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Recorder's Report 2011

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More changes have occurred in the village during 2011 but it continues to be a good community with plenty of activities. The problem is sometimes that we are too small for some things to continue e.g. we have lost the Buffy Bus for pre-school toddlers as not enough turned up. The great news is that in February, David and Dawn Taylor took over the King’s Head and are making a great success of it. David is an excellent cook and produces a good pub menu, not trying to outdo the local restaurants. We can again get our fish and chips, in pub or take-away, on Friday evenings. There have been Karaoke evenings, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween, Caribbean, Spanish parties, Curry Nights, Quiz evenings, Canasta evenings, a Beer Festival, and private bookings so they have got off to a great start. It is also good to have a new “The King’s Head” sign up. The old one got knocked off and damaged.

The Church has had a busy year. The clergy team came to a bring and share lunch at which we discussed the future of the Church in the village and how it can best serve the community. The Rev. Paula Griffiths spent a lot of time early in the year visiting many of the villagers and finding out their views. A further lunch with the team summarised Paula’s findings, which were basically that majority of the villagers wanted the Church to be here and active. Paula also led a Lent Course, held in the pub; David and Dawn providing tea or coffee. A Stewardship appeal letter was sent out and has helped to increase our income but, of course, more is needed to keep the Church going. We also need to raise about £60,000 for building repairs and conservation in the next two years. Essex held another flint-walling course on the churchyard walls.

The Quiz Night in the Village Hall is a very popular annual event, with quizmaster Robin Plumridge. It raised over £300 for the Hall and a raffle raised another £122 for the Recreation ground. The Hall has had considerable improvements made during the year. A pitched roof with a large window has replaced the flat roof over the committee room, and French doors now open on to a paved area at the back. The land at the rear has been grassed over and shrubs are being planted round the edge. More work should help to dry out the store room. We can now easily extend summer events outside, making a lot more space. The Church car park beyond the Hall and used by visitors to it, has been cleared of weeds, re-gravelled and a pedestrian way down has been made so that people do not have to face incoming cars. We can now park up to 20 cars there. Malcolm and Ashley Garrod have removed diseased trees on the South side of the Church and have pollarded the rest of the lime trees surrounding the Churchyard on the South and West sides, letting in a lot more light. An autumn working party tidied the edges of the churchyard while the ladies gave the interior of the Church a thorough clean.

In March, the Parish Council organised a Litter Pick-Up afternoon and a small group of people picked up an incredible amount of rubbish, mostly apparently chucked out of cars passing through, but someone had dumped a pile of litter in the churchyard. Why? We have plenty of ways of getting rid of rubbish; regular collections of recyclables, food waste and non-recyclable stuff, plus bottle banks in the pub car park and from April to end November, a weekly collection of garden waste.

Hadstock had no music festival this year. Bernard Lansky is working mostly in Singapore at the moment but hopes to organise more concerts in the future. On 2 April, the Granta Chorale gave a concert in the Church, including works by Vaughan Williams, Tallis and contemporary music. It was a great pity it was so poorly attended. On 21 May, the New Cambridge Singers gave an excellent recital of anthems by William Byrd, Bach, through to Parry, Stanford and Ravel, ending with spirituals. Again very few villagers came to it. This was immediately followed that evening by another Cinema in the Orchard, organised by David and Lucy Brown with Marcus Sedgewick. They showed The 39 Steps (1935 version with Robert Donat) and North by Northwest (1959 with Cary Grant). A glass of wine was included and luckily it was much warmer than last year’s show. They raised £326 for the Friends of St. Botolph’s. Provided it does not rain, this makes a very enjoyable evening.

The number of parish councillors has been raised to six, but as only six were nominated no election was necessary in May. The new councillors are Hamish McIlwrick (Chairman), Rick Albrow, Adrian Golding, Jeremy Pearson, Trevor Smith and Lou Symes-Thompson. The Council has purchased our listed telephone box, as BT said it was no longer viable as such, and enough money has been raised to instal a defibrillator; some of us will be taught to use it in emergencies. The Council decided to give a Souvenir mug to all the children of primary school age; others could apply to buy the mugs. Derek Bushell retired from the position of Parish Clerk which he had held very efficiently for some time and Marisa Baltrock took over from him in the autumn.

