Higham Parish Council

2016 Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports
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Photographs above shows working party at the Pavilion
below shows Lower Thames Crossing protest  



Dear Friends

Looking back, 2015 seemed a relatively quiet year. The problems with the Recreation Ground were eventually resolved and after three years of negotiations we were granted a new 20-year lease – but at a price. We were delighted that Jo Raff and her Committee agreed to take on the Pavilion building for the village and all clubs and associations seemed to be thriving well.

We were sorry to learn that after many years of loyal service to the Parish Council, Stuart Wright had decided not to seek re-election in May 2015 but we wish to thank him now for all that he has done for the village and know that we will continue to have his support from the side lines. We were delighted to welcome on to the Parish Council three new Members: Peter Allinson (a former Parish Councillor), Simon Hearn and Sue Sparks. Sadly, we then received the resignation of Graham Ashby due to work commitments and following co-option were able to welcome our village correspondent Liz Jeffery as a Parish Councillor. Thank you Graham for your great attention to detail. I particularly remember your guidance with the huge number of plans for the (now completed) new school buildings at Gad’s Hill and how you enabled us to provide much-needed support for the local residents affected by the development.

As many of you know, I have a favourite word which I always emphasise with regard to our village and that is ‘CO-OPERATION’. Today I now wish to add another equally important word and that is ‘SUPPORT’. At this particularly testing time in the history of our village your Parish Council would like to acknowledge and thank those of you who have shown your support to us by attending our special meetings for the Lower Thames Crossing, volunteering your help, writing letters of objection, knocking on doors to obtain signatures for petitions, attending photoshoots with the local press and attending protest rallies etc. The list goes on. Thank you also to the Post Office, Greengrocers and Pharmacy who have all acted as information/collection points within the village.

As I write this letter the consultation period has now ended and we await the decision BUT THE FIGHT GOES ON! Please see an article in our booklet by Harold Craske who will update you on this matter.

But SUPPORT also begins at home, within our village, and this is why for this year only we have two photographs on the front cover of this booklet. The Parish Council is also most grateful to Jo Raff and her Committee of helpers for taking on the Pavilion Building on behalf of the village. This fact enabled us to finally agree the terms of our new lease and effectively saved the village the loss of our Recreation Ground and sporting facilities. There seems to have been some misunderstanding within the village as to what the building is to be used for and Jo has written an article within this booklet (page 16) about the Pavilion Project to set the record straight. Once building works have been completed it will become a Community Hub providing activities, clubs and events for all ages within the Village. The venture is completely non-profit making and so all monies raised will go back into the project to further benefit our community. Please think how you can SUPPORT Jo and her team with this daunting project. Could you support her fund-raising events, make a donation, pledge your help, join a working party or are you a local tradesperson (e.g. architect, builder, plumber, electrician etc.) who might be able to carry out works on the building? We were particularly delighted to learn that both HiARA and the Brownies have chosen the Pavilion Project as their charity for 2016. This year is the 30th Anniversary of the opening of the building as a Boys Club and we know that Jo would dearly love to launch the project in time for this deadline......

I also hope that you will SUPPORT the celebrations that are being planned for the village on Saturday, 11 June as we raise a glass to her Majesty the Queen in her ‘90th’ year. A poster about our Royal Celebrations is included in this booklet (page 54) but please watch out for the banners around the village. I do hope that we will all be together at the Recreation Ground on that day to enjoy two bands and a firework display.

In closing I would like to thank all those who already SUPPORT our village so well. My Parish Council team, including our Clerk, Linda Carnall, our Kent County Councillor Bryan Sweetland and Borough Councillors Harold Craske and Les Pearton, Liz Jeffery for her reports for The Bridge and local press, the Age Concern Luncheon Club (Barbara West, Carol Mason, Anne Carroll and Joan Campbell with their team of drivers, cooks and hostesses), the uniformed leaders within the village, Jo Raff and her Committee who run our exceptional Youth Club, the Memorial Hall Committee headed by Keith Bradley and Peter Morriss and Clive Stanley for maintaining our impressive web site and his wife Judi who prepares this annual newsletter on our behalf.

I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Parish Assembly in April.

My best wishes to you all.



The Parish Council is pleased to report that a new 20-year lease (backdated to 2012) has now been signed for the Recreation Ground, Tennis Courts and Pavilion. After three years of negotiations we managed to reduce the rent to £3,000 per annum from the £7,500 originally proposed. We are grateful to Joanne Raff and her Committee who agreed to take a sub-lease of the Pavilion building which allowed us to finally conclude our negotiations and saved these facilities for our village. We very much hope that Joanne will receive your support to turn this building into a thriving community hub for all ages in our village to enjoy.

We would like to thank those who use the ground, principally the footballers, for maintaining the area in good condition and for all the hard work that they carry out to the pitch on our behalf. Please can we remind Parishioners who take dogs on the ground to make sure that they clear up after their pets. Free dog bags (provided by the Parish Council) are still available from Higham Library.

Linda Carnall
Parish Clerk


 You are cordially invited to attend the



on THURSDAY, 14TH APRIL 2015 at 7.30pm


SRob Poole will give a talk entitled ‘Railway Curiosities: some of the more unusual aspects of railways’.




Have you ever wondered why we have had such a rapid turnover of ‘springer’ animals at our young children’s play site at the Recreation Ground? It is down to another ‘unsung hero’ of the village,
Barry Sutherland, a former Parish Councillor who, sadly, was unable to seek re-election last year due to poor health. Each of these new creations has been lovingly made by Barry with each new animal being different from the last. His latest creations ‘Spring Ram’ and ‘Spring Lamb’ have only just been installed for our youngsters to enjoy when disaster has again struck. Like so many times in the past these animals have been mindlessly vandalised and left broken on their springs and, as such, we have no option but to remove them on Health and Safety grounds. Your Parish Council has now taken the decision to protect the play equipment to the Recreation Ground by ensuring that it is covered by CCTV and will take all steps necessary to protect Parish property and seek recompense for any damage caused, as indeed we have done in the past. We would appeal to all Parishioners however, if you should witness damage being caused to any Parish property within the village, to contact the Clerk immediately to report this.

Did you know that the Parish Council has just launched a community page on Facebook as an additional way to keep you all in touch with what is going on in our village. At present there is a lot of information regarding the Lower Thames Crossing campaign but we will also be advertising details of our special celebrations in June and information about the Pavilion Project’s latest fund-raising ventures and how you can help. In fact, if you have any news you wish to share with the village please contact Cllr Sue Sparks on 01474 823906 who is co-ordinating this new venture for us.

Did you attend our Assembly in 2015? If not, make a note of this year’s date (14 April 2016) 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, 4 April


Thursday, 14 April


Monday, 9 May

Annual Parish Council Meeting.

Monday, 4 July


Monday, 5 September


Monday, 10 October


Monday, 21 November

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Monday, 28 November

Christmas meeting with the
Mayor of Gravesham.

Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.


Hard copies of the Agendas and Minutes of all our meetings are available within Higham Library, as well as on our web site, which is: www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

Dates for Parish Council meetings during 2016 are listed above. Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.


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






Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground


Precept 2014/2015


General Administration


Allotment Rents




Other Receipts


Miscellaneous Expenses


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


Grants received


Grants made


Lower Thames
Crossing Donations


2014 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 31.3.15 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 31st anniversary of the competition. The following prize-winners received their awards from Morton Grey, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting which was held on Monday, 14 September 2015.

