Higham Parish Council

2017 Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports
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Love Higham logo

Higham Parish Council Chairman, Jennifer Papadopulos, Jenna Ryan and Councillor Sue Sparks at the presentation of the prize for the Love Higham Photograph Competition at Higham Library
We would like to thank Michael Papadopulos for the photograph (above), which shows from left to right Higham Parish Council Chairman, Jennifer Papadopulos,
Jenna Ryan and Councillor Sue Sparks at the presentation of the prize for the Love Higham Photograph Competition at Higham Library 



Dear Friends

May I wish all the residents of Higham a Happy New Year. I am feeling for you all, for it seems that there is going to be chaos with the new gas pipes being installed in the centre of the village. Where I live, new electricity poles and connections are being installed; all very necessary, but one wonders if it must be done at this time of the year?

I look back to last summer when I met many of you at the Higham Band Concert on the recreation ground. Pity about the rain, which probably stopped many from attending. The music and atmosphere were very good, as ever, but the rain meant that we ran at a substantial loss. This has put us in mind not to hold the event this year and we can, perhaps, consider organising a concert in 2018. I hope to see you there.

If I mention one successful project in this letter for 2016, it must be the completion of the refurbishment of the pavilion on the recreation ground. Many from the village helped to complete the work; all credit to Joanne Raff, her team and helpers. The young in Higham will now have their own headquarters, and I wish them every success in the coming years.

It is always a great pleasure and privilege to record in this newsletter my sincere thanks to all members of the Parish Council and to welcome on board Mrs Pam Holmes. All the councillors have a deep affection for the village of Higham and work tirelessly for the benefit of those that reside here. But, there is one extra special person, our Parish Clerk, Mrs Linda Carnall, who amazingly has been our clerk for 30 years – what an achievement – thank you so much Linda!

This coming June will be a singular one for our Councillor Harold Craske – he will be installed as the Lord Mayor of Gravesham and I wish him and his wife Veronica a successful, happy and memorable year.

As I said earlier, I love our village and I wish to convey a sincere thank you to all the citizens in Higham who organise the various societies, clubs and activities that so many residents enjoy. It would be very dull without these organisations.

My best wishes to you all.



At the time of going to print with the Annual Newsletter an announcement about the Crossing from the Government was imminent.

When an announcement is made, the Parish Council will post details on their website and Facebook page. Updates will be posted on the Parish Council Noticeboards and around the village. The local press, radio and television will, of course, carry the news as well.

The Lower Thames Crossing Association (LTCA) is a non-political, not-for-profit organisation established to benefit the communities impacted by the proposed Lower Thames Crossing. The Parish Council is a member of the Association. More information and updates on the Crossing can be found at www.ltca.uk.

Sue Sparks



Kent Community Speed Watch gives local people the ability to actively get involved in road safety. Operating at the roadside in 20mph, 30mph and 40mph areas, local volunteers join together and monitor traffic speeds at identified road locations in the community using a speed indication device (SID). The information is recorded and passed to the Police, which results in a warning letter being sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle if they have been repeatedly seen speeding or have been recorded at more than 50% over the limit.

Kent Community Speed Watch is not about spying or snooping on neighbours, it is about taking positive action, helping to improve the safety and quality of life for everyone in the community and to raise public awareness of inappropriate speeds of vehicles. All volunteers are given training on how to use the speed detection equipment and safe working procedures, and will be issued with high visibility jackets for their safety and to also notify motorists that they are entering a Community Speed Watch area.

Higham Parish Council is delighted to report that it has just been awarded a grant for the purchase of the latest speed indication device equipment for the sole use of our village and would like to place on record its gratitude to the Gravesham Neighbourhood Forum (which incorporates both Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council funding) for its support of our project. The latest information about the Speed Watch scheme operating within Higham can be found on pages 31 and 34 of this newsletter. We are in need of volunteers to help run this scheme. All sessions are held in daylight and in good weather and seldom last longer than one hour. If you feel that you can offer us your assistance, please phone Linda Carnall on 01474 822642 or Peter Leakey on 07815 721966.

Did you attend our Assembly in 2016? If not, make a note of this year’s date (Wednesday, 12 April 2017) and make sure you come along for an excellent evening with refreshments. FOR THIS YEAR ONLY WE WILL BE HOLDING OUR ASSEMBLY ON A WEDNESDAY EVENING TO AVOID CLASHING WITH THE EASTER CELEBRATIONS. Our speaker will be Ian Porter and his talk is entitled ‘Call the Midwife’. If you enjoy the TV series you will not want to miss Ian’s armchair walk through all the locations in Poplar featured on the programme with details of the filming of the series and favourite characters. How accurate is the series to the East End, and in particular Poplar, in the 1950’s? Come to the Assembly and find out!


Linda Carnall
Parish Clerk



at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:

Monday, 3 April


Wednessday, 12 April


Monday, 12 May

Annual Parish Council Meeting.

Monday, 3 July


Monday, 11 September


Monday, 9 October


Monday, 20 November

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Monday, 27 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 here on our web site, which is: www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

Dates for Parish Council meetings during 2017 are listed above. Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.

Linda Carnall
Parish Clerk






Balance B/Fwd

48,977.90 Recreation Ground 3,000.00

Precept 2016/2017

72,668.41 General Administration 7,920.26

Allotment Rents

1,180.00 Allotments 432.90

Other Receipts


Miscellaneous Expenses 13,465.50

Flexi A/C Interest

56.69 Subscriptions and Fees 217.50

National Savings Investment a/c Interest

3.89 Clerk's Salary, N.I., PAYE, LGPS and expenses for provision of office 19,758.15

VAT Reclaim

1,511.36 VAT Paid 2,354.03

Grants received

3,639.50 Grants made 915.00

Lower Thames
Crossing Donations


Lower Thames Crossing Expenditure


Royal Event 2016 2,931.50 Royal Event 2016 6,414.00

Village Plan


Village Plan 


  134,907.20   59,039.46





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 31.3.16 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.


 You are cordially invited to attend the



on WEDNESDAY, 12TH APRIL 2017 at 7.30pm


will give a talk entitled
giving an armchair walk through the locations seen on the television series and looking at the filming and favourite characters.


The Parish Council announced its intention to develop a community led plan last year. Like many communities across the country this process will gather views, opinions and ideas from all of you. Our Village Plan will cover the important issues that will influence our village in the future – initially over the next 10 years.

The Plan will identify key facilities and services, set out the problems that need to be tackled and show how distinctive characteristics and features can be conserved.

To start the Plan off, on Saturday, 4 February, the Village Plan Steering Group organised a Love Higham Day. This was designed to encourage villagers to talk about the village and have their say. Around 300 people of all ages came along to the Memorial Hall to enjoy conversations, cake, coffee and fun.

Around 400 comments were captured on the trees in the forest. A time line of key dates in the history of the village inspired people to write headlines they imagined might be on the front page of the local paper 10, 20 and 30 years in the future. An Aging App showed people what they might look like in 30 years’ time …. that was a bit scary!

