Local charity fund-raising for African education
Rafiki Thabo is a small Oxfordshire based charity, whose sole fundraiser Janne Pilbeam lives and works out of Middle Aston. Knowing how we as a village embrace our fabulous outdoors, Janne felt this relay challenge might be a perfect opportunity to engage her local community in some healthy ‘fun while fundraising’ for a very worthy cause close to her heart!
Rafiki Thabo’s vision is that young people, including those living with disabilities, will be empowered through education to enable them to reach their full potential and initiate positive change in their communities. They do this by enabling access to education through scholarships for disadvantaged young people in Kenya, Uganda and Lesotho who otherwise would not be able to afford the secondary school or university fees. Rafiki Thabo also support education infrastructure such as building dormitories to keep the students safe while living in a positive learning environment, and a school meals programme for the poorest students at their link schools.
Please note the playground will be closed for two to three weeks from Monday 19th April while refurbishment work is carried out.
Steeple Aston Parish Council
The Annual Quiz Evening on Zoom
Whilst we weren’t able to meet in person for the annual quiz this year, 10 teams
pitted their wits against each other in an online quiz on Saturday, 6th January.
In a fun evening that saw teams coming together over Zoom, the quiz provided some
much needed entertainment on a dark – and cold, winter’s evening. The teams were
made up of villagers old and new, friends from further afield (Leeds & Manchester)
and players of all ages. As well as raising £70 for village hall funds, and a smile on
the faces of those who took part, we also all learned a few things! One favourite
learning from the evening is that the collective noun for giraffes is a tower.
Congratulations to Anna Thatcher’s winning team and a very big ‘thank you’ to
Amanda and Paul Rodgers for organising this event.
We appreciate that these have been difficult and uncertain times for all our regular
users over the last eleven months. As you know Oxfordshire was placed in Tier 4 on
the 26th December and we are therefore obliged to close Steeple Aston Village
Hall. Not exactly the way we would like to have started the New Year, but sadly we
have no choice. People’s health, safety and well- being must come first. We will
continue to monitor the government guidelines and announcements and will re-
open just as soon as we can and let you know.
Barbara Brewer, Chair of the Village Hall Management Committee
April Closure of Heyford Road
Oxfordshire County Council is to close Heyford Road, Steeple Aston and impose a ‘No Waiting’ restriction for carriageway surface dressing works from April 13th until April 16th. The closure will take place from 5.00am until 8.00pm.
The suggested alternative route is via Heyford Rd – South Side – A4260 – B4030 and vice versa as shown on this map.
Further information may be obtained by contacting Tim Belton at Skanska, Oxfordshire County Council on 0345 310 11 11.
Phone scam warning
Gill Henderson of Northside, Steeple Aston reports what sounds like a telephone scam. She wants to warn other villagers to beware of similar calls.
On Monday, 11th January, she was phoned by a man saying he was from the police. He claimed that they had a relation of hers in custody who had been caught cloning credit and debit cards. He seemed to imply that her credit card had been cloned. She didn’t recognise the name of the relation.
He went on to ask whether she was housebound and over the age of 75, which she isn’t. Then he read out a list of banks and asked which one was hers. When she refused to tell him, he put the phone down.
Parish Council plea on fox mess
To all villagers
Please note that there has been a considerable increase in fox mess, also some badger mess, round the village. We are told that a lot of this is heavily worm infested, much more so than usual.
It would be greatly appreciated, therefore, if dog owners could clear up any mess they see, whether their dog is responsible or not. Hopefully this will help to prevent any dogs in the village becoming infected.
If you don’t own a dog, but you are also willing to help keep the village ‘mess-free’, that would be appreciated too, especially as children are at risk.
Please note that free ‘poo bags’ are available from the shop and the Parish Clerk.
Spring Show cancelled
The Spring Flower show, due to be held on Sunday, March 21st, has been cancelled because of the pandemic.
