Cuddington | Buckinghamshire

Ten Years Ago

On this page, with the kind co-operation of Village Voice, we look back at the issues and stories that were making news in the village exactly ten years ago.




Ten Years Ago – December/January 2007/2008

Once again the St Nicholas’ Church refurbishment was the main focus of the front page of the December/January 2007/2008 Village Voice.  Villagers had expressed different views: some said they felt it was important to retain the fixed pews, while the majority considered a more flexible seating arrangement was best.  After much deliberation, the Church Council had decided on a compromise: the pews in the memorial chapel would be retained, and more flexible seating would be adopted in the nave.

Following the installation of the three Vehicle Activated Signs at the village entrances earlier in the year, the village Traffic Action Group had carried out a new traffic survey.  The average speed of vehicles travelling into the village had reduced by 2.8% in Bridgeway, 11% in Aylesbury Road and 11.4% in Dadbrook.  TAG also reported that they had been able to persuade Bucks County Council to put Aylesbury Road back on to the winter salting programme.  The number of accidents had increased during the previous two years when no salting took place.

The Parish Council reported that their attempts to find suitable sites for a small number of much needed affordable homes in Cuddington had failed.  AVDC had rejected all but two of the dozen or so sites put forward.  Of the two viable sites, that along the Aylesbury Road side of the Playing Fields was rejected because it would not have allowed sufficient space for both the cricket pitch and football pitch to remain.  Meanwhile the Allotment Society had decided that there was no land available for affordable homes in the last site, about half an acre on the eastern edge of the allotment land.

Following the Fête AGM in November, the outgoing treasurer Maggie Waters reported that takings had been “the highest in living memory” at £8,216, despite a smaller Fête than in previous years and a reduction in the number of commercial stalls.  Just over £4,600 would be distributed to village organisations.  Meanwhile the British Legion Poppy Appeal had raised £1,164 in Cuddington, Chearsley and Nether Winchendon combined, £617 of that total being collected in Cuddington.

The footpath between Tibby’s Lane and the Nether Winchendon path from the sewerage farm track had been closed after serious flooding had rendered it unsafe.  With great sadness, VV reported the deaths of villagers Lill Arnott and Mary Rymer in November.


November 2007

The proposed new seating for St Nicholas’ Church provided the focus for the lead article on the front page of the November 2007 Village Voice.  The Refurbishment Committee had been complimented on the excellence and openness of their process of consultation with churchgoers and others.  A decision on the choice of new seating was to be made by the Parochial Church Council at the end of the month.

Meanwhile St Nicholas’ Church had been beautifully decorated with gifts of fruit, vegetables and flowers for the Harvest Festival weekend.  The proceeds from the two Harvest Suppers amounted to £380 and had been sent to Christian Aid, while much of the tinned food that had been donated was taken to the Oxford Night Shelter.

VV's front page also reported that Cuddington and Dinton C of E Schools had finally been given the all clear to form a combined Primary School.  Both the chairman of the governors Chris Blumer and the head teacher Pam Talbot were delighted with the decision.  The new combined school would come into effect from September 2008.  In a separate article, it was reported that Cuddington C of E School had been rated “outstanding” following an Ofsted inspection in June and a further Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools.

Local horse rider Abi Goddard had had a successful couple of weeks, winning both the “Puissance” event at the Haddenham Horse Show with a jump of 3ft. 9in., and then the Pairs Jumping event with Zoe Eves at the Risborough Show a week later.


October 2007

The headline story in the October 2007 edition of Village Voice was that Cuddington had won the Village Category of the Britain in Bloom competition, scoring 150 marks and meriting a silver gilt award.  At the end of the Awards Ceremony, the Chairman of Thames and Chiltern in Bloom presented Jim Hayward with an inscribed clock, in recognition of his service to the competition.

The front page also carried an update on the progress with the church refurbishment.  The trial of different types of seating would continue throughout October, and a questionnaire was available for villagers to record their views.

Inside the issue, university student Katherine Stonham described her summer trip to Malawi in southern Africa, where she helped to run a Scripture Union camp for teenagers and helped to make bricks for a new building.  Katherine was touched by the joy that the young children showed when meeting her, in spite of the AIDS epidemic and consequent poor life expectancy.

Cuddington said a sad farewell to Penny and Anthony Odhams, who left the village after 32 years to move to Devon.  Anthony had been a key figure in the production of Village Voice for many years, while Penny was a founder member of the Tennis Club and had continued to work tirelessly both as an organiser and a player.


