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

Community Speedwatch

Autumnal advice Autumn arriving means that the days start to grow shorter, and soon the clocks will be changing. This means longer nights which are attractive to criminals operating under cover of darkness. As the nights close in, here are a few actions you can take to prevent criminals spoiling your winter:

• Adjust the settings on your light timers so that lights come on as soon as it is dark outside.
• Ensure external lights keep your property well illuminated.
• Ensure light timers keep your property interior well-lit so that if you are still at work when night falls it looks as though the property is occupied.
• Keep blinds tilted however, so that the interior of your house does not become a showcase to prospective burglars.
• Make sure equipment, toys, bikes and other items used during the day are safely and securely stored indoors before it is dark.
• Make sure your car is secure and if possible parked off the street, preferably nose first on a drive, or better still in a garage.
• Always keep entrance doors, garden gates, garages and outhouses securely locked.
• Take garden furniture, barbeques, hose pipes and other summer garden items indoors for the winter.

New police facilities Plans have been approved for a new custody and investigations suite in Spennymoor providing a safe and modern building to replace the four ageing custody suites currently in use at Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Peterlee and Durham City.

Because several detainees can be booked in at once, the new centre will reduce the average time that arresting officers spend while prisoners are processed and allow officers to get back out on the streets more quickly.

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. rona.stocks@durham.pnn.police.uk
Police Community Cohesion Officer: Faye Callan. 101 Extension 742317. faye.callan@durham.pnn.police.uk
Confidential email address: John.lamb@durham.pnn.police.uk.
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.

John Henry Fitzpatrick 1942 – 2021

John has been a highly effective Trustee and Company Secretary of Sedgefield Development Trust since the earliest days. Taking the trouble to qualify as a paralegal in order to do the job, he learned exactly how to keep us on the right track and we have much to thank him for.

When we first met John, he was travelling the world as a trouble-shooter for a chemical company He enjoyed working with people of other cultures and was no stranger to Russia, India, South America, the Middle East and more. His busy travel schedule once saw him arrive in Australia 4 weeks too early and, jet-lagged already, having to get the next flight home, only to return 4 weeks later!

His family moved from Dewsbury via Durham to Hartlepool and John attended Brinkburn Grammar School before being taken on as an apprentice Chemical Engineer at Billingham ICI. After gaining a science degree at night school, he rose through the ranks to join the Catalyst Group, where he helped develop new catalysts and chemical plants for use in fertilizer production. It was at ICI that John met Lesley and they married in April 1972, moving to Sedgefield that year.

He has been a devoted father to their daughter Anne, born in 1976. John was busier in retirement than at work! After over 40 years at ICI, he became a Trustee of their Pension Fund.

He also joined the Friends of Hardwick, volunteering regularly in the shop and as one of the editorial team here at Sedgefield News, he helped produce a memorable edition of Sedgefield News in May 2005, with a glossy, full colour 4-page supplement showing the redevelopment of Hardwick Park.

Finding time to play, as well as act as Treasurer, then Club Secretary for a snooker team at the Atheneum in Hartlepool, he and Lesley played at Middlesbrough Croquet Club. He won team and individual trophies in both sports, but his biggest love was his 500cc Velocette Venom, which he rode as often as he could.

John’s illness was long, but only recently did it slow him down and gradually he had to give up his hobbies and interests. He always relished supporting this community and will be sadly missed by family, friends and colleagues.

Farmers Market

Sunday 7 November 8.30am - 12.30pm
We’re looking forward to the usual busy market in the run up to Christmas.

Hand sanitiser will still to be provided at the entry points to the market and are grateful to traders, volunteers and customers for helping us to keep it safe.


Woodland & Wildlife

Sunny Autumn Woodland Days
Unfortunately, we have had some damage to trees and posts which were funded by Discover Brightwater and County Durham Community Foundation, and installed by our volunteers.

A large vehicle, roughly 3m wide, has driven through the site, snapping 3 posts (pictured right) and flattening around 10 trees.

Despite discovering the damage at our last volunteering session, we had a lovely, sunny morning working on site. It’s fascinating to see the site change during each season.

We found many varieties of fungi, like the hare’s foot inkcap shown here and we laid a new woodchip path.

