Category Archives: events

NEWS: Lockdown blooms / politics zooms / new use for phone-box / black lives matter

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid June 2020
In this post we have news of…: blooming planters! / life-saver for Draycott phone-box / council meets online / protest signs in Cresswell

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College gets Draycott flowering

Even in lockdown, there have been all sorts of attempts in the community to keep people’s spirits up.
One of the most noticeable has been the sudden flowering of the eight planters in Draycott. Last month, Draycott Moor College students & staff volunteered to help out on the Draycott Planters Project, which was set up by local resident Lee Warburton two years ago – and it is their efforts which have created the wonderful displays you can see now.
(The college, unlike most other schools, stayed open, because some of its children are at-risk and some were also the children of key workers).

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The project received £250 from the County Council’s Covid-19 Fund, and Draycott Council also contributed.

The students have actually been pretty busy during this time, as they have also been helping out with the Draycott Community Coronavirus Support Group. Well done to them…

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Support for carers and NHS

The Thursday Night Clap For Carers was another activity that brought many of us together, even if it was only from our front gates.
However, although the whole thing officially ended a couple of weeks ago, it looks like one last revival of it is now planned – for Sunday July 5th, which will then be a ‘proper’ finale.

In Draycott at large, music seemed to accompany the Thursday Clap. At St Margaret’s Church, they would ring the bells at 8pm on those days (thanks Dave!); and in Rookery Crescent (Cresswell), Vera Lynn would sing ‘We’ll Meet Again’!
Let’s hope music features again on July 5th.

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Politics made easier

Covid or not, decisions still need to be made, so politics carries on, even if it’s under strange conditions.

Draycott Council have been ‘meeting virtually’, using Zoom, the online video-conferencing system. In fact, it has been very successful, with as many as twelve people (including councillors) tuning into the meeting on June 8th.

The obvious benefit of Zoom is that it enables anyone with a computer to check in and see what’s going on – no matter the weather or how one is feeling.

Other great things about Zoom conferencing is that it forces groups to allow one person to speak at a time, and also enables everybody watching to be able to hear very clearly what is being said. All these are real boons, because it’s often difficult to catch what is being said at a ‘normal’ Draycott Council meeting.
It would almost be preferable (we think) to hold all meetings via Zoom in future… Well, it’s a thought anyway!

Sir Bill CashThe lockdown has led to one problematic thing in the Houses of Parliament, because MPs who are not physically present there are not allowed to vote in debates – not even those MPs who are at home because they or their loved ones are at-risk. It’s a strange situation.
We wondered if our own MP, Bill Cash (see pic) – who is 80 years old after all -, would fall into that category. However, it seems he is living in his London flat, so he can attend debates.
So, no need to stop writing to him if you have concerns he might be able to help with.

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Life-saving equipment for Draycott

It seems Draycott Council have now decided to officially take ownership of the old BT phone box in Draycott. (It’s to be found up against The Old Post Office house, diagonally opposite The Draycott Arms.)

draycott phonebox

Phonebox at old post office, Draycott-le-Moors

It’s in a bit of a state inside, quite decayed, but BT were offering it to the council for just £1…

But what to do with it?
Well, the council has also now decided to put a defibrillator in there, like in so many other former phone-boxes. (In fact, the old kiosk in Cresswell also now houses a defibrillator, and has done since 2015.)
A defibrillator is a piece of life-saving equipment which can be used – by anyone – to help revive people who are suffering cardiac arrest.

However, it’s not clear yet how the council intends to pay for refurbishing the Draycott kiosk and for installing a defibrillator; more than £2000 will be needed.
By contrast, the Cresswell kiosk project was a community effort, run by VVSM, the local action group, and the way they paid for it was by fund-raising through jumble sales and begging for donations.

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Black Lives Matter

As we all know, Draycott-in-the-Moors is quite a sleepy place, and sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that events in the outside world do not affect us.

But it seems some things are too big to be ignored. Covid is one of course, but now signs are appearing in the village reminding us of the terrible recent event in America where yet another African-American man died at the hands of the police – the George Floyd affair.
The news of the event seems to have shocked the world, and there have been demonstrations in many countries – and even  the British Parliament held a minute’s silence to remember Mr Floyd.

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Signs have now also begun to appear in Draycott-in-the-Moors.  (Interestingly, the signs in Cresswell have hearts drawn over them – a message of hope.)
Perhaps some matters are simply so important that they can penetrate even into quiet lives like ours in Draycott.

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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NEWS: scarecrows / speeding / homes for sale / Old Lane restored

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid May 2020
In this post we have news of…: scarecrow happiness / speeding on empty roads / historic homes for sale / Cresswell Old Lane is back!

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Scarecrow togetherness

Congratulations are due all round for the wonderful Draycott-in-the-Moors Scarecrow Festival  that took place across Draycott & Cresswell on the bank holiday weekend this month.
Nearly fifty households took part and there were some stunningly inventive and very humorous creations! Most importantly though, it brought people together.

Three people should be singled out though.
Chief among them is the main festival organiser Kate Bradshaw, who was tireless, despite the fact that she has plenty of other responsibilities.
Also, Helen Bickerton, who heads up the team at our local community-library centre at Blythe, deserves praise for stumping up the prizes, and taking part in a long day of judging.
And also Lee Warburton. Lee is basically the main man behind the village Facebook page, which has been so vital a lifeline during this current crisis, and it was he who collated the photo album of the festival. If you haven’t seen the album, click here and check out the brilliant entries.

