Although this is the first edition of 2014, to wish you a happy New Year hardly seems appropriate, having just said goodbye to another two stalwarts of the parish. Bill and Mary met when both working in the nursing profession and moved to North Devon, variously serving at the North Devon Infirmary, the Alexandra Hospital and Lynton Cottage Hospital. In retirement, both played a full part in village functions and support for Christ Church, (the now famous summer hot dog evenings), and despite failing sight, Mary continued to keep in touch by email and send in the rainfall figures each month. A keen knitter, Mary had joined the craft afternoon group, knitting squares to make blankets for African children. A funeral at the North Devon Crematorium was followed by a very well attended memorial service in Christ Church. Emma, Claire and Katie read a passage from “Pilgrims Progress”, a favourite of Mary’s readings, and Steve Highton read a passage from Corinthians. A bit late, but Parracombe Pieces would like to take this opportunity to send our condolences to Bill, Linda and the rest of the family. A message of thank you from Linda appears elsewhere in LVN.
It was only while attending Mary’s memorial service that I learned of the death of Robert John Petherick, having only visited John and Janet shortly before Christmas and enquired as to how John and Ethel were getting on. The very well attended funeral service took place in Holy Trinity, Challacombe, some of the congregation were left standing at the back. The eulogy delivered by Rev Yvonne reflected on Robert’s farming life and especially his skill at catching rabbits and keeping the family fed during the war years. During the service, standing guard outside the church was a beautifully restored and decorated Allis Charmers tractor, the first new tractor that Robert had bought and now restored and owned by an enthusiast at Landkey. The service was followed by internment in the graveyard. If you have the book, “Parracombe and Heddon Valley, an unfinished history”, you will find much in there about his life and the Petherick family.
Also departed recently, Ken Walker, a friend of Parracombe who lived at Barham Cottage near Woolhanger. A keen hunt supporter, Ken often kept his horses in the field above Bardell. A memorial service was held in Christ Church at the end of January.
You will have read in previous editions of PP about the Longstone Landscapes Project or seen posters around the village. Here is the latest progress report from Linda Tansley. The Parracombe History and Archaeology Society (PHAS), residents of Challacombe, North Devon Archaeological Society, the Exmoor Moorland Initiative and the Exmoor National Park have teamed up to undertake this ambitious new project. With more than forty signed up volunteers there is great potential to research, record and more fully understand the moorland archaeology alongside the Parish Boundary between the two villages. The project will last for at least two years and will have six priority areas for research. Whilst the majority of the work will be undertaken by skilled and unskilled volunteers there are experts on hand to advise and plenty of free training opportunities.
The project opened with a roadshow and site walkover on the 11th January 2014 with almost everyone who had signed up attending and keen to start research. The first work party will be in the next few weeks when permissions are in place. To get involved please message us via thr Parracombe Community Facebook page. As the project progress we will use the parracombe.org.uk page to give details of research objectives and early results. All we ask is that you pay a small fee to join PHAS (£5) which will cover insurance and admin costs. The areas of greatest archaeological significance are the Chapman Barrows and the Longstone itself, thought to date from the Bronze Age and Radworthy, a deserted farmstead and field system on the hillside overlooking the Challacombe reservoir and possibly dating from Anglo Saxon times or earlier. Space does not allow me to reproduce Linda’s full report here, if you have access to the internet, please see the Parracombe facebook and website pages for more information.
The Craft Afternoon is on February 12th from 2-5pm. Carol says Join us this month for the Annual Charity Knit In for the North Devon Hospice to make creme egg chicks. Bring size 11 needles and some yellow or lemon double knit wool & enjoy contributing to this worthy cause.
Parish council, November meeting, PC Martin Beck attended the meeting; no crimes had been reported in Parracombe in the last period. However a car trailer was taken from Dean Steep and a cash machine from Wistlandpound car park. Meetings had taken place in Lynton and Shirwell to discuss issues around poaching. These include- trespass, shooting at night, animal welfare, wildlife protection and meat hygiene. Please use 101 or e-mail to report incidents or 999 if in progress. There had been reports of vehicles driving through the A399 closure at night. It was proposed by Cllr Edgington and sec. by Cllr Tansley that council write to enquire why there had to be a full closure as it had caused enormous local disruption. No reply had been received from the landowners of the hedge at Tarr Path. Therefore the Clerk was asked to contact ENPA as the highway authority for rights of way on 2 issues, the overhanging hedge and the dangerous section of fence. Prop Cllr Holtom, sec Cllr Tansley. Clerk to see if leaves can be cleared from the path.
