Higham Parish Council

Annual Parish Newsletter and Reports 2010

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photograph of the band leader for Higham Proms in the Park, 2009
Higham Proms in the Park, 2009

CHAIRMAN’S LETTER

 

My Dear Friends

 

There is a saying “time flies when one is having fun!”  Well, this past year has certainly flown.  Having fun?  It has on the whole been a good year in our village and although we do get complaints these have been minimal.  Long may the situation continue.

 

Back in the summer many of you supported our band concert held on the recreation ground.  It was a fantastic balmy evening. The dark clouds passed quickly leaving us a sunny summer evening. We enjoyed the wonderful music, the company of so many people, the picnics and drinks, the barbeque, the sale of strawberries and cream, cakes and sweets.  The younger element did their own thing on the periphery of the sports field.  The evening is to be repeated this year and I hope to see you all there again.

 

Christmas lights in the village were a great improvement on last year due to the efforts of our lighting committee.  The shops and some local business were provided with further lights to put in their windows.  Some shop keepers did not display them, others did not switch them on. So there is room for improvement in 2010.

 

The festive season led to the snow season.  I was delighted to hear how neighbours helped each other through this difficult time.  We should be proud of such public spirit.

 

The Parish Council will be discussing the provision of extra salt bins to be sited more widely in the village for next winter. 

 

This letter gives me a chance to thank members of the Council for all their commitment and hard work through the past year.  I would like to thank Joanne Raff and her volunteers for the work they have put into the Youth Club.  The young in particular, the old and the not so old in the village are all benefiting from this very worthwhile endeavour in Higham.  At the other end of our community the work of Age Concern continues every Friday.  Under the guidance of Barbara West and her team of drivers, cooks and hostesses the dedicated work of bringing the elderly for a home cooked lunch, for company and entertainment continues without fail.  Lastly, but by no means least, my thanks go to our Clerk, Linda Carnall, who works tirelessly on our behalf.

 My best wishes to you all, Jennifer


 

DATES FOR PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS – 2010

at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall on:

 

Monday, 29 March

 

Thursday, 15 April

ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY.

Monday, 10 May

Annual Parish Council Meeting.

Monday, 5 July

 

Monday, 6 September

 

Monday, 11 October

 

Monday, 8 November

Budget and Finance meeting only.

Monday, 29 November

Christmas meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham.

 

Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.

 

DON’T FORGET!

Hard copies of the Agendas and Minutes of all our meetings are available within Higham Library, as well as on our web site, which is:

www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk 

 

Dates for Parish Council meetings during 2010 are listed above.  Members of the public are welcome to all meetings.

INVITATION

 You are cordially invited to attend the
 
 ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY

at

  

HIGHAM MEMORIAL HALL
on

THURSDAY, 15TH APRIL 2010

at

7.30pm

......................................................................

Joe McLaren will give a talk about the work of
The Friends of St Mary’s Church.

FROM THE PARISH CLERK

Seldom has an event been so well received as the “Friday Night at the Proms” evening in July last year (please see picture on the front cover, for which our thanks should go to Michael Papadopulos for allowing us to use his photograph) and we have received numerous requests from Parishioners for it to become an annual event, or, at the very least, to be repeated this year. I am now pleased to confirm that this year’s event will take place on Friday, 2nd July and tickets will be available from Higham Library or myself (01474 822642). Please watch for posters appearing in the village nearer to the date!

The Parish Council was delighted to sponsor last year’s Lower Higham Scarecrow Competition which seems to be going from strength to strength. A nautical theme was chosen and over half the entries were submitted by children. Sadly, however, some scarecrows were vandalised and some disappeared altogether before the judging could take place. A scarecrow wedding party at the gate of St. Mary’s Church added to the fun of the event which was covered by the local press.

Lower Higham Scarecrow Competition 2009 – prize-winners:

ADULTS FIRST PRIZE -- Heather and Trevor Golding

ADULTS SECOND PRIZE -- Babs Lines

CHILDRENS FIRST PRIZE -- Grace and Archie Stanbury

Photographs of entrants are still available to view on the Parish Council website at www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk/2009_docs/Scarecrow09.html

Did you attend our Assembly in 2009? If not, make a note of this year’s date (15th April 2010) and make sure you come along for an excellent evening with refreshments.

Linda Carnall
Parish Clerk

SIMPLIFIED DRAFT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2009/2010

INCOME

£

EXPENDITURE

£

Balance B/Fwd

9,254.43

Recreation Ground

250.00

Precept 2009/2010

29,277.57

General Administration

6,698.56

Allotment Rents

588.00

Allotments

249.97

Other Receipts

1.15

Miscellaneous Expenses, (including Pavilion insurance)

7,667.60

Flexi A/C Interest

27.69

Subscriptions and Fees

1,197.82

National Savings Investment a/c Interest

1.66

Clerk’s Salary, N.I., PAYE and expenses for provision of office

11,234.73

 

 

VAT Reclaim

2,475.63

VAT paid

812.38

Grants received

-

Grants made

1,380.00

Proms event

755.00

Proms event

300.00

 

£42,381.13

 

£29,791.06

BALANCES IN HAND AS AT 31.3.2010

 

£

 

£

TSB Current Account

4,612.94

 

 

TSB Flexi Account

7,349.10

 

 

National Savings Investment Account

627.03

 

 

TSB Special Projects Account

 

1.00

 

 

 

£12,590.07

 

£12,590.07

 

 

 

£42,381.13

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 31.3.09 is available for public inspection in Higham Library.

HIGHAM GARDENS FOR PLEASURE COMPETITION 2009

This is an annual competition organised by HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL and judged on our behalf by MORTON GREY, retired local government horticultural expert. There are no entry forms for Parishioners to complete as every front garden in the village is considered when the judges tour the Parish looking for gardens that give the passer-by the most visual pleasure. In reaching a final decision the judges award points for colour, choice of plants and cultivation, and the overall design of the garden.

Last year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the competition and the following prize-winners received their awards from Mr Morton Grey, at a presentation before the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 14th September 2009.

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

Anne and Rob Miles, 13 Highwood Close.

SECOND PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs T Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane.

THIRD PRIZE  (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mrs G Stowers, 42 St. John’s Road.

HIGHLY COMMENDED’  (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45 Bull Lane.

Mr and Mrs F Figg, 1 Oak Drive.

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

Mr and Mrs J Leach, 32 Telegraph Hill.

(The display at Higham Library was also commended.)

MOST COLOURFUL PUBLIC HOUSE WITHIN HIGHAM’ (Framed Certificate)

The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.

Linda Carnall

THE MEDWAY BAND

AGAIN PRESENT

”FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE PROMS”

at

RECREATION GROUND, HIGHAM

on

FRIDAY, 2ND JULY at 7pm

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

Bring your own chair, food and wine.

Hot food and refreshments also available.

Tickets: £3. Children under 14 years free.

Tickets available from
The Parish Clerk (01474 822642),
and Higham Library.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBLE LOWER THAMES CROSSING

Higham Parish Council was surprised at the sudden announcement by Mr Paul Carter, Kent County Council, over his preference for a new crossing of the River Thames, east of Gravesend.

Mr Carter’s announcement is based on a visionary document covering the period of the next 20 to 30 years and is obviously totally dependant on finance and the political will of all, for it to go ahead. As yet we understand that there are no plans, and the next stage, if it is funded, is for a feasibility study, which will take some time to complete.

Higham Parish Council’s prime concern is that any development will not have an adverse effect on the village and as such the POSSIBLE Lower Thames Crossing being routed east of Gravesend is unacceptable. We, therefore, support both Gravesham Borough Council and our MP, Mr Adam Holloway, in opposing this suggestion.

We also support both Gravesham Borough Council and Mr Adam Holloway in calling for the removal of tolls at the Dartford Crossing as we believe that this would automatically allow an increase in traffic flow and provide an immediate improvement in air quality to that immediate area. We would also support the building of another crossing next to those already existing with an upgrading of the road network, which would take advantage of the fact that the A2 has already been widened from the M25 eastwards to junction 4 of the M2.

Your Parish Council will remain ever vigilant, and, even if it’s 10 or 15 years time before the plans take any shape at all, we will keep you informed and will continue to act in the best interests of the village.

Councillor Malcolm James

CONGRATULATIONS

In our 2009 Annual Newsletter we reported about the Wildlife Gardening Awards Scheme for wildlife friendly gardens. Our congratulations go to Joan Gilham of Chilton Drive, who was awarded a gold certificate for the best wildlife friendly garden in Gravesham.

