Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2014

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Photograph of (left to right) KCC Community Warden Steve Gray; Ann Barnes, Kent PCC; Cllr Mrs Jennifer Papadopulous, Chairman of Higham Parish Council; and, Kent Police Chief Inspector Phil Painter in Higham Library
Photograph of Steve Gray; Ann Barnes, Kent PCC; Cllr Mrs Jennifer Papadopulous, Chairman of Higham Parish Council;
and, Kent Police Chief Inspector Phil Painter in Higham Library.



Rain, rain coming down
To earth from skies above it
Makes us laugh and makes us frown
‘Cos flowers and quack ducks love it!

Dear Friends

Sitting writing to you all with the rain beating on the window I was reminded of the above words which were on a picture in my bedroom as a child! ‘Never frown’ – many of us have been doing just that in this recent weather, and I had another reminder. I wrote to you all in this newsletter about all the driveways being paved over and the lack of habitat for the birds and insects. Of course, there is now another hazard – water pouring off these drives onto our roads and our drains being blocked by leaves and gravel. Please think carefully before embarking on these drives and front garden projects.

On reflection we had a good 2013 with two well supported village concerts. We were lucky that the Borough Council sponsored our Community Event in 2013 based on your support of the events held in 2012. Many of you danced to the music that evening and the fireworks at the end of the event were, to say the least, spectacular. The second concert was our usual Band Concert – another happy, well supported evening. This has become an annual event – so please note in your diary now, 11 July 2014, our chosen date for this year.

Several people have mentioned our lack of Christmas lights this year. We could not afford to put them up as we are still in negotiation with St John’s College, Cambridge about the cost of renting the Recreation Ground. We have not yet signed the new lease – and every solicitor’s letter costs money and we, the Parish Council, are mindful of this fact.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support to our lovely village and the activities that are held. To the Parish Council team and to our Clerk, Linda Carnall, who works 24/7 on our behalf. Many other sterling jobs are done too – Liz Jeffery for her reports of Parish Council meetings in The Bridge and local press, Age Concern Luncheon Club (my passion) with Barbara West, Carol Mason and all the drivers, cooks and hostesses – too many to name, Joanne Raff with the exceptional Youth Club and all the volunteers who help her on a Wednesday and the uniformed leaders and indeed ALL who help in any way. My sincere thanks to each and every one of you.

I look forward to seeing you at planned village events during 2014.

My best wishes to you all,


We would like to thank the Office of the Kent Police Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, for providing the photograph above of her visit to Higham in August 2013.


 You are cordially invited to attend the



on THURSDAY, 10TH APRIL 2014 at 7.30pm


Christoph Bull, Chalk Parish Historian,
will give a talk entitled
Our Thames: from Dartford to Grain



‘CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER’ ... Your Parish Council was stunned to learn that the public toilets to the Memorial Hall car park which have been maintained for as long as anyone can remember by the Borough Council do not in fact belong to them. It would appear that they were built on Parish Council land in the 1970s as a result of pressure from Parishioners, concerned at the lack of public toilets within the village, and are the responsibility of the Parish Council. Of course over the years they have had to be kept locked for most of the time to protect them from vandalism and now they are only opened when we have events on the Recreation Ground. This has posed your Parish Council with a dilemma. The national non-domestic rates for the building alone are over £800 per annum and with the increased rental costs for the Recreation Ground they feel that they cannot really justify this cost on an annual basis. What do you feel should happen to these toilets? Could some entrepreneur within the village have a novel alternative use for this building as a local business (change of use could be applied for) or do you feel that it should be demolished (quite expensive but a one-off cost). Please let us know your thoughts as the clock is ticking... and the responsibility is ours from this Summer!

Our annual Friday Night at the Proms concert with the Medway Band will take place in the Recreation Ground on Friday, 11 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 2013? If not, make a note of this year’s date (10 April 2014) 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, 7 April


Thursday, 10 April


Monday, 12 May

Annual Parish Council Meeting.

Monday, 7 July


Monday, 8 September


Monday, 13 October


Monday, 10 November

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Monday, 24 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 2014 are listed above.  Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.



The next elections to the Parish Council will be held in May 2015. If you enjoy keeping up to date with what is happening in our village via our excellent website and feel that you would be interested in becoming a Parish Councillor please contact the Parish Clerk who will be pleased to send you an information pack and the appropriate forms early next year.






Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground


Precept 2013/2014


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, LGPS and expenses for provision of office





VAT Reclaim


VAT Paid


2013 Grants received


Grants made


2013 Community Events


2013 Community Events











Lloyds Current Account




Lloyds Flexi Account




National Savings Investment Account





Lloyds 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 31.3.13 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.



This is an annual competition organised by HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL and judged on our behalf by MORTON GREY, retired local government horticultural expert. There are no entry forms for Parishioners to complete as every front garden in the village is considered when the judges tour the Parish looking for gardens that give the passer-by the most visual pleasure. In reaching a final decision the judges award points for colour, choice of plants and cultivation, and the overall design of the garden. Last year marked the 29th anniversary of the competition. The following prize-winners received their awards from Morton Grey, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 9 September 2013.

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

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

SECOND PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Alicia Humphries, 17 Lake Drive

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Greta Stowers, 42 St. John’s Road.

HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

Maureen Barton, 53 Oak Drive.

Dot and Fred Figg, 1 Oak Drive.

June and Anthony Stevenson, 3 Hayes 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)

Allen Paternoster, 17 Beech Grove.


The Wade Family, 3 Beech Grove.

Carren Beattie, 37 Brice Road.

(Framed certificate) –
Not awarded this year.


We were all expecting a decision on the Third Thames Crossing during autumn and a decision on a Thames Airport. Neither came. The Government announced an interim decision that Option B (Swanscombe Peninsular) for the Third Crossing had been abandoned. That left the Parish in the same situation as before with no decision. I know that many of you had sent the Government your observations on Option C (and variant) and these were all recorded in the interim decision. For myself and Gravesham Council I thank you all who took the time and trouble to respond. We await a further final decision later this year.

The Thames Airport (Boris Island and others!) seemed to be the same. The Committee looking into the provision of airport capacity published its interim report naming three alternatives, but, at the same time, said that it had not finally ruled out an airport in the Thames. This lovely area is left in the same position as it has been during the last few years – a state of limbo. You can rest assured that your Parish and Borough Councillors will do all they can to protect the area from what would be a major blow to this special area.

Your Borough Members and the KCC Community Warden hold a Surgery on the last Thursday of every month between 2.30 and 4pm in the Library. We would be happy to see you there with any problems you may have or for just a chat. Please feel free to call in.

Last year Gravesham Council introduced a Member Grant Scheme to enable Members to make small grants (roughly £100 to £500) to local organisations and your two members are happy to announce that they have made several grants during the year. A further sum of money is now available. If you are a member of any Higham organisation and are looking to purchase an item or items for your group or to further some other project for the benefit of the local community then we may be able to help. Only one grant can be made to any group during any financial year but you might be able to apply again during a succeeding year. Please bear this in mind and let us know if you wish to make an application and we will get the forms to you.

Harold Craske, Ward Councillor for Higham, Gravesham Borough Council



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.


