Extracts from 2001 Witham Staple issues 

Topical issues are aired and forthcoming events detailed each month in The Witham Staple printed magazine: 

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The Witham Staple is mandated to reflect what is happening in our Lincolnshire community (i.e. the villages of Aubourn, Bassingham, Carlton le Moorland, Norton Disney, Stapleford, Thurlby, Witham St Hughs and the rural areas surrounding these villages).

This page selects some extracts published during 2001 that provide a flavour of the prevailing themes.

March

April

May

June

July /August

September

December

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March 2001

Editorial – Stan Underwood

The “local community” is a very familiar term to us nowadays; in fact, it has virtually ‘replaced ‘the parish’ or ‘our village’ as a reference to the local settlement where we live or our immediate group of fellow-residents. Yet, what - or indeed, who - exactly is “The local community”? Does living here necessarily mean you feel you ‘belong’? To use the current jargon, do we each have a similar ‘stake’ in the community? The Witham Staple is the community magazine for this group of villages along the Upper Witham and this month’s edition again reflects the many activities and opportunities for us to be involved, to join in, to ‘belong’, to move forward together.

The article “European Funding for Rural Development” gives details of an unusual local initiative [Hill Holt Wood], which could have a significant impact on this locality and those of us who live here. If the local community is the basic unit of our democratic society, it is important for us to keep ourselves up-to-date with what is happening around us; The Witham Staple is more than happy to play its part in doing that.

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April 2001

Editorial – Stan Underwood

The impact of the continued outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease throughout the country is nothing short of catastrophic; no one can remember the countryside ever being so beleaguered as it is today, and this on top of the BSE crisis. You don’t have to be a farmer to understand the awful apprehension which must beset the stockman as the dreaded virus spreads ever nearer, nor the utter anguish when your own animals contract the disease. It is likely that not only will individual family livelihoods be lost but also the management of the countryside, particularly in the hill farms, will be radically and very adversely affected. Farmers here too in Lincolnshire watch anxiously each day to see if they will be spared.

And farmers are not alone in suffering the consequences of the foot-and-mouth disaster: those whose livelihood is linked with farming and stockbreeding are affected too, as is the tourist and catering sector in the countryside.

Compared to all this, the inconvenience for the rest of us at not being able to take our usual country walks and having to keep clear of all livestock is little indeed, and is the least we can endure in these awful circumstances.

Norton Disney Village Green

The Cheese & Wine evening in December was another roaring success. Thank you to all who supported and helped. At our meeting in January, the committee decided to explore other possible sites for a community space, in the light of the disappointing results in attempting to purchase the Glebe Field. We are in contact with the owner of a parcel of land at the other end of the village but would welcome suggestions or offers of land for sale or rent from anyone that can help us achieve our goal. The final option, should we fail to find a suitable site, would be to wind up the committee and distribute the funds in accordance with our constitution; this would be a sad day indeed, after all the effort and work so far. So please help if you are able.

Bill Peach, Chairman 

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May 2001

Norton Disney Village Green

Negotiations to find a new site for a village green are still being pursued by our committee. This could take some time, but we will keep you posted when more definite information becomes available.

During recent weeks, there were rumours within the village that RMC Aggregates had offered the Playing Field Committee (as it was previously called) £50,000 towards their cause. Unaware of this potentially generous offer, we wrote to RMC’s regional offices to clarify the situation.

Their reply came as no surprise: ‘This company has not offered £50,000 towards the Playing Field Committee Funds in Norton Disney, nor has it offered Witham St Hughs a similar amount of money‘. We trust this clarifies the situation.

Bill Peach Chairman 

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June 2001

Editorial – Stan Underwood

Did you enjoy the summer - all three days of it so far? No, only joking. There’s more to come; the signs are all there: the swallows and martins are already well settled in; the chestnuts and lilacs in full bloom, and the gardens and fields are bursting with new animal and plant life.

June can be a lovely time to get out a bit more and enjoy the open air. There are details in this issue of events to get you to do just that, like the Fun Cycle Ride, Thurlby Rose Sunday and Bassingham PTA Family Fun Day. 

There’s an interesting item about the video produced by young people in Bassingham. If you feel inspired to write something for inclusion in The Witham Staple, it should be of general interest to local readers and up to about 130 words long. Have a word with the Editor if you’d like to discuss your idea for an article; we’d love to hear from you.  

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July / August 2001

Editorial – Stan Underwood

Have you ever thought what it’s like to be a postman or woman? There’s no nicer job on a summer’s morning, with the sun shining and the birds singing, as you push open the garden gate, up past the flowers and buzzing insects to people’s front doors. It’s not quite the same, of course, for much of the year, when you have to be up and out in the dark and the cold, the wind and the rain - and how do they keep the mail dry when it’s’ pouring?

Those of you who deliver The Witham Staple each month know what a nightmare many letterboxes are: often with a heavily sprung inner flap, or a bristle draught excluder as stiff a yard broom, not to mention the sharp edges inside some letterboxes. And yet you never hear the postman/woman complain. On the contrary, they seem to be recruited for their cheery outlook on life and the smile on their face. Wouldn’t it be awful if some day the Royal Mail and the drop of letters on the mat were totally replaced by electronic mail! So, let’s make sure we really do appreciate our local postmen and women; they’re a great asset and bring much more than ‘the post’. 