PLANNING REPORT

As you all know, the Chequers Public House has been given permission for conversion into six flats and the land beside it has permission for five affordable houses. This will, I hope, enable some of our younger families to stay in our village, instead of having to seek accommodation elsewhere.

Other applications in our village have been visited by your Parish Council and advice given to the Borough on each application. I would point out that this is “ADVICE” only and that the ultimate decision is taken by Borough Council Planning Officers. If you have any concerns over planning applications please ring me.

Pat Oakeshott

RURAL HOUSING

The recent survey of Housing Need in the village resulted in 25 households needing accommodation now. In addition, 19 people stated that they would need Sheltered Housing within the next three to five years. Another 11 people stated that they would require older person’s accommodation in the future – no time given. Your Parish Council and the Borough Council are on the look out for land to fulfil this need.

Pat Oakeshott

STREET LIGHTING

When Parishioners are kindly telephoning us to report a street light which is not lit please could they give us the exact location and the column number which is painted on the post, as Kent Highway Services tell us that they are able to deal with the problem much quicker if both of these bits of information are supplied.

Linda Carnall

KENT ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS
KALC

KALC serves Parish and Town Councils in Kent. The Kent Association is governed by its membership. The Gravesham Area Committee is represented by five Parish Councils including Cobham, Higham, Luddesdown, Meopham and Vigo, who each have two representatives. Also regular meetings help us share information on local area issues. Some of the purposes of KALC are to provide information and assistance to Councils for best practice procedures on law, meetings and chairmanship and other matters. The Parish Clerks make good use of the service.

Barry Sutherland

RIGHTS OF WAY

Another year gone and here I am writing another report on the Rights of Way in Higham Parish. It seems to have been a quiet year with no major obstructions in the Parish so I really do not have much to report! I have noticed whilst walking in the Parish and looking from my windows at home that there are more walkers and riders than in past years. That is good as it keeps all the rights of ways open.

If you are thinking of doing a walk down to Shorne Fort from Queens Road/Shorne crossing I am afraid you will no longer be able to do so. The railway has closed their crossing across the main railway line. I understand it is because of the high speed railway that is now operating on this line. It NEVER has been a public right of way over the railway and the railway department has always had a notice up telling you this. It will be a great loss to walkers as the other accesses are so far apart that it makes a rather long circular walk now.

Anne Waugh

HIGHAM IN THE SNOW

Before the problems of the snow in January have faded from peoples’ memories I thought I should make the point about the importance of the village shop at such times. Local people were able to get everything they needed to enable them to carry on, at what, for many, was a difficult time. We should be grateful to our shopkeepers and their suppliers who on most days worked hard in difficult circumstances to keep us going.

In the bad week I met people in the shops who I hadn’t seen for ages. And that is the point. The viability of rural village shops everywhere is under threat. If you want the service in hard times, you must support your shops in the good times. It is not something that can be turned on and off at short notice. It is not a charity that can be brought in to rural areas to help in an emergency. I urge all of you living in the village to use our shops on a regular basis. Support your Post Office. Buy your milk, newspapers and essentials locally every day and make a point of buying something else. Get into the routine of popping in for your regular needs. Some village shops even offer a free home delivery service.

The supermarkets elsewhere will make their millions with or without you but without you there won’t be any village shops.

Barry Sutherland

SPECIAL EVENTS

As you all know your Parish Council likes to take note and celebrate all those residents who have special birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

This year Mrs Geraldine Cole celebrated her 100th birthday at Copperfields Home and Mr and Mrs Fred Humphreys celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Do let me know if you think of anything that needs celebrating.

Pat Oakeshott

HIGHAM RECREATION GROUND

The swings and slide were re-established and have proved satisfactory. The Council hope to install more items of play furniture when our budget allows. The perimeter fence is in need of maintenance. The ground is in good condition and continues to be well used.

Stuart Wright and Shaun Walton

DOG FOULING

I am still getting a lot of complaints about this, particularly from the Villa Road and Forge Lane areas.

This is despite the fact that two extra dog bins have been provided by the Borough, plus 1,000 dog bags placed in the Post Office and Library over the year. We do try to keep our village clean and tidy, so please do use the dog bags.

* * * * * * * * * *

As a matter of interest, I met an American family in the Post Office and asked what impression they had of our village.

The lady said “very historic”, the man said “DOG DIRT, how can you allow it?”

Is this the impression we want to give of our village?

Please pick up after your dogs.

Pat Oakeshott

HIGHCLIFFE MEDICAL PRACTICE

Once again we have had a very busy year. We welcomed two GPs, Dr Sharif Hossain and Dr Richard Tosh who are permanent members of staff. We also welcomed two new registrars, Dr Bell and Dr Chandarana last August and they will finish their GP training at the beginning of August 2010. We will then have two new registrars from the beginning of August 2010.

We are still offering extended hours at both Higham and Cliffe Surgeries. At Higham we offer Doctor and Nurse appointments on a Thursday morning from 07.00 hours and at Cliffe we offer appointments on a Tuesday evening until 20.00 hours. These appointments are proving very popular, especially for patients who work.

We have two fully trained bereavement counsellors on the staff. If you would like to use this service, just ask at the counter and one of the counsellors will contact you to make an appointment.

Finally, I am sure that many of you will know that Dr Grace retired on 31st January 2010. Dr Grace has worked as a GP in Higham and Cliffe for 34 years and during that time has worked extremely hard to improve GP services both within the Medway area and the whole country. He was instrumental in the setting up of the Out of Hours Service and this has been an enormous help to patients everywhere. Both patients and staff at Higham and Cliffe surgeries will miss Dr Grace immensely and I am sure everyone joins me in wishing him a very happy and healthy retirement.

Isobel Meredith
Practice Manager

PACT
Partners and Communities Together

Higham PACT Panel met four times in 2009.

The perennial problems of dog fouling and speeding through the village, now to include the use of mobile phones while driving, continue to be the Panel’s top priority.

The Panel is also working closely with the Parish Council and Mr Stephen Scully, Emergency Planning Officer, Kent County Council to:

 Decide the best way to compile a list of vulnerable people living in the village who may need help in an emergency.

 Also of drawing up a list of volunteers who are willing to help out in an emergency.

Once a protocol for this is agreed it will be published on the PACT website and in The Bridge. Further information about the Panel, which includes contact details, the dates of meetings and a ‘contact us’ section to report problems on line can be found on the website at: www.higham-pact-panel.btik.com

Peter Leakey
Chairman

COPPERFIELD QUILTERS

We continue to meet every other Thursday evening, 7.30 to 9.30pm, at Merston Court. We have attended quite a few quilt shows this year. Eight of us also spent five days in Cornwall attending a patchwork/quilting course at Cowslip Workshops which was excellent. We also have some new members this year and plan to hold some new workshops.

If you would like to join, telephone Linda Parr on 01474 823129.

Linda Parr

KCC COMMUNITY WARDEN

In 2009 PACT meetings continued every three months and it was most encouraging to see regular attendance by Higham residents.

2009 saw the start of our monthly Coffee Morning/Community Surgery which is held on the last Thursday of every month between 10.30am and 12 noon in the Church Hall, St John’s Church. At these you can come and speak to me confidentially regarding any concerns or problems you may have and also enjoy a FREE cup of tea or coffee at the same time.

The Walking Bus scheme has continued successfully in 2009 running from both the upper and lower parts of the village. However, further adult helpers are needed on both routes to ensure the continued success of this healthy and beneficial scheme. It is hoped in 2010 to carry out other schemes which will also be geared towards ensuring that children arriving and leaving Higham Primary School do so safely.

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 messages left on:

Mobile: 07811 271256 E-mail: PhillipStephen.Gray@kent.gov.uk

Steve Gray, KCC Community Warden

KENT POLICE

This past year has been a very productive year for Kent Police in Higham. We have seen a steady and substantial drop in crime figures across the board, these include:

 Anti-social behaviour – down 50%
 Burglary – down 12.5%
 Criminal Damage – down 47.8%
 Vehicle Crime – down 59.1%

And overall, reported crime in Higham for the last year is down by 24.4%.

This is a huge achievement that could not have been done if it were not for the support of the people of Higham in reporting suspicious activities and feeding information to us. I ask that you please continue to do this, as every little bit of information you have, even if it seems small and insignificant to you, could be extremely valuable to us in catching offenders and deterring crime in the village.

