Roger steps down

This month we say a big thank you to Roger Clubley as he steps down as Chair of the Sedgefield Development Trust after an amazing 23 years of service.

Roger has guided the charity with a mixture of good sense and quiet humour and has been instrumental in developing relationships with many groups and individuals both in Sedgefield and across the local area.

Roger has overseen or played a major part in many of the Trust’s projects over the years, including the Farmers Market, the Sedgefield News,, Energy Switch and, of course, the Woodland and Wildlife site.

We want to thank Roger for his incredible service to the Sedgefield Development Trust and for all the great projects he has delivered. Although Roger will be stepping down as Chair, he will remain as a Trustee, continuing to provide his experience and knowledge to the rest of the team.

If you want to help develop projects for the benefit of Sedgefield, Bradbury, Mordon and Fishburn then please contact Janette Savage at

Woodland & Wildlife site Bird Census 2023

Since 2021, a breeding bird census has been carried at the Woodland and Wildlife Community Woodland to identify the number of species present to better inform site management. In 2023, despite the onset of development work on the site’s northwest border, the numbers of birds seen and mapped as breeding remained fairly static with only minor fluctuations.

A total of 51 bird species were recorded, of which 29 species held territory, with a total of 149 pairs of birds present, a very slight decrease from the previous year’s record of 153 pairs. The 2023 full report can be found on our Facebook page ‘Woodland & Wildlife - Sedgefield‘.

Rook remained the commonest bird on site, with 28 active nests in the Salters Lane rookeries. The run of comparatively mild winters helped Wren to become the second commonest species with 14 pairs, this was followed by Blackbird (10 pairs) then Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Dunnock (8 pairs each), Common Whitethroat (7 pairs) and then Robin, Chiffchaff and Great Tit (6 pairs each).

All of the Warbler species had a good year. Both Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat hit record numbers, with new territories established in some of the planted sapling areas, there were 5 pairs of Blackcap and a single Willow Warbler pair.

A ‘reeling’ (singing) Grasshopper Warbler (a relatively scarce species) was a ‘new’ bird for the survey and Sedge Warblers also had a record year with 3 pairs in the ‘marginal’ weedy belt bordering the north of the site, underlining the importance of this often-disregarded habitat.

Four other ‘new’ species were recorded; a trio of calling Crossbill overflew and a flock of 48 Lesser Redpoll and 2 Common or ‘Mealy’ Redpoll (a scarce migrant from northern Europe) were seen in March. Finally, a pair of Willow Tit held territory in the mature Elder trees in the northeast corner of the Woodland. This is valuable habitat for Willow Tits, especially as the bird is the fastest declining resident species in the UK, with a population decrease of 86% between 1995 and 2020.

Multiple bird boxes have also been installed on site. Although it was hoped that they might tempt Tree Sparrow to form a breeding colony, so far, the boxes have been only occupied by Blue Tit and Great Tit. Some boxes were also damaged, most probably by Great Spotted Woodpecker and/or Grey Squirrel looking to prey on the nesting birds.

Unfortunately, a dead Barn Owl was also found on site in 2023. It was probably the victim of a vehicle collision.

More positively, the range and number of bird species mapped by this survey work underlines the importance of this relatively small and linear site of marginal habitat that is actively managed by the Woodland and Wildlife Group so that this rich variety of birdlife that can be enjoyed by everyone. Fieldwork for 2024 has already started, so if you’re on site, please say hello, and find out more about the birds.

Read the full REPORT+ Fred Milton

A round up from the Schools

World Book Day

Promoting a love of reading is incredibly important for us all at Sedgefield Community College and we do use World Book Day each year as an opportunity to celebrate reading and encourage more of our children to pick up a book.

Linked to this, we were delighted to be able to welcome acclaimed author Matt Dickinson into school on Thursday 14 March. Matt is both an award-winning author and film-maker and has a keen interest in mountaineering and adventure. His film ‘Summit Fever’ tells the story of his successful ascent to the summit of Mount Everest via the treacherous North Face route and this story is also told in his book ‘The Death Zone’.

During his visit to the school, Matt met with large groups of students to talk about his experiences and also led creative writing workshops with some of our students that led to some fabulous writing linked to these adventures.

At lunchtime, more than 80 of our students visited Matt in the school library where copies of ‘The Everest Files’ were being signed. It was fantastic to see such enthusiasm for books from our students and we’re very grateful to Matt for giving up his time to share his thrilling experiences with us all.

