Category Archives: volunteering

The future of this website

It’s with a heavy heart that we tell you that we are having to pull back the work of this website.

This website, the Draycott Community Website, has been bringing news, comment and listings for nearly ten years now. We have been very successful for a small website: in the year 2019, there were 13,000 visitors to the site.
However, recently it’s been proving very hard to keep up the level of work that we feel is properly needed.

Even as little as three years ago, there was a small team of researchers, writers, photographers who all contributed to the output. The team was all volunteers, doing it for the love of it, happy to do it for the sake of the village.
But, as happens with volunteers, some people leave, and fewer and fewer come in to fill the gaps. And illness comes in too sometimes.
The research bit is the hardest thing to do. Keeping up with the shenanigans of the big developers, not to mention the antics of the village council and other local politicians, requires hours of going over documents – and we don’t now have enough people to do the job as thoroughly as we think we need to.

Future

So, the remaining two of us have decided simply to pull back somewhat. (Developers and politicians will no doubt be happy to hear this!).
News updates will now be much less frequent, and the what’s-on page much thinner indeed.

We will however try to keep the website alive – by changing our objective, to publishing opinion pieces and history items (which actually we love the best, really!), with just the very occasional news update.
(So, if you have an opinion piece which you’d like to write and see published on this site, please send it in… on any topic.)

Maybe we will one day be back to full strength, but for now, expect a much thinner Draycott Community Website.

In the meantime… have a happy 2020…!

NEWS: roadworks / hustings / chimes / knitted angels

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late November 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks delays / election hustings for us / knit angels for Xmas / the chimes at the church (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Cresswell party night …  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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Roadworks dates

The incessant rains have not only caused flash flooding in the village but have also delayed the roadworks up by the A521-A50 roundabout.

So we contacted Colin Redmond, the Project Manager, for an update, and he told us that a revised schedule was now in place, meaning that…
~Eastbound incoming lanes will now remain closed until Monday 16 December.
~Then the Christmas break comes into force, i.e. there will be a lane open both ways – until Thursday 9 Jan.
~On Thursday 9 Jan, the big reversal takes place – with westbound, outgoing lanes closed altogether, but with an eastbound, incoming lane now open – until February 14th.
~After February 14th, things get a bit more messy as all the loose ends are tidied up, so the arrangements for these weeks following might be in more flux.
In theory, it should all be over by mid March.

So far, the roadworks have caused few problems for us, but the second phase (i.e. the one starting in January) was always the one that was going to be the most difficult. In this second phase, we will see a heavier concentration of traffic through Blythe Bridge and so, possible delays.
Patience will be needed…

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Seen a candidate?

It always annoys us when people argue against proportional representation for Parliament by saying that “at least we will get a representative who is truly local and whom we can talk to”.
The true fact is that, in most constituencies, one rarely sees one’s MP!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.comFor example, we were really hoping for a local village-hall hustings this election time. (Hustings are when the candidates come together on a panel to appear before a local audience). In fact, in Stoke, hustings are already set to take place.
But, here in our constituency (the constituency of Stone), only one full one has been arranged so far – and that will be online only!

Still, anyway, well done to the local online news-website A Little Bit of Stone for organising it. If you click on to their Facebook site on the evening of Wed December 3rd (between 7pm and 9pm), you will observe the candidates ‘debating’ live as they make their pitches on a video stream.

The only local other hustings we know of is in Eccleshall (one of the main towns in our constituency along with Stone, Cheadle, Blythe Bridge and Madeley) on Thursday 28th. However, it is not a full hustings because the Conservative candidate has declined to appear; all the other candidates will be there though (click here for candidates list).
It’s at the Royal Oak pub in Eccleshall from 7.30pm; it’s been organised by the Eccleshall Today website.

Incidentally, if you want to submit questions for the candidates to answer in this ‘hustings’ event on Dec 3rd, click here to see the question form.

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Christmas is coming

Nice to see that the local churches are already publishing their Christmas schedules. Here in Draycott, our community carols will take place on Sunday Dec 22nd.
For details of this and more Christmas events, see our What’s On page.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you’re something of a knitter, you could also take part in our local Knitted Angels project.
Chrissi Thompson, who used to run the Draycott Youth Club, is asking us to make little knitted figures which will then be situated in public sight around the district… to make us all feel a bit more Christmassy. It’s a great idea.

