congratulations to our Vice Chairman, Cllr Pat Oakeshott, 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.



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 28th anniversary of the competition and for the first time in its history the same garden won for three years running.  The following prize-winners received their awards from Mr Morton Grey, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 10 September 2012.


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)

John Husband, 34 St John’s Road.

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Janet and John Parkinson, 17 Highwood Close.

HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

Dot and Fred Figg, 1 Oak Drive.

Wendy and Edward Hance, 2 The Larches.

Anne and Rob Miles, 13 Highwood Close.

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

Evelyn and John Leach, 32 Telegraph Hill.

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

John Thornton, 26 Chilton Drive.


The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.


Linda Carnall



The KALC 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.


Most of the local parishes are trying to cope with the on-going threat to their Greenbelt land being used for affordable housing projects.


There are also major concerns with the lack of policing in our villages that in the long term will not be cost-effective if vandalism and graffiti has to be dealt with.


Higham and the ‘Peninsula’ villages have the threat of the proposed ‘Third’ crossing and Estuary Airports and the KALC is a way of keeping each other informed of meetings and updates.


Barry Sutherland and John Grey




As you know, your Parish Council are happy to record special anniversaries and big birthdays.  In 2012 we were delighted to hear of the following couples’ happy events and offer congratulations:


*   Fred and Rose Lewis – 60th Wedding Anniversary – August 2012.
*   Rick and Chrystine Lovell – 50th Wedding Anniversary – August 2012.

Plus congratulations to Richard and Lyn Bradbrook who celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary in March 2013.


I am always happy to record any special events – just give me a ring!


Pat Oakeshott



Parishioners will have been saddened to learn of the death of Cllr. Mike Snelling, who had been the Kent County Council elected representative for the Gravesham Rural Parishes, including Higham, since 2005.


Mike was an enthusiastic supporter of our village, and its needs, and last year awarded us a grant of £1,500 from his own personal Members allocation in recognition of our Olympic celebrations during the summer. He rarely missed attending our Parish Council Meetings and would often pay us a flying visit en-route to attending other meetings on the same evening.  On our behalf he always spoke out against proposals to site the proposed Lower Thames Crossing close to Gravesend and the need for a hub airport to be built either in the Thames Estuary or on the Hoo peninsula.


He will be greatly missed by us all. 



Your Parish Council has had over 200 applications to build during 2012.  Most of these have been for minor works – conservatories/small additions/larger kitchens, etc, and the Committee have viewed every one to make sure that there is no intrusion on privacy or overlooking.  There have been a few applications in the Green Belt, to which we have registered objections, as it is your Parish Council’s wish to preserve our Green Belt and Conservation areas.


You will all know that another application has been received for the field opposite the Railway Tavern in Lower Higham.  We have made very strong objections to Gravesham Planning Department and I hope you have all written to register your objections.  Your Parish Council depend on residents letters to back up their views.


Let’s all try and keep our village free from large developments. 

Pat Oakeshott and Les Pearton




again present




FRIDAY, 12TH JULY at 7pm


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

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!



The Parish Council has been asked to forge an effective partnership with the Kent Fire and Rescue Service in identifying any visible faults with fire hydrants within the village to speed up repairs.  Parishioners can help in this process by advising the Parish Clerk of a location if they spot any of the following:


Linda Carnall,

Parish Clerk



Negotiations over the renewal of our lease have been taking place since last April.


The prospect of a significantly increased rent payable to our landlords, St John’s College, Cambridge, has caused the Parish Council to severely limit its support for various village activities. The unavoidable costs incurred in negotiations have used up carefully marshalled resources and will be reflected in our Parish Precept for this and subsequent years.


I would like to record my thanks to Jennifer Papadopoulos and Linda Carnall, and the others who have been involved, for the time that they have spent worrying about the best way forward for this important village resource.


Stuart Wright



After a difficult year for allotment holders throughout 2012 due to the vagaries of weather we all look forward to better prospects for the 2013 season.  This year we hope to introduce new plots for cultivation and so those already on the waiting list will be contacted by the Parish Clerk.  I appeal to those allotment holders that find it difficult to continue cultivation of their plots to hand them back to enable others to take up the challenge.


The Parish Council has also increased the rent for the plots from 1 April 2013 to £20 for a full plot and £12 for a half plot.


Have a good growing season in 2013 and Happy Gardening.


Alan Howard



It has been a quiet year for the Rights of Way in Higham Parish and there is nothing new to report.  I have noticed a lot of people walking the paths which is nice to see.  KCC have reduced the amount of money they are going to spend on clearance and repairs, but we do not seem to have fared too badly.  Our only real problem is horse and rider using FOOTPATHS which, with this wet weather, is causing havoc.  Happy walking in 2013.


Anne Waugh



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.



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).


WEBMASTER’S REPORT:  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.  Coverage of the main village 2012 celebrations are also there for you to see.  Any village group or society 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



One year on…


Last year I wrote in thanks for the extremely warm welcome I had received from the village and looking forward to the historic events that were to take place; the Olympic Torch, Dickens’ Bicentenary and The Queen’s Jubilee. We can happily report that we in the library had successful events to mark all of these including a Strawberry Tea afternoon, which was well supported.


During the past year we were pleased to welcome the pupils of Reception and Year 1 of Gad’s Hill who came on library visits and book exchanges and Mr Christoph Bull who gave a talk in July on Dickens in Kent. We can happily report that this received a very good turnout and was enjoyed immensely by all who came.


We continue to have a small dedicated group of volunteers who maintain the courtyard, flowers and plants and have welcomed Mrs Sheron Eastwood to this merry band.  In addition we welcomed Kelly Arnold, Hayley Halls and Bonny Townsend as our new Rhyme Time mums and these sessions continue to be lively and energetic for children and adults alike!


We can happily report that library usage is up, both in terms of the number of people through the door and the amount of hours spent using the computers.  In addition, visitors to the Talk Time sessions have risen from zero attendees through the entire of 2012 to 15 over three weeks since 9 January when it was transferred to its new slot of Wednesdays 10.30am to 12 noon.  The Gravesham Community Warden team continue to meet monthly in the library, along with the Neighbourhood Forum and the History Group.


The 2012 Summer Reading challenge which encourages children of primary school age to keep their reading alive and active over the holiday period saw 24 children from the village complete the 6 book stage, this is double the previous year’s total.  Santa arrived at the library to great cheer from about 30 children and then silence fell as he read ‘The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas’.

2013 promises to be an interesting year and we will be planning events for Easter and Halloween as well as hosting a Community Safety Day.


We look forward to seeing many of you in the future.


Shaun-Michael Trevithick

Customer Services Assistant




Kent County Council’s Library Service is concerned that not enough use is being made of our Library and have asked the Parish Council to try to improve the service.