You should have all received Community Safety leaflets through your doors over the last couple of months detailing news in the village and the sort of things we have been doing. It also includes details and dates of the PACT Meetings and police surgeries, where you can come and talk to a member of your neighbourhood team in confidence. These can also be found on the Kent Police website at: www.kent.police.uk

Thank you again for your support.

PC 10891 Steve Cole
PCSO 56336 Fielding
PCSO 52725 Hylands
Gravesham Rural East Neighbourhood Team

HIGHAM LIBRARY

2009 was a great year for us at Higham Library. Here are some of the highlights:

Our annual Community Day attracted over 300 visitors with support from a wide range of local groups and societies. The Community Day this year will be on Friday, 20th August 2010. If you would like to take part please contact us.

Our User Group organised a Sunflower Competition for local children. Congratulations to our winner: Hannah Mitchell. We’re looking forward to seeing all of your entries for 2010’s competition this summer, “Making a Scarecrow”.

For the first time, we held a Christmas Craft Day to help out with those seasonal gift dilemmas and to find that special present for those people who have everything. We hope to run another Craft Fair in 2010.

Another first for 2009, our Quiz Night in November raised £73 for the Poppy Appeal and enticed seven teams to compete for our fantastic prizes (donated by local businesses).

About us

Your local library provides a wide range of services for all age groups. Free membership allows you to borrow items from our wide range of titles, with new stock arriving every week! DVDs and Talking Books are available to hire for a small charge and you can take advantage of our special offer of 3 for 2 every Tuesday! This special offer includes our forthcoming CD collection.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for just ask your librarian and for a small charge they will be able to reserve a copy for you.

At Higham Library as well as borrowing books you can also join our Coffee and Chat Group (held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month from 2.30-3.30pm), our Baby Bounce and Rhyme Time (every Friday during term time 9.30-10am) and our Homework Club (every Thursday during term time 3.30-4.45pm). New members are always welcome.

We couldn’t do all of this without the help of the Higham Library User Group (HI - LUG) and our volunteers. If you have some spare time and would like to help your community library please contact us for further information.

For more details of library services or upcoming events please contact us by telephone on 01474 823822 or email us at highamlibrary@kent.gov.uk

Glynis Selby
Customer Services Officer, Higham Library

THAMES AND MEDWAY CANAL ASSOCIATION

The Thames and Medway Canal Association was founded in 1976 to preserve the line of the canal which was opened in 1824. Originally seven miles long, linking the Gravesend Basin on the Thames with the Strood Basin on the Medway.

Some of the line between Gravesend Basin and Mark Lane was filled in and built on in the 70s and Strood Basin was filled in and built on in the 80s.

The Thames and Medway Canal Association, a voluntary organisation, was formed to halt the deterioration of the canal, and promote restoration of the canal, as a multi-purpose amenity.

The towing path is part of a circular walk, on the Saxon Shore Way, and is also part of Sustrans Number One Cycle Route. The Association has recently been granted a large sum of money for dredging the canal, bank protection and creating a water pumping facility to top up the water level in the canal, so they are hoping passers-by will soon see a vast improvement around the area.

Angela Acott
Programme Secretary, Thames and Medway Canal Association

HIGHAM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

For Higham Chapel, 2009 passed without any major surprises, which in some ways might be considered a bit of a disappointment. But we are thankful that no serious maintenance problems arose, so that we were able to keep our building fit for purpose and continue in the service of God. During the year that has passed, we have been well served by many fine speakers, both ordained and lay-persons. Without their selfless service the church would not be able to function.

During this year, as in the past, we want to extend to all the people of Higham, an open invitation to our ‘Coffee Mornings’. These will begin in April, and will be held on the second Saturday of each month, through to September, starting at 10.30am till 12noon. There will be a ‘Bring and Buy’ stall, and, we hope, some cakes will be on sale. The proceeds are given to various charities; and we include tea and biscuits for 50p entrance.

Please look on the notice board for details of special events or services. We would love to give you a welcome, and look forward to seeing you sometime.

Peter Christopher, Leader/Secretary

SHAVES’ CHARITY

This is the annual report for the above charity. In light of the collapse of interest rates during the past 18 months, or so, there were insufficient funds in the Charity to make a distribution at Christmas 2009. Notices explaining this were posted in the usual application collection points.

The Trustees are looking into alternative banking arrangements for the future, but do not expect to accumulate enough interest in the current year to make a distribution likely at the end of 2010, either. The Trustees remain the same and are: Father James Southward, Mrs Kate Haselden, Mrs Maggi Scott and Mr Les Baker.

Les Baker

THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. JOHN
Parish of Higham with Merston, Diocese of Rochester, Church of England

The Church is open daily (CCTV cameras operate). The re-vamped porch, in memory of Sam Weller, should be complete later in the year. Our regular organist retired meaning we often have CD accompaniment; which works well for most hymns. We also use a keyboard. Any organist or keyboard player who would like some extra income please contact us!

Fr. James began a second stint as Rural Dean. In August he was appointed a Canon of the diocese. With on-going problems in the wider Church of England, the Parish Church Council opted for the pastoral/sacramental care of the Bishop of Fulham, a leading ‘traditionalist’ bishop, though we remain part of Rochester diocese.

The Parent/Carer and Toddler group resumed last summer. Meeting on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of a month (1.30 – 3pm) anyone is welcome – especially those with first babies who would like to meet others in the village. The number of all-age Sunday services increased (followed by refreshments in the Church) but our Junior Church/Sunday School numbers are declining. Any school-age child can be left in the care of a Children’s leader (CRB checked) during Sunday service and collected afterwards. A young people’s group tries to meet monthly (evenings). All these groups meet in term-time.

Thank you to all Church members, and not-a-few others, who participate or contribute to worship, teaching, pastoral work, cleaning, refreshments, magazine production, church draw, flowers, and other ‘unsung’ jobs. We are very grateful to those who support it all financially, often sacrificially. Although the Churchwardens and Church Council keep many practical issues under control finance was and will remain, as for everyone, of some concern in the future.

St. Mary’s Church was used for worship last year and will be this year. Details will be in the Church Magazine ‘THE BRIDGE’ or see: www.achurchnearyou.com/higham-saintjohn or telephone 01634 717360 or e.mail saintjohn.higham@yahoo.co.uk – for any further details.

The Revd. Canon James Southward (Vicar of Higham)

THE FRIENDS OF ST. MARY’S CHURCH

The Friends of St. Mary’s Church was founded in early 2009 to help look after the disused church in Lower Higham, and works to enhance visitors’ experience of the church, hold fund-raising events, organise events for children and adults, and promote the building’s unique appeal. We support the work of the Churches Conservation Trust, the charity which cares for the church.

After founding the Friends group at the start of the year and printing and distributing leaflets and posters throughout the village we were delighted to start welcoming members, whose fees have already helped the work of the Friends group, and whose support has been greatly appreciated.

In 2009 we hosted a talk at the church by aptly-named social historian, Celia Heritage and were on hand to provide sustenance in the form of cakes, biscuits, juice and tea to sponsored walkers who set out from St. Mary’s, as well as providing a focal point for the Scarecrow Festival.

2010 promises to be a very busy year for the Friends group and for the Church. The building is currently being cleaned and renovated and electric light and power are being fitted, which will make St. Mary’s far more versatile, especially in winter.

On 6th June, we will be welcoming Higham Village History Group for a photographic exhibition, and will be holding a Tea Party on the 19th to celebrate the reopening of the refurbished and ‘electrified’ church.

On 10th July we will be hosting a performance by the Higham Choral Society.

Also in July we will be hosting part of a Dickens weekend, in conjunction with Rochester Guildhall Museum, as part of our efforts to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of ‘Great Expectations’ (for which famed Higham resident Charles Dickens used elements of the village and its marshes as a setting).

In August we hope to turn the church into a cinema for a night, to show the 1946 film of ‘Great Expectations’ (parts of which were filmed locally).

On the 11th of September we welcome singer Christine Hubbard for an evening concert, and that month will also feature the annual Scarecrow Festival.

We are also pleased to direct anyone interested in our work to our new website: www.stmaryschurchhigham.com, where we will post details and pictures of all forthcoming and past events.