For more details and for patterns, contact Chrissi.

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“Christmas bells, Christmas bells…”

Finally, we smiled on reading a post on the village Facebook page where there was a discussion about St Margaret’s bells ringing on the hour. Was the church’s bell-ringing team really traipsing up to the church to ring the bells every sixty minutes?

Well, it would be nice to think they were but, no, they aren’t! The chimes ringing from the church are on a timer.

If you’re thinking that you can’t remember hearing them, it’s not just because they are relatively quiet. The fact is that the chiming mechanism had not been working for a long time; and it took major efforts by Draycott’s Mr-Fixit, John Clarke, to get it all working again, and they’ve only been in action a while.
Well done to him!  They have a magical, traditional sound.

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As for the St Margaret’s Church bell-ringing team, yes, they are still going strong, and it will be great to hear them pull a full peal of bells on Christmas Day…
(If you fancy joining the bell-ringing team – and it’s a great way to keep fit! – contact David Meller.)

***
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.
(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: traffic flow / tea club? / ‘new’ graves / saintly connection

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid October 2019
In this post we have news of…: roadworks progress / teas anyone? / graves appear at St M’s! / new saint’s connection (NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a fireworks display …  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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Settling down (?)

Well, ten days into the St Modwen Roadworks project, things are settling down, and, if they continue like this, matters may work out better for everyone than we had hoped for.
Only the one lane through the works is to be available at any one time, but, with patience, it might work.

What we’ve seen is that, as the ‘outgoing lane’ (i.e. the one on the way to the roundabout) is the open one at the moment, traffic is moving relatively smoothly.

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(It might not be so good though when Phase Two arrives in mid-December – which is when the open lane will be the eastbound one, ie for incoming traffic, not outgoing).

It seems like all the publicity that we as a community have generated (the local newspaper has had the roadworks as its lead story three weeks in a row!) has made a huge difference. Motorists are clearly avoiding Draycott Level, and so the general flow of traffic is lighter at the moment, which is a big help.
People we know are also getting up earlier to go to work, and using diversions, which is all sensible.

However, St Modwen/Staffordshire Highways say the open lane could be “closed at any time” if circumstances require it.  It is a bit of a shame that they can’t promise to give full notice about which lane (incoming or outgoing) is going to be free at any one time – and we would urge them to think how they can do that better.

In general though, if everyone crosses fingers for the next four months, we might be okay.
Might...

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Tearoom group

The new HideOut Tearooms in Forsbrook, which are attached to the Roebuck pub, are now up and running, and the owners have come up with a really nice opening offer: if there is a community group that wants to put on tea&sandwiches sessions for elderly residents, the tearooms will supply the food gratis.

There are already ‘friendship groups’ in Blythe, organised through HomeLink or at the village hall, but this would be the first in Forsbrook (we believe) if it comes off.

No such venture exists in Draycott/Cresswell – even though we have some suitable venues, including the church hall and the new refurbished snug at the Arms, and even the under-used ‘community hub’ at the Cresswell cricket ground.

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Churchyard revelations

Some cutting-back has recently taken place in the ‘old churchyard’ at St Margaret’s – and graves that have not been seen for years have been revealed.

Whoever did it (probably pruning experts from the diocesan authorities, but no one seems sure) has cut a man-sized hole through the foliage of the giant yew-tree in the churchyard’s south-west corner. (The yew is reputed to be around one thousand years old!).
This hole enables a person to get right inside the branches & foliage towards the main trunk; and see the graves there that had been grown over.

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Almost nineteen old graves have been newly revealed.
Inevitably, there is a Bagnall there, as Bagnall has been such a common name down the years in this district, but there is also a Weston. Family historians will be pleased to see them.
They have been covered over so long that it’s not clear if they are on the official graves-list, which was drawn up in the 1980s.
It all adds to the account of Draycott’s history, and it’s good to be able to see these stones again.

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Cresswell and Saint Henry Newman

Talking of local churches, not many people will know that Cresswell St Mary’s has a slight relevance to the news that Britain has a new saint.
Last Sunday, the Pope said that, after a deal of research, it was now believed that the nineteenth century English cardinal, Henry Newman, was holy enough during his life to now be declared a saint.

