LITCHAM ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Held in Jubilee Hall on the 21st April 2008 at 7.30pm
click on name of organisation to go to report
ALL SAINTS CHURCH (Parochial Church Council)
Richard Vogt - Churchwarden
Annual Report from the Parochial Church Council
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES 2007-2008
This year has been one during which the parish has officially been in interregnum, i.e. without a resident incumbent priest. However, thanks to the devotion of the Revd. Jonathan Boston, the pattern of church services and the operation of the church choir have continued unchanged. This is vital to the community, as regular worship is the main public assurance of our continuing presence. Although there are sometimes only a few boys in the choir for a service, the choir and the associated Junior Leaders and its camps and other events are an important link with families and younger people and they do provide genuine opportunities for young boys to develop a degree of independence and self-reliance, often for the first time outside the family unit.
Several candidates of both genders for the new living of the enlarged group of parishes (now including the Dunhams and Franshams) have been considered and one interviewed, but no appointment has been offered at this time. The parishes are resolved to await a truly fitting candidate rather than to compromise.
There has been a considerable amount of fund raising this year, the highlight of which was the catering at the Lexham snowdrop Sunday, which, thanks to a record attendance in ideal weather, broke all records. This money and more has gone back into building maintenance. Insurance inspection requirements revealed that much urgent electrical work was needed and over £5000 has been spent to date, with more to come. The great increase in energy prices has not only impacted upon our own homes, but has had a similar effect upon church buildings, where electricity costs have increased by 250%. This alone will absorb all our annual income unless changes are made and we are now seeking a replacement heating system which will give both increased comfort and substantially reduced consumption.
An exciting development during the year has been the offer to form a ³Friends of Litcham Church.² This will be a small charitable organisation which will be able to raise funds for the historic fabric and artifacts of the church which will be under the control of its members independently of the Church Council. Donations to this body for general purposes or for specific projects (the church clock being one such current objective) can therefore be made in the knowledge that they will be ring fenced for that purpose. Despite the urgency of the electrical work, the building fabric continues to weather and continuous small repairs are always needed.
The church has had some modest internal additions during the year which are intended to make it of more interest and welcome to visitors and parishioners alike. A large collection of replica brasses has been acquired, some of which are displayed and brass rubbing days can be held. The Lady Chapel has been enhanced by additional furnishings and is dedicated to personal prayer. As the building remains open during daylight hours anyone is welcome to take a few moments to use this, at times of personal distress or for regular quiet devotion. The church is often used by people of other faiths and denominations who do not have local religious facilities and we remain open to this and we are very pleased and grateful to be able to provide somewhere with a peaceful and prayerful atmosphere for all.
We remain confident that a priest will be found, perhaps during 2008, but assured that our work will continue unbroken come what may.
Richard Vogt, Church Warden, April 2008
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting
The past year has seen Litchamıs bells rung only infrequently, due to their generally poor condition and a lack of ringers within the village. However, with the help of people from other villages we aim to ring the bells at least once a month, as well as for any special occasions such as weddings.
Three surveys of the bells have been carried out with a view to comprehensive repairs and tuning work being undertaken. One positive outcome of the surveys is that they report the bells are at present safe to ring. However, the total cost of repairs will probably be in excess of £30,000, so there is a lot of fundraising to be done. This will be worthwhile in the long run, as the end result should be a properly tuned set of bells that will not need any further major work for perhaps a hundred years.
Litchamıs bells and tower are of historical interest and Tim Angell
would be happy to show them to anyone who is interested. All you need is a head
for heights, depending on how far up the tower you want to go.
Litcham, Tittleshall & District Branch
Annual Statement presented to Litcham Parish Meeting
Sadly during the past twelve months we have lost two members namely John Lambert & Marianne Mulrenan and our membership now stands at 21 members. Having lost several members and the increasing age and ill health of several members makes it very difficult to attend meetings. We do continue to look for new members to join the branch and anyone interested please contact the secretary or any member of the branch.
We have changed our meeting day to the first Wednesday in the months of February, May, August and November (AGM) in the afternoon at the Tittleshall Village Hall, commencing at 2.30 PM
The poppy appeal for 2008 was again very successful and thanks must go to Arthur Clarke acting as the Poppy Appeal Organiser, and the numerous collectors and shopkeepers in the surrounding villages and of course the generosity of the local populous. The final total for the poppy appeal, along with Tittleshallıs contribution amounted to £1441 approximately.