Several suggestions have been made including:



If any of these would interest you, please let me know.


Coffee and cake mornings have started in the Library every Wednesday from 10.30am to 12 noon – so do pop along and enjoy.


There are wonderful books to cover every interest, so, if you are not already a member, do join and keep our Library open.


The Library is available to rent when closed to any resident, for clubs and meetings, etc.


Pat Oakeshott



I have long thought that a library should be the social hub of a neighbourhood, more so when a library is in a close knit village such as Higham.  The Parish, Borough and County Councils have been looking at ways that we can give Higham Library greater relevance to the residents of the Parish and beyond.  We need to increase the number of visits to the library and in doing so open up the library to other uses. We can help raise the use of the core activity of reading and the loan of books.


We have had several suggestions.  Amongst them are: Changes to the opening times to make access easier; a coffee shop/tea area (with cakes!) where people can just drop in for a chat and some refreshment; just think what it would be like sitting in the courtyard having a pot of tea and cake on one of those warm summer days!; activities such as computer clubs, needlework clubs etc, etc; use for meetings, etc, by smaller (perhaps new) groups in the village - we are NOT looking to take groups from either the Church Vestry or Memorial Hall and greater use for Warden/councillor surgeries.

We are sure that YOU will have some other great ideas, but we need to know what they are.  We are, therefore, consulting all the organisations and the people of the Parish over the next few months to see what ideas they have.  No idea is too small or too great – just let us know what you would like to see, how the service of the library can be to your benefit and what services you would like to see there.


You can send us your ideas in a variety of ways. Send us an email to hilibrary@talktalk.net , write your idea down and leave it in the suggestion box within the Library itself, or send a letter to the Clerk.


Your views are important and valued and ALL ideas will be considered. 

There will be an agenda item on Future Library Services at the forthcoming Annual Parish Assembly on Thursday, 11 April 2013 starting at 7.30pm.


Harold Craske,

Ward Councillor for Higham, Gravesham Borough Council



During the later part of 2012 the Parish suffered a small number of burglaries other than dwellings, ie, sheds and garages.  I would like to remind residents to lock outbuildings when not in use, ensure that outside security lights (if fitted) are working and any suspicious events are reported via 101 or 999.  I am happy to attend properties and give security advice if needed.  Windows in homes and vehicles left unlocked, undone or insecure can make it easier for opportunist thieves and burglars to help themselves to your property.  Ensure your home and vehicle keys are left out of sight of the front door and in a discreet place.  Keep bicycles locked and marked if possible.  There are not a high number of burglaries in Higham, but in most cases, offenders have got in through doors and windows that are undone, unlocked or insecure. 


On occasion I have shed alarms and property marking kits available for Higham residents.  These are free of charge and a useful implement when deterring crime.  I advertise these kits via the Higham Parish Website so please monitor this for future handouts.


I have received a number of calls in relation to parking in and around the village.  Please note that vehicles parked on yellow lines are enforced by Civil Enforcement Officers from Gravesham Council and not Kent Police. The issues surrounding Gad’s Hill parking outside the school are in hand with Kerry Prescott, Traffic Engineer, KCC Highways and Transportation. I will be monitoring the situation with the help of PC Ridley, Traffic Management Events.


I will be holding Public Engagement meetings over the coming months which are an open invite to all residents of Higham to come and talk to me about any issues, news or concerns that they may have.  The dates are shown on the Kent Police Website.


Thanks for your help and support over the past six months.


PCSO Rob Meader

Kent Police, 4 Section Gravesham Rural



It doesn’t seem 12 months since I wrote my last article for the Higham Parish Council Annual Newsletter, time seems to pass by so quickly.


In 2012 the monthly Coffee Morning/Community Surgery was switched to a Community Surgery and Afternoon Tea.  The venue remained the same as in 2011, The Vestry Hall, St John’s Church.  Whilst the number of people attending has continued to be disappointing there could be a positive slant on this in as much as it means that generally speaking residents of Higham are happy with what is happening within their village.  In 2013 we have changed the venue to Higham Library.  The Surgery will be on the last Thursday of each month between 2.30 and 4pm so come along, enjoy a FREE cup of tea or coffee and tell me what you think about what’s happening in the village, good or bad.


On a more positive note 2012 has a been a good year for the village in terms of the Village Parade, the Proms in the Park, the Olympic Torch Relay and the Big Screen on the Green event.  I was very pleased to be part of all these events and it was so encouraging to see so many residents coming together and enjoying themselves in what was a momentous year.


Towards the end of the Year we started to run Stranger Danger Presentations in the village, where we try and educate the children about the problems and dangers of talking to strangers.  Although this is a serious subject we try to do it in a child friendly way by using puppets, song and dance and getting the children to interact and join in.  The first presentation was to Higham Beavers and it is hoped to continue this in 2013 with other local children’s groups and also, hopefully, the Primary School.


In 2013 we are also hoping to start a Junior Road Safety Officer scheme at Higham Primary School.


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 a message left on:


Mobile:              07811 271256

E Mail:              steve.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


Steve Gray




The purpose of the Forum which meets in March, June, September and December in the Library is to look at issues which are of concern to the village.


One of these issues is the problem caused by inconsiderate parking in the area of the Gardeners Arms Public House where vehicles park close to the junctions of Villa Road and Forge Lane.  This inconsiderate parking blocks the view of motorists and pedestrians alike making this area dangerous.  The problem is made worse by drivers disregarding the direction signs at Hermitage Road and Villa Road.


The Forum also runs the Speed Watch Scheme which is an effective way of making drivers aware of their speed through the village.  We do, however, need more volunteers to continue this worthwhile scheme.


Further information can be found in ‘The Bridge’, on notices advertising our meetings and on our website:




Peter Leakey



2012 has been as busy as usual.   


Staffing – During the year we welcomed two registrars to the staff – Dr Dhawan and Dr San Augustin.  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.  Jenny Kelly left us at the end of July to take up a Nurse Practitioner post in another surgery.  We wish her well in her new post.  We welcomed two additional nurses to the staff –
Caron Waters and Carol Cook. 


Retirement – As many of you will know, Carol King retired from her post as Nursing Partner in early April.  Carol was with the surgery for 12 years and will be sorely missed.  She was a wonderful nurse practitioner, partner, colleague and friend and cared deeply for her patients. 


In October we did a collection for Breast Cancer during our Flu immunisation campaign. Thank you to all who supported this charity.


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.


May I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for 2013.


Isobel Meredith,

Practice Manager



The Kindergarten has had a very successful year.  We continue to provide young children with a stimulating and interesting environment that allows them to develop and learn through play and exploration.  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 are continuing to look 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 and to provide them with an area to dig and grow vegetables and fruit.  We would be grateful for any unwanted garden items, wood, bark, paving slabs, etc.