Dominic BarberiIt’s interesting though that the priest who converted Newman to Catholicism was a Father Dominic Barberi (pic right), who lived in Cresswell for a while during 1844.
The former priest at Cresswell, David Hartley (who has since moved on) wrote an account of Barberi’s achievements for this village website. If you want to know more of that story, click here.

***
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.
(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: buses / roads-meeting / planters! / cricket drop

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2019
In this post we have news of…: buses – but not for us / roadworks press on regardless / one man’s flower campaign / cricket gloom
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Draycott Neighbourhood Plan workshop …  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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St Mods press on

The ‘information-day’ that St Modwen Homes and Staffs County Highways put together yesterday to explain the forthcoming roadworks was fairly unsatisfactory all round.
Instead of using the big room at Blythe Village Hall, the organisers funnelled people in and out of the back-room (where basically you can’t hold more than a dozen people comfortably) so it was very crowded at times; it was a poor effort frankly, and most reaction was, unsurprisingly, negative.
It was pretty difficult to get close to one of the officers, let alone hear what they were saying, but the gist of it was that the roadworks would go ahead come what may.
When it came to how Blythe Bridge & Draycott would cope with the potential gridlock, it seemed few of the questions we posed had ready answers.

A521 closure plans (2) Sept 2019

No way through to the A50 – for ten weeks

So … all we can hope is that the huge publicity that we as residents have generated (well done to us!) will have alerted a lot of motorists to the problem; and so those motorists will already be looking for alternative routes. Let’s hope so.
Good luck to everyone – the roadworks start on Monday (Oct 7th)!

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Bright array

If a motorist does get stuck in the roadworks jam, at least they will have a bright sight to look at.
New roadside planters, put up by local volunteer Lee Warburton, have been a real success.
The colourful flower arrangements in the containers have been dazzling on sunny days (…Draycott Plant Nurseries provided the displays).

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The whole project has been put together by Lee, who decided that Draycott Level, from the A50 to the Arms, just needed a little love (!).
He himself constructed the planters (more than half-a-dozen so far along the stretch), using a grant from the local ‘Draycott Community Solar Array Fund’ to pay for materials; got approval from the village council; and then got the official permissions from Highways to site them.The project is far from over – more planters are to come -, but with autumn setting in, we won’t see the best of of the scheme for another six months.
But then we expect Draycott Level to be bursting with colour again…!

It just shows what one volunteer can do with a little bit of good-will and determination. We owe Lee some thanks…

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No buses … and new buses

If a Draycott Council plan had come off, a bus service would have been running through Draycott-Cresswell by now.
Sadly, the plan has fallen apart, mostly because of legal issues.
However, it was a brave attempt and the council should be congratulated for having a go at least.

But … if you can get yourself to Tean or Cheadle or Blythe, there are some new services to try out.
Stantons have just started a twice-daily (Mon-Fri) ‘INR’ Cheadle-Hanley route which goes via Blythe.
D&G Buses have also just started a 32 service which goes Tean-Hanley via Cheadle.
Confusingly, First Potteries Buses also ran a 32 service, so that is now being renamed the ‘Kingfisher’ (!) service ; it runs Hanley-Uttoxeter via Tean and Blythe.
Meanwhile the long-established First Potteries 6A, which plies the Blythe-Hanley route, continues but some early-morning trips are now cancelled.
… the actual nearest working bus-stop to us is at Blythe Village Hall – and that serves the First Potteries 6A.
But, despite all that – still no buses through Draycott!

So, our recommendation is: if you are having difficulties, use the Moorlands Voluntary Transport scheme. Their local volunteer, Brian Blackwood, will pick you up and take you where you want to go, even as far as Stoke Hospital – and for around half what a normal taxi would cost you. You have to register, but, if you have no transport, it’s a real boon.

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Cricketing gloom

It was a sad day at Blythe CC’s ground in Cresswell two weeks ago when the First XI played their last match of the season. Having had two successful seasons in the NSCCL Premier Division, this third season’s results had been grim, dooming them to relegation.
Such is the spirit of deflation at the club, even their Facebook page has fallen silent.

But the gloom will not last long we are pretty sure. Already a professional has been signed for next season, and there is a lot else to be proud of at the club, including the junior teams.

In front of the new hub: Austin Knott (club secretary), Brian Lawton (cricket league chairman), Alison Grimley (chair of the club's Lottery Bid), Simon Owen (club chairman)

Blythe Cricket Club’s ‘Community Hub’ (aka the pavilion)

Personally, we’d also like to see more publicity about the ground’s ‘Community Hub’ (which you barely hear much of these days), as more use of it would keep Cresswell buzzing in the winter months.