At the latest meeting in February local and county-wide topics were discussed including the Lower Thames Crossing, the Gravesham Local Plan, localised flooding, fly tipping, changes to refuse collection services in rural areas and anti-social behaviour.

John Grey and Alan Howard  


A new Dog Control Order came into force in April 2011 across the Borough of Gravesham and relates specifically to the offence of failing to pick up after your dog. Owners who neglect these duties can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £75 with failure to pay within a 14 day period leading to prosecution. Anyone who commits the offence more than once can also be prosecuted with a maximum fine of £1,000.

Parishioners can report incidents of dog fouling by calling Gravesham Borough Council on 01474 337000 or by e-mailing animal.control@gravesham.gov.uk and giving a description of the dog owner and dog, what time the dog is regularly walked in this location and the owner’s address and registration plate if known.

If you want to report dog fouling that needs clearing from a pavement please call 01474 337000 or e-mail waste.management@gravesham.gov.uk

Harold Craske/Linda Carnall


The Parish Council is coming close to finalising the new lease for the recreation ground after two, fairly worrying and costly years. Parishioners will remember that the main reason for the rise in the Parish precept last year was to take account of the proposed massive increase in rent.

It is a very special amenity for all of us though, and once the agreement is signed we hope to find some resources for hedging and other maintenance work.

Stuart Wright


Your Planning Committee has been vigilant in inspecting all applications for building in the Parish, which, for the most part have been for small extensions and conservatories.

There is no news yet on the field opposite The Railway Tavern.

The Gravesham Borough Council’s Strategic Local Plan has been inspected by the Parish Council and comments and objections made where it might affect our village and the Green Belt surrounding it.

Pat Oakeshott and Les Pearton


There have been very few issues on housing during the year. Your Parish Council is very mindful of mistakes made in the past where allocations have been made to people outside our village and we have recently made suggestions and improvements to The Housing Allocation Criteria at Gravesham Borough Council, hopefully, to make sure that those people whose parents have lived in the Parish for many years have first choice when there are vacant properties available.

Pat Oakeshott and John Grey


I am told that the rainfall in December and early January is approaching a record high and it is, therefore, no wonder that some of the footpaths around the village have become ‘wellington boot passable’ only. But others have remained in good condition and we continue to enjoy the access to open farmland, marsh and woodland alike.

Wet weather sometimes makes it harder for farmers to mark the line of a footpath. For instance, after ploughing a field, continuous rain prevents machinery getting on to the land for weeks, so everybody has to be patient. By and large, I think, the cross-field paths are marked very efficiently. But being a farmer, I would say that wouldn’t I?

I use some of the footpaths regularly and it is good to see that most people clear up after their dogs and take their other litter home with them as well.

Gravesham Council is having to make savings in all areas of their work and rights of way are no exception to this. So, where some paths have had vegetation trimmed twice in 2013, they will only be trimmed once this year with priority being given to the most important, heavily used communicating paths.

Stuart Wright


If you should spot a street light not lit or a pothole developing in a road please telephone the Clerk, or report direct to Kent Highways, on 03000 418181 (highways@kent.gov.uk), providing 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.


Another growing season is upon us after a dreadfully wet winter. The ground will be warming up ready for you to pit your wits, or better still, work with Mother Nature.

The majority of our allotment tenants did a fine job last year but it is disappointing that some plots were left uncultivated allowing weeds to spoil the hard work done on adjoining allotments. It is a condition of occupancy that allotments are kept tidy and we would encourage any individuals that are finding cultivation difficult to hand them back to the Council so that they may be issued to new tenants.

Please contact the Parish Council Clerk if this appeals to you. Allotment rents for the new growing season will be £25 per plot per annum.

Happy Gardening,

Alan Howard


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

The Higham Parish web site contains useful news, photographs and information on village organisations, as well as Parish Council meeting dates and documents. Coverage of the main village 2013 events and celebrations are also there for you to see. Advertised at the time were details of the Lower Thames Crossing proposals, public meetings and information; Big Screen on our Green; notable local planning applications; ‘In The Mood Swing Dance’; Higham Proms; Gardens for Pleasure winners and photographs; Christmas Big Band Swing dance and visiting local Police Contact Point dates.

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


Another year in the life of the hall has gone by with no major mishaps apart from an ingress of water due to the incessant rain we have been having recently. Hopefully this will be rectified in the near future. The CCTV has been upgraded to cover all aspects of the hall. A new heater has been installed in the kitchen - this should stop the cooker being used as a source of heat on cold days! The floor to the store room will be resurfaced.

At last the hall has come into the world of technology with its own website – www.highammemorialhall.btck.co.uk – this will give you all the details of what’s on so there is no excuse for missing the boot fairs!

Our biggest problem is manpower – we drastically need more helpers on the management committee to help run the hall, so if you have a bit of spare time and would like to help out and join a select band of volunteers please give me a call on 01474 824150.

Keith Bradley, Chairman


I wonder how many residents realise how much work goes into maintaining the Memorial Hall and keeping it open for the village and, most importantly, paying for itself. It is not, as most people think, a Parish Council function, but it is run for the Parish Council by a small committee who work endlessly to make it a viable asset to our village.

We all use it, but how many of us think of on-going repairs, lighting, new curtains for the stage, new chairs, storage, heating, toilets, cutting back surrounding hedges, car park maintenance, renting, boot fairs, etc, etc. There is an enormous amount of work involved in keeping the Hall in an excellent condition and financially sound.

Your Parish Council is very grateful for their dedication, under the Chairmanship of Keith Bradley.

Pat Oakeshott


A big thank you to those Parishioners who have volunteered to be Members of our Snow Clearance Team in the village and kindly clear and grit the pavements in times of snow. 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).


For the second year running the ‘Shops’ in School and Forge Lane, in conjunction with the 1st Higham Scout Group, sponsored and ran a Continental Style Christmas Street Market outside the Chemist and Greengrocers on Friday, 13 December 2013.

The Mulled Wine, Mince Pies, Home Made Cakes, Christmas Decorations, Soft Toys and Christmas Raffle raised over £280 which was split between the Kent Air Ambulance and the EllenorLions Hospice. The Mulled Wine, Mince Pies and Home Made Cakes proved to be so popular that by
mid-afternoon we had run out!

We wish to make the 2014 Street Market bigger and more enjoyable for the residents of Higham and raise even more funds for local charities. If any individuals or organisations in Higham would like to join in the market with craft items or any other things that are ‘Christmassy’ you are most welcome. Please contact Peter Allinson on 01474 823806 for details.

Peter Allinson


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


The group meet bi-monthly on the third Thursday of the month in the Memorial Hall where topics in the past year have included ‘The Life and Times of General Gordon’, ‘Murder, Sex and Mayhem in English Churches’ and ‘Lighter than Air’, a talk about the history of airships. Two talks featured speakers in period dress. A member of the notorious Hawkhurst (smuggling) gang was tried by the members, guests and a ‘judge’, found guilty and hanged! ln January, Philip Barham played the part of Marcus Hawkslade, Soldier of Fortune, Gentleman of the Blade and Captain of Horses in the King’s Army during the Thirty Years War and English Civil War. He answered questions in full dress with firearms, sword but, thankfully, not the horse.