Draycott Scarecrow 2020 First prize to Norman and Nella at 95 Uttoxeter Road

Scarecrow 2020 first prize to Norman and Nella on Uttoxeter Road

It’s not a coincidence that it is these same three individuals who have also pulled together the local Coronavirus volunteer support groups which have been working across the district to make sure no one who asks for help goes unaided.
Yes, each team’s individual volunteer plays their part and we shouldn’t forget that, but a big debt of gratitude is owed to these three in particular.
If they don’t each get a Certificate Of Thanks from the village council at the end of this year, then there’s no justice in this world.

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Speed-crow

One scarecrow in the festival was about more than just fun, it was making an important point.
The empty roads of the last two months have, unfortunately, encouraged some complete idiots to treat some our long stretches as racetracks. Two long straight runs, one along Uttoxeter Road from Blythe roundabout and the one to the railway crossing in Cresswell, are both 40mph limits, but sometimes you wouldn’t have believed it.

This clever scarecrow (pic right) on Cresswell’s Sandon Road, with its silver foil speed-gun and frowning face, didn’t fool anybody of course, but let’s hope it made the idiots think, at least for a second.

In the meantime, we are still waiting for the two speed-warning signs which should have been up in Draycott by now. Nearly eighteen months ago, the village council were given £5000 by the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership to purchase and erect them – but the project only limps along.

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Historic homes for sale

The recent easing of the restrictions on the property market means that three of our most interesting and historic homes are now properly back up for sale.

First: the old School House in Cresswell, which is so called because the Catholic church in the village maintained a small primary school on the site for many years.
Second:  Totmonslow Farm Cottage (seen from the back, right), which would once have belonged to the farm estate, but now it is separate.

Totmonslow Farm Cottage from the back

Totmonslow Farm Cottage, from the back

And then there is the 200 year-old Izaak Walton pub in Cresswell. It has been ‘dark’ for some time now, so it was no surprise when the brewery-owners sold it last year.
However the individual who bought it managed to get planning permission to re-develop it (with support from the village council) as a family home – which was a surprise, as it is Cresswell’s only ‘community asset’.
However, again, it is now back on the market, and goes to auction on June 1st.

Incidentally, it is hoped that the memorabilia from the Izaak (regulars will remember the old photos that used to line the walls, the old fish-figure weather-vane etc etc) might be saved for the village. The clerk of the village council, Denise Wheat, is on to the job – good luck Denise.

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Cresswell gets it right

Finally, the long-running saga of the road-sign on Cresswell Old Lane is over.
Some eight years ago, a keen-eyed resident noticed that the eastern half of Cresswell Old Lane was wrongly called ‘Cresswell Old Road, not just on Google Maps, but even on one of the official road-signs. And so he reported it to the authorities.
The details of this long-running saga to get the name corrected have been tiring and frustrating (even if a bit humorous at times!), but at last the sign has been corrected.

Cresswell Old Lane sign – right at last!

But… safe to say that the residents of Cresswell Old Lane can sleep sound in their beds at last, knowing that they are now definitely living in the road that they are supposed to be living in…

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – scroll down to near the bottom of this page.
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NEWS: crazy street-naming / our Big Weekend / new Blythe Club captain

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early July 2019
In this post we have news of…: Draycott’s Big Weekend / some crazy street-naming / cricket captain steps down… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including sports camps for youngsters…  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Village’s big annual celebration

As everybody must know, it’s ‘Draycott’s Big Weekend’ this weekend!
Everything is taking place on Ford’s Field in the centre of the village. We have the Annual Car Boot Sale this Saturday morning, the Music Live Festival in the evening, and then all day on Sunday, the 29th Annual Draycott Fayre.
Once again, many congratulations to John Clarke and his merry band (all volunteers from the village), who’ve pulled together two days of entertainment to be truly proud of.

Viking conflict

The ‘Vikings’ enjoy themselves with fighting!

The big attraction will be of course The Y Draig Vikings – a re-enactment group who take not only their camp-fires seriously but also their blood-curdling battle action! Really worth seeing…
For some (mentioning no names) there are also the delights of the Draycott Beer Experience in which the Draycott Arms will be providing a range of wonderful ales, not just all day Sunday in the fayre refreshment tent, but also in the grand marquee at the Saturday night live-music event.

For full details of everything – from the funfair, the vintage car rally, kids’ stuff, the bands and the ferrets (!) – click on the official Draycott Fayre website.
By the way, you’ll notice some innovations – first, under-18s can now get in free; and you can now buy tickets online (no lining up in queues!) – with a discount if you buy a combined weekend pass.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - Wibberley Family

The Wibberley Family ran the fayre refreshments stall for many years

One sad note though – the long-running Wibberley Family Tea-Shop will not have a presence this year at the fayre… and will be sadly missed.
However, the staff at Draycott Moor College have stepped into the breach, so, no worries… there will be tea & cakes after all!

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Captain hands over command

It’s the end of an era in Cresswell at Blythe Cricket Club because the club’s inspirational first-team captain Peter Finch has just stepped down from the role – and has handed over to a new leader.

Team-Club winner - Blythe Crcket club 1st XI

Peter Finch, right, receiving the Moorlands Best Team award for Blythe last year

Peter is Blythe through and through of course.
He demanded a lot of his men but, in 2017, he and the club got the rewards when Blythe were promoted to the NSCCL Premier League for the first time in their history.
Then followed a fantastic first season in the Premier when the team, which had looked a good bet for the championship for most of the season, only faltered in the last stages.

However, this season has not been so kind to Blythe’s First XI, and the team is languishing in the relegation zone, having only achieved their first win of the year at the end of last month.
Peter is handing over to Rob Ginders – and it may not be a bad thing for Peter; because, as an excellent bowler, he’ll now be able to concentrate on what he does so well, i.e. getting the batsmen out!