***
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: community taxi / European football / Colours exhibition / euro elections

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid May 2019
In this post we have news of…: volunteer taxi for Draycott / footballer for Europe / Colour-Works exhibition opens / this Thursday is euro-elections day… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including cricket sessions for kids…  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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Don’t struggle – get a ride

There must be a big thank-you this month from all of us to Draycott resident Brian Blackwood.
At the beginning of this year he was very perturbed by reports of a local woman who was having to spend around £60 each time just to get to her hospital appointments.
She couldn’t use a bus because, as we all know, bus services in Draycott, which had been shrinking anyway, were finally discontinued last year. Even the nearest bus links – in Blythe B and Tean – are infrequent.

So Brian took it on himself to investigate the possibilities of ‘community transport’.

He found that most schemes are too expensive for a small place like this, so there was just one recourse – he would become our village’s local driver under the county’s Voluntary Transport Scheme, which is run by ‘Support Staffordshire’. (Under this scheme, a local person ferries someone around in their own car).
Up to yet, the scheme had not operated in the Draycott area because there were no local volunteer drivers… and now Brian is the first.
There is a charge of course – but nothing like £60… thank goodness – and accompanying carers go free. For full details of charges, who qualifies for transport, booking arrangements etc, please click here.

Support Staffordshire Voluntary Transport

One lady is very happy with the service! (from Support Staffordshire)

But, as Brian admits, one volunteer can’t provide a comprehensive service. So… do you think you would be happy to put your name forward too? The more drivers, the better the service.
If you’d like to talk to Brian about volunteering as a driver, he can often be seen at village council meetings (see our What’s On page for details of the next one), where he can answer your questions.

Thank you, Brian.

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Bring some Colour(s) into your life

A lot of us remember the old Colour-Works in Cresswell.
It was by far the largest employer for miles around, and the village has ‘inherited’ a number of benefits from the company’s time, including the cricket ground and the tennis courts, which were works-facilities back in the day.
However, it was taken over in the 1970s, and then went into decline. Over a period of about twenty years, the works-site shrank and shrank (giving way to what is now known as the Blythe Industrial Park), before closing its last offices there in 2014.

Fortunately, the archives of the works were saved by a combined effort of local residents and the backing of the Cheadle History Group, which now looks afetr it. The unique collection includes some 700 pieces – photographs, artefacts, colour-recipe books and so one, some dating back one hundred years.

And now a few of those items have been dragged out of the vaults and are currently on show ate Blythe Bridge Library.
Why not get along? The exhibition will be of particular interest to ex-employees, who can relive many happy memories.

Blythe Colours exhibition prep

Volunteers preparing the Blythe Colours exhibition

The exhibition runs through the whole of May.
For more details, contact the history group.

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Jordan… next – Europe!

Congratulations to Cresswell 17 year-old Jordan Brown! European involvement (or not) may be confusing for most of us – but not him…

For nearly all his life, Jordan wanted to play professional football, and the dream came true last year, when he signed with Derby County, the team managed by England legend Frank Lampard.
But it gets even better…

At the beginning of this month, Derby’s under-18s side, of which Jordan is a member, clinched the English national championship – which means the team will play in Europe next year, in the youth Champions League.
If you don’t yet have a copy of this week’s ‘Stunner’ newspaper, do get a copy – the story of Jordan’s achievement fills virtually the whole back-page – quite an accolade. A collector’s item, we are sure.

Jordan's story - in the Cheadle Post & Echo

Jordan’s story – in the Cheadle Times & Echo (aka The Stunner)

Onwards to European glory….!

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Elections this week

Talking of Europe….   It’s quite a surprise to find we are being asked this week to vote in elections for the European Parliament – but there you go. It’s a confusing time….!
However, the right for ordinary working people to vote was hard-won, and we respect the efforts of our ancestors, so we never say no to voting.

This euro-election is a bit puzzling to understand though!
The best, most straightforward guide about it that we’ve found is on our sister website, the community-website for Stone, ‘A Little Bit Of Stone’.
The folks on there have made it simple – so we suggest you look at their guide and then decide what to do. Basically you just get the one vote; and you vote for a party not a person.

