Community Life

Read about the latest community life stories,
including, Neighbourhood Watch, Police report, SDT Projects,
Ceddesfeld Hall, Nature Diary and your letters.

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Regular Feature

Sedgefield Neighbourhood Watch

In support of a national campaign to raise awareness of scams. Durham County Council has released the following article: A County Durham woman whose elderly mother was scammed out of thousands of pounds has told her story in the hope of preventing others falling victim.

Thea Khamis has recounted how her retired mother, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2016 and died three years later, aged 89, was victim of scams totalling thousands of pounds. These came in various forms be that postal, phone or doorstep. They covered people claiming to be charities, running prize draws or catalogues, or selling medication; as well as bogus roofers. Thea has revealed how Mary’s last records list 101 different companies and organisations she had been sending money to. However, her daughter believes the actual number could be much higher.

One of many examples of the scams her mother had been a victim of was an order Mary had placed of almost £1,000 for “duff” medication. In the last five years of Mary’s life, Thea tells how she tried to put systems in place to remind her that the scammers were only out to get her money. She left a script next to the phone so that her mother would tell callers she wouldn’t commit to paying for anything without speaking to her children. Call blockers were also installed, Mary was signed up to the Telephone Preference Service and scam mail returned.

However, as Mary’s details had been shared by scammers, she continued to be contacted and while there are genuine services which can block calls, she even received phone calls from scammers purporting to offer that same service. As Mary’s dementia developed, she became less able to cope with money unaided. Thea tried to stop direct debits going out to scam charities and used power of attorney and third party authority to give her control over her mum’s finances. Mary’s son also held her debit card in safekeeping so that she could no longer give out the number on the phone.

During the later stages of Mary’s life, she finally stopped giving money to scammers as her declining health meant she wasn’t able to. “I hope my mum’s story will make people aware of the numerous kinds of scam and how scammers operate and I would encourage anyone with elderly or vulnerable relatives to speak to them about the risks. I’d also say to people who suspect they are being scammed – please speak up – there is no need to feel embarrassed.”

“Scams Awareness Fortnight is very timely as we know that some people are more vulnerable at the moment for various reasons as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It is therefore crucial that we raise awareness of scams to help people avoid falling victim to them. We encourage anyone who suspects they, or someone they know, are being scammed, to report it.” Further information about scams and how to report them is available at

People can become ‘Friends Against Scams’ by completing a short e-learning course at Remember to report suspicious emails, texts and calls via the following routes:
Forward suspicious emails to
Report to Action Fraud via their website at
Forward suspicious text messages to 7726.

Police appeal for information
Police are appealing for information after eight vehicles were set alight in a suspected arson on Sunday, May 31. The cars were parked in a car park at Winterton Cottages, Sedgefield, when the incident happened between 10pm and 11.15 pm. Officers are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or has dashcam footage in the area at that time. If you have any information, contact Detective Constable Tony Ruggiero at Bishop Auckland CID by calling 101 and quoting incident 505 of May 31.

Please lock up, stay safe and sleep well.

Local Police: Call 101 to report concerns, seek advice or pass on information. Always keep notes and ask for an incident number.
Crime Prevention Officer: Rona Stocks.
Police Community Cohesion Officer: Faye Callan. 101 Extension 742317.
Confidential email address:
Any information we receive will be developed and acted upon.
Regular Feature

A round up on the Trust projects

Keep up to date with the latest news about the Development Trust projects.

Farmers Market

Sedgefield Farmers’ Market will RE-OPEN on July 5th!

After isolation and everyone’s efforts to supress the virus - and with many safety precautions, we are ready to resume our market on the green. Aside from allowing more time for safe set up, our trading time will be the same, 8.30 am to 12.30 pm - or later, if traders and stewards agree.
Before the market
If you know what you want from specific traders, please consider ordering it for collection and pay before collecting your order. Traders may make arrangements for you to pick up your order from behind their stall if you don’t want to enter the one-way system.
The market operation
The market will be set up around the usual triangle of paths, with a one-way system in force. Stewards will be at tables at the 3 corners, separating the Entry & Exit points. They will guide and advise you on safety. Hand sanitiser will be provided here for use on both gloved and un-gloved hands. Notices displayed around the market will be for your own and other people’s safety, so please do act on these. If the market becomes busy, the stewards may request you to wait to enter until other shoppers have left.

If you have the virus or feel unwell, please don’t come to the market. Please ask someone else to shop for you. Otherwise, please...
Enter the Market at one corner of the triangle and leave at a convenient corner.
Listen carefully to stewards and heed their requests.
Observe the one-way system & the two-metre spacing.
Come singly or with as few household members as possible.
Bring a dog ONLY if it is your trained assistance dog. Bring and use your own face masks and gloves.
Avoid stopping to chat - even with friends you haven’t seen for some time.
Minimise the use of cash, instead use contactless payment methods where possible.
Although the bench seat within the triangle will be taped off, you can of course use the benches and green away from the market as a socially distanced ‘chat zone’, at your own discretion. Together we can make this work safely. Above all, let’s make it a happy occasion.