We continue to open term time only. We operate Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm and should you require information or wish to register your child please contact the Kindergarten on 07774 224808.


Suzanne Green



2012 has been an enjoyable and successful year for Higham Primary School.  Our pupils had an exceptionally good year, with 100% of our Year 6 pupils attaining or surpassing the targeted progress in maths and 96% doing so in English.  In maths, Higham had the highest attainment of all the Gravesham schools.  The expertise of our staff has been recognised.

In the summer the whole school celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a picnic on the field and there was great excitement leading up to the Olympic Games culminating in our own Olympic Afternoon.  There have been many other opportunities for pupils to learn outside of the classroom, including trips to see ‘James and the Giant Peach’, ‘Oliver!’, the London Transport Museum and the National Gallery.  We have also had visitors to school such as an African Drumming workshop, a Castles workshop and ‘Kangoo Jumps’.  I am very grateful to the PTA for providing funding towards many of these experiences – their hard work in raising funds for the school means that the children are able to enjoy an enriched curriculum which makes learning fun.

All our Year 5 pupils had a highly enjoyable and challenging week at Marchant’s Hill in Surrey.  On the itinerary were fencing, archery, abseiling, orienteering, rifle shooting and several team challenges such as the Giant Swing and Jacob’s Ladder.  Our pupils showed great team spirit and successfully tackled activities which some found daunting.

After an exciting and successful year, we are very much looking forward to building on this in 2013.


Mrs T Coombs,

Head Teacher



This last year has built upon the successes of the previous years, such that the Director of Education, Learning and Skills, KCC, has personally congratulated Higham Primary School on achieving the following results and improvements over the last three years. School Attainment Targets (SATs) shows the school has had the highest results for many years with 100% of children attaining two full levels of progress in Maths and 96% in English (the missing 4% was due to one child being absent and one who had only joined the school four weeks before the test took place).  Higham Primary School is in the top 5 of all of the 25 or so local primary schools and top in Maths.


Education doesn’t just involve being taught and learning the various academic subjects in the curriculum, but also to engage children in developing their other talents, be it on the sports field, on the stage or artistically or musically.  Not only are children encouraged to investigate each and all of these areas but out-of-school clubs are designed to help children to build on their skills.


Higham Primary School provides the children of Higham with the best preparation for secondary school and life skills for adulthood. None of this would be possible of course without a dedicated staff, not only ‘front line’ (teachers and classroom assistants) but all the others that without which the school would not operate so smoothly.  Governors have an important input too, their generously given time is there to assist in the strategic running of the school.

As with any successful organisation, there is invariably one person on which the whole operation pivots, ours is Mrs Coombs, the Head Teacher, and it is her leadership which has been the driving force behind these achievements.  Parents and carers continue to be ever supportive of the school and the PTA raises funds for many extra curricular activities.


Mr Maynard, the Chair of Governors (September 2011 to date) and the whole Governing Body are delighted that the great progress that has been made prior to 2012 has culminated in another excellent report and we are excited about the future and the continued growth of the abilities of the children of Higham Primary School.


Malcolm L James




I would like to start by sending a huge Thank You to Les Pearton who stepped down as Chairman and supported me in taking over as Chair at our annual AGM in September 2012.  I have big shoes to fill as Les has been chairing us for over 14 years and I would like to wish him lots of success in all his many other ventures and much thanks from all our members for his lengthy service.  So, it is with some nerves that I write this piece about what has been a wonderfully successful year for our school PTA. 


The spring and the summer were filled with many, many events that the PTA was involved in and much hard work was needed to be successful. First came the summer fayre at the end of June which as always raised lots of money for us and we had the ‘Queen’ attend!, along with all the usual stalls plus the ‘Kangoo Jumps’ which proved a real hit with all the village children and some adults this year!  The village parade took place in early July on a dreadfully wet and windy day but through appalling weather we marched, jumped and paraded through the village as usual and showed everyone that us ‘Higham village folk’ won’t be put off by our wonderful English weather!!  Many thanks go to Claire Ford and all our members for all their efforts as this really was very hard work, yet we still had a wonderful afternoon listening to music and having fun with our families and friends.  Finally the ‘Screen on the Green’ event took place in August to allow everyone to watch the Olympics.  At the time we didn’t know what to expect, yet it turned out to become ‘Super Saturday’ as Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah became gold medallists amongst many of our other wonderful sportsmen and women of the 2012 Olympics.  The PTA were very fortunate to have been voted to receive all proceeds from this event as it had to go to a local charity and we wish to thank the Parish Council for giving us this very kind donation. 


I must also pay much appreciated thanks to Linda Slingsby and all the ladies in the village Post Office who have been selling our ‘2012 Village Tea Towels’.  They were a really big hit with all villagers and have been sent all over the world to friends and family as gifts.  We continue to make good proceeds from the bags2school collections and the regular school discos.  The Christmas Fayre was also a great success and I must thank all the staff at the school for their support in these events.


Finally, our PTA would not be as successful as it is without the tireless help and support from all our many parents.  They work incredibly hard to arrange and take part in all our annual events and make a massive contribution to the funds raised each year, which benefit all the children at the school and allow them to have and to do things which they may not be able to do, without the support of the PTA.  I Thank You all very much.


So here’s to another great year and if you are a parent with children at the school please feel free to join us at our monthly meetings at the Higham Village club at 7.30pm.  (Dates advertised in the notice board outside the school gates.)  All new members very welcome.


Julia Mackie,




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 Jacqui at Daisy Chains Children’s Centre on 01474 354253.


Building for the future:  New School heralds new era


On our return from the summer holidays, everyone got quite a surprise as the Gad’s landscape had changed dramatically!  The grounds of what was the old car park were suddenly awash with unfamiliar workmen, diggers, trucks and alike!  The adjustment to this new scenery was quick, and soon the Gad’s community marvelled as each week brought new and exciting building developments.


Spanning two floors, the new School houses an outstandingly large sports hall, theatre/concert hall, all day cafe area for meetings, a first-class dining area, a fit-for-purpose ensemble and performance room as well as two performance spaces and academic classrooms.  Learning spaces are safe, accessible, bright and spacious and are capable of being adapted to meet future needs as technology and teaching strategies change over time.


The completion of the £10 million building (due shortly) means that Gad’s has produced facilities which will ensure that future generations of pupils, aspiring sports stars and budding young musicians and actors will have the resources that they need and deserve to thrive and excel.