Voting takes place on Thursday May 23rd. Our polling station is Draycott Church Hall, and its hours of opening are 7am-10pm.

***
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: Potholes / rail history / fayre plea / elections soon

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in Early Feb 2019
In this post we have news of…:  potholes reappear / uncovering history / help the Fayre! / stand for election … 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Hand-Bell Ringers concert…  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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Return of the Potholes

Well, it hasn’t been that bad of a winter, but, even so, potholes are back.

Cresswell is really badly affected.
The most vicious pothole is at the collapsed drain-cover on the southbound bank, up to the cricket club. As it’s on a slope it’s hard to see it, until you hit it – often with a nasty crack.

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell.

Pothole near the cricket ground in Cresswell. On a slope, it can be hard to spot

Meanwhile on Sandon Road, at the point where traffic enters & exits off the business park, numerous little potholes have appeared, making the road all pitted. It’s the effect of all the HGVs coming and going off the park, of course.

Blythe Business Park potholes

Potholes on road outside Blythe Business Park in Cresswell – looks like the surface of the moon!

And it will only get worse if the developers/owners of the park get their way and planning permissions are altered to allow them to use this entry for construction wagons too. (A decision on that is expected in April).

So… drive carefully!

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Please help the Fayre

For over twenty-five years, Draycott has held a successful summer fayre.
All the work that goes into it is by local volunteers, and all the profits (which average around £5000) are ploughed back into maintaining the crumbling fabric of our ancient church of St Margaret’s.
Because we have lost our school, our shops, even our football club, there are very few occasions now when the village comes together to celebrate together – this event is virtually the last.

So – it wouldn’t be a good thing if the fayre did not happen.
But that is what is possible.

Because… a lot of the people who put in the effort year after year say they are getting on – and they now want to hand over to new blood so they can just take a rest!
One can sympathise.
Fortunately for us, John Clarke has agreed to stay on as Coordinator, so at least there is still a steady hand at the helm.

Dancers Draycott Fair 2009

The Zazu dancers, who appeared at the fayre in 2009…

Can YOU help? From just looking after the car-park on the day, to selling raffle-tickets, to making phone-calls – there are a range of tasks from the small to the significant.

This Wednesday (13th Feb), there is a meeting at the church at 7.30. Why not go along, see if you like what you see, and if you do, ask what you can do…

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Rail history coming to light

Railway Cottages Lane in Cresswell is a bit off the beaten track, but a few people have been down that way recently – partly to check out Number Four (which is currently for sale) and partly to look into a planning application site there (the plans have since been turned down).
Part of that planning pre-process was the creation of a new track on the site, which, by chance, has uncovered a lovely industrial structure, part of Cresswell’s history: a rail platform for goods loading.Cresswell platform1Cresswell Railway Station, which was over 100 years old when it finally closed, was at the junction of the Stoke-Derby line and the Cheadle Branch line. It closed to passenger traffic in 1966, but stayed open for industrial traffic (carrying mainly sand from Cheadle) for another twenty years.
The uncovered structure is part of a small goods yard handling such freight.

Matthew Pointon, the historian of Draycott, thinks that he remembers that the platform was actually inside a large goods shed, which was demolished in the 80s or 90s.
The new track is private property, but you can see the platform easily because the new track is right next to the lane. Nice, isn’t it?

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Candidates required

The elections for Draycott-in-the-Moors Council are just around the corner – May in fact.
But first we need at least seven candidates to stand for election; signed nominations must be in by the beginning of April.

This year, more than one councillor on Draycott Council has spoken of standing down and not seeking re-election. Though it’s not a particularly tough role, or even requiring much to do, still, it’s a responsibility – and some of the current members have been doing it for many years, so they think it’s time to hand the baton on.

So… are YOU interested? There’s a quick run-down on whether and if you’d be eligible by clicking here. As you will see, you don’t even have to live in Draycott / Cresswell / Totmonslow to be eligible…!

The first thing to do though, if you are interested, is to make sure you are on the Electoral Register (though it doesn’t matter which county you are registered in, so long as it’s somewhere in the UK). That’s essential.
If you’re interested in the tiny ins & outs, you could attend the special meetings in Leek on Wednesday 6th March and on Tuesday 12th March, but it’s really not essential.
If you think you’d like to give it a go, contact the Draycott Council Clerk who will be able to give helpful advice.