A resident raised his concern over the safety of the sycamore on the hedge bordering his property and the park. After some discussion it was decided to contact ENPA for advise and details of people who could carry out a report on the tree. Also check whether ENPA felling permission is still in date. A report will be carried out on the trees around the playing field that are the responsibility of the Parish Council and also the beech tree at the top of Tarr Path (for which we have not been able to establish responsibility). Clerk is also to check on insurance cover. Planning applications; Proposed track through South Down Wood, Heddon Valley Mill. Additional plans were received but Parish Council could not determine whether the footpath issue had been addressed.
Matters arising from the minutes; Public toilets- sensor lights have been checked and are not working correctly. Low wattage lights have been put in instead. Only 1 toilet is to be opened daily with the others available for functions. At Quarry fields a quote of £200-250 to clear scrub was received from Andrew Adams. However as the council do not want to sell at present non-intervention management was agreed. At Pleasure Ground- this is a town/village green and therefore cannot be enclosed or sold. Review of Standing Orders and Time Limit for Meetings- Cllr Holtom has looked closely at the current standing orders and made the following suggestions for changes- the quorum be changed from 4 to 3 so there is less likelihood of having to change or cancel a meeting due to lack of quorum. Prop Cllr Holtom sec Cllr Goode, all agreed. Clause 36A written notice of a special resolution to reverse a decision within 6 months must be made by 3 council members not 4. Prop Cllr Tansley, sec Cllr Holtom, all agreed. It was also agreed to set a time limit of 2 hours for a meeting.
Payments were authorised for NDJ advertisement, hire of village hall, clerk’s wages and expenses, grass cutting, electricity and water bills, donations to Royal British Legion and churchyard upkeep. At close of business council’s accounts stood at £15,308.59. Precept and Grant had been received at end Sept £3819.77. Tenders for grass cutting- only 1 tender received from Gerald Tombs value approx £1100. Clerk to reply to Mr Tombs to thank him for the tender and say we are still considering our options. Cllr Holtom has a ride on mower which may be suitable for use on the playing field, to be assessed. Budget 2014/15- There was some discussion regarding setting a Precept request for 2014/15. It was then agreed to set a Precept of £6600 a small increase in line with inflation. The Clerk’s hourly rate was increased from £8.84 to £9.00 per hour in line with National Guidelines for 2013. A letter of resignation had been received from Bruce Aiken via e-mail. This is due to the financial interests declaration required by NDC asking him to publish his client list. He did not feel this was appropriate so tendered his resignation. Historic Churches Trust- re directing visitors to St. Petrock’s to use the VH car park. Cllrs felt this would increase traffic past the school so preferred the status quo. Clerk was asked to advertise for a cleaner for the pavilion and toilets. Co-option of new Cllrs to go on next agenda.
While rebuilding is under way at Parracombe School, Parracombe pupils are sharing facilities with Kentisbury in the Young Berries and Elderforests classes. This term, pupils in Young Berries are studying The Little Red Hen and exploring the pattern they discover! The theme learning which the children were involved in planning will be about animals, the ocean and dinosaurs. The Elderforests theme will be Britain since the 1930s and already the children are showing a great interest in investigating and comparing popular culture across the decades. In science we will also be learning about the Earth, Sun and Moon which, amongst other things, will enable us to think about the Space Race within the context of our theme.
And that’s it for this month. Next time it will be March, will we be looking forward to Spring? I took a break from writing this afternoon to go for a walk and see that the snowdrops are already appearing in Century Lane.
Best wishes to all
Mervyn and others.
Mary’s family would like to express their thanks to all who supported in their recent sad time. Daughter, Linda writes “Many thanks to Dr Blundell, the District Nurses at the Resource Centre and the out of hours nurses at the NDDH for the care and attention to our wife/ mum Mary Delbridge who passed away on 20th December 2013. Also many thanks to the Rev Yvonne Yates and for all the kind words, condolences, cards and donations to Christ Church, Parracombe. Thanks to Liz for the buffet, to Iris Andrews for playing the organ, and to our friends who prepared the village hall.”
Bill Delbridge, Ann and Linda