People were asked to write a postcard to themselves in 10 years’ time – describing what they might see on a walk around the village. Old and new maps of the village were on display to pour over, as well as statistics and data about ourselves and our village.

There was Soup and French Bread to warm us up in The Pavilion and it was a brilliant opportunity for people to see what has been achieved with the Pavilion Garden and the building, as well as plans for the future. (See Joanne Raff’s Pavilion report here.)

One of the highlights of the day was when one of our younger residents – Jenna Ryan, aged 9, arrived with her parents with photographs mounted on a large board with her thoughts about litter and rubbish in the village. (See the photograph of Jenna with Parish Council Chairman, Jennifer Papadopulos and Councillor Sue Sparks at the presentation of the prize for the Love Higham Photograph Competition, which took place at Higham Library.)

At the time of writing, the Steering Group are analysing the feedback from the Love Higham Day and planning the next steps.

Over the spring and early summer small groups of residents will look in more detail at the key issues raised at the Love Higham Day. In the summer, we will feedback to residents and outline the key themes and content of the Village Plan. Residents can continue to make comments and put forward ideas via e-mail: information@lovehigham.co.uk or by phone or text on 07480 518493.

The Plan will be written over the Autumn and we aim to publish the Plan by January 2018. A Summary of the Plan will be delivered to every household in the village and the full version will be on display in the Library and on the Parish Council Website.

The feedback at the Love Higham Day confirmed that litter is an important issue for residents. The Parish Council will continue to work to reduce litter in the village through more litter picking sessions. If you would like to join the volunteers email sue3906@gmail.com or phone/text 07480 518493.

Sue Sparks Website: www.lovehigham.co.uk


If you should spot a street light not lit or a pothole developing in a road please personally report it 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.


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 2016 local and county-wide topics were discussed including the new Country Eye app, paperless planning applications, lorry parking on the A2 at Singlewell and the proposed Paramount development.

John Grey


It has been another very busy year in 2016 for planning applications with people having extensions or loft conversions. It is very pleasing to see people improving their properties rather than moving out of this lovely village.

Les Pearton


The Borough Council has now been given funding to build new council houses and are looking for small plots of land in rural areas (Higham) to build one bedroom bungalows for older people who already live in Higham and want smaller properties. If you can identify small plots to build two bungalows (maybe a large garden that you no longer need?) please let me know.

Once again, I would remind you that there is a TRANSFER LIST for the exchange of council properties on view at the Civic Centre. Also, if you are looking for housing in Higham, you will need to register on the Gravesham Housing List at the Borough Council. This applies even if you are already in a Council property.

Pat Oakeshott


Following on from the efforts of the Parish Council to secure a reasonable resolution of the Recreation Ground lease with St John’s College, Cambridge, the Council is pleased to see that the use of the ‘Rec’ continues at a high level with a wide variety of clubs, individuals and events.
The ‘Rec’ is a valuable resource for all to enjoy and the Parish Council is keen for it to become even more popular and used by many more residents. 
The recent feedback received from the ‘Love Higham Day’ shows that there is a big desire amongst Higham residents to improve the ‘Rec’ and its facilities. So, the question is what can be done to make the ‘Rec’ better? Encourage individuals and clubs to increase their usage? Provide better facilities? Get involved by expressing your view of what you would like to see happen to the ‘Rec’ to improve it by going to:


and telling us what you want and would like to see happen.

Peter Allinson


The multi-purpose courts down at the Recreation Ground have had continual use during the last year, with the Higham Youth club using them on Wednesday evenings for five-a-side football and the tennis courts being used in the spring and summer months.

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

Pat Jeal
Telephone: 01474 822607


I hope you have all had a happy year of walking or riding around Higham in 2016.

There is not much to report on our excellent rights of ways around the village. I have been reading in the paper and walking magazines about the state of rights of ways in other boroughs in England and they are a disaster. We are lucky to have a county council which has not taken all the money away from rights of ways. More importantly, we have a lot of volunteers who give up hours of their time to keep the paths and bridleways clear. If you find a problem around the village do let me know and I will try and get it resolved.

Anne Waugh


2016 was an unusual year weather-wise and allotment holders had a mixture of successes and failures. A dry, warm autumn meant that the growing season went on quite late. A problem with water leaks meant that the water supply had to be turned off earlier than usual and the Parish Council is working hard to resolve these problems for the new season.

There are some spare allotments available to rent – the annual rent is £25. Please contact Sue Sparks on 01474 823906 or mobile 07480 518493 for more information.

Half-size plots are available – or you are welcome to join up with friends or neighbours to work a whole plot together.

Wishing all our Allotment Holders a happy growing season for 2017!

Sue Sparks


It has been a very great privilege for me to be the Deputy Mayor of Gravesham during the current Municipal year and I have attended many events throughout the Borough, learning a great deal about all the activities and good work that goes on. One of the highlights was, of course, attending the Royal Celebration marking the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations with the wonderful fireworks. The Parish Council did a magnificent job in organising the event to a ‘royal’ degree.

The new Crematorium has been opened. The building itself has been well designed and fits into the local area well. There is still more work to be done there and when completed will help in enabling burials and cremations to take place much more quickly than now.

The Borough has been under enormous pressure financially because of cuts to the grants received from the Government, meaning that the Council has to ‘save’ about £3 million over the next few years. Working parties were set up to see where savings could be made. Some of these have not met with approval from the public at large. However, a great deal of work has gone into making sure that services continue and with the least disruption to residents.

Revisions to the waste collection service will start soon. Most black sacks are to be phased out and replaced by a new black bin. This should cut down the amount of rubbish strewn about having been opened by foxes and other wild life and making the village less prone to tipping.

Thank you all for your support during the year. It has been a great privilege for me to serve you and I look forward to another year.

Harold Craske,
Borough Councillor


Our fifth Higham Christmas Market, in School Lane outside the Greengrocers and Chemists, held on Friday, 18 December 2016 was as successful as our previous four Markets.

At this Fayre, we were joined by a stall from the Parish Council with information about the Love Higham Day to be held on 4 February 2017. Again, the hot mulled wine, mince pies and homemade cakes proved to be very popular, especially as it was one of the coldest days of the year! Along with the raffle, Christmas toys and decorations the Market raised £372.66 which was split between The Kent Air Ambulance and the Ellenor Hospice.

We would like to thank the shops in School Lane, the Post Office and Anisa Restaurant, Gravesend Road, for their generous support, sponsorship and donation of some quite magnificent raffle prizes.

Last year in the Annual Parish Newsletter we invited individuals and organisations in Higham to come and join us at the Market to make it a bigger and more enjoyable event for the residents of Higham, as well as raising money for local charities. We would like to thank those who responded and helped us, by donating more prizes for the Raffle,
Christmas items to sell and the ‘Girls’ in the Chemist for their help and the excellent homemade cakes.

We would be grateful for any help for our sixth Market to be held on Friday, 15 December 2017!

Please contact Peter Allinson on 01474 823806 to help or for more details.

Peter Allinson and Nigel Gillett

PARISH WEBMASTER’S REPORT   visit: www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

Question – Where is your single source online for local Higham events, news, photographs and information on village organisations, as well as Parish Council meeting dates and documents??

