Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2004

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Dear Parishioners,

It was an honour for me to be elected as your Parish Council chairman last year, following in the footsteps of Mrs Ailsa Wright and Mr Peter Brice. At the time I pledged that I too would do my best for the village, and I aim to do so.

We in Higham were all delighted to hear that the threat of an airport at Cliffe did not materialise and my thanks go to each and everyone for the support that contributed to this result. However, we must not be complacent, as there could be other challenges on the horizon.

There are many issues in the village, and one that will not have gone un-noticed is the growing vandalism in our midst, especially around the Memorial Hall and the station. Our public phone boxes are now unusable. This is something that affects us all but at the same time we can all contribute to a solution.

We are blessed in Higham with a number of clubs and organisations and many of them rely on volunteers. If you are willing to help, a spare hour or two in a week will do, please let me know.

The Parish Council meets at the Memorial Hall every six weeks. The dates are published in advance, so please join us to air your views. It is your right to attend and I always enjoy meeting new people.

You are cordially invited to attend this year's Annual Parish Assembly on Thursday, 29 April 2004, which will celebrate the end of the long campaign against the siting of an airport at Cliffe and the protection of our natural heritage. Do try and join us for a glass of bubbly and some food. We hope to see you there.

My best wishes to you all,

Jennifer Papadopulos



We make no apology for the front cover of this booklet featuring the Cliffe Airport issue for the second year running. For too long this issue has blighted our lives and the final decision by Alistair Darling on 16 December 2003 was anxiously awaited. Whilst our relief was obvious, we must not forget those who now live in the shadow of the proposed airport expansion.

This was an issue which united both Medway and Gravesham Parishes alike, and fostered new links and friendships as we fought, side by side, with other communities similarly affected. It was revealed that there were more letters of objection for the proposed site at Cliffe than for any of the others under consideration, and we thank you all for your support. However, we must not became complacent. Already there is mention of a Lower Thames Crossing and we must remain vigilant.

We warmly invite you to celebrate the Protection of our Natural Heritage by joining us at our Annual Parish Assembly which will take place at the Memorial Hall, on Thursday, 29 April 2004, at 7.30 p.m.

Linda Carnall, Clerk





Balance B/Fwd


Recreation Ground etc


Precept 2003/2004


Administration Expenses



Allotment Rents




Other Receipts


Miscellaneous Expenses, (including Pavilion insurance)




Deposit A/C Interest


Subscriptions and Fees


National Savings Investment a/c Interest



Clerk's Salary and Expenses for provision of office




VAT Reclaim


VAT paid


Grants received















TSB Current Account




TSB Deposit Account




National Savings Investment Account





TSB Special Projects Account













The balance carried forward reflects the unused general and specific contingency funds, as well as funds for work carried out, and for which invoices are still awaited.

 A copy of the audited accounts for the financial year ended 31.3.03 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.


As in previous years, every front garden in the village was considered when the judges toured the Parish looking for gardens that gave the passer-by the most visual pleasure. In reaching a final decision the judges awarded points for colour, choice of plants and cultivation and the overall design of the garden.

Last year marked the 19th anniversary of the competition and the following prize-winners received their awards from the Chairman of Higham Parish Council, Councillor Jennifer Papadopulos, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting which was held on Monday, 8 September 2003.


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

Mr and Mrs H Busbridge - 3A Mountbatten Avenue.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs R Bolton - 'Courtlands', Crutches Lane.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs C Milner - 'Pierredor', Gore Green Road.


HIGHLY COMMENDED (Framed certificate)

Victor Message and Jennifer Stopher - 2 Martins Close.

Mr and Mrs Stowers - 42 St Johns Road.

Linda Carnall, Clerk to Higham Parish Council



This is an increasing problem in our village and I receive many complaints. Please clean up after your pet and leave us all with a cleaner and healthier village.

Pat Oakeshott



During the year over 60 applications for extensions/building works have come to the Parish Council. Each one is very carefully inspected to ensure that nothing threatens residents' privacy or is unsuitable for our village. There have been a few controversial applications which we have managed to get the Borough Council to refuse.

Several of you were concerned about the telephone mast on the A226. Unfortunately, it was under 15 metres high and did not require planning permission. I'm afraid that there was nothing I could do about it.

If you have any concerns over planning, please ring me (01474 822771).

Pat Oakeshott



As you all know, your Parish Council is committed to providing low cost homes in our village to enable young families to live here.

During the early summer a survey will be carried out to find out how many people (not only the young ones) will be needing accommodation up to 2012. For example, if you think you will need sheltered housing or a small bungalow, then please fill in the survey and also complete the Housing Register form. If this is not filled in, you will not be eligible for any housing. Please help us by returning completed forms.

Pat Oakeshott



The Kent Association of Parish Councils (KAPC) is a representative body for all Parish and Town Councils in Kent. KAPC is a member of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC). Being a member of NALC enables grass root level authorities to influence Government policy making and also matters raised by other bodies whose activities could impact on communities like ours.

To ensure that advice and guidance on all matters relating to Councillors and their work is always available the Parish Council continues to pay an annual subscription based on the number of Band D or equivalent dwellings in the Parish.

Two councillors from each of the six parishes in Gravesham Borough (Higham, Shorne, Cobham, Luddesdown, Meopham and Vigo) make up a KAPC area committee. This committee meets quarterly when issues which affect our communities are discussed. Relevant information is referred to the Parish Councils or forwarded to KAPC for action and/or discussion at Executive Committee level. Two members of the local committee are elected to the Executive Committee each year. This year Sylvia Saunders (Higham) and William Richardson (Meopham) also attend quarterly meetings of the Executive.

The KAPC hold an Annual General Meeting in November of each year when the two representatives from each parish council can vote on issues raised. KAPC also issue a quarterly newsletter entitled 'Parish News' which keeps councils up-to-date with matters which affect parishes in Kent. This newsletter is retained by the Parish Clerk and parishioners can ask to see it if they wish.

