Sedgefield News

Sedgefield News is distributed at the end of every month by a team of over 80 volunteers

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Teaming up to commemorate and celebrate in 2020

Events of all shapes and sizes have been decimated this year, but here in Sedgefield, we are blessed with a staggering number of vibrant community groups, powered by volunteers who make things happen. Normally, Sedgefield News devotes a page every month to events and we never struggle to fill it.

Their absence for most of this year has been tough for everyone, and we can’t hide from the fact that not much will change in the near future. We say this with a heavy heart, because the last two months of the year are when some of our most significant community gatherings usually take place. But it’s not all doom and gloom! The folk of Sedgefield are renowned for their ingenuity - plenty has been shown already in 2020, with wonderful ‘virtual’ initiatives created to keep us busy and entertained.

Now, that ingenuity is at work again and organisations and individuals are teaming up to help us commemorate and celebrate as best we can during November and December.

Remembrance Sunday on November 8th, is one of the our most important occasions of the year. The difficult decision has been made to not hold a service in St Edmund’s Church. Instead, leading up to 11am, a series of recorded prayers and readings will be shown on Twitter (@SedgefieldTC) and the website,

There will be no public event around the War Memorial on the green, but a very small, carefully managed commemoration will take place and be broadcast live on Facebook. Organisations that usually lay a wreath have been contacted and asked to do so safely and at their own convenience after 1pm. Residents are encouraged to stand on their doorsteps to observe the national two-minute silence at 11am and the bells of St Edmund’s Church will ring to signal the start of that.

The Festive Season here usually kicks off with the Snow Party and the big switch on of the Christmas lights around the village green.

Sadly, this can’t go ahead in the usual way, but the town council is coordinating a fortnight-long programme of activities, many of which will exist online and/or can be undertaken in Sedgefield by individuals and families in a safe, socially distanced manner. On Saturday 28th November the Christmas lights will be switched on by none other than Santa Claus himself. Sadly, his fans will not be allowed to gather on the village green (Santa really can’t afford to risk having to self-isolate for a fortnight in December!)
We all need to stay socially distant from him! However, Sedgefield News has stepped in to help. We will broadcast it live at

Incidentally, we owe gratitude to the Rotary Club of Sedgefield for once again providing the town with a Christmas tree. Over the following couple of weeks there will be a series of festive competitions for residents and businesses, all leading up to Wednesday 16th December, when winners will be announced online, along with the recipients of the 2019/2020 Sedgefield Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year awards.

More details can be seen in the latest issue of the town council’s Sedgefield Extra, included with this copy of the News. Inevitably, most of what is planned will happen online and not everyone has ready access to the internet. Everyone involved will do what they can to help as many residents as possible see, hear and read about what happens.

Everything here is correct at the time of going to print, but do keep an eye on the our social media feeds and websites. Late adjustments may have to be made if there are changes to the restrictions in our region.

This is not how we wanted our special winter moments to happen and we fervently hope for a return to normal in 2021. Meantime, together we can do a lot to commemorate and celebrate in the most fitting and memorable way.

Regular Feature

Greener Sedgefield

As we approach Christmas, some kind of handheld device is often considered as a suitable gift. Before replacing phones, sat navs and tablets, have you considered what you will do with the old ones?

It is estimated that around 45 million unused gadgets are languishing in UK homes and almost half of all UK homes have between 2 and 5 gadgets sitting at the back of the drawer.

Around 80% of a phone can be recycled. They contain materials including plastic, metal, glass, palladium, copper, silver and gold parts, that can be recovered and reused. Also, some elements that go into a smartphone which becoming increasingly harder to get; this pushes up the price of phones but also affects the production of other important machinery. Indium for example, is used in touch screens but also in solar panels and as we move towards a greener society this will be needed more. The bright colours on your screens are made by using rare earth elements such as yttrium. Other elements are used in pacemakers, hearing aids and in the treatment of certain cancers, so huge importance is placed on not leaving them to languish or thrown to waste.

There is a finite supply of each element and we are using some so fast they will have disappeared from the world in less than 100 years.
Mining for rare earth metals affects the environment too, and some mines have questionable human rights. From one tonne of old phones, 150g of gold can be yielded, which is 30 times more than from a tonne of ore. Recovering the metals from lithium-ion batteries has an estimated 90% smaller ecological footprint than mining.