Energy Switch

Colouring the new reality.
The Big Community Switch, of which we are a part, is changing its logo colours from blue & yellow to green & yellow, signalling a commitment to renewables.

This in turn reflects the emerging realities of energy production, as well as the growing demand from participants (overwhelmingly local authorities) to make this change.

From this October, all of the energy companies bidding at the auction must provide tariffs which include 100% renewable electricity, adding sustainability to the benefits of the successful money saving scheme. The regular reports that we receive will in future quantify the carbon emissions saved by switching. As an example, Sedgefield participants who switched at the February auction, will be saving 39 tonnes of carbon emissions for the year, which equates to the emissions of 30 return flights to New York.

Cycling & walking strategy

Should this be a new project for us?

Woodland & Wildlife

Volunteers have compiled a nature crossword, simply check your answers here.

Homework Help

While requests for Homework Help have continued, the library is currently closed and so we cannot meet there for the time being. Some resourceful students and helpers are arranging remote sessions using Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or similar, but this isn't feasible for everyone. We can offer help via e-mail where that is practical.

We will get back to normal operation as soon as that is viable, but meantime, if you'd like to get in touch, find us on Facebook or email us at

Regular Feature

Steve's Nature Diary

As I write, we are half way through June, and as part of my #30DaysWild, after a cool, rainy week, the temperature warmed up so I decided on a stroll at Thrislington, one of my favourite reserves especially in the summer.

It has an interesting back story. In the 1980s, a sizable part of what is now Thrislington Plantation National Nature Reserve was nearly lost to industrial excavation. However, an innovative scheme to translocate sections of mature grassland, prior to quarrying, took place. In 1991, 13 acres of snooker-table-sized compartments were painstakingly removed and relocated to a new site away from the quarrying area. The reserve now covers 60 acres in total and is notable for the diversity of its insect life, including glow worms (top), wild orchids and perennial flax.

During the visit it didn’t disappoint; the first butterfly we saw was a Durham Argus, found, as its name suggests, only in County Durham! The Durham Argus butterfly is an even rarer subspecies of the scarce Northern Brown Argus. Durham Argus butterflies feed primarily on wild thyme, while its larvae feed on Common Rock-rose.

Both these plants can be found growing where you find outcrops of rare Magnesian Limestone. Other butterflies spotted included Small Heath, Ringlet, Small Blue, Speckled Wood and Tortoiseshell which were making use of the warm sunshine and various nectar sources in the grassland.

Butterflies have had a good year so far. The warm spring weather, capped by the UK’s sunniest May since records began, has led to the early emergence of many butterfly species. 53 of the UK’s 59 resident and regular migrant butterfly species had already been spotted by the end of May this year, the first time this century that so many have been seen by the end of spring. It is unclear what the long-term effect of the unusually early emergences is on butterfly populations. Butterflies are able to adjust their emergence dates to suit the vagaries of the UK weather, indeed they need to do so to remain in sync with the plants that their caterpillars need to feed on. However, the trend towards earlier emergence of butterflies and moths in Britain over recent decades in response to climate change isn’t necessarily beneficial.

Butterfly Conservation are looking for people to get involved in their citizen science project. The nationwide big butterfly count is a survey aimed at helping assess the health of our environment. Launched in 2010 it has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. Over 113,500 people took part in 2019, submitting 116,009 counts of butterflies & day-flying moths from across the UK. It runs from 17 July - 9 August and is the UK’s biggest citizen science event. Anyone can participate, doing as many counts as they like through the website You can download a handy butterfly chart/free app to identify and record the butterflies you spot.

Regular Feature

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

The beginning
Ceddesfeld Hall officially became the home of SCA on November 22nd 1975, having been purchased by Sedgefield Town (Parish) Council from the Church Commissioners in 1974 and a lease arrangement agreed with the SCA. Mort Spalding remembers that for it to be turned into a community building, several members of the committee met with the Federation Brewery in Newcastle, who agreed to put up the money as supplier to the bar. Another meeting was held to select a contractor to do the renovations. Mort acted as Clerk of Works and Newton Moor builders did the work. Mort thinks that Walter Howell did the colour schemes and internal designs and Chris Balfour remembers Walter and Bill Mott decorating Ceddesfeld Hall throughout (being the mid-70s, most walls were lined with woodchip paper, then painted. Some may even remain in the Chetwynd Room!

Ceddesfeld Hall was officially opened at 11 am by Dr Elizabeth Sutherland (Mayor of Sedgefield), who thanked the SCA on behalf of STC for the work done to improve the building and the work yet to be done by members, on a purely voluntary basis, to man it. The chairman at the time was Mr Alex Bain. Over 300 visitors streamed in for refreshments provided by the catering section, whilst the Management Committee were constantly signing new members to the association. A social evening followed (attended by 140 members), with the cabaret, skilfully organised by Mr Tony Hutton, being appreciated by a receptive and responsive audience.