Volunteers have also been looking at how well some of our newly planted trees are growing. The goat willow in the photo was one of our first trees, planted in February 2018. Many of the trees which we planted on the same weekend are doing fantastically well. Maybe you were one of the many locals who braved the snow and the bitter wind that weekend!

If you would like to know more or would like to volunteer with us please contact Melissa at woodland@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk or join our Facebook page - Woodland & Wildlife - Sedgefield.


Homework Help

Homework Help is well underway, with some new students and some returning. We are pleased to welcome them all.

Maths and English are particularly in demand. If anyone could help with either of those, please e-mail homework@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk.

We are particularly looking for English up to GCSE level and secondary school maths. Thanks. We aim to help everyone who asks and will do our best to find help in whatever topic.


Energy Switch

To anyone who registered for our Energy Switching Scheme at the October Auction, you should have received an email or letter regarding the results of the auction, with a recommendation that you should follow.

As you will probably be aware, the energy market is very volatile at the moment and costs are increasing almost daily. Right across whole industry, all suppliers are increasing their prices to such an extent that fixed price contacts do not, financially, represent the best option at this point in time.

In a complete change from the previous 7 years, the general recommendation now is to remain with your existing supplier and move to their Standard Tariff, rather than opt for a fixed tariff.

If you have any concerns or require any assistance, we are here to help. Please email admin@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk or call the SDT number, 07572 502904 . Leave a message with your phone number and we will arrange for our energy switch organiser to call you back.


DIDO returns!

Days In and Days Out (DIDO) will be back for a long overdue get together and to celebrate Christmas on Monday 6th December at the Parish Hall. All the details about the party are on page 7 in the Diary.

DIDO is a club for us golden-agers, and we’ll meet on the second Monday of every month throughout 2022, with lots of fun, dancing, games and singing, not to mention our much-loved day trips out.

I know lots of members are looking forward to meeting up with old friends and acquaintances once again, but we’re a lovely bunch and we warmly welcome new members to join us at any time.

Brenda, Ina, Avril and Ruth will be taking the reins and we hope to be as successful as our predecessors. Please come along on 6 December for our Christmas Party.

We ask that everyone wears a mask on entry and that you wear something warm and cosy, as the Hall will be ventilated for COVID. For more information, phone Brenda on 01740 629574 - or just come along!

Regular Feature

Steve's Nature Diary

As reported in the Sustain Sedgefield column last month, COP 26 is where world leaders come together to talk about climate change and how to tackle it. This year marks the 26th COP summit – hence why it is called COP 26 and it takes place 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow.

It’s held here this year because the UK were successful in their bid to host it – this means they have taken on the Presidency. So the spotlight is on the UK to provide global leadership that raises ambition and turn promises into desperately needed action to tackle the inseparable nature and climate crises. We are in the middle of a climate and nature emergency, and the two are inextricably linked. Climate change is driving nature’s decline and the loss of wild spaces is leaving us ill-equipped to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to change.

On this subject, I read an interesting article this week about one of the commoner garden birds that most of you will probably see in your garden if you feed the birds or when walking in our local woodlands such as Hardwick Park – the Great Tit.

A trio of researchers at the University of Oxford have been studying the interrelationships between Great Tits, oak trees and caterpillars in Wytham Woods, near Oxford. They have revealed some of the complexities involved in changes wrought by global warming.

They obtained data from multiple studies of the birds and discovered that temperatures in the area have increased by 2.6 degrees Celsius over the past 60 years and that has led to the Great Tits moving their mating and egg laying to earlier in the spring each year. The data showed that on average, the birds are currently laying their eggs approximately 16.2 days earlier than they did 60 years ago. But they also found that there was much more to the story.

They found that oak leaves in the area have been appearing earlier as spring has come earlier each year, and that caterpillars have begun appearing on the leaves earlier each year as well. They also found that the caterpillars and leaves were arriving slightly earlier than the tit nestlings, which suggested that they could soon be out of sync with them and the Great Tit chicks could end up starving.

This is just one species that is being affected by climate change and we don’t really know exactly what will happen. The Wildlife Trusts are having a very special episode of #WildLIVE, from COP26 when Craig Bennett, the Chief Executive, will be joined by a great panel of climate and nature experts and activists on Sunday 7 November at 7pm. Sign up to watch at www.wildlifetrusts.org/events/2021-11-07-wild-livelet- nature-help.

