Another Rushden gastronomic ‘Tour de Force’

from “Choccy”, Ellen and team!!!

The moment one entered Rushden Village Hall on the evening of Saturday 7th November the well laid tables and decorative lampshades hanging from the ceiling presaged a very special evening, enhanced by the greeting from the dinner jacketed chief sommelier, Dave Manchester and his sou-sommelier, Chris Hill, both armed with a wine list!

Once seated the 60 ‘guests’ received the first of their culinary delights prepared by Choccy, aka Ian Roper, Ellen Manchester, Darren King plus others helped by a positive ‘army’ of helpers and ‘waitresses’. This was Rushden putting on the Ritz!

Not only was the food of the highest standard but also beautifully presented which given the tight kitchen area (with tent) was nothing short of a miracle. To add to our enjoyment we were able to listen to the Nance Wilson Trio with Dave on tenor sax and Roy on keyboard.

Ian and Ellen, looking tired but very content promised to repeat this gastronomic evening not too long in the future. They’re quite barmy of course but thank goodness for that!!!  CW

Click here for some photos with thanks to John Dingemans.

A Glorious Rushden Harvest Festival

Sunday, 4th October showed nearly a full house for the annual Harvest Festival. All praise to the ‘flower ladies’ who transformed the church as the pictures show. The service was slightly different in that the three chapters from Ruth, instead of being read out were ‘performed’ by three PCC members with the Rector as narrator. It seemed to work well; different anyway!! Prayers were read by Martin Dingemans (our resident farmer!) and his two daughters Holly and Maisie.


The very generous collection was shared between the church and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. All the donated produce, of which there was loads, were taken to a very pleased Leonard Cheshire Home for the Disabled in Hitchin….certainly the chef looked happy!


Naturally, being Rushden, the service was followed by a BBQ in the village hall…AND the weather was kind!

Next major Rushden Church event is the Carol Service on Sunday 13thDecember at 6.00 pm. CW


Click here for some photos with thanks to Chris Whitton


We saw a very interesting BMX competition in Rushden this Saturday. The weather forecast was not very good but fortunately the forecast was wrong.

We had a lovely afternoon and evening to enjoy the display and the fantastic barbeque.

There were a few falls but no one was injured. Those riders are braver than I am!

Some of the photos were taken by with our new drone which we bought for crop management on the farm.

Click here for some photos - with thanks to John Dingemans


Those who remember Maureen and Trevor Thompson from Southern Green will like to know that their daughter Lucy and partner Martin have taken over The Bushel and Strike in Ashwell and turned it into a successful gastro pub which has been awarded Newcomer of the Year. Martin is a trained chef and produces the extremely tasty meals and Lucy is front of house.

Help save Mobile Library Service

I’m a Little Hadham Parish Councillor. I'm contacting you as I will be representing users of the mobile library service at next weeks inspired libraries review meeting, where a proposal to replace the Mobile library with an extended home library service is being heard. Click here for more info.

As Rushed and Wallington are one of the places the Mobile Library visits I thought you might like to sign the petition on behalf of your parish, and perhaps even display this poster so people can have the chance to sign it themselves. The meeting is this coming Friday 15 May  so I’m afraid there is not much time for action. 

The petition can be found online at: 

If you're interested here is the paper that the Library service will be presenting at the meeting justifying and explaining the cut they plan: Click here

Cllr Elizabeth Lloyd-Williams

Little Hadham Parish Council

A new report on housing policy which highlights the challenges faced by rural communities has been welcomed by CDA Herts.


The charity, a member of the ACRE Network of rural community councils, said the report of the Rural Housing Policy Review Group gave crucial insight into the affordable housing crisis.


It said the Review Group, chaired by Lord Richard Best OBE, mirrored the asks of the next Government set out in the ACRE Network’s 2015 manifesto.


The report, sponsored by Hastoe Housing Association, warns that families on low incomes face being forced out of the countryside faster than ever before as a result of recent policy changes.


The ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) Network is calling for the next Government to provide a proportion of affordable housing on all rural developments.  


