Civic Trust News 2005

Winter 2005

Well, the Autumn questionnaire (delivered with the Rollestonian) has begun to have some effect. A dozen or so of you responded to our plea for new members. Please keep those responses coming.

Summer is over now (although late into October it was fighting back, wasn’t it) and the meteorologists are predicting a long hard winter. Make sure your boots are in good shape and prepare to join RCT’s activity – calculated to keep all participants in good shape too. What we have in store will officially be revealed in Members’ programmes to be delivered in early January as we collect your annual subscriptions. But here is my summary for the early part of the year – obtained from a document leaked by what the tabloids describe as “a usually reliable source”.

Our Winter Programme - - - -

Wednesday January 18 : Cricket Club
A talk about canals and riverways.

Sunday January 29 : Rosliston Forestry Centre
A guided walk in the developing National Forest. Followed by refreshments.

Wednesday February 15 : Cricket Club
Wildlife surprises in and around Rolleston. 

Saturday February 25 : On the Croft
Rolleston Pancake Races.

Wednesday March 15 : Cricket Club
Horticulture talk and plant sale. Followed by the AGM.

Sunday March 19 : Old Hall, Hall Grounds
Plant swap at Mr and Mrs Paul Taylor’s.

- - - - And The Recent Entertainment

In the last quarter there’s been a return to normality after the summer break.

First of all, in September, our guest speaker was Alan Gifford who presented a fascinating talk on the Heage Windmill and its restoration. It was built in 1797 and is now the only stone towered, multi-sailed, working windmill in England. In the intervening years it had a chequered history, falling into disrepair and dilapidation by the 1970s.

It became obvious, as the talk progressed, that the long haul to fund and repair the windmill was a labour of love for Alan and his team of volunteer helpers – The Heage Windmill Society. They lavished most of their working hours on some aspect of its restoration, from encouraging fund raising events to designing and producing custom-made parts from diverse sources. They completed the job in 2002.

The Mill is now open to the public from April to October and guided tours are available.

This was followed by an equally stimulating presentation by Lynn Tan-Watson, introducing us to herbs. Lynn described herself as a witch but it soon became clear that, if so, she is a decidedly white witch. We had some history – back to Egypt of 8000 years ago – and the development of the use of many herbs. Today we tend to think of many of them as culinary aids and to forget about the rest. Lynn filled in many of those gaps and made it clear that she’d tried some of them herself. Some of these gave good results while some were miserable failures.

But, for me, the highlight was, perhaps, the section on old names. My favourite was one of the several old names for the house leek – “Welcome home, my husband, however drunk you be”.

Brook Hollows

A working party, a dozen strong, gathered on October 22 to do some tidying up. Led by our Park Ranger we cut out undergrowth and stripped ivy off trees to a height of six feet or so (with the intention of letting higher growth simply die off). There were several impressive piles of debris to be removed by the end of the morning’s work.

There was more news : six more mature trees have been diagnosed as suffering from Sooty Bark disease. Two of them are already dead but all six will have to be removed and replace with lower level younger specimens.

And ESBC have informed us that they are considering (no more than that) taking over responsibility for general maintenance themselves. This would include grass-cutting, bins, lifebelts etc. Decisions are likely to be made around March/April so any new arrangement could start next summer. We are looking forward to their decision with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation.

Finally, by the time you read this, most of you will have missed the Civic Trust’s Christmas Dinner so this is the best place to wish - - - 

A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year To All Our Readers

Autumn 2005

To paraphrase a musical line from ‘Camelot’
WHAT DOES THE CIVIC TRUST DO? - A good question!

One way to find out, of course, is to join. I’d be very surprised if you can’t afford it. At £2 for an individual or £3 for a family, payable on request in early January, we are currently being asked by members of long standing why we don’t set our annual subscription at a sensible level.