And the best of British luck!!

***
If you’d like an email from us each fortnight about 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)

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: GP appts / fresh shelter / badger cull / greyhounds charity

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early October 2018
In this post we have news of…: easier appointments at doctor’s / shelter gets painted! / badger kill starts / Cresswell’s animal sanctuary …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  a Draycott History Day…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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More flexibility at the doctor’s – but…

As most of us will know, what is most wearisome about going to the doctor is simply getting the appointment in the first place, especially one that is at a good time for us.
The ‘ratings’ system for the surgery at Tean, where many of us go, shows that one in five patients at it were not really satisfied with what happened when they tried to make an appointment.

Well, in response, the process is changing.
As of this month, if you phone Tean (or its sister surgery at Blythe), you are more likely to get an appointment at a time that suits you (including, if you want it, one at a weekend or evening time – which, up to now, has not been offered).
Erm, yes… but what’s the catch? Well, unfortunately, you might well have to travel to another site – our nearest centre for these additional hours is in Longton.

The new system is being introduced, county-wide, to try to cope with a number of things: the workload on doctors; the difficulty of getting the right appointment; and the fact that some people, working-people especially, can’t make daytime appointments, and prefer evening or weekend times instead.
A spokesman said: “Patients will generally not be seen by their usual doctors or nurses but the clinician who sees them will have access to the patient’s records as long as the patient gives consent.”

So… if you phone your local surgery for an appointment, at least you are now more likely to get a convenient appointment – but it may be in the evening, and you may be offered to go to Longton Cottage Hospital for it…

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Fresh lick of paint

A nice bit of public spirit was shown by Draycott resident Roger Tabbernor when he decided to go out and re-paint the Stuart Avenue bus shelter. It was looking pretty manky and even near-derelict.

Bus shelter

Smart bus shelter. Sadly, little can be done about the discoloured perspex windows

Roger got permission first from the village council to do the work, and it now looks pretty smart.

Roger is a parish councillor himself, so he will be aware that schemes that used to provide funds for village beautification just aren’t there anymore.
For example: the grant from SMDC to pay for work undertaken by a local village ‘lengthsman’ (aka – an odd-jobs person) has now been taken away; and even the council-ward community-grants scheme, which has paid for some neat projects in Draycott in the past, looks like it will disappear due to forthcoming cuts at the county-council.
(The village council though has decided to continue to employ a local litter-picker – but at a cost of a hefty £1,100 a year, ie nearly 12.5 per cent of the council’s whole budget).

So… following Roger’s example, local residents are going to have to start volunteering themselves for minor works if they want things to keep looking nice.

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Badgers in cull

As most of us know, there has been a furious argument in recent years about badgers.
Over thirty thousand cattle had to be slaughtered last year in England because they had contracted the cow version of tuberculosis – and farmers say the disease is often passed on to cows by badgers.
The solution, say farmers, is to reduce badger numbers by killing enough of them to thus see the risk reduced.

Badger (pic from Wikipedia)The government is convinced by the argument, and this month, a badger cull started right here in Staffordshire. It’s expected that some 4000 badgers will be killed across the county over the next few months, mostly by shooting.
Some of the ‘cull zones’ are known to be right here in the Moorlands, even though exact locations are not being publicised.

Most of us don’t know what to think about all this, but we are being urged to do something if we spot an injured badger. The Staffordshire Badger Action Group wants you to call them in such a case, and they will try to send someone out to see what has to be done.

In the meantime, we’re told the killing must be left to licensed operatives, and no one should take the law in their own hands. (Ironically, badgers and their setts are still protected under law from the ordinary public….)

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Good news for greyhounds

Talking of animals, there’s a great chance this month to hear about a wonderful local sanctuary to save greyhounds that are no longer wanted by their owners. The centre, based in Cresswell and run by volunteers, has expanded since it started up in 1995, and it now takes in goats and rescue ponies as well.Greyhounds, Golden Oldies & Friends logoA lot of people will know Diane Bostock; and she is giving a talk on the work of the organisation (which is actually called ‘Greyhounds & Golden Oldies’) to the Draycott Women’s Institute in a couple of weeks’ time.
If you’re interested, give the WI a call to see if they have space enough to let you attend.

Incidentally, Diane’s talk is just one of dozens of events in and around Draycott over the next two months. You’ll never be stuck for something to do locally!
Check out our events page to see what we mean.