Chris Balfour remembers that the core of the main group who took on the running of the SCA in Ceddesfeld were from existing groups and organisations such as Sedgefield Players and the Squash Club. Most of the ladies involved played in the hockey team and the Badminton Club met regularly in the bar after games at the comprehensive school (Community College). The playgroup moved across from the Parish Hall, as did the Lyric Singers. Fondly remembered from that time are Tony Trainer, George & Betty Roper, John Bell, Ivan Porter, Roger Place, Dr Sutherland, Bill Hopps and Tony & Jan Hutton.

It’s thanks to continued efforts from community-minded people that SCA continues to grow and flourish through changing and some challenging times. Membership currently stands at 700+ and Ceddesfeld Hall remains integral to our vibrant community life in Sedgefield. Ceddesfeld Hall is a truly wonderful building and SCA is very proactive in looking after it. Officers, members, sections (organisations) and groups are the driving force behind the continued success.

It remains a priority going forward, to attract younger members to continue the good work that our volunteers, past and present, have accomplished over the years. When it is safe to do so, Ceddesfeld Hall will re-open and arrangements, information and guidance will be widely publicised, hopefully in the not too distant, future!

For more information on Ceddesfeld Hall events, regular activities, room hire and bar opening times, contact Wendy on 01740 620206, Pat on 01740 620607, Sarah on 01740 622185. Visit us on Facebook or see the SCA website,

Sedgefield in Lockdown

Thanks again for sending in your poems & pictures of Sedgefield in lockdown. Though restrictions are lifting & we increasingly see signs of life returning, we are still accepting submissions, like this beautiful but stark shot of our deserted playground by Jessica Scarrott. Please keep them coming in.

Sedgefield Community College Art Competition

Huge congratulations must go to the winners of Sedgefield Community College’s art competition. Students were asked to create a piece of work that reflects on 'the new normal', and the results were spectacular. Miss Jackson, Miss Jordan & Mrs Sandom were hugely impressed with everyone's efforts. The winners were: 1st: Agatha, Yr 8. 2nd: Jess, Yr 10. Joint 3rd: Jess, Yr 9 & Summer, Yr 7. Well done everyone! For more great work from the Visual Arts Dept, visit Instagram - scc_visualarts or Sedgefield Community College on Facebook

Sedgefield Lyric Singers

This period of lockdown has been challenging for all social groups and we have missed our weekly rehearsals. But we’re embracing new technology in order to do what we like best: sing whilst having fun with friends.

It began apprehensively with a round of quizzes on Zoom - a word which before lockdown had been associated only with lenses and space rockets. Quickly, outgrown hairstyles and a complete lack of general knowledge had us laughing and feeling sociable again. Even Gill and Pete’s ten repeats of the Mastermind theme couldn’t dampen our enjoyment for long, but we were still missing the element that bonds us: singing in harmony. A plan was hatched!

After what can only be described as a herculean effort, our musical alchemists, Rob and Kristin, created melodious gold, recording parts and accompaniments for several songs onto Bandlab, a free music App. Ain’t technology great! On Friday June 12th, we congregated in the ether, and sang together for the first time in over three months. It was FAB!

It was also surprisingly easy. We sang ravenously to the pre-recorded parts, relishing the uplifting feeling that choral singing brings. Sadly, due to lag times, we had to be muted, so couldn’t hear each others’ voices, only the recordings; in virtual space, no one can hear you sing! There are plans for regularly sing-ins and possibly even to video our efforts. Until lockdown ends and it is safe to meet indoors, we will have our regular fix of musical magic online: it’s singing, Jim, but not as we know it!

Follow us on Facebook or visit our website: Dawn Bellis

If you haven’t already watched this ...

SCC School Band performed a 'Beatles Medley' during lockdown, to mark 50 years since the Beatles broke up. It’s a remarkable musical and technological achievement. Heartily recommended! Here’s the link - Pam Lamb

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Save Money

Sedgefield Energy Switch is a new initiative from Sedgefield Development Trust.

Working together with iChoosr, we're trying to help Sedgefield residents save money on their domestic gas and electricity bills. Sedgefield still continue to have the highest switching rate in the country.

Registrations 1670
People Registered 790

Key dates:

  31st March-Registration Opens
  18th May-Registration Closes
  19th May-Day of Auction
  1st June-Offers letters issued
  31st June-Offer acceptance closure

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Buy Local

Sedgefield Farmers Market is held every first Sunday of the Month, on the village green, from 8.30am to 12.30pm. The market has about 20 stall holders each month, varying throughout the seasons, providing meats, vegatables, Handmade pies, pastries and cakes, Fish, Spices, Cheeses and more.

To book a stall call Roger Clubley: 01740 620609, email Farmers Market:

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