Tag Archives: St Margaret’s Church Draycott

NEWS of: helicopters deadline / restaurant finals / Cresswell quiz / St M’s heritage day

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late July 2022.
In this post we have news of…: do you want the proposed helicopter factory? Gandhi Restaurant in line for award / combined walk & quiz for Cresswell / Draycott church goes national…
There are also loads of events in & around our district this next few weeks! Sports camps for kids in Draycott is just one of the highlights: please go to our What’s On page

If you want to get an email alert each time a post on this site goes live – go to the button markedFollow This Site via Email‘ (see button, right hand side of this page) 

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Helicopters … wanted? needed?

As we reported in our last post, suddenly a lot of big planning issues are hitting Cresswell.
However, the most urgent one is the question of the proposed helicopter factory (see our last post for the details).
Is it needed? Is it wanted? Those are the questions we are being asked to respond to by the local planners… and the deadline to make any comments is now upon us.

The residents’ group, the BPDWG, is certainly worried, so they have been busy delivering leaflets about the issue (see above) to all local households – which makes that the second set of leaflets they’ve delivered in a month (the first leaflet was about the proposed junction in the middle of Cresswell).

There are so many odd questions about this development: –
# Why is the decision being rushed through? Why is the decision being left to planning officials rather than put before the full planning committee?
(Could it possibly be because the company’s order book is already full to 2025, so somewhere to actually build the aircraft is now urgent?)
# Why has the company, Hill Helicopters, chosen this site in particular?
# Will the 200-approx employees be trained here, or have to be brought in?
# If the factory starts production in a year’s time (as Hill hopes) how soon will they be turning out the 1000 aircraft a year that they are aiming for? (Incidentally, the BPDWG estimates that this rate of production means around sixty test and delivery flights each working day in our skies.)

Artist’s impression of how the Hill Helicopters factory at Cresswell will look

If you want the full set of details, it’s worth checking out the case review-document produced by the residents’ group.

Whatever, time is of the essence. As we said, it’s all being rushed through, so if you want your comments to be registered, you need to put them in very soon. Go to the SMDC Planning Page 0275, find the button which says ‘Comment On This Application’, click on it, and jot down your views. 

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A walking quiz

As it’s summertime, we’ve updated the Cresswell Trail – a two mile walk around the hamlet. It combines the walk with a quiz about local matters – the questions are suitable for children and adults. There are around fifty questions, so plenty to get stuck into!

In the Cresswell Trail-Quiz, there is a question about the decades-old graffiti on the hamlet’s ancient bridge

To find it, just check out our Local Walks Page, where you’ll find details it and of even more walks around Draycott. 

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It’s back

Slowly but almost inevitably, it’s been creeping back into our lives. Yes, Covid infections are up again, back to late-2021 levels in fact. Even the President of the United States is one of the new victims.
Thanks to the vaccinations programmes (with more to come in the autumn), it’s not the horrific disease it once was for most of us, and most of the folk we know who’ve got it recently have come down with a very nasty but fortunately not terminal attack (though, sadly, yes, there are still fatal cases).
Still, the message is obvious. Especially around the vulnerable, we need to be careful… again… 

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Curry wonders!!

Great news is that the Indian restaurant in Cresswell, the Gandhi, has just been nominated as one of the finalists in this year’s English Curry Awards (West Mids section).
As you can imagine, this is a very tough competition, with the best of the nation’s curry-houses all vying to be recognised.

The Gandhi’s achievement is even more special when you think it is one of the very few countryside eateries to be selected for the finals: it’s up against some top-notch city restaurants from Birmingham and the Black Country. The black-tie awards ceremony will take place on 22nd August at The Holiday Inn in Birmingham.
We wish them the best of luck! 

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St Margaret’s diary date

One event that should go into your diary now is the Heritage Day at Draycott Saint Margaret’s Church on Sat Sept 17th.
St Margaret’s is one of the very few Staffordshire churches to be selected to be featured in the National Heritage Open Days events.
On the day, there will be guided tours of the church, fun-quiz sheets, and stewards available to answer questions.

Just one of the dragons to be found in Draycott Church

It’s expected that visitors will be coming from all over the region, especially to see the 600 year old tomb-statues inside the Lady Chapel and the dragons (yes, dragons!).
However, local residents are especially welcome – so do please put the date in your diary, and then do come along and look round this fascinating & ancient church of ours.