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

June and Anthony Stevenson, 3 Hayes Close.

SECOND PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

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

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Janet and Max Batchelor, 6 Hayes Close.

HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

George Simmonds, 4 Carton Road.
Jeanette and Derek Miskin, 15 Steadman Close.

  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Evelyn and John Leach, 32 Telegraph Hill.

John Thornton, 26 Chilton Drive

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

Heather Golding and Trevor King, The Banks, Chequers Street.


Elizabeth Harradine, 6 St. Johns Road.

MOST COLOURFUL PUBLIC HOUSE WITHIN HIGHAM’ (Framed certificate) – Not awarded again this year.


First it was the airport! Then another airport! Now it is a tunnel or bridge! Is there no end to what we have to put up with? Surely the residents of Higham have had enough.

We all know of the proposals by Highways England to dig up this part of the County and turn it into a new road network. Shorne would be cut in half if Highways got their way. There would be vastly increased traffic though Higham. Highways have said at their consultations days that this is a done deal. And yet, both the Roads Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport have said openly and on the record that Option A (a new bridge at Dartford) is still an option and has not been discounted. It makes me wonder just what brief Highways was given by the Government.

I want to thank all of you for taking part in the recent consultation and to thank the members of the Parish Council and the residents who worked so hard to make our case. Whatever the result of the recent consultation the fight is not over and will go on until the final decision is made, whenever that might be. With the consultation ended we must continue by lobbying Ministers, putting our case again and again.

Gravesham Borough Council is unanimous in its condemnation of the proposed route. It is Kent County Council that is fully supportive of the scheme. I had thought that KCC was there to promote and protect all parts of Kent. I was wrong. It seems to me that KCC does not care what happens to this part of the County - and I speak as a former member of that Council! Paul Carter, the Leader of KCC, is actively supporting this desecration of our historic landscape. He has much to answer for. Our own KCC Councillor, Bryan Sweetland, honourably resigned from his Cabinet post so that he could fight the proposal. It is a sad day when our own County Council abandons us.

The fight goes on.

Harold Craske
Borough Councillor


Higham Parish Council rejects the proposal promoted by Highways England to build a new crossing of the Thames between Chalk and Higham, Gravesham, and the two proposals for link roads through the Parish of Shorne.

This Council affirms its opposition to the positioning of a new Lower Thames Crossing to the east of Gravesend, which would have significant detrimental impacts including threatening areas of outstanding natural beauty and several internationally significant nature Conservation Areas, thus threatening the bio-diversity that their very status seeks to protect. Moreover, the community in Higham and the whole of Gravesham would suffer air quality issues as congestion on local roads will be exacerbated as drivers seek to avoid problems elsewhere on the highway network. The Parish of Higham would experience significant increases in traffic through the village. This Council calls upon Highways England and the Government to reject Option C and investigate alternatives that will be less damaging and create fewer problems for communities.


The KALC serves Parish and Town Councils in Kent. The Gravesham Area Committee is represented by six Parish Councils including Cobham, Luddesdown, Shorne, Meopham, Vigo and Higham who each have two representatives.

At the latest meeting in November 2015 local and county-wide topics were discussed including the improvement of Broadband services in rural areas, the Lower Thames Crossing, Ebbsfleet Garden City and the proposed Paramount development.

John Grey


One of the big concerns the Parish Council and many Higham residents have about the Lower Thames Crossing Option C proposal is the strong emphasis KCC, Medway Council and the Government place on Business Growth and Housing Developments. This is a real threat to green belt land and the rural nature of the North Kent Communities.

One way of helping to manage these concerns is to develop a Parish Plan for Higham. A Parish Plan is a document that tackles the important issues that will influence our village in the future. The Parish Council is keen to get started on developing a Plan for Higham with your help - widespread and effective community involvement is an essential factor in developing a successful Plan.

The Higham Parish Plan will be used to make sure local concerns and characteristics are taken into account before any planning decisions are made. The Parish Plan will be fed into other plans and strategies so that our needs in Higham and the surrounding countryside can be more adequately considered.

Our Plan will be used as evidence to inform the Local Plan and to inform responses to planning applications.

The final Plan will identify key facilities and services, set out the problems that need to be tackled and show how distinctive character and features can be conserved. It will include an action plan for our village - regularly reviewed and updated - so not just a document to gather dust.

At the Parish Assembly on 14 April a short presentation will explain some more detail about how our Plan will be developed and how you can get involved. If you are unable to come along on the 14th but are interested in getting involved in the Parish Plan please contact Sue Sparks email sue3906@gmail.com or telephone 07480 518493.

Sue Sparks


A multitude of planning applications have again been received this past year of which the majority, I am pleased to report, have been successful and each application has been dealt with sympathetically on all sides. Gravesham Borough Council Planning Officers have attended most of my visits for their inspections which has saved the need for applicants to have two visits, thus speeding up the process especially if amendments have had to be made. There have been no major concerns on most applications, with the effect on neighbours and their concerns being taken into consideration to avoid potential problems to neighbours, green belt areas or to the village and residents as a whole.

Les Pearton


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).


If you should spot a street light not lit or a pothole developing in a road please report direct to Kent Highways on 03000 418181 or via their web site at www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/report-a-problem 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.


Thank you to the 428 residents who returned the Local Housing Survey, which has thrown up a need for more bungalows/maisonettes and one bedroom units. Thirteen of our older residents need this type of housing and would be willing to change and move from larger houses (but wish to stay in Higham).

The survey has found a need for up to 20 houses for local (Higham) people and the Borough Council is now looking for land in Higham for more older peoples units.

Are you aware of any spare land?

May I remind you that to qualify for housing in Higham you must register on Gravesham Borough Council Housing List. Even if you are already living in a Council property and want to change, you must register on the Housing List.

If you do know of any land that might be suitable, please let me know.

Pat Oakeshott


If enough people register, then Virgin will consider laying cables, which would make a huge difference to the Broadband connection speed available in Higham. For more information, please go to:


Thank you.

Amanda Mendzil


As far as I know all the paths and bridleways are clear. There were a few obstructions on one footpath but that has been dealt with by KCC. It is nice to see walkers and riders using all the lovely rights of ways we have in Higham.

Anne Waugh


After a long winter, the gardening enthusiasts amongst us look forward to the new growing season and accompanying challenges. Most of our allotments show evidence of the enthusiasm and hard work that has been invested in them, in some cases over very many years.

Although we have allotments waiting for those who wish to rent a plot at the present time, I would like to give my usual plea to those finding it difficult to cultivate their plots to contact the Parish Council to enable
re-allocating of allotments. An uncultivated area affects the neighbouring plots with weeds and pests and can be heart-breaking to individuals that have worked so hard to grow their own produce.

Should you wish to return your rented allotment to the Council, please contact the Parish Clerk. The cost of an allotment plot remains at £25 per annum with water available on site during the growing season.

Happy Gardening.

Alan Howard


The Trust’s funds earned no interest in 2015 and, accordingly, no distribution was made. The Trustees remain unchanged and will meet during 2016 to consider how best to use the remaining money.

Les Baker,


(managed within HIGHAM YOUTH CLUB)

2015 was a busy year for the team managing the ‘Pavilion Project’.

We hope that the news has spread about what we are trying to achieve with this project. By taking the sublease of the Pavilion we were able to secure the Recreation Ground and Sports Courts. However, the Pavilion was in a very poor state and we have been busy raising funds to renovate it. Works have included significant roofing repairs, a full rewire of electrics, installing a fire alarm and emergency lighting system, new ceilings and we also hope to slightly change the internal layout to make the building fit for purpose and fully accessible. We had to decontaminate the building and clear the contents left in the building and grounds.