Regular Feature

Ceddesfeld Hall: Home of Sedgefield Community Association

Most groups and sections are getting back to business here, with some new additions too.

Long standing sections like Bowls, Pop In, Local History Society, Art, Youth Choir, Ladies Group, North Eastern Concertina Players, The Last Wednesday (acoustic group), Durham Deafened Support, Bridge, Handbell Ringers, Ceddesfolk and Northumbrian Pipers are moving forward with their programmes.

Sedgefield Lyric Singers are using St Edmund’s for the time being but hope to be back at Ceddesfeld soon. Sedgefield Squash Club is up and running, with home & away matches as well as the usual coaching and training sessions.

It is good to see people socialising again, whilst also being respectful of others, keeping a safe distance and keeping the place as well ventilated as possible.

New groups to Ceddesfeld include ‘Pimms and Needles’, who meet on the third Tuesday of every month. They are open to ladies aged 18 and above, who are invited to take part in a range of activities. Come with friends, family or on your own - you are very welcome and the group is a great way to make new friends in the local community.

P&N offer a different activity each month; arts & crafts, dancing, beauty & wellbeing, an artisan food session or getting one’s hands dirty with some gardening! It’s all about having fun and getting involved – enjoying the journey rather than worrying about the outcome! Visit their website at www.pimmsandneedles.co.uk for contact details, programme & costs. There’s also a new Home Education Group, where kids and parents meet every Wednesday from 1.00-4.00pm.

The bar is busier week by week, with many patrons happy to frequent the lounge as well as the smaller ‘snug’ bar. New volunteer bar staff are a great help as things move forward. SCA is currently updating their website and a pamphlet, giving information about the different activities, events and room hire which will be delivered to residents with next month’s newsletter.

There is understandably still much caution around larger events, but plans for a Mediaeval Fayre on Saturday 21st May 2022 are going ahead. Plans to celebrate the Queens Jubilee on June 4th in a special community day (combined organisations) are also coming together.

Other events such as the annual Beer Festival and Easter Picnic are pencilled on to the calendar. We keep our fingers crossed that all will be well and that events like this will be allowed.

On Friday 17th December the Churches Together ‘Carols on the Green’ will take place at 6.30 pm, followed by mulled wine and mince pies at Ceddesfeld Hall A Christmas Ukulele Kanikapila, performed by Sedgefield Ukulele Smile Time will follow. More details on this will be posted around the village and through social media.


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, www.sedgefieldsca.org.uk


Sustain Sedgefield

Waste – is it sustainable? Waste is a part of every natural system. Things die, are broken down and then provide material for new growth.

However, in the UK we are producing so much waste it is putting pressure on the environment. The average person in the UK produced 409kg of waste each year, which is mostly made up of food scraps, cardboard, glass bottles and plastics.

A study suggests that the average UK family throws away 20% of all the food they buy. Recycling rates for UK household waste are slowly increasing, but much is still sent to landfill or for incineration.

So what can we do about it? We can start by RETHINKING our attitudes and behaviour using the 5R’s hierarchy below. The higher up the list the option is, the greater the environmental benefit!

Refuse: The best way to manage our waste is not to produce it in the first place. Rather than buying new products, can we borrow or lend them instead? Simple things like a tool library, or a toy loan scheme could work well for items which are needed occasionally or on a time limited basis.

Reduce: We can reduce the number of possessions we have and look at ways of passing them on when we no longer need them. The Sedgefield, Fishburn and Trimdon Larder group on Facebook is a fantastic way of finding new homes for items which still have life in them, ‘clothes swishing’ parties are a great way of recirculating clothes rather than buying new. Repair: If we look after our possessions they will last longer. Some items can be repaired rather than thrown away. Repair Cafes are places where people bring broken items and learn how to fix them. If you know how to darn a sock, or fix electrical items, would you be willing to help to set up a repair café in the area?

Re-use: Making new products uses energy and raw materials, so reusing or repairing things keeps valuable materials out of landfill and incinerators. Old clothes can be made into patchwork, or bunting or you could do a ‘Sewing Bee style transformation’; washing machine drums make great fire pits; yoghurt pots make good containers for seedlings. Before you throw something away, are there any components which could be used in a different way?