Richard Preston, Chairman of the Steeple Aston and Middle Aston Horticultural Society writes: “The horticultural society committee has met via Zoom and decided it would be very unwise to proceed with plans for the Spring Show so unfortunately, we have made the decision to cancel the show for 2021.
“We are however hoping to proceed with the Annual Show in its usual form and are hoping that subject to restrictions being lifted by August 30th, we will be able to stage what potentially could be the best annual flower show ever – so something to look forward to.
“It might well be the first major event of the village calendar for quite some time and we anticipate schedules being available from around the beginning of June both online and in hard copy.”
Books for Lockdown delivered to your door in Steeple Aston or Middle Aston
I have a collection of secondhand books available in a variety of genres (crime, thrillers, modern fiction etc).
Please e-mail Shirley email@example.com and either choose from our list or I can deliver a couple of pot-luck books.
A donation to Steeple Aston Church / Sustainable Steeple for this service would be appreciated.
Please support The Valentine Club
The Valentine Club is the village’s very popular over-60s club. All meetings and outings have had to be cancelled because of coronavirus. The cancellation of their annual jumble sale and the inability to raise funds via monthly raffles means the Cherwell Lottery is their only way of raising funds.
In addition to the usual prizes every week there is the opportunity to win a short break with the draw taking place at the end of October. Anyone can purchase lottery tickets and the process is very simple. Just follow the steps as described on the Cherwell Lottery website
Hopefully, once this pandemic has disappeared, this funding will enable the club to move forward and bring some happiness to the slightly older generation living in our village.
The Phantom Snipper of Steeple Aston
It has been brought to the attention of the Parish Council that a ghostly presence is pruning foliage around the village. We appreciate your efforts to keep the village tidy and the footpaths clear. However, please could we ask you only to cut away foliage that actually causes a physical obstruction. And please could you ‘spirit away’ your prunings into a hedgerow rather than leave them for other people to clear up or trip over. With thanks.
Steeple Aston Parish Council
SAVA asks for your memories of the coronavirus lockdown
Steeple Aston Village Archive Trust is asking villagers to contribute their thoughts and experiences during the current lockdown as a record for future generations. Their message below suggests some of the questions you might like to consider.
Would you like to contribute to a record of this unique time?
The current coronavirus pandemic continues to have a profound effect on us all in so many ways, and is likely to do so for some time to come. SAVA wants to assemble a snapshot of this unprecedented time, and would like to ask for your help in sharing some of your experiences and thoughts as a lasting record for future generations.
If you are interested in contributing, please find below some possible (although not exhaustive) points that you may wish to consider. We would also welcome any photos.
What has been your experience during the Covid-19 Lockdown?
- Describe in 5 words how you have felt during the lockdown?
- Have you had to adjust your working arrangements, such as working from home? If so, what technology has assisted/hampered your ability to do so?
- If you are employed in providing an ‘essential’ service, what has been your experience on the front line?
- How have you filled your free time during the lockdown?
- How did you get exercise? For example, have you explored the village and surrounding area more than usual?
- Have you been aware of any environmental changes as a result of less traffic/people? If so, what are they?
- What has been your experience within the village community? Have you had more/less contact with your neighbours? Examples of acts of support and kindness?
- Are you home-schooling your children, and if so how is it going?
- What has been your biggest challenge during lockdown?
- What/who have you missed the most during this period?
- What, if anything, do you think you have learned during this crisis?
- Are there any changes you have made during lockdown, that you hope to continue?
Please email replies to: firstname.lastname@example.org or for a postal address call 01869 347046
Many thanks from Steeple Aston Village Archive.
There’s more information about SAVA on their page in the Clubs & Societies section.
Spring Show cancelled, but here’s a photographic feast!
A message from Richard Preston, Chairman of The Astons Horticultural Society:
The Spring Show had to be cancelled this year, but it doesn’t mean Spring has not sprung.
Spring is here no matter what else the world has to throw at us.