However, all is not total gloom for the team.
On Sunday 21st, at the Cresswell Lane ground, Blythe take on Cheadle in the semi-final of the Sentinel Talbot Cup. It’ll be something of a needle match between these two great rivals – so why not get along?
Guaranteed… some great cricket….

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You may not believe your eyes…

Regular readers of this website will know that we’ve been following the rather astonishing story of the Cresswell Old Lane road-sign for nearly six years now – and it’s still not resolved!

If you remember, back in 2013, some residents complained to Staffordshire Moorlands Council that the lane’s street-sign had been wrongly written up . SMDC took no notice sadly of the objection, so in 2017, the village council was asked put its weight behind the complaint … and in 2018, a new sign was finally put up.

But…
It was completely wrong. (Again).
This was pointed out to SMDC.
So they replaced the road-sign last month (this is now the THIRD version).
But…
It was completely wrong. Again.

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We look forward to seeing Version Number Four!!!

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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

NEWS: annual assembly / last week for Colours / green bowls back

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late May 2019
In this post we have news of…: promoting the village assembly / Colour-Works exhibition last week / go bowling in Cresswell… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including ballroom-dancing lessons…  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Annual gathering

The ‘annual assembly’ for our district of Draycott-in-the-Moors took place earlier this month.
An ‘annual assembly’ is a 100 year-old tradition, at which residents of rural villages come together for one evening in the year – to hear what their local organisations are up to, and to discuss some of the issues facing the village.

At our own 2019 Draycott Villagers’ Assembly, there were speakers from six organisations, (though, sadly, the speaker we most wanted to hear from, the manager of the Blythe CC Community Hub, was not present). All speakers were informative, and well-received.

However, what was disappointing was the level of attendance. Barring the speakers and their supporters, barely half-a-dozen other people attended.

So… perhaps it is time it is handled a different way…
Up to now, the organisation and publicity for this event has been left each year to the local council’s chairperson (even though this is not actually a council meeting) but, down the years, the assembly has never been the successful event it should be, suffering from poor publicity and confusion over its aims.
So, is it time a people’s working-party was formed – with the ambition to make this gathering the central success for the neighbourhood that it really should be?

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Blythe spirit

Congratulations to the Cheadle History Discovery Group and to Blythe Bridge Library, who, between them, have produced a fascinating exhibition about the history of Blythe Colour Works. This huge works dominated life in Cresswell for almost one hundred years, from the 1890s.
From photos to ‘specimen’ crockery, there’s interesting stuff to see.

A laboratory at the Blythe Colour Works, sometime around 1930

It was a bit of a surprise to learn from the exhibition that not only did the factory supply colours to pottery firms (including Wedgwood, Royal Doulton etc), but it also supplied industries that made plastics, glass, and even jewellery!

The exhibition is into its last week now at Blythe Bridge library so you still have time to go along to see it.
If you want something to whet your appetite, click here to see a little YouTube slideshow of the best of the exhibition.
The exhibition is free to enter.

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Bowling along

Welcome back to our local bowlers!
The outdoor season has just started again for the bowls club which plays on the green at Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.

Cresswell bowling green in summer 2018

Cresswell bowling green – after a rather dry spell!

Sue Stepek, the club’s secretary told us: “We still have 3 teams, aiming to give everyone who wants it a chance to play at every level; and we always welcome new members to join this friendly club”.

However, if you don’t want to join one of the teams as such, but just would enjoy a casual session instead, then ‘club afternoons’ are for you. They take place on Thursdays.
Sue can be contacted on 01782 396785 if you want more details.

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Time to reflect

In a recent post, we welcomed the new members that have been elected, and will create a new version of Draycott Council.
However, as we know, the future can only work properly if we remember the past. And sadly, the past – that is, the record of the previous version of Draycott Council over the last few years – was not a completely proud one.

So, what we have done is compiled a review of the 2015-2019 council’s achievements (and/or failings) as a kind of school-report. Click here to see the full review.
We hope that residents (including the new councillors) will read it and see that there is a need to find ways in which improvement and reform can happen – so that we can have a model village council in the future instead.

***
Want to comment on any of the items on this page?  Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
(The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

NEWS: Cricket’s loss / Cross accident / Arms alterations / Responders’ decade

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late April 2019
In this post we have news of…: death of cricket club stalwart / three vehicle pile-up / temporary hours at the Arms / gathering for local life-savers … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a one-man show about WW2…  Check out the Events page)

If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about the latest Draycott & Cresswell & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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RIP Colin

Many of us were sad to hear that ‘Mr Blythe Cricket’, Colin Dawson, had passed away at the end of last month. Starting off as a player and ending as club president, Colin served Blythe Cricket Club over some sixty years.
He will be remembered a lot for spearheading the campaign to raise half-a-million pounds to replace ageing facilities at the club’s ground in Cresswell.

Blythe CC presentation

In earlier days: Colin (in cap) accepting a donation for the club

Understandably, members at the club have been saddened by the news; and tributes have been pouring in. At Colin’s funeral, the traditional salute, of cricket bats held aloft, was observed as the coffin passed by.

In his honour, the friendly match which opens every season at the club has been renamed – as the Colin Dawson Trophy Match –, and will be held this year on April 20th. Following the game, a plaque will be placed on the new pavilion remembering him.

He will be missed.

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Accident at Draycott Cross

The Midlands Air Ambulance had to be called into action last Wednesday (17th) after an accident locally, which involved a van, a lorry and a motorcycle. The motorcyclist was flown to hospital.
Amazingly, despite the immediate injuries and the state the vehicles were left in, no one was seriously hurt.