Formed about 40 years ago (don’t ask me to be more precise, I’ve only lived here through the current millennium, not the last one) the RCT Constitution aims at keeping residents interested in the parish, doing our best to promote high standards of planning and architecture and ensuring that features of historic or public interest are taken care of. It all sounds very high minded – constitutions always do – but there’s nothing in there to stop us having a bit of fun as well. So, in practical terms, what does the Civic Trust do??

We do our best to mix business and social matters. For instance, in 8 months of the year (3rd Wednesday, meet in the Cricket Club) there is a talk (‘lecture’ would be far too formal a word for it) on one of a wide range of subjects. Recent examples, for instance, have included “The return of salmon to the River Dove”, “Beekeeping”, “South Derbyshire Sanitary Ware” and “Old Derby”. After the talk, and a break to visit the bar, or whatever, there is a short general meeting which provides an opportunity for committee members to report on recent and forthcoming activity and for Trust members to question the committee on progress. Details of the next meetings are below – all are welcome.

Our Autumn Programme 

Wednesday September 21*
Heage Windmill – by Alan Gifford

Wednesday October 19 *
An Introduction to Herbs – by Lynn Tan-Watson

Wednesday November 16 *
The Bass Railway Trips - by Rod Pearson

Friday December 2 
Civic Trust Christmas Dinner - Meynell Ingram Arms, Hoar Cross. Ticket only - available nearer the date

* Meetings at 8pm in the Cricket Club Lounge. Talk followed by a general meeting of the Civic Trust. Everyone welcome.

Why only eight such meetings? Apart from the amount of work involved in organising each one, there are four months of the year in which there are even better things to do. As you might guess, August is a holiday month while June, July and December give us different opportunities. And in January we squeeze in two dates. But these are not the only events that RCT puts together. Here’s what we’ve done so far this year - in January Our mulled wine get together – no more words needed. We enjoyed it and are looking forward to next year’s. Then, at the beginning of Lent there are Rolleston’s Pancake Races on the Croft. Team relay races for groups of all ages (juniors, seniors and families) - 24 team entries this year. There’s a cup for the Seniors to win and, in best Alice in Wonderland fashion the juniors “all receive prizes”. The proceeds go to church funds but who organises it? Need you ask? So we go on to Summer with The June guided walk. Often the guides are recognised ‘blue badge’ holders with special detailed knowledge of the area. This year was different; our guides were members of Sudbury WI who took us along an old path through the woods behind Sudbury Hall. Not a public footpath nor National Trust but part of the Sudbury Estate closed, even to village residents, apart from a few summer months when it is open only to them and the occasional organised walk like ours. Moreover, they provided a splendid WI tea after the exercise. In June there was also Community Day where we manned the skittle alley so that by July we were ready for the Cheese and wine party, held in a big marquee in a big garden which provides a splendid party atmosphere. This year, thanks to Simon and Helen Richardson, we met at Apple Acres for yet another successful and entertaining evening. Good food, good wine and good conversation. If you weren’t there you should have been. So we are left with The Christmas Party in December, another great get-together for the social side of Civic Trust life which takes us on to January again.

So there’s a lot of fun in the Civic Trust. Now for something completely different -

We undertake some serious activities too. Studying planning applications may be the most serious of these. We try to ensure that we are aware of every application for new building, modification, extension, change of use etc. etc. Where we feel that the change would be deleterious to Rolleston, we exercise our right to object. And if we feel that the effect will be beneficial, we say so. Since we can claim to represent a significant section of the village’s residents ESBC’s Planning Department takes our opinions seriously. (So, the more members we have, the more weight our opinions carry – another good reason for you to join!) Of course, we don’t always get our way. But every now and again plans are changed along the lines of an opinion that we expressed and we feel encouraged to carry on.

Current hot projects we are working on include the development of the Dower House site, the design for a new Health Care Centre and Pharmacy, and , perhaps the most important of all, the updating of the village Conservation Area. Things that may matter to all of us in the long run.