Four books on the history of Higham produced in conjunction with Andrew Rootes, the author, are available to purchase at meetings, by mail order and at Higham Post Office. Proceeds from the sale of books are used to fund the group's activities and donations are also to be made to St John's Church tile fund.

An additional event for the Go Gravesham Festival in June proved very popular. Members took a leisurely guided walk around Upper Higham learning about the history of Telegraph Hill and the Larkin Monument, Gad’s Hill and St John’s Church followed by refreshments and a chance to chat with Andrew Rootes, author of several books on Higham.

In April there was a visit to the newly opened Kent History and Archive centre in Maidstone. The group also collects photographs for the archive collection, researches and helps answer historical questions and collects memories of local people as part of a Reminiscence Project.

A lively programme has been arranged for the coming season. Details can be found on the website www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk

Sally Starbuck



again present




FRIDAY, 11TH 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!


Higham Library has had a successful year in terms of visitors and events that we have managed to have at the library.

Our regular Wednesday morning Talktime group meet at 10.30am; the group is thriving with over 20 people attending on a weekly basis. They held a very successful MacMillan Coffee morning in September raising a substantial amount of money for the charity.

We have a lovely group of parents, grandparents and their babies and toddlers who come to our Friday weekly Rhymetime session, the session starts at 9.30am.

Our ladies from our Coffee & Chat group have read some enjoyable books over the past year and meet on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 2.30pm if you would be interested in joining them (men are welcome).

Friday, 9 August saw the library hold our Community Day; many regular visitors of the library came and enjoyed the many attractions that were on offer. Our sunflower growing competition was judged and the winner announced. Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this day the success it was.

Last year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme was ‘Creepy House’, this captured the children's imagination and in Higham we had 45 children join the scheme over the summer holidays. Of these children 51% finished the challenge by reading their 6 books. This year's theme is to be launched soon and should be just as exciting, so we are hoping that more children will take on the challenge this summer.

For those customers that cannot come to the library we offer our Home Library Service. We are also looking for volunteers to deliver books to our customers.

If you are interested in any of the groups or activities that have been mentioned, please contact the staff at Higham Library on 01474 823822.

Nicola Tubbs, Customer Service Development Librarian, Gravesham District Libraries


Are you unable to visit the library because of ill health, disability or your caring responsibilities? Let the library come to you. Our friendly volunteers can call at your home on a regular basis bringing your books (including large print), audio books, films and CDs of your choice. They will be happy to chat about the books you are enjoying and listen to what you would like to read. If you are interested in this service or know of anyone else who may need it please contact us on 0300 333 6022.

Kent Libraries


I would like to introduce myself: I am PCSO Sharon Balman and I took over the Higham beat just before Christmas. I have been a PCSO for just over nine years in the Gravesend area and have previously covered Denton, Riverview Park and, more recently, Wallis Park and the Hive in Northfleet.

Higham historically is a low crime area but it never pays to be complacent. Many areas close to Higham have recently been suffering an increase in shed and garage break-ins so it may be worth checking that sheds and outbuildings are secure and to security mark property where possible. I will be holding a Public Engagement meeting once a month in the village, dates, times and locations for these can be found on the Kent Police website. You may also have seen the Police Contact Point bus that parks up every other week outside the library, dates and times for this are also on the website. So if you have any policing issues that you would like to discuss you can either come along and find myself or you can visit the bus and they will pass on to me any queries you may have. Alternatively, you can always give me a call on my mobile 07969 584197 and if I do not answer leave me a message and I will always call you back.

PCSO Sharon Balman


We have plumbers, bus drivers, teachers, carpenters and shop workers among the many people volunteering as Special Constables in Kent. Being a Special Constable is an exciting and rewarding role. If you can volunteer a minimum of 16 hours a month, would like to learn new skills and have a passion to support your community, we would like to hear from you.

*Do something new. *Do something extra. *Do something Special.

JOIN US. For more information call today on 01622 650400 or visit www.kent.police.uk/specials

Charlotte Fillery, Assistant Intranet Editor/Social Media and Communications Assistant, Kent Police


A new initiative to boost visible community policing has been launched by Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

Police Contact Points are mobile police vans manned by Police Community Support Officers, which travel around mostly-rural parts of the county where it is felt that police presence needs a boost. The Police Contact Points allow members of the public to report crime or anti-social behaviour, discuss policing issues or concerns, and meet members of their neighbourhood policing team.

In Higham the Police Contact Point visits fortnightly on a Friday between 2 and 3pm and it is situated outside The Gardeners Arms Public House in Forge Lane.

You can find out when the mobile police station will be in the village by looking out for a notice on the Parish Council noticeboards, on our website or visiting www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/policecontactpoints.html

Your local PCSO is Sharon Balman who can be contacted on 07969 584197.






2013 was a year of mixed health for me and I am pleased to report that I am now feeling much better. May I say how much I appreciated all the kind messages I have received from residents in the village.

Towards the end of 2013 I was joined at the Surgery by one of your local Gravesham councillors, Harold Craske. In 2014 this will continue and either he, or Councillor Les Pearton, will be at the Surgery so come along, enjoy a FREE cup of tea/coffee and tell us what you think about what is happening in the village, good or bad.

On Saturday, 26 October we held, at Higham Library, a Community Safety morning with partner agencies, including Kent Police, Neighbourhood Watch, North West Kent Crime Prevention Panel and Higham Neighbourhood Forum attending. Within the space of four hours 50+ residents attended this event and information and handouts covering various aspects of Personal Safety and Home Security were given out.

2013 saw us support a Speed Awareness Poster Competition organised by Higham Neighbourhood Forum in conjunction with Higham Primary School and Gravesham Council Community Safety Unit. From approximately 120 posters produced by the pupils of Years 3 to 6 of Higham Primary School eight were selected and made into metal signs, courtesy of Gravesham Council Community Safety Unit. These are now on show in Villa Road and School Lane for all to see and also to take note of the messages given out by the pupils who produced the original posters.

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


Higham Neighbourhood Forum meets quarterly generally on the first Tuesday of March, June, September and December at 7.30pm in Higham Library. All members of the public are welcome and can raise any issues that concern them about Higham. Kent Police will also be attending these meetings whenever possible.

During 2013 the Forum organised and ran a road safety poster competition for the children of Higham Primary School which was sponsored by Gravesham Borough Council, Gravesham Community Unit and Kent County Council who have erected metal signs of the winning and runners up posters on lamp posts by the road side. In addition to their posters being made into road signs each winner and runner up received a
WH Smith Gift Token.

The Forum also runs a Speed Watch Scheme using equipment provided by Kent Police to monitor the speed of traffic through Higham. This is a very effective way of informing drivers if they are over the speed limit. Although no prosecutions result because of speed, persistent offenders and those who do exceed the limit by 50% will receive a letter from Kent Police. However, for the scheme to be effective we do need more volunteers who are prepared to give an hour of their time once every two or three months.

On 10 March 2014, at 2pm, we held our first Speed Watch Meeting in the Library to try to encourage more volunteers to join this worthwhile and valuable service.