To help brighten a time when normally we would all be out enjoying the parks and gardens, here are few photos from our garden along with a picture of the TWIDDLE-MUFFS provided by some of the show’s prospective entrants that will be winging their way to the dementia ward at the John Radcliffe.
Keep safe everyone and keep gardening.
You can contact Richard on 01869 340512 or email email@example.com
After the cancellation of the Spring Show on 29th March. John Coley sent five photos of some of his entries. He suggests that others could contribute photos as well, to create a virtual Spring Show. Please send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
John’s photos are here
Don’t give a dog a bad name!
We’d just like you to know that almost all the fouling on our village streets comes from wild animals. After all, we do live in the country! We’ve investigated this issue thoroughly with the help of Cherwell Council’s dog warden. So, please, don’t always blame the dogs and dog walkers in the village. It’s probably not them messing up our streets. It’s most likely foxes. Or maybe badgers or muntjac.
What should you do if you see some poo?
Please just pick it up in a suitable plastic bag and pop it in a street-side bin or a green bin. Bags are available free from the Village Shop. Dog walkers often pick up scat that their dogs are not responsible for. Give them a hand. You will be helping to keep the village clean and you may stop someone putting their foot in it.
And if you do see a dog walker not picking up?
We think this is unlikely, but if you do … report it to the dog warden at https://www.cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk/xfp/form/347?council=cdc or on 01295 227007. He will take action against anyone found not picking up.
Steeple Aston Parish Council
March’s Crafternoon Tea & Pop Up Café – the first of many!
We had a great time at the first Sustainable Steeple Crafternoon Tea on Sunday 8th March. Held in conjunction with the new monthly Pop Up Café, run by the Village Hall Committee, there was crafting and cake galore!
I’m not sure whether it was the lure of Daphne’s cakes or the chance to get creative with our collaging and decoupage frames but had plenty of visitors across the afternoon and Christopher’s book stall added a further level of interest.
Several of us had brought our own projects, but much of the fun was provided by our younger crafters (and visiting Texan) who wonderfully embellished old picture frames (previously destined for the tip) with decoupage and turned old wood off cuts into pieces of collage art. As you’ll see from the pictures, we had some budding artists in our midst.
Those who didn’t craft, enjoyed great conversation and even better cake!
We were intending to meet again on 5th April and then 3rd May, however, we have taken the difficult decision not to go ahead with either Crafternoon Tea or the Pop Up Café on these dates, due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. However, we will be back in the summer!
In the meantime, watch this space for an imminent Sustainable Steeple announcement regarding the first project we’ll be funding with the near £2000 that we have raised so far. Thanks again to everyone who has donated items for up-cycling so far!
For more information, please contact Amanda Rodgers on 07793 553150 or email@example.com.
Just a reminder that Steeple Aston has a FixMyStreet SuperUser. This means we have a fast track method of getting potholes filled as long as they meet the relevant criteria in terms of size, depth etc., and they are within the 30 mile an hour limit.
If you report a pothole direct to the Parish Clerk (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01869 347000), she will pass on the details to our SuperUser, who can contact the Highways contractors, without going through FixMyStreet. The system has been in place for a while now and works well.
The Parish Council
The 128th Annual Flower Show
Richard Preston, Chairman of the Steeple Aston and Middle Aston Horticultural Society reports:
August Bank Holiday is synonymous with possibly one of the major events in the village’s calendar and this year we celebrated our 128th Annual Show. The first one recorded was in 1869 in The Dew Diaries and I must admit, I feel I have been to most of them!
Just like the Church Fete, we experienced record temperatures on Robinson’s Close and this meant that the ice-cream van actually sold out before leaving the field. As always, hundreds (estimated 800) of visitors came to see the amazing produce, cookery, photographs and handicraft in the marquee and not forgetting the numerous entries from the children who never cease to amaze us all with their craft skills and enthusiasm.