Sylvia Saunders and Stuart Wright



This year I will be concentrating on speeding vehicles within the village; this will be done using the speed indication device (S.I.D.). If you are caught exceeding the required speed limit you can expect a letter telling you what speed you were doing and this will stay on file, if caught again you will receive a final warning and this will stay on file, if you are caught a third time you will receive a 60 fine and three points. As there is an increase in traffic within the village due to the rail tunnel closure it is in everyone's best interest to keep the speed down. Most fatalities are children aged between 5 and 15. COULD YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF IF YOU TOOK A LIFE?  

We still need people to be vigilant when in and around the village and things should be reported no matter how trivial it may seem. If you see something out of the ordinary make a note of it. This can soon be done using prompts, a card designed to help you help the emergency services. It's known as community project against crime (C.PAC) and comes in the form of an A4 sheet for your home and a card for your wallet or purse.

Horse owners may find this useful as there has been a spate of tack thefts most of which is never recovered, due to a lack of identifying markings. North Kent police will offer free advice on the security of your tack. You can phone Meopham police office on 01474 565008 and speak to an officer or leave a message (not open 24 hours) for information on the marking of tack can also be obtained through TACK TAGS 01634 242434 or MICROMARK 0870 8707107.

ALARMS FOR HIRE! If you are planning on a holiday in the near future and are worried that you don't have an alarm then you can speak to P.C. Alison Duffort or myself. The house alarms are easy to use and I am sure will give you peace of mind while you are away. There is NO cost for hire and they are there for your use.

If anyone has any type of concern on any subject I can be contacted on 07811 271256.

Steve Enright, Rural Community Warden, KCC/Kent Police Partnership



Residents may have noticed that PC Tracy Mears has now moved on. I have now taken over as Police Community Officer with responsibility for Higham along with several other villages. I will continue to work alongside Steve Enright, the Rural Warden.

With regards to crime in Higham the last few months have seen an increase in Criminal Damage. Whilst some of this can be put down to persons outside the village, it must be realised that the majority is committed by local youngsters. I would ask parents to always be aware of where their children are going, what they are doing and with whom. It is very disappointing to see in particular that things that belong to the community, for example, The Memorial Hall have become a target for vandalism. Please be sure to report any damage to the Police as this is the only way that we can become aware if there is a problem.

Kent Police are currently dealing with nuisance motorcyclists under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act. This means that any person found driving in a careless or inconsiderate manner, whether on road or off road, will receive a warning and should they be found doing this again they will have their vehicle seized. This is in addition to current laws regarding riding off the road. A recent operation on a Sunday resulted in the seizure of four motorcycles in the Higham area.

Please also be aware that Go-peds and small 'novelty 'motorcycles are classified by the Road Traffic Act to be motor vehicles. Anyone riding one of these is required by law to have a licence, crash helmet and insurance. Please contact me should you need any further clarification.

Fly-tipping continues to be a nuisance here as across the rest of the County. Should anyone see any fly-tipping in progress, please immediately call the Police. If possible please try and get the registration number and vehicle type. Prosecutions are normally enforced by the Environment Agency, who can be reached on 0800 807060 (24 hours).

I can be reached, or messages left, on 01474 565008, for any enquiries. However, anyone requiring immediate Police attendance should always call Gravesend Police on 01474 331055 and if urgent 999.

Alison Duffort



As many of you will know, we became Highcliffe Medical Practice with effect from 1 October 2003. The Practice incorporates the Practices at Higham and Cliffe.

Our team consists of three Doctors, Practice Manager, Nurse Practitioner, two Practice Nurses, one Health Care Assistant, two Senior Receptionists, five Receptionists, Secretary and two Cleaners. All the staff work over both sites. As well as the practice staff, we liaise with other National Health Service staff such as District Nurses, Midwife, Health Visitors, School Nurse and staff from the local hospice.

I would like to thank all those patients who have so willingly completed the patient survey which we have recently been conducting. It is hoped that when the results of this survey are analysed, we will be able to improve the service which we offer to the community.

We held a very successful fundraising day for 'Children in Need' in November when we raised 596. It was felt by both patients and staff that this was a very successful and happy occasion. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made the event so successful. It was just a pity that the weather was so wet for the coffee morning.

Finally, if you have comments or concerns. please do not hesitate to contact the surgery and we will do our best to help.

Isobel B Meredith, Practice Manager



Patient Forums are aligned with every NHS Trust and have extensive new powers to involve the public in health and healthcare and to influence health and health services. Patients Forums will:

Patient & Public Involvement Forums will be supported by the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health who were set up in January 2003.

We have been invited to give a short presentation at Higham Parish Council's forthcoming Annual Parish Assembly on 29 April 2004. We very much look forward to meeting the Parish Council, along with other community groups located within the Parish, and answer any questions you may have or to arrange for a Forum member to attend any of your group meetings.

We look forward to meeting many of you on the evening of the Annual Parish Assembly but should you have any questions or would like to receive further information on the work of Patient Forums then please do not hesitate to contact either Claire or Jane on 01303 297050.

Claire Munday



The 'Special Services' held in December were quite successful. The visit by the Gravesend Corps 'Salvation Army Band' was well supported and we look forward to their visit in 2004.

We look to the New Year to herald perhaps a new beginning for our Church with the possibility that new refurbishment might be undertaken to prepare to serve the people of Higham for many years to come.

May we extend to you all a warm invitation to come to our Coffee Mornings to be held on Saturdays, once a month, 10.30am until 12.30pm on the following dates:

Saturday, 17 April


Saturday, 10 July

Saturday, 8 May


Saturday, 14 August

Saturday, 12 June


Saturday, 11 September

Look out for other events as advertised:

Harvest in September.

Special services in December.

Come and join us. Make new friends. We would like to meet you!!!

Peter Christopher, Leader



This year the Charity received twelve applications, ten from single applicants and two from couples. The trust awarded 45 to individual applicants and 90 to couples. The distribution was made before Christmas and delivered by Councillor Anne Waugh. There have been no changes to the trustees since my last report.

Leslie Baker, Secretary to the Charity



The Ecclesiastical Parish of Higham (Ss John & Mary) with Merston, Diocese of Rochester - Church of England

S.John's remains open each day for your private visits, as well as daily public worship (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and the Eucharist). The CCTV system and regular 'visitors' enables this to be so.

Church and Village lost one of its great stalwarts and characters in February 2003 with the death of Mrs Violet Welham. She is sorely missed by many, especially her team of workers and supporters at the 'Tea Afternoons' she hosted so admirably over the years.

