Stambourne Newsletter: December 2020 / January 2021

Published and distributed by Stambourne Parish Council No: 259


The final meeting of 2020 took place on Thursday 19 November at 7.30pm via Zoom. We were pleased to welcome County Councillor David Finch and Braintree District Councillor Richard van Dulken, together with one member of the public.


The pavilion has seen little use throughout 2020, the decision being made that it should remain closed throughout the pandemic. It has now been closed up fully for the winter.


The playing field has been well used throughout the summer. Regular grass cuts by our contractor have kept it looking tidy. Our Parish Councillors have also emptied the bins, given the new entrance gates a coat of wood preserver and arranged for a new oak tree to replace one of the memorial oaks which died earlier in the year.

Dog Bins

It would seem that these bins were not emptied as regularly as normal recently. If you notice the bins are full please let me know and I will contact Braintree District Council. My contact details are below.


A member of the public attended to raise concerns about the speed of traffic coming through the village, particularly Dyers End. After a full discussion and with support from both the County and District Councillors, we will apply to Braintree Local Highways Panel to see if we can get some flashing speed restriction signs installed.


The footbridge on footpath 2 (Wesley End Road) is damaged. This has been reported to ECC for urgent attention. Please take care when using this path.


There was one application (No 20/01711/OUT) to consider.

Bonfire Night

Sadly this was cancelled for 2020 due to the pandemic. Hopefully it will be able to return in 2021.

Meeting dates for 2021 have been agreed as:- 21 January 2021

18 March 2021
20 May 2021
22 July 2021
23 September 2021
18 November 2021
All are Thursdays at 7:30 pm.

At the moment all meetings are held virtually via Zoom. Parish Council meetings are public meetings and you are welcome to attend. If you do wish to attend please contact me and I will arrange for you to be sent the link.

Full minutes and agenda are available on the village website Please note that some new laptop issues have prevented me from uploading the most recent. I am working to resolve this and will have them updated as soon as possible.

Debbie Hilliard, Parish Clerk
Email: Tel: 01440 785629



In memory of Ann Bradfield

A new seat has been positioned in Stambourne churchyard in memory of Ann Bradfield who was a regular church-goer for many years.
The picture shows her husband Bob Bradfield who arranged the positioning of this new bench in her memory. From it you have a view of the church and are surrounded by the peaceful environment afforded by the churchyard. A beautiful place to rest and gather your thoughts, contemplate your own life and those you have loved. We hope it will be well used and a blessing to anyone in need of a little repose.


As I sit at my computer preparing the contribution for the newsletter from the Church we are nearing the end (hopefully) of the second lockdown. However, there are no confirmed details at this time regarding the “tier” that we might be in and the restrictions that come with that. So, being very optimistic, the services for the next two months are listed but subject to change. Any changes will be shown on the Church noticeboard.

I would like to thank those who attended the Harvest Festival on 11th October – a congregation of 18 – and to those who gave produce and other items to decorate the Church.
Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, our planned Remembrance Sunday Service could not go ahead. However, the poppy wreaths have been laid at the War Memorial as normal.


6th December9:30 amMorning PrayerDave Brown
13th December9:30 amHoly CommunionRev. Liz Paxton
19th December (Saturday)6:00 pmThe Christmas StoryRev. Liz Paxton
25th December9:30 amChristmas Day Holy CommunionRev. Chris Elliott
3rd January9:30 amMorning PrayerDave Brown
10th January9:30 amHoly CommunionRev. Liz Paxton

I hope I am not out of order in wishing you all, on behalf of the Parochial Church Council, a happy Christmas time and for 2021 to bring us all a much brighter and positive year.

Val Kerrison, Churchwarden

Tel: 01440 785752 or 07879 816362


Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Did you know the Christmas Carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is one of our oldest carols dating back before the
16th Century? It is also probably the Christmas Carol we most often sing incorrectly; you might have thought washing socks instead of watching flocks might take the pole position, but let me explain.

You might think I have eaten another dictionary a bit like last month’s ramblings, but there is a point to my explanation here which I hope will encourage you.
To begin with, the word ‘ye’ should never have found its way into the carol. It sounds suitably olde worlde and fits our concept of a traditional Christmas, but grammatically is completely incorrect (a bit like using you’re instead of your); the comma is in the wrong place (punctuation police are you enjoying this?) which changes the meaning of the opening line: It is not the gentlemen who are merry but the blessing, so no more images of joyful rather tipsy men in top hats and cravats. The word rest also has a changed meaning: although we use the word in a similar way to relax or sleep, back in the 1540s it meant to keep, remain. As for that word merry, it had nothing to do with mulled wine, but a sense of being bountiful, prosperous even. Perhaps a better rendition would be God bless and keep you, Gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay which would become the perfect carol for 2020. And of course that blessing extends to all you Ladies out there as well, let nothing you dismay either.
This year has been one of hardships and uncertainties. Fear lurks around every corner and we keep being threatened that Christmas will be cancelled. Christmas will be different but the love and hope and light and joy that Jesus brought to that manger the very first Christmas is still God’s gift to us, even in very uncertain times, and that can never be cancelled.
Writing this, in the middle of lockdown 2.0 I have still found joy in the mild and often sunny weather, I have found new friends in walking round the villages with some willing volunteers. There has been worship online and in private and my Christmas

preparations, although they are scaled back, are just as special, because the reason for the season has not changed. To finish with another carol;

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him,
Born the King of Angels,
Christ the Lord!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2021 from Rev Liz and all of us at St Peter and St Thomas, Stambourne.

Tel: 01787 277270 Email:


Remembrance Day – 11th November 2020 – was commemorated at the Chapel with a beautiful display of poppies.