This year entries were around 850, which is close to a record and well above the average with what the judges described as ‘exceptional’ quality exhibits throughout the show. On the field were various stalls and attractions and the Fun Dog Show which this year was managed by Dogs for Good who did an amazing job considering the intense heat. We are very grateful to Harts Veterinary Centre for their continued sponsorship of the Fun Dog Show. Teas in the Village Hall were as busy as ever providing visitors with much needed refreshment after the hustle and bustle of the marquee.
The show is the culmination of some hard work by a very small and slightly older age group than might be expected, and without them there would be no show. Also, our most enormous thanks go out to the families that simply turn up on the day and help us out by stewarding or manning the gate or stalls during the afternoon.
But even more importantly, there would be no show without the exhibitors who support this age-old tradition and keep the village alive. I must add at this point that there were many new exhibitors making this one of the best supported shows in recent years. There are, as always, winners of trophies and prize money and well deserved they are, but the real winners are the people who support the show every year by entering something or simply coming along to the show in the afternoon.
We, the committee, are desperate for new committee members and our AGM (it only last about 30 minutes) is in the Village Hall Committee Room on Wednesday 11th September at 7.30pm. There are never more than four meetings a year! Steeple and Middle Aston undoubtedly produce the biggest and best traditional flower show to be found in North Oxfordshire and probably further afield and it is down in no small amount to the fact that we try to keep abreast of the changing times and interests within our community. To do this we need and will always listen, to new ideas from people who are as keen as the existing committee to ensure this show carries on for another 128 years. If you feel you can join our committee or contribute ideas or help on the day of the show, please let me or any committee member know or simply turn up at the AGM.
Thank you everyone for your support at this year’s show.
To see the full show results, please click here.
Thank you to Mick Bonwick and Catherine Crook who took lot of lovely photos. To see them, please click here.
Village Hall AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Steeple Aston Village Hall management committee was held by teleconferencing on the 4th May 2020. The full committee is listed below, showing which group they represent.
- Barbara Brewer Tuesday Badminton (Chair)
- Margaret Bulleyment Choral Society (Secretary)
- John White (Treasurer)
- Janine Beckwith Thursday Badminton
- Deborah Morris Village Rep
- Arts Programme Co-ordinator TBC
- Esther Brown WI
- Torquil McLusky Scouts / Cubs / Beavers
- Amanda Rodgers Village Rep
- Chris Clarke PCC
- Stuart Cummins Archive
- Richard Preston Valentine Club
- Cathy Fleet Parish Council
- Rose McCready Garden Club
In the next few months the committee will be deciding on a programme of events for the forthcoming year. If there is a specific event you would like to see in the programme or if you have any new ideas, please contact Barbara Brewer (email@example.com) or any committee member.
Help for victims of crime or abuse
Being a victim or a witness of a crime can be an emotional and difficult time.
Victims First provides free emotional and practical support to all victims and witnesses of crime or abuse, as well as family members of victims. It is available across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and can provide help regardless of whether or not the crime has been reported to the police.
A Victims First Officer can discuss any emotional or practical needs you may have and work with you to put a tailored support plan in place. This could involve referring you to a specialist service such as services for victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
The type of assistance available includes telephone and face to face support, advocacy including help to access other services such as sexual health clinics, drug and alcohol services and legal services, support through the criminal justice system (if you have reported the crime to the police) and therapeutic counselling.
A Young Victims Service is also available to anyone under 18 and works with young people to help them cope with the effects of crime.
To speak to a Victims First Officer about any of the services and to receive support please call 0300 1234 148.
You can also find more information or make a referral for support online at www.victims-first.org.uk
Live Well in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire County Council has an online directory of over 2,000 (and growing) support services across the county to help residents live better.
Live Well Oxfordshire has been developed by Oxfordshire County Council in partnership with Age UK Oxfordshire and Affinity Works. The directory has been designed to bring together information about groups and organisations offering services for adults with a variety of needs in one place.
It includes categories such as looking after someone, keeping fit and well, finding a care home, help with life events and many more.