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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

Place of sporting excellence

What an outdoors-y summer it has been! There has been no excuse at all not to get out and enjoy the weather … and our local sports facilities are certainly benefiting.
In fact, Draycott & Cresswell is now a centre for sporting excellence in many ways…

Best coaches and best support

If you want proof of just how well-regarded our local sport is in the rest of the region, look no further than the latest crop of awards.

At the Staffordshire Moorlands 2018 Sports Awards, around half of the accolades went to folk based here in this village!

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Sports Team of the Year went to Blythe Cricket Club’s 1st XI, who won the NSSCL First Division title with more wins in a season than any in the league’s history.
The Sport Across Staffordshire (SAS) Volunteer of the Year was Angie Heathcote, who has been the managing hand in Blythe Cricket Club’s financial success.
And Sports Coach of the Year went to Tara Burndred of the Tatsu Dojo Club in Cresswell.

Meanwhile congratulations are also in order to Mike Heath at Draycott Tennis Centre; he won the ‘Tennis Staffordshire’ Volunteer of the Year Award (which is part of the national British Tennis Awards).

But it doesn’t stop there. Not only are our people among the best, so are the facilities.

Upgrades

As we all know ‘Draycott Racquet & Fitness Club’ – to give it its full title – offers tennis, indoor-tennis, squash, badminton, and gym. Classes on site include spinning.

In the last few years, they’ve refurbished the gym and squash areas but now they’re pushing on further – by investing over £20,000 into new equipment. Yes, on their way (as we speak) are eight new Impulse Machines, two New Star Trac Treadmills and additional free-weights. Lockers will also be installed.
Work is ongoing, but should be finished by the end of this month. Why not go along and check it out then for yourself?

Surely it’s that forward-looking attitude that has helped the club to produce its first world-ranked tennis player – Elliott Farmer .
Elliott achieved his world ranking in doubles earlier this year when he competed in the Tunisia F18 Doubles – reaching the semi-finals, which means he is now world-ranked. Congrats to him!
Elliott has been training for over 10 years now at Draycott (with his main coach here being Craig Leese). He is now also constantly travelling the world trying to achieve a world ranking in singles too. (Fortunately he has great sponsors – including the South Cheshire-based ABC Solutions company).

So… Draycott – a great place for high-class tennis.
And if you want to see some matches (almost as good as Wimbledon !), and see them for free, head down to the three-day long annual Draycott Open Tournament, which starts on August 5th.

Shiny new nets

Now, everyone pretty much knows the success story that has been the Cresswell-based Blythe Cricket Club over the past two years.
Not only did the club successfully bid for (and build) a new pavilion, costing some half-million pounds, but the first team achieved promotion to the NSSCL Premier Division in 2017, and this season are even challenging strongly for the championship.

But, again, success is built on great volunteers and by improving facilities. The most recent improvement has been the new nets, which replace the rather outdated old ones.

Not mentioned as often as it should be is the fact also that the club runs youngsters’ teams, with even an under-8’s team on the roster. There has been no women’s team since the last one folded in 2014, but (we’re told) the club has not stopped looking for a way to re-start it.

Bowling-yellow

However, one club that has had a slightly more difficult year than other local ones is the CP Outdoor Bowls Club, which is based on Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.

A major distraction has been the future of the business park itself, which will be transformed over the next year with the development of extra infrastructure and industrial units & factories.
However, it does now look as though the bowling green is safe; and the club will continue.

The surface of the club’s green has of course been an issue this summer; three months of hot dry weather have taken their toll. What was a bowling-green is currently a bowling-yellow! (see pic below)Cresswell bowling green summer 2018
But long-time secretary Sue Stepek is stressing the advantages of playing this beautiful game to all who are thinking of an outdoor pursuit.
She says: “New members are always welcome. Newbies will have opportunities to play at most levels. But, if they just want to play for fun, ‘club afternoons’ take place every Thursday through the season (from about 2.00pm). Please contact 01782 396785 – and I’ll make sure someone is around to welcome you!”

Great place to stay sporty

And we haven’t mentioned all the fitness activities in the village we could have – there are keep-fit classes at the dance studios in Cresswell for instance as well – but space is against us…

But, when you think about all that’s here… then, how lucky are we????