Further information on Higham Neighbourhood Forum or Speed Watch details can be found by logging on to our website

• or by leaving a message on my mobile 07815 721966
• e-mail peter@pleakey.co.uk

Peter Leakey, Chairman


Higham Neighbourhood Forum runs a speed watch scheme where volunteers using equipment provided by Kent Police monitor the speed of traffic through the village. No driver is prosecuted as the purpose of the scheme is to educate him or her on the importance of driving within the limit.

All monitoring sessions are held in the daylight and good weather and seldom last longer than one hour.

We also run a lorry watch scheme which has recently been set up to monitor the movement of heavy lorries through Higham. This information is then passed on to the Parish Council.

We are in need of more volunteers for both of these schemes. For more information please, contact Peter Leakey:

E-Mail: peter@pleakey.co.uk
Telephone: 07815 721966

Peter Leakey


2013 has seen many changes for the surgery. Following 10 years of loyal service the Practice Manager (Isobel Meredith) retired. She has stayed local and is now enjoying her time with her family and friends whilst popping into the surgery from time to time to make sure we are all still on our toes. All of the partners and staff wish Isobel all the very best for the future. The practice continues to train Registrars who are qualified doctors but require additional training to become General Practitioners (GPs). Our current registrars are Huda Wahla, Asha Nayak and Monica Asongu. Each have been with the practice for the past six months and will continue until August 2014 when they will qualify as GPs

Our new nurses, Caron and Carol, have been with us for a year now and with Karen, Cheryl and Cathy the nursing team have been providing all of your services including diabetic and asthma reviews and countless blood and water samples. Our nurses are continuing to develop their skills and recently Cheryl passed one of her exams for her Assistant Practitioner qualification which we are very proud of.

The practice appointments remain flexible for our patients which include an early and late session to support patients that struggle to take appointments during core working hours. The practice offers a range of additional services that you may not be aware of, they include:

  • Ear, Nose and Throat.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Minor surgery.
  • Asthma.
  • Cryotherapy.
  • Chronic Pain.
  • Joint injections.
  • Diabetes.
  • Warfarin monitoring.
  • Paediatrics.
  • Men’s health.
  • Women’s health.
  • Arthritis.


We are fortunate to have one of the GP partners involved within Medway Clinical Commissioning Group which provides the practice an opportunity to consult directly on matters that will affect patients from Higham and Cliffe.

Finally, patients are at the centre of the services Highcliffe Medical Practice provides. We started a Patient Participation Group last year and now have a group of enthusiastic and committed members from Higham and Cliffe. They have and will continue to be a voice for our patients, to consult on subjects such as appointment schedules, clinics and the needs of our local community.

We look forward to a busy and challenging year. On behalf of all of the team, we wish our patients all the very best for 2014.

Kevin Creasey, 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 improve the outdoors and have plans this year to introduce a sensory and exploration area. We would be grateful for any unwanted garden items, wood, bark, paving slabs, etc. We are also looking to install an exciting mud kitchen so any unwanted kitchen items such as pots, pans, old kettles, microwave or old sinks would be gratefully received.

We are expanding the provision to provide additional spaces for two year old children and would like to make parents aware of the Free for Two funding which entitles eligible children to 15 hours free childcare. Please call for more information.

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

Suzanne Green


2013 has been eventful and successful at Higham Primary School, with another year of high academic achievement by our pupils. Our Ofsted inspection in October recognised the improvements in the school, and we were pleased that our own view that Higham was a good school was validated by the inspection team. They did, however, disagree with our judgement that behaviour in the school was good as they felt it was even better than this, judging it to be outstanding and describing behaviour in lessons as ‘exemplary’.

We have seen huge improvements in our Foundation Stage in 2013, and this was recognised by Ofsted in their recent inspection when they described it as having ‘been transformed into a vibrant learning environment’, while teaching was described as ‘good or outstanding’. The outdoor area has a new extended canopy and soft surfacing which means that children are able to make much more use of the outdoors, and we are grateful to Higham PTA for making a contribution towards this.

Our pupils enjoyed a wide range of events and activities in 2013. Trips included Hever Castle, the Guildhall Museum, a day as WWII evacuees at Horton Kirby Educational Centre, a visit to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Broadstairs beach, Farming World and a pantomime. Visitors to the school enabled children to participate in a Sculpture Workshop, Castles Workshop and a Tudor Workshop. Our choir again put on a magnificent performance at the Woodville Halls, and for the first time we had a Recorder Ensemble perform at the Recorder Festival. Once again, I must thank the PTA for contributing to many of these activities.

Our year 5 pupils enjoyed a week of adventurous activities at the PGL Centre at Marchants Hill and, as has now become traditional, Year 6 pupils showed great creativity in setting up profitable businesses during Enterprise Week and raised a considerable sum of money towards their end of term barbecue. The Year 6 end of term activities also included a day at the Arethusa Outdoor Activity Centre, bowling and a one day drama workshop ending with a performance to parents.

Since September we have employed the services of a professional sports coach for three afternoons per week, who has been developing pupils’ skills in PE, and we have additional after school sports clubs on offer which include basketball and tag rugby, funded by the Government sports grant.

We are very happy with the progress the school has made in 2013, and are looking forward to this continuing in 2014.

Mrs T Coombs, Headteacher


‘This is a good school’, not my words but those of the Lead Inspector of the Ofsted team who audited the school in October. In fact we achieved an ‘Outstanding’ category for the behaviour of all the children at the school, bearing in mind this includes their attitude in class as well as their conduct both at play and lunch time as well as walking through the school. Their attitude in class is particularly important as it means that the children are keen to learn and find the lessons involving and exciting and obviously educational.

This all goes to show that the Governors prediction of how well the school is progressing has been borne out by the Ofsted report and we feel that our belief in the work put in by the Headteacher, her senior staff and the teachers and all their support staff is paying dividends.

The school is a living place with both children and adults working hard to achieve the best outcome. These results do not just happen and this year, although the best to date, is not a ‘one off’. A continuing policy of regular and rigorous class observations with constructive feedback and healthy challenge ensures that we achieve the high levels expected and targeted by the Senior Leadership, led by the Headteacher and supported by the Governing Body. Ofsted found that 91% of lessons were good or better.

40% of Higham Primary School’s children attained Grammar School entry in September. That is well above the national average of 25%.

There are challenges as well, and probably one of the worst is the nightmare situation each day of the parking of cars outside the school and up and down School Lane. Some motorists still speed past the school and the children are very aware of how dangerous this is and with the Borough and Parish Council they designed some anti-speeding posters and they hope that they have some sobering effect on the speedsters. The parking issue is a separate problem and although the ‘Walking Buses’ have been popular, without parental support we cannot allow the children to walk in them unaccompanied, but whatever parents can do to walk rather than take the car would be so beneficial.

The Governors are delighted with the progress the school is making and wish to thank the Headteacher, staff, parents and of course the children for helping make Higham Primary School so good.

Malcolm L James


So it’s been another fun packed, money making year for the Higham Primary School PTA. We have had discos, film nights, a pamper evening, as well as the wonderful fayres plus some doughnuts in the playground!! We continue to beat all our previous year’s work and raise more money year on year from both our annual fayres.