To go to the directory, please click here.
Speed monitoring and parking
The Parish Council has received several complaints about both speeding and bad parking near the school, the pre-school and in the rest of the village.
If you have concerns about speeding in the village, would like to nominate any locations for a Speedwatch Survey or would be prepared to help carry one out, please contact Charlotte Bartlett (01869 347347 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please always park considerately. You should not park partially or wholly on pavements or yellow lines and zigzags, as this can be extremely dangerous. Thames Valley Police will be informed of persistent offenders.
The Parish Council
News from the Sports & Rec
Not everyone in Steeple Aston knows what the building next to the Village Hall and the Pre-school is… This is the Sports and Recreation Trust: we look after the changing rooms and the meeting hall and are also responsible for the Recreation Field.
The Field is where the football pitch and cricket nets are and where last month we all enjoyed the fantastic firework display. As well as sports, the field is also used for many of those annual events that really bring the village together like the Horticultural Show, Church Fete, and Whit Races. The meeting hall is where many clubs and societies meet every week. We work closely with the Village Hall, Parish Council and Church but have very much our own identity. In particular we try to concentrate on helping sports related groups and those that focus on young people.
The Sports & Rec has things happening most days but it is a smaller and less formal space than the Village Hall so well suited to children’s parties and smaller events up to 30 people and has a kitchen and a licenced bar. We can also work with the Village Hall to host joint events for 100 or so people.
We have the following regular groups, as well as parties and other events:
- Monday morning 10am (every other week) – Home Education Group
- Tuesday morning, 10am, Mindfulness
- Tuesday night, 7pm Scouts (and we are hoping to start Cubs again soon)
- Wednesday night, 6pm, Brownies
- Thursday morning, 9am, Baby and Toddler group (term times)
- Most Saturday afternoons in season, Steeple Aston Football Club
- Most Sunday afternoons in season Junior Football.
The Sports & Rec is a busy place but we do have slots available and are happy to look at special rates for village groups. Please contact Katie Rushworth (Booking Agent) on 01869 340196.
You can find contact details for all the clubs and societies in the Clubs and Societies section section or contact Torquil McLusky, Chairman, (347914) or Chris Cooper, Treasurer, (347173).
Community First Responders needed
Alan Brewer, Community First Responder writes:
Community responders are trained, equipped volunteers that answer emergency medical calls in their local communities and initiate treatment while the ambulance is on route. We are not a substitute for the ambulance but a complement to it,we also provide reassurance – the sight of the hi-viz jacket lets them know that help is near and often reduces stress.
It was discovered that if a series of events took place in a set sequence, a heart attack victim has a greater chance of survival.
Early access – this is getting to the patient as quickly as possible (to get help).
Early resuscitation – starting CPR to those patients who require it (to buy time).
Early Defibrillation – delivering an electric shock with a defibrillator to those patients in cardiac arrest (to restart heart).
Early advanced life support – the skills that Paramedics and Doctors have (to stabilise).
Over 350,000 people in the UK suffer heart attacks each year.
160,000 people die as a result of heart attacks each year.
Eighty-five per cent of victims have the potential to survive. The chances of survival decrease by ten per cent for every minute that treatment is delayed.
In addition as trained volunteers, community responders help patients suffering from breathing problems, severe bleeding, diabetic emergencies and unconscious casualties, all of which will benefit from early treatment.
Our aim is to preserve life, prevent the patient’s condition from worsening and promote recovery.
At present here in Steeple we have five trained Responders and two Defibrillators, this is voluntary, putting in 20 hours a month that suits you. Due to changes in life style, work and other activities three of our responders will be leaving us after many years of serving the community.
You must be able to drive and have your own car, no blue lights I’m afraid, your aim is to get to the patient with in eight minutes of receiving the call from the emergency dispatcher.
Now, if this is something you have been thinking about doing for your community then please get in touch with me on 01869 340423.
