Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year

The Citizen of the Year awards are organised through a partnership between Sedgefield Town Council, Sedgefield Rotary Club and Sedgefield Development Trust. At the beginning of each year, residents are invited to nominate candidates through an online form advertised in the Sedgefield News. A panel of judges (including the previous holder of the award) selects the winner.

This year, Ian Mason was awarded Citizen of the Year in recognition of his longterm support for several local organisations including Sedgefield Primary School where he is a governor and Sedgefield Fun Club where he is a director.

Most of us, however, know Ian from his 18 years as Chair of Sedgefield Show. This annual event is one of the delights of summer in the area. The Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to George Nott who, like Ian, has been involved with several local groups and organisations including Scouts, SPYS and the Wildlife Trust. He is best known for his volunteering for Sedgefield Youth Club where he supports all events and activities.

Inserted inside this issue you should find a copy of Sedgefield Town Council’s magazine, Sedgefield Extra, where there are featured articles about Ian and George.

Ceremony in honour of Edwin Banks, lost in WWI

On Sunday 28 April, a small crowd gathered at St Edmund’s church to witness the return of a historic document to the family of its dedicatee. The James Garnett Foundation, a newly-formed organisation committed to honouring service and sacrifice in war, had liaised with Sedgefield Local History Society to put together this very special ceremony in honour of Edwin Banks, one of 42 Sedgefield men who fell in World War I.

The event was admirably supported by Sedgefield Village Veterans, Sedgefield Guides, Sedgefield Mayor David Jasper and his consort Annette Lawson, local MP Paul Howell and members of St Edmund’s congregation. Dozens of Sedgefield people came along to pay their respects to Edwin Banks and his family - guests of honour granddaughter Auriel, great granddaughter Susan and great great granddaughter Melanie.

Born in Sedgefield in 1882 to Bernard and Jane Banks, Edwin Banks was a house painter before moving to work at Durham County Asylum, Winterton alongside his father. In 1911, he was living in East End with his wife Annice and their two sons – William Bernard and Charles, Auriel’s father. Edwin enlisted as a Territorial at Walker-on-Tyne, progressing to Lance Sergeant 202505 with the 1st/6th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He died in France on Monday 27 May 1918, aged 36.

Officials of the James Garnett Foundation had done a huge amount of research on Edwin Banks and were delighted at the response to the event in his honour.

Vicechairman Colin Denby laid a poppy wreath in honour of all those lost in war. Chairman Major Martin Smith read out the words of the very impressive King’s Scroll, before presenting it to Edwin’s granddaughter Auriel. Having discovered the scroll up for auction in Alnwick, the James Garnett Foundation bought it, had it expertly framed and brought it back home to Sedgefield.

All bereaved families received copies of the scroll, along with a large bronze medal, commonly known as The Death Penny. Auriel has always treasured her grandfather’s medal and was very grateful to the Foundation for all their efforts to seek out and return the King’s Scroll to its rightful place.

In due course, the framed King’s Scroll will be placed in the north transept of St Edmund’s church alongside the Winterton Memorial, which is headed by the name of Edwin Banks.

The James Garnett Foundation is a very active, albeit very small, not-forprofit organisation, run on a purely voluntary basis. They have an excellent website, full of information about projects they have underway, including a page for Edwin Banks. Life membership is available for £10 (individual), £50 (group).

Following the ceremony, Sedgefield Local History Society has taken up group membership and we have received several individual tenners in support of this worthy cause.

If you would like to join up and receive a rather splendid certificate of membership, please contact me on 01740 620091 or Norma Neal

A round up from the Schools


We're delighted to announce that Sedgefield Community College has been shortlisted for the 'Staff Wellbeing School of the Year' at the TES Awards in 2024. The prestigious TES Awards are designed to celebrate the very best teachers and practice across UK state and independent schools. Having previously won a number of these Awards, including ‘Secondary School of the Year’, we're very pleased that our approach to supporting staff wellbeing has been recognised in this way.

As a school, we are fortunate to have an exceptional team of teaching and non-teaching staff and prioritising their wellbeing ensures that our students are able to benefit from their expertise each and every day.

Making sure to think carefully about staff wellbeing helps to make strong appointments of new staff (we’re a school that they would like to work in) and also to retain excellent staff in the school for as long as possible.