The unique position of Gad’s new building allows the School to retain its cultural links with Dickens, while increasing public access to the historic Gad’s Hill Place.  The opening of the new School, will pave the way for The Charles Dickens Centre (the Trust set to take over the Gad’s Hill Place) to embark on a series of refurbishment works and will subsequently open a visitor attraction based around the Georgian building. 


Gad’s unique relationship with Dickens was further cemented when pupils put on their production of the classic musical ‘Oliver!’ as part of the Dickens bicentenary celebrations.


Over 150 pupils took to the stage at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend, on 7 and 8 February 2012 in a very special tribute to the world-renowned author, whose novel, ‘Oliver Twist’, provided the inspiration for one of the most famous stage adaptations of all time, granting everyone a rich insight into the imaginative world of Dickens.

Headmaster, Mr David Craggs, said: ‘As a school we are extremely lucky to have, as our home, Gad’s Hill Place and its extraordinary links with this giant of English literature. Dickens’ works are well-known throughout the world and have had a huge influence on literature, television and film.’


Pupils rehearsed non-stop for six months to ensure that their performance was well received and had the added pressure of an unprecedented amount of media attention from local, regional and national newspapers and broadcasters and even some interest from further afield, in the form of German and American media outlets!  Indeed, only half an hour before performing to a sell-out audience of VIPs, family and friends, our cast were faced with the drama of live television as they appeared as the headline story on ITV’s ‘Meridian Tonight’!

For many of the cast – in particular those who formed the enthusiastic Junior choir – it was their first time performing in a theatre environment and indeed, their spirits were high throughout the whole production!


Headmaster, David Craggs, surmised:  ‘Nearly 90 years ago, the Burt family purchased Gad’s Hill Place and, subsequently, opened Gad’s Hill School.  We have, today, built a new school of the highest quality and standards that the 21st century can provide, which is only right for our truly outstanding students to allow them to grow and develop.  I feel certain that in the next 90 years’ time everyone involved will look back and be proud of the values and the building that they have inherited.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Higham community for their patience and co-operation during the build.’


David Craggs, Headmaster


The Parish Church of S.JOHN

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

2012 was a busy year because, on Sunday, 29 January, we celebrated our 150th anniversary on the exact date.  Prebendary Andrew Davis who was raised in Higham, preached.  He’d been at the centenary as a choirboy.  We were honoured by the attendance of Higham Parish Council members and

the uniformed organisations.  Celebration food and drinks followed.  Our organist wrote music for the words of the Gloria for this service.  Through the year he has also written more music for our worship.  Other preachers through the year included a former Assistant Priest, Canon Gavin Kirk, now at Lincoln Cathedral; Fr. Nicholas Papadopulos, another ‘native’ of the Parish, and Fr. Bernard Shackleton, the previous Vicar of Higham but one. The Bishop of Edmonton was here in April to baptise (4) and confirm (12) people.  That was a very festive gathering.  The Bishop of Rochester was here in December for S.John’s day; the Archdeacon ten days later for Epiphany.  New porch cupboards and notice-board, in memory of  ‘Sam’ Weller, were dedicated (finally) on our 151st Anniversary in 2013. The renewal of the Sanctuary floor has been delayed to 2013 because the expert we wanted to use retired. We are still seeking the skilled workers necessary for such a task.


At the end of March Fr James ended his second stint as Rural Dean and in June celebrated his Silver Jubilee of priesting.  We also had Village Praise in July to celebrate, with the community, our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.


Worshipping numbers remain constant but children’s work is difficult to maintain at present.  There are folk who will care for and teach children on Sunday mornings; all police checked and never alone.  A pew has been removed (near the font) to facilitate families with prams and buggies.


Though S.Mary’s Church was used for worship last year one service was cancelled as a number of us went to Canon Roger Davison’s (former Honorary Assistant Priest) Diamond Jubilee in Northants.  For this year’s worship at S.Mary’s details can be found in the Church Magazine or www.achurchnearyou.com/higham-saintjohn or telephone 01634 717360 or e-mail: saintjohn.higham@yahoo.co.uk


We are open every day, for you to sit or pray - or just be (under CCTV!)


The Revd Canon James Southward

Vicar of Higham


Part of the community for over 190 years


Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.  (John 6: 68-69)


In the 195 year history of the Chapel we read that, in the early years, there was not enough room to accommodate everyone.  The windows had to be opened so that the crowds who could not get in could listen to the ‘good news’ from outside.  How different it is now when we have room to welcome you all.  Also the ‘good news’ is still the message of the day.  We are here for the residents of Higham, feel free to call the Secretary if you need prayer or want to talk, in confidence.  We meet at 11am on Sunday mornings with other meetings as advertised.  Keep an eye on our notice board for details of coffee mornings which will be starting shortly. 


In the past year we have been able to support various charities including the Kent Air Ambulance, The London City Mission, also The Lighthouse Seafarers Mission to whom we gave knitted items and toiletries that were then given as Christmas boxes to seafarers.  With the Lord’s enabling we were able to contribute some £600 to these and other worthy causes.

In November we met (standing room only) to give thanks to God for the life of Betty Foulstone.  Psalm 116: 15 says, Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  Betty was in her 84th year and was well known in the village.  She will be missed, but we thank God that, while she is absent from the body, she is now in the presence of her Lord.  As the hymn writer put it, When we asunder part, It gives us inward pain; But we shall still be joined in heart, And hope to meet again’.


Peter Relf 

01474 322195  /  E-mail: pmyrw65@gmail.com



There is little to report as, once again, the Trust’s funds earned insufficient interest to distribute.  The Trustees are considering an appropriate use for the Trust’s capital now that low interest rates result in little, or no, income for distribution in the foreseeable future. The Trustees remain unchanged.


Les Baker, Trustee



2012 has been a very busy and successful year for the Friends.  We celebrated the Bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens with a full schedule of events. 


Our first event was an informative and fascinating talk to support the Gravesham Heritage Festival which focused on ‘What makes St Mary’s Church so special’.  In June, the Rochester Swing Preservation Society entertained us all with ‘Jazz on a Summer evening’.  This was well attended and the remarkable acoustics in the Church brought the music to life.


We supported The Churches Conservation Trust as part of a national fund-raising event – in our own style – Miss Havisham’s Wedding Feast.  The creation of the wedding table was a spectacular scene and our sincere thanks to Julie Aldous who played the character of Miss Havisham.   In June, the Higham Choral Group entertained us with their Jubilee Concert with a full and varied programme of music.  Jeremy Clarke kindly gave a talk on ‘Dickens and North Kent’ as part of Higham Dickens 2012 celebrations.  In August we held our Film Evening showing ‘Oh Mr Porter’ where St Mary’s was turned into a cinema for the evening.


On 27 July we participated in the ‘All the Bells’ event where the bells of  St Mary’s were rung for three minutes at 8.12am as part of a national event to mark the start of the Olympic Games.