NEWS: action-man John / buses future / Arms expansion / new council clerk / race trial

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in late June 2018
In this post we have news of…: Draycott’s Volunteer of The Year / buses survey / b&b business coming? / welcome to Denise / race case shame …
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including  live-music from local lad Matty Edwards…  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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John’s busy time

John ClarkeA big thank you to everyone who voted for Draycott’s own John Clarke (right) in the Moorlands Volunteer Of The Year Awards.  The result was announced at a special ceremony in Leek and our John came an honourable joint second. It’s all based on a public vote, so second is a very good result for someone from a small village such as ours.
As John said, it’s a time of great flux for our neighbourhood, so anything that gets a positive headline for Draycott has got to be a good thing.

Right now though John is hugely busy putting the finishing touches to the preparations for this year’s Draycott Fayre Weekend (on July 7th & 8th). He is chief organiser (and bottle washer!) for the fayre.
Plenty of late bookings are still being arranged, with the most fascinating one being the promise of the sight of a reconstructed World War One trench dug-out (see below)!

WW1 dug out re-construction
It’s being created by the secretary of the local history society; and for anyone interested in the conflict of the 1914-18 War it will be a big draw.

Do keep checking the updates to the line-up, because – as we say – lots and lots of stuff keeps being added on… and you won’t want to miss out on anything…

One thing you can do to help is put up the official poster in your window or business – just click here to access the 2018 FAYRE Poster , and then just print it off and put it where you think people will see it. Cheers!!

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Buses survey

As we reported last month, there was a brief glimmer of hope that the number 12 bus route, which runs through Draycott & Cresswell, might be restored after it was cancelled in March. However even that small hope has now been dashed, as the county council has now definitively refused to continue the subsidy for it.

Some Staffordshire local/parish councils have stepped into the breach and stumped up money to keep their village bus services running, but it’s an expensive option. The other question is: how many people would use the bus even if it was brought back?

The district’s local newspaper, the Cheadle & Tean Times, is now running a survey on the issue, basically asking “would you use a bus service if there was one?” If it’s something that worries you, it’s worth completing the survey, which is on page six of the current issue.

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Arms expansion

While sifting among recent planning applications, we saw that Zara & Brayn at the Draycott Arms are continuing their plans for the pub by putting up proposals for a few bed-and-breakfast rooms.  It certainly would be great to have such accommodation in the heart of the village, as the nearest alternatives are just out of walking distance.

However, Zara & Brayn, just like John, might be a bit too busy over the next seven days to worry about that side of their business. Next weekend (Sat 7th July) they are the hosts of the Draycott Saturday Night Live In the Marquee event, when they will be putting on a mini beer & cider festival to accompany the live music on stage.

Hassell St Jive Candy

Hassell St Jive Candy are the headliners at Draycott Saturday Night Live

Looking forward to that!!

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Shame

Draycott hit the national headlines for all the wrong reasons last week when one local resident here in Draycott was convicted of inciting race hatred in views she expressed on her website.  Barbara Fielding-Morriss, who is 79 years old, describes herself as ‘white supremacist’, a despiser of Jews and a fascistic supporter of Hitler. She faces a possible seven years in prison when she is sentenced next month.
She chose not to have legal representation during the trial, which the judge was very surprised at.

Fortunately, it seems Barbara is almost a lone voice and has very few members in her ‘party’. But it does all leave a very bad taste in the mouth.

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The Draycott Council bit

(Our local Draycott Council gets up to so many odd things that we almost can’t keep up, so we have given the council its own little section)

After all the confusion and upset over the last couple of months, a new clerk to the council is finally in place.

The very popular former clerk felt compelled to resign in March saying she felt under-valued by councillors and harassed.
A confusing period followed, in which one new appointee came in and then absented herself, followed by a rather flawed advertising process, and – finally – a further appointment was made.

Amazingly, this rather messy performance has ended up with a good candidate.  Denise Wheat is well known in Tean (the next village along from us) for being a leading light in community projects there and is an established business-woman (she runs her own photography concern).

Denise is already taking courses in the responsibilities and functions expected of a clerk to a village council. Although clerks are not elected so they can’t make policy decisions, they are expected to ‘manage’ the council’s actions and procedures.

Denise has a difficult job on her hands, not just with guiding the current councillors, but in responding to the government’s calls that village/community councils be more active and more transparent. What’s more, there are elections to the council in less than twelve months!
Good luck to her.

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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