Anyone wishing to support the work of the Friends can become a member by sending their name and address to the Chairman, Joe McLaren at 4 Church Cottages, Church Street, Higham, ME3 7LR. A year’s membership costs £5 (or £8 for a household membership), and cheques should be made payable to The Friends Of St. Mary’s Church, Higham.

The Church is available to hire for events. Enquiries should be made to Joe McLaren at 4 Church Cottages, Church Street, Higham, ME3 7LR, or by email to joe_b_mclaren@hotmail.com.

Joe McLaren

HIGHAM CRAFT CLUB

This is the Craft Clubs’ third year and we have gone from strength to strength. We now have two classes on alternate Tuesdays and Fridays with 12 to 15 ladies in each class.

We have been on several trips to craft events using the Medway Villager. These were a great success. We think we have helped a lot of ladies find a hidden artistic streak! We had a Christmas dinner at the Gardener’s Arms which was very nice. We feel we have really achieved something with the club and, hopefully, helped a few bored housewives find a creative hobby and make new friends.

We have regular coach trips to craft exhibitions and groups of us visit craft shops from time to time. There are one or two places available in the classes. If anyone is interested please call Irene on 01634 862222 for details. We are a friendly group of ladies and are always happy to meet new members.

Irene Love and Gillian Whitehead

HIGHAM MEMORIAL HALL

Bookings are still on the up. The Hall is used every day of the week by all the various groups, there is even a waiting list for time slots!

One of the problems we suffer from is the dumping of rubbish at the rear of the hall. It had got so bad that members of the hall committee had to spend two days burning and running to the tip to dispose of the pile. We have asked those houses adjacent to the hall to look out for fly tippers and to contact the Hall Committee so we can take the relevant action!

A new water heater has been installed so that should rectify the boiler going out when the wind changes to the north-east!

The Committee would like to thank all those who attended the ‘Grab a Grant’ day at the Civic Centre – because of their participation in the voting process we managed to acquire a grant of £2,000 towards new chairs.

Due to tempus fugit the Hall Committee has become quite thin on the ground so if anyone would like to help out with running the Village Hall please contact Keith on 01474 824150.

Keith Bradley, Higham Memorial Hall Committee

HIGHAM GARDEN & ALLOTMENT SOCIETY

2009 was a year of mixed fortunes for the Garden Society. There were some very good speakers on gardening subjects throughout the year. It seems there are so many pests and diseases that it is a marvel we get anything to grow. The number of exhibits were less than usual due to adverse weather. This was a cause of concern for the Show Secretary.

The Garden Society was formed in May 1942 and with the support of the village, we can look forward to it continuing. Meetings are held at 8pm in the small hall at the Memorial Hall, second Thursday of the month. With the amount of interest in the allotments in the village, we have many gardeners – please come along and join us.

Peggy Husband

STARTRITE KINDERGARTEN

We have had another busy and productive year. The children are now able to use the outdoor area everyday as we have purchased outdoor weather suits and the plan this year is to install a wooden boat to enhance the outdoor area. The children have experienced a range of opportunities to extend their learning as the team continue to think imaginatively to meet the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. They have taken part in planting plants and vegetables, cooked the vegetables and eaten them, made camp fires and explored the surrounding environment.

We have plans this year to extend the children’s learning and development by offering a photographic club which will be known as StartRite Snappers.

We continue to open term time only Monday to Friday 9am – 3.15pm from The Pavilion on the recreation ground. We take children from two years of age and would like to invite any prospective parents and children to come and look around at anytime.

Suzanne Green (01474 822410)

HIGHAM PARISH ALLOTMENTS

Another growing season is upon us after the worst winter for some 30 years. Although it has been a tough winter for us it has been tougher on many garden pests so we may look forward to a good start in Spring with a diminished threat from many creepy crawlies that are not welcome.

We still have a list of willing gardeners awaiting Parish allotment plots but, unfortunately, we have none to offer this season. If you have an allotment and feel that you may like to give it up, you may rest-assured that there are others ready to take it on. Kindly contact the Parish Clerk.

Happy Gardening,

Alan Howard

HIGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL

2009 has been an exciting and eventful year for all at Higham Primary School. I was delighted to take up the post as Headteacher in April and was made to feel very welcome. I have been continually impressed with the dedication of the staff, the support of parents and Governors, and the hard work, enthusiasm and good humour of the pupils.

The school continues to be popular, with all the places in our Reception class being filled in September, although happily we were able to accommodate all parents who applied. Our youngest children have enjoyed taking part in lots of outdoor activities through our involvement in the Forest Schools project, visiting Shorne Country Park and making use of the local woods. We are very grateful to all the parents who have helped to make these visits so successful.

There were a number of improvements made to the school facilities in 2009, notably, the installation of electronic security gates, and creation of two rooms where small group teaching can take place. These rooms have been well-equipped thanks to a successful bid to the Local Authority for funding. Following requests from pupils, and with the help of the PTA, we have been able to improve our playground facilities, with the installation of an adventure trail, quiet shelter, play lodge and playground markings. The PTA has also continued to fund our interactive whiteboards, funded Christmas art and craft resources, and enabled us to purchase Christmas gifts for classes. They work extremely hard and I am very grateful for all their support.

2010 promises to be another exciting year, and we are looking forward to all that it brings.

Mrs T Coombs
Headteacher

GOVERNORS of HIGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL

As I report for the 12th consecutive year on behalf of the Governing body for the school, I reflect on the changes that have happened to the school and to the increased responsibilities and time involvement that the Governors have.

As Governors we consider it a retrograde step that the Headteacher and her Senior Leadership team are spending an increasing amount of time undertaking management duties including, in particular, the finance wherein the amount of detail now is exhausting. This does deprive the children of time that the leadership would rather spend on their education.

However, it is not all doom and gloom, far from it. We appointed a new Head Teacher from the Spring Term (term 5) and she has been very effective in bringing about the changes that have become necessary and the stability that the school so wanted, after four different Head Teachers in under a year!

Recent results have shown that at the Foundation Stage (ie Reception) the children’s attainment is well above that of Gravesham and Kent. The three year trend is very positive. Similarly at Key Stage 1 Maths, Science and Writing are above local and national levels and Reading is in line or above, dependant on the level concerned. Key Stage 2 levels are rising with English above national and local levels and when English and Maths are combined they are equal to those levels. The Staff and Governors have a good understanding of the School’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Parish Council is watching the development of the School with interest and is sure with the professionalism that exists throughout the School and with the support of the staff, parents and PTA and also the Governors its future as a pleasant, effective centre of learning is assured.

Malcolm L. James
Chair of Governors

HIGHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL - PARENT TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

It has been another successful year of fund-raising by sterling members of the PTA, which has enabled us to donate many gifts and much-needed items for the benefit of the children and school.

My thanks go to Alison Ruck and all her helpers for taking on the task of running the school fayres. We were blessed with good weather for the summer fayre which did as well as always. The Christmas Fayre this year was tried on a Friday after school. Despite the recession, this did well although not reaching the same amounts raised as in previous years. We missed the grandparents and some of the village community who would normally have attended but, hopefully, if this is held on a Friday again next year, it will be more in the public knowledge.

The children’s discos have continued to do well and two more Bag2School collections were made. Sadly though, takings for Bag2School have been down, possibly due to nearby schools and another village organisation doing likewise.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone involved in the running of the PTA and their events held but especially to Danielle Jenkens, our Secretary, for organising the Higham Village Parade which was held last July. This was a great event in which most of the village organisations took part, parading from the top of the village, down through Forge Lane and ending at the School Field where a picnic and disco was held. Great community spirit was shown which was very rewarding after the hours of nail-biting and hard work which went into organising this event.

PLEASE NOTE: This event will be held again on 3RD MAY 2010.

Leslie Pearton
Chair

GAD’S HILL SCHOOL

These are exciting times for Gad’s Hill as in a matter of weeks we hope to begin what will be the school’s biggest development in its 84 year history. Residents of Higham will be aware of the construction of our new school, something that will eventually allow us to move out of our much loved, but outgrown, Gad’s Hill Place, and into purpose built, state-of-the-art buildings.

From an academic point of view, Gad’s Hill continues to thrive with a GCSE pass rate of 94% (5 or more A* to C Grades). What was even more pleasing this year was that 83% of our pupils walked away with a GCSE in French which cannot be said for most schools.