So many Villagers have supported us and we are extremely grateful for all donations of money, equipment, raffle prizes, and time. We also thank everyone who has supported the events we have run to raise funds. Events have included a Quiz Night, Race Night, plus a kind villager donated profits made from a Magic Show and Comedy Hypnotist Night.

With the fund-raising events, kind donations, and grants secured we have raised over £23,000 (at the time of writing) against a target of £30,000.

Once up and running our vision is to provide an additional community hub providing activities, events and clubs for young people and the wider community. There are already many wonderful clubs and activities in Higham and we wish to add to these. We want to provide something for everyone, and we want to turn the Pavilion into a bright, warm and welcoming place for people of all ages to enjoy time.

We have many ideas but also welcome input and ideas from other community members. The building is for the village and community. We welcome anyone who wishes to join our team.

We are so pleased we were able to secure the Recreation Ground and Sports Courts for the community, and we hope everyone will enjoy time in the Pavilion once it is fully renovated and open.


The Pavilion Team (managed within Higham Youth Club):

Website: www.highamyouthandcommunity.co.uk
E-mail: highamyouthclub@hotmail.co.uk
Telephone: 07817 746097

photo above - Work progressing at The Pavilion

If you would like to be involved, or make a donation to help us please do make contact.

Thank you.

Joanne Raff
Leader, Higham Youth Club


During the school summer holidays there was a break-in at the hall meaning we had to have new doors fitted to the main entrance at the front and to the side door from the kitchen. These now look rather posh and of course make the hall far more secure. Apart from this cost, the on-going maintenance costs have gone through the proverbial roof, which is one of the reasons that have led to the readjustment in the letting fees. The trouble is as the hall gets older so it costs more to maintain!

The hall still gets lots of use from various groups. We are in the process of purchasing more plastic chairs to replace the rather short ones (more money!). Our main fund-raiser for the hall is the regular Boot Fairs held on the second Sunday of each month October through to and including May. We are currently trying to recruit a handyman to do the smaller maintenance jobs, so if anyone in the villages fancies becoming the hall handyman can they please contact me via the hall web site (see below).

As Chairman I would like to extend my appreciation to the very small group of volunteers who put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the hall is well maintained and is, therefore, able to remain open.

Keith Bradley

Website: www.highammemorialhall.btck.co.uk

WEBMASTER’S REPORT - 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 events and celebrations are also there for you to see. Other information includes: Lower Thames Crossing Option C, Higham Neighbourhood Forum, Higham Youth Club, local Police Contact Point dates and much, much more.

Any village group or society is welcome to publish important information for the community. Please contact Linda Carnall, Parish Clerk on 01474 822642 or e-mail enquiries@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk.

Clive Stanley


Well! Our 4th Christmas Market exceeded all expectations, on a number of levels:

• We raised an all-time record £300 which was split between ‘The Kent Air Ambulance’ and the ‘EllenorLions Hospice’.

• It was one of the warmest days ever in December.

• We sold more cakes, gifts and Christmas decorations than ever before.

• But we sold less Hot Mulled Wine than before!!??


We hope the less Mulled Wine was due to the exceptional warm weather rather than a desire by Higham residents to become teetotal!!

Joking aside, we were very grateful to all who came to the market and to all the generous residents and businesses who donated a grand total of 20 prizes to the grand draw. We would not have been able to run the market without the generous sponsorship of all the shops in School Lane and Forge Lane with special thanks to The Knowle Restaurant and the Gardeners Public House for providing the top prizes for the Grand Draw.

We will be running our 5th Christmas Market on Friday, 16 December 2016 and would like to invite villagers to join us either as visitors or to help run stalls and make the market bigger and have more variety.

Our final thanks must go to Jackie, Eileen, Nina and the others girls in the Chemist for their marvellous cakes and small gifts; Kate from Oven Bake for the Mulled Wine and Linda in the Village Greengrocers for a continuous supply of tea and coffee and comfort break facilities!


For more details, or to volunteer to help, please contact Peter Allinson on 01474 823806.

Peter Allinson and Nigel Gillett


Highcliffe Medical Practice has continued to support the needs of its patients in 2015.

The Flu vaccination programme in 2015 has been very successful. Patients took advantage of weekend clinics to receive vaccinations in both surgeries and nearly 1,400 patients received their vaccination in time for the winter season.

The senior doctors remain unchanged at the practice however there has been the usual changes that we see each year with our GP Registrars. Dr Nasir, Dr Gananathan, and Dr Smith are currently with the practice and are in their last year of GP training before qualifying and joining GP surgeries of their own.

The nursing team lead by Caron Waters has also remained unchanged this year. Our nurses, assistant practitioner and healthcare assistant have been busy training up on the various skills necessary to provide services you would expect to have at your surgery such as vaccinations, women’s health checks and ear syringes, etc.

Our Patient Participation Group remains well attended and supported by dedicated willing volunteers. David Pankhurst continues to chair the group and with the support of other members the group assist the practice in providing vital feedback on services and future practice plans.

ln terms of future plans:

• The practice is looking forward to support the local universities in 2016 by allowing student nurses to shadow some of the nursing team as part of their training.

• The practice is taking the opportunity to employ a part time Clinical Pharmacist to assist in streamlining prescription processes and help carry out medication reviews for complex patients.
• The practice will be expanding the existing online access facilities of booking appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions to accessing some elements of your medical information such as medications and allergies.


Finally, it has been a very busy year for Highcliffe Medical Practice, our staff remain dedicated, committed and ready for the challenges the new year may bring and, as always, we wish all of our patients a healthy 2016.

Kevin Creasey,

Practice Manager


Your Parish Council has been asked to organise a club for residents who feel they would enjoy contact with others. If you, or any friends, are interested please let us know. It would have to be Thursday afternoons, probably in the Library.

Pat Oakeshott

01474 822771


The Department of Work and Pensions is looking at changing aspects of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), the benefit that helps blind and partially sighted people meet the extra costs of having a disability. Help us campaign to protect PIP by writing to your MP today. Find out more at www.rnib.org.uk/protectPIP

Amanda Mendzil


This group meets at the Memorial Hall every Friday morning at 11am for one hour. No need to book just pay as you go. Cost is £6 per session. For further information, contact Rebecca Grumbridge on 07968 482762.

Rebecca Grumbridge


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

The library is regularly a hub of activity. The Children’s Centre use the library space fortnightly on Tuesday mornings when the library is closed for their own ‘Stay & Play’ sessions.

Our regular Wednesday morning Talktime group meet at 10.30am; the group is thriving with some meetings having over 30 people attend on a weekly basis. They, once again, held a very successful coffee morning in aid of MacMillan and raised over £300 for the charity.

Our lively and friendly Rhyme Time session for parents and grandparents with babies and toddlers is led by our volunteer mums on Friday mornings during school term time at 9.30am.

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 enjoy reading, come along and join them.

Throughout the year we organise events around a calendar of reading dates, one of our main events is the children’s Summer Reading Challenge. Last year’s theme was World Record Breakers, this captured the children’s imagination and in Higham we had 43 children join the scheme over the summer holidays, of these children 56% finished the challenge by reading their six books. We held a special Circus Skills Day at the Library where many children came along to try new skills and see if they could break any new world records! 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 and come along and join in with our fun days!