Then there’s Brook Hollows. The Civic Trust has played a continuing role in its health since the days when it was a pool surrounded by a corrugated iron fence. One committee member regularly cuts the grass and co-operates with ESBC on planting new trees. You may have seen references to this in Rollestonian articles from Roger Leverett, our new Parks Ranger. When a working party is needed for a few hours – usually to clean up, spread chippings on paths or similar hard labour, the Civic Trust calls for volunteers.

And, last but far from least, the Civic Trust edits and produces the Rollestonian

* * * * *

O.D. Shelly Cup (Civic Trust Front Garden Award)

The back garden competition has been put on hold for the time being but the O.D. Shelly Cup, otherwise known as the Civic Trust Front Garden Award, has been awarded this year as usual.

I know the judges had a very difficult task in arriving at the winning combination. They were very complimentary about all of the gardens and wish to thank the people of Rolleston for allowing them to view their gardens.

Despite all the recent good weather, the time chosen by the judges for their deliberations coincided with extremely inclement weather. Nevertheless they persevered and covered the village over a period of two days and the results of the Front Garden Competition are:

1st - Mr Philip Gould, Field View, Marston Lane. Wheelbarrow, plant pots, watering can, spade etc. a wonderful idea and a colourful display.
2nd - Mr & Mrs Cawser, 11 Beacon Drive. Nice bedding, standard fuchsias, baskets, neat lawn, very colourful. A lot of thought has gone into it.
3rd - Mrs Anne Skinner, Linden Cottage, 4 Church Road. All round colour, well maintained pond, very nice approach.

The judges have also compiled a short list of highly commended entrants and would like to give a special mention to the following gardens -

The Spread Eagle - Wonderful baskets and window boxes, colour interest to the village.
Kimberley, Church Road - All perennials, very tidy.
3, Church Road - A true cottage garden, vegetable plot, group planting, stocked with lots of colour with meditation area.
Almshouses - Baskets, tubs and planting to river frontage add interest to the village scene.
13, Knowles Hill - Good selection of heathers, well-shaped conifers.
20, The Lawns - Very colourful baskets and tubs, neat and tidy.
40, The Lawns - Colourful planting incorporating shrubs.
42, The Lawns - Interesting use of baskets on posts.
83, Station Road - Mixture of shrubs, annuals and perennials.
87, Station Road - Variety of shrubs planted with annuals to give an overall effect.
19, Beacon Drive - Well designed gravel garden with annuals, conifers, shrubs, hanging baskets and pots.

The Civic Trust would like to thank our judges for their hard work and deliberations.

As usual we will be presenting the O.D. Shelly Cup to the winner, Mr Philip Gould, at the September meeting in the cricket club. This will be held on Wednesday, 21st September, at 8pm. The speaker that night will be Mr Alan Gifford, who is giving a talk about the Heage Windmill.

Summer 2005

Our Change of Meeting Room

We believe that we’ve now settled into our home-from-home in the hospitable surroundings of the Cricket Club. We were certainly made welcome from the very beginning of our first Wednesday meeting there, in March, and anticipate a long and happy relationship with the established residents of ‘The Willows’.

Our Summer Programme - - - -

Wednesday June 15
Civic Trust Walk at Sudbury – Ticket only, details on the noticeboard

Saturday July 9 
Civic Trust Cheese and Wine Evening – Ticket only, details on the noticeboard

Wednesday September 21 
Heage Windmill by Alan Gifford

- - - - And What You’ve Enjoyed (Or Already Missed) This Year

Two talks about the Dove gave us a good start to 2005. Despite our claim in the Spring Rollestonian that we had held our final Spread Eagle meeting, this one really was the last :-

In February, Peter Williams led us on a ‘Journey down the River Dove’. He combined two photographic records (twenty five years apart) to give us lessons in the topography, geography, geology, history and archaeology of our River’s course. He started, as a good one-time geography teacher might, with a field study in the upper valley for his sixth form students and brought us gently down to its confluence with the Trent. Peter remained totally unperturbed by the recurrent fault in the Spread’s lighting circuits that led to him starting in the dark and being blacked out two or three times more. All in all a memorable finale to RCT’s long record of monthly meetings in the Spread Eagle.

