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Recorder's Report 2009

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Hadstock started the year with two major handicaps. There was no Team Vicar in charge of Ashdon and Hadstock and the pub was closed again. With no pub noticeboard, the parish magazine editors took to sending out e-mails to as many people as possible to keep us up to date with events. On the last Friday of the months of January and February, a pub night was held in the Village Hall – bring your own drinks, dart board, etc. Both were very successful and much enjoyed. The pub got a new landlord in the summer but was still in trouble. By October, the King’s Head had changed hands yet again, but Dee stayed on to manage it. Many activities are now being planned to help to keep it open. Canasta once a month, Halloween party, monthly Quiz evenings etc.

For the first half of the year the Church Services were taken by the Saffron Walden team and retired clergy. Hadstock District Church Council was consulted rather more than usual by the Team Rector, David Tomlinson, and Bishop Christopher of Colchester, to find out what the two villages needed. We also prepared CV’s for the two parishes so that prospective Vicars would know something about us. In July, the Rev. Wendy Moore was licensed as Team Vicar of Ashdon and Hadstock, part of the Saffron Walden group of parishes. We were delighted to welcome her and her husband Keith.

Volunteers have been busy, as usual in this village, doing many essential jobs. The garden behind the Village Hall was cleared, levelled and sown to grass. It is hoped eventually to have French windows opening on to a patio area that can be used for events in and around the Hall. A lot of bulbs have been planted beside the Walden Road and in other areas. The paths in the churchyard have been cleared and fresh gravel laid. A new safety surface was laid under the swings on the Recreation Ground. In February, the Hadstock Society had a stand at the Uttlesford History Fair in the Town Hall in Saffron Walden. A lot of interest was shown in the old photos, artefacts, documents etc. We met several people who used to live in Hadstock, including the Mayor of Saffron Walden, Mike Hibbs, who was brought up at Goldacre. We also showed the prehistoric pottery recently found on Banton.

Hadstock Wood was a sea of bluebells in the Spring. There were a few oxlips mostly beside the track. Muntjac deer seem to have eaten those in most of the wood but presumably are scared off the track by the scent of people and dogs who use it. Luckily, the deer do not seem to like the taste of bluebells. Buzzards and Red Kites are becoming more common overhead.

Our annual Fete was held on 20 June. On a lovely sunny day, it drew the biggest crowd ever and raised over £8,000 for the Church Building Fund and the Village Hall. As such large sums are raised now, it is a bit much for one treasurer to cope with alone. A village meeting has set up Trustees to hold the funds and decide on the uses to which it should be put; organisations will put in bids for Trustees to consider. Newcomers to the Fete were astounded at the way in which almost the whole population turned out to set it up and again in the evening to clear away, and the way in which so many people worked to make it a success. The Fete was opened by the Team Rector and Rural Dean, David Tomlinson, who then emptied his pockets having a go at almost everything! Vintage cars, as always, were very popular.

During the summer, the foot/cycle path to Linton, Len’s Path, was continued from Cobblers Corner back to the Yews Farmyard entrance, saving us the dangerous crossing on Linton Road near the corner. The path is used a great deal.

Members of the Hadstock Society enjoyed an afternoon outing to the Mildenhall Museum and the Thetford Ancient House Museum – both places have a lot of interesting things to see. At the Society’s AGM in the autumn, Helen Gibson gave a presentation on the life and work of the late Adrian Gibson, a very good friend to Hadstock Church for many years.

In September, the Hadstock Silver Band gave a concert in the Church which was followed by a barbecue in the grounds of the Church – we have some very good cooks in the village! This raised money for the Band and for the Church. August Bank Holiday weekend found us enjoying another excellent barbecue on the village green organised by the Friends of St. Botolph. This raised over £220 for the Building Fund. In October, Sally Plummer, soprano, organised a recital in the Church with Peter O’Connor, flute, accompanied by Geoffrey Pratley, piano, and followed by Tea served in the Village Hall. Sally generously gave half the proceeds, £250, to the Church building fund. In November, the Friends organised a concert by the Hadstock Silver Band, playing Hits from Stage and Screen. The audience enjoyed singing along to some of the better known songs. This concert raised £400 for the Friends and the Band. The Band also had a Christmas Sing-Along in the Hall with refreshments, which raised a useful sum for the Milton Children’s Hospice.

Particular thanks are due to the fifteen people who 'spring-cleaned', the Church in the autumn, and to Andy Greaves, who brought along a tower scaffold so that the ceilings could be de-cobwebbed; he set to work and brushed down the ceilings and the upper parts of the walls.

We were sorry to hear of the death of the Rev. Canon Jeremy Saville, the last Rector of Ashdon and Hadstock, at his home at Sheringham at the end of August. Other long-term residents left us: Peter and Marilyn Benzing retired to Eastbourne. Peter was a founder of the Friends of St. Botolph and had been Churchwarden for some years.

The Church was full on Remembrance Sunday, and we were again pleased to welcome the Linton Scout Group with their standards. he village sent just over £516 to the British Legion. As usual, on Christmas Eve, some 230 people managed to fit into the Church for the Light of the World Service with Christingles for the children.

Hadstock is ringed by a very tight development limit, to prevent the expansions of Ashdon, Linton and Saffron Walden becoming ribbon development. However, some infilling is allowed and planning permission was granted to take down an ugly storage barn in The Yews yard and to build a luxury house instead. By the end of the year, the car ports, with a bat void, had been built to store materials in dry conditions and there was a large gap with foundations poured ready to start building.

A healthy sign for the life of the village is that more babies were born during 2009, and more are expected during 2010. In spite of this, the toddler group and the Buffy play bus could both do with more support. The mobile library, which has a good supply of books, videos etc. for all ages, needs more borrowers if we are to keep it visiting us. The librarian is very good at obtaining books on request, and provides a very worthwhile service.

In March there was a planning application for an array of 8 wind turbines 125 metres high along the North-West parish boundary, within 2 kilometres of the village centre. Over 100 inhabitants wrote letters of objection. The application was refused, but is now being appealed.

Pat Croxton-Smith
Hadstock Local History Recorder