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.




June 2008

The main story on the front page of the June 2008 edition of Village Voice paid tribute to Ted Ferris M.B.E., who was leaving the village to live in Norfolk.  Ted had contributed a great deal to the village community over several decades.  He had been a regular worshipper at the church, a bell ringer, a member of the Parochial Church Council, a founder member of the drama group C.A.T.S, chairman of the Allotment Society, a trustee of the Bernard Hall and chairman of the Parish Council.  The Church gave Ted a set of table mats showing Cuddington scenes to thank him for all he had done.

Also reported on the front page, the Witchert Chorale had celebrated May Day with their fine singing from the church tower and then from the churchyard.  Contrary to what had happened in previous years, there had been no strong winds or pouring rain so the singing could be fully appreciated.

Inside the issue, an article reported that people aged 60 and over were now entitled to free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England.  AVDC had sent new ‘smart card’ bus passes to all existing pass holders in the district.

Fears for the closure of Cuddington’s Post Office continued after the plan for Oxfordshire earmarked 22 closures, despite strong local opposition and a 6000-signature petition.  A meeting of an ‘Action Group’ to coordinate Cuddington’s efforts would be held shortly.

More plans for the ‘Victorian Cuddington’ Fête in July were announced.  Queen Victoria would be regally processing through the village in her pony and trap, accompanied by her faithful servant John Brown, and was looking forward to being greeted by her loyal subjects: milk maids, farm labourers, toffs, ragamuffins and other characters.


May 2008

The front page of the May 2008 edition of Village Voice carried details of the events in support of Christian Aid Week, with a Bring and Buy Coffee Evening at Skittle Green Cottage and a Quiz Supper in the Bernard Hall.

Also on the front page, an article described the recent Annual Parish Meeting.  The agenda had included reports from Neighbourhood Watch, the Traffic Action Group, the Nicholas Almond Charity and the village School.  One of the main presentations considered the future of the village Post Office: volunteers were requested to help in any campaign that might be needed to fight its closure.

At the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, Myles Saker and Caroline Stonham had been unanimously re-elected as churchwardens for the coming year.  The benefice was proceeding with the formalities involved in finding a new vicar.

Plans were “pedalling ahead” for the village Fête in July, with the theme of Victorian Cuddington, and the committee were seeking the loan of a penny farthing bicycle.  Attractions would include a brass band, archery and a Punch and Judy show.

The issue carried several letters in support of the Parish Council and the Traffic Action Group, with their efforts to improve road safety in the village.


April 2008

The lead story in the April 2008 edition of Village Voice reminded villagers to sign the letter in support of the village Post Office, in the wake of the move to close 2,500 post offices around the country.  The issue was to be discussed at the Annual Parish Meeting later that month.  Also on the front page, it was reported that the Church Refurbishment Appeal had raised £31,800 by the fourth week in March, substantially exceeding the original target of £25,000.

At the Annual Meeting of the Bernard Hall in March, chairman Robert Spencer Bernard had presented Dorothy Woodford with a glass vase and plinth in recognition of her work in the Hall during a period of over 30 years.

Jim Hayward announced that Cuddington had once again entered the Buckinghamshire Best Kept Village Competition, and asked villagers to make an extra effort to keep the village tidy and free from litter, since it was three years since we had last won the Morris Cup.

The village cricket club, the Cuddington Kites, were about to embark on another season and were looking for additional players to bolster the squad.  The fixtures list was to include matches against local villages as well as a number of touring sides.


March 2008

The front page of the March 2008 edition of Village Voice carried details of the events to mark Easter, including an Activities event for families in the Bernard Hall on Good Friday and a Family Communion Service in St. Nicholas’ Church on Easter Sunday.  A leaflet enclosed within the newsletter described the Parochial Church Council’s plans for the refurbishment of the church interior.

Inside the issue, an article expressed alarm at the Post Office’s intention to close 2,500 of its branches, mainly in rural locations.  Chearsley Post Office had already closed and the Haddenham branch was temporarily closed.  Village Voice and the Parish Council were collaborating to organise a petition in support of Cuddington Post Office, which villagers were urged to sign.  PC chairman Ken Birkby had also sent a letter to John Bercow MP expressing his concern.

One of the village’s most popular amenities – the Playing Fields Club – reported that it was in great need of further support. A welcome event for families and others was to be held later in the month, and villagers were urged to complete a questionnaire outlining suggested future plans for the Clubhouse.

The theme for the 2008 Cuddington Fête was announced: the village was to be transported back in time to the Victorian era to commemorate the 170th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s coronation.

Both Ted Ferris and Ron Hooper, who had learnt to bell ring in the 1950s and 1960s respectively, had had their long service ringing bells at St. Nicholas recognised by being elected Honorary Members.


February 2008

The February 2008 edition of Village Voice reported that the Church Refurbishment Project Team, a sub-committee of the Parochial Church Council, had been working hard during January to sort out the details of the refurbishment.  They hoped to submit the detailed plans to the Diocesan authorities for approval shortly.

Also on the front page, the problem of unsolicited doorstep traders was discussed.  Prices Risborough had declared the whole of their town a “No Doorstep Selling Zone”, with large signs to warn off such traders.  It wasn’t suggested that Cuddington should go that far, but “We Do Not Buy At This Door” stickers were available free from Cuddington Stores.

VV published a letter to the Editor expressing his dislike of the new Vehicle Activated Signs at the village entrances, comparing them to Las Vegas style flashing lights.  He said that danger was still present at the crossroads in the village centre and would remain until the highway authority changed the traffic priorities.

Cuddington Youth Drama was to host a St. Valentine’s Disco in the Bernard Hall later in the month – dress code: pink, silver and black – with proceeds going towards their forthcoming production of “Honk! Junior”.

An article paid tribute to Lill Arnott, who had died the previous November.  Lill had lived in the village all her life, except for a short period during WW2 when she was working at an Aylesbury factory producing gear boxes for Wellington bombers.  After the war she worked as a nurse at St. John’s Hospital in Stone, becoming the first woman nurse to work on a male ward.  She worked energetically for the Sunshine Club and was a regular attendant at the monthly Women’s Meetings at the Methodist Chapel.


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.