2003 saw (after a decade of fund-raising) the complete re-slating and re-decoration inside of the Church at a cost of over 110,000. Nevertheless the Church remained open most of the time. We are grateful to all who sponsored slates in the spring appeal. The 6,500 raised was of immense help in the final months. This year we begin fund-raising for the repair of the stained glass window at the west end of the Church which will cost about 12,000. We will be doing works to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act but, please note, we do already have a loop system, ramp access and large-print material.

Children's work (0-10 years) is held on Sunday mornings and for over-l l's on Sunday evenings. On the first and third Thursdays a parent/toddler group meets at 12.15pm. Father James remains a Governor of both Higham Primary and S.George's School, Gravesend. He speaks at assembly regularly in Higham Primary and occasionally at Gad's Hill School.

S.Mary's Church was used for worship last year. We will be using it again, (by kind permission of the owners) this year on 21 March (4pm), 19 June (at Noon), 15 August and 3 October both at 10am. Please note that although S.Mary's is no longer ours the Churchyard is, and is still open for full burials or cremated remains. A big thank-you again to many individuals, not always church members, who volunteer with all sorts of practical help in and around both S.John's and S.Mary's Churches.

Finally two items of good news. First the Bishop of Rochester will be in the parish to confirm and administer first holy communion on Thursday 13th May at 7.30pm. Secondly we welcomed John Etherton as our permanent organist after 18 months without one.

Details of any aspect of S.John's worship or activities can be obtained from Father James Southward, Vicar of Higham with Merston, telephone 01634 717360.

 Father James Southward



The aim of the Group is to provide an opportunity to those members of the community, who wish to do so, to come together and sing and, by giving concerts, to raise money for charity. The Group rehearses every Monday at Higham Chapel and performs regularly in local churches in the area at Christmas, Easter, during the summer and at other times when the opportunity arises.

 During 2003 at Eastertime, we performed 'Magnificat' by John Rutter and 'Songs of Springtime' by E. J. Moeran. In the summer we sang Karl Jenkins' 'Adiemus' by candlelight at St Mary's Church accompanied by a string quartet from London. At Christmas in St John's Higham we sang Saint-Saens' 'Christmas Oratorio'.

 During the year we had a successful singing tour in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire and are returning to sing there in May 2004.

 Forthcoming events:- Easter Concert 3 April ; Summer Concert 10 July ; Christmas Concert 18 December. 

If you would like information about the concerts or would be interested in joining us please contact me on 01474 822702.

 Wendy Hance



Higham Library aims to provide a range of services including books for adults and children and has a good range of videos, which are well used. There is a general information service, including reference and local studies books.

Later on in the summer the Higham Library will be added to the on-line library database as part of a major project across Kent to extend the computerised service to an additional 47 libraries. This will mean a much more efficient service, providing better access to the whole of Kent Libraries' stock of books, videos, DVDs etc. Library members will also be able to reserve and renew items for themselves via the on-line catalogue.  

The library also has three public computers providing free Internet access and other PC based packages such as word processing. There is a small fee to print. There is also a photocopier and fax service.  

Higham Library works to encourage children to use the library and promotes literacy and educational achievement. Each summer the library takes part in the national summer reading scheme, the Summer Reading Challenge, an annual event, which is designed to encourage children to continue reading over the school holiday. This year, 67 children took part in the event at Higham Library.  

The Library runs a 'Coffee and Chat' afternoon, this is an informal group which meets to talk about books they have enjoyed, or hated. This is proving very popular with those who attend. For more details of library services please ring the library on 01474 823822.

Katy Hill 


As most of you know, due to injury I have been unable to drive since June. The library books have been delivered by Mrs Jo Smith, to whom I am extremely grateful for all her help. If you are housebound or disabled and need books, do please ring the Library - telephone number 01474 823822. Large print books and talking books can also be delivered on request.

Pat Oakeshott



The past 12 months have seen a gradual increase in the use of our village hall. The Higham Active Retirement Association is thriving with lots of proposed activities for these young at heart. It is good to see the Hall being used as a village hall should be with hardly a spare hour available in a packed year of bookings. 

This past year has seen our fund-raising Boot fairs becoming even more popular by sellers and punters alike with some people even coming from across the water (Southend).  

The finances for the updating of the hall and car park are still being worked on. 

The only down side is the continuing problems we have from the vandals in our midst, but we are not to be beaten by them. 

Keith Bradley, Chairman



This group meets on a Wednesday afternoon at Higham Memorial Hall from 1.30 to 3pm. The cost of the afternoon, which includes refreshments is 2 per family. The group is hosted by two members of staff from the Kindergarten. Fiona and June provide the children with opportunities to take part in a variety of play activities which have include feet painting, collage, music and finger painting. They are available to entertain your toddlers, but sole responsibility for them remains with yourselves, as parents.

Do pop in and take the opportunity to meet other parents and toddlers. For more information contact Suzanne Green on 07813 705136.

Suzanne Green



This popular group operates from both the Memorial Hall and the Pavilion on Higham Recreation Ground. We have changed registration status! We are now a full daycare provision, opening daily, term time only, from 9am to 3.15pm. Children wishing to stay for the full day are required to bring a packed lunch. We continue to provide quality childcare at a very reasonable cost. With the new initiative from the Government, children from the age of three, depending on their birth date, will be entitled to five funded sessions at the Kindergarten.

We do have a waiting list and do attract children from the surrounding areas including Cliffe, Cliffe Woods, Strood and Gravesend. So do register your child as soon as possible. We provide an exciting, varied but balanced curriculum that covers all areas of development and meets with Ofsted approval. We have a strong dedicated team of qualified people who strive to provide your child with the best care and education but who all acknowledge that the most important factor is that they have FUN. For more details or a prospectus please call Suzanne Green on 07813 705136.