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NEWS of: Lisa’s day; assembly ideas; jubilee festival

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in late May 2022
In this post we have news of…: a wonderful day for Lisa in Cresswell / new garden idea comes out of village debates / jubilee celebration in Draycott…

There are also lots of events in and around our district this next few weeks! For news of loads of Queen’s Jubilee events and a scarecrow festival and many more, please go to our What’s On page

If you want to get an email alert each time a post on this site goes live – go to the button marked ‘Follow This Site via Email‘ (see button, right) 

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Flowers for remembrance

Nice to see around twenty people attending the Annual Draycott Assembly (the occasion where the community can come together to discuss how they feel about matters in the district).
Many subjects came up for debate, from perennial ones like speeding, and how to stop it, right through to the provision of local allotments. It was really great to see so many from the community getting into viable discussions about their own neighbourhood and how they would like to see it flourish.
Well done to Denise Wheat for organising it.

One very interesting idea was the development of the Garden Of Remembrance project.
If you are ever up at St Margaret’s Church, walk round the back and you’ll see a plot of land, which is being cleared for this particular project (see pic below). John Clarke and his team are really getting stuck in.

However, some very serious suggestions to move the project up a gear were explored, including installing wood-carvings on the site, and even making it into a wildflower haven. Applications for funding are already in the air…
Everybody at the assembly was very keen on this idea! Let’s hope it properly gets off the ground.

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The sun comes out for Lisa

One truly marvellous event this past month was the Cake-Sale & Auction on the neighbourhood-green in Cresswell. It was only expected to be a small do, but the sun came out, and dozens and dozens of people turned up too! (It was almost too hot).
The event was to celebrate Lisa, whom a lot of us will know through her blog ‘Finding The Mothership’ which recounts her journey through cancer. It’s a painful read sometimes, but also full of joy.

Some of the ‘Tough Girls Club’ – the bakers, the face-painters, the sellers and Lisa (in the red-spot dress)

So her friends from Cresswell turned out to raise money, in order to let her have some of the comforts of life – and they raised a staggering £4,800… Unbelievable!
Some of the auction-items, donated by local individuals, were quite amazing: beauty appointments, a signed England shirt, a voucher to Thornberry Hall restaurant, a voucher to The Draycott Golden Keg restaurant – and many more. In fact, some of the auctions couldn’t be finished and went online.
A great result.

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Jubilee weekend

If you look at our What’s On page, you’ll see many many Jubilee-related events all happening around Draycott. However, it did look for a while as though there would be no such public event actually in Draycott itself. Our village councillors said they didn’t think anything would be successful here, not even the lighting of a beacon.

However – well done to Zara and Brayn, who’ve stepped into the breach by announcing that they would re-schedule their Annual Sausage & Cider Festival to Jubilee Sunday.
Anyone who’s ever tasted one of the special sausages that Zara dreams up for the festival will want to be there…

Talking of big village events, nearly everything has been firmed up for the Draycott Annual Fayre, which takes place this year on Sunday 10th July. It is not too late though to book a stall – Jane Meller is in charge of taking enquiries for that (on 01782 396373). This year the price for tables inside the marquee is £15, and stalls out on the field remain at £10 per spot.

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Bulbalcious

Finally, a word of thanks to Bev Reardon and her Draycott Local People group. This is the group who published and sold Christmas cards and a village calendar, to raise money for a local planting initiative. Over £800 was raised by January, and is being spent on sowing plants across the village.
Some of the bulbs were dug into the grassy bank below St Margaret’s churchyard, and did have a brief flowering in April – which was good to see.

The bulbs will only come back stronger next year…

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News: festival success / Covid volunteers / home holidays / local artwork

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid December 2021
In this post we have news of…: Covid volunteer groups are fully back / Xmas Tree fest a success / a Draycott staycation! / a ‘brilliant’ artwork

For news of an appearance by Abbarella (!), a pantomime, and Xmas dances and other happenings in our area, please go to our What’s On page

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Volunteers on standby

As we’ve been reporting, it looks like Covid is properly back. Sigh.
At the moment, we in the Staffordshire Moorlands are only slightly affected; it’s London that is feeling the big effect of the ‘Omicron variant’. Still, what happens in London will affect us, sooner or later.