New to Higham Library is our volunteer run Homework Club. The club runs on Thursday afternoons from 4pm during school term time.

We have free access to computers within the library, for those of you looking to improve your skills or learn the basics or you can look at ouron-line resources including information on health, local and family history and a great deal more.

We offer a free Home Library Service to people unable to visit the library because of ill health, disability or caring responsibilities. Volunteers deliver books and other library items to the individual’s home.

Many of our groups and activities run so successfully due to the commitment we receive from our volunteers. If you have some spare time on your hands and are interested in becoming a volunteer Time2Give offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities in Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives.

If you are interested in any of the groups or activities that have been mentioned, please contact the staff at Higham Library on 03000 413131.

Nicola Tubbs
Customer Service Development Librarian


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 you 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

Part of the community for almost 200 years

199 years ago this year a few Christians from the Medway towns were moved by the Spirit of the Lord to begin meeting in Higham. God blessed their endeavours and, after four years in May 1821, they were able to build the first wooden structured church to gather in. In 1890 the building we now meet in was erected and stands as a witness of God’s faithfulness over all those years. Much has changed since they first came but the Word of God is unchanging.

‘the word of the Lord endureth for ever’.

Every Sunday we proclaim the same good news that those early pioneers brought to Higham. With so much bad news these days you would be very welcome to join us at 11am on Sundays as we preach the good news that God loves you.

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.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the
world through him might be saved.

Our coffee mornings have proved to be popular and in the past year several charities have benefited to a sum in excess of £1,290. They included the Hospice, Marie Curie Foundation, Medway Breast Cancer Appeal and Great Ormond Street. In 2016 we shall, as the Lord enables, continue with this important work. Why not come along and meet the neighbours on one or all of the following dates.

30 April // 28 May // 25 June // 30 July // 27 August // 1 October

We are here for the residents of Higham and again invite you to visit us at 11am on Sundays. On the 11 November we invite you to join with us as we, with the nation, remember those who have given their lives so that we may freely worship our God without let or hindrance.

Peter Relf,


Contact Peter on 01474 322195


2015 proved to be another successful year for The Friends of St Mary’s and we thank you all for your continued support. Our events calendar began in June with a Walk, Talk and Tea Party with The Reverend Prebendary, Andrew Davis, on the Priory, the Church and their surroundings. A well-attended and very interesting talk which was a joint event with Higham Village History Group.

27 June saw a performance of ‘Starta Magna Carta Thearta’ by the Committee of the Friends of St Mary’s, The Higham Village History Group and friends. This was to celebrate the 800-year anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta and was written by renowned artist Graham Clarke, who also designed and built the scenery and props as well as making a guest appearance. This well attended event included plenty of audience participation which everyone enjoyed. July saw ‘Art in the Church’, which was run as part of Medway Open Studios. Local artists exhibited in a variety of mediums: art, craft, music and film and themed their work to reflect the local area of St Mary’s Church, the marshes and the river. We were lucky to have so many artists be inspired by our beautiful countryside and submit work for our steady stream of visitors to enjoy. September saw the return of our highly successful Jazz night with The Dave Bowdler Trio and New York vocalist Lesley Alexander playing a mix of swing, jazz and blues, as usual this was a sell-out evening and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

As well as events run by The Friends of St Mary’s, St Mary’s also saw the Higham Choral Group’s summer concert in July and art workshops.

We have lots of exciting events planned for 2016 including a murder mystery night, an afternoon tea dance, a vintage and collectables fair, as well as the return of our jazz night and a talk, we look forward to seeing you.

Katie Lee

Website: www.stmaryschurchhigham.com


Open every day to all, just to sit, pray, or ‘be’ (all under the CCTV!) and acts of worship continue to be offered each morning and evening.

We are very grateful to all who contributed to the ‘gift day’ in October which raised £4,470 towards our North Aisle roof repairs. We have raised approximately £20,000 and repairs will begin Spring 2016. Also, a thank you to all who supported the second Carol service which may become a regular feature. Thanks also to many people who do so many various tasks for us, without publicity, and so cheerfully.

Annual charity lunches are held on Saturdays in Lent and hundreds of pounds sent to Christian Aid. We also raise funds for local charities and also international disasters during the year as called upon. We take gifts for Gravesham foodbank every last weekend of the month. Pop your gift in the big plastic box inside Church – under the CCTV!!

Our ‘Coffee & Conversation’ (1st Saturday monthly) is for anyone and is purely a social gathering for those who are alone or need a break from caring; and its free! A family fun day was held late Summer and this annual event seems to be appreciated by villagers and Church members.

Each 3rd Saturday of the month there is special intercession for the village in particular; and the world and church in general. You can leave any requests for any reason or person in the black box (just inside the Church).

On Sunday mornings there are those (police checked) who teach Junior Church. Children can be dropped off but only by arrangement. There is a special space for buggies and prams which has good use - even at funerals! A monthly Sunday evening group for teens & twenties has started and we hope to develop this.

Last Easter the Bishop of Rochester transferred us to the episcopal care of the Bishop of Richborough who was with us in December for St John’s Day.

We have use of St Mary’s Church for four services a year. Mothering Sunday is at 5pm and on the first Sunday of October at 10am. Two other services are planned during the summer. Details of these, other events or worship, can be found by:

E-mail: saintjohn.higham@yahoo.co.uk
Telephone: 01634 717360
Website: www.highamparishchurch.org.uk which has links to Facebook and Twitter.

The Revd. Canon James Southward (Fr. James)
Vicar of the Ecclesiastical (not Civil) Parish of Higham with Merston


Over the past year our Luncheon Club has continued to provide excellent lunches for our members despite real problems due to operating with the bare minimum of cooks. Our sincere thanks therefore go to all who have stepped in to keep us afloat and the same applies to our drivers and hostesses. We have three new hostesses who are now a welcome part of our team.

During the year, in addition to the support from our Parish Council and other friends, we were particularly touched to receive a generous donation raised by St. John’s Church. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH.

I have to conclude with my usual plea for volunteers to keep our club running. We are particularly short of cooks to help in the kitchen. Also, we have had a shortage of drivers which means at present we are only able to open fortnightly. So if there is anybody who can give a little of their time to help us please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on 01474 822453. PLEASE HELP: it is only once a month!

Barbara West


This group meets in the Memorial Hall on a Thursday morning between
9 and 11.30am and is for babes in arms and pre-school children. Babes in arms are free of charge, under one’s are £1.50 and over one’s £3 per session.

For further details, contact Sarah Martin on 07727 174079 or visit their Facebook page.

Sarah Martin


Sure Start’s Stay and Play scheme meets at Higham Library fortnightly on a 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. Guest speakers are arranged on a regular basis. For more details, please contact The Riverside Children’s Centre on 01474 535301.


2015 saw some significant developments for Higham Primary School. The new curriculum which was introduced in September 2014 is now fully embedded, and good systems are in place which gives evidence of pupils learning and progress. Results rose last year, with almost all pupils attaining the required level at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2, and large numbers making better than expected progress.

The school grounds were developed significantly, with the help of some funding from the PTA and a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. A ‘tyre park’ and climbing wall were installed along with safety surfacing, there are new playground markings and a number of items of permanent play equipment, all of which give the pupils much more opportunity for active play. As well as this our outdoor science area has been further developed so that pupils can study a range of habitats, monitor weather, and grow and study plants.