Suzanne Green



The year 2003 was one of innovation and change for Higham School. New members of staff joined the school and have settled well. Amongst them we have welcomed a new Deputy Headteacher, Mr Michael Allen, who is proving to be an asset to the school. Our Ofsted report was not as helpful as we had hoped it would be; it presented the school with some challenges which have been taken up and are being thoroughly addressed. This means lots of hard work for all the staff who are working well as a team to achieve the common goal of the best possible education for the children of Higham. I am pleased to say that the friendly, caring atmosphere of the school has also been maintained alongside all the hard work. Our end of year test results were very pleasing and showed improvement on previous years.

Our gardening club continues to thrive thanks to the help of Mr Brown (the husband of one of our teachers) and the pond area is looking the better for it. Thank you to those of you who responded to our request for pond plants, they have now established themselves and are helping to provide a healthy environment for our growing fish.

The ICT suite has proved to be a great success and the children remain excited and enthusiastic about using it. We now have a web site established; this can be accessed at www.higham.kent.sch.uk

During the year the school has raised money for various charities. Just before Christmas we were joined by the Salvation Army for an evening of Christmas Carols and readings.

Our Year 5 residential trip to Rippledown House (just outside Dover) is booked again for this year. All our children go on day trips related to the curriculum to make their learning come to life. We also have visitors into the school, who share their experiences and/or expertise with the children. If you feel you could offer your help to the school please do not hesitate to contact us.

Susan Greenfield, Headteacher



2003 proved as eventful as 2002, mainly due to the Ofsted visit, the results of which showed that although the children were enjoying their time at school and were progressing well, they could, in fact, attain more. It is, of course, easy to accept that as the children were achieving their targets, we should be satisfied. This is not the way of current educationalists and so we had to make strenuous efforts to raise the children's level of achievement.

The efforts of all the staff, with the support of the children's parents and with the Governors becoming more involved in checking that attainment levels were being reached and new higher ones being set, has led clearly to a great improvement.

The number of children attaining higher levels in their SATs at Level 2 is noticeable, and although league tables are not the panacea, we have moved up the league! We also had a far higher number of children (by ratio) pass their 11+ exams and move into Grammar schools than other local schools did last September.

As is invariably the case when a new Head Teacher is appointed, there tends to be a movement of some of the established staff. This has been the case in Higham, but as it is a popular school, we have been able to recruit really good quality teachers.

We are currently developing the school and we are building an all-weather 'soft touch' playground for the children under 5-years-old. The old Victorian building requires a continuous maintenance programme and we are hoping to replace windows and some emergency doors this year.

Naturally all this depends on the School having sufficient funds with which to do this and we are continually seeking extra money to improve the school.

The Parish Council are pleased with the way in which the school has reacted to the tough achievement levels that have been set, and are delighted that the first fruits have been realised with the children's attainments as shown above.

Malcolm L James



Another successful year of fund-raising has helped boost our profits to assist the school in purchasing many much needed items.

Our Summer Fayre and Xmas Fayre just get better and better, both again breaking profit records. Our whole-hearted thanks go out to all the community, for without their support - whether helping out or just turning up on the day - these records would not be achieved.

So where does the money go? This year, it was the Football Team's turn to be re-kitted. Also, we have donated 7,000 towards the new under-cover play area which is currently being erected for the reception classes. We are purchasing a printer which will enable a faster printing service for the children's work instead of the work being stockpiled unnecessarily on slower-servicing printers. As usual, we gave each class a sum to purchase a Xmas present of their own choice. Much-needed new music equipment has been bought and a revival of the old May Tradition - a Maypole will be danced around this year; the children learning the traditional dances from a workshop video.

Everyone has helped tirelessly this year but new blood will always be welcome to give fresh new ideas and also to help spread out the hard work which is involved in producing these fund-raising events and, once again, I thank everyone for their help and support.

Leslie Pearton, Chair (01474 822080)



The year was principally one of consolidation following several years of quite major redevelopments and staffing changes. These changes and improvements were very necessary and have enabled us to transform Gad's into an excellent independent school delivering a first class quality of education for our children.

The new academic year opened after a summer of considerable redevelopment of our Junior and Kindergarten departments. The Junior classrooms had been enlarged to create more teaching space and the Kindergarten had relocated to the Crutches Lane end of the school to enable it to create its own identity. The Kindergarten is now centred around a new temporary classroom for K2, with the nursery moving into what was the old caretaker's cottage. With new children-sized toilets, a play area and play equipment; and with totally redecorated and reconfigured classrooms, the children were at last able to benefit from an environment specifically designed with younger children in mind.

The Senior School opened its doors in September 2002 to slightly less dramatic changes although it still received considerable investment to improve its teaching facilities with a new Design & Technology workshop, a second ICT suite and new and experienced teachers for Geography, ICT and History.

As guardians of Dickens's heritage we are always concerned about the accelerated erosion to key historical features of the house brought about by a growing and successful school. By being able to move the equivalent of four classrooms worth of children out of Gad's Hill Place we felt we could lessen the pressure on the historic building. Consequently; the school began negotiations with Gravesham Council and Higham Parish Council to secure temporary teaching accommodation to help alleviate the pressure on Gad's Hill Place while we continue to search for a more permanent site for the school and new heritage centre. Discussions with Gravesham Council identified two potential sites and it was eventually agreed that the best site was one by the greenhouse as it had less visual impact upon Gad's Hill Place. There was significant interest in our planning application and the school worked very closely with the planning department, Parish and Borough councillors and local residents in an effort to find a design, which was least intrusive to Gad's Hill Place and the greenbelt.

Gad's offers more than just good academic results as like many other good independent schools it is able to add better value to children's education with its small classes, where every child is known. Close pastoral supervision from Form Tutors who have an interest in ensuring each child is happy, working to the best of their ability and getting the most out of their time at school. We offer a large range of extra-curricular activities as well as plenty of music, drama, sports, swimming and competitive fixtures. School is a large part of a child's life and being able to enjoy it, to take part in the range of activities on offer and to learn new skills is a vital part of their development.

David Craggs, Headteacher



1st Higham Rainbows opened in November 2002 with 7 girls aged between 5 to 7 years old. The group has flourished through 2003 to a full capacity of 15. The girls meet weekly to take part in a variety of activities from creative crafts, cooking, nature walks, songs and games.