The good news is that the organisations happy to support those individuals who feel isolated or just worried are back in full force. The volunteers of the Draycott Covid Group are back to full readiness, and the Blythe Library-Centre Phone Buddies are also standing by.
A new group (well, new to us anyway) has also been putting up posters saying they can help. The Revival group will do welfare checks on adults aged 55-plus, the disabled and unpaid carers. They are funded by the NHS North Staffs CCG.

If you feel worried or upset about the present situation, or plain isolated, don’t hesitate to call them – that’s what they are there for.

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Powerful trees

The 2021 Draycott Christmas Tree Festival weekend, at St Margaret’s Church, attracted a surprisingly large number of visitors, which was lovely to see, and was quite a success.
For those who didn’t get a chance to get along, the good news is that the trees are staying up until Twelfth Night (January 7th) and can be seen during church normal opening hours.

The best time to see them is probably at the Draycott Christmas Carol service, which takes place on Sunday 19th Dec at 6.30. All are welcome, and the old church will look very festive for the occasion.

The trees themselves at the festival were all decorated and donated by local community organisations and families.

It has to be said that the most emotional tree was one that was contributed by Jane Meller, and was a tribute to the NHS (see photo right). Jane has worked her socks off for the NHS during the present pandemic.
The tree and its theme reminded you what it’s all about. Very powerful.

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A proper staycation!

A lot of us have been thinking twice about holidays (again!), so here’s an idea: why not go on holiday in Draycott?
Believe it or not, there are some beautiful wooden chalets, set in their own peaceful woodland estate, right here in this district. Perfect for a good relax.

Greenvale Barn

Yes, you can hire the ‘Greenvale Barn’ (sleeps 2 adults & 2 kids), among others, yet travel less than a mile!
The barns are set in Huntley Wood (up at Draycott Cross), where the owners converted the old quarry into woodland adventure area some years ago – and they have now extended into holiday lets, with nature all around.
It looks magical.

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Lighting up time for artwork

Finally, you may have read about the installation of a new artwork at our local library centre in Blythe Bridge. The lamp-shades (thirty three in all) were all made by local community crafts groups, who painstakingly created, and sewed together, hundreds of panels to make the shades. Each panel tells a local story; one panel even tells the story of the old Colours factory in Cresswell.
Read the full report here.

If you want to see it in person yourself, the last chance this year is on Tuesday (21st), which is the last day the library is open before the Xmas holiday.
But it will still be up for a long time, so no need to rush along.

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Festive wishes

And talking of the season…. A merry (and safe) Christmas and Happy New Year to us all !!! Let’s hope 2022 is a little better than 2021…

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

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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: drilling ops / monument repairs / WW2 book

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid-February 2021
In this post we have news of…: a new borehole for Cresswell / old tomb restored / book about ww2 locally / Covid diminishing (?) / website stats….

For news of what’s on in our area at this time, please click here

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Drilling in Cresswell

Cresswell is not Texas and the substance underground is not the same, but nevertheless, drilling operations will commence here in the summer. This time however, the engineers are drilling for water, not oil.
Already there is some coming and going at the Cresswell Waterworks station (opposite the Izaak Walton) as ‘enabling activities’ get under way. The idea is to sink a new borehole to try and find another source to supply Stoke-on-Trent with clean water.

The old Cresswell Pumping Station (courtesy Chris Allen, licensed for CC reuse)

Older residents will remember the first pumping station on the site, which was opened in 1932, the original pump steam engines being wonderful to see, with beautiful fly wheels and brass fittings. It was said that, if they stopped pumping, the water surged up to the top of the borehole – because the water level is so high in Cresswell!
The old building was largely demolished in the 1970s, and the site mothballed – but then modernised again by the Severn Trent Water & Sewage Company.

Dates for the drilling are not finalised, but we’ll bring them to you when we know them.

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Covid, one year on

After our health district (‘Blythe Bridge, Caverswall & Draycott’) was found to be a hotspot as little as three months ago, the good news is that testing centres in our district have discovered almost no new cases in the last week.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t any, just that few were found.

Unfortunately, that does not mean we can relax.
The stats reveal that over the past year, some twelve million in England have contracted Covid – but it’s reckoned that an amazing one in three people who get the virus (especially the young) don’t even realise it. The problem is: even if you have no symptoms, you can still infect others when you breathe out.
So… local health experts believe that mask-wearing for all is likely to remain compulsory in public buildings round here for a long time.