This, of course, doesn’t happen without the dedicated work of our members and the support from all the parents both in and out of the village.

We have raised considerable funds over the last year which enabled us to give a huge donation back to the school for a project to rebuild the outside area for our reception children. The early year’s foundation children require an area which can be used all year round and in all weathers and we gave a large sum of money to have a new canopy and soft surface put in, so they can be outside come rain or shine!

We invite any parents or relatives of Higham Primary School children, who would like to come along to our meetings to pop in and join our informal discussions.

If you have any questions or suggestions for our PTA please contact either Kate Williams or Julia Mackie at highampta@hotmail.com.

New members always welcome.

Julia Mackie, Chair

Building for the future: New School heralds new era

2012-13 was a year of extremes; of both celebration and tragedy. Emotions ranged from the long awaited satisfaction of at last moving into the brand new multi-million pound Kindergarten and Junior School - the John Melville Building - to the contrasting dark shadow and energy draining weeks following the loss of one of our pupils, Charlie Booth. 

2013 showed us that in many ways school life at Gad’s reflects the daily ebb-and-flow of society. During a typical school year there are a host of causes for celebration, from good examination results, to marriages, to births, to the satisfaction of performing well in a school play or beating opponents on the sports field in a hard fought local derby.  Mixed with this are events that make up the darker side of our lives.  It is not unusual during a typical year that some of our children will experience the tragedy of losing a loved one, or seeing their parents separate, or of not achieving the success they craved, whether on the sports field, on the stage or in the classroom. 

2012-13 was a busy year for the school, despite two major events on either side of the emotional spectrum.  We saw our children flying to all parts of the globe with two visits to China, visits to France and to Belgium. Sadly, a trip of a lifetime for many of our students to Alaska, for which so many worked so hard, fell apart when the organising travel company went into liquidation.  During the year our sports teams played more fixtures than ever before and enjoyed success against more potent opposition. Our thespians showed their talents on the stage at the Woodville Halls with the Senior School production of Beauty and The Beast.  A few weeks later our Junior School actors performed in one of the first events in the school’s brand new theatre, with their marvellous and heart-warming production of The Wizard of Oz.

Gad’s students continued to build links with the community. This included helping the Salvation Army with their efforts to assist the homeless and the destitute in Gravesend.  Our musicians worked alongside students from King’s Farm School in one of the more disadvantaged areas of Gravesend to produce a musical piece for a joint percussion concert early in the Summer.  Our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) cadets took part in a range of activities during the course of the year; from shooting competitions at Bisley, to field days at Mereworth, to speeding down the Medway River with the Royal Engineers boat squadron, culminating with a very successful camp at Nesscliff in Shropshire.  The CCF drum section had a very successful first public display during the Remembrance Day parade through Higham in November. The CCF has been identified by the Ministry of Defence as a good example of a CCF unit and as such has been asked to assist other local state schools set up their own CCF units as part of the Government’s Cadet Expansion Project.

So 2012-13 was another busy year, a typical Gad’s Hill School year, where much of the focus is on academic progress, learning and GCSE success but also in doing what we are good at, developing young people. We pride ourselves on giving our young people maturity, confidence and self-reliance; skills which will last them a lifetime and, together with good qualifications will propel them towards a successful future. 

That our school, our community, were, during 2013 able to “face triumph and disaster” with dignity, while supporting each other sums up the qualities and character of our school and our people.

Mr David Craggs

Headmaster, Gad’s Hill School


The Ecclesiastical Parish of Higham with Merston

The long delayed renewal of the Sanctuary floor began in January 2014. The acoustics for church services, school use and Higham Choral concerts will be much improved. An appeal in October to all ‘villagers’ raised over £3,000.  Our heartfelt thanks to all who contributed.


That appeal raised an issue about S.John’s as the Parish Church. The civil/political parish is over a century old. The church/ecclesiastical parish is over a thousand years old. The boundaries of the two are not quite the same. Some residents of ‘Civil Higham’ are outside ‘Church Higham’ even though it is a very few places.  For burials, baptisms, anniversary blessings, thanksgivings this is not a problem; there are no legal restrictions. However it is problematic for marriage. Sadly, despite the widening of legal entitlement for marriage in a Church (2008), ‘Civil Higham’ residents outside ‘Church Higham’ who do not qualify under the revised law cannot marry at S.John’s Church. Since the 1990’s we have repeatedly requested the boundaries be rationalised but to no avail.


For funerals you do not have to have been a ‘churchgoer’ to have a Church service, a burial, or the Vicar lead a crematorium service. Since summer 2013 and through 2014 we are trialling having baptisms at 11am on a limited number of Sundays as well as the usual 9.30am ones.


Worshipping numbers remain between 75 to 90.  On Sunday mornings there are folk who care for and teach children; all police checked and never alone. The pew removed last year for prams and buggies has had good use on Sundays as well as at weddings, even funerals.


We are open every day: for you to sit or pray, or just to be (albeit under the CCTV!).  We have recently issued a prayer cycle to pray for all areas and aspects of (every part of) Higham. A copy is free in the Church porch.


S.Mary’s, though redundant for worship, is always used on Mothering Sunday at 5pm; and on the first Sunday of October at 10am. Other services are planned for the summer. Details of these and anything else can be found by email: saintjohn.higham@yahoo.co.uk by telephone 01634-717360 or (after Easter) at  www.highamparishchurch.org.uk  


The Revd. Canon James Southward,

(Vicar of Higham w. Merston)


The Friends’ Group has had an extremely busy and successful year.  We started our annual events with the AGM and we were delighted to welcome  Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of The Churches Conservation Trust, who gave a talk on the valuable work of the Trust and explained how the Trust cares for 340 redundant churches.


In April we held our ‘Art in the Church’ weekend.  A constant stream of visitors appreciated the diverse works exhibited by talented local artists.  The sunlight streamed through the windows of St Mary’s to illuminate the art whilst we were entertained by ‘Swinging the Lead’ singing folk songs.


On a glorious May evening we held ‘Jazz in the Church’ with the Rochester Swing Preservation Society and enjoyed the sounds of Glenn Miller. We are looking forward to welcoming the Band back this year and they will be performing with the Barrett Brothers.


In June we supported The Churches Conservation Trust as part of their national Midsummer Tea Party fund-raising event with our ‘Timeline Talk and Tea’.  Our talk was on the history of St Mary’s and the surrounding area.  Our sincere thanks to local resident, James Marriott, who took us on a whirlwind tour through 1,400 years and 56 generations in 200 year slots.  


In July we were pleased to welcome back Higham Choral Group who performed various works with the highlight of ‘The Armed Man: A mass for Peace’.  St Mary’s was an excellent venue for this contemporary major choral work which uses both sacred and secular texts based on the 15th Century French L’homme armé. 

September saw the return of our Celebration of the Marsh day and Scarecrow Festival. This, once again, was very well supported. Thank you to everyone who took part and to those who made a Scarecrow for the Festival. This is proving to be an extremely popular community event.

