Tag Archives: anthony hammond

NEWS: VVSM end / Anthony exhibits / best to Dave / trees success

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid-December 2017
In this post we have news of…: VVSM action group disbands / Anthony Hammond exhibition / Dave Trigger’s operation / Xmas Tree fest goes well…
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up in our locality – including loads of carol-singing get-togethers!!..  Check out the Events page)
For daily updates about life in our district, keep checking the village Facebook page

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VVSM no more

One bit of news that residents may not welcome, but will certainly be welcomed by all the developers who want a bit of Draycott, is that the local community-action group VVSM has decided to disband (see their announcement).
It seems like not enough people were coming forward to help keep the group running, and the weight of work was just too much for the few people left.

It’s a great shame, as VVSM can rightly claim much of the credit for the fact that, back in 2009, the developers who wanted to build a gas power station in Cresswell eventually withdraw their application.
The group went on to hire legal teams to fight the next big problem, the Blythe Park housing estate application, and managed to expose an awful lot of facts that had been kept hidden and even misreported, thus slowing down the progress of those plans.
They also contributed to the general life of the community, installing a defibrillator in Cresswell among other achievements.

However, as VVSM say in their latest post, it does seem as though everyone in the district, from householders to politicians, now just think that there is very little that can be done about development issues… and have given up. This may explain why no new members have come forward.

It may be something we regret though. The housing-estate at Blythe Vale has now been approved as well the one at Blythe Park, so the developers will now next be looking hungrily at Cresswell ridge (on the skyline above Uttoxeter Road) where outline planning permission for further development is already approved.
Without VVSM in place, those developers will certainly have a much easier ride.

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Fun with trees

Congratulations to Pauline & John Clarke, the organisers of the Draycott Christmas Tree Festival. Once again, they created an event that really did try to pull the local community together – and there really aren’t enough of such events in Draycott.

Among the groups that decorated, themed, and submitted trees were the Draycott Women’s Institute, the local cricket club, the bellringers group, Forsbrook School, the Draycott Brownies and more. Draycott Manor School did the event a compliment by putting in four trees!
The most thoughtful tree (we think) was the one from Forsbrook Primary, which was a Poet-Tree (geddit?) with poems written by the children hanging from the branches.

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However, as usual, it’s a shame that more groups, families and businesses did not take part.
Community spirit does seem to be declining in Draycott, especially compared to all the wonderful things happening in the villages surrounding us. What can be done to improve it?

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Anthony gets exhibited

It’ll soon be the kids’ holidays, so if you’re looking for a quick trip out, why not try Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum? There is lots of stuff for kids there.
But the reason we mention the museum particularly is because local man, Anthony Hammond, has an exhibition on there at the moment; it runs until January 8th.

Anthony Hammond soldier sculptureAnthony specialises in carving sculptures out of tree-trunks, which he does with a specially adapted electric saw. Many of us will have seen him doing his stuff at the Draycott Summer Fayre.
He was recently in the papers for a fantastic carving of a World War One soldier (see right), which you can also see at Newcastle.
Well worth a visit.

Incidentally lots of you ask after his grandmother, local-legend Betty Hammond. Apparently, she is doing well at the moment, even if she is less mobile than she was. This Christmas will be her 104th!

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Best wishes

One person who has been sadly absent from village activity for quite a while is Dave Trigger, one of the three councillors who represent this district on Staffordshire Moorlands Council.

Dave has a wealth of knowledge about local government and about engineering (his specialist subject) and he often brings a lot of common sense to the table whenever he has got along to a Draycott Council meeting in the past.