Answer – Simply visit www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk for coverage of the main village events and celebrations plus information on the Lower Thames Crossing, Higham Neighbourhood Forum, Higham Youth Club, Councillor & Community Warden Surgeries, village Litter Pick, 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


105 is a new three-digit national power cut phone line that people can call to report, or get information about, power cuts if you find yourself without power during severe weather or other incidents. Instead of calling your energy supply company (that you pay your bills to) the new 105 number will put you straight through to your local electricity network operator (in the case of Higham this is UK Power Networks).

You can also call 105 with any welfare concerns related to a power cut, or if you are worried about the safety of over or underground electricity cables or substations.

You can call 105 from most landlines or mobile phones and calls are free of charge.

More information can be found at: www.powercut105.com


2016 again saw the youth club growing from strength-to-strength. 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.

We have invested in some new equipment this year and badminton has become a favourite activity.

Each week we have a well-stocked tuck shop.

We re-launched the Duke of Edinburgh section of the club this year and they have been learning camping/expedition skills, along with team building skills that will help them complete the other sections of the award. So far, they have shown interest in film-making and photography as skills projects and they are all finding places to do their volunteering section. At the time of writing we are still looking for one additional adult to join our DofE section. No experience is needed. Full training is provided.

We hope to re-launch a 13+ club in 2017 as we feel it is important for that age group to have their own space, and have activities suited to them. If anyone is interested in helping at this club please contact us.

The youth club can only run due to the fantastic team of helpers. They 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 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.

THE PAVILION PROJECT (managed within Higham Youth Club)

2016 continued to be a busy year for the team managing the ‘Pavilion Project’.

Works completed to date have included significant roofing repairs, a full rewire of electrics, installing a fire alarm and emergency lighting system, new ceilings and we are currently working on plans to change the internal layout to make the building fit for purpose and fully accessible. New windows have been installed in the main section of the building along with new internal double doors. At the start of the project we had to decontaminate the building and clear the contents left in the building and grounds. We did lots of gardening work for which we were awarded two different certificates.

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. We had a very enjoyable trip on the MV Princess Pocahontas in June which raised some money.

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.


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,


Big changes this past year – we have now incorporated the heating within the hire price but, in doing so, we have had to adjust the hire rates. This, at first, caused a bit of fuss but all was eventually sorted.

People must realise that the hall is completely self-funded and we have to walk a line between raising enough money to run the hall and keeping the hiring fees at a competitive price. Regards fund-raising, our boot fairs are still taking place on the second Sunday in the month. If you would like to book a table call 01474 824150 or 01474 822775. 

I hope the groups who use the hall like the new chairs. I think you will agree they are somewhat more comfortable than the old plastic ones.

The car park has had a big tidy with all the hedges and trees trimmed back. This will be done on a yearly basis. Please note if you use the car park to park your car you do so at your own risk.

We are desperate for volunteers to join us on the committee to help run the hall. Any group that uses the hall can have a representative on the committee. If anyone is interested, please call me on 01474 824150.

Keith Bradley       www.highammemorialhall.btck.co.uk


Please note that from June 2017 the waste and recycling service in Higham provided by Gravesham Borough Council will be changing to alternative weekly collections. All homes (except for flats) will:

- Continue to have food waste collected weekly.

- Continue with the same day-of-the-week for collections.

- Move to fortnightly collections for general waste and recycling, where your general waste will be picked up one week and your recycling the next week.

If your home has a recycling bin you will receive a new wheelie bin to replace your black sacks for general waste, if not, you will NOT receive this additional bin and will remain using sacks.

You will receive a pack of information in June when the bins are delivered, including a new collection calendar.

More information can be found at: www.gravesham.gov.uk/waste


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).


2016 has been another successful year for Higham Primary School, with the school remaining oversubscribed with waiting lists for every year group.  Our results were well above the national average in every area and progress in reading is in the top 10% of schools nationally.  Our Year 6 pupils moved on to a variety of local secondary schools and 33% passed the 11+ test. 
Pupils have enjoyed many extra-curricular activities.  We are members of ‘Take Pride’, a sports partnership in Gravesham which gives us access to a wide range of sports activities and inter-school competitions.   Our football, netball and athletics teams have once again been successful and pupils have enjoyed a wide variety of sports opportunities including more unusual sports such as boccia and curling.  We also have the benefit of a sports coach who works with us one afternoon a week and also runs after school clubs.  
This year some Year 6 pupils participated in the Gravesham Debating competition, and our choir and recorder group once again performed at the Woodville Halls.  We have added ukulele and clarinet tuition to our already strong music provision.  Book Week this year was a tremendous success.  We had visits from two authors, Lou Kuenzler and Roy Apps, and the children took part in lots of fantastic book related activities.  Our Year 5 pupils enjoyed a week of adventurous activities at PGL at Windmill Hill in East Sussex, including Zip wire, the Giant Swing, abseiling, archery and fencing.
Additionally, pupils enjoyed a large number of trips, visitors and workshops, thanks in a large part to our PTA which remains a great support to the school.  They organised hugely successful Summer and Christmas Fayres which were attended by many people from the village, as well as a number of discos, film nights and other events.  As well as contributions towards trips, visitors, workshops, they have also paid for many other extras for the children.  They are currently raising funds towards an ‘outdoor classroom’ which will help us make much better use of our grounds.

We are very much looking forward to continued success in 2017.
Mrs T Coombs, Head Teacher


Happy New Year to you all from the Higham Primary School PTA and what a year 2016 turned out to be! Not only our most successful fund-raising year to date, with our Picnic in Park – Summer Fayre and Higham Christmas Market and Fayre together raising in excess of £7,000 profit, but a great year too for village community spirit and togetherness.

We were particularly delighted with the support from villagers this year. Many local businesses kindly chose to sponsor our Fayres which helped make them as spectacularly successful as they were. We heard that local people enjoyed the Fayres so much that they were calling on their friends in the village to join them, which is a real morale boost for those volunteers who worked so hard to make the Fayres happen.

2017 is another busy year for us. In addition to our usual school activities, our Picnic in the Park – Summer Fayre will be held on Saturday, 1 July and Higham Christmas Market and Fayre on Friday, 1 December 2017. Do put those dates in your diaries and come along and enjoy the festivities. Maybe you would like to volunteer on the day or in the lead-up to the event, or your company would like to be a sponsor. If so, please e-mail secretaryhighampta@gmail.com where we would be happy to hear from you.

Finally, we would like to thank village residents for their patience on our Fayre days. With over 1,000 visitors at each event, we try to keep disruption to a minimum, but we hope you will agree that they are worthwhile as they benefit both Higham School and our local businesses.

Thank you and best wishes,

Nova Molloy, PTA Chair and all the Team


2016 was an extremely interesting time for schools across the country as the first Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Tests were undertaken by pupils following the changes to the New National Curriculum. I am proud to report that Higham Primary School exceeded the National average in EVERY single measure – reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and maths. In some cases our results exceeded the national average by more than 20%.