August/September 2007

The August/September 2007 edition of Village Voice reviewed that year’s village Fête, describing it as “very popular with the emphasis on fun”.  The Fête Committee had received many compliments from stallholders, in particular for their decision to have fewer commercial stalls and more run by villagers.  Takings were estimated to be in the region of £7,700.

An article on the front page updated readers with the progress on the church’s planned refurbishment.  Details of the plans – to redecorate the church, replace the heating system, install a stone floor, update the wiring, improve the lighting and install a projector and screen – would be displayed inside the church.  A trial of different types of seating, including chairs, modular benches and cushions, would take place in September and October.

Michael Pegge, chairman of the Traffic Action Group (TAG), lauded the recent installation of the vehicle-activated signs at the three main entrances to the village.  He said that the project’s completion represented the culmination of considerable effort by TAG, over several years, and described the difficulty in persuading BCC to agree to the scheme.

Saskia Amor and Louise Kirkwood said they were staring a new Baby and Toddler Group in the Bernard Hall and invited ideas and suggestions for activities.  With the end of the summer term, the School said farewell to Maggie Craig who was retiring after 20 years’ service.  In this year’s Best Kept Village competition, Cuddington was runner-up (by just one point!) to Hyde Heath.


July 2007

The main story on the front page of the July 2007 edition of Village Voice provided details of the forthcoming Fête, described in the article as “the Fête that nearly didn’t take place.”  David Speer was constructing a large Humpty Dumpty to reflect the Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales theme, and children were invited to dress up as their favourite character.

A Family Service was to take place that month at various points around the village, beginning and ending in the Church.  VV also reported that around 400 people had come to the Open Gardens event in the village to enjoy the gardens of Dadbrook House, The Old Stables and Tyringham Hall.

Inside the issue, a long article explained the need for “affordable housing” in Cuddington and described how such schemes work.  Another long article described Cuddington’s strong links with the Jenny and Jessy primary school in Kampala, Uganda.  Graham and Fiona Carr had established the association with the school’s founder, Julius Magezi, several years ago.  Julius seeks to provide free schooling and accommodation to as many children as possible (about a third of the children are orphans and/or refugees).

A further article explained how in 1643 Nicholas Almond had provided some six acres of land called the Poor’s Moor, the money from the renting of which was to be used to help poor children.  Today, the Nicholas Almond Charity provides financial assistance to young Cuddington residents who are going on to further education or training.


June 2007

Following the recent Parish Council elections, the June 2007 edition of Village Voice expressed gratitude to the previous Council, chaired by Ken Birkby, and congratulated the newly-elected Councillors.  Sherry Scott and Frank Crowdy had been elected Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.  Inside the issue, a letter from Myles Saker paid tribute to Ken Birkby and Jim Hayward as hardworking and effective previous chairmen.

The front page of Village Voice also reported that the 2007 Fête, with its theme of Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales, would be opened by a penguin.  Every child taking part in the fancy dress competition would receive a memento of the day, and Tyringham Hall would be transformed into the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for the occasion.

The Bernard Hall announced that it had been awarded a grant of £4,800 by the Awards for All programme of the National Lottery.  The money would be used to buy new stage lighting equipment.  The successful outcome was the result of months of patient work and research by the Bernard Hall Committee chairman and secretary Markus Bolton and Rachel McLoughlin.  The money available would be boosted to £5,800 through donations of £500 each from the Fête Committee and Cuddington Youth Drama.

The Bring and Buy Sale at Skittle Green Cottage in May had raised £278 for Christian Aid, while the Witchert Chorale concert and supper had raised over £1,000 for the same cause.  Meanwhile the Witchert Chorale, as usual, had begun singing from the top of the church tower on May Day morning, but sadly rain forced them to move back down into the church after just two songs.

VV carried a full report on the 2007 Annual Parish Meeting.  Topics raised included traffic calming, footpaths, the village website, the children’s playground and affordable housing.  BCC and AVDC Councillor Michael Edmonds announced that a Community Grant of £1,000 had been allocated to the village, and Frank Crowdy advised that the grant would be used to replace the showers in the Playing Fields Clubhouse.


May 2007

The front page of the May 2007 edition of Village Voice provided news of the village’s events to mark Christian Aid Week.  There was to be a special morning service at St. Nicholas’; a coffee evening with bring and buy stalls, hosted by Caroline Thompson; and a concert by the Witchert Chorale, followed by supper and more singing, in the Bernard Hall.

The front page also carried the news that Cuddington and Dinton Schools had become federated under a single new governing body on 1st April.  As part of the change, Cuddington’s Headteacher Pam Talbot became Headteacher of Dinton as well.  Chris Blumer and Jean Moore became Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively of the new governing body.

