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Steve’s Nature Diary

No report this month.

Alan Sowerby Citizenship Awards 2018

Sedgefield Neighbourhood & Crime Watch Panel presented the Alan Sowerby Citizenship Awards 2018 to two very deserving pupils—Grace Rowe of Sedgefield Primary School, pictured top with her proud parents, Becky and Marcus; and Abigail Bell of Hardwick Primary School, pictured below with her proud, and surprised Mum, Caroline. Each school nominates a pupil who has put others’ interests before their own without direction from an adult; someone who has consistently shown kindness, care and consideration to both everyone at school and also in the community in general.

On the 19th July Hardwick Primary School named Abigail Bell as its Citizen of the year 2018. Abigail was described by teaching staff as a credit to Hardwick Primary. Mature and sensible, she is always willing to provide support to both staff and peers. Her positive attitude is infectious and her enthusiastic approach to the challenges of school directly influences those around her. Abigail has an inclusive outlook. She does her best to ensure everyone around her feels valued and empowered.

Staff members consistently comment on Abigail’s impeccable manners and thoughtful personality. She has given her time and effort to fund raising for school projects as well as for clubs outside school. Her visible and positive contribution to raise awareness and understanding of Coeliac sufferers has been exemplary and is a tribute to her courage and determination to support others. She was presented with her award by David Hillerby Vice Chairman of Sedgefield Neighbourhood Watch.

The next day at Sedgefield Primary School Grace Rowe was named Citizen of the Year 2018. Headteacher, Andrea Cox stressed that the award would be made to someone whose work and concern for others is outstanding even within this special year group. Naming Grace as Citizen of the Year 2018, Mrs Cox said that Grace has shown such qualities even since she was in “Reception” and has had a big smile on her face throughout her school years. Grace consistently puts the needs of others ahead of her own. She has helped with younger children, supported PTFA activities and numerous out of school activities. Grace’s qualities became apparent at the age of 7 when she voluntarily had her hair cut (for the first time), donating her hair and sponsorship monies to the “Little Princess Trust “which provides real hair wigs for children with hair loss due to illness & medical treatments. This selfless act has inspired many others to follow suit including one of the school teachers – Miss Teasdale.

Mrs Cox concluded that Grace is a truly good citizen and a worthy recipient of the 2018 Citizen of the Year award, which was presented by Joe McKenna of Sedgefield Neighbourhood Watch Neighbourhood Watch congratulate Grace & Abigail & wish them every success in the future

A fresh start for a new term

In January 2018, Homework Help was launched by a group of volunteers, to help local students and pupils to better understand their homework, and to gain confidence in their knowledge and capabilities. We hope we have been able to do that so far!

Several students took up the offer, and new volunteers stepped up to meet requests which went beyond the expertise of the original core team. Our strengths now span maths, physics, chemistry, biology, German, French language, English, history and politics up to A-Level, and most subjects at primary level. We also offer practice interviews for university applications and help with preparing them. If the subject need isn't in this list, do contact us - we will try to find someone to help.

So far, we’ve set up regular individual or small group sessions between students and a suitable helper. That has worked quite well but we are open to change, according to the interests, numbers, accommodation available, people’s availability, and so on. Your feedback is welcomed. We meet in the library, a quiet space suitably equipped, where computer terminals and WiFi are available for those who have homework exercises online. Thanks to Katie, Ann (before her retirement) and the team for your support - and to users of the library, who perhaps didn’t get to sit where they normally would, and tolerated our low-voiced discussions.

Homework Help re-launches in September, and we already have some students signed up. If you would like help with homework, coursework or additional material, do get in touch. Email or see our Facebook page, homeworkhelpsedgefield. Contact us also if you would like to volunteer as a helper – the more the better. All helpers are DBS checked.

Please note, we are not attached to any school and don’t prepare teaching materials. Students need to bring their own, and we help to understand and work through it. Many thanks to all the helpers and students – everyone has worked hard. Thanks also to Sedgefield Development Trust for their support, and to Neil Edmundson for our logo. We look forward to getting stuck in to the new academic year, and wish all students every success in it.

"Ideal Christmas Gift"

The festive season may still be several months away, but the Friends of St Edmund’s have already been hard at work producing a calendar full of eye-catching images taken by local photographers in and around Sedgefield. The sale of the limited edition calendar will help raise funds for the conservation of the church.

Praised for the variety in photographic content, the slim line, month-per-page calendar sells at just £6, which includes a sturdy envelope for posting. Calendars are available from Alison Hodgson, Brian Mutch or any member of the Friends’ committee. Trevor Terry (left) is first to buy from Anne Eyley, who helped produce it with artist and designer Kev Stevens of The Art Room North East Ltd, Fishburn.

Still striding out for Stroke

Great Grandma, Margaret Hope of The Meadows, Sedgefield is pictured left with Great Grandson Jenson, Daughters Alison and Caroline, Grandchildren Georgina, Astin and Francesca and Archie the West Highland Terrier. Margaret has raised £215 for Step out for Stroke by again completing an annual sponsored walk around Middlesbrough's Stewarts Park in June. She would again like to thank everyone for their generous sponsorship and support.