CDA Herts, CEO, Kate Belinis said: “We warmly welcome this report which highlights the difficulties of providing more affordable homes in the countryside.


“Rural house prices have risen 82% in 10 years due to strong demand compounded by years of a shortfall in house building. Add to this the lower wages for rural workers, and we see local people wishing to buy or rent priced out the community.

“The ACRE Network, in its manifesto, is calling on the next Government to adopt a strategic, nationwide approach to delivering affordable rural homes before country villages become enclaves for the well-off, elderly and second home owners.”

The ACRE Network’s key concerns on the affordable rural housing crisis are:


  • A chronic shortage of houses, especially in communities of fewer than 3,000 people, where a total of just 2,279 new affordable homes were built in 2013/14.   According to the Rural Housing Policy Review, the fair share for rural areas should be 7,500 per year – that’s an average of one for each parish.

  • The rising price of homes - there is a higher ratio between lower quartile house price and average incomes in rural areas. Houses in rural areas cost 8.4 times the average salary, against 6.4 in urban areas.

  • The removal of a national rural housing development target, which means that developers will focus on urban areas where it is cheaper and easier to build.

  • The reduction in Government grant rates for rural housing providers. The Review says that in 2011, grant rates were cut from an average of £45,000 per unit to £20,000.

  • The recent change in Section 106 policy, which removes the need to build affordable housing on sites of fewer than 10 homes.

  • A shortage of smaller, affordable homes in rural areas, posing problems for tenants affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ who need to downsize.

  • So-called ‘affordable rents’,  where social landlords charge up to 80% of the local market rent, are not affordable in high value areas for people on lower incomes.

  • A reduction in funding for Rural Housing Enablers (RHEs), many of whom are based within the ACRE Network. RHEs work with communities and developers to identify local needs; where they are in post, more affordable homes are built.

ACRE chief executive Janice Banks said: “The future for rural affordable housing looks pretty bleak unless the next Government rises to the challenge, rethinks its funding strategy and reverses recent policy changes – particularly the ten-unit threshold on new sites.


“The Rural Housing Policy Review notes that a number of different Government policies do not appear to have taken the rural impact into account.


“The ACRE Network, with its reach into 52,000 grassroots organisations, would welcome the opportunity to work more closely with policymakers to ensure that the unique difficulties facing rural communities are taken into account before decisions are set in stone.”

BT have now removed the payphones from our red phone boxes.

As a result, we are asking for ideas on how the boxes can be used in the future.  
In each of the red phone boxes, you will find a comment box for people to post their suggestions.  The boxes will be in place until the end of February.

Please feel free to post your ideas into these boxes.  We look forward to reading your comments and discussing them at the village assembly meetings in April.  

Thank you
Rushden & Wallington Parish Council


Last November a Rushden website reader wrote "Just though I'd send you a quick message, I noticed the Rushden phone box is all lit up, but not connected. Anyway, I was in a village in Ware last week and they have turned there little phone box into a book exchange, people leave in there their old books for others to read.  I thought it was a lovely idea and thought I would let you know."

Villagers who remember Norman and Mavis Heeley formerly from Redhill will be sad to hear of Norman's death earlier this year. We send Mavis and her family all our sympathy.

Something rather special. A Twitcher who does a bird survey at Lye End three times a year heard in Park Wood a "Nightingale" giving an alarm call and he was of the opinion that it had a nest close by.

Jim McAlwane from Rushden, Northamptonshire made a visit to Rushden, Hertfordshire last Thursday March 13  and was blown over by the village. He took some photos and said "I am in love with this village, the sun has got his hat on and I'm going out to play..".


Dear All

I have been asked by Hertfordshire Highways to remind my constituents that the best way of reporting road defects is online at
I would be grateful if you would be able to draw this information to the attention of your residents.
Best wishes
Oliver Heald QC MP
Member of Parliament for North East Hertfordshire and
Solicitor General for England and Wales

The Village Hall committee have done a wonderful job in updating the Rushden Village Hall with new curtains and blinds.

