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Steve’s Nature Diary

You will have heard a lot recently about how the changing climate is affecting wildlife.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) have been investigating the effects that climate change might have on where different species might occur in the future. For the first time, scientists at the BTO have been investigating how climate change will affect how common different species are likely to be across Great Britain. The research shows “that although several birds may benefit from a changing climate, particularly in the north, some species will be hit hard and among these are some of the most vulnerable British birds”.

Several species (55 of the 124 considered in this study) are likely to benefit from future climate change and their populations may increase significantly by 2080. In contrast, fewer species (11 of the 124) are likely to suffer from climate change. This may apparently look like good news, but in reality, six of the 11 species that are projected to decline are already included in the British red list of the birds that are at highest risk of local extinction (Grey Partridge, Curlew, Grasshopper Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Pied Flycatcher, and Yellowhammer), and four (Red Grouse, Snipe, Willow Warbler, and Meadow Pipit) are currently in the amber list.

These species will be at even greater risk of extinction if urgent actions are not taken to improve the habitats and landscapes they require to give them a chance to adapt to climate change. Why not make one of your new year’s resolutions to do something positive for a local habitat near you. Visit the BTO website for more information.

Police Pets pose for Charity

12 police dogs from the joint Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire Dog Support Unit have posed for a charity calendar to help raise money for Paws Up, a retired police dogs fund.

They say never work with children or animals but these dogs are definitely the exception. PC Ian Squire, a dog handler for more than 17 years, photographed the lovely canines and Kaizer, his own companion, features in the month of February. Ian says, “Our police dogs provide a tremendous service to our communities for the best part of their working lives and we want to provide the best possible life for them in retirement. Thanks to the generosity of the public we have so far donated thousands of pounds to the charity.”

It is hoped the calendar will raise money to help support police dogs once they have retired from service. Paws Up was set up in 2013 and aims to support the dogs with vet bills in their elderly years once they are living with new owners. Only 1,000 copies of the calendar are available so to help the charity and avoid missing out be quick. They cost £5 each and are available online at or from Durham Constabulary headquarters.

Well deserved accolade for Ali Hussein’s cooking

The owner and chef at the East India Takeaway on Front Street, Sedgefield, has won the title, Curry Chef of the Year 2017 at the Bangladesh Caterers Association. Ali Hussein’s progress through the competition is well known on social media, but other readers may be unaware of his rather special achievements. He is pictured during the last leg of the competition at West London College, where 40 chefs from all over the country had to perform a live cooking demonstration whilst being judged.

The theme of this year’s awards was ‘Britain’s love for curry since 1960’ and it was Ali's king prawn pimientos that secured his place in the finals. Ali became well-known in the Sunderland area for Cafe Bangla in East Boldon, before closing it in 2014. Since then he has worked as a chef at St James’ Park and the Stadium of Light, and prepared food for the Rugby World Cup in 2016. Another highlight of his careers was working with celebrity chef, Mark Poynton from Cambridgeshire’s Alimentum restaurant, where they cooked a feast for royalty from the Punjab, India.

Since Ali bought East India Takeaway he has worked hard to improve the reputation of takeaway food. Ingredients are bought fresh rather than from a wholesaler, and he now employs 10 people. Always an innovator, Ali has promised that 2018 will see more street style food on the menu.

“Outstanding in all areas”

Sedgefield Hardwick Primary School has received glowing praise from inspectors who reported that ‘pupils make outstanding progress from their individual starting points in all three key stages’. The school was judged as ‘outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted at the beginning of November. Cllr Olwyn Gunn, DCC Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We are delighted that Sedgefield Hardwick has been recognised in such glowing terms by Ofsted. “Every stakeholder in the school is showered with praise in this report, including the ‘inspirational’ head teacher, the ‘strong and professional’ governors and the exceptional teachers and teaching assistants who provide these children with the very best early education.”

The school’s core culture of ‘Instil, Inspire, and Innovate’ has led Sedgefield Hardwick pupils to exceed the expected national standards in reading, writing and mathematics at key stages 1 and 2. The pupils were also spoken of highly in the report, described as ‘wonderful ambassadors’ for their school who displayed ‘exemplary behaviour’.

Head teacher Sally Newton said: “The outstanding judgements we have been awarded are testimony to the significant journey of creativity and innovation that we have been on since the time of our last inspection. This amazing journey has been possible because of the talent, determination and brilliance of all involved in our school community. Congratulations to our outstanding Board of Governors, teachers, teaching assistants and all non-classroom based staff who together form an exceptional team and each day strive to achieve the best possible social and academic outcomes for every child.”

Mrs Newton would like to thank the hugely supportive community who have been instrumental in the changing life of the school. “Together we will continue to create the best possible opportunities for young people as a positive contributor to our own and surrounding communities, instilling success and inspiring learning through innovative thinking.”

New Year, New Challenge…

Does walking 1,000 miles in a year sound a bit too much? Well, it equates to 2.74 miles a day or 4.409km. Does that still sound a long way? To give you an idea, imagine this. You could walk from the Cricket Club entrance on Station Road; turn right into the high street and go past the Co-op; turn left at the Dun Cow and walk along East End onto the Lane; turn right onto Chestnut Road and walk up to Hardwick Primary School; then left onto Hawthorn Road and through the cut onto Durham Road; when you reach the turning to Wallington Drive you can turn round and retrace your steps. If this still sounds too far, start with a smaller distance and build up by time, 10 minutes, 15 minutes and so on.

