Sedgefield Mediaeval Fayre – Saturday 18 May

As SCA’s largest and longest-standing event, Sedgefield Mediaeval Fayre is a highlight in the community calendar. Since the pandemic, the fayre has grown, with an array of new craft stalls, bumper crowds, and great community support.

Practical help with setting up and taking down, with sponsorship and tombola donations from local organisations, schools, businesses, residents and SCA members, makes all the difference, in the run up and on the day. The Fayre Planning Committee work together to organise a fun filled, varied and growing list of attractions, with something for everyone. All profits from SCA tombola stalls go directly back to the upkeep of Ceddesfeld Hall. We’re hoping again to build on the success of recent years, with some real ‘Mediaeval Madness’!

Donate a tombola prize
Please donate a tombola prize, (bottle or gift), which may be dropped in to Ceddesfeld Hall bar any evening (Monday to Friday from 7:30pm) or to the collection box in the foyer, or you can arrange a collection by contacting one of the numbers below. Donations would need to be made by Wednesday 15 May.

Community help needed
Help on the day remains crucial; to carry across, set up, take down and carry back gazebos (and weights), tables and chairs and to set up the performance arena in the middle of the green as well as the attractions and activities on the lawns at Ceddesfeld. We’re looking for strong, fit people to help between 8am and 9am and from 4pm to 5:30pm. The gazebos are easily erected, best done with 4 people, one on each corner.

SCA is delighted that the Mediaeval Fayre continues to be an important and well attended event for the town, its residents as well as the shops and businesses. A very small management committee organises the event, but it is not possible for them to put everything out on the day – hence this very important and necessary plea for help remains.

If you (your friends, team or colleagues) can help, please get in touch soon. Contact info@sedgefieldsca.org.uk or telephone Tony and Sarah on 01740 622185, John on 01740 620042 or Maggie on 07970 761844.

Visit to Downing Street

On 27 February, Stephen and Sharon Brown had the pleasure of visiting 10 Downing Street as a guest of Sedgefield MP Paul Howell who kindly nominated them for the Community Food and Farming Awards.

Paul had visited their taproom, at Hopper House Brew Farm on Racecourse Road, and wanted to acknowledge their diversification.

A brewery was established on the farm 5 years ago in partnership with Ian and Sharon Grieve and with some additional help from Charles Skilbeck they currently produce a regular range of five beers: a golden ale, a blonde ale, a double hopped IPA, a ruby ale and a chocolate infused porter.

The taproom opens the last Friday and Saturday of every month and is a true diversification of the dairy farm. You can watch the cows being milked as you drink your pint (other drinks are also available!).

Hopper Farm will be taking part in Open Farm Sunday on 9 June. More details in the next edition.

A round up from the Schools

STEM opportunities

In order to prepare our students effectively for the world of work, we look to create lots of opportunities for our young people to develop their interests in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Amongst the recent activities that have taken place, a group of students in Y9 and Y10 have had the chance to take part in a series of sessions working alongside Professor Neil Downie.

During the first of these, students spent the morning coming up with over 20 different methods to calculate the speed of a projectile from a vacuum bazooka, followed by taking apart various pieces of old technology to look at how the components work together. During the afternoon, the students designed an invention of their own, drawing diagrams and discussing various scientific concepts to create a plan of what they then built in the following two sessions.

Thank you to Professor Downie and also to Tom Williams, a member of our governing body who supported with the days, for this brilliant opportunity!


In the garden

TOver the recent Easter holidays, Sedgefield Hardwick Primary Academy has undergone a transformation in its Reception Garden, creating an enriching and innovative outdoor space for its youngest learners.

This outdoor space, pivotal for the pupils’ learning, has been revitalized with a range of stimulating features aimed at fostering creativity, exploration, and learning. The renovations have introduced several exciting elements to the garden.

A key addition is the new performance area, designed to inspire young talents and encourage imaginative play. This space will serve as a stage for budding actors, dancers, and storytellers, enhancing communication and confidence among the children.

Furthermore, the inclusion of a herb garden brings nature directly into the learning environment, offering opportunities for hands-on discovery and lessons about plants and their uses. The astro turfed areas provide a safe and comfortable surface for various activities, ensuring year-round usability and minimal maintenance.

One of the primary objectives of this makeover is to encourage innovation through play. The redesigned garden provides numerous opportunities for children to explore, experiment, and create using their imagination. Whether constructing in the mud kitchen, planting in the herb garden, or performing on stage, every corner of the space is designed to nurture a sense of wonder and exploration.