For those put off applying for any of the new build Affordable Hoses in Dark Lane please have a look at the planning application and decision notices that come out of them. Try, go to planning applications put in the search area 12/0085/1 and find the first occupancy criteria condition. and then reconsider looking at applying . 


Clicking on the link below should get you to where you input the above numbers.

Many of you have expressed concern regarding the fence erected at the 505 end of Gannock Road


There has been a planning application lodged with the district council and can be found on if you click on planning applications and put in 13/02538/1 you will have full access to the application for change of use, access and development. this site is not in the Parish of Sandon but I know is causing many, concern. If you have any comments please express them to Richard Tiffin at North Herts Council, time is of an essence so bypass me.

Thought you might be interested to see a painting of “Yew Tree Cottage”, Rushden  which is currently on view at –


a major on-line gallery which sells a lot of my paintings.

My grandfather George Pope owned the cottage in the 1920’s & 30’s and used it at weekends away from the family home and business in Finchley.

His youngest son, who died aged about 14, lies in an unmarked grave in the churchyard and he donated a set of gates to the church which I believe have since been replaced.
Graham Pope

click on picture for larger image

“Now you see’s ‘em, now you don’t”!!!!!

After a protracted period of ‘permission gathering’ the two ‘firs’ dominating Rushden Church have finally been removed. They were becoming more and more of a danger, restricting light, preventing vehicles from easy access and could possibly have fallen on the church in a strong South Westerly gale once the ground becomes wet again.


The work was brilliantly carried out by Philip Allen, tree surgeon, and his team, even using a stump remover to ‘er’ remove the two stumps. A brutal gadget not to be used by those with loose false teeth! The site was left in the perfect condition for re-sowing in a month or two.


The cost of removal was paid for by money left over from the daffodil planting and plaque in memory of Jean Chalk and from the ‘Friends of St Mary’s’.


What to do now? Well, probably best to ‘let the hare sit’ for a few months so that we can arrive at a consensus. If anyone has any particular views please contact the PCC and/or myself. Chris Whitton.



An audience with Tour de Lard 2  13 August 2015


Click here for some photos thanks to John Dingemans

Approximately 40 people came to listen to the inside stories of the Tour de Lard 2 trip, enjoy a glass of wine, and the barbecue (in the rain).

Alan Clarke, the CEO of Jubilee House gave a brief history of the charity and its work helping children and young adults with severe learning difficulties and providing respite care. He surprised everyone, including the Tour de Lard team members by giving the up-to-date collection total – slightly over £25,600. It will go higher, because the Reliant Robins are being sold and the proceeds paid to the charity. The money raised is approximately equal to the annual net income ofJubilee House and will mainly be used to provide a high tech bathroom /washroom. If anything is left over, perhaps some tablet computers, equipment,  for the sensory room and garden.

The village hall had been prepared by Steve Pettyfer and Elspeth Gutterridge with a route map, many photographs and extracts from the messages sent home during the trip. John Dingemans had made an excellent PowerPoint presentation of photographs and there were separate smaller slideshows for people.

The Lardies each gave some of their recollections of the trip – in no particular order, the frightening of Charles Gutterridge, the escapades of mad boys 1 and 2, Chris Hill being held over a river to fill yet another bottle of cooling water for the car. The demon bumblebee, how Nigel Darken came to love his poorly handling motorcycle again after one day in a Reliant, Brian Littlechild’s exploding rear tyre – replaced very quickly in France on a Saturday afternoon, finding a local newspaper reporter in the middle of France and then being recognised as being in the newspaper on the way back. Charles and Chris, having told everyone they would limp back from Col de la Bonette with an overheating engine and not need help, were then unable to flag down Steve Pettyfer and Dave Manchester in order to get some more water, having used all available supplies! The wooden suspension modification to Thunderpig2, telephoning the wives on the day we succeeded, on a spectacular moonlit night in the French Alps.

It was an accident of omission that the brake failures were not mentioned!

A very enjoyable evening, with people not rushing away and we raised another £70 for Jubilee House.