Adderbury Community Food Market
The market is held every second Thursday of the month from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at The Institute, The Green, Adderbury OX17 3NE.
You will find a wide range of local producers selling meat, poultry, eggs, savouries, vegetables, cakes & tarts, honey, coffee, gin & liqueurs, preserves and lots more. Guest stalls provide monthly variety. There is a bar and hot food to eat in or take away.
This is a not-for-profit community project. For more information go to www.market.adderbury.org
Community Education at the Marlborough School Woodstock
The Marlborough School offers an extensive programme of courses for adults. There are weekly courses and 1-day and 2-day weekend workshops. Many subjects are available at several levels – beginners, improvers etc.
Subjects range from tai chi, Pilates and yoga to singing, calligraphy and various art, language and computer courses.
To browse the courses available or download the latest brochure, go to www.marlborough.oxon.sch.uk/community/
To request a printed brochure and to book a place ring 01993 813592 or email email@example.com
Essential repairs grant available
Cherwell District Council is offering an essential repairs grant to help vulnerable people, which covers, for example:
. Replacing a defective door or window
. Roof repairs
. Minor electrical works
You may be eligible if you meet the following criteria:
1. You have owned your home for at least three years and
2. You are eligible for a means tested benefit, and /or a tax credit with a household income below a set level and
3. You are over 60 years of age or in receipt of child benefit for a child living with you.
For more details contact:
Private Sector Housing Team
Cherwell District Council
Tel. 01295 227004 or visit www.cherwell.gov.uk
Calling all parents and grandparents
• Are you a good listener?
• Do you enjoy being with young children?
• Could you spare 2 – 3 hours per week?
• Would you be interested in becoming a volunteer with Home-Start?
• Volunteering provides excellent experience for a CV
Home-Start Oxford and Bicester is a local charity which supports families with at least one child under five years of age. They have been doing so for over 20 years and in that time have been a lifeline to thousands of families in need.
Their volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to local families under stress in their own homes, helping to prevent family crisis and breakdown.
CAB Caseworker Help for disabled & vulnerable
- Are you living with a hard to manage mental or physical condition?
- Do you need some help to cope?
- Our Specialist Caseworker can visit you at home, offer a full welfare benefits eligibility check, and help you to access other relevant support services within your community.
Contact us if you:
- Are under 60 years old, and
- Live in Oxfordshire, and
- Have limited ability to get around on your own, and
- Need support to continue to live independently
To discuss your requirements in complete confidence, please leave a message with your name and contact number for Lynn on 01608 646990
Have YOU ever thought about FOSTERING?
There is a recognised shortage of 10,000 Foster Carers in the UK. PACT, founded in 1911, is also known as the Oxford Diocesan Council for Social Work inc. We are a registered charity working to improve life chances for children. The focus of our work is within Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and aims to build and strengthen families.
We are an approved Adoption and Fostering Agency. We have a history of finding safe, loving families for children in care. Here are a few facts about Fostering:
1. Did you know you don’t have to be married to become a Foster Carer?
2. You don’t have to have children already although you do need to have experience of caring for children.
3. Did you know you get paid a Fostering Allowance of £335.70 a week to be a Foster Carer which is tax free and won’t affect any other benefits?
4. Most of the children who need fostering are known as ‘hard to place’ children, they will usually be 8+ years of age.
Fostering is a hard but very rewarding job. If you think you might have what it takes to become a Permanent Foster Carer or you want to find out more then contact PACT now on 0800 731 1845 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Katharine House Hospice Lottery
Support your local hospice lottery for just £1 a week.
Over £100,000 is raised every year.
Every week there is a first prize of £1,000 plus:
2 x £100 prizes
2 x £50 prizes
5 x £20 prizes
10 x £10 prizes
Fundraising and Lottery Office
Katharine House Hospice
Tel: 01295 816484
Email : email@example.com
Or download an application form from their website: www.khh.org.uk
Registered Charity No. 297099