Sedgefield News

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

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OPINION Not just any old place

Sedgefield, looking glorious in one of Paul Heasman’s lovely photographs: now imagine it held under a skysized net of tiny twinkling lights, like the best ever starry night.

What would it say to you? A pretty place to live in and go to work from 5 days a week? Your home - your safe haven? Or a special place held together by people who help us to connect? If it’s the first, I hope that if you stay long enough, you will begin to share that special sense of place felt by so many who live here.

It can take a while to feel you belong and it can creep up slowly, but when it does, you should discover a place that’s powered and enriched by all sorts of organisations which are able to operate solely on voluntary effort. Exploring ways of giving time to one of these groups can wrap you in that sense of togetherness, as I have come to understand well during my almost 20-year involvement in this publication.

It was expressed beautifully early in 2020, when COVID19 forced us to appeal for extra volunteers to deliver the News. Our aim was to protect the network of older or vulnerable residents who had been the resolute backbone of our distribution system from day one. The response from the next generation was generous, stunning in fact. We smiled for days! Whole families got involved and when the grown-ups were at last able to return to normal working, some of their older children and teenagers took on the responsibility for delivering Sedgefield News - perhaps as a pocket money job or as their good deed for the day. Whatever the reason, it gives us a warm glow to know that it happens.

We always try to get the News to your door by the beginning of the month and when the diary page is packed with events from first to last it’s particularly important - but sometimes things can slip. When we hear that delivery is falling behind regularly on a particular route, we try to find out if there’s some way we can help, and there usually is, but occasional late deliveries happen for any number of reasons. To send a young person home with harsh words ringing in his ears has little to do with our special place. Up on my imagined sky-net, a little twinkling light went out when I heard of that happening.

How much better to say thanks, ask if all is well and maybe offer just a gentle reminder? When all is said and done, good deeds by old and young have built this community

Our Family and Autism

In July, Sedgefield Community College (SCC) had a visit from Paddy McGuinness, who was recording content for a documentary: ‘Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism.’ Paddy and Christine’s three children have all been diagnosed with autism, as has Christine. The documentary explored their experience of raising children with the disorder and the challenges they have faced. Paddy came to SCC after hearing that our staff had raised £9,500 for ‘Walk for Autism’ earlier in the academic year. The documentary finally aired on 1st December, and shone a light on the work we do at SCC with neurotypical and neurodiverse children.

The absolute stars of the show for us were our very own Jack, who was told he is autistic sometime before he was 6 years old, and Maggie who was diagnosed more recently. They both used their appearance to raise awareness of what autism actually is, with Jack describing it as ‘thinking weirdly’ and Maggie adding that there is a misconception that it is just about poor behaviour.

Paddy was reassured by how resilient Jack is and expressed his hope that ‘every school starts to think like Sedgefield because they’re opening kids’ minds to the idea that we all think differently and the next generation will have an idea of autism that mine never did, and that’s encouraging.” We are very proud of everyone who was involved in filming the programme and hope it helps to promote a greater understanding of ASD. It is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Stone Age children

Year 3 at Sedgefield Primary had a super day as they dressed up and tried to imagine life as a stone age child. They researched artefacts found by archaeologists that showed children were very much valued in their tribe and probably played games, similar to those of today. They made their own weapon (out of card of course!) to enable them to join in the family hunt for a woolly mammoth, aka an unfortunate teacher!

You can see from the picture how well they took to this activity, looking extremely ferocious. As Tilli said,' I've had a good day but I still wouldn't want to be a stone age person'.

Partnership with Feeding Families

Sedgefield Hardwick has recently formed a partnership with a charity based in the North East of England known as Feeding Families. Feeding Families offer support, hope and security to those experiencing food poverty, ensuring that thousands of families across the North East who are in desperate need, including those 'close to home', have access to Emergency Food Boxes and support packages.

At the beginning of December, the pupils of Sedgefield Hardwick managed to collect a significant amount of food and toiletries, which will go some way to helping Feeding Families achieve their target of supplying over 7,000 hampers this Christmas. Sarah McPhie, from Feeding Families, thanked the pupils of Sedgefield Hardwick for their generosity and suggested that the collection of food and toiletries would be enough to make around 30 Christmas hampers.

In the New Year the pupils of Sedgefield Hardwick will continue their partnership with Feeding Families to raise awareness of food poverty. Through working in partnership, both parties aim to remove the stigma associated with food poverty and help the pupils to be empathetic and supportive of those in desperate need.

Sock snowmen

Sock snowmen have been very much the theme for Year 5 in the lead up to Christmas. Pupils have been delighted making unique individual sock snowmen.

They have looked at product design and attributed special features to their sock snowmen, considering who their target audience would be if they were to market their product.

Each snowman has been individually named. Pupils are keen to use this product to inspire their creative writing. Stories set in remote arctic settings are currently underway!

Award for Kromek Chief Executive

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Kromek Group plc, has been awarded an honorary fellowship by the Institute of Physics (IOP). The IOP recognised Dr Basu for: ‘outstanding and ongoing contributions to business in the field of physics-based technological innovation, scientific advances of immeasurable significance, and commitment to the global advancement of security and our health.’

Kromek, based at NETPark in Sedgefield, provides detection capabilities for a wide range of applications including radiation and nuclear detection for deployment in civil and defensive environments, and medical imaging for the early diagnosis of life-shortening or limiting conditions such as cancers and osteoporosis. Recently, Kromek has diversified into biosecurity, developing the world’s first airborne COVID-19 detection machine, as well as a broadspectrum device which could be used to build national or global early warning system for pathogens, emergence and spread.