Accident scene (image from Staffordshire Police)

The accident took place on Cheadle Road at Draycott Cross, by the turn off to Huntley Wood.
It’s an open stretch of road on what is otherwise a narrow lane, so it is a place where motorists tend to speed up. However… the cause of the pile-up has not yet been identified.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident 326 of April 17.

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Light eats at Arms (for a month)

The long planned-for alterations at the Draycott Arms are now under way and should see the current pub morph into a gastro-pub plus bed & breakfast by the beginning of June.
Obviously, the builders will need a free hand, so – only for a while folks! – the full menu at the Arms is being suspended while the kitchen is affected… but snacks will still be available.
(The bar is unaffected… so, carry on drinking…. phew!)

Draycott ArmsAs a consequence … new hours will apply during the alterations, which are: evenings only (from 5pm) during the week; Saturdays noon to late; and Sundays, afternoons only, i.e. 3pm-6pm.

However, as is the way with building stuff, things can change – so keep an eye on the Arms’ website for updates.

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Ten (and more) years of responding

If ever (God forbid) you find yourself suddenly seriously ill at home, the likelihood is that it will not be an ambulance first on the scene to you, but a ‘community first responder’.  These are voluntary, local, trained-up people who are on stand-by to help in the first ten minutes of a 999 call, while the ambulance is making its way.
They are, quite simply, potential life-savers.

Our local group, the ‘Fulford & District CFR’ turned ten years old last year, and is having a belated gathering next month – to which we are all invited.
During the course of the event, there will also be a session on how members of the public can use a defibrillator, which, again, can be life-saving. (There is a public defibrillator in the Cresswell kiosk, though there is none in Draycott yet).

These guys do a terrific job, and need our support. The event takes place on at Fulford Village Hall (about two miles from Cresswell) on May 9th.  (STOP PRESS: the event has now been postponed to June)

***
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight alerting you to the latest Draycott & District news, please click the ‘Follow’ button in the top right-hand corner of this webpage

Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email address, that means you might miss any responses to your comment)

Our Remembrance

This weekend sees Remembrance Sunday, which by chance also falls on the same day as Armistice Day – November 11th. This particular Remembrance Day is extra special, as we all know, because it is the 100th anniversary of the day the Great War came to an end in 1918 – when peace was declared, and “the guns fell silent”.

All over the country, villages have been pulling the stops out to ensure their own war-dead and war-wounded are remembered; and to remind the young that war is a terrible thing, with a terrible cost.
The main event here in Draycott will the peal of bells for peace (see below for details).

War memorial

The folks who put this website together decided to make research into Draycott-le-Moors Parish’s war memorial our contribution to the Great War Anniversary project.
It was a big surprise to us that almost no-one knew much about how the memorial had come to be, nor about those whose names are commemorated on it, so we have been working on it (see our research).  Though research never really gets ‘completed’, we are happy that a lot more is now known about the memorial because of our efforts.

Draycott war memorial

Draycott war memorial inside St Margaret’s

This month we also got the good news that the Imperial War Museum has crowned our hard-work by approving our application to include it in its official listing of memorials. Check out the new entry – click here.

Efforts

Sadly however, the businesses, voluntary groups and institutions of Draycott district  don’t really seem to have risen to the great challenge as they have in other areas – with one honourable exception.
(As far as we know… though, if you know of other significant commemorative efforts in Draycott, please contact us).

Other Moorlands villages have: designed huge, creative poppy displays; put together commemoration gardens; arranged lectures & readings & concerts; commissioned sculptures; supported history publications; built beacons; and organised exhibitions about their community at time of war.   Even in villages next-door to us you will observe:  wonderful commemorative gates (Forsbrook); ghostly soldier figures (Dilhorne); a remembrance garden (Fulford); a cenotaph poppy display (Blythe Bridge); a ‘Poppy Party’ (Tean).
But here in Draycott, sadly, nothing to compare – bar the one we will now highlight.

(At least, someone has put up poppies on a dozen of the lampposts along the main section of Uttoxeter Road – thanks to them.)

However, back to the honourable exception.
For a major gesture, once again we have to thank John Clarke.  John, who seems to leads so many community projects here in this district, has worked with the bell-ringing team at St Margaret’s over the last six months to ensure that Draycott is part of at least one set of national celebrations.
At 7pm on Sunday evening (November 11th), the bells of St Margaret’s will ring out in a long peal, as part of the nation-wide ‘Ringing Remembers’ event – when thousands of church bells across the country and across other Moorlands villages will ring out, all exactly at the same time.

Not only will the action echo the bells that rang out for peace exactly 100 years ago, it will also be another formal moment to remember those who were mown down in the slaughter of World War One.  Everyone who wishes can attend, and all are invited to light a candle, as a commemoration, and as a hope for peace.
So it should be an emotional few minutes for all those who can be there, either inside or outside the church.  Thanks to John for making it happen.

Services

Of course, St Margaret’s Church will also be holding, as usual, its annual remembrance service. For details, please see our What’s On pages.

Grave of Bede Vavasour

Grave of Bede Vavasour at St Mary’s Church, showing the RAF symbol

As for observances at war graves, across Draycott district there is only one official war grave (see pic above) – that of Bede Vavasour, the young pilot who died in World War Two. He was descended from the Vavasour/Stourton family, who were the major ‘lords of the manor’ round here in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  His grave can be seen in the cemetery at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Cresswell.  Each Remembrance Sunday, his grave is formally blessed by the church priest.

Inspiration needed

It’s a shame that Draycott’s efforts – apart from the admittedly wonderful bell-ringing event – have been so slim.
The village really does need some inspirational and energetic community leaders, ones who could come forward to make things happen on occasions such as these.
Cross fingers that there are, and that they will appear soon.

