The Trust Projects, The SCA, Neighbourhood Crime, The Sedgefield Plan plus more

Neighbourhood Watch

Last month we asked if Neighbourhood Watch would survive. It is most pleasing to say that N/Hood Watch is indeed still very much valued. At the extraordinary general meeting to be held on 4th December, members will elect a new committee who are willing take N/H/Watch forward.

Remembrance Once again NHW was strongly represented at the Ceremonies held at St. Luke’s Friday on 9th November and St Edmund’s on Sunday 11th November. We wish to thank David Hillerby (retiring NHW Vice C/man) for all his tireless work at both events. David also had the pleasure of presenting the Alan Sowerby Citizenship Award 2018 at Sedgefield Community College on October 18th, to a most deserving student Imola Clarke. We congratulate Imola for being such a good, caring person and wish her continued success for the future.

Finally, a reminder: Keep Sedgefield Safe
- Keep doors locked even when the house is occupied
- Use light timers
- Don’t leave valuables on display in the home or in your car.
- Don’t advertise “valuables” in the home (packaging on display).
Have a Crime Free Christmas! Joe McKenna, Secretary, Sedgefield Village Neighbourhood Hood & Crime Watch Panel

Crime Prevention Officer:

Police Community Cohesion Officer: Faye Callan; Telephone 101 Extension 742317.

Rural Crime

In November, Durham Police took part in a nationwide day of action to disrupt criminals who offend in rural areas across constabulary borders. Codenamed Operation Checkpoint, the operation ran throughout a 24 hour period, and saw dozens of Durham officers involved in the largest rural policing operation of its kind. Inspector Ed Turner of Durham Police explained that the operation had been aimed primarily at disrupting organised crime groups who operate between force areas, saying, “We have carried out a number of stop checks across the county, targeting suspicious vehicles and provided high visibility reassurance to rural communities.”

During the day of action, 29 police officers, police community support officers and special constables worked alongside firearms licensing staff, 50 farmers and 2 environment agency officers. More than 20 vehicles were stopped or searched across the force area. From Peterlee to Barnard Castle and Weardale a number of sanctions were employed including seizure of illegally used vehicles, verbal warnings and fixed penalty notices. One man is now under investigation after being found carrying a bladed article. Engagement and awareness raising events were also held in Darlington.

The force is determined that rural homes and places of business, often the same thing in rural areas, will not be become soft targets. Durham’s Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, commented, “This is a great example of continued work across Co Durham and Darlington to tackle rural crime and clearly demonstrates the enthusiasm and dedication of our rural officers and volunteers to improve safety in those areas.” Inspector Ed Turner was keen to stress, “Rural areas are not soft targets and we will not tolerate offending in our areas. Rural communities are our eyes and ears and we encourage everyone to report crime and suspicious incidents. Police and Farmwatch volunteers will continue to work together to keep rural areas safe by giving out security advice, sharing information on a day-to-day basis and taking part in future operations.”

SDT Projects

December Farmers’ Market Sun 2nd Dec

We had just gone to print last month when we heard that Dryden Farms couldn’t make it to the November market, but they will definitely be here this time, with samples of their delicious Christmas poultry to tempt you.

The Christmas market is always a bit special, with stallholders making a special festive effort, and the lovely voices of SLYC, our local youth choir singing carols and other Christmas songs. Butterwick Hospice is the visiting charity and SDT invite you to join them for warm ginger wine and mince pies. Come and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Energy Switch

See webpage.

Woodland & Wildlife

Lucky with our recent funding bid, we can now equip the group properly for next year’s endeavours. Trees have been ordered for the next big planting day in early spring, and though we all hope for less Siberian conditions this time, we know that, whatever the weather, those saplings will go into the ground!

We’re delighted that Sedgefield Hardwick Primary School and Sedgefield Primary School have recently been involved with the Woodland & Wildlife Project. As part of their science lesson, children from Sedgefield Hardwick Primary School enjoyed planting and learning about acorns. The children will watch as young oak trees grow from their acorns, then care for them until they are eventually planted at our NETPark site.

Pictured left L - R are: Lily Dicicco, Reception Class, Eliza Hinton, Yr 1, Rosie Hinton, Yr 3, Hannah Davey Yr 3, Taylor Forbes Yr 1, Wiliam Hacket, Reception.

Ceddesfeld Hall-Home of Sedgefield Community Association

The dark nights are now well and truly here and SCA were very pleased to welcome families and friends to Ceddesfeld Hall for Sedgefield Town Council’s annual firework display and pumpkin competition. The event was very well organised with a fabulous display of fireworks and pumpkins, much enjoyed and appreciated by the many visitors.