In September we held our Celebration of the Marsh Day as part of Heritage Open Days.  We convey special thanks to everyone who contributed and exhibited.  This event is immensely popular and well supported.  In October, we had some great entries for our Scarecrow Festival including Boris Johnson! 


Finally, we held our Carols by Candlelight Christmas event.  This was well attended and seasonal refreshments and mulled wine were appreciated.  We enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree and many people brought angels and stars as memorials to loved ones.  We sang carols with musical accompaniment provided by David Bowdler on the saxophone, Robin Begley who played guitar and sang and Jen Knight on the accordion.


Once again, the Committee managed to achieve all this without an electric supply.  Our generator holds out with frequent attention but a special thank you to Tracey and Dave Greenwood who kindly loan a back-up generator when necessary.


So many people have assisted us this year in a variety of ways.  We have our stalwart helpers; Joyce and Rodney Theobold who assist upholding Church traditions and doing a sterling job of providing beautiful flower arrangements throughout the year.  A special thank you to Barbara Manley and Pat Reeks, who have provided spectacular special arrangements for Remembrance Day and Christmas.


Thank you to Pat Reeks, Jean Pritchard and Carol Rogers who help keep the Church clean and have done so for many years.   Janet Rogers who kindly makes the lovely cards that are for sale in the Church and the money from which goes directly to the CCT.  The Mattocks family, who have assisted at many events and particularly helped with the Scarecrow Festival.  We are grateful to those who have baked for us and donated raffle prizes.  Thank you to those who assist with parking arrangements for our events, the Ledger family, Mrs Vidler and Mr Dartnell.  Thank you to Graham Knight who administers our website.


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 this year is £8 for an individual and £10 for a household.  We cannot stress how important you are to the future of St Mary’s Church and we, therefore, hope that you will remain a loyal member.  St Mary’s is special and open every day for visitors.  It has been rewarding, enlightening and great fun to hear what St Mary’s means to many of our visitors who share their personal memories.  The overriding sentiment is that people appreciate the Church being open and used.


We look forward to welcoming you to our events. 

Below are some dates that you might want to put in your diary:


Saturday, 27 April and Sunday, 28 April from 12 noon to 4pm: Art in the Church – weekend exhibition of art by talented artists.


Saturday, 18 May at 7.30pm: Glenn Miller Night with the Rochester Swing Preservation Society.  Forties style dress optional.  Tickets £10 (includes a glass of wine or soft drink and nibbles).  Refreshments also available to purchase.  For enquiries please call Katie on 01634 725018.


Sunday, 8 September from 2 to 5pm: The Celebration of the Marsh Day and Scarecrow Festival.


For further information, details of our events, photos, etc, please visit www.stmaryschurchhigham.com and St Mary’s Church, Higham on Facebook.


Linda Franklin



On behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury, made the following announcement in his December 2012 Newsletter:


‘It is a great pleasure to announce the appointment of our new Canon Treasurer, the Revd Nicholas Papadopulos ... Nick and Heather will be joining us after Nick’s Installation on 10 March and they will come with their two children, Barnaby and Thea, to live in The Precincts.’


I am sure that Parishioners will want to offer warmest congratulations to all members of the Papadopulos family on this wonderful news.


2012 was another great year for our Monday (aged 14+) and Wednesday (aged 10+) evening youth clubs. 


We have started 2013 in a really great way too!  The youth club now has a kite mark accreditation (‘AQYP’ or ‘Assured Quality for Youth Projects’ kite mark).  It has taken a year to collate the evidence and through assessment we have been awarded the kite mark that lasts for three years.  We have been told that we are the first youth project/club in Gravesham to get this kite mark.  Thank you to everyone who supported the year long process.


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 with sleepover afterwards, a camp just for 13+ year olds where they also took part in archery, rifle shooting, climbing and abseiling and we also took many of our young people on two residential trips to activity centres where they were able to participate in a huge range of adventurous activities. 

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.


Each week we have a well stocked tuck shop and some weeks we also sell reasonably priced hot dogs. 


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 Parish Council and local villagers.


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



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



Those of you that use the Memorial Hall will see that we are continuing to upgrade the facilities.  This year we have redecorated, installed a 3 meter projection screen, had the car park re-lined and installed a new height restriction bar at the entrance.


It would seem that some of the local groups are struggling to recruit new members resulting in a loss of bookings.  However, highlights of the year for fund-raising were the Jubilee Dance in June and a Barn Dance in November.


I think the Committee do a splendid job in keeping the hall in top shape in an increasingly money conscious time.  I still think a big proportion of the village residents do not realise the hall is run by volunteers and NOT the council!


If anyone would like to come on to the Management Committee we are always looking for volunteers.


K Bradley,




Higham Rainbows has been busy throughout 2012 celebrating the Rainbows 25th Birthday and Higham Rainbow’s 10th Birthday.  In April Higham Rainbows, along with Rainbows from all over the South East, celebrated at a 25th birthday party held in Cudham.  Despite the downpour and mud this did not stop the girls having fun with a variety of events including a giant pass the parcel, crafts and games.  In November we held our own birthday party to celebrate the 10th birthday of Higham Rainbows.


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.  For more information visit www.girlguiding.org.uk


Julie Healey



2nd Higham Brownies continues to be a popular after school group for girls aged 7-10 in the village. We have a full pack of 30 girls and run a varied programme.


The group has enjoyed many activities throughout the year. They enjoyed an evening at the Gurdwara Temple in Gravesend.  In March the girls held a Mother’s Day tea for their mums.  This was a lovely evening and gave the mums time to relax and talk to each other whilst being waited on by their daughters.  We also had a Science evening where there were many interesting and fun experiments.  We celebrated the Diamond Jubilee with a party with 1st Higham Rainbows.  As well as earning badges individually the whole pack achieved their First Aid, Disability Awareness and a Special Olympics badges.  We had a visit from a reptile zoo and the girls had the chance to learn about and meet snakes, bearded dragons, lizards and other reptiles.  The following week we had an ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ night and the girls ate many unusual foods and did lots of fun and messy tasks. During the year the girls took part in the annual Village Parade and attended Mothering Sunday, Harvest and Remembrance Day services at St John’s Church.  We took 12 girls to the PGL Activity Centre in Sussex for a fun few days.  They took part in many activities and enjoyed it so much that we are going back later this year.  December saw us celebrating the 35th birthday of 2nd Higham Brownies with a party.  We also had a Zumbatomic evening which was run by Maria Williams from Grooves Dance Academy which the girls loved.  As well as all of the above we also did many crafts for Easter, Father’s Day, Halloween and Christmas throughout the year.