There are many options for disposal of old gadgets. Ask the retailer of the new gadget if they will take the old one back. Working items can be sold on or passed to charities who will make money by selling them to mobile phone recycling companies. There’s Freecycle or our local Larder Facebook page. Someone may make use of your item for a little longer.

Tablets and laptops not in good working order can also be given to, for example,, who refurbish them and donate to organisations that need them, whilst training volunteers and giving them additional skills for the workplace.

The HWRC will take electrical items and ensure that any not working will be processed and parts stripped correctly. If you decide that they’re not in good working order, please dispose of them correctly.

It goes without saying to remove any SD cards or SIM cards and reset your gadget to factory settings to protect your data. Don’t rely on others to do this for you. Placing old electronics in a drawer is a missed opportunity, especially when so many of their components are in demand and can be recycled and repurposed.

When buying or receiving a new gadget, perhaps we should think about what it replaces and what good can come from passing it on.

2019/20 nominations for Sedgefield Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year

Sedgefield Citizen of the Year has been awarded to a Sedgefield resident since the year 2000 and for 2019 onwards we have added the Young Citizen of the Year - to be awarded to a young person under 21 on 31st December 2020, who has made an exceptional contribution to Sedgefield.

For 2019, award nomination forms were circulated in February 2020 with a closing date at the end of March. However, coronavirus intervened and the meeting of the judging panel was postponed indefinitely.

Now, time is catching up with us and we have decided to combine the 2019 awards with the 2020 awards. Nominations already received for 2019 will remain valid but we are inviting further nominations to recognise extraordinary service to the community in 2020. There is a nomination form enclosed in this edition and forms are also available on and You may nominate for either award on this form, but if you wish to nominate in both categories, you will need to use a second form.

Please think about your friends and acquaintances and if they have performed meritorious acts in the community, nominate them to be our Citizen of the Year for 2019/20 or our Young Citizen of the Year 2019/20 before the closing date of Monday 16th November.

Lost & gained in a strange year…

I’ve been lucky. Some of my family have had Covid 19 and come through it ok, so the impact on me has not, so far, been tragic. But after years of teaching, choral singing, conducting and more recently, playing in a ceilidh band, I do miss making music with friends. Zoom was quite exciting at the start, but its charms have worn thin!

On the other hand, I’m immensely grateful to the many musicians who have played and sung their hearts out for us online, despite many of them losing their income. I’m a better gardener than I used to be, too! Sandy Clubley, Editor

Diamond Day for Sonnie & Rita

Sonnie and Rita Blakey celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary recently, and whilst Covid restrictions put a damper on the celebrations, they still had a thoroughly enjoyable day. The icing on the cake was receiving a telegram from The Queen!
They married at St Mary Magdalene's Church, Trimdon Village on 15th October 1960 and have lived in Sedgefield most of their married lives. They have 2 children, daughter Janice who lives in the village and son Paul who lives in Australia.
Sonnie and Rita are well known residents of the village and always support local events. They can often be seen in and around Sedgefield on their regular walks. Congratulations from all your family and friends.

Sedgefield News: from the past

by Martin F Peagam, The Time Traveller, for Sedgefield Local History Society.

80 years ago... in November 1940, during the Second World War, a number of soldiers made the news.
On 21st November the local papers carried news of two soldiers found dead on the Sedgefield to Stockton road.

A car driven by Lieutenant Thomas Miller swerved to avoid an object on the road and hit another object. The first object was a soldier sitting in then road, already dead, and second was another soldier, also sitting in the road, who was killed by the impact with the car. An inquest heard that the two soldiers – Gunner Adam Lindsay and Gunner Thomas Carr - had been drinking at a Sedgefield public house earlier that evening. They left at closing time, carrying a bottle of beer, but had missed the last bus. They declared their intention to walk home or hitch a lift.
The inquest attached no blame to the car driver and declared a verdict of ‘accidental death’ on both soldiers.