As December draws near, groups and sections that use Ceddesfeld are busy planning and preparing for festive events. In support of STC Snow Party, a ‘Christmas Craft Fayre’ will take place in the main hall on Saturday 1st December from 1pm to 4 pm. There will be a varied range of stalls, including a tombola; refreshments will be served and the bar will also be open.

On Friday 21st December, following STC ‘Carols on the Green’, a glass of warming mulled wine will be served at Ceddesfeld, followed by a night of live music with Ceddesfeld’s own ukulele group. The programme includes some Christmas songs as well as lots of other popular music, the bar is open and the event is free. ‘Ceddesfeld Ukuleles’ are also performing at St Edmund’s on the afternoon of 2nd December, as part of the Christmas Tree Festival. On Christmas Eve, there is a quiz night, which begins at 8 pm. There will be prizes for the winning team as well as mince pies and nibbles. This is another free event and everyone is welcome to come along a join in the fun.

Looking ahead to next year, SCA’s Burns Supper is to take place on Saturday 26th January. A drinks reception is followed by a 5 course meal (choice of haggis or roast beef in advance please) to include a cheese board and coffee. In true tradition there will be ‘pipes, toasts, talks and quotes’ too, all for £25. Tickets can be purchased by contacting any of the numbers below.

And talking of next year, here’s a rather special date for your diary! Sedgefield Mediaeval Fayre is on Saturday 18th May 2019

For more information, contact Wendy, 620206: Pat, 620607: Sarah, 622185 or visit

Skerne Medical Group patient consultation

Skerne Medical Group (SMG), together with a representative of The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has just completed a programme of six public engagement meetings throughout the practice. The aim of the consultation meetings has been to explain the challenges the practice currently faces, particularly relating to recruitment and retention of GPs. Whilst accepting that the proposed measures will bring new challenges for patients, SMG has determined that such change is essential to “ensure high quality patient care and maintain safe and high standards of healthcare, now and in the future.”

The first meeting took place at Sedgefield Parish Hall on Tuesday, November 6th. Using a PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Hearmon began by outlining the extent of a “national GP recruitment crisis”. SMG’s experience of the crisis has seen a gradual reduction in the number of practice partners from eight to four due to a combination of resignations, retirements and sickness. The group began highlighting some of these issues in June 2017 and since then the team has been working very hard to attract and retain new GPs. However, as is the case in practices up and down the country, recruitment is proving to be very difficult and the position has actually worsened. As this situation is likely to result in a significant reduction in GP appointment time by February 2019, and with no sign of improvement, SMG has determined that a structural review of the practice is necessary if the current level of service is to be maintained.

Dr Hearmon went on to outline of a number of ideas for short, medium and long term restructuring. The slides from the presentation are now available to view and download on SMG’s website at On the home page, just after the article “Serious GP Recruitment & Retention Crisis” you will find the following link: Public Engagement Meeting Slides. Click on that link to read the detailed argument for a change of GP provision in Sedgefield. In the second part of the meeting SMG responded to questions and suggestions from the public. This part of the evening was constructive and generally supportive of the proposals. However, concerns were raised about the potential transport issues that would result for patients in communities that might lose their current provision.

One such community is Trimdon Village. Nine days later the third meeting of the programme was held in Trimdon Village Hall. The mood was, understandably, less supportive here. While the questions at this meeting were naturally more focused on the effect of restructuring in Trimdon, there was a general acceptance that, of all the SMG surgeries, the building at Trimdon Village was the least well appointed and equipped. On the night, the public response here focused on different issues. SMG was challenged to consider the specific adverse socio- economic conditions in their part of the practice which would often make travelling to more distant, centralised health provision problematical.

There was a strong feeling that Trimdon Village’s situation was not being considered equally within the four year review and that other solutions might be available. One or two of these were outlined by local council representatives including the use of other service providers and a proposal, currently being discussed with a developer, to build a local health centre in Trimdon. Both SMG and The CCG expressed an interest in meeting with Trimdon Councillors to explore these ideas. By Tony Magee, who will continue to report on this difficult issue.

Sainsbury’s Talking Tables

Talking Tables is an initiative being trialled in 20 stores across the UK, including Sainsbury’s Sedgefield. Local groups are invited to use the Talking Tables, designed to help facilitate conversations. One table in the café is designated as a ‘talking table’ – customers, colleagues and those in the local community are invited to share a conversation together.

It’s been developed in close association with the Chatty Café Scheme, founded by Alex Hoskyn, who had the idea whilst in a Sainsbury’s café. Community is at the heart of this scheme and Sainsbury’s are looking for local groups who could benefit from using the Talking Tables to bring their network together and invite others to get involved. Whether it’s a knitting group, prenatal or bridge club, Sainsbury’s are offering a friendly space to meet. Local groups can register interest and become part of this scheme by popping into Sainsbury’s Sedgefield.