What a strange year! And Christmas is going to be different too! So we are looking for ways to bring good cheer to our village and so we will be putting a few videos of Christmas Carols and Christmas songs on our YouTube site (Stambourne Chapel). And as this is the season of Advent – waiting for the big day we hope to be doing a number of things that we can all participate in! If you would like our Service Sheets please ask Adrian or Jill. We will be pleased to deliver hard copy or email a version to you.

Over this Advent season (starting 29th November) there will be a Christmas tree at Chapel which will be looking pretty bare (it may have some lights!). As the season progresses we are inviting everyone to make a decoration and hang it on the tree. Now as this is outside, we suggest you cut up an old plastic bottle in a decoration shape and paint it (with waterproof paints!) and put a Christmas message on it! You can also use natural materials such as fir cones or a small sprig of holly with berries, and if you would like to, add a prayer to your decoration. Prayers can be thankyous for all the good things we have enjoyed through this strange year, prayers for people who are suffering, for friends and family, for neighbours, and prayers for things that aren’t going so well around the world, or anything else you can think of! We would love to see the tree covered in decorations by December 24th.

You could also paint a stone and place it at round the village, but this time with the theme of

Christmas on it and with a message for the Christmas season! As we get close to Christmas come and place them around the Christmas tree! We loved the stones of hope and encouragement that people placed round the village at the last lockdown, and this time it would be lovely to be encouraging everyone again through these dark days.

If anyone is going to be alone at Christmas, please do let us know! We will be happy to call and we may even bring a mince pie! Usually on Christmas day we have a meal in the Chapel for those who would be alone and we do deliver to one or two people as well. That’s not going to be possible in the same way this year, but we do want to try to offer something, so do let us know if there are people who would otherwise be home alone this Christmas.

So we want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and pray that 2021 will be a year when we get back to something resembling normal again.

Adrian Burr
Minister, Stambourne Chapel

Sundays Services – we gather in our own homes at 10:45am to share worship together with some items on our YouTube site and on our Facebook page
1st SundayCommunion Service – you are invited to follow the service and eat and drink the bread and wine you have prepared in your own home.
13th DecemberPenny Bloom and Bob Pearson – watch our YouTube page for Bob leading our singing.
20th DecemberCarol Service, with Service sheets and on-line carols and message
27th DecemberService of Prayer for 2021
3rd JanuaryCommunion for the New Year
10th JanuaryBringing the Word is being led by Brian Mead and his wife Margaret
17th JanuaryDanny Moores is leading worship and our minister Adrian Burr is bringing the word
24th JanuaryWe have Marina Price leading who runs the Healing Bus so our service will one of healing
31st JanuaryMission Sunday and we hope to have a live link to our friends in India

TuesdaysandThursdays 10am–12noonweareopenforprayer. Wednesdays 10am – 2pm we have our Wednesday Support Club


Adrian Burr, Minister, 07983 656166,
Jill Holmes, Secretary, 07883 423528,


While Christmas is a time of celebration for many, it can be a difficult time for some. Do not struggle alone. There is a Stambourne WhatsApp Group which offers local neighbourly support and there are also many local and national organisations which offer extra support over the holiday period. Here are just three which are available 365 days a year are:

Phone free – 116 123

Phone free – 0800 678 1602

Struggling to cope?

Text SHOUT to 85258 24/7

Don’t be concerned about reaching out – there are people “out there” to help!



Remember the local weather is available to view online directly at
Or can be accessed via the village website The website is powered by a Davis Vantage Pro 2 (VP2) weather station located along Cornish Hall End Road in Stambourne Green. The data is collected every 3 seconds and the site is updated every few minutes.
The website and it’s data is collected using Weather Cat Software. The station comprises an anemometer, rain gauge and a thermo- hydro sensor and shows up-to-date measurements for temperature, rainfall, etc as well as lots of interesting statistics and graphs for previous days, weeks and months.


I hope you are all okay.
We are going to get through this! Then boy what a party we’ll have!! Have a good Christmas.
All best wishes for the New Year, Cath


Silver Link is cancelled until further notice.


The fitness class still takes place every week on Tuesday’s at 6pm but via ZOOM until the Spring (or the Village Hall can open again).
For details of how to take part in these friendly fun workouts contact Lara on 07471 105210.


Here’s wishing all past, present and future Stambourne Ladies a very

Happy Christmas and a New Year full of promise and hope for an

adventure packed 2021.

Everyone is looking forward to meeting up again

and as soon as it’s safe to do so, we’ll launch our

calendar of events.


Fresh pine wreaths Free delivery

Ring 01440 785678


Ideas and contributions for the next newsletter to Karen Crago at or the post box at Tagley Farm by Thursday 29 January. Thank you


If you travel the road between Stambourne and Birdbrook you might have noticed a splendid new signpost on the junction of the road to Steeple Bumpstead. In the normal course of events we would be thanking Essex County Council for a job well done, but not on this occasion.

When the sign collapsed some time ago the Parish Council reported it to Essex County Council, but with budget cuts they don’t seem to regard signposts as one of their priority jobs, so nothing has happened for a while. But the state of the sign did not go un-noticed by Charlie Richardson, a young man living in Chapel End Way. Charlie, who was looking for a project as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, suggested to the Parish Council, that he would rebuild the sign. The Parish Council agreed to fund materials and Charlie got underway with his project.

The old sign was beyond repair and a new
start was needed. Charlie purchased new
timber, and, employing significant joinery
skills, built the sign. This was followed by adding several coats of paint and 56 letters. The finished sign was installed at the end of October after some delays due to Covid-19 complications.

You probably won’t appreciate the quality of the finished sign as you drive past, but it really is an excellent job and should last many years. Well done Charlie and thank you.

Martyn J Fall

Season’s Greetings and all best wishes for

2021 to all our readers!