In December St Mary’s was beautifully decorated for Christmas and at our Christmas event we celebrated with music and seasonal refreshments whilst decorating the Christmas Tree.

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. However, we are pleased to report that there have been movements towards St Mary’s being granted electric.

So many people have assisted us again 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. We are grateful to those who continuously bake for us and donate raffle prizes. Thank you to those who assist with parking arrangements for our events; Mr Ledger, 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; Tel 01634 725018. The membership subscription remains unchanged this year: £8 - individual and £10 for a household membership. We cannot stress how important you are to the future of St Mary’s Church and we hope that you will remain a loyal member. St Mary’s is special and open every day for visitors. It is always 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 as a community space. With the passing of each year we are attracting more visitors who delight in St Mary’s and also appreciate the work of The Churches Conservation Trust.

We look forward to welcoming you to our events planned for 2014. Your support is much appreciated and the funds are crucial to maintain St Mary’s and also many other churches vested in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust. Highlight events will be a Jazz Music Evening, a Collage Art Workshop – ‘Ripping Landscapes’ by local artist Fiona Spirals, a Midsummer Tea Party - Focus on ‘The Real Story of the Nuns of St Mary's’, Higham Choral Group, Weekend Exhibition of ‘Art in the Church’, Higham Village Tribute to WW1 for an evening of talks, poetry and local reminisces, a Film evening where St Mary’s will be turned into a cinema. By popular request we will continue with our tradition of the Celebration of the Marsh Day incorporating the Scarecrow Festival and also our Christmas Event.

For this year St Mary’s is also privileged to participate in National Acts of Remembrance to commemorate WW1.

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

Linda Franklin, Chair, Friends of St Mary’s Church


As in last year's report there is little news as, once again, the Trust’s funds earned insufficient interest to distribute. The Trustees are still 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


This past year we again were able to raise funds for the Kent Air Ambulance, Lions Hospice and other charities at our ‘Coffee Mornings’. Thank you to all those who supported us on these occasions. Keep your eyes open for notices of future events. In September we changed the old gas heaters and had central heating installed. There has always been a warm welcome for visitors but an even warmer one now. As time moves on things change, sometimes for the better but some changes are less welcome, however the God that we serve is an unchanging God.

For I am the LORD, I change not; ….. (Malachi 3:6)

We still proclaim the ‘Good News’ that Jesus spoke of over two thousand years ago.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

This is the message that was brought to the village almost 200 years ago by Christians from Chatham. Many villagers must have heard that news and had their lives changed as they obeyed God’s Word and:

‘confessed with their mouth the Lord Jesus, and believed in their heart that God has raised him from the dead’, and they were ‘saved’. (Rom 10:9)

Why not pay us a visit at 11am on a Sunday morning or come to one of our coffee mornings. If you have never been in the building before, you might like to look around or just sit and quietly meditate while others chat over a cuppa in the school room.

It has been said that, quote: ‘Surely, this church is a jewel within the crown of the village; directing all who meet here towards JESUS who once said’,

‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls’. (Mat 11:28-29)

Peter Relf, Secretary 01474 322195 or e-mail: pmyrw65@gmail.com


The Club has now been running for over 30 years, and its purpose continues to be to provide a weekly lunch and social gathering for those elderly residents of Higham who live alone and may find it difficult to get out without transport.

We have had another full year with exercises, shoe, clothes, plant and Ellenor sales. Also speakers, quizzes and musical entertainment, and again a Strawberry Tea at Little Hermitage kindly provided by Mrs Geraldine Cox, who as always made us so welcome. We continue to mark birthdays including a personalised cake kindly provided by our Chairman, Jennifer Papadopulos.

We are, of course, an entirely voluntary organisation and I must as always sincerely thank our volunteer cooks, drivers and hostesses and other friends such as the Parish Council and our local Councillors. This year has produced its share of problems as some of our volunteers are not getting any younger, and it is not always easy to replace them. Once again, therefore, I have to repeat my annual plea to say we would welcome anyone who could spare a few hours each month to help us. Also we now have a couple of vacancies for members. If anybody is interested please do not hesitate to contact me on 01474 822453.

Barbara West, Co-ordinator


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!

Linda Parr


Higham Craft Club is held in St John’s Church Hall, Hermitage Road, Higham, and is a group of friendly ladies who meet Tuesday mornings and alternate Fridays. We make cards, go to shows and have craft weekends.

We have been running for a successful seven years now and we always have places for new members especially Wednesday evening for ladies who work or look after children during the day. For more details ring Irene on 07917 673221 or Pauline on 01634 272785 / 07766 768180.

Irene Love and Pauline Powling


2013 saw the youth club growing from strength-to-strength. Our team of dedicated voluntary helpers grew too.

It was a pleasure to take some of our young people and voluntary helpers to a special ceremony at Leeds Castle where we were awarded our AQYP (Assurance Quality in Youth Projects) kitemark award.

On Wednesdays we have seen attendances of up to 100 young people. 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, electric guitar and amplifier, 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.

We are looking forward to a residential trip at an activity centre, 11pm to 2am ice skating, plus many other events in the forthcoming year.

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. We also have our growing team of young helpers who are 14+ years, all of whom show great maturity and responsibility. All of our current young helpers joined Higham Youth Club at the age of 10 years, and two are now reaching their 18th birthdays and wish to stay on as adult helpers.

We always welcome new members at Higham Youth Club, and also welcome new volunteers (occasional or regular). Volunteers are checked through the Disclosure and Barring System (formerly CRB) 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@hotmail.co.uk or call me on 07817 746097 (leaving a message on voicemail if I am unavailable).

Joanne Raff, Leader, Higham Youth Club


Higham Rainbows have been busy throughout 2013 with many activities and events for the girls each week including visits to the RSPB Northward Hill for some pond dipping, Shorne Country Park and to Higham Brownies where they had an enjoyable evening on a giant assault course.

At the end of December, Higham Rainbows had to close as the leaders had to step down due to work and family commitments. Unfortunately, no replacement leaders could be found to keep the group running. If anyone is interested in helping to run Higham Rainbows and wishes to consider re-opening the group, please contact Julie on 01474 822008.

Julie Healey


We have had another very busy year at Higham Brownies. We have had a Pizza Hut party where the girls enjoyed creating their own pizzas. They have enjoyed trips to Shorne Country Park and the Cyclopark where the girls achieved their cyclist badge. The girls were also very excited about their visit to the Police station and could not wait to see the cells. We enjoyed a hike through the village as part of the ‘Out and About’ Badge with a stop half way at the chip shop. We had a joint evening with Higham Rainbows and the girls had fun on the bouncy obstacle course that was put up in the hall. When the weather was warm we had a Teddy Bears Picnic on the Recreation Ground. The girls have enjoyed an evening of cake decorating and they produced a range of creative and colourful cakes. We have played games with newspapers and even had our own version of the popular TV show ‘The Cube’ in the hall.

In May we took 10 girls to a PGL activity centre where they all took part in activities such as Fencing, Quad Bikes, Zip Wire, Trapeze and much more. In June we went to the Trooping the Colour and despite the early 6.30am start the Brownies enjoyed every minute of the day and could not believe it when they saw the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. As usual the girls were very well behaved and we are always proud of the way they behave when we take them out. We ended the year with a Pyjama Christmas party.