The Head Teacher, Mrs Coombs, along with her Senior Leadership Team have worked with the class teachers, teaching assistants, office staff, premises staff, kitchen staff and Governors to ensure the children of Higham have the best possible learning experience in a safe and friendly environment. They are a superb team all pulling in the same direction with great leadership.

The Senior Leadership Team formulated a School Improvement Plan after our last Ofsted visit in 2013 and this is the foundation for our aspirations for the school. The plan is reviewed at each Governors meeting and amended as required to ensure that all pupils are progressing right across the school. I am immensely proud of the progress made by our pupils with Special Educational Needs led by Mrs Grattan our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and her dedicated team.

As Chair of Governors I am highly confident that these standards will be maintained and the children attending Higham Primary School will have an excellent learning experience, safe premises, wide ranging facilities and extra-curricular activities.

I was pleased to see so many villagers attend our Summer and Christmas Fayres. The PTA work continuously and tirelessly to make these events special and again show off the best of village life.

I will again ask for everyone in the village to respect the rules of the road when passing the school in the mornings and afternoons when school commences and ends. This includes speed limits, zig zag lines and parking considerately. The safety of our pupils is our paramount concern as Governors, not only within the school grounds but at arrival and leaving times, on the public road and pavement outside the school.

Finally, I would like to sincerely thank all of the Governors at Higham Primary School in their dedication to succeed and who give up their time voluntarily for the benefit of the staff and children.

Brian Maynard, Chair of Governors


If the national and international events of 2016 have taught us anything it is that we need to teach our children the importance of being able to recognise and cope with change and to make the most of new opportunities before us.
Adaptability would seem to be a key factor in a very uncertain 21st century.  The 20th century was an era of ‘big-industry’ and ‘nationalisation’ of ‘jobs-for-life’, ‘saving for a deposit and owning your own home’.  The 21st century has already shown to be almost the complete inverse of this with the rise of ‘zero-hour contracts’, the ‘gig-economy’, ‘Uber’, ‘Airbnb’ and a plethora of ‘pop-up’ organisations.  We live in the era of ‘here-today, make money and gone tomorrow’! A job for life, unless you work in the NHS, government or education is almost a thing of the past.  The vast majority of our children may find it more difficult than their parents’ generation to own their home.  None of this is ‘the-end-of-civilization’ as we know it still – it is just different!  Perhaps, we need to recognise that this is how the world operates now and that our children need to be prepared, adaptable, able to cope, and to make a success of our 21st century world. 
So, while Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, Spanish and all those other subjects still continue to be important, they remain only a part of the jigsaw.  At Gad’s Hill; our focus will remain on also developing a child’s character, their adaptability, resilience, their confidence and their ability to get on with people. 

Mr David Craggs, Headmaster, Gad’s Hill School


The Trust’s capital earned no interest in 2016 so no distribution was made, although donations were made towards funeral costs where the remaining family were struggling financially and to contribute to the Christmas Day lunch put on for members of the congregation without company on that day.

The Trustees remain unchanged and will meet during 2017 to consider how best to use the remaining money.

Les Baker, Trustee      Telephone: 07701 036355


Many Bible students believe that 2017 in Biblical chronology is a Jubilee year and full of possibilities for good. It is a year when we can celebrate at least two important events in history that have affected life in Higham. Firstly, it was 500 years ago on 31 October (Reformation day) that Martin Luther nailed his 79 theses to the church door in Wittenburg. An act which heralded the ending of the period known as ‘The Dark Ages’ when, in the absence of the Bible, fear and superstition had reigned. The second is the 200th anniversary of the time when in 1817 Christians from Chatham came to Higham to tell the villagers the ‘Good News’ the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says:

The entrance of thy words giveth light;

Over the past 200 years much has changed in the village. School Lane was then a narrow leafy road and the population of the village was about 5,681. Two tragic World Wars have left their mark with a considerable number of young lads giving their lives as commemorated in our Chapel, at St. John’s and the Memorial Hall. One thing that has not changed over the years is the message that Martin Luther and those Christians who ventured into our village all those years ago brought with them. At the Chapel we still proclaim God’s unchanging word and you are invited to join us as we endeavour to continue to be a part of the community.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8)

You are also invited to come along to one or more of our coffee mornings, an opportunity to meet the neighbours and have a chat and a cuppa. Just pop in between 10 and 12 noon on the dates below:

29 April in aid of BLESMA.
27 May in aid of The Lions Hospice.
24 June in aid of Medway Breast Cancer Unit.
29 July in aid of Kent Air Ambulance.
26 August in aid of The Gospel Printing Mission.
30 September in aid of The Fishermen’s Mission.
11 November in aid of Great Ormond Street.

Peter Relf, Secretary      Telephone: 01474 322195

In the Church of England Parish of Higham with Merston

Please note the heading above is to remind you that Church parish boundaries are not quite the same as Civil Parish ones. This does not affect baptisms and funerals in St John’s or burials in St Mary’s. It does affect marriages if you live in Colewood Drive, Old Watling Street or the southern half of Crutches Lane. Daily worship is maintained in the Church by a loyal core of people. It is open each day, for prayer, peace or a look around, because of CCTV and our regulars ‘checking’ the building. Costly repairs mean the north aisle and Church office roofs are watertight at last! Thank you to all who raised funds and donated.

11am Baptisms on certain Sundays began in 2016 and were well received by families. Bishop Norman came for a celebration of Baptism and Confirmation in June which was a great event. It was ‘goodbye’ to Shaun-Michael Trevithick in May as he went off to test a monastic vocation and is novice Brother Fabian at present. Sadly, it was ‘goodbye’, too, to Alan Taylor, a faithful servant of the village, as well as Church, who died in July. Our Parish Reader, Simon Walker, was selected for ordination training in June. Our hope is he will be deaconed in September 2018 and priested in 2019. Father Andrew Davis, a native of Higham, retired nearby and will soon be assisting as well as worshipping here.

First Saturday of the month ‘Coffee and Conversations’ flourish. They are not fund-raisers, just for dropping-by and to meet folk – especially if you need a break or a chat with someone. These will pause in Lent, when we run weekly Saturday Charity Lunches. Each year they raise hundreds of pounds for Christian Aid work with the desperately needy. Do support them, as also the Gravesham Foodbank Collection from Friday-Monday on the last weekend of each month.

St Mary’s Church was, and is, used every year for worship on Mothering Sunday afternoon and First Sunday of October in the morning. Two other small services are held too. On the whole its only St John’s members supporting these.

We are grateful for the practical help that people offer in Church and hall. Thank you to all who assist in worship, with children and young people’s work, cleaning, refreshments, magazine production, church draw, flowers; and for those who support it all financially and often sacrificially. We also continue to donate 5% of what we spend on ourselves to local and international missionary work.

For details of worship or anything we may be able to help with contact the Vicarage on:

Telephone: 01634 717360

E-mail: saintjohn.higham@yahoo.co.uk

Website: highamparishchurch.org.uk

Fr James Southward, Vicar of Higham


What an exciting year 2016 proved to be, starting with our AGM in January which saw a new chairperson elected, Fiona Spirals, along with a new Vice-Chairperson, Richard Sloan.