We have a waiting list for Brownies but due to changes in the administration of Girlguiding UK we are no longer able to accept requests by telephone or e-mail.  However, if you want to add your daughter to our waiting list then please visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/join  where you can register your interest. We are also very grateful to Rajdeep, Molly, Kacey, Rebecca and Laura, our young leaders, and young helpers who continue to support and help with our group each week.


Sharon Maynard and Krissi Higgin  (Tawny Owl and Sooty Owl)



2012 was a year to remember for the Scout Group. We joined in activities to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics and were especially pleased to be responsible for funding the fantastic firework display at the end of the Prom in the Park.


The Scouts and Cubs’ summer camp had a different twist this year. The night was spent in a nuclear bunker in Essex, followed by a morning on the high wire. The Scouts then moved on to spend the rest of the weekend in Suffolk. This year, look out the New Forest, Higham Scouts are coming.


The Beavers have followed an exciting programme and Scout rules now permit them to begin to experience camping, something to look forward to in the months ahead. We are also planning to hold a family camp in Higham before the summer ends.


We would like to thank the Parish Council, the Hall Committee and residents of Higham who have supported us in the last year.


Our numbers are healthy but we have spaces in all sections and are always looking for adult helpers, so do get in touch.


Our meeting times are:


Scout Group



Beaver Scouts

Fridays: 5.30-6.30pm

Andrea Jarman: 01474 822192

Cub Scouts

Fridays: 6.30-8pm

Kevin Oaten: 01634 577888


Fridays: 8pm-10pm

Peter Allinson: 01474 823806

Explorer Scouts


Carolyn Shulver: 01474 823187


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


Carolyn Shulver,

Group Scout Leader



Again we have had a busy and successful year, helped as always by our many friends in the village. Apart from our regular celebrations at Easter, Christmas, Birthdays, etc., we did, of course, mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Our hall was a sea of red, white and blue and each of our members took home a Jubilee mug filled with sweets thanks to a most generous donation from Geraldine Cox.


A less exciting but essential event was the acquisition of a splendid new range cooker thanks to help from Pat Oakeshott, Bryan Sweetland and Mick our Electrician, which has helped Joan Campbell and her team to maintain the high standard of our lunches. In addition, we have continued our usual programme of entertainment, exercises, shoe and plant sales and a sale of goods to support the Ellenor Hospice.


As always I must thank Carol and our Hostesses, Joan and our Cooks, and Anne and our Drivers for their loyalty and hard work during the year, sometimes stepping in at very short notice and also, of course, Jennifer for Birthday Cakes and Chairmanship!


Should anyone wish to add their name to our waiting list for membership (unfortunately we are 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,




Now in our sixth year, we are still going strong.  As well as our classes we have craft weekends away, go out socially and to craft exhibitions.  We have regular all day classes too.  We meet now at St John’s Church hall in Hermitage Road.  Ladies of all abilities are very welcome.  Call:


Irene:                  01634 685478                 07917 673221

Pauline:             01634 272785                 07721 006007. 

Irene Love and Pauline Powling



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. 


During the past year there have continued to be many newspaper articles about possible major projects in or affecting our area.  The various ‘Thames Estuary Airport’ concepts are being broadly examined by the Government appointed Davies Commission Aviation Strategy Review and the Society contributed to evidence submissions and local meetings.  Less has been said this year about additional river crossings but the threat still remains.  There are proposals for a major theme park at Swanscombe which could impact on traffic flows.  The Society continually keeps all these under review and makes input/representations as and when possible.


Other items that have received particular attention include:



On lighter matters:


Mrs Susan Lindley,

Committee Member of DCPS



Higham Writers is on the verge of another successful year. After a period in which new members came and went, we now have a full house and a waiting list. We are now working towards our Fifth Showcase, to be presented later in 2013.


Higham Writers is primarily a recreational writing group – members come along to enjoy writing and to hear what every other member produces.  This does not mean that nobody takes their writing seriously, there is always some aspect of writing that is under discussion, projects and assignments, and plenty of ‘homework’.  Some writers have their own pet projects, some are writing memoirs, others are happy to tackle anything that comes along.  Denise Leppard, who tutors the group, was a freelance writer for many years and sets out to bring the writer’s standard of work up to a level where it is suitable for publication – and from then on, it is up to the writer.


We have had some successes in the past, but by and large our happiest ventures have been our group readings. We take a small programme of work to Age Concern, we have been to the Hospice, HiARA, and, of course, we produce our Showcases.  These include sketches and plays as well as articles and short stories.  Showcases are held in order to benefit the Hospice.

Denise Leppard         

Any other enquiries: deniseleppard@btinternet.com



We look forward to 2013 and to the prospect of connecting the pump to the electricity supply.  Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on a Tuesday meant a rest over this period for the working members who started again on 8 January.


The meeting at the Civic Centre with Gravesham Borough Council and The Thames and Medway Canal Association, arranged through Adam Holloway and his office, went well and the agreement is now in the hands of EDF and UK Power Networks with permission to proceed and so the pump could soon be operational.  During January a test was arranged with Gravesham Borough Council and the Contractors, using a generator, explaining procedures for the maintenance team to monitor flow, extraction and general care of the equipment.  With all the water about at present in stretches of the canal between Gravesend and Higham, topping up this first section is vital to illustrate the benefits of restoration to a usable condition.


Maintenance of the footpath/towpath and canal banking is still high on our list of tasks, as is replacing the decking at Watt’s Landing, replacing a seat near the slipway and tackling the Japanese knotweed to restrict it spreading.  There is the occasional dumping of rubbish and the nuisance of motor cyclists at weekends leaving their rubbish in the swing bridge area, while they destroy the permissive footpath that takes them to the sea wall and beyond.  Taking down unstable trees along Canal Road, Higham and improving habitat and landscaping around the Obelisk is on-going.  Two members have taken on improving the footpath between the Nuralite car park and Shornemead Crossing, removing dead elms covered in ivy that keep falling across the cycle way, and opening up aspects north and south for users to enjoy the canal wildlife and views across the marshes to the River Thames.


The Heritage Lottery Fund application has entered another stage and we remain ever hopeful of receiving a Grant.


Brian Macknish,



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 Christine Watts, Membership Secretary, on 01474 822686 or Harry Green, Publicity Officer, on 01474 742576.

Harry Green,

Publicity Officer



Another year and, once again, a very busy one.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the Queen’s Jubilee Year and managed to participate in quite a variety of events.  We held our own celebration with food and drinks and everyone looked good with their choice of red, white and blue headwear and

clothing.  Many of the members attended the village’s ‘Proms in the Park’ and a cake stall was provided to raise funds. We were also part of the village parade with just the weather putting the damper on things.  We must not forget the Torch and the pre-Olympic parade and many of our ladies were to be seen on the Gravesend Road enjoying the atmosphere.