At a time when there are regular stories in the national press about a shortage of staff in schools, it’s fantastic that we’re a place where our staff team overwhelmingly enjoy coming to work each day!

Winners will be announced on the 21 June at the awards ceremony that takes place at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

School library

Excitement filled the air at Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy as the ribbon was cut on our brand-new school library. The library boasts a collection of over 1,700 books, blending beloved classics with modern gems, ensuring there's something for every young reader to delve into.

From timeless tales that have captivated generations to works by emerging authors from diverse backgrounds and cultures, the shelves are brimming with opportunities to embark on literary adventures.

This milestone wouldn't have been possible without the generous support of the Laidlaw Foundation. Their unwavering commitment to education and literacy has made a tangible impact on the lives of our pupils, opening doors to worlds of knowledge and creativity.

Mr Taylor expressed gratitude for the Foundation's invaluable contribution, highlighting the profound impact the new library will have on the school community. "It's not just about books; it's about fostering a lifelong love of learning. Thanks to the Laidlaw Foundation, our pupils now have a space where their imaginations can run wild."

As pupils eagerly explore the shelves and immerse themselves in the wonders of storytelling, the new school library stands as a beacon of inspiration, inviting each child to embark on their own journey. Here's to many adventures and endless discoveries within the pages of our new library!

Bravery award

Sedgefield Primary are very proud to celebrate a pupils’, unique Bravery Award. Roman (age 9) is to receive an award at St James’ Park in Newcastle from Brave Hearts of the North East.

This is in recognition for Roman’s outstanding resilience and strength of character. Roman received a heart transplant aged 10 months. He receives daily dialysis, is PEG fed and overcomes the daily difficulties of communicating through a tracheotomy.

Roman uses a talking tablet in school to support his communication with his classmates. Roman is an identical twin. However, unlike his twin brother, Roman has previously only been able to attend school for approximately 25% of the timetable, due to weeks and months spent in hospital receiving essential medical care.

This December was the 8th anniversary of Roman’s heart transplant. His family have a close link with the family of the donor (Fraser) - who have very much become extended family to them - due to this incredible gift of life.

It is unusual for a donor’s family to meet the recipients and the two mothers have formed a close bond.

Roman maintains a unique positive attitude, whilst facing daily adversity. He has a wicked sense of humour and enjoys school life at Sedgefield Primary.

Roman showed real courage and commitment recently auditioning for our school choir, despite extreme speech difficulties singing with a tracheotomy. Emma Patchett supports Roman on a one to one basis in school each day for medical and educational needs. She describes Roman as having “overall charm”.

Roman is a dedicated Newcastle United Fan alongside his family. He is one of four siblings, who are all pupils at Sedgefield Primary. The planned visit to St James’ Park to receive his Brave Hearts of the North East Award, is one of which Roman is very proud of and he hopes to receive a ‘Lego rollercoaster’ as his chosen gift to mark his extreme bravery.

u3a update

Carol Dean visited us last month to explore “Lasting Impressions”. Giving a talk through the life and times of famous men in history, she invited us to agree, or disagree, with the general impression of their notoriety. With a more modern view and understanding, would they still be classed as fortune hunters, pioneers, philanthropists; were they decent men or did they live selfish and immodest lives?

The Lunch Club visited the Vane Arms at Thorpe Thewles where they enjoyed another lovely meal. These trips take place on the third week of each month on a different day each month to allow more members to attend. And, of course, transport is free – courtesy of our recent grant to support travel.

The Book Club really enjoyed Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, giving it the high score of 8/10. Telling the story of just one year, 1937, in the life of a young Russian immigrant to the USA. Members loved the detail of her life determined to make her fortune in Manhattan: shopping in Bendals, the typing pool, the downtown jazz dives, gin martinis. Another age, almost a hundred years ago, portrayed sharply to give a sense of living history.

Twenty members from the Science, Technology, and Industry Group visited NETPark where we enjoyed a most interesting and informative talk followed by a tour of some of the facilities. First opened in 2004, the next phase of the plan is now under construction and is due to welcome new partners in January.

Only science, technology and engineering projects are allowed space on the site, with a very stringent application process.