Music is a real strength of the school: an external body monitored our music provision and judged it to be very high quality, so that we now share our good practice with other schools. Last year saw the introduction of ukulele tuition for all our Year 5 & 6 pupils. We have a number of very popular music clubs which run before school, with uptake higher than ever, and pupils in our recorder group and choir performed to packed audiences at the Woodville Halls.

Once again pupils in Year 5 enjoyed taking part in Venture Week at PGL in East Sussex, and pupils in other year groups took part in a number of activities including special workshops - our Year 1 and 2 pupils were thrilled to be visited by a Knight in Shining Armour as part of their Fairytale topic! Classes visited Wildwood, Arethusa, the Museum of Kent Life, Horton Kirby, and the whole school had an inspiring visit from an Olympic athlete.

Our older children showed great maturity by taking on responsible roles such a Play Leaders, House Captains, Librarians and Playtime Buddies. They raised a fantastic amount of money during a highly successful Enterprise week. They showed they had considerable skills including the ability to communicate effectively, plan, solve problems and work well with others, and that they have excellent budgeting and marketing skills. They have moved on to secondary school as well-rounded young people, fully equipped to continue their learning journey.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff, governors, parents and pupils who have worked so hard to help make 2015 such a successful year, and I look forward to all that 2016 has to bring.

Mrs T Coombs
Head Teacher


The Senior Leadership Team at Higham School has worked tirelessly along with class teachers and teaching assistants to ensure that the children at Higham have the best possible learning experiences.

It has not been an easy transition but with regular reviewing and progress reports to the Governing Body we are very confident that the children are making better progress compared with the other primary/junior schools in the local cluster group and nationally. The first formal Key Stage 1 and 2 tests under the new National Curriculum will be undertaken by the children in Years 2 and 6 this coming Spring.

Our teachers are often invited to other schools in the local cluster group to offer their expertise and guidance in tackling the challenges of the new National Curriculum.

The Senior Leadership Team formulated a School Improvement Plan after the last Ofsted Inspection in 2013, the Governors role is to monitor progress of all pupil cohorts against that plan, particularly those groups with special educational needs, to ensure that the highest standards possible are achieved and maintained by all pupils.

The free school meals programme for all infant aged pupils has been a big success due to excellent planning and implementation. More children eat a hot lunchtime meal at Higham School than ever before.

As Chair of Governors I am immensely proud of what the school offers the children of Higham in terms of the teaching experience, facilities and extra-curricular activities including representation at community events at the Woodville Halls. But I am even more proud of the polite, well behaved and well-rounded children that are a credit to the school and village.

I would like to thank all of the Governors for their time and dedication, given voluntarily, for the benefit of the staff and children at Higham School.

Brian Maynard,

Chair of Governors


Happy New Year to you all!

The Higham Primary School PTA has enjoyed another busy year, not only running our multitude of annual events but welcoming a number of new members to our team, with some even taking on the key roles of Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer. The organisation continues to go from strength to strength, buoyed up by the fresh ideas and enthusiasm of our new members.

We were delighted with the success of our Christmas Market and Fayre which was every bit the winter wonderland we had planned, with real reindeer, a magical Santa’s grotto and a host of gorgeous private stalls for Christmas shopping. This was the first time that we have attempted an event on this scale and we were delighted that it was so well supported by parents and villagers alike. We not only tripled our takings from previous years but we put Higham Christmas Market and Fayre on the map as a not-to-be-missed annual event.

2016 is another busy year for us. In addition to our regular school discos and film nights for the school children, we are holding a Quiz Night in the Memorial Hall on Saturday, 7 May and Picnic in the Park on 2 July – everyone is welcome. You will start to see posters around the village and on-line marketing of these events, but if you have any questions in the meantime please get in touch.

Our whole focus going forward is to bring the School and the Community together, showcasing our lovely village and creating special memories for us all. If you would like more information on our upcoming events, would like to volunteer to help or would like to know about sponsorship opportunities for local businesses, we would love to hear from you. Please e-mail secretaryhighampta@gmail.com or call 01474 823438.

Nova Molloy
Higham PTA Chair


Education is one of those industries about which everyone has an opinion. Everyone went to school once and, therefore, they know all about teaching. It can’t be that difficult – can it? Ultimately, what really matters is what does the child think? Are they happy at school? Are they making steady, recognisable progress in their academic subjects? Are they developing into a mature, reliable, confident young adult? If they are - then hallelujah! School works!

There is a tendency for adults to overly worry about their children. I s that is what we do as parents. But there are so many variables in a child’s life that whatever plans parents have for their child they are almost certainly going to go awry. In children’s lives there are so many opportunities for change or which can disrupt the best intended plans that there is little point, unless you want to get really, really, stressed, in trying to control and micro-manage a child’s education. Whatever you plan for your children – they, and the world around them will have other ideas!

Our Head of Seniors, Mr Savage, set our senior children a project. He asked them to come up with some thought provoking ideas about life. The result was a wonderful collection of inspiring quotes some of which are displayed below. These are not from great statesmen, or politicians, or broadcasters (perhaps they will be one day!). They are from a collection of teenage children whose learning comes not just from sitting at a desk, but from the opportunity to learn at first hand from the world around them:

• ‘Life’s so important that it’s important to live the life you love and not the life you will regret’.
• ‘No-one achieves greatness first-time round, but when they finally do, they believe in themselves and continue until the very end, until they completed what they wanted to do, what they wanted to achieve’.
• ‘Don’t be a follower, be confident in your own decisions’.

I am incredibly proud that our children can be so profound, show such foresight and maturity.

David Craggs,



I would like to use this newsletter as an opportunity to make you aware of some burglary reports in our community and some crime prevention advice to help reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

Between 1 January and the end of February we received seven burglary reports in Higham. Two of these targeted homes and the remaining five either happened at commercial premises or outbuildings. There have also been two reports of attempted burglaries. If anyone has any information on these please call our appeals line on 01474 366149.

This type of crime often leaves victims feeling uncomfortable in their own homes – something that no one should ever have to feel. Local policing officers will continue to work hard to identify offenders but I would also encourage you to take measures to help protect your property:

• If you are out of your home ensure all windows and doors are shut and locked, even if you are just in the garden.

• If you haven’t got one already, consider installing an alarm or security lights as they act as a deterrent.

• Keep valuable items and keys out of sight and away from windows and doors.

• Security mark your valuables. This makes them less desirable to thieves and can help us trace items back to you if they are recovered. Alternatively, register your valuables on immobilise.com. This is a national property database.

• Record the serial numbers of your property, as well as your mobile phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) number, the unique reference number given to all phones. On most handsets you can get this by typing *#06#

I, along with other local policing officers, hold a number of public meetings in the area to give you a chance to discuss any policing concernsyou may have. However, if you are unable to attend these meetings but would like to speak with me please do not hesitate to call 101 or e-mail csu.gravesham@kent.pnn.police.uk

PCSO Sharon Balman,
Police Community Support Officer


Higham Neighbourhood Forum meets quarterly generally on the second 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 or make any suggestions for our village. Kent Police will also come to these meetings whenever possible.

The Forum also runs Speed, which is one of several schemes which monitors traffic speeds throughout Kent. Although no drivers are prosecuted persistent offenders do receive a letter from the Police reminding them of the dangers of speeding. They may also carry out their own checks in areas where there have been a high number of speeding vehicles reported.

For more information, telephone 07815 721966 or visit our website: www.spanglefish.com/highamneighbourhoodforum.