We have enjoyed some good speakers during the last year with some more interesting ones arranged for 2013.  The Craft days have been constant and still continue to flourish with the members producing some really good items.  Home Economics is always well supported and once again the October event was successful.  Indoor activities like Scrabble remain popular and this is also a way to raise funds.


There have been a few outings but, unfortunately, some were cancelled due to the weather.  However, we did not let it stop us.  The Drama group provided more entertainment during the year and still strive to give the members some enjoyable shows.


We hope that 2013 will see an increase in membership although we still average around 40 members attending our monthly meetings.


Pat Merrison,





Congratulations to Mrs Joan Gilham, of Chilton Drive, who has told us that she has achieved her third gold award from the Kent Wildlife Trust for the best small wildlife garden in Gravesham, as well as being shortlisted for the best in Kent. 


Well done Joan.



We began 2012 with a Spring Concert at St Mary’s Church, Chalk.  The Jubilee Concert at St Mary’s Church, Higham in July was a lively occasion with lots of audience participation and flag waving.  We gave an extra concert in October to celebrate 150 years of St John’s Church.  We sang again in St John’s Church for the Christmas Concert – the audience joined in with familiar carols and amongst the music the Choral Group sang were three carols composed by Frazer Westmoreland – one of our members.  The tour in May was to Penshurst, where we again had a successful Jubilee Concert.


Forthcoming concerts in 2013:


23 March


St Peter and Paul Church, Shorne.

20 July

Summer Concert

St Mary’s Church, Higham.

14 December

Christmas Concert

St John’s Church, Higham.


Our tour this year is to Suffolk.


We always welcome new members, especially tenors and basses (no audition needed).  


For tickets/information, please contact me on 01474 822702.


Wendy Hance



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.  Beginners to advanced dancers can come and perfect their moves whilst having fun and keeping fit.  Emma’s Street Dance is for everyone, so come and learn new skills and make new friends.  Classes are held on Mondays:


6 – 7pm             Beginners to Intermediates.                    5 to 11 years old.

7 – 8.30pm        Advanced.                                             7 to 18 years old.


Emma Cater  

Telephone:  07713 481584



The group meet bi-monthly in the Memorial Hall where topics in the past year have included Strange Kentish Folklore, Christmas Folklore and The Secrets of the Bayeux Tapestry.  Andrew Rootes launched a new book at the May meeting; ‘A History of Higham Volume 2’ which complements his previous three books, ‘A History of Higham 1’ and ‘Higham in Old Photographs 1 & 2’.  All the books are available to purchase at the meetings and from the Post Office.  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 tour of Gad’s Hill House with cream tea was arranged as part of the Discover Gravesham Festival in June.  Members also visited the restored Darnley Mausoleum at Cobham in July.


A lively programme has been arranged for the coming season.  Topics at the meetings will include General Gordon, The History of Airships and The Hawkhurst Gang. There will be a visit to the Kent History and Library Centre in April and for the Gravesham Festival, a walk and talk with Andrew Rootes around Upper Higham in June.  Full details can be found on the website www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk


Sally Starbuck



We continue to meet at Merston Court lounge fortnightly on Thursday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30pm. We do not hold teaching classes as such but meet as a sewing bee of ladies with various stitching talents. We work on our own projects (always with fabric) making many items from cot quilts to king size quilts, cushions, bags, wall hangings, pin cushions, etc. We do have specialist tutors/workshops to inspire and give us new ideas. Also there is a wonderful choice of quilt shows around the country to visit.


If you would like to know more about us ring Linda Parr on 01474 823129 or pop in and see what we are making, you could do it too!  PS:  knitting projects are now joining the club.

Linda Parr



With so many pubs and clubs closing due to the present economic climate I am pleased to say 2012 was a fairly successful year for Higham Village Club.  Bookings for the hire of our halls were up. The summer period, with celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, were well attended.  Special events throughout the year for our members have also been very successful.


As well as the once a month Rock & Roll nights, this year the Club is trying to put on more live acts plus entertainment for the children.  This, of course, will all depend on the support we get from members and guests.  Plus for the third year running we will be holding our usual charity event and auction.  All proceeds will go to the Darent Valley Special Care Baby Unit. Performing this evening will be the very popular Scott Elvis.  Our quiz nights have become so popular that we have increased these to once a month.  So watch out for any forthcoming events within the Club or on our website. We still have our usual bingo every Sunday evening and on the third Wednesday afternoon in the month.  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 grow your own vegetables we have allotments for hire at a reasonable rent.


The Club is an ideal venue for 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, the use of a kitchen is available and there are large car parking areas to both front and rear of the building.


Please come along if you are thinking of joining the Club.  We are always pleased to welcome new members. Club Tel.No: 01474 822456, e-mail:  highamvillageclub@hotmail.com and website: www.highamvillageclub.co.uk


Lynne White,




2012 was a challenging year for gardeners. The drought and hosepipe ban in the spring caused big problems and the rain when it came did not know when to stop.  At least the plague of slugs that followed was compensated for by there being very little whitefly which had been rampant the previousyear. The visit to the gardens of two of our own members in the village had to be postponed because of water logging but when things dried up it was well worth the wait and our programme planner did well finding talks with a garden connection.  Unfortunately, we were unable to attract sufficient members to keep the club viable and after 70 years it has now closed.


Barbara Manley



The multi-purpose courts have had continual use during 2012 even though the weather has not been too good.  Straight after the Olympics various people got the ‘tennis bug’ who would not normally have used the courts. Most Wednesday evenings the Youth Club still use the courts for five-a-side football, etc.  A reminder to anyone interested, the keys for the courts (at a very minimal charge of £3 for children and £5 for adults for one hour) and lighting tokens can be obtained from your village greengrocers. Work is progressing on running electric cables into the changing rooms at the back of the Memorial Hall (after electrics were vandalised) so that we can then press ahead with the leaking plumbing and, once again, have hot and cold running water for showers and toilets.


Ann Kevill


Last year our membership dropped so low that we almost had to close. But 2012 saw new members join our Friday evenings at the school hall and the outlook now is much better. We would still like some more members. We are an informal group and meet every Friday evening at 8pm in Higham Primary school hall for short mat bowls.  All are welcome ring Don 01474 823633 or Ian 01474 824367.

Ian Downes,



We are a self-funding village side, who play on the outskirts of Higham, on Mockbeggar Farm, just off Lee Green Road, near the Farm Shop, post code ME3 8EX.