During 2003 Rainbows visited Shorne Country Park for an evening of pond dipping and a scavenger hunt, which was very interesting. We also visited Higham Brownies for an entertaining evening of beetle drive. The girls have also undertaken their duty by attending Church Parade on Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival and Remembrance Service. In November seven of 1st Higham Rainbows joined other Rainbow units from the Region at the Rainbow Rumpus, which was an afternoon of crafts and games. Good fun was had by all.

We meet weekly on Fridays from 5pm at St. John's Church Hall. If your daughter would like to join please contact Julie Healey on 01474 822008.

Julie Healey



Higham Brownies continues to thrive and, although we do have a waiting list, the girls held a 'Bring a Friend' evening whereby the girls brought a friend of Brownie age along to see if they would like to join Brownies in the future.

In September 2003 the Brownie movement changed over to a new scheme called Brownie Adventure; this entailed some of the more traditional aspects of the movement being dropped and new ideas taking their place, although individual packs could decide which way to go. On consultation with the Brownies, Higham has decided to have a mix of both traditional and new ideas incorporated into their meetings.

This year on the 7 February we went to the Red Cross Centre, Gravesend, to do a First Aid badge and a Swimming Gala was planned by some Brownies later that month. In March the Brownies will be making Mother's Day presents and not forgetting Father's Day later in the year. Bonnets will be made and paraded at Easter.

Lastly, Thames Division Brownies is 90-years-old this year and a party will be held at a Gravesham school in June to celebrate.

Linda Cooper



We have had two highlights in the last year. Firstly, in April four of the Guides were chosen to go to Guide Headquarters in London for a photo shoot. These photographs were to be used in publications available to all Guides in the UK. The four girls had a lovely day out and were thrilled to see their photographs in two of the resources packs.

We took part in the Kay's Garden sponsored walk, went trampolining at Jumpers in Gillingham, joined Gravesend guides for a fun activity evening at Hope Hill, Meopham and, at the beginning of December, we went ice skating at Gillingham.

During our weekly meetings the girls have tackled various challenges mostly chosen and organised by them. Some of the things they have done are: making bird tables, decorating football shirts, making cakes, decorating picture frames and making pizzas. In 2004 we look forward to trying out some new activities and having another camp or, maybe, two.

If your daughter is interested in joining us and would like to find out more about 1st Higham Guides please contact Mary Lane on 01474 822107.

Mary Lane



 The Scout Group would like to thank Higham residents (and many of those just innocently passing through!) who gave most generously last November to our BBC 'Children in Need' collection. With your help and donations we raised over 1,300 for the appeal. Many thanks.

During the last year a team of our Scouts won the District 2-day 15 mile hiking competition, both Cubs and Scouts attended weekend camps, they took part in abseiling, swimming and lots of other activities. If you'd like to come along and join us in the Memorial Hall, or just come along and see what we do, give us a ring.

Scout group





6-8 years



Carole: 01474 823492


8-101 years

Fridays 6.30-8pm

Carolyn: 01474 823187


101 -14 years

Fridays 8-10pm

Peter: 01474 823806


14-18 years

Monday evenings

(not in village)

Peter: 01474 823806

 Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts are open to both boys and girls. Helpers are open to young at heart men and women from 16 to 65! We always need helpers, if you fancy giving it a go please call Peter: 01474 823806.  

Peter Allinson



The Dickens' Country Protection Society has largely been busy over the past year with helping to fight the campaign against the airport at Cliffe. Thankfully, this threat has now gone away (or will it be resurrected again a few years down the line - we hope not?).

However, not all our energies have been expended on airport issues. We have still been keeping an ever watchful eye on planning issues. I wonder why it is that the same planning applications seem to crop up time and time again. Do people really think that the powers that be will be eventually worn down by persistence? Sadly, this is often the case - but it doesn't stop the D.C.P.S. from doing its best.

For the coming year we are organising a barn dance, details of which will be coming out soon. Watch this space! We are always looking for worthy causes on which we can spend some of our money - so if anyone knows of a project which is relevant to our aims and objectives, please get in contact.

Pat Lippiatt, Secretary



Many of you will have noticed the seat in Hermitage Road which affords excellent views of the river. We are indebted to the Rail Link Countryside Initiative for providing the funding and the farmer, Mr Richard Whitebread, for allowing it to be sited in this position.

We are also grateful to Kent County Council who have given us a grant from the Rural Partnership Fund to help finance the replacement fencing to the Multi-Purpose Games Area.

Linda Carnall



Again the parish has had a fairly trouble-free year. We have had a few paths not being reinstated after ploughing. I have had some new steps put in where the footpath joins the main Gravesend/Strood road near Gad's Hill. The usual annual clearance work has taken place throughout the parish. The footpath in Crutches Lane that goes across to Bowesdon Lane has at last been re-opened. A bund has been put round part of the field to stop illegal parking and fly-tipping.

A new rights of way officer has been appointed by K.C.C. who has proved very quick at responding to any problems. If you should see any problems on public rights of way within the parish please let me know and I will try and get them resolved. Also if you want any help with planning a walk do give me a ring.

Happy walking.

Anne Waugh



I read somewhere recently that the Government thought allotments were going to be trendy and fashionable during 2004. Well, Parishioners, now is your chance to be trendy and fashionable by taking on a Parish Allotment. There are a number of plots available now just off Hermitage Road and after an early spring start and a little effort you may soon be enjoying the fruits of your labours. All plots have access to a water stand-pipe and cost 6 per annum.

Please apply to the Parish Clerk for details of vacant plots.

Happy Gardening!

Alan Howard



After an uncertain start to 2003, fresh ideas and suggestions all helped by three new faces joining the existing committee, have resulted in a successful year.

We had some good speakers ranging from garden topics, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Gad's Hill and a most entertaining evening was spent learning about tea and the art of tea tasting correctly. On a perfect June evening we visited a garden at Great Buckland.

In July we held the Summer Show, together with the plant sale, which is getting more popular each year. This was followed in September by the Autumn Show and the year ended with a Ploughman's Supper.

We meet at 8pm the second Thursday of each month in the Memorial Hall, if you have an interest in gardening you would be most welcome.

Peggy Husband



Progress at last!! The old concrete foundation that was in the corner of the play area has now been removed; two new concrete paths have been laid, one from the Landway round the gate into the small car park and the other from the small car park to the entrance to the Pavilion and, finally, the protective humps have been erected along the west face of the Pavilion. 