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New book about WW2

Some of us will know Annette Jinks well – she studies the local history of our area and writes fascinating books about it. Her latest book (co-authored with Noel Green) is called War Comes To Tean and is an account of how the village fared in the Second World War, with not just biographies of the young men & women who went away to fight, but accounts of activities on the home-front too.

As Tean and Draycott-in-the-Moors lie right next to each other, there are lots of references in the book to Draycott; in fact the Home Guard used fields in Newton (near Cresswell) to practice throwing hand grenades!
One sad event was the death of a young American pilot whose plane crashed into (thankfully empty) cottages in Riverside Road in Tean – worshippers from Draycott Church, including Sara & Jeffrey Gibson, were involved in the project to build a memorial to the incident. (Click on this link for more detail about that incident)

There are lots of amazing stories in the book, and great old photographs (including some of Camp Bolero, the wartime base in Cresswell for an American company of soldiers) – so this book is well worth the cover price!
The book sells out with each printing, so you’ll need to email Annette to find out when the book is next available.

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Listed monument repair

Talking of history, it’s good to see that repairs on the Anna Hyatt Tomb, which is in St Margaret’s churchyard (see pic below), have now been completed. The ‘chest-tomb’ as this type of memorial is called, was crumbling a bit, and affected by ivy, so the repairs were timely.

Hyatt Memorial Tomb with ivy
Hyatt Memorial – before the ivy was removed

The tomb, dated 1827, is one of more than a dozen ‘structures of great national heritage’ named in our district, and is one of the most important, being listed as ‘grade two’.
The money for the work was donated jointly by the Moorlands Partnership Board and The Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust.

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Website stats

Finally, the annual statistics for websites like this one you’re reading right now have been released now.
What they show is that, in 2020, this website (https://draycottinmoors.wordpress.com/) attracted 10,846 visitors (including 2000 American visitors!) and 22,282 page-views. This is despite the facts that (due to illness and loss of writers) we only managed to put up 27 posts across the year (compared to 76 back in 2015).
The news pages were the most popular, but pages on local history and on local footpaths also did very well.
Not bad for a website whose target audience is just 1000 people (i.e. the population of Draycott-in-the-Moors)…!

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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)

NEWS: dog of year / Covid rules latest / Rev Sam! / green group

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors & District in mid October 2020
In this post we have news of…: Arms’ top dog / Covid rules – better for some, not all / saving the planet, locally / church man gets upgrade….

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Top dog

Indeea, of The Draycott ArmsFirst things first… anyone who goes into the Draycott Arms will know that the most beautiful sight in there (…sorry Brayn!) is a dog called Indeea (pronounced: india). Indeea is not only beautiful but always calm, dignified and proud; a real asset to the pub.

But owners Zara & Brayn (and us) are not the only people to have recognised this.
Now, the Staffordshire online magazine The Mark has also honoured Indeea (in its current issue) with the title ‘Pub Dog Of The Year
Totally deserved!

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Covid affects events

It’s getting hard to predict what’s on and what’s off right now.
The latest bad news is that the annual Festival & Procession of Lights in next-door Tean has now been definitively cancelled, which is a blow.
Meanwhile, the Cresswell dance-hall, Quick Quick Slow, is still badly affected. The government is still not permitting tea-dances (even when same-household couples are socially-distanced from other couples…) so the venue has now announced that there is no chance of social-dancing returning until the New Year at least, though classes are still happening there.
One feels very sorry, not just for the venue but the people who relied on QQS as a way to get out of the house and have an afternoon of pleasant exercise.

One thing is for sure, and that is that the Draycott Brownies project is not returning. After a successful couple of years, it was faltering due to lack of numbers, but, what with Covid etc, the Threapwood Division Of Girl Guiding, which oversaw the Draycott Brownies troop, has definitely decided it is unsustainable.
Funnily enough, Draycott Brownies were once one of the most popular troops in the area – this with older memories may enjoy clicking here for pictures from its past.

However, there is good news too. Our local library, at Blythe Bridge, is now fully open again, albeit on limited hours; Draycott Sports Centre is holding tournaments again and re-opening classes; and St Margaret’s Church is once more welcoming people back for its Sunday morning service (though you must book in advance via admin@stmargarets.org.uk) as is St Mary’s in Cresswell (though, with only 20 worshippers allowed in the church, it’s a case of ‘first come, first served’).