We run one adult side on Saturdays and Sundays.  We primarily play friendly matches over 40 overs, with 11 games on Sundays in the Kent Village League.  Subject to numbers, we also aim to run junior sides across the U11, U13 and U15 age groups, on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings.  Junior players are also able to play in the adult sides, subject to ability.  In 2012 the age range of players playing in the adult sides was
12 to 62!  We would welcome new players across all age groups, from Year 4 upwards, regardless of previous experience, as our ability levels across the club are truly mixed.


Adult nets + Year 8 and above are currently taking place at Kings School, Rochester, on Sundays between 17.30 and 19.00 – £4 adults/£2 concessions.


Junior Nets for Year 4 to Year 10 will take place at Robert Napier School, Gillingham from the end of February. 


Once the weather improves, we will have midweek evening training for juniors at our Ground, from mid-April to the end of the school summer term, which is free of charge.


For more details about your local cricket club please contact:

Richard Hawkins, Club Captain

Mobile:   07738 189559            E-mail:   richard.hawkins@rbs.com

Phil Jack, Honorary Secretary

Mobile:   07837 594158            E-mail:   pakjack@hotmail.com


Richard Hawkins


Eagles Football Club is now in its 34th season and is proud to represent Higham and the surrounding areas in our national sport.  The ethos of the Club remains unchanged, we provide football opportunities to local children in a fun, safe and positive environment, where they further their football ability through encouragement and quality coaching.  We play to win, but we do not win at all costs.  All of our teams are managed by an FA Level 1 Qualified Coach and the Club has obtained the FA Charter Standard.  Our mini soccer teams (U8 - U11) play in the North Kent Youth Football League and our youth soccer teams (U12 - U18) play in the Medway Messenger Youth League.  We have a number of club events throughout the year to bring all eleven teams together and our end of season presentation day is a fun day for parents and players alike.


We are always open to new joiners and actively encourage local children to get into sport, to keep fit, make new friends and be part of our team and club spirit.  If you are interested, please contact Pat Jeal on 01474 822607. Our club website is www.highameagles.co.uk.  The club has expanded significantly in recent years and the only constraint to our continued growth is the lack of local facilities to train and play matches on.  If you can help in any way in this regard, Pat would be pleased to hear from you.

Tony Smith



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



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



The Claire Buckley School of Dancing had a busy 2012!  In June we held our show here in Higham at the Memorial Hall and with the year being 2012 it had to be Olympic themed.  This was a challenge as with limited changing space due to our lovely British weather it was a bit of a squeeze.

We then participated in a very wet Olympic parade through the village but everyone was in good spirit.  Finally, we were fortunate enough to be asked to perform at the Torch parade itself, which I have to say was a pleasure to be part of, all the students had a fantastic time and looked very smart in their Olympic T-shirts.


2013 looks to be another busy year with our exams in February and our annual show at The Brook Theatre in July.  We also have one of our students taking part in the production of ‘Carousel’ at the Orchard Theatre. 

Well done to Evie Henbest on her achievement.


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 2½ years.  Our aim is for children to dance for enjoyment, this is a fun way to exercise and keep fit whilst also learning different styles of dance.  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 the number below.


Home:   01634 220766                                         Mobile:   07813 050493

Email:   Claire.buckleys@virgin.net

Claire Buckley



During 2012 Copperfield Clog, Higham’s local north-west Morris dancing side, performed at the Rochester Sweeps Festival and at many local hostelries throughout Kent.  For various reasons 2012 was not our busiest season and, sadly, the weather did affect our programme.  However, we are now looking forward to the 2013 performance season.


Copperfield Clog is actively looking for new recruits – either dancers or musicians.  If you are interested then please do contact us.  We continue to meet for practice sessions at 8pm on most Thursday evenings from September through to May in St John’s Church Hall, Higham.


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. 


Copperfield Clog can be contacted as follows:


Telephone:         Secretary – Mary – 01474 822929

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

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

We look forward to hearing from you.

Judi Stanley,

Publicity Officer for Copperfield Clog



The ‘pay as you go’ Zumba dance/fitness class, which was running in Higham last year, now meets at Chalk Parish Hall on a Tuesday evening from 6.30 to 7.20pm.  For more details, contact Andrea on 07967 312613.  Web site www.zumbafituk.com




Higham Parish Council has a long term plan to improve access for those people dependent on the use of Mobility Scooters.


In Phase 1, the Parish Council has developed a plan with Kent Highways to implement several dropped kerbs in the centre of the village, primarily to allow Mobility Scooters to cross School Lane to gain access to the shopping parade and across Taylors Lane, near to the junction with School Lane.  A further crossing point, using dropped kerbs, is at the northern end of Villa Road opposite The Gardeners Arms.


As funds become available, the next area of most concern is the crossing from the western pavement (outside The Gardeners Arms) to the eastern pavement near to the Post Office.  There may well be other road crossing points where a dropped kerb would facilitate the easy passage of Mobility Scooters and the like.


Should you, or someone you know, have a road crossing point currently causing difficulties, where a dropped kerb would be an advantage, please contact the Clerk to the Parish Council by post, telephone or e-mail as below:-


Contact: Mrs Linda Carnall, Clerk to Higham Parish Council

24 Chilton Drive



Kent ME3 7BW


Telephone:         01474  822642

E-mail:                 enquiries@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk







Age Concern

01474 822654


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

Cub Scouts

01634 577888

Dickens Country Protection Society

01322 275389

Eagles Football Clubs

01474 822607

Emma’s Street Dance

07713 481584

Explorer Scouts

01474 823187

Friends of St Mary’s Church

01634 725013


01474 822686
01474 742576

Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club

07738 189559
07837 594158

Higham Bowlers

01474 824367
01474 823633

Higham CP School PTA

01474 823470

Higham Craft Club

01634 685478
01634 272785

Higham Library

01474 823822

Higham Rainbows

01474 822008

Higham Village Club

01474 822456

Higham Village History Group

01474 823342

Higham Village Sports Association

01474 822448

Higham Youth Club

07934 562085

Kent Police – PC Claire Croucher

07772 226238

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
07762 338478

Saint John’s Church – Fr. James Southward

01634 717360


01474 823806

StartRite Kindergarten

07774 224808

Sure Start – Daisy Chains

01474 354253

Tai Chi

07999 346050

Thames and Medway Canal Association

01732 823725

Village Correspondent, Liz Jeffrey 01474 747090

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 Bryan Sweetland

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

07976 309171


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.

[ Back to: Home Page | 2004 Newsletter | 2005 Newsletter |
2006 Newsletter | 2007 Newsletter | 2008 Newsletter | 2009 Newsletter |
2010 Newsletter  | 2011 Newsletter | 2012 Newsletter ]

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

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


Last Revised ~30 March 2013

Web site design and creation by

Clive Stanley Associates

Copyright © Higham Parish Council 2013