Our event calendar began in May with a Vintage Afternoon Tea Dance, with live music, dancing and afternoon tea served in the traditional way. In June we held a Murder Mystery evening which was presented by Alternate Shadows Theatre Group. July saw the return of our very popular Jazz night with The Dave Bowdler Trio featuring Claire Harper with the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Doris Day. In September, in conjunction with the Higham History Group, a fascinating talk on The Green Man in English Churches was presented by Imogen Corrigen. October saw our first, but definitely not last, Vintage and Collectables Fair. This proved very popular with a variety of stall holders some of whom have already booked for this year. In December ‘This is My Theatre’ hired St Mary’s for a performance of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, this was very well attended and enjoyed by all. They are planning to return in the summer with a performance of a popular play by Shakespeare.

We would like to thank everyone who volunteers at our events and particularly Melanie and Keith Jeggo for helping with the organisation of the Vintage Afternoon Tea Dance and Vintage and Collectables Fair.

We have many exciting events planned for 2017 – details are on our website www.stmaryschurchhigham.com

Katie Lee, Secretary


Higham Library will be celebrating its 30th anniversary during 2017: the building was officially opened on 13 May 1987.

Our regular Wednesday morning Talktime group meet at 10.30am, the group is thriving with some meetings having over 25 people attend on a weekly basis. They, once again, held a very successful coffee morning in aid of Macmillan and raised a substantial amount 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. This is now followed by a Parent and Carer Talktime group at 10.30am.

We have started a new Games Club on Saturday morning at 10.30am, this is being run by our friendly volunteers and everyone is welcome to come along and join in.

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 and last year’s theme was The Big Friendly Read, which celebrated 100 years of writer Roald Dahl. Children were thrilled with this fabulous theme. Higham had 59 children join the scheme over the summer holidays, of these children 60% finished the challenge by reading their six books. We held our Community Family Fun Day on Monday, 8 August which was well attended. Many of our regular visitors came and enjoyed the many attractions that were on offer. Many thanks to all the volunteers and community partners who made this day the success it was. This year's theme is to be launched soon and should be just as exciting, we are hoping that more children will take on the challenge this summer and come along and join in with our fun activities!

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 our on-line resources including information on health, local and family history and a great deal more. All of our libraries now have Wi-Fi access which you can log on to with your library card.

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
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 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


Change is in the air at Highcliffe, Dr Markwick, our senior partner, left us for pastures new in June 2016. He has been missed but ‘onwards and upwards’. We are very pleased that our resident GP, Dr Bell, embraced the opportunity to become a partner in the practice. Consequentially, Dr Stone has stepped up to the role of senior partner.

This re-shuffle left an opening for a resident GP. Dr Smith, who has been with us over the past year, was our successful applicant; we are very pleased to have him as a permanent member of the Highcliffe team. We feel very privileged as a team that our recruitment process was without difficulty. With the current climate and shortage of GP’s we consider ourselves very lucky.

We continue to strive to deliver a high quality of care. To enable this process to continue we will maintain our status as a training practice. In accordance with this we currently have two GP registrars working with us, Dr Haque and Dr Dickinson. We also have a rolling programme of student paramedic practitioners and student physician’s assistants.

The nursing team remains unchanged. We feel privileged that we were able to retain our team. The nursing team have also begun to train and accommodate nursing students over the past year and will continue to do so.

Our patient participation group is still going strong. We meet on a quarterly basis and are always looking for new members to join this group. If you would like to have your say about the surgery pop into Higham or Cliffe for more information.

At the Higham surgery we have upstairs space available that we rent out to other health related services. If you are interested in hiring this space there are some days available. Contact our Practice Manager for more information.

Lastly, with the winter pressures upon us again we would like to make all our patients aware that telephone appointments are always available with a GP or Nurse. Also, do not forget to use your local pharmacist as a source of knowledge about minor ailments. With this said, we are currently working really hard to provide a high standard of care and service. Our reception team work tirelessly to ensure your prescriptions are ready and your appointments are made. We currently only have a one week wait for routine appointments which is fantastic for this time of year.

We would like to thank all our patients for their continued support throughout the year and wish you all a happy and healthy 2017.

Kevin Creasey, Practice Manager


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.

The Forum also runs Speed Watch 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. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please go to the Community Speed Watch website:


click on register and follow the links to Higham Speed Watch Group.

Volunteers can come to as many or as few sessions which last one hour as they wish.

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

Peter Leakey, Chairman


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

In 2016 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’s happening within their village. I have been joined at the Surgery by one of your local Gravesham Councillors, Harold Craske and Higham Parish Councillor, Sue Sparks. It is hoped that this will continue into 2017. We are currently running the Surgery at an earlier time of 1.30 to 3pm in the hope that we can persuade more residents to call in and enjoy a FREE cup of tea/coffee and tell us what you think about what’s happening in the village, good or bad.

On Friday, 10 June, 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. This is an important annual event as I believe it teaches the young of the village how anti-social littering is. Also, by holding the litter pick on this date it enabled us to clear the Recreation Ground prior to the Queen’s Birthday Celebrations which were held the following day. We will, all being well, hopefully be holding another litter pick in May/June 2017.

July saw the return of SIA at Cobham Hall. This was attended by several local schools, including Higham Primary School and is an excellent way of learning about personal safety, for example, around water, railways, drugs to name but a few. I was instrumental in delivering this programme.

The first week of October was Safeguarding Week and this involved us talking to groups of all ages about Personal and Home Safety and I was pleased to give a presentation to about 30 members of the Talk Time Group who meet at Higham Library every Wednesday.

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 may be once every month or 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 new Borough Market, 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.

In closing, may I say a big thank you to both the Parish Council and residents of Higham for all their co-operation over the last year.

I can be reached or message left on:  Mobile : 07811 271256  or 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 by e-mail: peter@pleakey.co.uk or by telephone on 07815 721966.

Peter Leakey


It’s time to raid your piggy banks and sofa cushions. The current pound coin has only six months left before it becomes worthless. The old coins will cease to be legal tender on 15 October 2017. The new coin is being introduced next month from 28 March. It is a 12-sided coin and, apparently, is the hardest to counterfeit.

It has been estimated by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who has said: ‘the public need to be aware of the October deadline because it is estimated £1.3 billion in loose change is sitting around in jars in homes across the country and around £400 million of that is thought to be £1 coins.’

Thank you to the Windmill Road/ Howard Avenue NHW newsletter for this snippet of information.

Kent Police Neighbourhood Watch



If you are a car owner, enjoy driving and have time to spare, your keys can unlock lives! We need local drivers to take people who are unable to use public transport due to age, frailty, illness or disability to and from their vital medical appointments. All that is necessary is a clean, valid driving licence, a vehicle in good condition and MOT’d. Our clients pay you 45p per mile to cover your expenses. This could not only make a difference to our clients’ lives and well-being, but your own.

Please telephone us on 01322 290600 or 01322 272476.