A week later another soldier was making the news. The Evening Gazette reported that Edward Boardman (29) had been committed to prison for one month. Boardman had been found guilty on three charges: stealing a sum of 18s from a shop in Sedgefield, stealing a cash box containing £1 5s 3d from Frank Davison, and stealing chocolates and cigarettes valued at £3 6s 6d from Frederick Anderson.

The soldier was fortunate not to be facing a longer prison sentence: charges of breaking and entering had been dropped and the court took into account positive reports about his previous good character. 60 years ago... in November 1960 a local MP was trying to reduce deaths on the road by promoting a local invention.
Joe Slater, who was what the Birmingham Post called a ‘Socialist MP’ for Sedgefield, was one of two Durham Labour MPs asking the then Transport Minister, Ernest Marples, to consider adopting an invention by two Durham men.

The invention was a device to display the speed that a vehicle was travelling at on the OUTSIDE of the vehicle.
20 years ago... Regular racegoers, frustrated by the lack of race meetings taking place at present, due to COVID-19 restrictions, may recall that in November 2000, the local race meeting had to be cancelled.

That month there was heavy rain across the country and, a few days after the Huntingdon meeting had to be abandoned when the river burst its banks, the Dublin Evening Herald reported on 6 November 2000 that a spokesman at Sedgefield Racecourse had confirmed that the planned jump meeting at Sedgefield could not go ahead because the course was too waterlogged.

If you would like to know more about your local history, visit the Facebook page of Sedgefield Local History Society.
If you would like to know more about your local history, visit the Facebook site of Sedgefield Local History Society. Martin F Peagam, The Time Traveller.

Sedgefield Hardwick - back to school

Lockdown was a contrasting period for the pupils at our school. Some actually enjoyed their time away from school and with their family, but for some children, lockdown proved to be an incredibly challenging time.

After a while, relationships with siblings deteriorated into endless arguments and fights. In addition, boredom was a huge issue. Children were tired of being in the same place and doing the same things over and over. In contrast, some loved the extra time away from school, which allowed them to relax - especially more lie-ins!

Since returning to school in September, the children have experienced mixed emotions. Seeing friends was the best part of the return, as well as getting to know their new teachers. However, some children quickly grew tired of the return to constant time pressures - when to get up, where to go and what to do.

“There are definitely some ups and downs, but personally I think the positives outweigh the negatives” commented a pupil in Year 6.

Christmas Raffle, Can You Help?

School fayres can’t take place this year, so a virtual market is going ahead from November 1st to raise money for both village schools. Many local businesses are involved. More details to come, but in the meantime, if you can help with a donation for the raffle it would be much appreciated!

If you have anything suitable please contact either of the organisers:
Joanne Salt: 07743159519 or
Sarah Jane Twist: 07749417019 or
Thank you.

Doing things differently.
An IMPORTANT MESSAGE from Skerne Medical Group

Covid-19 has changed all of our lives in many ways, including the way you are able to see a GP and other Practice staff. Throughout the pandemic we have remained open and continued to strive to deliver a high quality service to all patients albeit in a very different way.

Unfortunately, as the pandemic situation sees further restrictions imposed both nationally and locally, we must continue with our GP telephone triage process and only see patients for face to face appointments where it is deemed appropriate to do so.

Our reception staff are currently seeing an increased number of calls each day and to help them to navigate an appropriate care pathway for you they do need to ask you to provide them with key information about the reason for your call to the surgery. We appreciate your continued patience during this period.

To assist in the way we manage your calls you will now be able to ring for appointments and prescriptions using the usual phone number, then pressing option 1. All that we kindly ask is, if you are contacting us for a prescription, please call after 9.30am.

We would like to remind you that there are alternative ways to order your medication, book appointments and seek general medical advice.
- Sign up for repeat dispensing. This will allow you to collect your medication directly from your nominated pharmacy for a period of 12 months. Please speak to reception to activate a log in and password which you can use 24/7
- Book Appointments online. Please speak to reception to activate a log in and password which you can use 24/7
- e-Consult. You can use e-Consult to seek advice via an online consultation which offers around the clock NHS self-help information, signposting to services, and a symptom checker. You can also use e-Consult to request a sick note. A GP will need to contact you to discuss. To access this service please visit the surgery website at

Please note, the e-Consult service must not be used for emergencies or ordering repeat prescriptions. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding in helping us to meet all of our patients' needs in a safe way.