A brief report on the Annual Parish Meeting in April explained that over fifty residents had attended, the key issues for discussion being the imminent installation of vehicle activated signs to slow traffic, the ongoing search for land for affordable housing and the future of the Cuddington website.

Inside the issue, an article focussed on the vehicle activated signs in more detail.  The Transport Research Laboratory had found that such signs reduced traffic speeds by between 1 and 14 miles per hour.  BCC had finally agreed for the signs to be installed, but only on the basis that Cuddington would pay all costs involved.  Prudently, the Parish Council had, over the years, set aside a reserve of funds for this.  One of three possible contenders had been awarded the contract to deliver the signs, which would be powered by means of solar panels and small wind turbine generators.

Tribute was paid to William Stonham, Harry Giles and Matthew Lawson, who had all achieved distinction in their recent Victoria College of Music and Drama examinations.  The boys had been taught by Mary Pritchard in Haddenham.


April 2007

The lead story on the front page of the April 2007 edition of Village Voice was the news that there would be a Fête in 2007 after all (see February 2007 below).  A new Fête Committee had been appointed at a meeting in Tyringham Hall in March, with Sherry Scott as Chairman, Michael Straiton as Vice Chairman, Maggie Waters as Secretary and Phil Johnson as Secretary.  The theme of the 2007 Fête was to be Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales.

Also on the front page, the Traffic Action Group reported that the design and locations of the vehicle activated signs had been finalised, and final approval for ordering the signs would be put to the Parish Council at the April meeting.

Inside the issue, Cuddington Youth Drama reported that their Music Quiz Night in March had raised over £550, which would be put towards their forthcoming production of Return to the Forbidden Planet.  A piano recital in the Bernard Hall in March by Ivan Kiwuwa, a former pupil of Fiona Carr, had raised £1,100 in aid of the Jenny and Jessy school in Kampala.  Fiona’s piano had been temporarily wheeled to the Hall for the occasion.

The Bernard Hall Annual General Meeting reported a busy year with bookings increasing by one third.  Major items of maintenance during the past year had been new rear doors, electrical work, repair of brickwork at the front of the Hall and an enhanced heating control system.

The theme of the March meeting of the Cuddington Gardening Club was “Beating the Ban”, a strategy for coping with less water for the garden, given the forecasts of hotter, drier summers in years to come.


March 2007

The headline article on the front page of the March 2007 Village Voice edition announced that the young Ugandan musician Ivan Kiwuwa would be giving a piano recital in the Bernard Hall later that month.  Ivan had first taken piano lessons with Fiona Carr in her house in Uganda at the age of 13, and after a move to this country in 2000 had maintained close links with the Carrs.

Proceeds from the recital would be going to the Jenny and Jessy School in Kampala, and a separate article on the front page described the school in detail.  Of the 150 boys and girls at this special primary school, some 40 were orphans and/or refugees.  The school was founded by Julius Magezi, who had been a friend of the Carrs since attending Graham’s Sunday school class in the early 1960s.

Inside the issue, the Cricket Club reported a very respectable 2006 season, having won six of their nine matches played including away games at Dinton, Chearsley and Haddenham.  Meanwhile the Tennis Club were celebrating their recently-installed floodlights, making tennis in Cuddington a year-round activity.

An article paid tribute to Edna Reardon who had recently died unexpectedly.  Edna and her husband John had moved to the village in the 1960s.  For several years she had helped Stella, the wife of her cousin Jack, by working in their shop’s Post Office.  Edna had also taken a keen interest in the Sunshine Club and was a very active member of the Bernard Hall Management Committee for many years.

A further article paid tribute to Muriel “Toogie” Corby who had died in December 2006.  Toogie had worked at Bletchley Park during the war and she moved to Cuddington with her mother and twin sisters in the 1960s.  She was an active member of the Sunshine Club and supported many other village societies.


February 2007

Headline news in the February 2007 edition of Village Voice was the concern that there might be no Village Fête in 2007.  This was because most members of the Fête Committee had decided to step down and no new people had come forward to replace them.  Villagers were invited to put forward their views and to attend a meeting the following month to discuss the matter.

Inside the issue, it was reported that the Governing Bodies of both Cuddington and Dinton C of E Schools had elected to continue the process of achieving federation, with the ultimate aim of merging the schools into a combined primary school.

VV also reported that, after four months of the new Youth Club, membership now stood at sixteen.  A Bingo Evening at the Clubhouse had raised over £200, which would be put towards future events.

At the Annual Meeting of the W.I. in December, Helen Griffin retired after many years as a committee officer including five years as President.  Helen was thanked for all her hard work and Anne Holland was elected President in her place.