We need volunteer gardeners who can bring life back into neglected gardens and make them a thing of beauty and a joy to sit in. General maintenance and upkeep are our priorities – we do not handle large, heavy duties. However, we can offer a one-day blitz to get the volunteers started. Our clients pay £6 per hour for a maximum of two hours per visit. Travel expenses are also reimbursed to the volunteer.

These two projects come under our SMILES banner. Using volunteers we help older people in the Dartford, Gravesend and Swanley area to remain living independently.

Please telephone us on 01322 272476 or E-mail: volunteer@nwkvolunteers.org.uk

Thank you.

Julia Keleghar and Pauline Annetts, North West Kent Volunteer Centre


Higham Scout Group has had another rewarding year in 2016. We have a membership of approximately 60 young people and 12 adults and young leaders who give up their time voluntarily. Together we participated in the Remembrance Day service at St John’s and celebrated Christmas by taking part in the District Christingle Service with our rendition of our Scouting
12 days of Christmas. This was followed by a visit to McDonalds. Three of our members have won Gravesham Scout District Shrimpy Awards:

- Peter, the Scout Leader, for his charity fund-raising efforts, particularly for ‘Children in Need’.

- Andrea, the Beaver and Cub Leader for being an amazing leader.

- Cub, Harry Whattler, who took part in the most hikes in the District.

Beavers have participated in lots of badge activities and three have achieved the Chief Scout Bronze Award. Visits have included Gad’s Hill and ‘Farm to Fork’ at Tescos. Well done to Beavers and Cubs for raising £195 for Macmillan and the Pavilion. Cubs have had an exciting year in 2016, celebrating 100 years of Cub Scouts. Celebrations included a visit to Gad’s Hill, Cubs on Water, Cub Camp, a day at Chatham Dockyard, and with Beavers, trampolining in Gillingham.

Scouts continue to develop their skills, working as part of a team, on leadership skills, making bivouac camps and entering District Competitions. Great fun was had at the Queen’s birthday celebrations with the Scouts running the Royal Tournament and Tug of War. Summer camp was at Kingsdown with visits to Dreamland, Margate, the Ramsgate Tunnels and attending a Swiss cultural evening. We ended the year with our annual BBQ and AGM with 150 children and adults enjoying the evening.
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


We started a brand new group in September 2016. We started off with 10 girls and have now reached 15 and we have a waiting list! The girls are enjoying playing games and doing lots of craft activities. We have made some tasty peppermint snowballs and some yummy iced biscuits. We attended our first Remembrance Sunday Parade at St John’s Church. The girls were very well behaved and we were very proud of them!

For 2017, we have plenty of activities planned including Burns Night, Chinese New Year, First Aid, Mother’s Day and many more fun evenings. We started off the New Year with a Stranger Danger and 999 night. We also hope to do some outings.

We are looking forward to enrolling our three new girls this term and our two leaders will both be undertaking their Leadership Qualifications.

We meet on term date Wednesdays, in the small hall at Higham Memorial Hall, 5.30 – 6.45pm. If you have a daughter aged between 5 and 7 who would like to join please contact me: E-mail: highamrainbows@gmail.com  or Mobile: 07712 551820

Anita & Vikki (aka Mouse & Mole)


Higham Brownies have had another enjoyable year. We currently have a full pack and two leaders.

Since our last report, the Brownies have enjoyed visits to Shorne Country Park where they collected things to make bug houses. They have been Roller Skating and also enjoyed climbing at Lower Grange Farm.

We had a visit from representatives from Metro Bank in Maidstone who spoke to the girls about saving and how a bank works. This was a very interesting evening and the girls learnt a lot. We have had a First Aid evening where we spoke to the girls about the basics of first aid. This is something that we will be doing regularly with our girls as we believe First Aid is a very important life skill. The girls enjoyed a chip hike from the bottom of the village to the chip shop in the village, where we stopped and ate our chips outside the chip shop. We then walked back down the village through the fields. We celebrated the Queen’s Birthday with other units in our District. The girls enjoyed an afternoon of games and a tea party. It was lovely to see the girls and Leaders from all units enjoying the afternoon together.

The Brownies have also attended the Harvest Festival and Remembrance Services at St John’s Church.

We have had two successful trips to Kidzania in London this year. Kidzania is a child-sized city where the children are in charge and has over 60 real life role play activities for them to try.

A new Rainbow Group opened in September with two new leaders, Anita and Vik, and we have been pleased to support them. They currently have a full group and, in October, we enjoyed a joint Halloween party with the Rainbows which was fun.

We also continue to support youngsters in the village who are participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award with the volunteering aspect of the award. We are very grateful to our Young Leaders Laura and Charlotte who help out each week. They continue to be excellent role models to the Brownies.

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

Sharon Maynard & Krissi Higgins (Tawny Owl & Sooty Owl)


Eagles Football Club is now in its 38th season and have nine teams running this season from under 7s to under 18s. The younger teams U/7 to U/12 are in the North Kent Youth Football League and U/13s to U/18s in Medway Messenger Youth League and six-year-olds training at Higham Primary School on Saturday mornings. 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 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. If interested, please contact Pat Jeal on 01474 822607 or use 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 over the last year.

Pat Jeal


We are a small friendly club, who play on the outskirts of Higham/Cliffe Woods, on Mockbeggar Farm, just off Lee Green Road, near the Farm Shop, Post Code ME3 8EX.
We run one Open Age (Adult) side each Saturday and Sunday, and play afternoon matches between the end of April and the last weekend of September.
We play in the Kent Regional Cricket League on Saturdays, and are reverting to playing Friendly only matches on Sundays.
We also run Junior sides covering school Year Groups 3-13 at present, competent Junior players are also able to play Open Age Matches, 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.
Winter Nets/Training for Adults & School Year 9 and above will take place on Sundays between 5.30-6.30pm from 5 February, 2017, at Chadlington Hall, Kings School, Lockington Grove, Rochester ME1 1RH.
Venue and times for Winter Nets/Training 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 the school summer term, which is free of charge.
For more details about your local Cricket Club please contact:  Mobile: 07738 189559 or E-mail: richard.hawkins@rbs.com

Richard Hawkins, Club Captain


Higham Bowls Club is now firmly established in Higham Memorial Hall where members play on a Monday evening between 8 and 10pm. We have had another very good year and managed to increase our membership numbers but it would be nice to see more people coming along. The first time you attend it is free, although it is a member’s club, there is no membership fee and anything that is needed can be supplied by the Club. Thereafter the cost is £3 per session, tea and biscuits included. Come along and enjoy a social atmosphere. The Club is open to anyone over the age of 18 years.

For any further information, contact Gerry Davies on 01634 723873 or Peter Morriss on 01474 822775.

Gerry Davies, Chairman


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


The Hatha Flow Yoga Club meets at Higham Memorial Hall on Tuesdays from 11am to 12pm and Wednesdays from 9.15 to 10.15am. There is a monthly booking fee (four weeks) of £28.

For booking or further information, please contact Leah on 07565 392320 or visit the website: www.yogaflowwithleah.com

Leah Ferreira, Yoga Therapist & Health Coach


The Claire Buckley School of Dancing offers dancing classes at the Higham Memorial Hall every Tuesday from 4pm and Thursdays at Cliffe Woods Primary School 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.