We attended the Armistice Services in the churches at Litcham, Tittleshall & Mileham also the memorial service held at the American War Memorial in Beeston followed by a buffet lunch in Beeston village hall.
We would like to record our thanks to former officers and members of the branch for past support.
Litcham Common Conservation Group was set up in January 2004 to assist with conservation work on the common. The group is relatively informal, with no written constitution or formal membership list, and uses the Litcham Common Management Committee bank account to hold funds. However, the group is a member of, and insured through, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). The groupıs only income this year was a grant of £200 from Litcham Parish Council, for which it is very grateful. Expenses amounted to £238, the bulk of which was the cost of insurance.
Volunteers meet on the second Saturday of each month and carry out tasks agreed with Norfolk County Councilıs Countryside Department. Over the past year the work done has included cutting and burning scrub, clearing rubbish and litter, maintaining the footpaths and burning gorse cut by contractors. The group also carried out an extra task away from the common. This involved raking up vegetation that had been cut on a village road verge where flowers such as cowslips and early purple orchids grow.
The number of people attending tasks varies, but we normally have between five and ten volunteers each month. Volunteers come from other villages as well as Litcham, and have ranged in age from five upwards. Those who come enjoy the physical exercise, company, pleasant surroundings and a sense of achievement.
Litcham Common is a Local Nature Reserve and the Committeeıs primary responsibility is to manage it as such, particularly taking account of the siteıs importance as an area of lowland heathland. At the same time, consideration needs to be given to maintaining a diversity of wildlife habitats, as well as taking account of the commonıs importance to the people of Litcham and surrounding villages for recreational purposes.
The members of the committee include representatives of Norfolk County Council (Sarah Cureton), Lexham Hall Estate (Neil Foster), Litcham Parish Council (Mike Oldfield), Litcham Common Conservation Group (Tim Angell), and also three residents of Litcham (John Jones, John Mitchell and Joyce Green).
carried out over the past year includes:
> Selective scrub and tree clearance to stop heathland plants (particularly heather) from being shaded out, and to provide sheltered but sunny wildlife habitats amongst the gorse.
> Replacing dilapidated benches with new ones.
> Mowing areas of bracken, and also the main paths.
Funding for the work is provided by Norfolk County Council; grants are also received under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. Some of the work is carried out by volunteers.
The major focus over the past few months has continued to be the project to reintroduce grazing on the common, using Dartmoor ponies. Four ponies have been purchased and at the moment are being looked after by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust at Grimston Warren nature reserve. They will be brought to Litcham once the north-west half of the common has been made stock proof. This work is scheduled to take place in the second half of May, so the ponies should arrive at Litcham in early June.
The progress of the grazing proposals has been reported on an ongoing basis in Church & Villageı magazine and also on the Parish Council website. The Management Committee is grateful for the feedback received and also to the members of the public who have volunteered to help look after the ponies once they arrive.
The Management Committee is keen to include the local community in the grazing project as much as possible and is pleased that Litcham Primary School has shown an interest. Anyone else who would like to help, or has questions or comments, is asked to speak to a member of the Management Committee.
Finally, the proposals to install cattle grids on the Litcham to Dunham road are still on hold, awaiting a decision from Norfolk County Council Highways. However, the Management Committee notes that cattle grids are the preferred option for both Litcham Parish Council and The Open Spaces Society and so will continue to pursue this as a long term objective, provided Highways give the go ahead.
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting
The past year has been an eventful one for the school. In September 2006 we became a Specialist Language College. In January 2007 we received the news that we had been successful in our submission for re-designation as a Science College.
This was recognition of the very significant progress the school had made over the past four years, in raising standards and levels of achievement. With it, also, came confirmation that through the national programme for High Performing Secondary Schools, the school would also become a Specialist Sports College from 1st April 2007. Only a handful of schools in England have three specialisms, but the real significance of this is the opportunity it gives us to work with and support our colleagues in the Litcham Cluster of schools. Whether it be through the Science and
Maths Days for Year 5 and 6 pupils; expertise and resources to support thedevelopment of modern foreign language teaching in the primary schools or a greater range of sporting and PE experiences for primary pupils, the specialisms are being used to benefit all the young people in our community.