Retirement aids refugees

Thousands of Rohingya refugees who escaped unimaginable horrors in Myanmar last August and whose lives in hillside shanty towns are now threatened by deadly mud landslides, floods and water-borne diseases like cholera and diphtheria, will benefit from the retirement of the Revd. Michael Thompson, Team Vicar in the parish of the Upper Skerne. Fr. Michael requested that the offering from his final service should be donated to Christian Aid to help ease their plight.

The service at St Michael’s Church, Bishop Middleham, attracted members of all five churches in the parish Fishburn, The Trimdons and Sedgefield. Fr. Michael’s family joined him to hear Reader Bill Armstrong, pay tribute to the work the Team Vicar had done in the past four years. He was presented with gifts, including a crucifix, an Italian statuette of Our Lady of Walsingham, and a cheque - as well as a large chocolate cake made by Julie Latheron that was shared among the congregation following the service. “We have loved being with you. It has been a real delight,” said Fr Michael.

The Revd. Malcolm Masterman assisted, readings by Su Jordan and John Burrows, Intercessions by Ron Eyley, and music by members of MUSE. Organist was Janet Deane.

Les Joss Memorial Mathematics Award 2018

Every year the college presents a mathematics award in memory of the late Mr Les Joss, who was, himself, a mathematics teacher and was a governor at Sedgefield Community College for a number of years. This award is presented to a student who has proved themselves to be an outstanding mathematician, demonstrating not only excellent mathematical skills but also perseverance and resilience. This year, the award was presented to Rebecca Stuart, a Year 10 student who has consistently impressed with her approach to her studies in mathematics. Well done Rebecca!

Fresh Expressions

Sedgefield Methodist Church are exploring two new ways of being church! Ready Steady Grow is on Friday mornings from 9.30 to 10.30 during term time. For parents & carers with pre-school children. Sharing friendship with chat /tea/coffee/juice/crafts/songs/Bible stories. Ready Steady Grows starts back after the summer break on Friday 21st September.

Messy Church happens once a month on Sunday afternoons from 3.30 – 5pm. This fresh expression of being church is for the whole family and involves lots of fun with games/crafts/songs/Bible stories and food. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The next Messy Church is on Sunday 30th September, and you may wish to look at the Messy Church web link

There are no charges for these events. Do come and Join us. For more information contact Margaret and David Glass on 621618.

Operation Close Pass: Overtaking Cyclists at a Safe Distance

A new police operation educates drivers. A plain-clothed officer cycling on the A177 from Shincliffe towards Durham City has identified motorists as passing too close. They were then intercepted and educated by emergency services. Inspector Jon Curtis of Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, who headed up Operation Close Pass, said: “We know that a number of cyclists feel unsafe by the way some motorists pass them. This led us to proactively identify and educate drivers who pass too closely to cyclists. We want to remind drivers to allow a safe passing distance of 1.5 metres when overtaking. I think that today has been a stark reminder to these drivers of the risks involved.”

County Durham & Darlington Fire and Rescue Service used a ‘close pass mat’ to help educate drivers. Pictured here, the mat shows drivers exactly how much space cyclists should be given when being overtaken by a vehicle. Durham County Council used virtual reality goggles to simulate a car crash to show the devastation distractions can cause. If drivers did not want to be educated, they faced a £100 fine and 3 points on their licence or up to a £5,000 fine and potential disqualification if prosecuted at court for careless driving. Insp Curtis said: “Cyclists are vulnerable road users so it is important that drivers recognise the importance of giving them sufficient space on the roads. Passing cyclists too closely puts all road users in danger. You should allow at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car, when passing a person on a bicycle, giving consideration to the maximum speed limit and time and distance available to you.”

With so many cyclists in and around Sedgefield, please do remember to overtake at a safe distance.

“The unremembered”

This is the name of a research programme currently being undertaken by the Government, to commemorate the work of the men and women of the Labour Corps in the First World War. Many of those who served were men considered unsuitable for combat. Many died, but their contributions, carrying, building, washing, cleaning, cooking - are rarely acknowledged today. In many respects the Labour Corps were treated as second class servicemen by the British Army and little has been written about them in the century since the end of the conflict. Work ranged from railway construction to battlefield salvage, burial of the dead to running baths and de-lousing facilities, guarding prisoners of war to forestry and farming.

I have decided, as part of my Duke of Edinburgh award to research people from Sedgefield and surrounding communities who may have been part of the British Labour Corps, which was restructured in January 1917 to meet the demands of the unprecedented scale of the First World War. All of the research gathered will be provided to the National Project to be published to recognise the important contribution and help share an understanding of their experiences.

I would therefore be grateful if you could publish my letter as a call for information from anyone which helps to tell the story of the experiences of their friends and families who were part of the Labour Corps. This could be anything from people sharing memories passed on, letter exchanges between service personnel, archive images, newspaper articles, poetry or songs; anything that helps to paint the picture of the people involved so we can understand the situations they experienced. Seren Williams (Age 14) Please email information to or call 07411215547. There is also a Facebook page. Search for “the Unremembered”