Sedgefield News

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A golden moment for Jack Smith of Sedgefield

The News spoke to Sedgefield’s Paralympic gold medal winner Jack Smith A Sedgefield lad, born and bred, Jack played a variety of sports when he was younger and was active in both the squash and cricket clubs, as well as playing badminton on a regular basis. He took up wheelchair rugby in September 2008, just eight months after his accident.

Jack explains: “ Initially, I had to travel to North Shields to train, but around 2012, the Bulls moved to the Community College.

It actually works quite well for everyone as Sedgefield is fairly central for the players. For me, it’s very handy, as I can just push up from home and be at training in about five minutes!”

Reflecting on being part of the Paralympics GB wheelchair rugby team in Tokyo, Jack says that the scale of what they achieved didn’t really hit home while they were still out there. “When we won the gold medal, we were delighted as teammates and friends who had enjoyed such success, but that was very much within the group and we were unaware of the wider impact.” It was when Jack returned to Sedgefield that he really understood the excitement and pride back home.

“That was crazy! Driving back, I was really tired and just wanted to get home. When I pulled into our estate and saw the welcome, that really picked me up and suddenly, this was more than simply winning a medal for me and my team. I could sense how my success has the potential to inspire the next generation of sporting stars and the joy and pride of everyone in Sedgefield was very special too.”

So, what’s next? “Well, I’ve enjoyed a few weeks’ rest and getting slightly out of shape, so I’ll be back into training again soon. The European championships will be in Paris next February, so that’s the immediate focus.” Talking of Paris, the Paralympic Games of 2024 are definitely on Jack’s radar. “ I would love to compete in Paris in 2024. I’m still relatively young for a para- athlete, so hopefully there are at least a couple more Paralympic Games ahead for me.”

Looking at sport in Sedgefield in general, Jack has noticed how it has developed over the years. “Comparing when I played sport here as a kid to the situation now, it’s clear that the grass roots scene is thriving more than ever in Sedgefield. The clubs here have a really professional approach, with more qualified coaches and – in the most part – better facilities. At the clubs with that combination in particular, we’re starting to see that reflected in results in competition to a high level, which is great. It goes to show what can be achieved here when all of those different elements are brought together.”


Sedgefield Veterans

Sedgefield Veterans is a group of exarmed forces women and men who previously served in the Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force. The group was formed in 2006 with the intention of assisting veterans and it has grown into an organisation which has supported various local groups and special events.

We have a wide range of causes. We also have bought union flags that are positioned on the flagpoles adjacent to both St. Edmund’s and Winterton churches. We have also recently supported a Royal Marine whose home was subject to an arson attack and have contributed to the St Edmund’s Church roof restoration fund.

The Veterans group, pictured above, has been involved with many special events including repatriations as fallen troops were returned home to Blighty, Spitfire on the Green, reenactment weekends and Armed Forces Day celebrations, held on the Sedgefield Village Green and in Trimdon; also the Princess Royal’s visit in 2012 (below), and regular Winterton remembrance services, along with Sedgefield schools.

One of our group, Army veteran John Cutting from Bishop Middleham, is a sculptor. Several of his pieces are currently on display until 20 November at an exhibition called “Through Soldiers’ Eyes” in Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

Our organisation mainly raises funds by holding a monthly coffee morning and like many others, has had no income for well over a year. We’ve really missed engaging with the local community at our monthly coffee mornings and can’t wait to get everyone together again. The first coffee morning since the start of the Covid pandemic is to be held in Sedgefield Parish Hall on Friday 26th November commencing at 10am, with the usual tea, homemade cakes and raffle. Everyone is welcome.

If any ex-service personnel in Sedgefield or surrounding areas wish to join or find out more, please call 07713 778059 or post a message on Sedgefield Village Veterans Facebook page.


Regular Feature

Greener Sedgefield

No report this month.

New Teaching and Leadership Centre

On Tuesday 14 September, our new state-of-the-art Teaching and Leadership Centre was opened by Susanna Kempe, the Chief Executive of the Irvine Laidlaw Foundation. The new building has many purposes, one of which is to host our initial teacher training hub, allowing university students first-hand experience of outstanding teaching. It is through this approach that Sedgefield Community College (SCC) and The Laidlaw Schools Trust intend to ensure there is always a constant resource of exceptional teachers within the Trust’s schools and the wider region. In addition to this, our students now have access to 6 additional teaching spaces.

A number of students from different schools in the Trust gave speeches at the opening, including SCC’s Head Girl Kristen McDonald, who said: “This is a huge development that will bring many opportunities for students at Sedgefield Community College and within the Laidlaw Schools Trust. Students here at Sedgefield are increasingly aware that we are now part of a community of schools across the North East and we are excited to learn of the broader opportunities this collaboration will afford us.”

The new building has already been booked for a number of events over the next term, including hosting faith reps during Inter Faith Week, sessions for trainee teachers from Durham University and workshops for Year 8 linked to Black History Month.


Amazing Spaces For New Faces!