Blythe Bridge Library

Blythe Bridge Library is back

The rules are changing all the time. What will it all look like by Christmas?

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Keep it green

In the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis, it’s easy to forget that the planet is still under threat, so it’s good to welcome a new, locally-based environmental campaign, called Green Tean (& Draycott).
The driving force behind it is Alana Wheat, well known in the area for her girl-guiding and youth-club involvement.

At the moment it is basically a supporters’ forum working online (on Facebook), but it says that that its hope is to produce more ‘sustainable practices’ in the neighbourhood – especially regarding recycling, sustainable gardening, wildlife and more.
Its Facebook page is open to anyone to join..

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Revving up

Rev Sam CrossleyMore good news from St Margaret’s is that the curate for this benefice, Sam Crossley (pic right), has finally got his upgrade (‘ordination’, if you want the proper term!). He was created a fully-fledged ‘Reverend’ a couple of weeks ago.

Sam is of course a Newcastle United supporter and, curiously, his team has been doing very well in the last couple of years – in fact, ever since he arrived here. Could the two facts be mysteriously connected?!!!

A piece of news that Sam might well be intrigued to hear is that the village council has discovered that the lane leading up to St Margaret’s Church is not called ‘Church Lane’ at all, which is what we had all thought. In fact it has no official name; and the council will be discussing the naming issue soon.
(But let’s not ask Sam for his ideas; we suspect he may come up with ‘Alan Shearer Lane’ or something like that…!)

Does any reader have ideas for a new name for the lane? Add your thoughts in the comments-field further down this page.

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Thanks to The Draycott Arms and St Peter’s Benefice for use of photos on this page

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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WW2 Memorial – Joyce Atkin

Back in the 1960s, the congregation at Draycott St Margaret’s put up a war memorial plaque in the church. It named the forces personnel of the parish who had died in both world wars.
See – the story of Draycott’s war memorial.

Draycott war memorial

Draycott war memorial plaque inside St Margaret’s

This is the story of Joyce Atkin.
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Joyce Atkin (not Atkins) was a nurse, and is the only woman on the Draycott memorial.

She was on a troopship, part of an Allied convoy sailing from East Africa to southern India in February 1944, when her ship, the SS Khedive Ismail, was attacked and sunk by an enemy submarine. The ship went down almost immediately, with a terrible death toll – only some 200 people survived, less than one-eighth of those on board. It was Britain’s third worst mercantile disaster in the Second World War.
She was just 28 years old.

Brookwood Military Cemetery

Joyce’s official stone is at Brookwood in Surrey

The role of women who die on active service in war is often overlooked by those who construct war memorials, so it is to the credit of the Draycott memorial committee that they ensured Joyce’s name would be there too.

Bromley Wood

Joyce was born to a farming family in the spot known as Bromley Wood, which is halfway between Cresswell and Hilderstone. Her parents Sidney and Annie had married in Uttoxeter in 1913, and she was born two years later.
(Sidney and family later moved a few miles to nearby Morrilow Moor Farm; he died in 1957).

Leigh Church War memorial

We think Joyce worshipped at Leigh village church as a girl

Joyce seems to have had an adventurous spirit, as, in 1936 at the age of 21, having left Bromley Wood Farm and her parents and three brothers, she enrolled at the Colindale School of Nursing in north London.
Qualifying in 1941, at some point she joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service and later took on war duty, in the course of which she met her tragic death.

Shock

The incident in which Joyce died brought home to the British public just how involved women had become in the frontline effort in the last years of World War Two.
More than eighty service-women, including medical staff, died in the attack on the ship – and this turned out to be the highest ever death-number of British female military personnel in one single attack.

An extra tragedy in this event was that, although the ship that Joyce was on had already been sunk, the other ships in the convoy were still of course just as much at threat from the enemy submarine; and so two warships in the convoy immediately went after it. The depth charges these warships used against the submarine may well have injured or killed some of the survivors of the SS Khedive Ismail who were still in the water. It was one of those terrible dilemmas of war.
The submarine was eventually forced to surface, when it was destroyed by the warships’ torpedoes.

The news came as a terrible shock to the nation – so much so that the incident became the basis of an incident in The Cruel Sea, a best-selling book by Nicholas Monserrat (which was later adapted into a film of the same name).
Since then the full historical account has been written up in the book Passage to Destiny’  by Brian Crabb.

Remembrance

Though Joyce’s body was never found, she does have an official war-marker. You will find her memorial stone at the Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey.