Rescuing Charlie from the Chocolate Factory

There was a chocolatey aroma in the air at Sedgefield Hardwick last week as we celebrated World Book Day! Our school theme this year was based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with our performance set after the original novel. Charlie was just about to open his very own factory with Willy Wonka, and launch a super, secret new recipe!

However, all did not go to plan as, due to an unfortunate oversight with planning permission, a local rival chocolateer with a penchant for underhand tactics seized control of the factory, kidnapped Charlie, and stole the secret recipe!

With Charlie deep in the brown stuff (chocolate, that is!), Mr Wonka and the children had to come up with a ‘sweet’ plan to get them out of this ‘sticky’ situation!

Thankfully, due to the bravery and daring of the children, Charlie was rescued, the secret recipe recovered, and the dastardly villain ‘treated’ to an exclusive first tasting of the new recipe!

We had a fantastic time celebrating our love of books, and can’t wait to see what next year’s theme will bring!

Artistic playground

At Sedgefield Primary pupils have been enjoying making the most of the recent good weather, which helps maximise outdoor learning opportunities. Our Nursery and Reception chidren always enjoy making the most of the outdoors and our wonderful school field whatever the weather (armed with waterproofs)!

However, the curriculum for older pupils favours better weather for outdoor learning opportunities. Year 5 pupils were excited to take their appreciation of art on to the playground recently, as the sun shone upon them.

In collaborative groups we created an outdoor art gallery using The Great Wave by Japanese artist Hokusai, to inspire pupils who their chalked interpretations. "It was fabulous to be able to work artistically with a group of friends", said Noah Howarth, aged ten.

u3a update

Another fascinating and informative talk, full of detail on Sleep and Dreams, was enjoyed by members at the March monthly meeting. A retired professor of Human Sciences from Sunderland University, Rob Pullen first described how the brain developed in the foetus through extremely rapid division of cells in the first three months of development.

He went on to explain how necessary sleep is to our overall health. In older age, we do find it more difficult to get the optimum 8 hours of sleep each night; we’re only making up the difference by our little catnaps during the day! Sleep is an essential resource for our brains to sort and store each day’s information. There is currently much scientific and medical investigation into why we dream but there is, so far, no conclusive verdict.

Our Lunch Club very much enjoyed their visit to the Bay Horse at Middridge in mid-February. Courtesy of our recent grant award, transport was free.

The next visit will be to The Old Mill at Metal Bridge in mid-March. The Craft Pop-up group started their Blown Egg sessions with mixed results, but having mastered the art were able to decorate and finish their eggs using various decoupage, paint and embellishment techniques.

The House and Garden group, supported by our transport grant, visited Nunthorpe Hall but were rather disappointed to find that it didn’t match their experiences of previous visits to other National Trust properties. It was felt that there is no cohesive policy to the exhibits which were rather sparse and, worst of all, the cafe hadn’t yet opened for coffee on arrival!

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was the book discussed at the February Book Club meeting with a score of 7/10 awarded. The three intertwining plots confused some of the readers, but all felt that the gas-lit, steam-punkish Victorian portrayal of London was vivid and real. The quality of the writing and characterisation was good. And with a happy ending–what could be better?

Our meeting on Friday 5 April in the Parish Hall at 2pm will be a talk by George Beautyman of the Tees Pumping Station. This heritage Pumping Station was built in 1849 to supply cleaner piped water to Darlington has a fascinating history and we look forward to hearing all about it. If you are retired and would like to find out a little more, please do join us then.

And now I’m off to have a little nap to make up for the sleep I missed last night. And, perchance to dream... Christine Balfour

Pop-in sessions

Held in Ceddesfeld Hall, the Pop-In group offers thrice weekly meetings for elderly and retired people in Sedgefield and District. Pop-In sessions meet on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from approximately 10am until midday and on Thursday afternoons from 1:30pm until 3:30pm and offer the warmest welcome in a sociable and supportive atmosphere.

Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are served with cookies and chocolate biscuits, plus the occasional birthday cake, scones and chocolates! Occasional lunches and afternoon teas are arranged throughout the year and two or three bus trips further afield are also planned for the better weather. To say nothing of our annual Christmas Lunch at the Dun Cow where staff always look after us so wonderfully.

Wendy, the co-ordinator, is an absolute font of knowledge of all things OAP. And if she can’t answer a question or remedy a situation she always seems to know exactly who can. She spends a lot of her own time arranging the various trips and events and is a master of defusing any little differences that may occur between members. She is always ready with a hug and a supportive word at difficult times or is prepared to bake a cake and have a party when it’s time to celebrate! Sheila and Debra help her maintain the positive, supportive and happy environment that the members so enjoy.