Hopefully, before the Parish Assembly, the tall conifers in this corner will have been cut down to half their present height and trimmed back so allowing more light into this area.

Again our thanks to Gravesham for regularly cutting the grass and if you use the Recreation Ground we hope you enjoy it but please do take your rubbish home with you.

Dougall Goring



Higham Village Sports Association has had a successful 2003/4 with new clubs using the facilities.  

In January 2004, work was started and completed on the installation of the new perimeter fencing which looks absolutely excellent! Unfortunately we have already suffered malicious damage to the new fencing, caused by delinquents who have no appreciation of the cost either in time or resources it has taken to complete this long-awaited project.

We look forward to a thriving year for Higham's sports facilities. Please come and take a look at the work that has been undertaken and make use of our village facilities. Have fun, stay fit and healthy! Bookings can be made at the Village Greengrocers in School Lane.


Christina Gladwell

01474 822329

Booking Secretary

(Affiliated Clubs)

Ann Kevill

01474 822448


Village Greengrocers in School Lane

01474 823954

Christina Gladwell



The bowling club has enjoyed another good year with excellent attendance by its members. We meet in the school hall every Friday night. At the present time we have a full membership, but any Higham residents are welcome to put their name on the waiting list. Contact A Pearce on
01474 822958.

A Pearce



Playball football coaching is run by Neil Stephens (FA qualified coach), who has started pre-school coaching sessions for boys & girls aged between 21/2 and 41/2 years at the Memorial Hall, Higham every Monday afternoon in two half-hourly sessions from 1-1.30pm and 1.30- 2pm. The sessions give the children of their age group a chance to start learning basic skills, which will develop co-ordination and thinking plus fitness and most of all enjoyment. All this will lead them to a head start when they reach school age.

Neil Stephens also runs hour-long football sessions at Legends which is next to Cascades, Thong Lane, Gravesend for ages 5-upwards, on a Wednesday 4 -7pm. Hopefully the pre-school sessions will eventually become a feeder group to the Gravesend sessions.

If anyone is interested in any of these football sessions please feel free to telephone Neil or Clare Stephens on 01634 311481 or mobile 0780 3588282.

 Neil Stephens



The cricket season ended with us maintaining a respectable position in the Kent Village League. This all occurred at a steady pace, the pattern only being disturbed once by Kevin Twitchett, who upon opening the batting one sunny afternoon, head butted the cricket ball and spent a week in hospital with a fractured eye socket. Thankfully, Kevin has made a full recovery and the experience has not dampened his enthusiasm or commitment!

We all enjoyed a successful and well oiled tour to Cambridge during the May Bank Holiday - an exercise hopefully to be repeated this year!

Work on the ground and pavilion are on-going - the showers are almost there! To this end thanks goes out to all our valued supporters and members who regularly attend the various fund-raising activities. Anyone else wishing to join the merry throng, be it in a playing or supporting capacity, can give me a call on 01634 221677. Here's to the new season!

Christine Abernethy, Social Co-ordinator



This year we have increased our teams to three: under-18s, under-11s and under-10s and are hoping to run under-8s from next season. Training is on Saturday mornings at Higham Primary School between 9.30 and 11am.





All our teams have done well again this season, the under-18s and under 10s reaching the quarter finals of the League Cup but, unfortunately, getting knocked out. However, our under-11s have reached the semi-finals of the Supplementary Cup and we hope will win through to the final. Well done to all teams, especially the under-10s - this being their first season together. If you require any further information regarding the Club, please contact the Secretary (01474 822607).

Pat Jeal, Secretary



Higham Football Club was re-established in the season of 2002/3. Fifty per cent of the team are from the village, with the remaining fifty per cent coming from neighbouring towns or villages.

Last year we were proudly awarded the Rochester and District Fair Player Shield and finished

The team meet at the Gardeners Arms Public House before matches and our home ground is Higham Recreation Ground. All are welcome to join us and our fixtures are displayed at the Gardeners Arms where Frank and Gerry have made us feel more than welcome by providing food and drinks for the team after the match, to either celebrate or drown our sorrows.

This year the Club plans to organise a charity event and will raise funds in conjunction with the Gardeners Arms for a local charity. Please note that we are always looking for new players and supporters.

Contact Steven on 01474 824084 or 07717 746453 or enquire at the Gardeners Arms for more details.

S Rabson, Club Secretary



Higham Working Men's Club has been in existence for over 100 years and we are lucky to have a club in such a central village location, that can be reached on foot.

The Club is beautifully kept by our Stewardess, Sue and her assistant Tina. This year we hope to carry out refurbishment work to the Club. Please come and support us. It's not just a working men's club it's a great family club too! 

We look forward to welcoming you to your village club.

 Andy Dye, Secretary



I am pleased to report that the senior section continues to grow from strength to strength, so much so that the players are now giving the coaches a good run for their money.

It is also pleasing to report that the Jack Wright Award was given to Joe Howard this year for being the most improved player. Joe at the beginning of the year left the junior section to join the senior one and immediately made his presence felt giving all who played against him a tough game.

The senior competition remains to be concluded. The top two contenders for the 2003 first spot are Daniel Howard and Rob Humphries. The competition throughout has been closely contested, with little quarter given by Harry Bolton, Rab Forbes, Nick Humphries and Joe Howard. As all players are LTA registered their results go forward and count towards their LTA rating.

In 2002 the junior section had so many players that the club contemplated having two junior sessions on the Saturday to cope with the numbers; rather disappointingly the opposite occurred in 2003. The numbers dropped to no more than a handful and, as a result, we had to combine the junior and senior session on a Saturday morning to minimise losses. The bright spot from this news is that the juniors who did attend received more intensive coaching resulting in a clear improvement in their game, particular mention goes to Christopher Greenwood here.

The new season starts on the 3 April and we encourage all young players to come along and join in the fun. We will start again with the junior session at 9 to 10.15am and the senior session from 10.15 to 11.30am. Up until that time we will still be having the one session from 9.30am to 10.45am.

John Forbes, Coach



Beaver Swimming Club has been based primarily at Hoo Swimming Pool for many years. Although not exactly in the jurisdiction of the Parish of Higham, it has been established and run, amongst others, by many residents of the village.