On 29 April, a party for children to celebrate the Royal Wedding was held on the village green. Barbara Bye organised mums into dealing with a vast array of food and the magician Mr. Jezzo held all spellbound; particularly enjoyable was the part when a dad was persuaded on to the stage as stooge. The children each received their Souvenir mugs, and also enjoyed making balloon models, painting murals and the fancy dress competitions. A group photograph was taken of everybody at the end of the celebrations.

The Thaxted Morris Men celebrated their centenary early in June and on the morning of 4th, we had our usual visit from three of the visiting teams – much enjoyed by all who came to watch and the pub did a roaring trade as usual – very thirsty work, dancing.

St. Botolph’s Fete was held on 18 June, ably organised by Dr. Wendy Dean. The children’s activity area behind the Hall proved very popular. The weather let us down but in spite of a cold, wet day, we raised over £6,800 and the pub added another £1,000 out of the profits on the day and the ‘70s Disco in the evening. It was good to see so many newcomers to the village joining in and working hard with the rest of us. The pub introduced “Seafood Heaven” evenings; the first was so popular, a second one had to be held and this looks like becoming a regular event.

A barbecue was held at the Village Hall, to celebrate completion of the works. In spite of some rain, we were able to enjoy the new patio and garden. The event raised £150 for Hall funds.

A final meeting about taking the Church forward was held in July; discussions on the way forward included matters spiritual, social and financial. Ideas included house groups for discussions, more lay participation in services, and more social events. A lot of time has been spent by the District Church Council on the proposals to re-organise the large Saffron Walden Group ministry which is having yet more parishes joining it. In the New Year, we shall mostly revert to being Parish Councils with a new constitution for the Team and presentations on the subject were invited from everyone interested.

A recent arrival in Hadstock, Sarah Clark, has introduced HAMS, the Hadstock Acting and Music School, for children of different age groups, in the afternoons after school. From time to time the children give a performance for us. Sarah also trained a children’s choir of 23 for the Christmas Eve Light of the World Service, for which some 240 people crammed into the Church! This is over 65% of the population; not many places can beat that! The children loved it and felt very proud in their choir garments (we actually found enough).

Sonia Villiers organised a float celebrating Heroes for the Saffron Walden Carnival; Ashdon Primary School chose Scott of the Antarctic; they had a giant model of Scott, cardboard huskies and fishes painted by the children plus an igloo. Seven Hadstock children dressed as penguins, dad Matt Fish dressed as a polar bear. The children held fishing nets to catch contributions from the public watching. Another wet day rather spoilt the Village Hall barbecue celebrating the new patio but those who attended enjoyed it and raised £150 for Hall funds.

Ashleigh Cannon is off to Ghana for part of her university course in 2012, to help develop child care in nurseries. Many villagers turned up on the green for a boot sale, and to a fund-raising party at the King’s Head or gave donations to help pay for her trip and to take supplies out with her. Our M.P. donated a tour of the Palace of Westminster – he had already given one to the Fete Auction. A total of £1,860 has been raised.

Our local artists have been busy. Sonia Villiers has run painting courses at her home and has held an exhibition of her work in Cambridge. Sue Walker held an Open Studio weekend at her home. Both were well worth a visit. These are annual events. The twentieth Hadstock Golf Day was held in September which attracted some 64 golfers, half from the village. A great time was had by all, finishing up with a great spread at the pub in the evening.

Christmas was celebrated with several parties, as well as the Christmas Eve Service in Church. The village hall had a mince pie and mulled wine evening with craft stalls. A Christmas Lunch has been held annually in the pub for all who work in the village plus others. The Hadstock Silver Band played in the Church for a Christmas Sing-Along with refreshments; the Band gives us this annually as a thank-you for the village’s support during the year. Hamish McIlwrick organised walks each month including early in December and on New Year’s Day. Our year ended with a New Year’s Eve Party at the pub.