Members often comment what a lifeline the sessions are as they take the opportunity to regularly meet their friends in the warm and comfortable lounge at Ceddesfeld Hall where they can catch up on friendly gossip and news from far and wide. There are occasional tears as they share sad news but more often than not, tears are from laughter at a naughty story or joke!

I have been attending for just over a year and take a friend who has dementia. For many years before she became unwell, she took along another elderly friend to the Tuesday session and it was a treasured routine in both their lives. She is still a very much valued, and now supported, part of the group and I think it speaks so highly of that special Sedgefield ethos that this is another facility in our village where she is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

If you are retired, would like to make some new friends and enjoy a coffee and chat, perhaps we’ll see you there soon – do come along and join us at any of the sessions.

Chris Balfour

BHF Coffee Morning

Stuart and Marjorie Watt are pleased to announce a final total of £565 was made at their fundraising coffee morning for the BHF last month. Thanks to everyone who supported us.

Are you looking for a new interest and to meet new friends?

Do you love living in Sedgefield and have a couple of hours to spare?

We need help with the following:
social media
leaf collecting
grant applications
fundraising etc. etc.

Please contact any Bloom member or Sedgefield in Bloom Chair - Alice Hobson or call 07443 606 907.
We look forward to hearing from you!

New Team Rector

We are delighted to announce that the Bishop of Durham has appointed the Revd David Lucas as Team Rector of the Parish of the Upper Skerne, subject to the usual clearances.

The date for David’s licensing is yet to be arranged, but we hope will be early in the summer.

David is very keen to join the team in the Upper Skerne and we are very much looking forward to this new beginning in the life of our parish.
Michael King

The artistry of clinical denture technicians

In the realm of dental care, there's a vital yet often overlooked group of professionals whose expertise is essential for restoring smiles and confidence: clinical denture technicians. These skilled artisans play a crucial role in crafting custom dentures that not only fit comfortably but also restore function and aesthetics for individuals who have lost their natural teeth.

Clinical denture technicians are highly trained specialists who work closely with dentists and patients to create personalised dentures tailored to each individual's unique oral anatomy and needs.

From initial consultations to final adjustments, these technicians are dedicated to ensuring that every patient receives a denture that not only looks natural but also functions seamlessly.

The process begins with a comprehensive assessment of the patient's oral health and jaw structure. Clinical denture technicians work closely with dentists to obtain precise measurements and impressions, ensuring that the dentures will fit securely and comfortably. Using advanced techniques and materials, they meticulously craft each denture to replicate the appearance and function of natural teeth.

One of the most challenging aspects of their work is achieving a natural-looking smile. Clinical denture technicians possess an artistic eye and a keen attention to detail, allowing them to meticulously replicate the shape, size, and colour of natural teeth. Whether it's matching the shade of existing teeth or creating a completely new smile, these technicians use their expertise to create dentures that blend seamlessly with the patient's facial features and enhance their overall appearance.

In addition to aesthetics, clinical denture technicians also focus on functionality. They carefully design the dentures to ensure proper alignment and bite, allowing patients to eat, speak, and smile with confidence. Through precise adjustments and fine-tuning, they strive to achieve optimal comfort and performance for each individual.

Beyond the technical aspects of their work, clinical denture technicians also play a crucial role in providing emotional support to patients. Losing natural teeth can be a traumatic experience, affecting not only one's physical health but also their self-esteem and quality of life. These technicians approach their work with empathy and compassion, guiding patients through the process with patience and understanding.

In our community, we are fortunate to have a team of dedicated clinical denture technicians who are committed to restoring smiles and transforming lives. Their expertise, craftsmanship, and compassionate care make a significant difference in the lives of those in need of dentures, helping them regain their confidence and oral health.

Next time you see someone with a radiant smile, take a moment to appreciate the artistry and dedication of the clinical denture technicians who played a part in restoring it. Behind every smile lies the skilful work of these unsung heroes of dental care.
Philip Wears, Mango Dental Technologies

Golden Wedding celebrations

Ida & Alan Brown (Alan Brown & Company Accountants based in Sedgefield High Street) celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on Saturday 9 March, 50 years to the day since they married at St Peter’s Church in Redcar!

They celebrated in style with their family, son Martyn and daughter Helen and grandchildren Sam, Grace and Holly and all their friends at Rockcliffe Hall in Darlington.
See their “then and now” photos on the right with 2 of their bridesmaids Janet (Alan’s sister on the right) and Pam.
Congratulations to Ida and Alan.