We would like to thank Kacey, Louise, Laura, Jade and Jasmine who are all at secondary school but come along each week to help with our group. We are always looking for more adult helpers and if you have a skill that you would like to share with the Brownies then please contact us. We do have a waiting list but if you would like more information regarding Higham Brownies then we can be contacted at highambrownies@hotmail.co.uk. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Julie Healey for running Higham Rainbows for over 10 years. She introduced both of us into Guiding and has been a great help and support to us. She will be missed.

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



Higham Scout Group continues to thrive. We have a membership of 71. Together the young people and leaders have enjoyed gaining new skills and having fun together.  All three sections have carried out full and varied programmes. The Beavers have arms full of badges and they have taken part in sleepovers which are a recent innovation in Scouting. Cubs took part in the District summer camp and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Scouts have had an exciting year culminating with a summer camp in the New Forest. This year they are going to Ypres. We are also having a family day out to Chessington in May.

Part of the Scout promise is to think of others and for the 27th year running on Friday, 15 November 2013 the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders starting down at Higham Station at 5.30am and finally finishing outside the Higham Chip Shop at 20.30, collected a staggering £2,120.36 for the BBC ‘Children In Need’ Appeal.

Our meeting times are:


Scout Group



Beaver Scouts

Fridays: 5.30-6.30pm

Andrea Jarman: 01474 822192

Cub Scouts

Fridays: 6.30-8pm

Andrea Jarman: 01474 822192


Fridays: 8pm-9.45pm

Peter Allinson: 01474 823806

Explorer Scouts


Carolyn Shulver: 01474 823187


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


Carolyn Shulver, Group Scout Leader


The multi-purpose courts have had continual use during 2013 especially during the Spring and Summer months. The Higham Youth Club continues 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.

After some lengthy delays at last work has progressed and almost finished on running electric cables into the changing rooms at the back of the Memorial Hall (after electrics were vandalised). Just linking up the meter remains to be done, 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


The Club has been in existence for 24 years. We play at Higham Primary School on Wednesday evenings from 8 to 10pm.

We have 14 members and would be pleased to invite a few more. We are a very friendly social group and if anyone is interested in joining us please contact our Secretary, Mo Barton, telephone 01474 822592.

Mo Barton


We were shocked to receive a complaint that youngsters playing football matches on the Recreation Ground were leaving the pitch caked in dog excrement because of inconsiderate dog owners failing to clean up after their pets. Please ensure that you are not the guilty party by bagging and binning wherever you exercise your dogs within our village.


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


Eagles FC is a football club based in Higham, that is currently in its 35th consecutive year of providing football for the local community. This season we have 12 teams, with our junior teams playing in the North Kent Youth League and our youth teams competing in the Medway Messenger Youth League. Our teams range from Under 7 up to Under 18, with over 150 players on our books. We are an FA Charter Standard club, with all team managers being FA Level 1 Qualified Coaches, first aid trained and child welfare aware. We are a family orientated club, providing football in a positive environment, where learning via encouragement and fun is at the heart of what we do. We pride ourselves on progressing the children’s football skills, team play and fitness and whilst striving to do the best we can do, we are not a club that wins at all costs. If you are interested in joining our club, please contact Pat Jeal on 01474 822607 or contact us via our website, at www.highameagles.co.uk.

Our junior teams play on Higham School pitches and our youth teams play on Higham Recreation Ground and Cliffe Recreation Ground. As the club continues to expand we are always looking for new venues to train and play matches, so if you are able to assist in this regard, please get in touch.

Tony Smith, Club Treasurer


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 2013 the age range of players playing in the adult sides was 13 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 + School Y9 and above are currently taking place at King’s School, Rochester, on Sundays between 17.00 and 19.00 – £5 adults / £3 concessions. Junior Nets for Y8 and below to be confirmed. Once the weather improves, we will have midweek evening practise sessions at our Ground, from mid-April to the end of school summer term, which are 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


A Tai Chi group now meets at the Memorial Hall on a Wednesday morning from 8.30 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


Our Village Club enters its 131st year this year and continues to provide a welcoming atmosphere for members and their families. Having been part of the history of Higham for all this time we look forward to seeing as many members throughout the year.


We regularly have entertainment and special events throughout the year and our facilities can be hired for parties, weddings, funerals and anniversaries, for a small hire charge to members and non-members.


We continue with our monthly Friday quiz night, Sunday evening bingo as well as the first Wednesday of every month in the afternoon, along with special themed nights, organised by the Entertainment Committee where we bring in entertainers for everyone's enjoyment.


There are two dance classes during the week on Monday and Wednesday evenings and a new darts team on a Monday night also. The Club boasts a full size snooker table, as well as Pool table and holds card evenings and our Golf Society remains as ever active, even if you are a high handicapper! We can even cater for the gardeners within the village with allotments to the rear of the Club.


We are always looking for new members who wish to enjoy the facilities we offer, and the staff and the Committee are grateful for the tremendous support we get from our members. If you have never been inside the Club come and see us or look on our web site www.highamvillageclub.co.uk or telephone 01474 822456 or email highamvillageclub@hotmail.com


We look forward to seeing old and new faces throughout the year on a regular basis.


Mark Gray, Secretary


During the past year there has continued to be much national and local publicity about possible major projects in or affecting our area:

• The various ‘Thames Estuary Airport’ concepts have been broadly examined by the Government appointed Davies Commission Aviation Strategy Review and the Society contributed to evidence submissions and local meetings. The first report was published just before Christmas and, although fairly negative about the possibilities, the proposal was still included in the next part of the review.

• The proposal for there to be a major river crossing East of Gravesend, which would be extremely destructive to our area, is still under consideration by the Department for Transport. The report on the consultation was also published just before Christmas and further information is being sought about the two remaining options (an additional bridge/tunnel at Dartford being the other).

Other items that have received particular attention include:

• The Chattenden/Lodge Hill redevelopment projects. These have been affected by the site being classified as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

• The Gravesham Local Development Framework which will both put significant pressure for green areas (including Green Belt designated land) to be sacrificed for housing development. In Medway the planners consider there is enough land already designated.

• The Society made objections to a proposal to site a Crematorium in Chalk. This was subsequently approved by Gravesham Council.

On lighter matters:

• The Society was active at several local exhibitions, fetes and fairs, for example, RSPB at Bromhey, Cliffe Woods and St. Helen’s Church at Cliffe.

• The Society’s annual Barn Dance held at Buckland Farm continues to be very popular, the next will be on Saturday 26th April.

Mrs Susan Lindley, Committee Member of DCPS


2013 was a year of mixed blessings for the Canal Association. Early in the year it was announced that the proposed development of the Albion Quayside, including partial reinstatement of the Canal from the Gravesend Basin west towards Mark Lane, had been dropped. Although it appeared that the Council and the developers had a few minor issues to agree upon, the developers withdrew. The ‘North East Gravesend’ site is now looking more rundown than ever but it is hoped that the site owner will soon find another partner to pick up the reins.