Interestingly, Joyce, as well as being remembered at Brookwood and at Draycott, is also remembered on the war memorial in Leigh village (near Tean). The parish of Leigh is adjacent to the parish of Draycott.

Joyce Atkin's name on Leigh War memorial

Joyce Atkin’s name is also on Leigh War memorial

It is not unusual for someone to be on more than one war memorial: most village war memorials were erected, not by the local authority, but by local people, who would nominate any war-dead who had been born or lived in and around the district. Joyce had lived on the ‘border’ between Leigh and Draycott.

With thanks to Bill Pearson and David B Atkin for researching the records.

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Can you add any more to this account? We’d be grateful for any knowledge anyone may have. Use the Comments-Box below or email us.  Joyce’s service number was 270574

For the stories of all the other service-people whose names are on the war memorial plaque in St Margaret’s, click here

WW2 Memorial – Paul Dobson

Back in the 1960s, the congregation at Draycott St Margaret’s put up a war memorial plaque in the church. It named the forces personnel of the parish who had died in both world wars.
See – the story of Draycott’s war memorial.

Draycott war memorial

Draycott war memorial plaque inside St Margaret’s

This is the story of Paul Dobson.
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The story of how Paul Thomas Dobson comes to be on the Draycott War Memorial is also the story of his cousin, Barbara Dobson (married name Black).

On Armistice Sunday, Barbara, who was a standard bearer for the Royal British Legion in the 1970s, did not go straight to the main RBL Remembrance procession – which, in our district, is held in Blythe Bridge.
No, she went up to Draycott Church, in uniform (she had been in the ATS in the war), and paid her respects there first… to her cousin “our Paul”. And she did this faithfully each year as long as she was able; she died in 1997.
And… it is possibly because of Barbara that Paul Dobson is on the Draycott memorial at all…

Parachute Regiment

We still know very little of Paul Dobson’s life and death, though his father and brother are recorded as living in Cheadle in 1939, which was the year that war broke out; Paul was just 14.

He probably joined up soon after turning eighteen, in 1943, and the next we come across him is in the March of 1945, the last year of the war, as the huge armies of the Allies move across Europe, slowly pushing back the enemy forces, fighting every inch of the way, making the final assault on Nazi Germany.

Paul is a young sapper in the Royal Engineers, attached to the Airborne (Parachute) Regiment. He is now just 19 years old – and has been thrown into this absolute maelstrom of conflict.

His was a short war. It seems he was killed parachuting into Germany as part of a forward operation during Operation Plunder.  Operation Plunder was the (successful) attempt to cross the River Rhine under the overall command of General Montgomery.

Reichswald Cemetery

Reichswald Cemetery, where Paul is buried

Paul is now buried not far from where he died, in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, the largest war-graves cemetery in western Germany.

Draycott Memorial

One little mystery is: why is Paul on the Draycott Memorial? He never lived in the parish, and his name was already on the Cheadle Memorial; and he was most likely born in Cheadle.
However, when the memorial at Draycott was erected in the 1960s, his cousin Barbara Black happened to be living here, at Draycott in the Moors (in Cresswell), with her husband Robert Black.

So … could it be that Barbara heard of the project to erect a plaque in Draycott, and pleaded for Paul’s name to be listed on there? She seems to have been very proud of her cousin. Also her father (and Paul’s uncle) Harold Dobson, who had died in 1960, was already buried at St Margaret’s.

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This story is quite possible. You didn’t always have to have been living in the parish or even born in the parish to have your name on its memorial; you only had to have a family ‘association with the parish’.
Anyway, we like to think it is because of Barbara that Paul is on the plaque.  And to think of Barbara going on her own to the plaque to remember him each year – because she was responsible for him being on the plaque – is a touching image.

With thanks to Bill Pearson for researching the records
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Can you add any more to this account? We’d be grateful for any knowledge anyone may have. Use the Comments-Box below or email us.  Paul’s service number was Sapper 14429264

For the stories of all the other service-people on the war memorial plaque in St Margaret’s, click here

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.

