Stambourne Newsletter

Published and distributed by Stambourne Parish Council No 230

PARISH COUNCIL MEETING – Thursday 19th NovemberThe last meeting for 2015 took place on Thursday 19 November in the village hall. We were pleased to welcome Cllr Richard van Dulken our Braintree District Councillor.

PlayingfieldThe grass protection mesh which was bought with grant funding from the Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund was fitted onto the playing field in time for bonfire night and has done its job well. There were no reports of cars getting stuck on bonfire night and already the grass is growing through to cover the mesh.

HighwaysAs you have probably seen the potholes around the parish have finally been dealt with by ECC Highways. However, the state of signposting remains a problem and we will continue to try and get these repaired. Please remember that any highway problems can be reported on the Essex County Council website and follow the links.

You may also be aware of the proposal to close Finchingfield bridge for some time during the summer of 2016. Obviously this may have implications for Stambourne regarding traffic so we will monitor the situation and keep you advised of developments.

FootpathsWe are pleased to say that we have two new footpath bridges on the paths leading from Dyers End. Thanks were passed to the Footpaths Officer of Essex County Council for arranging this.

War Memorialthe Parish Council have been in consultation with the War Memorials Trust to try and obtain grant funding towards the renovation of our War Memorial. We are pleased to say that we have been successful in obtaining consent for a grant towards the cost of the work. We have appointed an experienced contractor to carry out the work and are awaiting details of a start date.

Budget 2016/17At this time of year the Parish Council has to decide what it thinks its budget will be for the next financial year. The figures have been agreed subject to the amount of localism fund it will receive from the District Council.

This amount of precept will then be shown on your Council Tax form for the year 2016/17.


The Parish Council has signed up to this scheme for the winter which means we have been provided with 1 tonne of salt to be used on highways and paths not covered by Essex County Council’s regular gritting programme.

If you would like some of this salt it is available from Michael Crago on 07779 672388. Please note this is only for use on public highway areas.

The salt is in bags of approximately 20kg.


Despite a rainy Saturday daytime the weather dried up in time for our annual firework display. Many people came forward to say how much they enjoyed the display and the food on offer. Attendance was down a little on last year but this may have been due to the daytime weather.

It goes without saying that an event of this kind cannot go ahead without a huge team of volunteers who come forward every year. There are people overseeing the bonfire, and others who organise and let off the fireworks safely, run the car parking, refreshments and barbecue. After all of this everybody then comes back to clean and clear away afterwards. Thanks are also due to local landowners and livestock owners for their co-operation. We hope that you all enjoyed it.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 28 January 2016 at 7.30pm in the village hall. Full minutes and agendas are available on the Stambourne website.

Debbie Hilliard
Parish Clerk
Tel: 01440 785629


If you are going to let fireworks off any other time of the year except the week of November the 5th when fireworks are expected could you please inform villagers via Stambourne website, note through mail box or verbally.

This would give people who keep animals, especially nervous dogs and horses time to take measures to keep them calm and safe


Many of you as you pass the church will have noticed the remarkable work of scaffolding that now encases and is wrapped around the church. This is to allow the roof to be repaired. Watching the bravery and skill of the four young men of the scaffolding gang was awesome. Richard took a photo of them as a momento and called them, much to their delight, “The Gangsters”. They should really be described as Installation Artists, like the Bulgarian/American artist Christo, and enter for the Turner Prize!

Please come and take a look at this work but keep at a distance for reasons of ‘ealth and safety’. Anyway it is more impressive from the roadside.

None of this would have been possible without the stupendous work done by David and Jane Waller. Firstly on getting the Faculties from the Chelmsford Diocese DAC, and then their tenacity in approaching 11 Funds and getting even more grant aid than was needed. Besides this, they organised the work by the builders and are hoping that the work will be completed by the end of March.

There have been meetings with the other Church Wardens of the Benefice to discuss the Deanery proposal of making a larger Benefice of 7 parishes to include Castle and Sible Hedingham. We have been assured by the Rural Dean, Jonathon Lowe, that this will not affect our pattern of Services. There was a public discussion on 21st November at the Church Hall, St Andrews, Halstead between 10.30am-4.00pm. What is proposed will make a significant difference to the way the local churches operate and their future.

The Remembrance Day Service took place in the church on Sunday 8th November 2015. It was taken by the Rev. Adrian Burr and started with Prayers, laying of wreaths and the Last Post by the War Memorial. 24 people attended this and 22 the service which followed. A total of £79.00 was donated the British Legion.

A week later there was the atrocity in Paris. This will have an effect on all of us for many years to come. On the Sunday after the attack the Reverend Barbara preached a sermon on it which was so good we have asked her permission to include three small parts of it in this newsletter. The whole will be put onto the website:-

On 21st December 2012 it was predicted that the world was coming to an end, according to some doomsayers. According to the National Graphic, a new cycle of the Mayan calendar happens every 1,872,000 days and on the Winter Solstice of 2012 which happened to be 21st December that cycle ended. Some said that this event would signify the end of the world.