Thanks to all those who helped set up, provide parts of the display, prepare the salads, obtain the wine, clean up and came to listen.

Thanks, above all, for all the donations from the village and turning out to give us a great send off and welcome return.

The Lardies.


Alan Clarke from Jubilee house thanked the Lardies for their magnificent contribution to Jubilee House and presented them with a special card.


Thank you Lardies and we look forward to your next adventure.

Congratulations to the “LARDIES”

To the great credit of the team and their mechanical expertise all three Reliant Robins of 1990's vintage (Thunderpigs 1 , 2 and 3) and the 1960's Norton motorbike with tradesman's box sidecar arrived back just after 6.30 p.m. on the 4th of  July. Unfortunately the 2004 Indian built Royal Enfield motorbike with original 1949 passenger sidecar suffered a puncture on the last day. As the tyre was beyond repair they had to be taken back 100 miles to get a new tyre fitted. This was the nearest place that had the correct tyre. This meant that they missed their ferry but luckily were able to get a place on a later ferry and they arrived at The Moon and Stars at 10.15 on the same day as the rest of the team.

There are plans afoot to have a celebration in the village hall on 13th August when you can hear some more of their stories and some of their wonderful photographs they have taken.

I have seen some of their photos and heard some of their stories and can’t wait to see and hear more.

Click here for photos by John Dingemans

Congratulations to the team, they have arrived at their destination!

Tour de Lard 2 set off on its epic adventure to the French Alps & back this Friday 26th June. CLeaving the Moon & Stars between 9.00 and 9.30am. Vicki Butler-Henderson ilaunched them on their way.

Fundraising in aid of Jubilee House Care Trust is going well, but more sponsorship is always welcome: Virgin Money Giving | Fundraising | Tour de Lard 2's fundraising page

You can follow the Tour on Facebook  at, where Dave "Babe" Manchester will be posting photos & progress reports as the week goes on, subject to phone reception!

Village in the Country "WINNER"

What a wonderful response I got. Having sent out to 167 different people (one person got it twice)

 I had 55 separate replies.
 One gave me a spelling lesson.
 One gave me a prize suggestion (a single Malt ( no guesses who that was)) and she came 3rd. M. Mc. 
A third enlightened me to how I could collect the info automatically (not as much fun as guessing who might send me a ping next) but thank you L.P.
Another response was the most unexpected from B.R. thank you, thank you, thank you,
I got a double response from 4 families both Wife and Husband Ss. Ps .As. Ws.
2 corrected future email addresses
Michael Raeside Auld won for the fastest responce he even beat mine.
A Tie for the most popular number  27 and 73 they had 3 each
THE WINNER David Hall, got spot on with 55 he is an accountant, so good to get some numbers right.
His prize will be a free beer at the November Pub Night courtesy of the Sponsors "THE August PIMMS Evenings"  

The Rushden Fete (Saturday 20th June)


Never trust a long range (even short range) weather forecast and so it turned out a bit damp. What the Irish would call a ‘soft day’! Very soft!!


Did it matter? NO, it definitely did not.


Rushden had a cracking good fete started off by the Aviva Ladies Cycle Tour. Not only did we have the usual fun games and stalls on the village green but also, in the car park, some outsider stalls, a fantabulous BBQ, a PIMMS tent and for the first time a ‘jazz’ tent with Dave, Nance and others plus some local ‘talent!’. What with the scrumptious teas in the hall the whole event went with a swing! Even the beer barrel went dry and that was a first!


There are too many names to thank but one has to be mentioned and that is Ann Garrott who was the ‘mastermind’ behind this year’s fete. She deserves all praise especially since, despite other local attractions we matched last year’s takings. Anyone who reads this who was not there should watch carefully for the date for next year!! CW.


Click here for photos with thanks to John Dingemans

An excellent Panto presented by our local talent. It was a very funny story written by Chris Hill and performed in a very funny way by the cast.

The scenery and the makeup were fantastic too. We all had a very good laugh, especially at the rabbits, and a very enjoyable evening.

Click here for some photos with thanks to John Dingrmans