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

The very enthusiastic and knowledgeable George Beautyman gave a talk at our monthly meeting on 5 April about the Tees Pumping Station at Broken Scar in Darlington.

Built in 1849, the Pumping Station revolutionised the water supply to Darlington by offering cleaner, piped water to homes and businesses which had previously relied on contaminated ground wells, polluted rivers, and rainwater tubs.

Although no longer in general use, the buildings, pumps, boilers and ancillary equipment have been refurbished and are maintained in working order as a tribute to our local industrial history and heritage. Open days and events are held regularly. Do get along and visit when you can.

Last month, the Lunch Club visited The Old Mill at Metal Bridge where we had a lovely meal in their small conservatory. Members who hadn’t visited before were very impressed by this venue, the menu choices and the delicious food. This month, we’ll be sampling the Vane Arms at Thorpe Thewles.

The House and Garden group, supported by our transport grant, made a very enjoyable trip to Mount Grace Priory. This proved a very interesting site to explore, especially given the link to Gertrude Bell, who had been the subject of one of our recent monthly talks. The April visit will be to Kiplin Hall, a Jacobean house built in the 1620’s for George Calvert, later Founder of the State of Maryland in the USA.

Also courtesy of our transport grant, members will be visiting Reeth on 1 June to attend an event at the Swaledale Music Festival.

Although this talk is now sold out, we still have a small number of seats left on our bus. If you would like to visit Reeth and its plethora of cafes, pubs, craft shops etc for the afternoon, the cost is £5 return plus a visitor-to-u3a fee of £3. Please contact Alison for more information on 01740 629276.

With, hopefully, the advent of warmer and drier weather, you may be thinking of getting out and about for the day, camera in hand. If you would like to learn more about the adaptability and functions of your camera/phone or improve your photography skills, why not join our Photography group? Bernard can tell you more on 01740 469208.

At our meeting on Friday 3 May in the Parish Hall at 2pm, Carole Dean will be returning to deliver her talk on Lasting Impressions. Occasionally, the title of the talk gives us no idea of the subject. This is one of those, so we await in anticipation . . . Please join us if you would like to find out more, too. Christine Balfour

Diamond Wedding

Ashley and Barbara Cummings of Spring Lane, Sedgefield celebrated 60 years of marriage on 4 April. They married in St Edmunds Church in 1964 and have remained in Sedgefield all of their lives surrounded by their extended family and children, Andrew and Joanne.

They celebrated the occasion with a card from the King, followed by lunch at The Dun Cow with their family. It was an enjoyable occasion for all.

Joanne Cummings Colledge

The Maypole

Dancing around the Maypole, standing proud,
An ancient spectacle, performed for the crowd.
Intertwining ribbons of red and white,
Turning darkness of dawn into light.
A head of petals crown the May Queen,
Representing new beginnings, a sight to be seen.
New crops flourish in the seasonal shift,
New lives are born, the ultimate gift.
In uncertain times of war and destruction,
Nature always gives her re-construction.
As the sun sets across our Nation,
It marks the end of our Mayday celebration.

Richard D Fearnside, 2024

Link2Work bus service

For the first time in a while, I have some positive news about buses. Durham County Council has launched a set of new services called ‘Link2Work’.

Link2Work is operated by Hodgson’s and is designed to enable travel to and from work at places or at times which are difficult or impossible on the main network, focused on shift work patterns.

It will run to and from various locations in the county, including between Deaf Hill, the Trimdons, Fishburn and Sedgefield, and Newton Aycliffe Business Park. As a demand-responsive minibus service, it runs with a fixed time of arrival at Newton Aycliffe Business Park, but the exact time and location of the pick-ups (and drop-offs on the return journey) depend on the bookings made by the passengers.

This style of operation is intended to allow the services to meet the passengers’ needs more effectively than would be possible by a conventional, fixed-route service.

In time, bookings will mainly be made using a smartphone app but currently there is a dedicated telephone line: 0191 469 6000. The booking line is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. You can book up to 14 days in advance and up to 5pm on the day before you travel.

Initially at least, customers are able to travel free of charge.

Clearly, this is a limited service and it certainly doesn’t replace the lost X21 link between Fishburn and Sedgefield, and Newton Aycliffe and Darlington. However, it is a welcome development and I’m pleased that the county council has managed to introduce this new service.

I will, of course, continue to do what I can to secure more services to improve the currently inadequate network. I'll work on this through the county council, the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority (once established), and any other possible route.

Meanwhile, I hope that Link2Work helps some residents to access jobs/apprenticeships. Full details of the service can be found at durham.gov.uk by searching for link2work.
County Councillor Chris Lines

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