Well it is now 2015 and the end didn’t happen in 2012. When Max (her Metropolitan Police husband) goes on duty, I always say to him “be safe”, it is what you should say to police officers before they go to work, because you never know what awaits them.

The police officers in Paris couldn’t have predicted what was going to happen over the weekend. Even though they are on high alert, they couldn’t have predicted the mass killing in cold blood. And those who were enjoying a night out couldn’t have foreseen the events.

It could be said by the scaremongers that this is the beginning of the end. The beginning of a war to end all wars.

To start a war in the name of religion is not the Christian way. Jesus came to teach the Jews and the Romans and other who would quite happily kill anyone who didn’t buy into their belief systems, that there is another way, the way of peace.

We do not know what tomorrow will bring, but let us stand firm in the faith of God who loves us, loves us all and try not to worry what the future will bring.’


6th December 2015 9.30am Morning Prayer
13th December 2015 9.30am Holy Communion
20th December 2015 4.30pm Carol Service
25th December 2015 9.30am Christmas Service
27th December 2015 TBA Benefice Service,
Sible Hedingham

3rd January 2016 9.30am Morning Prayer
10th January 2016 9.30am Holy Communion
17th January 2016 No Service
24th January 2016 9.30am Morning Prayer

7th February 2016 9.30am Morning Prayer
14th February 2016 9.30am Holy Communion
21st February 2016 No Service
28th February 2016 9.30am Holy Communion

6th March 2016 9.30am Morning Prayer
13th March 2016 9.30am Holy Communion
20th March 2016 No Service
27th March 2016 TBA Easter Day

Richard Day
Val Kerrison
Church Wardens

St Peter and St Thomas Becket Church

Candlelit Carol Service
Sunday 20th December 2015

With the Stambourne Singers
Followed by mulled wine and mince pies
Tea and coffee

All welcome


In the Stambourne Chapel House Group we have been studying the Christmas story. We have discovered that we have missed Christmas - it was in September (probably)!! But, like the Queen, Jesus has His official birthday on December 25th! We discovered that there weren't just three Kings, but several. We discovered that while the shepherds met with baby Jesus in the manger, the Kings came a long time afterwards and met with Jesus in a home.
Now it's not normal to celebrate the birthday of someone who is no longer with us. Our year would be just full of birthdays for all our past relatives!!! No, we only celebrate for someone who is alive!

 And I recently read a story that went like this: (Acknowledgements to J John)

A person was invited to a birthday party, to which they rsvp'd saying "I'm coming". After talking around friends and finding out who else is coming this person then made all the preparations ... buying the drinks and the presents, making sure the clothes were right and generally getting prepared.

On the big day they knocked on the door, and as the host answered they confirmed that it is
his birthday and this is his birthday party. You go in and meet the other guests and then confirm again that it is your hosts birthday. At this point you and all the other guests get out the birthday presents and ...

Start giving them to each other...
Now that's not on is it?? But does that ring a bell with you??

Not one is given to the birthday boy! What a strange birthday!!
But that is what we do every Christmas!

Christmas is a time of giving, a time for a family get together and for relaxing and enjoying life. And yet as I go round talking to people I often hear people say they don't enjoy Christmas any more. They find that it's just so much hype and shopping and eating. It's not really any fun.

So what's gone wrong? For many younger folk Christmas is still special. It's a time when people show they love you by giving you presents. Perhaps we have lost sight of what makes Christmas so special. For the true Christmas message is that someone wants to give you something special. They want to show their love for you by showing you a gift that was given so many years ago, just for you.

The heart of the Christmas message isn't just that God came down to earth as a child in a manger. It isn't even that He was miraculously born of a virgin and visited by shepherds and Kings, though all these things are true. The message is that this baby was given out of love as a present for each one of us, for he came that he could give His life for us so that we could once again have a relationship with God. He came that we could know again the God who created the universe (even Darwin recognized that!). He came that we could be the people He wanted us to be. He came to set us free from the guilt, the anger, the hate and the hurt, the selfishness and the love of other "gods". He came as a gift for me and you, and all he asks in return is that we recognize Him and give our greatest gift to him. As one of the Carols says "Yet what I can I give Him: Give my heart"

One of the Carols, written by a minister as he sat on a hillside overlooking Bethlehem, has a last verse that can be used as a personalised prayer. It goes like this:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to me, I pray;
Cast out my sin, and enter in;
Be born in me today.
I hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to me, abide with me,
My Lord Immanuel!

Say those words if today you would like to accept the gift God gives this Christmas. And we would encourage you to find a church where others know the gift that God has given at Christmas ....