With the start of a new school year, the children at Sedgefield Hardwick Primary School were blown away by the transformation to the Key Stage 2 corridor and classrooms. The resplendent renovations have already inspired learning with the addition of brand new word walls, which contain multiple words linked to each foundation subject.

The classrooms are all based around a specific subject and each one has been renamed. The Studio will enable the children to release their creative side through Art and Design and Design Technology, the Lab will bring out the children’s inquisitive, scientific minds, whilst in the Orb the children will travel across the world and through different time periods and in the Hive the children will explore technological advances in Computing. The streamlined teacher walls and pupil resource areas house a multitude of equipment which pupils can access independently, allowing them to truly innovate.

Other eye-catching additions to the central learning space, now known as the Hub, are the newly created booths for character education sessions as a safe place for pupils to express themselves.

“The classrooms’ new, modern looks have encouraged us to work as hard as we possibly can,” stated Emily Rigg, a Year 6 pupil. “All the classrooms look spectacular, it makes me want to stay and learn,” explained Hannah Davey, a Year 6 pupil.


Welcome back

Sedgefield Primary School (Rectory Row) are very excited to welcome new and returning pupils to a new exciting term. Our smallest nursery pupils are settling in amazingly well to our family feel environment. They are learning about themselves through interactive activities.

Our new Reception pupils are very excited about joining their family groups. All pupils throughout the school are placed in a family group from the Amazon Rainforest Group, alongside “siblings”, to explore a range of community and environmental issues. They continue in these groups throughout their time at Sedgefield Primary, gaining team points for their family group team, as they work with pupils from all ages across the school.

These groups really enhance our community environment. We are excited to have an author visiting us this term, who will be running a range of interactive creative workshops throughout the school. Sedgefield Primary look forward to letting you know more about this and other upcoming events


A glimpse of the past

Elizabeth Stocks was sorting through her grandparents’ photographs and found this stunning image of the Sedgefield Workingman's’ Club outing from the 1950s and a beautiful image of Front Street.


Can you find the Lost Robot?

A school trip to New York provided the inspiration for Gary Forster’s new shop in Sedgefield. Gary, one of the teachers supporting the visit, was in the gift shop at the Museum of Modern Art when he spotted the robot. He brought it back home, but his wife was less than impressed with his new artwork. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a space in his house it has eventually found a home in his new shop on Church View.

The Lost Robot sells beers, ciders, gins, and tonics with a section dedicated to local brews and a wide selection from further afield including non-alcoholic beers and ciders. He also provides a delivery service, and a website is under construction. Opening hours are 10am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday.


NETPark development

NETPark is set to expand significantly following a £50 million investment by Durham County Council, which will create over 1,200 jobs.

Plans to expand the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham, have been given the go ahead by the Council’s Cabinet, which has agreed to £49.6m to finance the first phase of the expansion providing up to 270,000 sq ft of new laboratory, office, production and storage space. The success of NETPark is such that expansion space is needed so that companies can reach their full potential. NETPark Phase Three will be developed on council owned land to accommodate the growing demand, both from businesses already established in the park and from companies looking to relocate or expand their operations.

NETPark is managed by Business Durham, the business support service of Durham County Council, and it will also oversee the new development. Orbit Open Day Orbit, Durham University’s new business accommodation space at NETPark, is hosting an Open Day on 7 October for interested parties to find out more. Visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/orbit-open-day-tickets-169819541821 for free tickets.


Demeter achieve further success

Demeter Water Solutions, which is based in Sedgefield, have been shortlisted in the Care Sector Supplier Awards for their continuing successful work in the care industry to save businesses water costs and usage.

The awards aim to seek out the best providers of products and services to the care sector in the UK with the judges looking for evidence of innovation, enterprise and performance.

Demeter, owned by husband and wife team Liz and Andy Smedley, help businesses across the UK to reduce their water usage and costs. Using their Utilities Manager software, they provide water management, logging and monitoring services to constantly record water supply usage.

This shortlist nomination comes hot on the heels of recent success, where they were announced winners in the 2021 Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards in the Water Management category after collaborating with their client Barchester Healthcare, to successfully save the group over £380,000 in water costs.


Jigsaw of St Edmund’s

Jigsaw enthusiasts will soon be able to test their skills on a unique charity fund-raising puzzle – but they will need plenty of time and lots of patience to crack it.

The challenge comes in 1000 pieces and features a striking photograph of Sedgefield’s centuries-old church and surroundings shot by local drone pilot Jonathan Clegg.

It’s being produced by the Friends of St Edmund’s as part of the group’s tireless campaign to keep the fabric of the church in a decent state of repair.

Membership secretary Brian Mutch said this week: “It’s a wonderful picture and we are already being asked how soon it will be available because it would make a superb Christmas gift. Orders have flooded in since we circulated information to members of the Friends.”

The limited-edition jigsaw measures 66cm x 52cm and comes with a price tag of £20. Expressions of interest can be sent to Brian by email at b.mutch@btconnect.com or by ringing him on 01740 622302.


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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:

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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: farmers@sedgefielddevelopmenttrust.co.uk


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