Remembrance display by Draycott Manor College

Remembrance display by Draycott Manor College

750th birthday for village church

A milestone event for Draycott takes place this weekend – the 750th birthday party on Saturday (20th Oct) when there is a history day, with speakers and displays and refreshments; while on the Sunday there is a special church service, at which a banner outlining the village’s history will be unveiled.
Click here for details of these events.

Saving our heritage

Until recent years, it’s been assumed that parish churches are the responsibility of no one but the church congregations.
But nowadays it’s different – parish churches, especially one as ancient as St Margaret’s, are seen to be part of all our comon communal heritage, so all us local residents (believers or not) have a part to play in saving that heritage.
Draycott Church postcard

At St Margaret’s, a small team of such dedicated volunteers have been doing amazing stuff to preserve the church.
The ancient bells have been renovated (some of them are 500 years old!); in and around the churchyard, the pathways have been upgraded, including the public footpath; the leaking roof has been fixed, at great expense; open days are now held once a month over the summer; and the chimes were restored only a few months ago, to now make a lovely sound on the hour.

Cresswell resident John Clarke is the ‘front-man’ on many of these projects, but he is flanked by quite a few other hard-working locals. For instance, one reason that the ‘new’ churchyard is so well maintained is that a Church Lane resident voluntarily hauls his lawn-mower over there to cut the grass every so often!

Research

The church’s local historians never stop their work either.
We have reported down the years on the research documents compiled by enthusiasts about the church, not to mention the church guides (see list of documents).
One of the most interesting of these was very hard to get hold of up to now; but, the good news is that it has now become much more accessible. We’re referring the record of the gravestones in the churchyard. This might sound like a morbid read, but to a family historian it is fascinating!

The original project to record all the St Margaret’s gravestones and their inscriptions goes back to 1982 when members of the Draycott Women’s Institute got out their wellies and their magnifying glasses to go study the nearly 300 gravestones – every one of them – and faithfully record what they saw.
This document was only photo-copied into four brochures however (then sent off to various libraries) and it has been very hard for the ordinary person to get hold of it. Well, that’s all changed now: if you have a computer, you can now download the whole document for just £3 ! (Click on this link to see).

Just a casual read of the record throws up all sorts of quirky history. For example, the record for Gravestone 228 reads: “Here lieth ye body of ELLIZ daughter of NATHANIEL TAYLOR Rector of Checkley. Of ANN dau; JAMES WHITEHALL Rector of Checkley of JOHN SHERRATT Rector of Draycott who died July 1725.” It certainly sounds like the families of these various rectors (i.e. vicars) were very close!
The record has since been updated by Annita Mobbs (1988), Alf Beard (2002) and Marion Hall (2010); and now includes burials in the ‘new’ churchyard as well.

Fundraising

All these projects, whether structure projects or research projects, have not cost the tax-payer a penny. The money to achieve them has been raised through donations, grants and the sheer hard work of fundraising.
(The only input by the Staffs Moorlands district council is that they cut the grass in the ‘old’ churchyards.)

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Donations are becoming a big thing. You’ve probably noticed in the local newspaper-obituaries how a few folk now are leaving something in their wills “for the upkeep of the parish church”. The same is happening here in Draycott: the late Jean Edwards (born a Shelley, a family known for its support of the church) even wanted donations to the church at her funeral instead of flowers – a generous gesture.

These days, the history of our local villages is fast disappearing. Historic buildings are being pulled down (remember what happened to Painsley Hall?) or ‘renovated’; pubs are closing all the time (remember the Izaak Walton?); long-established village societies just fold; and even old schools disappear (e.g. the one that used to be in Church Lane).
Parish churches are often all that’s left intact of a village’s communal past.

So… if you ever find yourself with an extra few quid, and you want to see the collective memories of this village preserved, why not think of dropping a cheque off to St Margaret’s? If you want the money used only for repairs and restoration, simply mark your cheque “for the repair fund only”.
And… you never know… St Margaret’s might even make it to its 1000th birthday!

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History Day Event details

History Open Day at Draycott St Margaret’s Church on Sat 20 October from 1pm, with displays marking the church’s 750th anniversary, including photos from the last 100 years. Local historian Levison Wood will also guide a group around the village from 2pm; and another local historian Matthew Pointon will gave a talk in the church from 3pm.
Refreshments will be available. Free; no booking required.

Service of Celebration at Draycott St Margaret’s Church on Sunday 21 October at 10am, marking the church’s 750th anniversary. The Bishop Of Stafford is attending. All welcome, whether regular attenders or not.
Refreshments follow the service.
A specially-made banner, outlining the village’s history will be unveiled after the service.

NEWS: fayre surprises / new lighting / priest goodbye / Sir Bill

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-August 2018
In this post we have news of…: Draycott Fayre summary / new Church lighting / farewell to Catholic priest / is Sir Bill distracted?  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a bank holiday food festival…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

– – –
Fayre surprise

The organisers of the Draycott Summer Fayre have learnt to expect the unexpected (remember the year the field was sodden with torrential rain?) but even they were taken by surprise this year.

It was a boiling hot day, the list of events was as long as your arm… all was set fair.
Then the cancellations started coming in: the funfair, the quad bikes, the ferrets-show, the bouncy-castle, the fire engine, some of the stall-holders. These last-minute cancellations knocked out a lot of kids’ fun stuff.
Plus… one of the chief organisers fell suddenly seriously ill on the day, causing real concern.

But, basically – and it’s not often you say this about a British summer day! – it was simply too hot. Numbers at the gate were down, and a lot of parents took their kids home early to avoid sunburn. (This was a double-shame because very few were there for the highlight of the day, the medieval knights’ battle).