From an extracurricular perspective, Gad’s students have done well on the sports field competing against a number of local schools on a regular basis. Cross country running, swimming and skiing have brought us the most success in 2009/10, with a number of our students qualifying for national skiing competitions. Our Combined Cadet Force remains very popular with students, 60 of whom spent a week in Sussex on annual camp, where despite the 32 degree temperatures, they all enjoyed some intensive training and fun from the Army. Music is perhaps something we have been most proud of this academic year. Our Junior and Senior Choirs have more than doubled in size over the last 12 months.

Other than our new school, our plans for 2010 are much the same as they were last year: to continue to ensure our pupils achieve fantastic academic results in a friendly and safe environment. We will be again, this year, opening the house for the Gravesham Heritage Festival on Sunday, 6th June, with a special children’s Dickensian afternoon on Friday, 4th June. Details of these events will be found on the Borough Council’s website nearer the time, but we would welcome anyone from Higham on either of these occasions.

If people would like more information on the school or to contact us for whatever reason please email our Press and PR Manager Sarah Garratt at s.garratt@gadshillschool.org or telephone 01474 822366.

David Craggs
Headmaster

HIGHAM YOUTH CLUB

In 2009 we saw a continued growth in numbers of young people attending our Wednesday evening club, and after discussion decided to open on a Monday evening exclusively for young people aged 14 years and above.

On Wednesdays we have 30 or more young people attend. The atmosphere is happy and vibrant with the young people enjoying themselves with their friends whilst participating in a large range of activities. They can choose what to do from our large range of equipment. We have table tennis, pool, table football, basketball, karaoke, Wii (including Guitar Hero band set, snowboarding, Wii fit, dance mat, sports, resorts and many other games), PS2 (including Singstar), we have a musical keyboard, computer, arts and crafts, swingball, circus equipment and much more....

We occasionally have cookery evenings, or other workshops, and our members can go on other trips such as “midnight ice skating” and participate in watersports.

On Mondays we are still building up the club and, again, our young people choose what they want to do, using our large stock of equipment.

We couldn’t run without our dedicated team of adult volunteers who freely give up their time for the benefit of our young people. The volunteers enjoy themselves just as much as the young people! All of our volunteer helpers are offered training in such things as First Aid, Safeguarding Young People, Playing Games, Food Safety and more.

We always welcome new members at both of our clubs, and also welcome new volunteers (occasional or regular). Volunteers are checked through the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority to protect and safeguard our young members.

We really do appreciate the support we receive from the local villagers, Police Officers, PCSOs, Community Warden and Parish Council. (Don’t worry if you see a Police Car outside the youth club! The Police or PCSOs pop in occasionally to get to know the young people, have a game on the Wii, or use our tuck shop... which is great for them and the young people.)

Recently we received a donation of £342.16 from the Meadows Newsagent in Higham. We are hoping to purchase a projector with it, which can be used in many ways at the clubs. We are extremely grateful to “Hari” at the shop for thinking of us in this way.

For more information please take a peek at our website – www.higham-youth-club.btck.co.uk or call me on 07934 562085.

Joanne Raff
Leader, Higham Youth Club

DICKENS COUNTRY PROTECTION SOCIETY (DCPS)

There have, again, not been any definite new major issues but there continue to be newspaper articles about estuary airports, additional river crossings and tidal power schemes which we are keeping under continuous review.

Other items that have received particular attention include:

The Chattenden and Lodge Hill redevelopment projects.

 The redevelopment of the Chequers Inn near Higham station.

 Tree preservation orders and condition of ponds in various locations, particularly Upnor Pond for which the Society has applied for several grants to be able to lead a full restoration later this year.

 Recently there has been considerable concern about Network Rail’s closure of the pedestrian crossing point at Queens’s Farm, which has cut off access from Shorne to the canal and riverbank.

Mrs Susan Lindley
Committee Member of DCPS

HIGHAM VILLAGE SPORTS ASSOCIATION

The courts have had continued use during the past year, mainly for tennis, and, occasionally, for 5-a-side football. The good news is that the lighting is up and running so that the courts can be used during evenings.

Tokens for the lighting are available from the Village Greengrocers as well as to book the courts and collect the keys. Please feel free to telephone first to see if the courts are available, especially during summer months, telephone 01474 823954.

Ann Kevill

HIGHAM RAINBOWS

Higham Rainbows continues to thrive and have been kept busy throughout 2009 with a variety of events and activities.

Each week the girls have taken part in various activities from being creative with crafts or cooking to learning about road safety as well as visiting the local fire station and police station.

The first weekend in September saw the launch of the Girlguiding Centenary celebrations throughout the country. Thames Division’s celebration took the form of a ‘Big Bouncy’ Party held at St George’s School in Gravesend. All units from the surrounding areas celebrated by bouncing on a variety of bouncy castles along with craft and food stalls from the four World centres. The afternoon concluded with a giant sing-a-long. Our Centenary celebrations, locally and nationally, will continue throughout 2010 until the finale for Thames Division in October to be held at the Woodville Halls.

Rainbows is for girls aged between 5 and 7 years old, and meet weekly on Friday evenings in St John’s Church Hall. Although there is currently a waiting list, if you have a daughter who might be interested in joining us please do not hesitate to contact Julie on 01474 822008.

Julie Healey

2ND HIGHAM BROWNIES

Well what a year we have had, there has been plenty going on. We are still a strong pack of 30, with around 20 girls on our waiting list ranging from 3 years to 6 years.

This is some of what we have been up to. We had some people in to do Clog dancing, we have been swimming with the Rainbows, we have achieved some interest badges, made gifts for Fathers and Mothers Day and plenty more.

This is the Guiding Associations’ Centenary Year which we launched in September with a Big Bouncy Party which was held at St George’s School. We had 18 different inflatables and crafts for all the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides from our division to enjoy. The weather held out for us and all who attended really enjoyed it. We have plenty more planned for our 100th birthday, we are having a trip on a steam train from London to Windsor. We were also involved in a special Gang Show held at the Woodville Halls in February half term. The show was dancing through the years with many girls from the area performing.

As well as all our usual activities in October last year, we had our first pack holiday at Hopehill in Meopham. It was a three day holiday with 24 of our girls attending. It was a complete success and we had fab weather for the time of year, we did orienteering, archery, go karts and we had a Halloween party as the girls had chosen this as our theme. Krissi is now in the process of finishing a large book for her training which will entitle her to her Pack Holiday Licence.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our helpers Julie, Fiona and Claire who helped on pack holiday and all the parent helpers especially Andrea and Sharon who without them we would not be able to run our pack every week, plus our young leaders and pack leaders who are a great help each week.

If your daughter would like to come to Brownies please contact us to get her on our waiting list: Krissi 01474 823500 or Sharon 01474 823538.

Krissi Higgins and Sharon Maynard, Sooty Owl and Tawny Owl

1ST HIGHAM GUIDES

From September 2009 the Guide movement is celebrating its Centenary with many events being held all across the world. Not least, here in our District which opened its celebratory year with a Big Bouncy Castle Party held at St George’s School, Gravesend.

Many badges and Go-4-Its have been completed by the Guides this year and these were presented to the girls along with other certificates and awards on our own special ‘Centenary Celebration’ evening in September. Higham parishioners who were once part of the Guide movement were invited along with the girls’ parents and relatives and also ex-Guides. There was a display of Higham Guides past and present alongside a Centenary Celebration stand and the evening finished off with some camp-fire songs. The girls have all now purchased the popular Centenary Shirt.

A successful two nights were held with the girls making their own bird boxes and this was followed by two visits from the Thames & Medway Canal Association who gave us a talk and slide show on their aim to open up the Canal between Gravesend and Higham and the following week the girls created and drew their own ‘Roses and Castles’ designs. In the summer, the girls served soft drinks at the Village Proms in the Park which was a very successful evening and they took part in the Village Parade which culminated in a ‘Picnic in the Park’ at the village school. A Scarecrow was made for the Lower Higham Scarecrow competition and the Guides had a fantastic time at the Big Gig at Wembley in October. During the Autumn term, the Guides achieved their Adventure 100 badge which had so many activities to choose from and they enjoyed organising and selecting their own tasks and working towards this badge. They each had a Record Card to recall their challenges and scores and much more than the necessary 150 points were achieved with the top score being 255! Patrols organised a Halloween Party, a Talent Show, a 1950’s Karaoke Night and a Race Night using their own home-made Chariots and sporting fancy hats and drinking cocktails (non-alcoholic of course!). In February, the Guides Centenary Showtime was held at the Woodville Halls with one of our Guides taking part.

