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Recorder's Report 2015

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This year was dominated by two things.  First, the Parochial Church Council’s efforts to secure permission to install a small aerial on the Church Tower, at the village’s request, to bring superfast broadband to Hadstock.  Second, to continue the attempts to purchase The King’s Head pub building in order to secure the future of a vital Asset of Community Value  which, thanks to David Taylor’s hard work, has become a hub of social activities and is doing very well. 
            The Diocese of Chelmsford was working with  a commercial firm to install receivers on Church Towers.  The Parochial Church Council discussed it ad nauseam.  Our architect  and the firm’s representative visited and we all climbed the Tower to ensure that the Grade 1 Listed Building would not be harmed in any way.  The PCC agreed to go ahead – the rent would be of considerable help to our finances.  But at the end of the year, matters had stalled at the Faculty stage.  We are still hopeful and apologise to parishioners for the delay but we have done our bit.
            At the end of the year, the owners were threatening to close the King’s Head first on 7th January, then on 31stJanuary.  We are still trying to raise enough to buy the pub.  Unfortunately, several grant applications have been turned down.  As the pub has been declared an Asset of Community Value, we are still hoping to avoid sale to a developer.  The Friends of the King’s Head formed a limited company, The  Hadstock Community Pub Ltd., to continue the efforts.  The pub hosts 3 Darts Teams and Darts League Matches, a Book Club,  a Canasta Club, an Investment Club, Church discussion groups, meetings of the Friends of St. Botolph’s Church, and events raising funds for Help the Heroes, The British Legion, the Friends of St. Botolph’s, and, not least, an annual visit by teams of Morris Dancers from the Thaxted gathering.   It is also visited regularly by several cycling and walking clubs.
            The Church formed a Millennium Co-ordinating Committee with representatives from all the village groups to make sure events being planned do not clash.  2016 is a thousand years since the Battle of Assandun, which may have been fought on Red Field in our parish.  We have a strong documentary case and are planning some field research to prove it.  In 1020, Cnut dedicated a Minster Church in memory of all slain in the battle, on both sides and we have a very large royal Church of that period.  We can find no other reason for such a building in a very poor farming area with no wealth in mediaeval times – the soil is very heavy boulder clay with flints.  In 1249, we only paid Ely annually £5.15s.5 1/2d., 56 hens and 265 eggs! 
            The volunteers’ Speed Watch on the Walden Road continued and a large number of drivers should have received warning letters as a result.  So many ignore the 30 m.p.h. limit that youngsters may not deliver the local free papers in the parts of the village that have no pavement.   A surprising number of drivers still negotiate the 90 degree bend in the centre of the village while talking on their phones - very dangerous in view of the frequent heavy lorries that take up the whole road to get round there.  In fact, we noticed a very large number of car drivers still using their phones while moving.  A few good people do pull in to the side and stop to answer their phones but the majority still do not.
            The Hadstock Society had a busy year.  We were successful in our application for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant  of £7,300 to carry out an extensive geophysical survey of Red Field.  When the railway line was put through in the 1860s, a very large number of skeletons had been dug up so we hoped to find traces of burials.  Unfortunately, when the deep cutting was filled in, a lot of rubbish including metal was put in and this interfered with the geophys. But two possible burial pits were registered and will be worth further investigation, perhaps in 2017.  We also hope to get dating done on some Saxon lime mortar samples from the Church.   Both these activities are part of the Society’s contribution to the Millennium celebrations.
            During frosty weather, villagers were again grateful to Councillor Trevor Smith for his efforts in spreading grit in areas where Uttlesford’s gritter does not go.
The Parish Council is now able to obtain a reserve of salt/grit to refill the bins so that we can provide safer slopes for the many vehicles coming through the village.  We often used to see cars sliding backwards or sideways down the Bartlow Road to the Village Green!
            Joe Barrs managed to ride a Whike (a 3-wheeled recumbent cycle with a wind-sail on the back) from Ushuaia at the S. tip of S. America all the way to Santiago including the ascent of the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas,Aconcagua, accompanied by his friend Gareth.  They set out to raise money for the Prader Willi association and the Ann Dodgson Foundation (set up in memory of Joe’s mother).  James Hewlett ran the London Marathon to raise money for PHASE, a charity in Nepal that helps train and support teachers and health workers in the remote villages; he also gave a talk about the charity at one of the very successful breakfasts held in the pub.  James completed the Marathon in 4 hours 23 minutes and 40 seconds!  Marie Devlin also ran the Marathon to raise funds for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to help her son Leo, completing it in 4 hours 45 minutes..  An evening of Folk Music in the pub raised another £600 for research into this awful condition.  A concert in the Church by professional musicians raised £1,475 for the same cause.  The Village Hall Quiz was a great success and raised £391 to help with Hall  improvements.  The Quiz was won by the Hadstock Harriers.    
            The annual spring clean round the Village took place on 19th April  and collected more than 10 bags of litter plus quite a lot of discarded metal.   Most of the rubbish seems to come from passing cars.   What can be done to stop this?  We take pride in our village and do try to keep it looking nice.  The Parish Council continues to pay for a lorry for garden waste to come every fortnight from April to November and this is always pretty full at each visit.  There was a picnic lunch by the Church on 7th June after the Family Service, with games for the children afterwards.  No litter was left! 
            In May, an election for Parish Councillors was not needed as only 6 were nominated.   The new Parish Council is:- Richard Albrow (Chairman), Hamish McIlwrick (Vice-Chairman), Stuart Britton, Keith Nuttall, Sara Porter and Trevor Smith.   They work very hard on our behalf and we should be grateful to them. 
            The Fete on Saturday, 13th June, was as usual remarkably successful in spite of the weather, and raised over £5,000 for the Church and Village Hall.  A lot of former residents of Hadstock came, as well as many from other villages.  The Village Hall Barbecue on 12th July was a great success and held outside even though sandwiched between two heavy storms.  
            September was a busy month.  On Sunday, 6th, there was a Pet Service, six dogs, 2 sheep, one cat and a ferret all behaved well and went up in turn for a blessing.
On the 20th, in the morning, the Junior Choir from St. Mary’s, Saffron Walden, came to our service, sang beautifully, and stayed on for refreshments afterwards.  In the afternoon, Tilly the Travelling Tea-room parked outside the Church and Phil and Carol Corfield served cream teas to an appreciative crowd, raising £154 for the Friends of St. Botolph’s.   The Friends raised another £130 with the Ladies Tennis Tournament, organised by Lou Symes-Thompson; Sally Muddiman and Jane Lees were the winners.  The Skylarks charity concert had to be cancelled as the singer had laryngitis.  The Junior Choir from St. Mary’s, Saffron Walden, sang at our Service on Sunday, 20th September; they sang beautifully and also enjoyed the refreshments afterwards!  The ride and stride on 12th September:  Paula and Roger walked some 10 ½  miles and raised at least £106 for the Church restoration and the Friends of Essex Churches. 
            The autumn was busy too.  The King’s Head held three Breakfasts with the Big Issues.  David cooked a large breakfast for those who wanted it and others came to hear speakers on different subjects with proceeds, after deduction of costs, going to relevant charities in the countries concerned.  On 3rd October, Dr. James Hewlett spoke about his work with a medical charity in Nepal and the state of that country after the massive earthquake,   On 7th November, Keith Nuttall spoke of his experiences in the Middle East and his academic studies.  On 5th December, Iain Clark spoke on his academic studies of Palestine/Israel relations and his own visit to Palestine.  The breakfasts were much enjoyed by the partakers and all found the talks fascinating.  Average attendance at each was about 20.
            The Harvest Festival was on 4th October, followed by a bring and share Harvest Lunch in the Village Hall.  Sue Albrow co-ordinated the food and a very good lunch was enjoyed by some 40 people.  A MacMillan Coffee Morning at Designer Drapes shop raised £327.38p. with donations, a raffle and sales of gifts.      
A group of people met at the Church on 24th October for the annual Clean of Church and churchyard; valiant work was done and everyone was very glad of the coffee kindly provided by Irene Stapleton.  Dr. Tony Handley gave us another lesson in how to carry out CPR on a casualty and how to use an AED (defibrillator), using equipment kindly loaned by St. John Ambulance in Saffron Walden. 
            Sonia Villiers helped to organise the making of cushions for the Church pews – much more comfortable.  Quite a few people helped with the sewing and Robin Betser organised the purchase of foam and material and inserting the foam into the finished cushions (very hard on the fingers!).  All pews should have cushions quite soon in the new year.   A soup and pud lunch at Waylands, raised £170 for this.
Also in October,  the Hadstock Society was granted £7,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Magnitude Surveys carried out a geophysical survey of Red Field and the Churchyard.  Two possible burial pits may be worth investigating.  The results were presented in the Village by the Survey firm and again at the Society’s AGM on 28th November.  Also in November,  Saffron Screen put on Pop-Up cinema in the Village Hall with a showing of Paddington in the afternoon, and Child 44, in the evening.  Refreshments were provided and the films were enjoyed by moderate audiences.  More films will be shown next year.
            In October, David Barrs, an Essex headmaster resident in Hadstock  was honoured by the Prime Minister by being named a “Point of Light” for his many years of work promoting the work of the  United Nations, taking many young people to visit the Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
            The King’s Head became a popular place for Darts Tournaments with local teams winning The Haverhill and District Monday Night League and another team finishing 3rd.  Another team came 3rd in the Saffron Walden League and were runners-up in the Cup Final.  The pub ended up with five teams playing regularly.
            We lost two well-loved villagers during the year.  Sue Barker died at the start of the year and a large number of friends attended her funeral on 17th January, and came to the Village Hall afterwards.  For many years, Sue, with Sue Crawley, ran the Good Companions for the over 50s, and gave a lot of her time to helping the old people as well as organising meetings and outings for them.  Sue will be sadly missed
by all of us.   John Crawley had been in failing health for a long time and died in the autumn.  John’s grandfather bought The Yews Farm in the 1890s and the family farmed there until the 1990s.  John’s father, Jack,  lived at Cobblers until the death of his mother, when Jack and Olive moved into The Yews.  The eldest son, Peter, was killed in a motor cycle accident while John was still at the Friends School.  On leaving school, John started work on the farm and was an active member of the Young Farmers.  He married Sue in 1971 and, until his father died, they lived at Penn Farm.  Then they moved into the Yews with Olive.  They had two children, Peter and Lizzie.  Although very busy running the farm single-handed, John found time to be a Parish Councillor and then Chairman of the PC.  He was involved with the Hadstock Silver Band and with running the annual Fete.  His great hobby was woodworking and he made portable Altar rails for the Church, a Chest for the vestments, repaired the pews, made stalls for the Fete and trestle tables for the hall.. He also made a swimming pool.  During the winter of ’62-63, when farmers had contracts for snow clearance, all our roads were swept and salted by 8 a.m. so you could drive in Hadstock even though you could seldom get out  of the village.  JC, as many knew him, was also very good with tractors, building one of his own.. and an accomplished clay pigeon shot.  After Olive went into care, John and Sue moved back to the Penn.  There was standing room only at his funeral, over 250 people there, and most came to the marquee on the pub car park to support Sue and family at the hog-roast provided by David and the pub staff..  John was a kindly man with a warm generosity expressed in so many ways, and he will be much missed by all who knew him.

            One generation thins out and another comes along.  Greg and Sue Walker’s two grandchildren were christened, and there were two local weddings.       
            In December, we were busy with all the usual Christmas activities.  We began the month with a new Parish Clerk,  Marisa Baltrock left us after 4 years to start training as a Lay Reader – we wish her well and are grateful for all her hard work.   Kevin Money took over the post on 1st December.  As usual, Elf Mail delivered Christmas cards in the village  and raised £85 for the Rosie Maternity unit for premature babies.  On the 17th, there was a very successful Hadstock Workers Lunch at the Pub.  That evening a group met on the Village Green and went carol singing round the village, ending up at Pond House, where Barbara and John Bye dispensed very welcome mulled wine and delicious snacks; we raised £100 for the East Anglia Children’s Hospice.  Hadstock  Silver Band put on their usual Christmas Concert in the Church, including some carols and solos by two very talented young playser, and bidding farewell to Musical Director, Lisa Jardine-Wright who is retiring after 11 years; the Band served refreshments in the Village Hall afterwards.
            On Christmas Eve, the Church was packed with over 200 people for the Light of the World Service, complete with Choir and Martin Hannam at the organ.  There were sweets for all children(under 95!) afterwards. 
            Next year, Hadstock will be very busy with all the planned activities to celebrate the millennium of the Battle of Assandun.

Patricia Croxton-Smith
Hadstock Local History Recorder