From Loft to Loved is moving!

From their tiny shop on North End, this successful business will be in much more spacious premises at 11 The Square from November 1st. We all wish them well.

Bright Sparks at NETPark

Five years ago, after returning home from his first day as Commercial Director, Paul Usher switched on his light and was amazed to see it work. He had joined Quorum, a software development company which specialises in helping energy companies to access the National Grid.

National Grid operates a balancing mechanism to ensure power gets to customers when it’s needed. With almost no storage capacity for electricity, this mechanism is complex and has to balance the different types of supply including wind farms, solar power, power stations and, increasingly, battery storage, with the demand from businesses and households. All of this takes place in the 60 minutes before power is required! It’s not surprising Paul was impressed his light came on. Quorum was founded in 2002 and has always been a local company. From its original base at Wynyard Business Park it moved to the business incubator at the newly opened NETPark before moving to Explorer 2 as the business expanded. It now has sixteen employees performing roles as business analysts, software developers and testers.

In Great Britain the average demand for electricity is between 35 and 45 gigawatts – about enough power to light 4.4 billion LED lights. Quorum provides software to around a third of the energy suppliers but they don’t want to stop there and have recently launched a new product. SOLV Trader provides a live dashboard to monitor the longer-term markets (intra-day and day ahead) and it can recommend which trades to make and which ones to avoid. Working with their partner, SmartestEnergy, they expect the software to become a blueprint for trading support.

The future looks bright for the company and Paul is confident they will be able to grow further. The company is planning to develop software capable of taking a demand order from the National Grid and sending it to individual wind turbines to provide the power. The move to net zero carbon will provide many opportunities for the company and they can ensure the lights stay on.

To find out more, you visit their website at

Archaeology in the East Park

Discover Brightwater/Dig Ventures, Thursday 22 Oct to Thursday 26 Nov Originally due to take place in April, DigVentures returns at last to East Park to resume their archaeological dig. They invite you to join them. Local people have previously helped to investigate the remains of a very unusual Roman town and this will now continue.

'Safe Dig' measures are in place.

Join our socially-distanced Dig Team this autumn to help us investigate a new part of the site, safely. Find out more at

Power Pants Published!

My name is Rachel Lewis and I live in Sedgefield. Last year I was lucky enough to have my first book, Zupidee, published and sold in bookshops and most online bookstores. Due to a great response my second book, Power Pants has now been published.

Written to encourage children to be confident and believe in themselves, it is selling in the same places including Waterstones, W H Smiths and Book Depository.

I have donated copies to schools, libraries, also to Thornaby Foodbank and Safe Families for Children charity in Newcastle, so that children from all backgrounds get the chance to read it and smile!

Temporary Bridleway Closures at Butterwick, Sedgefield Bridleway Nos 42, 47 & 57

As posted on our Facebook page, following recent damage to one of the wind turbines alongside the A689 near Butterwick, Durham County Council have announced that the adjacent bridleways nearby needed to be closed for safety reasons, whilst repairs were undertaken.

The repairs have been unavoidably delayed during the recent virus outbreak and the temporary closure has been approved for up to a further 6 months from 17/10/20. It is hoped that the works will be concluded in a much lesser timeframe and the bridleways will be re-opened at the earliest opportunity.

We have found it difficult to reproduce the map in readable form in Sedgefield News, but the map can be viewed here.
1. A 1055 metre length of Bridleway No 42 that extends eastwards from Butterwick Road / Waterloo Plantation
2. A 2075 metre length of Bridleway No 47 that extends between the A689 and bridleway No 43
3. 880 metres of Bridleway No 57 that extends between Bridleway No 47 and Public Footpath No 58 / the road leading to Green Lane Cottages, Butterwick.

As the works have not yet been completed, it will be necessary to continue the closure in force by means of an extension of the Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The extended closure will be effective from 17 October 2020 for a period of up to 6 months or until the bridleways are safe to fully re-open, whichever is the sooner. The closure may be phased to allow for the making safe of the wind turbine and later final repairs. This continuation has been approved by the Secretary of State for the Transport.
There is no signed alternative route for traffic during the closure period.

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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.

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Key dates:

  1st December 2020-Registration Opens
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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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