Recycle: We have a fortnightly doorstep recycling system which makes it very easy to recycle in County Durham. Most supermarkets have places to recycle specific items such as batteries and lightbulbs, and look out for local initiatives such as the one Sue Walker is involved in asking for old spectacles. Greener Sedgefield Facebook page is a rich source of information and inspiration.

If you would like to help set up a Repair Cafe, run a tool library, hold a clothes swishing party or if you have any other ideas, please get in touch with us at news@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk.


Art Group

Following the enforced shut down of the Art Group over the past 18 months, it is with considerable regret that the group has now agreed to bring the class to an end.

The Art Group has been in existence for almost 20 years. It initially ran from Sedgefield Community College prior to moving to Ceddesfeld Hall before establishing its base in the Methodist Hall.

The class was led by Derek Slater, a well known ‘Pitman Painter’ who provided an insight to a variety of artistic skills to a cohort of between 10 and 15 members. These skills were displayed to the community during Mediaeval Fayre Day with an annual exhibition of the work of the Art Group.

The retirement of Derek as group tutor, combined with the retirement of a number of members, notably Derek English who worked tirelessly as Treasurer/Secretary, prompted the decision to bring the class to an end.

One of the founder members of the Art Group was Barry Armstrong a well known local resident whose images of Sedgefield past and present were very much admired. Sadly, Barry passed away during 2020.In memory of Barry it was felt appropriate that remaining Art Group funds be donated to the Alzheimer's society.

Many thanks to all members who supported the group over the years with a special vote of thanks to the two Derek's for all of their unstinting efforts. C. McGowan


Mayor’s Christmas Appeal

I am organising an appeal for a Christmas present for a homeless person or a child in need.

Some ideas for a homeless person are: biscuits; socks; gloves; scarf; soap; toothpaste; sweets; a puzzle; towel; or t-shirt.

Alternatively, a small gift for a child whose parent is in prison. All gifts will be delivered discreetly. Just put the gender and age of the child on the front of the parcel and wrap in Christmas paper.

You can deliver gifts to my home at 3 The Square, Sedgefield or leave it at the Town Council Office on Front Street. Thank you very much, I do appreciate your support. Councillor Ann Carr, Mayor


A sad loss

What a real shame it is that Sedgefield Harriers have seen fit to get rid of their fundraising arm, known to us as ‘Friends of Sedgefield Harriers’ (FoSH), and replace it with EDCAT, ‘East Durham Community Athletics Track’ (EDCAT) (Registered CIO, Charity No 1154064).

This did not happen, however, until all funds held for Sedgefield Harriers, and retained for their benefit by the Town Council, had been transferred to them under their previous registered name of Friends of Sedgefield Harriers.

Sedgefield Harriers is now an unincorporated, voluntary/ community group and I sincerely hope they all know that they have no legal charitable status. It saddens me greatly to see no reference whatsoever in this new track name of EDCAT to Sedgefield, especially as we have such a wonderful array of community and voluntary sector charities and organisations within our community who are proud to display their association with Sedgefield by adding it to their title, e.g. Sedgefield Development Trust, Sedgefield Players, Sedgefield in Bloom, Sedgefield Community Association, etc.

People may disagree with me and say it is ‘only a name’ however to many people the name EDCAT implies that the beneficial area will be, East Durham. Sedgefield is not in East Durham, according to the County Durham Local Plan adopted in October 2020, and I am sure the County Council will not have got this designation wrong??

It is more concerning that some of the Harriers themselves don’t even know that they are giving their hard earned donations to EDCAT whose area of benefit covers Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton -on-Tees and Sunderland.

Perhaps there is a perfectly good reason for this but, for me, EDCAT has no attachment to the Sedgefield family and it is an insult to the many people of Sedgefield who have supported Sedgefield Harriers over the years, including me and my family members, in its fundraising efforts.

We may be asked to support them again very soon, and we will be very happy to do so.

Let’s hope we get some snow, and Ray can get the tractor out again! Gloria Wills


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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.


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Key dates:

  Tuesday 3rd August-Registration Opens
  Monday 11th October-Registration Closes
  Tuesday 12th October-Day of Auction
  Monday 25th October-Offers letters issued
  Tuesday 23rd November -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: farmers@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk


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