The summer term 2007 was a difficult period in the schoolıs life. A fine teacher and much-respected colleague lost her fight with cancer and, shortly afterwards, a student died suddenly and unexpectedly. This hit very hard in a small community like ours, but it brought out a determination to succeed and the summerıs GCSE results were among the best ever recorded.
The September 2007 admission round was a very difficult one. Due to an unusual bulge in the number of Year 6 children living in the catchment area, there was great pressure on places. In the event, all catchment area children gained a place, but a few with siblings at the school, but living outside the area, were unsuccessful.
The school is full and over-subscribed. In September 2008, all Year 6 children living in the catchment area should have a place. However, families moving into the area during the school year are finding that we are full and are unable to take their
November 2007 saw a full inspection by OfSTED and we were delighted to be described as a good school with many outstanding featuresı. The full report can be accessed at: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk.
Headteacher, Jeremy Nicholls and School Sports Co-ordinator, Mark Barrett visited China, as members of a group from four Norfolk High Schools and as guests of our partner school in Chongqing, south west China. In July 2008 we hope to welcome teacher representatives from the Chongqing Foreign Language School. Then in summer 2009, we are planning for the visit of a group of Chinese students, followed
by a return visit of Litcham students to Chongqing. This is a very exciting project which we hope will do much to prepare our students for a rapidly changing world.
The last two weeks of the autumn term were particularly busy with the Presentation of Certificates evening for last yearıs leavers; a Space Day for Year 8 students - part of our Science Specialism programme; the film première of this yearıs highly successful musical A. J. Raffles and the Museum of Mayhemı and a Modern Languages Department trip to Cologne for 40 students of German from Years 9, 10 and 11.
Despite the schoolıs success and the pleasantness of the environment, recruitment of staff, especially teachers, is a real problem. Property prices are a factor, but for younger staff, rural life is clearly less attractive than living in the city.
The spring term is important for the expressive arts. This yearıs school play Serious Undertakingsı played to packed houses over three nights. There was also huge interest in the annual Music Talent Show. We are fortunate to have so many
talented actors, musicians and support crew.
Jeremy Nicolls, Headteacher
Report for Litcham Parish Meeting
The Ladies Group is still thriving and having monthly meetings at each others homes. We have kept the same membership though we are always happy to welcome new friends. One or two members have moved house so we have new homes to visit. We now meet in the afternoon and, as in previous years, most meetings are well attended which shows people still want to keep in touch.
The outing to Sandringham last summer was a great success with ladies meeting for coffee before visiting the house and grounds and returning to the restaurant for lunch. The train round the grounds was much appreciated by some!
Once again we are called on to help with village events-that is refreshments for the village. Douglas and John cooked expertly for our annual barbecue and we all enjoyed the company and fine weather. At the last meeting of 2007 we wished each other Happy Christmas with sherry and mince pie, instead of the usual coffee and biscuits.
2008 started with the New Year lunch for members and their husbands at the 'George' at Swaffam, always a good meal.
Our membership have decided have to support the 'Zipper Club' as our charity for this year. This group raises much needed fund for equipment for the treatment of heart patients at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. Over £100 pounds has been donated.
Now we are planning outings for 2008 and hope to have an open meeting for the others in the village to attend. Our group of friends continue to enjoy these informal meetings.
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting
As with most denominations, Methodism finds
itself with a deficit of ordained presbyters, the consequence being that
churches are needing to be grouped into larger
clusters, or 'Circuits' as they are called in Methodism.
Thus, since last September, Litcham joined the Mid-Norfolk Circuit which stretches from Tittleshall to Hingham, and is administered by the ordained clergy collectively responsible for eighteen Churches.
We are currently engaged in planning for the centenary of our building in 2009. The centenary service will be held on March 9th and will be led by the President of Methodism in Great Britain, the Rev. Stephen Poxton. Many people have asked how we have managed to secure such a luminary and much as I would like to be able to report on the protracted negotiations at the highest level, the truth is that it was as simple as picking up the telephone and asking "Will you come?".
We are hoping to arrange special events and concerts throughout the year and are involved in negotiations with various artistes, some internationally known. So we look forward to an exciting year with which to enter the second century of United Methodism in Litcham.
On a more day-to-day, but equally important level, out Thursday Coffee Mornings go from strength to strength and have become a great community asset, providing a popular meeting point for folk in the village and beyond. If you would like to see for yourself, come along any Thursday between 10.30a.m. and noon.