However, for those who braved the sun, it really was a relaxing day… picnics for all!
The Punch & Judy went down a storm; the Fayre bar did a good trade (of course!); and the Reptile stand was a huge attraction. You can see photos of the day by clicking here, and here, with a few others below.

 

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One stand must get special mention: the World War One dug-out re-construction.
Local historian Levison Wood was dressed up as an infantry captain of the time, and was over-heating in his heavy uniform as he gave his talks – but he never took off anything, not even the jacket, “out of respect” he said. You have to give him lots of credit for that.

In the end, £3000 was raised. Not nearly as much as in recent years, but still a valuable contribution to the upkeep of St Margaret’s, our village’s medieval church.
Congratulations must go to John Clarke and his team. When you think that the fayre, as big an event as it is, is put together by volunteers only, it’s quite a feat.

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Church improvements

John Clarke, as we have just said, is a man who likes to keep busy, and he often has more than one project on at any one time.

For over two years now he and Bill Ward have been working on a scheme to install lighting on the paths around St Margaret’s Church. These are just dirt paths, so are a bit of a hazard, especially on dark winter days. It’s reported that, one year, someone actually fell into a grave when they couldn’t see where they were going… St Margaret's Church lighting posts lighting south side
They look pretty good (see above) but the scheme has proved incredibly expensive, nearly £10,000. If you intend any work in the vicinity of a Grade 2* listed building, it doesn’t come cheap – even getting the necessary permissions was a long, drawn-out process.
Thank goodness for local people’s goodwill: the funds were eventually raised through a combination of donations, fund-raising and grants, as well as work done by those who gave their labour & skills for free.
And, it’s now (mostly) done. To save energy, the lights are programmed to go on and off at set times depending on the time of year.

You can take a virtual walk along the paths and see the posts in more detail with this video.

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Farewell Pawel

Talking of churches, a number of residents took their chance at the Cresswell St Mary’s hog-roast last week to say their goodbyes to Father Pawel Przybyszewski (on right in pic below), one of the priests who looks after the combined parish.
He hasn’t been with us long, but he’s already heading back to his native Poland.
If you missed the hog-roast, there’s another opportunity to say your farewells at a special barbeque next week.
Fathers Kaz and Pawel
The other priest of the parish, Father Kazimierz Stefek (Kaz to his friends!) is staying on however.
Father Kaz is leading a refurbishment of St Mary’s, with a complete re-painting of the interior and repairs to the decoration.
He’s also fascinated by the church’s history, as you’ll see if you visit: hanging on the walls now are lots of tributes to the history of the last 500 years of Catholicism in Cresswell.

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Brexit bother

We try not to mention Brexit on this website (!), but we saw an article in the papers recently about how a few MPs – those on the extremes of the debate -, are spending so much time on the issue, they are just not able to give as much time to their constituencies.
Can this explain why we see so little of our own MP Bill Cash?

Sir Bill CashSir Bill (pic right) has been a fierce opponent of EU membership since forever and was deeply involved with the Leave campaign. He says: “Brexit is ultimately about our democracy, our sovereignty and our self-government. All the other issues, including our right to free trade with the rest of the world, are subsidiary.”

However, is his time-consuming involvement with Brexit leading him to have to do less work in this constituency? Unlike his fellow Conservative, Karen Bradley in next door Leek (and Karen is a minister too, don’t forget), we rarely see him at public events in this area or even doing local surgeries. He has only been up here for surgeries four times in all this year.
(To be fair to Sir Bill, he has spoken in Parliament about one big local issue this year, the HS2 route).

So… what do you think? Is Brexit so important that Sir Bill would be right to put so much of his energies into it … or does he need to take back some of that time to spend on pressing constituency matters?
It would be interesting to hear what you think. Use the comments box below.

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Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment

Draycott Summer Fayre 2018

Welcome to the big event of the year… the 27th Annual Draycott-in-the-Moors Summer Fayre Weekend, which once again promises a full thirty-six hours of fun (with a little sleep thrown in in the middle…), taking place on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th July 2018.

Highlights
# Saturday day: NEW!! For the first time, there will be a huge car-boot sale on the front-field during this day.
# Saturday evening: ‘Saturday Night Live’ brings three bands, a disco, & beer festival, all under a huge marquee. Headlining is a seventeen-piece dance outfit…!
# Sunday daytime: St Margaret’s Summer Fayre from 11am-4pm – with the Historia Normannis re-enactment group (looking back to the days of Bad King John!), an extensive vintage car rally, entertainment in the marquee…. and lots lots more (for details, see further below)

Historia Normannis

Everything takes place around Ford’s Field, slap bang in the centre of the village (for sat-navs, it’s ST11 9AE); and it’s all free to children of school age.

Saturday Sales
In the past, a small car-boot sale event has been held during the main fayre on the Sunday – but it has proved so successful, it has been decided to give the car-boot event a day of its own.  Starting at 9.30am, it’s hoped that we shall see dozens of stalls selling a wide variety of items. Pitch Fee only £5!
If you have stuff stored in your garage, why not apply for a spot? Maureen Winfield is in charge – email her for details.

Party on, on Saturday
For those that love to dance or just appreciate live music (and appetising food), you get your moment on Saturday evening (7th July), when the field’s large marquee will be put to good use. The night will have its food & drink organised by The Draycott Arms again (thanks Zara and Brayn!).

The line-up for the music is:
…the Woodstrings duo, performing songs by The Rolling Stones, Ocean Colour Scene, INXS, Stereophonics, The Strokes and more
….one of the bands returning from last year, Bear Withers who describe themselves as a “seamless blend of popular covers and bad jokes”!

Hassell St Jive Candy
… and a seventeen piece swing band, Hassell Street Jive Candy (pic above) who will really end the night on a dance-crazy high! Check out their videos for proof
… the compere & DJ will be Andy Bird.