There are currently 40 businesses, from one person start-ups to larger companies, and this is due to expand rapidly over the next couple of years.

We were delighted to receive a very generous cheque from David Jasper as one of the 32 groups who benefitted from the money raised through events held in the village during his past year as Mayor. The money will be used to provide resources and materials for some of our more practical groups, thereby enabling us to increase particular skills and knowledge.

At our next meeting (2pm on Friday 7 June in the Parish Hall), Chris Lloyd will be delivering one of his entertaining and informative talks.

Chris, a journalist and Chief Feature Writer for the Northern Echo and the Darlington and Stockton Times, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things North East. It’s a while since he has visited us and we very much look forward to hearing his talk this time. Do join us if you can. Christine Balfour

Sedgefield in Bloom

Last month, Sedgefield in Bloom were delighted to welcome our friends from Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy for the spring visit. The children and teachers enjoyed making bee 'bombs' consisting of flower seeds, compost, flour and water then throwing them into a prepared area in Ceddesfeld grounds.

The highlight (as always) was to stand on the parked trailer. Bloom members thoroughly enjoyed seeing our friends and look forward to welcoming them again in the autumn. At our recent AGM on 17 April, it was confirmed that the current SIB Management Group will be stepping down at the end of this year, having completed their tenure of office. It was also agreed, during this period of transition, not to approach our local Business Sponsors this year for direct funding.

The SIB team of volunteers will continue our work in Sedgefield as usual and we will still be holding our ever popular coffee mornings, where we look forward to seeing all our wonderful local supporters.

Anyone wishing to join our group, or just visit to see what we are all about, will be more than welcome at our weekly gatherings on a Wednesday morning at 9.45ish in Ceddesfeld Hall car park.

Further decisions will be taken in the new year on moving the group forward and continuing to help keep Sedgefield “Blooming”.

Ian Milne. SIB Sponsorship Secretary.

Open Farm at Hopper House

On Sunday 9 June, we are opening our dairy farm at Hopper House, Racecourse Road, Sedgefield TS21 2HL for Open Farm Sunday, a national initiative to allow the general public access to a working farm to see how the food they eat is produced.

We will be open between 11am to 4pm and people will be able to see the cows being milked by our four Lely robots, our young calves, some chickens and a range of farm machinery.

This is open to all ages. Alongside this, we will be running a family fun day to raise money for our upcoming volunteering trip to support children living in extreme poverty on the dumpsite of Nakuru in Kenya. There will be face painting, hair braiding, pony rides, and many more fun family activities.

Our on-site brewery taproom will also be open alongside refreshments, a food van, cake stall, ice cream, etc. We would love to see you there.

Stephen and Sharon Brown and Emily Nettleto

Sedgefield Village Veterans Association (SVVA) Renaming

Due to diminishing number of group members of the SVVA, we amended our constitution in 2023 to allow any either serving or retired people from civilian Uniformed Services (Fire Brigade, Police, Ambulance Service, NHS, Prison Service, Mountain & Cave Rescue, etc.) to join our membership.

This has been so far successful with several new enthusiastic recruits. Without this change, SVVA would have certainly folded.

Sedgefield Village in our name gives the impression that members can only be from Sedgefield, which isn’t the case. The next step of this process is to rename our association to reflect the change of membership and the area where members can reside.

After many iterations, we unanimously have decided to call ourselves Sedgefield District Uniformed Services Group and the new name will be launched at the Armed Forces event at Trimdon Grange on 22 June 2024

Proposed changes to X12

Following feedback, Arriva North East are proposing a route change for the X12 service in the Sedgefield/Fishburn area. They are inviting existing users of the X12 and residents of the immediate affected area to share their views and feedback on a potential revised route option.

The proposal is a suggested re-route of Service X12 via Fishburn, with no changes to frequency or operating day. This is to not only provide a direct link to Durham from Fishburn, but also with a view of maintaining boarding and alighting opportunities for NETPark (which, if the proposed change was adopted, would see the current NETPark stops unserved). Revised stops however would be available to access NETPark to the east of the development instead.

If this proposal does progress, which is subject to the feedback received, the proposed start date would be around October 2024. For full info and to provide feedback on the proposed changes visit