We held our dancing exams and all children passed with outstanding results.

We are now preparing for our next show which will be held at the Brook Theatre in Chatham.

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
E-mail cbuckley046@gmail.com

We can also be found on FACEBOOK.

Claire Buckley


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


We started 2016 with a Spring concert at Fordcombe Church, Penshurst. We sang a wide variety of music including pieces from the shows and we were joined by members of Fordcombe Primary School choir. The concert was very successful and enjoyed by everyone, both participants and audience. In July, as in previous years, we held our concert at St Mary's Church, Lower Higham, but, unfortunately, it was not as well attended as usual but, nevertheless, all those who attended enjoyed the music. Our Christmas concert was held at St John’s Church, where the usual mixture of choir pieces and congregational carols were sung. The choir introduced the song ‘Mrs Beeton’s Famous Christmas Pudding’, along with more modern songs along with traditional carols. In May, many choir members and their families visited Taunton for the weekend where we sang in the local church.

Our concerts for 2017:

8 April St John the Evangelist Church, Groombridge 7pm
8 July St Mary’s Church, Lower Higham 7.30pm
17 December St John’s Church, Higham 7.30pm

We are a choir of about 25 members and, at the moment, have vacancies for more singers, especially sopranos and tenors. For more information please contact the secretary, Mary Davis on 01634 718818 or e-mail mary.davis59@btinternet.com

Mary Davis, Secretary


2017 is the 20th anniversary of the Higham Village History Group and our meetings continue to be popular and well-attended. During the last year we had excellent speakers on a wide range of relevant topics including Beer and Brewing in Kent, Ranscombe Farm and Higham Houses and Homes. In September Imogen Corrigan gave a talk on the history of the green man. This was a joint event with the Friends of St. Mary’s Church, and was held in the Church, which has its own green man on the beautifully carved wooden door.

On a very cold and wet morning in April about 15 of us went on a trip to the very pretty village of Smarden where we were given a presentation about the village and its history and then taken on a guided walk to view all the historic buildings and the church. This event was hosted by the local historical society, who run an impressive heritage centre, well worth a visit. We warmed ourselves up in a local pub for lunch. On 6 May this year we are visiting Charing for something similar.

In August we visited Cliffe where we learnt about the history of Cliffe and its magnificent church and historic properties. You just never know what’s behind some front doors!

For the first time we gave an illustrated talk to another group, The Thames and Medway Canal Association, about the History Group itself and the history of Higham. This seemed to go very well and is something we can offer to other societies in the future.

The four books about Higham, written by Andrew Rootes, continue to sell well and we were thrilled that Andrew has donated all the photographs and research material that he has collected for many years to the History Group. This wonderful collection is to be known as the Rootes/Know Collection in memory of Andrew’s parents. Thanks to the hard work of a band of volunteers, the indexing of our own archives is nearly finished, so we will soon commence on Andrew’s collections to ensure that all our holdings will be easily accessible to all those interested in our village today and in the past.

Our activities for the year 2017-2018 have now been planned and we will do a leaflet drop around the village when the printed programme is available. Talks range from early history, ie, Norman Britain with particular reference to Kent, to current archaeological work in Cobham. As a follow on to Andrew Rootes’ talk on Higham housing, there will be a guided walk around the village to view some of the most important houses. As usual our main meetings are bi-monthly on the third Thursday of the month, at 8pm, in the Memorial Hall, with our year starting in May. You do not have to be a member of the Group to attend, just come along.

If you would like to know more about the group or wish to help with the archive collection, please contact Kate Woollacott, the Secretary, on 01634 718285 or e-mail kateiw@tiscali.co.uk We also need a couple more people to join the organising group and help us with the planning so hoping to hear from you.

Kate Woollacott       www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk


Regular readers of our report will see a certain similarity in our comments. Unfortunately, the problem of attracting volunteers continues and, in consequence, we are still only able to open fortnightly. This year we have lost two hostesses who have been with us a very long time and are having to take a well-earned retirement. Many thanks Jo and Paul for all your hard work over the years.

We must also thank our cooks, drivers and hostesses for all their support and hard work, often stepping in at short notice, which enables us to continue to offer a first-class lunch and a place to meet and chat. A final thanks to the Parish Council and our other village supporters for their continued help.

Lastly, my usual plea to anyone who could come and help us by giving a little of their time which would be very much appreciated by our elderly members. Please get in touch!

Barbara West, Co-ordinator


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.

The Society also continually keeps major plans under review and makes input and representations as and when possible. Detailed analysis can be found in our latest Newsletter which is sent out to Society members.

* The Lower Thames Crossing consultation: This had just ended when our report was prepared last year. Since then DCPS has kept a watch on what has been happening and, along with other Parish Councils (including Higham) and community organisations, etc, has been participating in joint meetings and continuing the fight in various ways. Together, considerable doubt has been cast on the consultation documents, particularly the traffic figures and the actual benefit to Dartford. The outcome of the consultation is still pending at the time of writing.

Other items that are particularly worth mentioning are:

* Land at Canal Road, Higham: In April, we noticed that land between the Thames and Medway Canal and the North Kent Railway line was cleared. This area west of the former Nuralite works is in the Green Belt, was formerly covered in bushes and was useful wild life habitat although part of the area has been used in the past for tipping asbestos waste. A planning application was submitted to Gravesham Borough Council to use the land for considerable tipping of waste, which would have meant thousands of additional lorry movements through lower Higham, and afterwards for open storage. The Society objected and Gravesham Borough Council referred the applicants to Kent County Council but to date nothing further has happened.

* Shornemead crossing: After the successful appeal by Shorne Parish Council (led by Councillors who are also DCPS Committee members) Kent County Council issued a Definitive Map Modification Order early in June 2016 and the crossing was found to have been re-opened just prior.

* Waste recycling, Apex Business Park: This is another topic where DCPS overlaps with Shorne Parish Council, and both submitted objections to increased waste processing as it was considered that the location and road access are unsuitable. Kent County Council, unfortunately, nevertheless, permitted the development.

* Housing developments proposed in Cliffe Woods: The society is aware of planning applications to erect 50 dwellings on farmland to the south and a further 225 to the west of Cliffe Woods. The Society has objected to the latter application. There are concerns about increased traffic on the B2000 and village lanes via Lower Higham.

* Footpaths in Court Wood: The Society has become aware that footpaths have been blocked in Court Wood following land sales. Most of the people using the paths live in Higham but the woods are in Shorne. Please let the Society know if you have used the paths and you have met with any problem.

On lighter matters:

* The Society will be holding its annual Barn Dance on Saturday, 13 May this year.

Mrs Susan Lindley,  Committee Member of DCPS


HiARA is a village social club affiliated to KentAra, which has 84 branches in Kent.

Our programme of speakers continues to be very popular on the fourth Friday of every month and we will carry on with speakers, who have been suggested by members, during 2017.