Peter Leakey,







In 2015 the attendance at the monthly Afternoon Tea/Community Surgery held in the Library on the last Thursday of the month between 2.30 and 4pm has continued to be disappointing. However, putting a positive slant on this it could mean that generally speaking the residents of Higham are happy with what is happening within their village. I have been joined at the Surgery by one of your local Gravesham councillors, Harold Craske. It is hoped that this will continue into 2016, 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 Friday, 22 May, in conjunction with Higham Beavers, we held a litter pick on the Recreation Ground which was enjoyed by all and also enabled us to collect many bags of litter.

Speeding through Higham continues to be a problem and I have helped out with a number of Speed Watch sessions run by your local Higham Neighbourhood Forum. This is a scheme which does help deter speeding motorists but can only continue to be successful if volunteers are available. If you have a spare hour once every month or every six weeks, please contact me regarding helping out with this worthwhile scheme.

We continue to be on standby as part of Emergency Response for flooding and any other unforeseen emergency incidents.

During the first week of December I was present in the Christmas Community Safety Shop, organised by Gravesham Community Safety Unit, which was held in the St. George’s Centre, Gravesend. It was good to see a number of Higham residents at this event and chat to them about Personal and Home security.

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

ln 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 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


We started off in September with a Church display to celebrate ‘Harvest’, which our girls attended.

Badges we have worked for and earned since September 2015:

• ‘The Longest Reigning British Monarch’.
• Growing up wild ‘Bird’ badge.
• Growing up wild ‘In an Emergency’ badge.
• Growing up wild ‘Outdoor homes’ badge.

Events that have taken place:

• The Rainbows gave a good performance at the Carol Concert to the elderly at ‘Merston Court’.
• Christmas party with Santa in attendance.

Events to come:

• Bowling night.
• Visit to Sainsbury’s.
• Roller skating and swimming day.

If any girl aged between five and seven years wishes to join us at 1st Higham Rainbows, St John’s Church Hall, on a Monday 5 to 6pm, please feel free to contact me:

E-mail: firsthigham_rainbows@hotmail.com
Telephone: 07818 695718

Deborah Williams
Rainbows Leader


Higham Brownies have had another busy year. We currently have 30 Brownies and two leaders.

The girls have enjoyed a varied year of activities. We took ten girls away to Kingswood Activity Centre in Ashford, where they tried the Giant 3g Swing, abseiling, indoor wall climbing, team building games and many other fun activities. As always, the girls were very well behaved and a credit to our group.

Every year we choose a charity or organisation to raise funds for. This year we chose the Higham Pavilion Project.

The girls put on a show for their parents and served them with refreshments. They also took part in a sponsored walk around the Higham School Field and we are very proud to say that the girls raised £214.55 for this worthy cause.

In March Tawny Owl (Sharon) was lucky enough to be one of the small number of Guiding Leaders to help at the Commonwealth Day Observance Service at Westminster Abbey. This is an annual service that is attended by many members of the Royal Family and Commonwealth Commissioners. She assisted by showing VIPs to their seats and welcoming guests before enjoying the service herself.

Before the summer holidays we had a visit from the RNLI who spoke to the girls about beach and water safety. We have had a joint games night with Shorne Cubs at Jeskyns Park which was a lot of fun. The girls also had an evening celebrating Queen Elizabeth becoming the longest reigning monarch where they received a special badge for the occasion.

As we only have two adult leaders for such a big pack we would not be able to run Brownies without the support of the parents every week, who we would like to thank for their help.

We would also like to thank our Young Leaders Laura, Jasmine and Charlotte who help every week and also to Mollie who volunteered last year for her Duke of Edinburgh Award. These young women are fantastic role models for our Brownies and we are extremely grateful for their help each week.

If you would like your daughter to join us then please visit www.girlguiding.org.uk/interested and register her details or, alternatively, e-mail us at 2ndhighambrownies@gmail.com.

Sharon Maynard and Krissi Higgins
Tawny Owl and Sooty Owl


Higham Scout Group continued to flourish in 2015. We have a membership of approximately 60 young people and 12 adults who give up their time voluntarily. Together we have enjoyed gaining new skills, camping, hiking and having fun. We celebrated Christmas by taking part in the District Christingle Service and jumping with the Kangaroo Hoppers.

Beavers have participated in lots of badge activities and in District events, a Kings and Queens Day and the Christmas party at Hopehill. This term we are focusing on My Skills Challenge, incorporating creative craft, food and drink, games and exercises and problem solving activities.

Cubs have an exciting year in 2016, celebrating 100 years of Cub Scouts. Celebrations will include parties, the District Cub Camp and trips to Chatham Dockyard and Howletts Zoo where Cubs are taking over! Alongside this Cubs are working on the My Skills Challenge incorporating the Human Body and the My World Challenge when we are hoping for good weather as lots of outdoor activities are planned.

Scouts continue to develop their skills, working as part of a team, leadership skills, making bivouac camps and entering District Competitions. Summer camp was in Derbyshire this year with a two-day visit to Alton Towers. This year we are staying closer to home on the south coast.

We also have whole group activities. In July our end of year Family BBQ and Games was attended by nearly 100 people. Our Annual Hike took place in September where we walked across the marshes to Shorne Fort and had a lovely cook up on the river side.

If you like the sound of what we do come and join us, either as a young person or an adult helper. There is a waiting list for Beavers and Cubs but Scouts have vacancies.

Our meeting times are:

Scout Group



Beaver Scouts

Friday: 5.30-6.30pm

Andrea Jarman: 01474 822192

Cub Scouts

Friday: 6.30-8pm

Andrea Jarman: 01474 822192


Friday: 8-9.45pm

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 or csh_55@hotmail.com.

Carolyn Shulver,

Group Scout Leader


2015 again saw the youth club growing from strength to strength. It was also an exciting year launching and managing the ‘Pavilion Project’.

The atmosphere continues to be 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 usually hire the outside courts near the recreation ground to give the young people additional outside space for sports and activities and we run ad-hoc activities such as crafts, cake decorating, hair and beauty plus more.

Our only aim at youth club is for the young people to come along, have fun with their friends in a safe environment, and go home happy!

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

We had an unannounced inspection by our affiliated body in the Autumn. We received the report following the visit (which was a surprise as we didn’t realise a full inspection was taking place. We thought the officer had just visited to carry out some DBS checks and renewals). The report included the following comments: ‘I was met in the car park and shown into the hall which was really nice. It made me feel really welcome right from the start. Higham is an extremely busy well attended youth club. It is exceptionally well run. There were several helpers and young leaders. There were several activities on offer including sport, games, craft and the young people also had the supervised use of the games courts outside to play football. There were no concerns noted and no points requiring action.’

This really demonstrated how this fantastic team of helpers (adult and young leaders) make the youth club possible and give the young people of the village such a friendly, happy and welcoming place to chill out with their friends. THANK YOU to the team. We couldn’t run without them and they freely give up their time for the benefit of the young people, but they also enjoy themselves just as much as the young people! They are so valued.

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 e-mail 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


The multi-purpose courts have had continual use during 2015, with the Youth Club having use of them on Wednesday evenings for five-a-side football.

The tennis courts are used quite frequently in the spring and summer months.

A reminder to anyone wishing to hire the courts: keys can be obtained from the Village Greengrocers at a very reasonable price of £3 per group of children and £5 per group of adults for one hour. A deposit of £5 is required for the key which is refunded when the key is returned to the greengrocers.

Changing rooms electrics and plumbing are all now in working order.

We do need more volunteers to come on to the committee as our numbers have dwindled over the last few years, if anyone is interested please contact me on 01474 822607.