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting
Again it has been a very quiet year for Litcham Play 2000, although fund-raising is still continuing all be it very low key. This is due to the fact that we are still none the wiser about a piece of suitable land on which to put the recreation area.
Therefore it has seemed rather pointless raising funds when we don't know what is happening.
Perhaps the Parish Council representative could enlighten us!
We would welcome new members to the committee which meets approximately once every 4-5 weeks.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us on the last year.
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting held on 21st April 2008
As always, the Friends of Litcham Primary School have continued to raise funds for the school. Events over the last year have included the school discos, Summer Fete, Christmas Fayre and Beetle Drives. In addition this year we held a Fashion Show, which proved to be very successful and held a joint Bingo Night with L.A.L.G.A., which was also very successful.
The Friends have also managed to secure a grant of £10,000 from the Foyle Foundation to furnish the new library extension. This money has enabled us to install an interactive whiteboard, buy all the required shelving, tables and chairs, a new computer and will cover the cost of some new books. The children were all able to choose a new book each from the Book Club to go into our new library. The Foyle Foundationıs generosity has enabled us to complete a project which would have taken at least a couple of years for us to do by ourselves.
This year has also seen the retirementı of Sadie Bailey as our chair. Her enthusiasm, commitment and energy have all contributed to many successful events for over 10 years and the Friends, along with staff, parents and governors are indebted to her for all her hard work. We are therefore looking for a new chair for the Friends, but Sadie is a very hard act to follow!
The Friends are also looking at changes in the way that we fundraise. We are holding a joint venture with the Childrenıs Centre and Litcham Childcare, which is our Summer Fete on 4th July 2008. We are hopeful that this joining of forces will be successful and enable us all to raise so much more money for our funds in the future. The success of this event may well determine exactly how we all proceed in the years to come, as fundraising gets ever more difficult.
Report for Litcham Annual Parish Meeting held on 16th April 2007
I have nothing new to report this year about the Red Cross Medical Loan unit.
We continue to lend out items of medical equipment during the year which provide invaluable emergency help foe people in the short term, either recovering from an operation or accident, allowing them to be cared for at home.
As you know this is a charitable organisation funded entirley by donation. We are very grateful for people's generous support.
Annual Report 2009
The Year 2007-2008 has once again been very successful. Numbers continue to increase, especially at the Youth Club (109 members). Many thanks go to my assistants, Tony Bailey and Courtney Reynolds.
Football (153 players) provided fun and excitement at "both ends" of various leagues, from the under 9s to 16s. The 10s, 13s, 14s and 16s are either winners or runners-up of their various leagues. The 13s and 16s have cup finals in a week's time. Our Chairman, Chris Read and all the Team Managers and Coaches have worked hard to make playing football a great experience for everyone.T.B.A.
Last cricket season (89 players) again proved what talent we have. Four lads, Charlie Read, Harry Read, Aidan Baker and Elliot Whiting were invited to Norfolk County Winter Nets. Everybody was thrilled for them. Young Charlie, 10 years old, is due to play the county in about two weeks! I hope to be there.
Sports Activity Week commences in the first week of the summer school holidays and hopefully tennis will resume in May.
Our attendance total of 461 for the past year is a record. Sincere thanks to everybody who has made this possible.
Report for Litcham Parish Annual Meeting held on 21st April 2008
This has not been a very good year for the Project. We had to close in September last year because of problems with some of the youths who attend. We re-opened in January for a very short while only to find that the behaviour had not improved. There have been spates of thefts of equipment and unfortunately for the majority of youngsters the minority did not appreciate what we have and had been damaging various bit if equipment and the Jubilee Hall.
We had a male volunteer join us in January and he advised us that it probably wasn't viable to keep the Project open at this present time. A joint decision was made by the volunteers to close the club until at least September and then re-open and perhaps cap the age. This hopefully will give us a fighting chance. Nobody wants to give up their spare time to be verbally abused by youngsters who do not appreciate what is being done for them.
We would however welcome any advice or help anyone who is able to offer, particularly for the male members of the community. We feel that perhaps the youngsters may react differently with a man about the place.
Our thanks to the Parish Council for their kind donation towards the cost of the rental of the Jubilee Hall. This will be carried forward to when the club re-opens in September.