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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.
(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 of: church funds / Totmonslow housing / police Facebook / footpaths

News-in-brief  from Draycott-In-The-Moors in early August 2019
In this post we have news of…: parish council doze through Totmonslow development / report those footpaths / police join Facebook / fayre funds for church… 
(NB – There are also dozens of events coming up soon in our locality – including a Sausage & Cider Festival…  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 council lack of action

The recent news that a development for five houses at Totmonslow has finally got planning permission launched a surprising discussion at the last Draycott parish council meeting.
Pete Wilkinson, one of our newly elected district councillors, had dropped in to observe the meeting. He expressed his deep unhappiness with the Totmonslow news, saying that the new cul-de-sac which will be built for the development is too dangerous: the cul-de-sac will exit straight onto the main Draycott-Tean road, too close to the brow of the hill for Mr Wilkinson’s liking. In fact he said accidents would be the inevitable result.

He is not the only one who feels this way. Among the official objections to the original proposal were comments from half-a-dozen residents and from Checkley Parish Council too (even through the development is inside Draycott-in-the-Moors area, and only borders on Checkley’s area).

Then Mr Wilkinson asked how Draycott Council had responded.
Silence.
It turned out that, though our village council were aware of the application, and its various updates, even discussing the issue a year ago, they had just … forgotten to make a response.
So what we see here is that the neighbouring parish council and a number of local residents had managed to put in official responses, but our own council, whom we depend on, had failed to.

It seems to us that this really is not good enough. Village councils should be there in the front-line, battling away on issues that affect the community, not dozing on the sidelines. Whether they agreed with the Totmonslow proposal or opposed it, their first duty was to make some sort of response. And they failed.
Ad this is not the first time (see Council’s dismal record).
So, again, we would ask Draycott Council to … just please wake up.

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Watching the detectives

According to surveys, the main public issue that bothers small communities like ours is crime. This is quite surprising, as small districts don’t usually suffer a lot of crime.

Moorlands Police logo
Our local Moorlands police are aware of this concern; and put on monthly meet-the-PCSO sessions at both Blythe Bridge and Tean to try to reassure residents.
But they have now gone a step further and last month launched their own Facebook page. It will list traffic reports, news of convictions & arrests, diary dates for consultation events and so on.

In one way, this doesn’t seem like a big contribution to crime-fighting – but it is part of the drive by local police to publicise what they do, in order to make us feel safer.

But, what do you think of this latest move by Moorlands Police? Is it just a gesture, or a useful initiative? Use the comments box on this webpage to express your thoughts.

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Hurrah for the fayre

The final receipts are in for the annual Draycott Fayre, which was held just a few weeks ago. Once all costs are taken out, the fayre raised a handsome £4000-plus for the parish church fund. St Margaret’s is nearly 800 years old, and, without such donations, would simply start to crumble.

In fact, the last annual report for the church tells us that it spent a staggering £50,000 in the twelve-month on maintenance (which admittedly did include major roof repairs). Fortunately, some grants had become available, and there were donations of £12,000 from local well-wishers, but you can see how money can get swallowed up very quickly.
(Surprisingly, this current annual report for the church has not been made available online, even though previous reports have been. A copy is available in the church itself though).

So, if you went to the fayre (see highlights below), you can have the satisfaction of knowing that a great heritage & community asset is safe for another year, thanks to your support…

 

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By the way, an even better series of photos of the day than the ones above has been created by Neil Archibald, and is available online for all to enjoy – check out the Draycott 2019 Fayre Album

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Report blocked paths a new way

Most footpaths in Draycott-in-the-Moors are maintained very well (though there are some problems in Cresswell where overgrown and blocked paths continue to be a long-standing and thorny issue).

It has been very frustrating trying to report problem issues over the last few years. Staffordshire County Council (who are responsible for path maintenance) have set up easy online ways of reporting potholes, flytipping, problems with bins etc – but not an online way to report footpath problems.
Until now.

Near NewHouse track

A blocked footpath

At last, you can report local footpath and bridleway problems on a custiomised webpage, thanks to a newly set-up and simple online process.
Click on Staffs Public Rights Of Way Issues.
Having created your online account, you can also track the issues you have reported (to make sure they do get fixed); and also can see matters reported by others.

Lots more people are walking for health – and our district has plenty of good countryside footpath routes (see some examples by clicking here and here) – so let’s make it as easy as we can for us all to keep walking.

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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

Happy Christmas!

Season’s greetings!
And the very best for a peaceful and contented 2019…

St Margarets Church in snowIn the absence of traditional Yuletide weather, we thought we’d put you in the mood with this old photo of St Margaret’s under snow.  Enjoy.