Pat Jeal


Playball has been running pre-school football coaching sessions at Higham Memorial Hall since February 2004, for boys and girls aged between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years. The football sessions do not only teach children basic football skills but also teach co-ordination, patience, balance and improve listening skills. All of this gives children a head start in to football and sport when reaching school age.

If you would like more information, log on to www.playballfootballacademy.co.uk or, alternatively, telephone me on 01634 311481 or mobile 07762 338478. My e-mail address is neil.stephens21@blueyonder.co.uk

Neil Stephens


Eagles Football Club is now in its 37th season and we have 10 teams running this season from under 9s to under 18s. The younger teams U/9 to U/14 are in the North Kent Youth Football League and U/13s to U/18s in Medway Messenger Youth League. We also have U/7s and U/8s training who will be entering in leagues next season.

All of our teams are managed by FA Level 1 Qualified coaches. We are a FA Chartered Standard Club, ensuring we meet the coaching, first aid, child protection and organisation standards required by the FA.

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.

We have a number of club events throughout the year to bring all 10 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 interested, please contact Pat Jeal on the number below or use the ‘contact us’ facility on our club website: www.highameagles.co.uk.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the local businesses who have so kindly sponsored us.

Pat Jeal

Telephone: 01474 822607


A Tai Chi group now meets in the Vestry Hall, St John’s Church 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


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 each Saturday and Sunday, and play matches between the end of April and the last weekend of September. We play in the Kent Regional Cricket League on Saturdays (18 games) and the Kent Village Cricket League on Sundays (12 games) and will have friendlies on non-League dates. We also run junior sides covering school year groups 3-12 at present, competent older junior players are also able to play in the adult sides, subject to ability.

We would welcome new male and female players across all age groups regardless of previous experience, as our ability levels across the club are truly mixed.

Adult & School Year 11+ Nets take place on Sundays between 5.30 and 6.30pm and Junior Nets take place on Tuesdays between 7 and 8pm from Tuesday, 1 March until mid-April.

The venue will be Chadlington Hall, Kings School, Lockington Grove, Rochester ME1 1RH. Cost: £4 Adults and £2 Juniors and Concessions.

For juniors once the weather improves, we will have midweek evening practice sessions at our Ground, from mid-April to end of school summer term, which are free of charge. Adult sessions are arranged ad hoc by members, subject to the weather.

For more details about your local cricket club please contact:

Richard Hawkins
Club Captain

07738 189559


Phil Jack


07837 594158


Richard Hawkins,

Club Captain


It has been an interesting year for our Club. A venue which we had used for a number of years, the Primary School at Higham, was no longer cost-effective and it was decided to amicably part company. Alternative accommodation was found at Higham Memorial Hall, where we currently reside, our bowling night changing from Wednesdays to Monday evenings without too much disruption. Since being at the Memorial Hall our membership has increased enabling us to provide a third mat.

We applied for a grant through Gravesham Council and were awarded £600. This money went towards a three mat storage rack. This now benefits us all.

The Club continues to thrive and prosper and looks forward to a bright future. At the moment we are looking to increase our membership so anyone wishing to join us do come along on a Monday evening. We play between 8 and 10pm.

Gerry Davies


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


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 Adult classes are held on Thursday evenings at Cliffe Woods Primary School. 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 2015 we held our show at Gad’s Hill School which was a great success. Senior student Ella Macfarlane had a great year firstly performing with the English Youth Ballet and at Christmas performing in pantomime.

We currently have spaces in all our classes, so if you would like some information about any of the classes we offer then please do not hesitate to contact me on home 01634 220766, mobile: 07813 050493 or e-mail cbuckley046@gmail.com. We can also be found on FACEBOOK.

Claire Buckley


The year started with an enjoyable delayed Christmas meal. Members attended the Annual Council and district meetings as well as supporting various events and quiz evenings. We supported our Church’s Flower Festival and an arrangement was done by one of our members. Two ladies were privileged to attend the WI Royal Garden Party, three others enjoyed the golf taster day and we celebrated the 100 years with a cake decorated by one of our members plus other refreshments. A themed Edwardian evening was great, with ladies dressed for the occasion plus wine and food. Art and craft is popular, drama continues to provide good entertainment with a few members attending a behind the scenes tour of the Orchard Theatre. Fifteen ladies had a day out on the buses going to Stratford and the Olympic Park. Our Home Economics competition is well-supported and we finished the year with a mulled wine and mince pie morning to raise funds.

Pat Merrison


2015 was the 25th Anniversary of Richard Shackleton being our Musical Director and all of our concerts took place in Higham. We started the year with a concert in St John’s Church where we performed John Rutter’s ‘Requiem’, along with a selection of other pieces. In July, as in previous years, we held our Concert in St Mary’s Church, Lower Higham. It was at this concert that we celebrated Richard’s 25 years as our conductor. Richard chose a programme to include music that has meant something to him over the years. We were joined by past members of the group including Dr Colin Smith, who I am sure a lot of residents of Higham will remember. The church was full and everyone enjoyed the varied programme. Our Christmas concert, held in St John’s Church, included excerpts from Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and ‘Candles and Crowns’ by C. Norton, along with the usual mixture of carols and lighter Christmas music. In May, many members visited Silsoe in Bedfordshire for the weekend, where we had a very successful concert in the local church.

Our concerts for 2016:

19 March


Fordcombe, Penshurst. 

We will be joined by the local school.

16 July

Summer Concert

St Mary’s Church, Lower Higham.

17 December

Christmas Concert

St John’s Church, Higham.

Our tour this year will be at Taunton, Devon.

We are a choir of about 30. For more information, please contact the secretary, Mary Davis:

Telephone: 01634 718818
E-mail: mary.davis59@btinternet.com
Website: www.highamchoral.org.uk

Mary Davis


Our Village Club is over 100 years old 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 many members and their families throughout the year. Your continued support is very paramount in this economic climate which continues to see clubs and pubs closing at an alarming rate as we have seen in our own Village. Do not forget Club prices are normally a few pence cheaper than other like establishments. We regularly have entertainment and special events throughout the year and our main hall and 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 starting at 2pm in the afternoon, along with special themed nights organised by the Entertainment Committee where we bring in entertainers for everyone’s enjoyment. All events are on our web site and also posted on Facebook.

We welcome Slimming World to the Club on Thursday evenings and our darts teams meet on a Monday and Tuesday night also. The Club boasts a full size snooker table and now has an active team in the Gravesend League, as well as a 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 our Steward and staff and the Committee are grateful for the continued support we get from our members. If you have never been inside the Club come and see us and take a look. Membership is now open. Alternatively, check out our web site www.highamvillageclub.co.uk or telephone 01474 822456 or e-mail highamvillageclub@aol.co.uk.

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

Mark Gray
Secretary on behalf of the Management Committee


Our bi-monthly meetings at the Memorial Hall were all very well attended and we were lucky with the excellent quality of the speakers. Topics included the Jewish community in Medway, the Kent Firefighting Museum, a history of mills and milling and Ordnance Survey ancient and modern. In June there was a ‘walk and talk’ in Lower Higham with Andrew Davis who told us about the Priory, St. Mary’s Church and the surrounding area. On a beautiful September morning a small group of us were treated to a guided walk around Ashenbank Wood in Cobham where we spotted the Highland cattle and the devastating effect of ash die-back. In November we displayed some of the group’s treasures and were joined by members of two other local historical societies, Cliffe and St. Mary’s Island, who put on brilliant displays of their holdings.