The unit is small at the moment having lost a lot of the older Guides and, unfortunately, not much interest from girls moving up from Brownies.

Many seem to be preferring to join the boys at Cubs and Scouts. This is a shame because the Guides is a fun organisation with lots going on. Therefore, if your daughter is ten or over, please encourage them to consider joining Guides. We meet on a Tuesday evening at the Memorial Hall.

Shirley Pearton
Guider (01474-822080)

HIGHAM WRITERS

Higham Writers have had another very successful year, with nearly all of our team getting into print during 2009. We have also given several public presentations of our work, and have been able to make donations to the Ellenor Hospice. We have also donated books to Higham’s children’s library.

We are a group of local writers who gather each Monday morning in Higham to discuss and read their latest pieces and to generally improve their writing skills. Tutored by Denise Leppard, a freelance writer for many years, some of us write for publication, one or two have their own personal projects to pursue, but all of us do it for fun.

We are at the present moment preparing material for reading aloud at our 4th Annual Showcase, to be presented at Higham Library in May 2010. This consists of anecdotes, both funny and thought provoking, short stories, comments on life and memoirs, and short plays.

Though the focus of the group is on individual tuition and guidance, and is necessarily kept small, we are always interested to hear from potential new members. Ring Denise on 01474 822881 or email delep@tiscali.co.uk for bookings or membership enquiries.

Denise Leppard

1ST HIGHAM SCOUT GROUP

Higham Scout Group has enjoyed another successful year. We have a membership of 76 young people and 13 leaders. The highlight of this year was a fantastic overnight stay on HMS Belfast in September for 60 of our group. Other activities have continued including numerous camps and visits. Beavers have welcomed the RNLI and a guide dog.

2010 is a very special year for Scouting in Higham as it is 50 years since the group was established. We intend to hold special events during the year to commemorate all the work done for the young people of our village during this time.

This year we exceeded our record total, raising over £2,300, when we collected in the village for ‘Children in Need’. Thank you all for your support.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Parish Council for their support and the Hall Committee for enabling us to have such a splendid meeting place every week.

Our meeting times are:

Scout Group

Meet

Contact

Beaver Scouts

Fridays: 5.30-6.30pm

Kevin Oaten     

01634 727258

Cub Scouts

Fridays: 6.30-8pm

Dale Blake        

01474 822625

Scouts

Fridays: 8-9.45pm

Peter Allinson 

01474 823806

Explorer Scouts

Various

Carolyn Shulver

01474 823187

At present both Scouts and Cubs are full and there is a waiting list for Cubs. The Executive Committee have decided that priority for places will be given to young people already within the group and those who live in Higham. There are spaces in Beavers. If your son or daughter would like to join us, or you would like to help, please contact Carolyn on 01474 823187.

Carolyn Shulver
Group Scout Leader

HIGHAM VILLAGE CLUB

A Village Club has stood on the site in Hermitage Road since 1883. Until a few years ago it was always known as Higham Working Men’s Club when only men were allowed to become members. Things have greatly changed since those days. Now ladies are welcome to come along and join with equal rights the same as a man, some even serving on the Committee. I’m sure some of our predecessors would have something to say about that!

So, if you’re fed up staying indoors every night especially if you’ve a young family and are restricted as to where you can take them pop in and see about joining. The Secretary is always on the premises Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm onwards.

Higham Village Club caters for all interests with Live Entertainment, Disco’s, Rock & Roll Nights, Sunday Night Bingo, Quiz Nights, Darts, Pool and Snooker. There is an excellent Golf Society and Allotments for hire. We run various coach outings throughout the year and the first Wednesday of every month we have a Bingo afternoon which starts at 2pm and is open to non-members.

We now offer the Club’s facilities, which include two comfortably furnished halls, fitted kitchen and large car park for private hire to non-members as well as members for functions such as birthday parties, weddings, christenings and funerals and this is proving to be very successful. So if you have a special occasion you wish to celebrate telephone 01474 822456 for more information.

Website: www.highamvillageclub.co.uk
E-mail: highamvillageclub@hotmail.com

Lynne White
Secretary

HIGHAM VILLAGE HISTORY GROUP

The Higham Village History Group was formed in May 1997, for those interested in local history. Membership has steadily grown and is £5 per person, with visitors at £2, which includes all refreshments. Membership is for 12 months, renewable in May.

Our books of ‘Higham in Old Photographs’, Volumes 1 and 2, have been selling well on a local, national and even international level. There may be a Volume 3 in the future.

Many interesting talks were held in 2009.

As part of the Gravesham Heritage Festival, we held a photographic display and read extracts from the Reminiscences Project, within the walls of St Mary’s Church. The Thames & Medway Canal Association also displayed photos of their work. It was very encouraging to see a coach load of people turn up, as part of their tour.

In October, we were very pleased to present a cheque for £476.25 to the Kent Air Ambulance from the sales of our books and have a framed Certificate for all to see. Some of the Organising Committee visited the Kent Air Ambulance Headquarters to see how the money is utilised in the good work they undertake. The air ambulance was called out just as we were leaving, which really put the work they do into perspective. Please take a look at the website, www.kentairambulance.co.uk

2010 began with a talk on ‘Gravesend Open Air Swimming Pool’ (generating many memories from the audience including my own school/ personal visits). ‘The Great Exhibition of 1851’ will follow in March. As part of the Gravesham Heritage Festival, we will open St Mary’s Church on Sunday, 6th June with Reminiscences readings and an exhibition of photos. Donations will be split between Higham Village History Group and The Churches Conservation Trust.

Our new season in May will involve an interesting mix of local/general history talks; Gravesend Airport/Dummy Runway, Hall Houses of Southfleet, Gravesend Shops, Constructing Medieval Cathedrals, Sir Cloudesley Shovell and WW1 re-enactment. Maybe even a summer outing.

Raffles are held at the AGM in May and at our Christmas event, raising money towards Group Funds. £86 was the total for 2009. Our Website is proving very popular, with many people sharing information on Higham, whilst tracing their family history. It is frequently updated with photos and relevant information.

All talks commence at 20.00 hours in the Memorial Hall and please look out for the posters displayed around the village. New members are always welcome and if you would like more information on the History Group, please contact Kate Woollacott on 01634 718285 or via the website, www.highamvillagehistory.org.uk

Claire Howes

HIGHAM AGE CONCERN LUNCHEON CLUB

We are sorry if our Annual Report sounds very much like previous years but we seem to have found a formula which works well so there is no incentive to change this. We have continued to provide a freshly cooked high-quality lunch each week as well as a regular programme of items of interest and assistance to our Members. This has included our regular keep-fit sessions, shoes and clothes sales and speakers and entertainers (many of whom we now regard as friends). We are very fortunate in the support we get from local people and organisations. In particular, we must mention the Women’s Institute, Oakleigh Farm Nurseries and Mrs Geraldine Cox of Little Hermitage who, again, laid on a superb Strawberry Tea for our Members as well as providing a Christmas present for our volunteers.

We continue to be very grateful to our team of volunteers for their hard work during the year and to our other supporters who give time and financial assistance including again the Parish Council. As always we would welcome anyone who would be willing to give a few hours of their time to join us to act as a Hostess, Driver or Cook.

Should anyone wish to add their name to our waiting list for Membership could they please contact Mrs Audrey Smith on 01474 823380.

Barbara West, Co-ordinator

HIGHAM ACTIVE RETIREMENT ASSOCIATION

HiARA is a voluntary non-profit making organisation and is one of over 70 such clubs throughout Kent. The objective of the group is to provide the opportunity for anyone over the age of 50, who is retired or semi-retired, to keep active in mind and body. We meet every Friday afternoon and one Wednesday morning each month, for a range of activities, including short-mat bowls, new age kurling, quoits, bat & trap, quizzes, board games and tea & chat. We also have well supported monthly art and craft groups but, unfortunately, the line-dancing, exercise and computer groups have had to close through lack of support.

The fourth Friday in the month is earmarked for our general meeting and in the past year we have welcomed some popular speakers covering a wide range of subjects, plus time is allowed for a raffle, visiting the book stall and having a good chat. These meetings generally attract 100+ members together with several guests. In addition to the activities in the hall we have monthly rambles, outings to places of interest, holidays and a luncheon club. We also take part in countywide activities and are the current holders of the KentARA quiz shield.

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

For more information about the group please visit our website or call us on 01474 823121 or 01634 715959.