You can’t beat that for a fun summer’s night entertainment, and all under-cover too. Price – £5 entry, kids under-17 get in free…  To buy advance tickets, click here

Packed Sunday
And it’s up early on the Sunday (8th) for everyone if you want to get your money’s worth at the fayre, where gates open at 11am.

The first event is the ever-popular Dog Show at 11.30am, (If you think your dog has the makings of a winner, be sure to get to the fayre by 11am to register). This year, Diane Bostock and her team are going for an upgrade, with more classes  and an even more professional approach. Entrance fee per dog is £2, and you can enter your dog for more than one class.
(See more details of the dog show classes at the bottom of this page).

From then on it’s fast & furious.
The main attraction is the previously-mentioned re-enactment group Historia Normannis. They’ve done some high-profile venues, including Kenilworth Castle. From exciting massed combat, knights displaying their prowess in tournaments, displays of archery, woodwork and metalworking, all to the singing and music of the court of the time, Historia Normannis presents the workings of 12th century life.
Their Norman Village is especially fascinating, with various crafts explaining the Norman way of life. The ‘village’ will be running all day.

Draycott Fayre 2016 - vintage vehicle in the car rally

One of the dozens of wonderful vintage vehicles in the car rally

The other big attraction is the long-established vintage vehicle rally, run by the evergreen Tom Sale, with over one hundred cars, motorcycles, lorries, coaches, machines, commercial vehicles and tractors. Every year, the rally alone brings in hundreds of visitors. Contact Tom if you’d like to take part.

Old favourites will be returning …. the Community Sports and Tug-of-War tournaments; Milner’s fun-fair; the ferret racing (with Malcolm Adlington); Anthony Hammond’s live & electric wood-carving; and Christopher’s Reptiles.
Kids will be enthralled by the Coverdale Puppets show, and by Mr Abracadabra (who performs traditional Punch & Judy and balloon-art also).

But there is always something new to see…  in the paddock this year all afternoon, you’ll find the donkey rides. The Happy Donkey Company is a local business, and we welcome them for the first time to Draycott.
Staffordshire Fire Service were also eager to get involved, and will be sending along a fire-tender, and answering questions about their work. The organisation was particularly impressed that our fayre permits free entry to all school-age children, as good fire safety starts when children start to learn it as youngsters.

Really fascinating for history enthusiasts this year though will be a remarkable and special display run by Levison Wood, the chairperson of our local district history society. To remember one hundred years since the end of World War One, he and his wife are re-creating a section of a WW1 trench, remembering the events of a century ago, and celebrating the local soldiers who took part.

Snake at Fayre

Remember these? The reptiles are back this year…

It’s marvellous to be able to say that many local people will be running sales-stalls too, selling everything from ice-cream to plants. Local community groups will be hosting information stands (and probably selling a little jam on the side…).
For those interested in the future of the village, the Neighbourhood Plan committee has taken a ‘roadshow’ stall on the day, and will be happy to discuss current progress of the project with residents.
You can register your tug-of-war team (it’s just a fun event, folks, not for professionals!) on the day with the compere, but it would be helpful if you email the Fayre Organiser with your plans.

If you or your local group wants a stand at the fayre, it is not too late to apply. Just email the Fayre Organiser, and he will help you sort something out – £10 a table).

And …. relax
Need a rest? Thank goodness for the ‘Saint Margaret’s Bar’ and its cooling beers and ciders (and other drinks). A big thank-you to The Draycott Arms which will be running it again this year. Zara Hutson from the Arms has promised a proper choice of beers, so if you enjoy a pint, it really will suit you.

And don’t forget: the wonderful Tea Shop run by Christine Wibberley and her extended family; the barbecue, run by Draycott Moor College staff; and the hog-roast being organised by Tom Sale’s nephew.

The small print
Running order (timings approx):  Dog Show  11.30-12.45 / Norman Archery Tournament 12.45-1.15 / Children’s Sports 1.15-2 / Fun Tug O War 2-2.30 / Historia Normannis display 2.30-3 / Tractor Parade 3-3.30 / Norman Fighting ‘Melee’ 3.30-4pm

This is a local event, all run voluntarily by local people for a local charitable cause (the ongoing, and expensive, maintenance of our lovely 13th century village church, St Margaret’s).
The fayre is held, as usual, right in the centre of the village, on Uttoxeter Road (ST11 9AE) – with gates open at 11am. The day closes around 4.30pm.
Entry is £5, but children under-17 get in free.
On-site car-parking is free.  The helpful attendants are provided by Staffordshire Police Cadets, Leek Unit.
First-aid is on site, provided by St John’s Ambulance local branch.
If you can’t remember last year’s fayre, check out our review of it.

Local people, can you….?
As has been said, this is a strictly volunteer-run local event with all profits going to our village’s oldest building.
So, thinking of that – if you live locally, do you think you can help, by volunteering?
On the Sunday (and the Saturday evening) there is always a need. People are required for all sorts of tasks – from the basic, like stewarding on the car-park, right through to ‘shepherding’ the main acts.
If you can spare even a little time, or have some expertise, please email the Fayre Organiser, John Clarke. He will be very happy to hear from you!
Fayre volunteers will also want to keep an eye on the special Fayre Facebook page.

And again, special thanks to Paul & Sandy Ford of Highfields Farm. From the very start in 1990, they have hosted the fayre on their land, providing a water and electricity supply too.
And many thanks also to Wood Mitchell Printers who have printed the programme for many years.

See you there!!

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Dog show details…Draycott Fayre 2018 Dog Show poster

This page was last updated on June 30th
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Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page. (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address. You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).