He has faced a major operation, which – everyone hopes – will go some way to getting him back on his feet.
If you still haven’t completed your Xmas card mail-out, you could add him to it…

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NEWS: Consultation / winners / solar open / footpath feud

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early August 2015
News of…:  confusion over consultation process, raffle winners, solar farm news, upset at footpath  …
(NB – There are also dozens of events in our locality – including a fund-raising barbecue. Check out the Events page)

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Confusing consultation

The consultation over Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s Local Plan (the allocation of sites for housing across the district) is now well under way.  As we all know, Draycott must find sites for 25 new homes before 2031.
What’s more, the organisers of this Plan are also asking us to suggest more possible places for future gypsy sites and open-space/play areas… with the old Cresswell Station car-park already being looked at as a possible site for travellers.

To be honest, we have found the documents very confusing, and we just don’t understand some of the jargon in them!  So we went along to the ‘consultation session’ last week in Blythe Bridge, but, really, it was all a bit chaotic.  The experts on hand were a bit overwhelmed, and it was hard to get to them to ask questions.

Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s Local Plan Consultation session

There were lots of people who turned up at the consultation session ..  You may even  recognise a couple of local characters too!

So… we are publicly asking Draycott Parish Council for a bit of leadership on this one.  Would some member of the council mind stepping forward and sending this website a letter or email spelling out what it all means for Draycott, and what they think are the options?  The council doesn’t actually meet again now until a date that is well after the end of the SMDC consultation process, so we can’t just wait for that meeting.
How about it, Draycott PC?

In the meantime, if you are one of the fortunate ones who actually understand the documents (well done to you!!), you need to get your feedback in to SMDC by September 14th.  To do that, click on the SMDC Site Allocations page and then go right to the bottom of that webpage, and click on ‘Site Options Consultation-Response Form’.

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Footpath feuding

Talking of Draycott Parish Council, it’s a bit unnerving to read in the council’s latest reports (go to PC Reports, and click on ‘June’) that there was a bit of an altercation on a public footpath near Painsley Hall Farm in Cresswell, when two ladies were shouted at.
It seems someone thought they were trespassing (the ladies say they were definitely on the footpath).

The trouble round that particular area is that some vandals tore down the footpath signs some years ago, so the footpath route is not clear to everybody.  The message is, as usual, to all sides: be tolerant, and try to get your facts straight.

If you have had issues about local footpaths, the parish council is responsible for monitoring them, so please contact the council if you too have had problems.  Or list them on the Draycott Facebook page!

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Once bitten…

There have been some pretty aggressive horseflies this year, and lots of horse owners have had to provide their animals with protective coats, even masks.

Anti-horseflies coat

This photo of a horse in Cresswell, with coat, was sent to us by a reader. Thank you!

Not only horses get bitten either. A horsefly bite can cause a nasty swelling on a child’s arm…

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Free fishing!

Many of us will know Andy Bird, who lives not far from Draycott Church.  Andy is a leading member of the Fenton & District Angling Club, which operates some the nearest fishing pools to Draycott (you may have seen Andy and mates at their stall at the Draycott Fayre).

Fenton & District Angling Club stall

Andy Maskery, Stan Irles, Jane Maskery and Andy Bird – at the fayre Angling Club stall

Well, Andy asked us to mention that the club is having open days this Saturday and Sunday (August 8th & 9th) at its pools at Dilhorne, when angling spots will be free of charge to all-comers.  Youngsters are particularly welcome, and free coaching sessions will be taking place.  Click here for details.

It’s not clear if the Creda Redhouse Angling Club (which runs the pool by the Bird In Hand at the other end of Cresswell) is also taking part in this initiative.  We couldn’t see anything on their Facebook page.

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Solar Farm tour

We’ve heard now from quite a few people who attended the Open Day tours a week ago at the Lower Newton Solar Farm in Totmonslow – and they all said what an eye-opener it was.
The project is managed at the moment by Novus Energy, and it was the Novus boss, Ed Jessamine, who conducted folk around the site personally.  He was happy to answer any question thrown at him, and some were very, very pointed!  So, it’s good to see he could be so open.
Pretty much, he satisfied nearly all of us that solar energy was a good thing, and the way forward, if this planet is to overcome the worst effects of climate change.