Although changeable weather throughout 2013 did create water supply problems, the Canal is now filled to a point that we hope will preclude excessive reed growth and enable it to be used for small boats and canoes. The Environment Agency is to carry out a survey to see whether or not there are any fish present and if it could be used as a fishery as it was many years ago. The presence of the water does also make for an improved vista for those walking or cycling along the towpath.

During the winter months of 2013 tree clearance has been taking place in the area of the Obelisk and towards Higham. This follows advice that as the soil the trees are growing in is very thin and of poor quality there is a likelihood that they could be blown over in strong winds blocking Canal Road.

Apart from the work on the Canal itself members have undertaken guided walks, talks for various organisations and displays at venues including libraries and schools both in the local area and around North West Kent. However, there are always vacancies for new members with untapped skills or abilities.

David Rouse


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, art, craft work, board games and tea and chat.

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.  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 website or call us on 01474 742576.


Harry Green, Publicity


The year 2013 was, as usual, for any WI a busy and interesting one. Speakers included talks on the ‘Life of a Japanese Woman’ and the ‘History of Making Walking Sticks’ and ‘The Forgotten Parish of Denton’ to name but a few. Our enthusiastic Drama Group kept us very amused both at our lovely Birthday Party in August and our Christmas meeting. We all enjoy a good laugh! We held an excellent Italian Evening at St John’s Church Hall in the spring with a quiz and a film ‘Letters to Juliette’. In the autumn we held our usual Home Economics competition – we were congratulated on our number of entries which included cup cakes, Victoria sponge, jam, scones and sausage rolls! We have enjoyed bowling, walking and attending the London theatres on more than one occasion – to keep us active – and used our brains on Scrabble and quizzes in our social time.

We meet on the first Thursday in the month – 7.30pm at the Memorial Hall – please come and join us. You will receive a warm welcome.

Jennifer Papadopulos


Higham Writers have had another excellent year, in which we produced two Showcases and raised over £200 for the EllenorLions Hospice. Mulled wine and mince pies went down very well at Christmas! Early this year we were invited to entertain at a Mothers’ Day luncheon in Shorne Village Hall on 30 March, and hope to pay another visit to our old friends at Age Concern in Higham as well as producing our usual showcase of work. Sadly, we have had to move on from our regular venue at Higham Library which is no longer suitable to accommodate our audiences. Our next Showcase will be held in Shorne Village Hall on 15 November 2014 and we look forward to being able to present more elaborate productions for all our supporters, who like our members, come from all over the local and Medway areas. We continue to meet at the Higham Village Club weekly on a Monday.

Anybody who is interested in what we do can follow our website by googling HIGHAM WRITERS GROUP or emailing deniseleppard@btinternet.com

Denise Leppard


We had another successful year in 2013 starting with our Spring concert in March, which was held in the church of St Peter and St Paul, Shorne. We performed Brahms’ German Requiem followed, in the second half, with a piano solo by our accompanist David Chapman, and lighter pieces including an arrangement of Super Trouper. We performed The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins at the summer concert at St Mary’s Church, Lower Higham. We were accompanied by several talented musicians and the audience were also entertained with several pieces sung by the children’s group Semiquavers. Our Christmas concert was well attended at St John’s Church. It was a mixed programme including Christmas Past, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and carols for all to sing.

Several members travelled to Suffolk in May, where we gave a concert of varied music at the village church of Wickham Skeith.

Our concerts for 2014 are:

26 April -- Concert at St Mary’s Church, Chalk.
5 July -- Summer Concert at St Mary’s Church, Lower Higham.
13 December -- Christmas Concert at St John’s Church, Higham.

Our tour this year will be at Ideford, Devon.

We are a group of about 30 members but new members are always welcome. We especially need tenors and basses. For more information you may contact me on 01634 718818 or email mary.davis59@btinternet.com

Mary Davis


A ‘pay as you go’ Zumba dance/fitness class 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



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

In 2013 we held our Exams in February and all students passed with flying colours. We performed our annual show at the Brook Theatre which was, again, a huge success and a great achievement for all pupils that took part.

In September 2013 we welcomed our new teacher, Steph, who now takes the jazz classes. These are great fun and high energy and she is looking forward to working on her first show with us which is to take place in November again at the Brook Theatre.

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


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 5 to 7 years old £5
7 – 8.30pm 8 to 14 years old £6

Emma Cater Telephone: 07713 481584


As many of you will know, sadly, after 21 years your local Morris dancing side ‘Copperfield Clog’ has folded. Two of our brilliant musicians have now moved to Yorkshire and with the number of dancers dwindling it was decided it was time to ‘hang up our clogs’.

In the early days Copperfield Clog’s membership – including our younger members from Beau Belles and Baby Belles – numbered 50 plus. Copperfield Clog began by rehearsing at Higham Primary School before moving to The Chequers Pub and finally St John’s Church.

In Higham Copperfield Clog took part in the Higham Centenary Walk in 1994 and also performed at Higham CP School Fetes; St John’s Church Flower Festival; Higham Village Millennium Celebrations; Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebrations and at all of Higham’s local hostelries. Other memorable events have included organising a very successful Day of Dance in Upnor in 1999, as well as Dancing in the Dawn, at 5.32am, on 1 May followed by the Rochester Sweeps Festival; Museum of Kent Life, Aylesford; Hever Castle; Ightham Moat; Kent’s Festival of Arts, Gravesend; St George’s Day events and the Theatre Royal Chatham Festival of Flowers. Copperfield Clog were also the proud winners of the 2003 Festival Challenge Cup at the Moreton Festival.


To celebrate Copperfield Clog’s 21 years, we held a Barn Dance for all our past members and their families/friends on Saturday, 29 March. We thought this would be a nice way to formally wind up Copperfield Clog.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has supported us and attended our events over the past 21 years.

Judi Stanley


Age Concern. Higham Luncheon Club

01474 822453


01474 822192


01474 823500 

01474 823538

Choral Group

01634 718818

Claire Buckley School of Dancing

01634 220766
07813 050493

Community Warden (Steve Gray)

07811 271256

Congregational Church

01474 322195

Copperfield Quilters

01474 823129

Cub Scouts

01474 822192

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 725018


01474 822686
01474 742576

Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club

07738 189559
07837 594158

Higham Bowlers

01474 822592

Higham CP School PTA

01474 823470

Higham Craft Club

01634 272785
07917 673221

Higham Library

01474 823822

Higham Neighbourhood Forum – Peter Leakey

01474 822516
07815 721966

Higham Village Club

01474 822456

Higham Village History Group

01474 823342

Higham Village Sports Association

01474 822448

Higham Youth Club

07934 562085

Kent Police


Memorial Hall (Bookings only)

01474 822007



Parish Clerk

01474 822642

PCSO Sharon Balman

07969 584197

Playball Football

01634 311481
07762 338478

Saint John’s Church – Fr. James Southward

01634 717360


01474 823806

StartRite Kindergarten

07774 224808

Sure Start – Riverside Children's Centre

01474 535301

Tai Chi

07999 346050

Thames and Medway Canal Association

01474 362861

Village Correspondent, Liz Jeffrey 01474 747090

Women’s Institute

01634 717113


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


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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