Within the last few years, it expanded from being an infamous teaching club to a very competitive club with its swimmers achieving many victories. Unfortunately, in December 2003, the Club hit hard times and was forced to lose many members of its competitive swimming squad. Much of the Committee resigned and a Special General Meeting was held in January 2004 to establish the future of the Club.

I am pleased to say that the heritage of the Club has been saved with a brand new Committee emerging and the resolve to return primarily as a Teaching Club for which it was always very successful. With our President, Bert Trevellion, myself as Chair, a Committee of eight, all from the Medway/Gravesend areas, and some of the best swimming teachers around, the Beaver Swimming Club has and will survive.

For anybody who is interested for their child/ren aged five and over to join this successful teaching club, please contact either myself (01474 822080) or Mrs Mary Hassell (Membership Secretary) on 01634 270374.

Finally, I would like to thank all those who have remained faithful to the Club and who have aided its resurrection.

Les Pearton, Chair



On Monday afternoons, the Higham Memorial Hall is filled with the sounds of children acting, singing and dancing as they sharpen their talents in the performing arts.

2003 was another successful year for the workshop. The highlight of the year was a cabaret evening production entitled "Musical Moments" in June. This featured songs and excerpts from well-known musicals and it was thoroughly enjoyed by both audience and performers.

In November 2003, Stage Arts pupil, Alice Tiller, was declared National Young Entertainer of the Year when she won the finals of a national talent competition sponsored by Pontins and Pepsi. Pupils from Stage Arts also entered the Gravesham Festival of Music and Speech and achieved excellent results including the award of three cups.

Productions during 2004 will include a spectacular performance of the pantomime "Cinderella" in March at the end of the Spring term.

The Stage Arts Workshop is run by Angela Shade. For further details about how your children could benefit from these workshops, or to find out how you can obtain tickets for the shows, give Angela a call on 01634 403926.

Angela Shade



Our patch work and quilting group, which meets twice a month on a Thursday evening at Merston Court Lounge, continues to thrive. We now have a full group of 16 members and will hold a waiting list.

As the heading shows, we have a new group name of Copperfield Quilters. This is in effect from January 2004. During the past year even more beautiful quilts have been produced during our friendly chat and sew sessions. You are always welcome to call in and see our work.

We have relished the National Quilt shows during the past year visiting Cambridge, Alexander Palace and Sandown Park, etc. In February 2004 we visited the Quilt Festival at Ardingly in Sussex. No doubt we shall return with renewed inspiration, eager to start our next quilt project with the fabrics we could not resist buying!

Linda Parr



What a great year! A popular visit was to Little Hermitage to see how they host weddings. After a tour of the building including the bridal suite, one lucky member was given a 'make-over' while we enjoyed delicious strawberry shortcake with tea and coffee. In December we returned to the Little Hermitage for a Christmas meal and were entertained by some beautiful carol singing by a young choir.We took a trip to the Marlowe Theatre to see 'The Camomile Lawn', attended a local production of 'Crazy For You' and, of course, couldn't miss seeing 'The Calendar Girls'.

A group of members visited Little Oakleigh nursery where our hanging baskets were filled and left until the frosts were over. We enjoyed a walk on the marshes on a very cold day and took part in an organised trip to Lullingstone Park, as well as the Harvel Garden Trail (an annual event which has become very popular). Our friends and relations were invited to join us on a trip to London on the Pocahontas, which proved to be an eventful trip.

We entered the County competition, which was to make a miniature model from recycled items under the heading of 'Down on the Farm' and were thrilled to be placed First. Our Trophy was collected at the County Annual Meeting in Tunbridge Wells. We have another busy year ahead and meet on the first Thursday of every month in the Memorial Hall at 7.30pm. New members are always welcome to come along.

Sue Buck



We are the new kids on the block - but our members have been around a long time. We are for people aged 50 years and above who are retired or semi-retired. Our object is to:

  1. Arrange and promote monthly meetings and other activities which will contribute to the mental and physical well-being of the members and can be described as 'active'.
  2. To give, wherever possible, assistance to members in need.

We live in a rural community where people are the building blocks of that community. In HiARA we are the mortar for these building blocks. We knit our Community together. Every month we invite a guest speaker to talk about subjects that will be of interest (the members decide).

During the year we have had many excursions, visits and rambles. It is only now that many of us have discovered the beauty of the countryside around our village. We meet on the fourth Friday of the month at the Memorial Hall. Our Membership costs 6 per annum. We have just started a 'drop-in' on the second Friday in the month from 2 to 4pm, mainly for a cup of tea and a chat, with board games etc. if you wish.

Our newly formed Art Group is flourishing; the standard varies from complete beginner to some very fine artwork. There are two talented guitarists practising hard whenever they have the opportunity - they are looking for a keyboard player to join them.

We celebrated our 1st Birthday in March 2004 - to date we have about 160 members - not bad for a load of wrinkleys in a 'sleepy' village. If you are interested then do contact our Secretary, Eunice, on 01474 321119.

Eric Lane



Our club continues to meet every Monday between 1.30 and 4pm in St John's Church Hall. New members are always welcome to come along, so if you are over 55 and want to make new friends or help run the club, just give me a call on 01474 824110. 

2003 was a very busy year for the club, with many speakers, games, parties, and, of course, lots of outings to different places including shows. A particular highlight was our two holidays, both for five days, to the Cotswolds and our Turkey & Tinsel to Wales. This year we will be going to Weston-Super-Mare - there are a few places still available (Betty will give you more information on 01474 822154). We were able to donate money to four of our animal charities, which helps keep our adopted mascots 'Barnie' who is an adorable goat and 'Rosie' who is one of many donkeys that give disabled children rides for therapy.

Paul James from BBC Radio Kent was our first speaker of the year, and, like his previous visits, really made the afternoon so enjoyable and above all hilarious.

As we are a voluntary club, we have to raise our funds by having Bring & Buy sales, raffles, produce sales and this year some members have agreed to have coffee mornings, which will really help. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us over the past years, especially Claire who always sends me items for the sanctuary, and the ladies that save their small change for the donations. Without people like this we couldn't help these poor unfortunate animals that society had abandoned, but with this help they can have quality to their lives until a loving home is found for them.