From your Village Chapel we ask God's Blessing on you and yours for this Christmas and all though the coming New Year.
Adrian Burr (Rev'd), Minister at Stambourne Chapel

Every Tuesday - 10-12am Coffee and Chat. We enjoy discussion on wide ranging issues over coffee and biscuits. Come and join a little time out for fun and friendship! Every Tuesday - REACH Worship evening. The band gather to practice and worship together. Join us at 7pm for prayer, and 7:30pm for the music. If you play an instrument or sing we would welcome you to come and see whether you could join us. Every Wednesday - 7pm Intercessory Prayers. If you have prayer needs then let us know or come and join us. We will pray for healing, for situations and for troubles, for worries and concerns, relationships and family life (among many other things!!). Let us know your prayer needs.
Every Thursday – 7:30pm Stambourne Village House Group. Call our minister to join in! Our Worship Service is held at 10:45 am every Sunday followed by coffee on the 1st Sunday we have a Communion Service
2nd and 3rd and 5th Sundays are normal worship services sometimes with visiting preachers
4th Sunday
- Service led by the REACH worship group and followed by lunch together

th Christmas Fair 10am – 2pm. Come along and see and take part in craft work and find those special gifts and cards. There will be a number of stalls as well as Cath's wreaths, plus refreshments.
th The Christmas story 4pm in song and words – a service of celebration. Enjoy a hot punch as you arrive and mince pies and hot drinks afterwards.
25th CHRISTMAS DAY AT CHAPEL Celebration service at
9:30am followed by refreshments, allowing you to get home to enjoy the rest of your festivities.
Christmas Dinner at 1pm: If you or you and your partner/spouse have no where to go this Christmas, then book now for a traditional Christmas lunch at the Chapel.
If you have no transport, we can arrange to pick you up and return you home after a Christmas to remember! Numbers will be limited as we can only cater for 20 people and some of those are taken already! So get your name in quickly and at least by Tuesday 15
th December! Call Brian Mead to book. There is no cost, though you may make a donation toward expenses.


16th Film Evening - 6pm for Potato Supper and then a Film – Paper Angels
13th Car Clean 10am to 12 noon. Come and have the car cleaned for Spring and enjoy a coffee and chat while its done!

Adrian Burr (Rev)  
01440 730211 & 07983 656166                

Brian Mead, Secretary 01376 345337

Facebook: Stambourne Chapel


Christmas is moving towards centre stage in the school as we prepare for all the many aspects of the festive season that are celebrated by our children. A major activity is our Christmas production which this year is entitled Straw and Order. If you would like to come along to our dress rehearsal on Monday 13th December, please contact the school office. (01787 237354)

We have a pantomime troupe coming into school on the 11th December thanks to the generosity of the TSA (Toppesfield School Association)
Our Christmas service is in Toppesfield church at 1:30 on 18th December. All are welcome. Our Christmas Fayre is on Friday 4th December at 2:30 in the school hall. There are more details elsewhere in the Newsletter. We would be delighted if you could join us.

It has been a busy term with the children having great fun on Children in Need day and managing to raise £116.08 by selling cakes and loom bands, and dressing up. A big “thank you” to parents and the local community for joining in with our McMillan coffee morning, when we raised a fantastic £367.58.

Being a church school we are subject to periodic inspection by the Diocesan Education Board. We had our visitation just before half term and we were delighted to be rated as a “Good” school. The inspector said many complimentary things in her report (a full copy is on our website Just a few out-takes from the report: “St Margaret’s is a happy, caring school.” “Pupils’ achievements are now at and above the national average.” “Pupils talk about their school with great enthusiasm, describing it as friendly place where they enjoy lessons and feel safe.”

Coming up shortly, is a visit to the school from Night Owl, a group that brings owls into schools so that children can see first-hand what fascinating birds they are.

All of these activities have to be fitted-in around the day to day lessons that are so important, so you can see that our days are really fully occupied!

Mrs Kim Hall
Head Teacher

Toppesfield School
2:00pm on 4th December
Gifts, Decorations
Grand Raffle, Games, Refreshments
Father Christmas

SATURDAY 5th DECEMBER 7.15pm start
2 Course Meal Xmas & pantomime theme.
If you’ve got the courage, please dress up.
£10 Adult, £5 Children under 11
To book a seat or table, please ring Cath 01440 785 678
And remember : space is limited so get ringing!

The Great Yeldham Post Office no longer delivers but (01376 344768) now provide newspaper deliveries to Stambourne.


4th December Toppesfield Christmas Fayre, Toppesfield School
5th December Christmas Quiz 5th December Christmas Fair, The Chapel 20th December Carol Service at 4.30pm with the Stambourne Singers.

Items for the next newsletter by 17th January
Steve Platt Email : or phone 07767 357016