Eileen Rice
Membership Secretary

OPTIONS SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB

We have had many interesting speakers and entertainers, plus Fish and Chip afternoons, and Strawberries and Cream. It is now our 19th year and in that time we have seen many people come and go, but we always remember the members at this time of year that sadly have passed on.

Our club is a voluntary non-profit making group, so we have to arrange raffles, members bring in items to sell, and our ladies who always make jam etc to sell which is a great help, thank you to all! We meet at St John’s Church Hall every Monday between 1.30-4pm to chat, play games, join in a quiz or to have a party, speakers and entertainers are also part of our agenda. Of course we still have our weekly Bingo. If you would like to join us please give me a call on 01474 824110. Each year we try to arrange as many trips as possible, but, unfortunately, we can’t manage to get the numbers required. Trips for this year have yet to be arranged. During 2010 we will still support our charities which we have done since the club started.

The Christmas party this year was good, wine and sherry flowed, the food was great, thanks to Trish and her band of helpers. “Surprise” was our duo for the afternoon; they dressed in 1940 uniforms and sang songs from that era. In the second half they devoted it to Christmas carols which closed the old year nicely. Many thanks to my marvelous duo, April and John, that help me and to the people who donate money to our charities. We still need towels for the sanctuary.

Delia Goldie

 

  

HIGHAM PARISH COMMUNITY SELF HELP PLAN

Higham Parish Council and PACT are currently working on a self help community plan for the village which could be used in times of emergency, when there is a delay in receiving assistance from the emergency services or local authority.

Further details, and a form for completion, will be sent to all Parishioners later in the year. Please ensure that your completed form is returned to one of the collection points notified. Thank you.

  


HIGHAM WOMEN’S INSTITUTE

We have been encouraged during 2009 to see our membership increase. It is good to have more people joining us and taking part in our various activities.

We were very lucky to receive an adequate sum of money from the ‘Awards for all’ scheme within the lottery and we have to thank our President for all her hard work in obtaining this for us. This has enabled many of our members to attend Denman College to learn new skills and meet ladies from around the country. Several members have yet to take their courses, so let’s hope they also prove to be just as enjoyable and rewarding.

Some ladies went to London to see ‘Calendar Girls’, others visited TV studios to be in the audience for ‘Loose Women’. Another trip to Hever Castle for the open air opera proved popular, a visit to the National Theatre for a behind the scenes tour was attended by several of our members along with others from around the district and we were lucky to visit the Thames Navigational House in Gravesend and get firsthand knowledge of how the Port of London operates.

The Drama group continues to provide a good source of entertainment and the members involved work hard at their rehearsals. Craft days still prove to be popular as does the ten pin bowling mornings.

It would be nice to welcome more ladies to our meetings so please come and meet us all on the first Thursday of each month, or contact our Secretary on 01474 823772 for more information.

Pat Merrison

HIGHAM ART GROUP

A new art group now meets in the Memorial Hall on a Wednesday afternoon from 2pm until 4pm. There are a few vacancies at present. For further information please contact Brian Thompson on 01634 295195.

PLAYBALL FOOTBALL COACHING

Playball has been running pre-school football coaching sessions at Higham Memorial Hall since February 2004, for boys and girls aged between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years.

The football sessions do not only teach children basic football skills but also teach co-ordination, patience, balance and improve listening skills. All of this gives children a head start into football and sport when reaching school age.

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

Neil Stephens

EAGLES F.C.

Once again our club is growing steadily with over 100 children enrolled with us, teams running from under-7s to under-14s all are doing well with some in semi-finals of the cups and some at the top of their leagues at this time.

As always, we are ever thankful for the use of Higham Primary School and the recreation ground but still need more ground for the boys and girls to play football on. We have been trying for the last year but, at present, have been unsuccessful in our quest, if anyone can help please contact the Secretary.

Boys and girls from 6 years to 15 years are always welcome to come and join us, we try to encourage ability and maintain fitness while having fun.

Please contact our secretary on 01474 822607.

Mrs Pat Jeal
Secretary

HIGHAM & MOCKBEGGAR CRICKET CLUB

On the field, the cricket club is in a transitional period, with many of the ‘older’ established members reluctantly giving way to the next generation of cricket enthusiasts. With the formation of the youth section in 2005 we are already seeing some improving youngsters make it into the senior sides.

As a village club – with Clubmark status – we have the aim of ‘providing cricket for all’. The Club offer a whole range of cricket for all standards. We have a playing base of approximately 70 and offer:

 Youth cricket – under 11, 13 and 15s.
 Softball cricket – under 9s.
 A Sunday team that compete in the Kent Village Cricket.
 League and a friendly side that play on Saturdays.

We are always interested in new players, umpires and supporters of all ages, so please feel free to visit the ground or contact me.

We are a very social cricket club, often found back at the Gardeners Arms enjoying their hospitality after games, but throughout the season we do run social events including BBQs, race nights, quiz nights so please keep your eyes open for future events.

The youth section is thriving. However, we are always in need of adult helpers as well as youngsters to play, so if you can spare some time during the season to assist, please contact me or any other member of the Club.

Finally, thanks go to all those who help out in so many different ways and to those of you who come along and support the matches and any fund-raising we do. It is very much appreciated.

Keith Short
Honorary Secretary
(01634 200817)

HIGHAM BOWLERS

Months come and go and another year has passed, during which we very sadly lost two of our long-standing members, Len Grain and Mike Claire, who both are sorely missed. I am very pleased to say that Ann Grain has now returned and everyone was pleased to welcome Ann back to the Club.

Three new members have also joined during the year, bringing total membership to 23.

Our AGM was held in October 2009 and the Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary agreed to remain in office for a further one year term.

Competition matches were played throughout the year, concluding in a final between Audrey Pearce and Ian Downes, with Audrey the eventual winner.

Our Christmas Dinner was held at The Windmill Public House at Hoo on 4th December, when trophies were awarded to Audrey and Ian by the Chairman, Mrs June Burton. Everyone enjoyed the evening and said how good the meal had been.

We now look forward to an enjoyable and successful 2010 and would be happy to hear from anyone interested in joining us at Higham School for our Friday evening sessions, commencing at 8pm.

June Burton
Chairman

HIGHAM TAI CHI GROUP

A Tai Chi group now meets at the Memorial Hall on a Wednesday morning from 8.30am until 9.30am. There is no need to book – just turn up. The cost is £4 per session.

For further information please contact Steve on 07999 346050 or visit www.shizendo.co.uk

HIGHAM CHORAL GROUP

Our first concert in 2009 was at St Helen’s, Cliffe, where we sang music by Rutter, Jenkins, Faure and Durufle.

Then came our tour – which should have been to Titchfield Church, but thieves stole the lead from the roof and the ceiling collapsed, so we transferred to Warsash Church by the River Hamble in Hampshire. We had a very successful concert with a capacity audience. The programme was a combination of sacred music in the first half and popular classics in the second half.

Our Summer Concert was held at Ss Peter and Paul, Shorne. The programme featured a selection from ‘Fountain of Life’ by Margaret Rizza, two of Handel’s Coronation Anthems and music by The Beatles and The Beach Boys. The Christmas Concert at St John’s, Higham, was held on a very cold and snowy evening. In spite of the weather there was a large audience singing familiar carols and listening to the choir singing some more unusual ones. The group welcomes new members at all times. If you would like to join us (there is no audition) please call me on 01474 822702.

Forthcoming Events:

Spring Concert - St Mary’s, Chalk Saturday, 27th March 2010
Summer Concert - St. Mary’s, Higham Saturday, 10th July 2010
Christmas Concert - St John’s, Higham Saturday, 18th December 2010

Our Tour in 2010 is to the Canterbury area with a concert on Saturday, 29th May in Upper Hardres Church.

Wendy Hance
(www.highamchoral.org.uk)

STAGE ARTS WORKSHOP

2009 was another successful and fulfilling year for Stage Arts. In June, and, again, by special request in December, our Stage Arts pupils gave outstanding performances at the Dickens Festivals in Rochester. We also took part in the Higham Village Parade in July which was tremendous fun for the children. In addition, the Stage Arts pupils have put on performances to entertain the elderly at Merston Court in Higham and the Baptist Church in Rochester.

Further successes came with our achievements in the ‘Gravesend’s Got Talent’ event in the middle of the year. We had two acts in the finals of that competition. And through our connection with casting agents, Kids Plus, many of our pupils have auditioned for professional work on stage and screen. Jamie Terry, who trained with Stage Arts for several years, was featured in the programme ‘Streetwise’ for Kent County Council and also took part in a programme on alcohol abuse for the BBC.