Nicola Young, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s Sedgefield, said: ‘We’ve always been committed to playing a key role in our community, and we’re proud to be part of this simple and innovative trial. We’re always looking for ways to further improve our customers’ shopping experience and now we’re pleased to be the place to not just a cup of tea and a slice of cake, but a chat too.”

U3A Sedgefield

Our November Speaker, Dr Pete Edwards, Durham University, wowed us with his ‘Update on Space’. His knowledge, enthusiasm and ability to share such an awe inspiring subject in a way which we can all understand is breath-taking. The main focus of this year’s talk was Curiosity, the small car-sized Rover which is exploring Mars for signs of life - past or present. Some superb photographs, the most recent sent back to earth on 15th October, gave an idea of what is happening 35 million miles away. During October, at the Sedgefield Book Festival, our Creative Writing Group hosted two very successful workshops and other members attended various talks and hands-on sessions and discovered new skills or unearthed forgotten ones! Members have also been out of the village.

We’ve visited Durham Police Headquarters and Control Room, been to Ushaw College to see John Ryan’s Captain Pugwash drawings and his cutting and perceptive cartoons for the Catholic Herald; enjoyed a delicious lunch amidst chat and laughter at Bowburn Hall; the Photography Group made a productive visit to take images of the Autumn foliage at Thorpe Perrow Arboretum and hosted an exhibition of their Lines of Life Photographs during the Book Festival. The Theatre group have been to Billingham, Durham and Newcastle. U3A do not sit at home waiting to be old. We’ve even started a new group. Our Card Players are learning to play whist for a few sessions, then we hope to move on to Cribbage, Canasta, Rummy, Poker…

After our Christmas Party this month, on 4th January Mal Bell will tell us all about Smart Motorways. If you’re retired or semi-retired we’d love you to come along.

St. Edmund’s Church news

People asking about progress on the Raise The Roof Appeal to repair the North Transept roof at St. Edmund’s, following the theft of lead last November, will be glad to hear that in excess of £30,000 has been raised. That will cover the cost of the repair, which will take place in spring 2019. The temporary roof is watertight and it was felt better to wait rather than try to repair it over the winter. The sum raised includes the insurance claim, and a one off grant, but £10,000 has been raised from the community by way of donation. The District Church Council would like to express their gratitude to all those who have contributed in any way to the ‘Raise the Roof Appeal’.

We would also like to thank all those who have given so generously at funeral and other services. This year we have been able to donate £5,250 to charitable causes, most of the money being raised at funeral services and given to charities nominated by the families of the deceased. The charities supported were national organisations like British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research and Parkinson UK s well as smaller, local organisations.

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Revd Paul Butler, was in Sedgefield to meet members of St Edmund’s Church and to preach at the parish Eucharist service. He was welcomed by Reader Michael King, who told him how parishioners were looking forward to welcoming the Revd. Geoffrey Short as Rector and the Revd. Elizabeth Bland as Vicar in the parish of the Upper Skerne. After the service, the Bishop found time to chat with members of the congregation.

Strolling across the green after leaving St Edmund's, the Bishop visited Sedgefield Farmers’ market, very apt, as our original Market Charter was granted by his predecessor in 1312. He talked to the Sedgefield Development Trust team about the market and their many other projects.

Red Eye Clinic

Cooper & Barr Opticians, recently relocated to 4 Front Street, Sedgefield, are now accredited to provide a 'Minor Eye Conditions Service' in conjunction with local GPs and hospitals. This is covered on the NHS and means that if anyone is suffering from sore, red or gritty eyes, or blurry or distorted vision they can get an appointment to see an optician directly for advice and guidance, rather that having to visit a doctor. We sorry that this important item was omitted from our November edition.


Audrey Lofthouse would like to thank her many friends and neighbours for their kindness over the past few months and to wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Angela and Ron Bannister would like to thank everyone who supported the Halloween Dance in the Parish Hall in October. They raised £720 shared between Prostrate Cancer and Stroke Services in local hospitals. Thanks to entertainers who provided their services for free and everyone who supported the event.


On Friday 9th November 2018 a Service of Remembrance was held at The War Memorial, St. Luke's Church, hosted by Sedgefield Village Veterans and supported by Mr Michael Turner, of Eclipse. Our Town Council, Churches, Police, workers from Net Park and members of the public attended, and all of our local schools were represented, with staff members Mrs Penny Walmsley from SCC and teachers, Mrs Newton & Mr Roach from Hardwick Junior School and Mrs Sam Smith from Sedgefield Junior School bringing pupils.

The youth of today "will remember them" if their attendance is an indication. Many thanks to you all. David Hillerby