However, he did say that Novus, having set up the whole thing and got it running (the site has been operational now for six months) are now looking for a buyer for the complex.  (Novus’s expertise is in start-up, not long-term management).  Ed said a new owner should be in place by October.
He added that any new owner would have to commit to providing a ‘community fund’, which makes cash available for local projects in this parish.

– – –
Are you a winner?

Finally, thanks to Nola Ward, who organised the raffle at Draycott Fayre, and who recently published the results of it.
There were nearly thirty pretty outstanding prizes on offer; and it’s great to see that many of these were offered by local businesses, including Huntley Wood, Draycott Nurseries, the Sultan Restaurant, the Draycott Arms, and Draycott Sports Centre too. Click here to see the list of winners (opens as a WORD document).
The first-prize winner was Alan Harper, who won the ‘wilderness tour’. Hmm.  Let’s hope he makes it back from that!

The other significant prize of the day was the chainsaw carving of an owl, made by by artist Anthony Hammond on the day itself.   It was won by Finley Edwards, a local boy.  Apparently he is “chuffed to bits” and wants to keep it in his bedroom!

It’s also good to see that another photo-gallery reflecting the day of the fayre has been published.  Click here to see the photos.

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PHOTO: barn owl in wood

The barn owl has got to be a favourite of anyone who likes birds.  It has an attractive look and its cry is one of the highlights of a night-time walk.
Interestingly for an owl, it also hunts by day, so you may see it out and about.

It’s fairly common in Draycott, which is why you’ll find it listed on the village wildlife board at Cresswell lay-by as one of this area’s leading wildlife species.

Barn owl carving at Brookside

Anthony’s barn owl carving at Brookside

We found this lovely example of a carving of a barn owl on the footpath that leads off Brookside.  (Brookside is the lane off Cheadle Road past the Draycott Arms).

It’s a piece by local artist Anthony Hammond of course – his style is unmistakeable!  It’s good of the owners to place it there by the footpath too, so that all can enjoy it as they walk past.

If you’re interested in barn owls, the Barn Owl Trust has a lot more information on them.

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Anthony Hammond thinks BIG!

TV celebrity John Craven was present to unveil one of the biggest wood-carvings in Staffordshire a few days ago – and the artist who created it is local man Anthony Hammond !

Many of us know Anthony.  You’ll see him every year at Draycott Fayre where he puts on wood-working demonstrations making fantastic carvings of animals out of tree-trunks.
Also, you might well know his family, who have lived in Cresswell for many years.

Wolseley tree carving

The finished piece – with Rose Hammond standing at the bottom.

Damaged cedar

The story of the carving project goes back to the time when a giant Cedar Of Lebanon tree, which was growing on a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust site near Stafford, was damaged in a storm.
Rather than chop down the tree the Trust asked Anthony if he could carve something out of it.  No problem, said Anthony.

The resulting massive sculpture was carved from the trunk of the tree – which measures over 8 feet across and 25 feet in height.  The Trust thinks the artwork must be the largest of its kind in Staffordshire.
The project took around 8 days to complete and was carved entirely with a chainsaw.
Themed on the birds, animals and other wildlife at the reserve, it includes carvings of a kingfisher, water vole, crayfish and otters.

Celebrity unveiling

Recognising that it was a great piece of work, the Trust organised a big event to publicise its completion – which is when John Craven, the presenter of the BBC’s Countryfile programme, turned up to do the official unveiling.
However, Mr Craven was not the most important person there – that role went to proud Mum, Rose Hammond…!

Anthony Hammond & John Craven

Anthony Hammond & John Craven

Talking to us about the project, Anthony said: “In just a few days since being unveiled, the piece has already become a real landmark on the site.
“John Craven was a lovely chap; and he was even willing to do a little bit of carving on the feature!”