A highlight of the year was the collaboration between the History Group and the Friends of St. Mary’s Church to stage a hilarious play, in rhyming couplets, written by the renowned Kentish artist and humourist,
Graham Clarke, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. St. Mary’s Church was an ideal setting, with Graham in attendance and great fun was had by all.

Another full programme of talks and events for the 2016/2017 season is just being finalised. A trip to the Synagogue in Chatham is planned, also a visit to Cliffe to be shown around the Church and the surrounding area. Subjects for talks include Beer and Brewing in Kent (with samples!), Houses and Homes of Higham, Gravesham’s Railways, Kent Urban Legends and another joint event with the Friends of St. Mary’s, a talk on the history and significance of the Green Man which will be at St. Mary’s Church.

Kate Woollacott

Website: www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk


The Society has been very busy as usual 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 has continued to be much national and local publicity about possible major projects in or affecting our area:

• The Lower Thames Crossing proposals were moved on a stage in late January 2016 by Highways England working for the Department for Transport. The current proposals are two variants of the same scheme either west or east of Shorne with different junctions to the A2 or M2 and the tunnel entrance west of Chalk Church. The scheme now includes a junction with the A226 Gravesend Road, damaging to Higham as it would encourage (force in the easterly route) crossing traffic from the A289 and Rochester to use the Gravesend Road past Gad’s Hill. Both routes will have widespread adverse effects on local traffic. DCPS leafletted areas on other affected main roads such as Cuxton and Halling. As for the local Parish Councils, DCPS submitted representations opposing the proposals.

Other items that are particularly worth mentioning are:

• Chalk Crematorium is currently under construction, the effect on Gravesend Road traffic will only be apparent once it is completed.

• RS Skips (Apex Business Park) applied to increase the amount of waste being handled there (and, therefore, associated traffic). Objections were submitted.

• Shornemead crossing. The Society is pleased to be able to report that the appeal by Shorne Parish Council (led by Councillors who are also DCPS Committee members) was successful and the crossing has been confirmed as a Public Right of Way.

Mrs Susan Lindley,
Committee Member of DCPS


We started the year with a week’s display in Rochester Library in March, ending the year with a display at Gravesend Library. In between times we had an Open Day at Mark Lane at the Gravesend end of the Canal. Despite continuous rain a goodly crowd came to see a member launch his boat into the canal, the first for many years. Also we swung the Swing Bridge a mile up the canal. This was after much work done on the bridge by a few members. We attended a Model Railway Show at Gillingham, with our Display Stand, talking to many visitors, repeating the exercise at Fort Pitt School in September. London Waterways Recovery Group visited us twice during the year and did a major clearing of some of the canal. These are the nationwide clear up boys and girls who visit sites around the country for dirty weekends and longer, doing marvellous work repairing bridges, locks and canals. A bit like us really except we have no locks to restore.

The Association has been presented with the Local Wildlife Sites Award from Richard Neame.

We look forward to a profitable year in 2016.

Angela Acott,

Programme Secretary


Would you like to create cards for family and friends, something personal and something they would treasure OR make them to sell for yourself or charity. We are a small friendly group of ladies who meet every Tuesday and alternate Friday mornings at St John’s Church Hall and do just that! It is £10 a class, for which you get to make cards. All materials you need will be supplied as well as tea/coffee and biscuits.

We are always pleased to meet new ladies. So why not try it? It is fun and rewarding. No skills required! Ring: Irene on 07341 343518 or Pauline on 07766 768180.

Irene Love and Pauline Powling


HiARA (Higham Active Retirement Association) 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.

There is a membership limit of 240. If anyone is interested, then please contact a member of HiARA or come to the Memorial Hall on a Friday afternoon between 2 and 3pm where you can ask questions and see what we do by way of activities.

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. There is a film show once a month when popular films are screened. The club recently purchased pétanque and are keen to put it to proper use. We also have well supported monthly art and craft groups and several themed evenings each year. The club has a very receptive ear to any members who have any suggestions to further enhance the time spent together.

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, a selection of holidays and a luncheon club. There are regular monthly rambles that have been very popular for a number of years.

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

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

For more information about the group please visit our web site or call us on 01474 742576.

Harry Green,


We had a particularly quiet year in 2015. In previous years we have managed to produce up to four Showcases of our work but this year our numbers have been reduced. One or two of our members have gone back to work(!) (real work!), though the rest of us, mostly retired, have been very busy, writing away fairly steadily. You will see the results of their efforts on the Higham Writers website - www.highamwriters.co.uk.

New members are always welcome. This year we are targeting absolute beginners, so for anybody who has no experience at all, but who would like to try their hand at writing under expert tuition and amongst some friendly folk who will guarantee a warm welcome - this is the place to come.

We have people who are writing their memoirs or writing short fictional stories, plays and serials. In the past year Pat Jerome and Ray Abinett have had memoirs published in ‘Best of British’ magazine. Ray is posting a detective serial on our website, and we have poetry and articles from Marion Twyman and John Lary. So do log on and enjoy reading our work as much we enjoy producing it.

Higham Writers meet once a month on a Monday morning in Higham Village Club.

Contact Denise, our Leader, at deniseleppard@btinternet.com

Denise Leppard


A Royal Celebration

Queen Elizabeth II

Saturday, 11 June 2016

4pm to 11pm
Higham Recreation Ground

Punch & Judy Show ~ Concert and jazz bands
Children’s street party ~ Side shows & stalls
Film shows ~ Picnics ~ Ice cream ~ Burgers

…and much more, ending with a
Festival of Light Parade & Grand Firework Display!

Programme & entrance in advance: £5
Family ticket (2 adults & 2 children under 16): £15
(or £7 and £18 on the door)
(Keep your programme for the free Grand Draw!)

Programmes available from Higham village outlets.


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

Dance Fitness Class for the Over 50’s 07968 482762

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

01634 723873

Higham CP School PTA

01474 823438

Higham Craft Club

07766 768180
07917 673221

Higham Library

03000 413131

Higham Neighbourhood Forum

01474 822516
07815 721966

Higham Rainbows 07818 695718

Higham Village Club

01474 822456

Higham Village History Group

01474 823342

Higham Village Sports Association

01474 822607

Higham Writers 01474 822881

Higham Youth Club

07934 562085
07817 746097

Kent Police

101 (non emergency)
999 (emergency)

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

Something2Do Parent and Toddler Group 07727 174079

Sure Start – Riverside Children's Centre

01474 535301

Tai Chi

07999 346050

Thames and Medway Canal Association

01634 722661

Village Correspondent, Liz Jeffrey 01474 747090

Women’s Institute

01474 823772






Cllr Mrs

Jennifer Papadopulos


‘Hanklit’, 12 Charles Dickens Avenue, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7NL

01634 717113

Vice Chairman:

Cllr Peter Allinson


50, Walmers Avenue, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7EH


01474 823806

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 Simon Hearn ‘Larkfield Gate’, Crutches Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME2 3UH 01634 717840

Cllr Alan Howard

1 Taylors Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7AX

01474 822108

Cllr Mrs
Elizabeth Jeffery
11 Abbey Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 1RG 01474 747090

Cllr Mrs

Amanda Mendzil

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

01634 725929

Cllr Mrs
Pat Oakeshott
30 Ash Crescent, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BA 01474 822771

Cllr Les Pearton

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

01474 822080

Cllr Mrs
Susan Spark

16 Fairview Drive, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BG

01474 823906


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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