As usual, the climax for the year was in October and November when the children performed a fabulous production of ‘Cindy’, a superb musical by Mike Smith and Wilf Tudor. This production was thoroughly enjoyed by all those who were fortunate enough to get to see it. Our major production for 2010 promises to be just as impressive – details will be published later this year.

The Stage Arts Workshop is run by Angela Shade. For further details about how your children can join Stage Arts and benefit from our workshops, or to find out how you can obtain tickets for the shows, give Angela a call on 08456 647469.

Angela Shade

COPPERFIELD CLOG

Copperfield Clog, Higham’s local women’s north-west Morris dancing side, continues to meet for practice sessions most Thursday evenings from September through to April/May in St John’s Church Hall, Higham. Interested? Would you like to join us when we begin our new rehearsal season in September 2010? Enquiries from new recruits, musicians and dancers, are always welcome. During the past year we have been delighted to welcome two new members to our side. Clog dancing is a great way to socialise, have a laugh and, most importantly, keep fit. We really do have fun and would welcome enquiries from anybody interested in joining us – details below.

Copperfield Clog enjoyed a busy season of dancing during 2009 including performing at the local Rochester Sweeps Festival and dancing at the Museum of Kent Life, Cobtree, Aylesford and, at the time of writing, we are looking forward to planning a busy 2010 programme of dance.

Copperfield Clog can be contacted as follows:

Telephone: Programme Secretary – Mary – 01474 822929
E-mail: info@copperfield-clog.org.uk
Web site: www.copperfield-clog.org.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

Judi Stanley
Publicity Officer for Copperfield Clog

CLAIRE BUCKLEY SCHOOL OF DANCING

The Claire Buckley School of Dancing offers dancing classes at the Higham Memorial Hall every Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm. We teach ballet, tap and jazz for both boys and girls from the age of three years. Adult tap classes are also available at Old Gravesendians Rugby Club, Gravesend. Our aim is for children and adults to dance for enjoyment and this is a fun way to exercise and keep fit whilst also learning different styles of dance.

In 2009 the dancing school performed their show “Dance to the Music” at the Brook Theatre in Chatham; all children had a wonderful time performing in front of all their family and friends.

In 2010 we will be holding a small show here at the Memorial Hall on 22nd and 23rd May.

If you would like information about any of the classes we offer then please do not hesitate to contact me on the number below:

Home: 01634 220766.    Mobile: 07813 050493
Email: Claire.buckleys@virgin.net
Website: www.cbuckleydance.co.uk

Claire Buckley

EMMA’S STREET DANCE

Our first event of the year was the Regatta Weekend at the Prom in Gravesend where all ages of children danced very well and then enjoyed the Fair after. The next event was Higham School Fete on 4th July, a really hot day. Lots of children turned up to dance from 3 years to 16 years. Unfortunately, the Summer Queen Event in Gravesend, part of the Big Day Out was on the same day so we had to rush away from Higham to attend. Not all the children managed to come but, luckily, my adults danced as well which helped. The children also walked and danced through Higham for the Family Picnic at the school field.

Also in 2009, I was dancing with my dance group “Sugar Free” in “Britain’s Got Talent” and made it to the semi-finals. I would like to thank everyone in the village that voted for us.

The classes have changed from Friday evenings to Monday evenings at Higham Club, Hermitage Road. Class times are:

5 to 5.45pm

6 to 7pm

7 to 8pm

8 to 9pm

3 to 6 year-olds.

7 to 11 year-olds.

12 to 16 year-olds.

Adults.


Emma Cater All enquiries to 07766 886827.

FLYING FROM GATWICK?

A new coach link direct to the airport, called airport by coach, now runs every two hours all day long and through the night, seven days a week. The nearest pick up point is outside the Odeon Cinema at the Dockside Shopping Centre at Chatham Maritime. For those with a bus pass (ie over 60) the service is free (but to confirm your seat on-line there is a £5 charge). Pay on the coach £16 single/£25 return (on-line bookings £15 single/£23 return). Journey time is about 1 hour 40 minutes and coaches have leather seats, air-con, toilet and wi-fi connections. The driver loads the suitcases.

For more details telephone 01293 774177 or check the website www.airportbycoach.com

NEW VILLAGE CORRESPONDENT

Higham now has a new village correspondent who is your link to the local press in both the Gravesham and Medway areas. If your group or association has any news they wish to share please contact:

LIZ JEFFERY
on 01474 747090
or e-mail her on: jefferyelizabeth18@googlemail.com

CONTACTING YOUR VILLAGE ORGANISATIONS

Age Concern

01474 822654

Age Concern Referrals

01474 823380           

Art Group

01634 295195

Beavers

01634 727358

Brownies

01474 823500 

01474 823538

Choral Group

01474 822702

Claire Buckley School of Dancing

01634 220766

Community Warden and PACT

(Steve Gray)

07811 271256

Congregational Church

01634 362939

Copperfield Clog

01474 822929

Copperfield Quilters  (Higham Quilters)

01474 823129

Cubs

01474 822355

Dickens Country Protection Society

01322 275389

Eagles Football Clubs

01474 822607

Emma’s Street Dance

07766 886827

Explorer Scouts

01474 823187

Friends of St Mary’s Church

07891 431815

Garden and Allotment Society

01474 822368

Guides

01474 822080

HiARA

01634 715959

Higham & Mockbeggar Cricket Club

01634 200817

Higham Bowlers

01474 822567

Higham CP School PTA

01474 822080

Higham Craft Club

01634 862222

01634 722300

Higham Library

01474 823822

Higham Rainbows

01474 822008

Higham Village Club (Working Men’s Club)

01474 822456

Higham Village History Group

01474 823906

Higham Village Sports Association

01474 822448

Higham Youth Club

07934 562085

Kent Police – PC Steve Cole

07800 675306

Liz Jeffrey, Village Correspondent

01474 747090

Memorial Hall (Bookings only)

01474 822007

Options

01474 824110

PACT – Peter Leakey

01474 822516

Parish Clerk

01474 822642

PCSO Darren Fielding

07772 226027

Playball Football

01634 311481

Saint John’s Church – Fr. James Southward

01634 717360

Scouts

01474 823806

Stage Arts Workshop

0845 664 7469

StartRite Kindergarten

07813 705136

01474 822410

Tai Chi

07999 346050

Thames and Medway Canal Association

01732 823725

Women’s Institute

01474 823772

HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL as at APRIL 2010

PARISH COUNCILLORS

Chairman:

Cllr Mrs

Jennifer Papadopulos

 

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

01634 717113

Vice Chairman:

Cllr Mrs

Pat Oakeshott

 

30 Ash Crescent, Higham, Rochester,  Kent ME3 7BA

01474 822771

Cllr John Grey

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

01474 822789

Cllr Alan Howard

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

01474 822108

Cllr Malcolm James

‘Hollybank’, Crutches Lane, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME2 3UH

01634 724483

Cllr Mrs

Amanda Mendzil

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

01634 725929

Cllr Les Pearton

 

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

01474 822080

Cllr Mrs Maggi Scott

41 Walmers Avenue, Higham,

Rochester, Kent ME3 7EH

01474 823091

Cllr Barry Sutherland

1 St John’s Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BY

01474 824439

Cllr Shaun Walton

27 Villa Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7BS

01474 823149

Cllr Stuart Wright

‘Hillyfield’, Hermitage Road, Higham, Rochester, Kent ME3 7PB

01634 717336

BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

Cllr Mrs

Pat Oakeshott

30 Ash Crescent, Higham, Rochester,  Kent ME3 7BA

01474 822771

Cllr Bryan Sweetland

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

07976 309171

COUNTY COUNCILLOR

Cllr Mike Snelling

5 Dormers Drive, Meopham, Gravesend, Kent  DA13 0ES

01474 812404

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Adam Holloway, MP

c/o House of Commons, London

SW1A 0AA

 

CLERK TO THE PARISH COUNCIL

Mrs Linda Carnall

24 Chilton Drive, Higham, Rochester, Kent  ME3 7BW

Tel: 01474 822642

Fax: 01474 824437

 

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

Web site:  www.higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

 

Copies of the Minutes of all Parish Council meetings are available for public inspection within Higham Library or here on this web site.

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