NEWS: Council resignation / N Plan pops up / Songs Of Praise / community police / council indifference

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late March 2018
In this post we have news of…: resignation of council chairman, neighbourhood plan sessions, council indifference to Cresswell, police surgeries, church sing-along …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including a family tennis tournament…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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Council resignation

Just one month after the Draycott Council’s clerk resigned, so does the council’s chairman.
Roger Holdcroft, who is highly respected, and who has hardly put a foot wrong in his time on the council over the last three years, felt he could no longer carry on in the chairman position.
So, a fortnight ago, he issued a resignation letter – which you can read by clicking here.
It all follows months of unheard-of scenes.

Roger HoldcroftAs you can read in his letter, Roger (pic, right) felt that he was being undermined by some of his fellow councillors, and even worse, was being unfairly slandered and ‘trolled’ by them or their supporters.
With that kind of atmosphere, it is clear he felt there was just too much disrespect, and that it was too unpleasant, as chairman, to be in the middle of it.
It is fair to say that some of the shenanigans that this council gets up to didn’t meet with his full approval either.
Mr Holdcroft remains an ordinary councillor though.

Oddly enough, this is the third resignation in eighteen months. In Jan 2017, another Draycott councillor resigned her seat altogether, after saying she had experienced “harassment” at the hands of other councillors.

Amazingly, there has been little or no reaction from any other councillor to the resignation, who all remained stony-faced as the letter was read out at the latest meeting of the council.

(NB — the chairman of a parish council is not its ‘leader’ or spokesperson – this is a misconception. The chairman’s role is little more than managing the council’s meetings, but is nevertheless a responsible position).

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Time for a sing-song

Is the popular BBC programme ‘Songs Of Praise’ really coming to our district?
Well, no, not really – despite the posters you will see around the place…

The fact is that one of the members of the Draycott St Margaret’s Church congregation thought it would be a lot of fun to have a localised Songs Of Praise, as a chance for the community to come together for a sing-along of favourite hymns and tunes.
We don’t get the chance these days for a good sing-song, do we?, so this should be a happy event.

You too can also get extra-involved by suggesting a favourite hymn to be sung on the day. Contact Kate on 07715 284580 if you have ideas about one.

The event takes place on Sunday 29 April at 6pm at St Peter’s in Blythe Bridge (the sister church of St Margaret’s) – and all are welcome.
But… no, the BBC won’t be there!

– – –
Planning neighbourliness

Another call for community involvement is seen in the growing desire to put a local ‘neighbourhood plan’ into place.
After a failed attempt here in Draycott two years ago, it looks like this time the idea has a bit more steam to it: the volunteers of the working-group behind it have been given grant-money and are a bit more confident of success this time around.

(A few semi-rural areas like ours already have neighbourhood plans either established or almost established.
Nearby, both Checkley (see pic below) and Forsbrook real are well on the way to getting their plans ratified).checkley neighbourhood plan poster

Our own plan is still at the baby stage, so nothing has yet been decided – which means you still have the chance to influence it. Over the next fortnight, there will be three ‘pop-up’ open sessions, where you can go along and have a chat, and say your piece.
It’s worth putting in your penny-worth, if you are interested in the future of our district, as, once a plan is set up, local authorities and developers must (yes, must) take notice of it.
Check our What’s On page to see dates and times of these sessions.

If you really can’t make the sessions, at least fill in the form – it’s only half-a-dozen questions long – and get it back to the working-group.
Click here to see (and print off) the form.

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Getting down with the police

A few years ago, there were regular crime & order ‘community surgeries’, which our local PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) put on for us every month. It was a chance to talk about issues from dog-mess in public places (illegally left) to more serious problems such as drugs and more.
Sadly, they were discontinued when there were changes in the personnel of our local police.

However, along has come a new PCSO, Daniel Nettleton, and he has restored the sessions. Every month now, you can meet up with PCSO Nettleton at Blythe Bridge Library and chat about matters. If it’s very serious, there is even a closed room at the library for confidential chats.

Daniel is very keen to see folks, so make a note of the dates he is going to be there (though you can phone him at any time too, of course).
He’s at the library 10am-noon on 14th April, 12th May, 9th June, 14th July – and so on.
He’s a nice fellow too, and may even make you a cup of coffee!

– – –
Council Shenanigans

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd tricks that we simply haven’t been able to keep up, so we have given the council its own little section -‘ Council Shenanigans’. If you are fed up with our council, you might want to look away, as this section will just make you feel worse…)

What’s the biggest infrastructure project prospect for our district at the moment? Yes, it’s the Cresswell Blythe-Park roundabout (which is planned to be just 100 yards from the railway crossing). It will bring significant disruption to the residents of Cresswell.

Blythe Park Roundabout Development pic 2017

This artist’s impression shows the roundabout and planned houses in bright colours; and the existing buildings in lavender shades (pic: SMDC Planning website)

In fact, it has been deemed such a major set of works that the planners at Staffs Moorland Council decided they couldn’t pass it without the approval of the Planning Committee.
Then, the planning committee in turn deemed it so important that they have asked for more time to determine it, and now it won’t be discussed until May. The local MP, Bill Cash, has got involved too.
It’s a big one!
On the consultation web-page, nearly two-dozen residents (and Bill Cash) have put in their formal comments expressing their concerns.

And what has our Draycott Council done?
Erm.
Nothing.

Despite being on the list of official consultees, the council has made… no response on the consultation web-page,
When the matter was put before the councillors at their meeting in February, they made … er… no comments.

No wonder some residents of Cresswell feel this council is not taking any notice of them and is just indifferent to their problems.

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Do you have news or information snippets that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

Want to comment on any of the items on this page?
Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.           (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment