Gaydon Parish Magazine April 2020

index of magazines

Gaydon Events

This Month's Diary: Everything cancelled.  Events below are subject to notice of cancellation:                                
Table Sale                    Sat 13th June            Village Hall
Big Lunch                     Sun 19th July            Village Hall
Apple Day                     October                  Village Hall
Christmas Lunch               Sun 6th December         Village Hall
Carols & Refreshments         Mon 21st December        Village Hall  

Gaydon Parish Council Covid-19 Update

PARISH HELPLINE: 07398 093023

In these uncertain times Gaydon Parish Council want to reassure residents that there is a plan to pull together as a community and to offer help to those who need it.

A group of volunteers is now established to help SPREAD ONLY KINDNESS by completing some simple tasks. This could include working in the shop and helping with deliveries, calling residents to check in on them, shopping for essentials, helping out with pets. To volunteer, just text the parish helpline number above and state your name and the street you live on. You will then be added to the WhatsApp group and tasks will be posted and picked up or delegated. You can also email to offer your help.

If you need support our volunteers can help by:

Collecting and dropping off shopping and supplies; Helping with your pets; Giving you a call to make sure you’re OK.

If you are in need of medical support, please use in the first instance, call 111 or call the GP for a telephone consultation.

Coronavirus is contagious and volunteers should adhere to the latest public health advice by keeping distances of 2 metres, washing hands for 20 seconds regularly throughout the day, particularly before and after going out. Packages or deliveries should be left on the doorstep. Volunteers will be updated with the latest advice so as to prevent the spread of the disease.

Gaydon Village Store

Coronavirus Strategy

The shop is doing all it can to keep stocks available during these difficult times. There are a number of ways that you can help us; volunteer to help the shop if you are able to; buy sparingly to allow others to access items too; volunteer to help with any deliveries.

We are working with the Parish Council group of volunteers to support those who need to self-isolate.

Orders can be telephoned to the shop on 641805 including Meat from Carpenters and Veg Boxes. Both are delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays and should be ordered on the morning of the day before.

We accept payment for home deliveries by Cash, Cheque or Bank Transfer.

It’s not too late to join our membership scheme, just £12 per person, forms available in the shop. This helps to support the shop and gives you the chance to win a prize at least three times in the year. Jane Bennett is the March winner of two tickets to the British Motor Museum.

April Church Services

All church services are cancelled until further notice. However, the Reverend Nicki Chatterton is celebrating morning and evening prayer every day using the Zoom application on mobile phones.

See also the Burton Dassett Website

St Francis of Assisi, Catholic Church, Kineton

We regret we have had to cancel all services until further notice. Parish Priest: Fr David Tams Phone 01608 685259 email:

Parish Council News

Pocket Parks

At the very end of last year, GPC applied for a grant called ‘Pocket Parks’. Initially we hoped to transform the old play area but it became apparent that this area was no longer a secure parish asset and so an application was made to create a new area within the village field instead. This focused on creating a space for wildlife, to include a community orchard, landscaping, planting, habitat enhancements with bug hotels, owl, bat and bird boxes - a living landscape. The £15,500 grant was awarded and we are excited to deliver the project as outlined in the application. This is a community project and GPC would like to invite residents to be involved. It must be completed by the end of February 2021.

Community Orchard

A local grower with a history in horticulture, plant hunter grandparents, an RHS medal winner and a specialist in edibles and wildflowers, visited the field and created a thoughtful planting plan which will be available to view on the website, facebook and noticeboards. It incorporates a variety of fruit trees which we can enjoy for generations to come and will provide much needed shade and shelter for wildlife.

On the second visit we plotted out the orchard using people. The planting plan shows a mulberry tree in the middle of the meandering orchard with the entrances cleverly created by cordon apple and pear trees. Within the area there are a variety of different fruit and nut trees which will provide an even spread of blossom in spring and the trees will fruit this year. We are still optimistic that the orchard will be planted this spring, as the trees are already reserved, but the way this is done will need consideration. An alternative approach could be to allow different households to plant trees at set times, so please email to express your interest in planting and we will get in touch when we know how to best proceed.

The orchard will be planted on the nearside of the field, opposite the allotments and will have seating, mown pathways, cowslips and the re-emergence of pre-existing species which we hope will return now it is not being mown. You can already see the meadow buttercup buds scattered across the field.


With the help of our village wildlife experts, local residents and some advice from a living landscapes specialist, we should see an increase in butterflies, amphibians, hedgehogs, birds and other creatures reported to live right here in Gaydon! We’d like to get the community involved in planting and creating these habitat enhancements. Access and other improvements

As part of the project GPC are also looking at improving access to the field, including a new gate, fencing, drainage and a path. This is something for us all to look forward to and to enjoy once our community can resume village life as we knew it, but maybe a bit closer and better connected.

Play Area

The Play Area is a separate project and will be installed at the far end of the field. The Parish Council is currently in a tender process seeking a supplier who can meet our specific requirements. This process is continuing, with a deadline of the 3rd April for submissions. The contract award date (and decision by the council) may be delayed if we cannot meet in May, unless the Government change the rules to allow councils to make decisions electronically. The aim would be to have the play area installed this summer.

The successful supplier will have been scored against evaluation criteria to ensure our requirements are met. These include Concept, Play Value, Sustainability, Durability, Longevity, and Warranty and suppliers will also need to show evidence of other important criteria including Health and Safety, Experience, Capability and Insurance.

The concept was presented in November following previous consultations and comments received during the change-of-use application.

Equipment will cater for tinies through to teens and could include a zip wire, climbing challenges, swings for toddlers and big children (and adults!), slide, multi-use structures and beyond. Expect to be kept up to date with more news next month. The key is for the field to be used by the whole community - people and wildlife, and for the play area to be in keeping with our rural, natural environment, while offering excellent play value.

Field Management

As it stands, there are no plans to mow the field yet this year, as we will confirm how it will be managed once the wildlife area and play area are in situ. Owing to the extremely wet weather there wasn’t an opportunity to cut back the scrub and bramble and so the field margins will now be attended to in the Autumn after the nesting season.

It is hoped that the wild flowers will return and that the centre area can be reserved for community events. Once we have enhanced the area, there will definitely be cause to celebrate with an event!


The Parish Council would like to thank everyone who has volunteered to help during the current crisis.

The Vicar Writes:

We’re living in unprecedented times. None of us has experienced anything like this before. There are some who have said that the closing down of so much of our daily life is unnecessary and simply scaremongering and causing panic. Others, that it is a vital necessity to safeguard and protect elderly and vulnerable groups. With my nursing background I am in the latter group. The important thing is, of course, not to panic and that includes panic buying. I have been overwhelmed by the care and concern there has been for our elderly and vulnerable groups who are having to self-isolate. The support groups and networks that have been set up are amazing: thank you to all concerned. Jesus said “Love thy neighbour” and that is what we have seen; people helping those in our communities that previously they had not known by name or sight.

Last night I watched an episode of “Call the Midwife”. I’d like to share with you the closing words intermingled with my own.

The seasons will always turn, the clouds will gather and cold will come. It rains and we ford across the floods, the drought comes and we manage that too. We will survive them, we will grow regardless of the weather. This too will pass. We will know wonder where there has been despair. There will be happiness in this time and we will remember it. There will be friendships which we won’t forget. Love is the constant whereby we endure all - all winters and all storms. It is the time in which all things can thrive. The darkness is like a canopy from which the stars can hang; for there are always stars, we just need to look for them. I’ve come to realise that everyone of us is a star that can shine in the darkness to lighten the path of others, and even ourselves, if we choose to. Each with our place each with our purpose, as fixed as the familiar constellations.

Why not join us, and Christians across the country, in lighting a candle in your window at 7pm every Sunday?

"The light shines in the darkness".

Keep yourselves, your families and your neighbours safe and God bless you all. Rev. Nicki

Allotment News

For very obvious reasons, tending allotments and gardens does not figure at the top of our concerns at the moment. Everyone’s primary focus is on the bewildering fall-out and consequences of the Covid 19 outbreak. At the time of writing (19th March), that cliché about ‘a week being a long time in politics’ has surely been superseded by the seemingly, ‘time-warp’ accelerated upheavals of the past 7 days?

With many villagers undergoing many kinds of constraints and limitations on their mobility and routines - in addition to an understandable concern about health matters for themselves and their loved ones, it’s a challenge to dispassionately discuss ‘normal’ activities. But (there’s always a ‘but’…!) it’s possible, for the time being, that we will have to see activities which may have seemed ‘marginal’ becoming more significant in helping to maintain our overall well-being.

On the plots, there have been a few, brief, respites from the conveyor–belt succession of wind and rainstorms. These have enabled some of us to clear a number of beds of their winter detritus and crops which have gone over and which had left coarse, brittle stems suitable only for composting. Among the crops we’ll be sowing, over the next few weeks, will be potatoes and broad beans and anything which will be resilient to a late frost.

It looks as though Paul has been smartening up the main scarecrow (not the break-dancing one!). Its sartorial elegance puts me to shame and surely those trousers still have some (human) wear in them…? TH

“It Might As Well be… Sing!”

(with apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein)

(Dedicated to all those helping and caring or otherwise trying to raise spirits in this crisis.)

Infection caught in many throats

From open windows and online

A music virus then took hold -

Soprano sweet or scratchy whine

Many off-key but all on song

ABBA to Verdi - who could say

Whose melody was wrong?

Even Corporal Jones is now at ease

As it becomes more clear

Though it may never cure disease

It dispels disharmony of fear

Human voices proclaim en masse

When in tune even this will pass… T.H.

(“Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,

Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices…” W.S.)

Nature Notes

I spent most of March away from the village in Madagascar, a country I have not visited for twenty years. The butterfly farm we began in 2000 is still thriving, breeding captive species from the unique species of the Red Island. The contrast with the UK could not be greater - average income $2 per month and one of the poorest nations in the world. There is very little electricity or safe water and most people depend on herds of humped Zebu cattle and growing rice; few people live to be more than fifty.

However, the island is the size of the UK with huge distances on poor roads and everywhere the decaying remnants of French Colonial architecture. The forests and reserves have an incredible, unique diversity of species like Lemurs, Chameleons and and thousands of plant species.

I left the amazing capital Antanarivo on the final flight out last week amidst chaotic scenes of everyone scrambling to get out - though at the time it was free of Coronavirus whilst Plague is endemic. The brave, friendly Malagasy people are hard to leave, as are the white beaches and the rainforests.

The scenario I found at a deserted Gatwick airport was breathtaking; passport checks deserted. The train to Banbury, a GWR cross-country usually packed with hundreds of passengers, had three: myself and two people from Dubai plus James, the Guard. He moved us all into 1st Class and rang ahead to book us assistance with luggage all the way home.

I'm sitting on my new patio now and Gaydon is so quiet with no traffic and distant M40; just a melodic mixture of birdsong and lawnmower. True, I'm self-isolating, distanced from my friends, but we are so lucky to live in our small community here. We can still walk our dogs, tend our gardens and see our families on social media apps.

Only last week I was fishing from a dug-out catamaran, pulling in huge snapper fish and eating grilled Lobster; seeing hordes of Tropical butterflies in clearings and hearing Lemurs calling from the tree tops.

Yet, comparable pleasure can be had from green shoots, a flock of Goldfinches and the call of Blackcaps and Thrushes in the top of my Walnut tree.

We live in changeable times and maybe I detect a change for the better in society in general - as Paddy, a fellow Tipperary man and my companion on the train journey home commented,

'Maybe things will get a bit more like Ireland is, people helping each other, less selfishness and more consideration'.

So let's all hope that something good will come from this... Bernard Price

In Memoriam: Mary Jessie Fox

'The weekend before Thursday 8th February 1927 was very foggy. I was apparently due to enter the world on the Monday, so on Sunday my father took my brother to Liverpool Street Station to meet his Grandma, who would then take him to stay with her and Doreen in Ipswich until the event was over. Unfortunately, they missed each other in the fog and only after a stressful couple of hours could Grandma board her train with John, aged 3 years and 11months, and father return to his very pregnant wife and his anticipated task of providing kettles full of boiling water. Remember, in those days there were no telephones in ordinary homes so communication was difficult. All urgent matters were dealt with by the Post Office Telegrams. Most confinements took place at home and when it could be afforded, a monthly nurse would be engaged. My parents, although not very well off, managed this for the births of both John and me.'

Mary was born in Hornsey, London, to John and May Hillier. She attended St Mary's primary school until she joined her brother at the Latymer School. At the outbreak of the second world war Mary was twelve years old and like many other children was evacuated. Her parents arranged for her to go to relatives in the Lake District and it was a very happy time for her. She loved living in Little Langdale and throughout her life got great pleasure from her collection of paintings of the Dale; and she developed a love of Herdwyke sheep.

In 1949 she qualified as a State Registered Nurse at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington and worked there until her marriage to Peter, a widower with two daughters. Her own daughter, Elizabeth, died tragically of cancer at the age of three. in 1976 Mary and her second husband, Frank, bought the Old School on the village green in Gaydon.

Mary's involvement with the village grew year on year and she was particularly interested in the Church, being on the PCC for 18 years,

Secretary for 4 years, and Churchwarden for 9 years. She was the Flag Officer, responsible for raising the Flag on the village flagpole for all official occasions; and for people who donated £1 to the church to have the flag flown for a birthday or other celebration. When the Village Mother and Toddler Group started, Mary was there every time making tea and chatting to the young mums. She was Clerk to the Parish Council for six years and a Parish Councillor for a total of nine.

Mary 'retired' to Corner Cottage with Alfie her ginger cat and spent many happy years supporting the Friendship Club and the coffee mornings and keeping an eye on the church. Owing to ill-health she moved into a care home in 2019 where she died this February, shortly after her 93rd birthday. 'Go forth, O Christian Soul!'

Extract from Eulogy given by Andrew Corner