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September 2001

Editorial – Stan Underwood

Mixed is how you might describe the weather this summer — and yet many parts of the world are nowhere near so fortunate. In any case, perhaps we shall have a lovely autumn yet. All around us, much of the harvest is over and the fields are being busily ploughed ready for sowing next year’s crops, and so the seasons move on.

By the way, it really is just a coincidence that this month’s cover picture is yet another church. Of course, that doesn’t make The Witham Staple a ‘parish or church magazine’, as some have suggested. But clearly, our local churches are lovely old buildings and a cherished part of our heritage. As such, it surely makes good sense to give them occasional pride of place on the cover of our community magazine. Similarly, church activities are part of our local scene and quite properly figure. regular­ly and prominently in the pages of The Witham Staple.

Death of Yvonne Ogg

The tragic death in a car accident on the 6th August of Parish Clerk Mrs Yvonne Ogg has shocked the local community and in particular the [Aubourn & Haddington] Parish Council, to whom her vast knowledge of local affairs has been a very considerable asset. Yvonne had been clerk to the former Aubourn, Haddington and South Hykeham Parish Council and latterly Aubourn and Haddington Parish Council for a period of 24 years.

On behalf of the Council. Chairman Mrs Pat Woodman paid tribute to her loyalty, enthusiasm and constant hard work for the Council. Her experience gained over so many years will be sadly missed, as will her good-natured response to all queries, whenever made. In all her work she genuinely had the best interests of the community at heart.

Aubourn & Haddington - Millennium Projects

The two Millennium Projects are now complete; one is on the new green on Royal Oak Lane Aubourn, the other on the Green Hill in Haddington. A small team worked on the copper repoussé panels guided by Nick Jones, NKDC Community Arts Worker. Funding came from the Parish Council - from whom the project originated — and the District Council. Thanks to all who worked so hard to achieve such a good result.

Photographic Exhibition

Much interest was shown in the photographs old and new, exhibited at the Enterprise Hall. If anyone has more photos of Aubourn and Haddington in the last century and would be willing to let the parish Council copy them, it would be much appreciated. £25 was collected at this event for the Bassingham Surgery defibrillator. 

Guinea-Pigs

One of the most delightful and rewarding family pets is the guinea pig. Cavies, to give them their other name, are very friendly creatures whose characteristic talkative little squeak seems to invite you to pick them up. They love being outside in a pen on the lawn and can graze the grass almost as fast as a lawnmower. Guinea pigs come in a surprising variety of colourings, markings and coat-types.

Ann Meredith, from Norton Disney, started keeping guinea­ pigs about 30 years ago, when she bought her first Tort and White, a particularly challenging strain to breed and get right’. Since then, Ann has bred several generations of Tort & Whites and has had considerable success in specialist shows, winning at the Bradford Championship Show in 1993 and 1994, and at Doncaster in 1997. Three of her guinea pigs were exported to Sweden. Despite developing an allergy to her cavies and having to give them up for a while, Ann just could not manage without them and found a way of getting round the allergy problem. ‘I seem to have a little magic with this breed,’ she says, ‘and will never part with them again.’ Ann keeps several other varieties but says ‘my ultimate cavy is the Tort & White.’

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October 2001

Editorial – Stan Underwood

It is a happy coincidence that the churches in our area have very recently welcomed newly appointed clergymen:

as priest to the Church of England Withamside United Parish comes the Reverend Nicholas Buck, while the local circuit of the Methodist Church sees the arrival of its new minister, the Reverend James Poore. Readers will no doubt extend a warm welcome to them both and wish them and their families much happiness and fulfilment in their life and work in our communities.

British summer time ends on the 28th October, when the clocks go back an hour. In any case, the nights are already drawing in fast and thoughts turn inevitably to the many indoor jobs that have been waiting for our attention. The social calendar changes gear too, and this edition gives details of plenty of events where we can meet together and enjoy one another’s company, both outdoors in what we hope will be lovely autumn weather and inside after dark.

Mrs Yvonne Ogg

The Parish Council wishes to install a seat on the new green in Aubourn and to plant a tree in memory of Mrs Yvonne Ogg. There will be a house-to-house collection for those wishing to contribute to the project.

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December 2001

Norton Disney Village Green

As reported in the November edition of The Witham Staple, the planning application by the Church Commissioners was turned down, and we continue to press members of the Church to reconsider the Commissioners position regarding the sale of the Glebe Field. To this end, we detailed the history and current situation of our community’s desire for a public open space and sent this to the Rt Revd Robert Hardy, Bishop of Lincoln, in the hope that he would intervene on our behalf and influence the Church Commissioners’ thinking. Alas, we have to report that his reply was disappointing:

‘...We are under a duty as a diocese under Charity Law to get the best price we can in the disposing of this property. We try wherever possible to accommodate local circumstances but have to follow demands of Charity Law. Anything therefore you can do to encourage the planners to allow the developments we have identified at Norton Disney will be to all our advantage. I am afraid I cannot intervene further in this matter, and hope we can all achieve a satisfactory resolution.’

We shall continue to explore other avenues in our quest to have a village area to call our own.

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Witham Staple Web Editor can be contacted by e-mail: info@withamstaple.com