As founding chief executive, Dr Basu has grown the company, exporting products to more than 40 countries, and employing in excess of 150 people, including at sites in Pennsylvania and California.

Dr Arnab Basu MBE DL, said: “It is tremendous honour to receive this prestigious recognition from the Institute of Physics and a testament to the exceptional dedication and ingenuity of my team at Kromek. We are all immensely proud of the work we do and the things we have achieved in delivering innovation to make the world safer and in helping people to live longer, healthier lives.”

Co-op fund in bloom

On behalf of the team, Sedgefield in Bloom chairman Howard Smith and secretary Norma Neal recently accepted from the Co-op community fund a cheque for over £2,000. The Bloomers are very grateful to the Co-op staff and customers for their generosity. All donations will be put to good use in future Bloom projects, helping to keep Sedgefield blooming beautifully.

As they move to pastures new in spring 2022, Howard and his wife Barbara have handed over the roles of chairman and treasurer to Alice Hobson and Carole Milne respectively. As yet, no replacement has stepped forward to take over from Norma Neal, who will also, in January 2022, relinquish her various roles as Bloom secretary, sponsorship secretary and publicity officer. Norma has also taken responsibility for preparing a portfolio and presentation detailing the work and activities of the Bloomers for annual judging visits. She has also gained a new persona, working alongside staff and very young pupils of Sedgefield Hardwick Primary School as Mrs Bloom.

Current members of the Bloom team would be delighted to welcome on board new members who may be interested in taking on any or all of Norma’s previous roles. We know that Sedgefield is rich in people with a multitude of talents. Anyone who can help out will be welcomed with open arms by this very friendly team.

For more details and brief job descriptions of each of the roles, please contact Norma on 01740 620091 or email

Get the Balance Right

Five ladies from the Balance Right class in Sedgefield will be on our screens in January showing the people of County Durham how they can move more from home.

Anne Gray, June Beveridge, Josie Gatenby and Connie Spring taught by instructor Sue Boylan, have been taking part in some filming with Local TV Ltd to produce four short episodes which will be shown on Channel 7 in January.

The episodes are part of a series filmed for Move Durham TV, an element of Durham County Council’s Move campaign which will encourage everybody in County Durham to get moving. Deborah Breen, Wellness Coordinator for Durham County Council said “These episodes are aimed at housebound people, older people and those with long term health conditions or disabilities. Exercise is important at any age but particularly as we get older as it can help to maintain independent living, reduce your risk of falls and helps to manage the symptoms of some health conditions.

Many people in our county can’t get to a class like the one at Sedgefield Parish Hall. With Move Durham TV we can bring the exercises to people so they can join in from their own home.”

Sue Boylan, Exercise Instructor, said “We have really enjoyed taking part in this exciting venture with Durham County Council. Our class has been running for more than 16 years and the benefits and improvements to our quality of lives go beyond just the physical to include our emotional well being too. We are thrilled to have an opportunity for some of these benefits to be delivered into peoples homes.” It is anticipated that the Sedgefield episodes will be shown on a Wednesday in January on Local TV North East which is on Freeview channel 7, Virgin Media Channel 159 and Sky channel 117.

If you would like further information on how to get moving you can go to or call Durham County Council’s Wellbeing team on 03000 262539.

Rain stops play at Carols in the Car Park

As the PA and Event Manager, Gary, sat in Sainsbury’s café watching the rain pour down as it had done all day on 5th December, the sad decision was reluctantly taken to cancel Carols in the Car Park this year. We were so disappointed! But the PA gear could not be set up in such wet and windy conditions.

Volunteers and people who had booked places were contacted promptly, and the information was rapidly posted on sedgefieldweb and on social media by helpful souls (you know who you are – thank you!). The word spread effectively, and come the time, only a few cars turned up to a dark and damp car park, to be met by a couple of stewards well wrapped up against the weather. Some lessons there to learn for next time.

Huge thanks to everyone who was involved in organising the event and ready to stage it – your willingness, effort and community spirit are precious. Goodwill makes the world go around. Sedgefield Area Churches Together, Gary at PLW Event Management, Nic and the team at Sainsbury’s, Richard who was going to give the message, Fishburn Band, singers from the Lyric Singers and Lirica, Chris and all the stewards he gathered, Gary from Radio Tees, and others – you are much appreciated.

Interested in global issues and international development?

The ONE Campaign, an organisation campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, is looking for young people to join their UK Youth Ambassadors programme for 2022.

This role is ideal for those keen to gain more experience in the international development sector and who want to join a network of inspiring young activists across the world fighting to end extreme poverty and preventable disease.

From representing ONE at high level events, influencing your MP, to organising event s in your community and using social media to inspire change, you will learn skills in campaigning and advocacy, and would be supported by The ONE Campaign team all the way. You can find more about the role and apply at by Sunday 9 January. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the role, you can always reach out to

Arwen and Barra — solving utility supply issues

Storms Arwen and Barra caused electricity outages across the North East. This has prompted us to share with you information on how to seek help should your supply of essential services be disrupted.
See page 5 of the PDF version for more contact details.

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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:

  Tuesday 30th November -Registration Opens
  Monday 14th February 2022 -Registration Closes
  Tuesday 15th February 2022-Day of Auction
  Monday 28th February 2022 -Offers letters issued
  Tuesday 29th March 2022 -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:

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