The Craft section is flourishing, as was particularly evident by the delightful gifts available at Christmas. Our doughty ramblers continue to brave wind and weather on their walks around the country – you are welcome to join them for lunch. Curling, petanque and short mat bowls are well-supported and members will be happy for you to join them.

Each year HiARA adopts a charity to support. 2016 saw us donating our efforts to assist Higham Youth Club to improve their Pavilion and facilities. By the time you read this magazine we shall have chosen our charity for 2017.

The AGM is on 28 April. Do come along, spend time with us and find out what we have to offer you and our 240 members. You will be very welcome.

Pat Oakeshott






Higham WI meet on the first Thursday of the month in Higham Memorial Hall, School Lane at 7.30pm.

The first meeting of the year started with our annual new year meal at the Knowle Restaurant. In May members enjoyed an afternoon tea at Dobbies Garden Centre and a ‘Call the Midwife’ social evening, with many mature expectant mothers to be, two midwives and a nun attending! In June members were creative at an all-day jewellery workshop organised by Mrs Packer. The annual birthday party in August had a different twist this year as the committee had organised a ‘Murder Mystery’ evening and it was enjoyed by all who attended. In October, the ‘Silver Cup’ home economics competition had a bumper number of entries. We had trips to the theatre and some excellent speakers. The year was rounded off in December with our Christmas party with refreshments, singing and dancing and a fantastic drama production courtesy of the drama group.

The 2017 programme is on the Higham Library noticeboard. Do come and join us. As mentioned above, we meet at the Higham Memorial Hall on the first Thursday of the month.

For further information, please contact our President, Mrs Pat Merrison on 01474 823772.

Susan McCarthy


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:

Telephone: 01474 747090

E-mail: jefferyelizabeth18@googlemail.com


We continue to meet at Merston Court lounge fortnightly on Thursday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30pm. New members are especially welcomed at this time.

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 ladies are still attending the craft club although the location has now changed. We have recently moved from St John’s Church Hall in Higham to the Church Community Hall in Lower Higham Road, Chalk. We always welcome new ladies to our classes which are every Tuesday morning from 10am till 12.30pm and still £10 a class (you will make at least one card). This includes tea/coffee/biscuits. If anyone is interested in joining us, please call either Irene on 07341 343518 or Pauline on 07766 768180.

Irene Love and Pauline Powling


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 as many members and their families throughout the year and welcome your support to the many events that take place within the Club.

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 starting at 8.30pm, as well as the first Wednesday of every month starting at 2pm, 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 and within the Club.

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, as well as a Pool table and holds cards evenings and our Golf Society remains as ever active, even if you are a high handicapper! We also have a pigeon club.

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 Bar Manager and team and 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


2016 was the 40th anniversary of the Thames and Medway Canal Association so a special lunch was organised. This was at the Clarendon Royal Hotel in Gravesend (on Sea). An inscribed clock was presented to our Magazine Editor for her years of keeping up the quality of our house magazine.

We were lucky enough to have a couple of visits from the Waterways Recovery Group. This is a roving canal restoration group, males, females, young, old, they love getting dirty at weekends and we count ourselves lucky to have them. We shall also welcome them again in 2017.

We ourselves are working at Mark Lane, on the outskirts of Gravesend (on Sea), keeping the canal edges tidy and litter picking, plus at Higham near the Obelisk. We are extending the canal ever onwards, plus more litter picking and hedge trimming, as well as talking to passers-by and trying to keep an interest in the Thames and Medway Canal.

Angela Acott, Programme Secretary


During 2016 members of the Thames and Medway Canal Association celebrated the 40th anniversary of its foundation. Over 30 members, old and new, joined in a walk along the canal in July and in November a celebratory dinner was held at the Royal Clarendon Hotel.

At long last Network Rail completed the upgrading of the power supply to the Gravesend to Higham section of the line removing a temporary restriction and returning all of the canal to the Association.

We are very glad that the railway crossing at Queen’s Farm has now been reinstated allowing cyclists and pedestrians to gain access to the canal side footpath and cycleway at Shorne Mead Crossing.

It was very disappointing to find that the owners of the Nuralite site have cleared the entire wildlife habitat between the railway and the canal to the east of the Railway crossing. We have made enquiries to local authorities but have been unable to determine the reason behind this. It is hoped that due to its position in a sensitive wild life area the owners will be encouraged to replant the trees and shrubs.

In December we were, again, disappointed to find, in the vicinity of the swing bridge, that several swans lay dead. Only one of a group that had made the Gravesend section their ‘home’ was still swimming around. When reported to the nature authorities we were advised not to touch the birds as they may have succumbed to HN1 bird flu. We were more of the opinion that the birds had been shot as it happened in a very short time and close together.

However, seasonal work by our volunteers continues and trees and shrubs growing in the bed of the canal are slowly being cleared. We do have help from friends of the Waterway Recovery Groups who undertake some of the heavier work. Progress is being made although anybody wishing to join us, either in our work on Tuesday mornings or in the ever present publicity and paperwork, would be very welcome.

Contact E-mail: info@thamesandmedway.co.uk

David Rouse, Chairman

Help make your community safer

Kent Police is recruiting now for volunteer police staff and you could make a real difference to your community. Use your skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to help provide a first-class service protecting and serving the people of Kent. Take on exciting roles, alongside police professionals, that fit around you and the time you can spare. Opportunities include supporting officers/staff in a range of roles. Taking part in community safety and crime reduction initiatives, assisting with CCTV monitoring, general maintenance, including vehicle fleet care, gardening and assisting with facilities. Training will be provided. For more information, please call 01622 653212 or e-mail catherine.mulholland@kent.pnn.police.uk

Kent Police      www.kent.police.uk


This is an annual competition organised by Higham Parish Council and judged on our behalf by horticultural officers from Gravesham Borough Council. 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 32nd anniversary of the competition. The following prize-winners received their awards from the Chairman of Higham Parish Council, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting which was held on Monday, 10 October 2016.

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

SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Margaret and Terence Greenshields, ‘Courtlands’, Crutches Lane.
THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

‘HIGHLY COMMENDED’ (Framed certificate)

‘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’ – JOINT SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)


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

Gary Stowers, 42 St. Johns Road.

SECOND PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

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

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

June and Anthony Stevenson, 3 Hayes Close.

HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45 Bull Lane.
Lisa Ward, 30 Brice Road.

  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Evelyn and John Leach, 32 Telegraph Hill.

  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Nicky and Alan Paternoster, 17 Beech Grove.
Ethel and Walter Phillips, 19 Beech Grove

(Framed certificate)
Jo Raff, Community Hub, Higham Pavilion, Recreation Ground.




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

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

Power Cuts


Saint John’s Church – Fr. James Southward

01634 717360


01474 823806

Tai Chi

07999 346050

Thames and Medway Canal Association

01634 722661

Village Correspondent, Liz Jeffrey 01474 747090

Women’s Institute

01474 823772

Yoga Club 07565 392320






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 Highwoods Close, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BQ 01474 824687

Cllr John Grey

61 School Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7JR

01474 822789

Cllr Mrs Pam Holmes 22 Villa Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BT
01474 824265

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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14 April 2017

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