Finally, I would like to offer a big thank-you to Betty, June, Reg, Phyllis and John for their continuing hard work and dedication which has allowed our club to thrive.

Delia Goldie





The club continues to meet on Fridays at Merston Court. Our annual strawberry tea was held at the "Little Hermitage" and our thanks go to Geraldine and her staff for the strawberries and cream tea. We had a visit from the Mayor on his first official duty and Mrs Papadopulos was also with us for a special 90th birthday for Mr Cyril Boast.

At Christmas we had the usual Turkey lunch with all the trimmings; our cooks excelled themselves with the meal. In the morning we all sang carols accompanied by Mrs Wendy Hance on the piano. A new entertainer rounded off the day with songs from the times we best remember which we were able to join in, plus a good old knees up.

We had two new members join earlier this year and this brought our membership back up to 24. We have a waiting list and application to be put on this can be made by phoning 01474 823380.

We are still in need of extra Hostesses, Drivers and help for the Cooks. By the time this appears in the magazine we will have served approximately 1,050 meals from May 2003 to May 2004.

Our thanks go to our Parish Council for supporting us, also to Father James who makes regular visits and to Mrs Annette Davis from Gravesend Age Concern. Last but not least to all our volunteers who give up their time on Fridays without whom we could not function.

Dot Figg & Barbara West



Why have a Youth Club in the village? Whether we believe it or not, youngsters of today are under different pressures to yesteryear. The Club is a place where the youngsters can socialise in an environment with no pressures, exchange views and ring tones, take part in activities if they want to, listen to music without hearing those words 'turn it down' and talk to each other in a group without being asked to move on. Below, you will see some of the activities that the youngsters involved themselves in during the past year.

In January, a Knock-Out Pool competition got underway with an entry from 22 youngsters. The competition lasted for several weeks and involved several tense games that resulted in the eventual winner and runner up. In May an activity day at the Arethusa Venture Centre, Rochester was enjoyed by 10 youngsters which included Dinghy Sailing, Raft Building, Initiative Games and team building exercises. In July a Rodeo Bull was hired for the evening. The youngsters had the opportunity to take the challenge of riding this Wild West Beast and sample different foods from around the world. In October, an activity day at Carroty Wood, Tonbridge, that included High Ropes & Karting, was enjoyed by a number of the youngsters. In December a request was received from the youngsters to have a Bouncy Castle. An adult version was hired for strength and durability, and mayhem soon developed within its walls. On other Wednesday evenings, youngsters have taken part in a variety of team sports from football, rounders, cricket & team building exercises.

An exciting development within the club this year, was the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, where four youngsters of the club have involved themselves in the scheme and are working towards their Bronze award. We hope this will help them to develop themselves for the future rigours of life.

We would like to thank P.C. Duffort for her help in obtaining a grant from the Drugs Confiscation Fund, which has enabled us to purchase a full-size pool table and will fund a weekend in April for a number of youngsters at the UK Youth Festival of Fun 2004, Hemsby, Norfolk.

The above events would not be achievable without the continual time, effort and support of Sue Williams, Chris Kentsbeer, Ann Kevill, Karen Jarvis, Karen Payne, Barrie Duce, Sam Pocock, Geoff Cousins and, not forgetting, Bob. A special thanks must also go out to the Meadows Village Store for providing the stock for our tuck shop on a Wednesday evening.

If you believe you can show the 33 members of HYC something new and involve them in new experiences: Don't sit @ home be part of it. Contact: Barrie Howes 01474 822847 or clairebarrie@howes007.freeserve.co.uk

Barrie Howes



Copperfield Clog's 2003 season included appearances at the Rochester Sweeps Festivals and at many local pubs. The highlight of last season was our attendance at the Moreton Midsummer Festival over the weekend of 14/15 June. During the weekend, along with two other teams, we took part in the festival's North West Clog Challenge 2003 competition and after performing 'Golborne' and 'Basque' we came away with the winners Challenge Cup. The three judges, including a senior officer from the national Morris Federation, praised both the dancers and musicians for their excellent performances and also commented on the fact that we obviously all enjoyed ourselves too!

Copperfield Clog rehearses on Thursday evenings throughout the autumn/winter in St John's Church Hall. If anybody is interested in joining us as a dancer or musician then do come along and introduce yourself. New members are always welcome at the beginning of each September.

Our 2004 programme can be obtained by telephoning 01474 822148 or 824346 or by e-mailing copclog@aol.com. The programme is also kept updated on our website at http://members.aol.com/copclog/Clog1.htm.

Judi Stanley, Publicity Officer



The Higham Village History Group was formed in May 1997 for those interested in local history. Membership has steadily grown and is 5.50 single/8 family with visitors at 1.50, which includes all refreshments. Renewal costs will be reviewed at the AGM. Membership is for 12 months and renewable in May.

Further interesting events were held in 2003, namely our 6th AGM with an illustrated talk on Higham in 1881. Other talks were - Life in the Victorian Workhouse, RSPB -North Kent Marshes, Life Upstairs/Downstairs at Ightham Mote (NT) and in January 2004 - The Thames/Medway Canal.

On a glorious sunny day in June, we held a historical guided tour of Chalk Church and in December there was a seasonal evening with a difference; where the Org Group read extracts of a variety of stories, poems, diaries, Newspaper Letters & Higham Reminiscences. During the interval there was a Christmas Quiz and a Raffle to raise money for Group funds.

Future events planned for 2004/early 2005 are talks on Memories of a Garden Boy, Higham Photo Book Launch, A Village Remembered, The Paintings of Turner, Country Characters (Cliffe) - Fact or Fiction (costumed talk) and The Forgotten Parish of Denton.

All talks commence at 20.00 hours in the Memorial Hall. Please look out for the posters displayed around the village. If you would like more information on the History Group, please contact Claire Howes on 01474 822847.

Claire Howes



A big thank you to the many residents of Lower Higham who kindly responded to our recent questionnaire regarding the measures implemented since the closure of the Higham Tunnel in January this year. All of your comments have been passed to South Eastern Trains/Network Rail for their attention.

Linda Carnall 

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