Photos courtesy of Chris Barnes
If you too want to see the carving, just head along to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s base at Wolseley Bridge near Stafford, which is open to the public free of charge.

The project was funded by SWT and the Cannock AONB.

NEWS: own a sculpture / homes for sale / tops in sport / wedding photos

News-in-brief from Draycott-In-The-Moors in mid July 2014 
We have news of…:  a chance to own a wood-sculpture made by local man / luxury homes for sale in Draycott / top news in local tennis and cricket / photos of Draycott wedding go online…
(NB – There are also dozens of events in the area. Check out the Events page!)

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An original carving … could be yours!

It’s only a few days now until the Draycott Summer Fayre, which takes place this Sunday (13th July).
The organisers are getting busier by the minute, and each day that goes past seems to require an update to the events list!

The latest thing is that the locally-born wood-sculptor Anthony Hammond has now agreed to create a work of art on the day, starting from scratch, using a section of an oak tree from Huntley Wood. Before our very eyes, the object will take shape.

Anthony Hammond at work

Anthony Hammond at work making a carving

If you like Anthony’s work (and who doesn’t?), you can enter a raffle to own the finished piece.
For a full list of events, times and other details of the fayre, click here.

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Going for glory

It continues to be a good summer for our tennis and cricket teams.

In the City & Suburban Tennis League, it has proved a very exciting end to the season,  with tight battles at the top of all men’s and ladies’ divisions.
In fact, Draycott Ladies put on a surge to beat their nearest rivals, Basford, with a whitewash, making them champions – so, congratulations to them!
Meanwhile, in the men’s top division, there is currently just one point separating the three teams at the top (and yes, Draycott is one of them).

If you want to see some cracking tennis, Draycott Men’s last home fixture is on July 26th at Draycott Sports Centre, and it could well be nail-biting stuff.  All are welcome to go along and watch.

As for the cricket, the First XI at Blythe CC, which plays in Cresswell, is having a very satisfactory season indeed, having won two-thirds of their matches so far; and with their professional, Upul Indrasiri, turning in amazing figures with both ball and bat.

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Watching the game at Blythe Cricket Club

Again, if you fancy watching an afternoon of great sport, then you’ll be very welcome at the club’s ground on Saturday afternoons.

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Property sale

If you have a few hundred thousand pounds in your back-pocket, you might be interested to learn that some of the district’s choicest properties are up for sale.

Cresswell house

Cresswell house for sale

Newton Park Farm, Ken Shelley’s old place, is up for auction tomorrow (Wednesday 9th July), as is the pastureland around the house.  Guide price is £350,000. See details.
Meanwhile, Highcroft, a large house with extensive views over Totmonslow, has also been put up for sale.  However, that kind of view doesn’t come cheap – you’ll need something in the region of £600,000 for it.
Finally, that big black-and-white house near the Cresswell Pumping Station, is also open for offers – around £420,000.  See details.

Of course, we’d love to buy one of these… but we’re still saving up to pay off last winter’s gas bill… (!!)

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Plant recommnedations

One of the advantages of a big house is to have widespread gardens, but if yours is only a small one, don’t despair: the Facebook page run by Draycott Nurseries gives all sorts of suggestions for reasonably priced plants that will still look good in anyone’s garden.

California GloryNeil’s latest recommendation is that fabulous golden plant, California Glory (see pic, right).
What’s more, Neil and the team there also offer tips on their Facebook site on how best to look after the plants that they highlight.

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Wedding bells immortalised

Finally, if you missed the Draycott wedding of the year – the marriage of John and Deryn Ford’s daughter Ellie to her sweetheart Martin – fear not, as the photos are now all online.
John and Deryn, who run the Draycott Arms, decided to close the pub for the day so that everyone could enjoy the day without worrying, and judging from the pictures, it was an idyllic day indeed – which proved their decision right!
See the slideshow of photos of the day, taken by photographer Jenny Harper, by clicking here.

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Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.
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