It’s a chance to get some exercise, fresh air and meet people. Perhaps you could meet up with friends on the way or combine it with a bit of shopping, taking the children or grandchildren to school, going to work or walking the dog. There are lots of pleasant places to work around the village and for those who want to go further afield, Hardwick Park is on the doorstep.

Like everything, there is a website where you can record your progress, but pen and paper will do just fine, as it is your own personal goal. Perhaps you could take a photograph each day to record the weather and the changing seasons. Good luck and enjoy.

And here’s one way to get those feet moving … help Sedgefield News!

We are looking for a kind person (or persons) willing to deliver the News on a regular basis in Sedgefield. The round of 80 papers goes from the village end of Station Road, along one side of West End; a section of Durham Road then down Front Street and High Street, finishing with Cross Street, Rectory Row and the other side of West End. This round could be split between 2 or 3 people. Any offers please to Judith Edgoose, phone/text 07899984464, or Thank you.

Sedgefield W.I. 1918-2018: Congratulations!

2018 sees the centenary of the creation of the Sedgefield branch of the Women’s Institute and the ladies have arranged a year of celebration. On Wednesday 31st January 2018 at 11 am, a tree is to be planted in Hardwick Park, to commemorate the formation of the Sedgefield branch of the Women's Institute in 1918. An engraved plaque will be unveiled next to the tree to remember this special event. A Centenary Dinner will follow on Wednesday 7th February 2018 at Hardwick Hall Hotel, which stands near to the building where the original Founder Members decided to form the Sedgefield branch. There follows a year of special events which we hope to cover in Sedgefield News, including a special photograph, a floral display in the flower bed adjacent to St Edmund’s Church; a day trip to Skipton, a local heritage walk, a Garden Party - the list goes on. It sounds like the ladies are going to have a busy and enjoyable year of celebrating.

Blooming marvellous

Stalwart members of Sedgefield in Bloom were recognised at the recent Durham County Council Environment Awards, presented at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Durham. The whole group was Highly Commended for their outstanding efforts to transform an overgrown area in front of Ceddesfeld Hall. Individual awards went to inspirational chairman Howard Smith and Bloomer Norman Midgley, principal designer of the Stepping Through Time Garden.

Publicity Officer Norma Neal said “Public acknowledgement of the work involved in this major project is very gratifying. We have been encouraged throughout by compliments and very positive comments from residents and visitors to Ceddesfeld Hall and Gardens. Please keep the kind words coming!” Bloom volunteers meet every Wednesday at 10 am at Ceddesfeld Hall, and new recruits are very welcome. Support Bloom efforts at fundraising events.

Reductions in bus fares from Sedgefield northwards

Arriva recently extended the Durham District fare zone to include Sedgefield, giving unlimited travel in the zone. It covers the X12 all the way via Durham to Newcastle, with a bus up to every 30 minutes, limited stop all the way, with many journeys to Durham taking just 33 minutes. Stopping points in Sedgefield are The Green, Salters Lane and Netpark. Buses run until the early hours on Friday and Saturday nights during Durham University terms.

The zone also covers a range of connections from Durham, such as the Arnison Centre, Crook and Bishop Auckland. Fishburn is also included in the Durham District zone, with the X21 and X22 linking it to the X12 at Sedgefield up to every 30 minutes. The cost of a return journey on Service X12 to Durham was reduced from £7 to £6.50. For regular bus users, the weekly ticket is reduced from £25 to £18.20. There are similar savings for 4 weekly and annual travel tickets too.

Bridge building with carols and treats

Pupils from Sedgefield Community College wanted to make a positive response to recent bad publicity about young people in Sedgefield so members of the college brass band and other students made their way to the Eden Drive area one afternoon before Christmas to perform carols and hand out festive treats to residents. The initiative, coordinated by Sedgefield Neighbourhood Policing Team, was supported by Sedgefield Town Council.

Most residents of this area are elderly so the event was a chance to build bridges between generations. Along with the festive music, residents were served tea, coffee, mulled wine and sweet treats that had been baked at the college. Students also knocked on doors in the area and handed out additional goodies, along with free raffle tickets to win a hamper donated by Sedgefield Co-op and other prizes.

PCSO Lisa Hall of Sedgefield Neighbourhood Policing Team organised the event: ”We are proud to have arranged the mini festive community event that brought different generations together in our neighbourhood policing area.

Many young people living in and visiting Sedgefield recently have been the subject of negativity, and our hope was that by organising this with the help of the town council and the college, we have eliminated those perceptions and brought the community a step closer together. Our sincere thanks go to Katie Lennox and Simon Fuller, both teachers at Sedgefield Community College, Chris Lines of Sedgefield Town Council and the young people who supported this special evening to help build bridges within our community.” One of the performers, Alisha Quinn said ”I was really happy to be involved, because of the positive atmosphere created, both from young people towards the older residents and in return. I think that it helped to repair some of the damage that has been caused in this important relationship between generations.”

Cllr Chris Lines adds: “Most young people in Sedgefield are good citizens who contribute positively to the community. This was a great initiative that we were happy to support. Sedgefield Town Council has done a lot over the last two years to improve youth provision. In 2017 we launched a new youth club in Sedgefield, which is now being led to a large degree by young people, who we are asking to help us to continue enhancing opportunities and facilities in the town for the younger generations.”