And the first at our new venue, in March, was :-

Tim Jacklin on the Environment Agency’s work on ‘The return of salmon to the River Dove’. He has worked in the Trent catchment area for 12 years and shared his experiences with us via a beautifully illustrated lecture on what went wrong up to the1950s as the result of industrialisation followed by a description of the Agency’s plans to re-establish the salmon run over the period 1998 to 2013. Not everyone is necessarily in favour, but early resistance in the upper reaches (where trout and grayling fishing rules) has weakened since salmon have been observed returning to the Dove from their youthful voyaging. Since the first Dove salmon appeared in ’03 the news has basically been good. Nonetheless there are still problems. Run-off from the fields creates some diffuse pollution and there are physical barriers that didn’t originally exist in the river (weirs, for instance). Continuous monitoring is needed and more habitat improvement is still essential. 

There have been unforeseen benefits. Tim described the canoe slalom course at the National Water Sports Centre as “the best fish pass I’ve ever seen”. And when the programme started there were fears that the fish wouldn’t be able to jump Tutbury Weir. To see how misfounded those fears were, we’re recommended to watch the weir in early October.

Then, in April, Karen Mercer introduced us to ‘Pumpaid’, a charitable organisation which installs pumps –‘Elephant Pumps’ – in East Africa, to provide rural schools and communities with clean water for drinking and irrigation. They are made from cheap local materials, cost £200 to install and can be maintained by the local people. Karen illustrated her presentation with a display board, a short film of life in Mozambique and a model Elephant Pump. The operation is run by 18 field personnel in Zimbabwe which has been the centre of operations although there are also developments in Mozambique and in Malawi. Total installation to date exceeds 1500 and is increasing by about 50 per month.

Annual Pancake Races

The beginning of Lent seems a long, long time ago but back then, in heavy rain, the indomitable pancake tossers of Rolleston formed up in 24 teams, including 10 senior ones. The senior victors were the 1st Rolleston Guides who received the Festival Cup along with token prizes. Each participating youngster received a small gift of chocolate.

Entry fees plus a collection from the massed crowds raised about £70 for St. Mary’s funds and the preschool playgroup donated half their takings from the sale of pancakes. (No, not the ones dropped during the racing!).

Civic Trust Garden Award 2005

Attention all gardeners and would be gardeners!

As Spring is upon us in all its beauty, now is perhaps the time for planning your summer displays, and what better motivation is there than the thought of the Civic Trust Front Garden Award?

The judges are booked and plan to carry out their observation during the first week in July. There is no need to register your entry as all gardens will automatically be considered unless specifically withdrawn. As in previous years, the winner will not be eligible for consideration for the next five years. The judges’ decision on the awards will be final.

As mentioned in the last issue of Rollestonian, judging will be for front gardens only as the Civic Trust has decided to put on hold the Back Garden Competition for the time being.

We are sure that the standard will be as consistently high and varied as ever, giving our judges plenty to think about on their travels around the village.

The results of the competition will be announced in due course in Rollestonian and also displayed on the notice board outside Starbucks.

Happy gardening.

Any queries with regard to this announcement to Heather Taylor Tel: 812118 or Janet Sanderson Tel: 815480

Committee Changes

At the AGM on March 16 Di Millar resigned from the committee while Clare Stewart was elected as a new member. Other members were re-elected. There was some movement of officers since John Carlton resigned the position of Treasurer after 14 years, while remaining a committee member. Helen Richardson moved over from Secretary to Treasurer and was, in turn, replaced by Vanessa Winstone.

Spring 2005

Our Programme For Spring ‘05

By now, I’m sure that most of you know that our long established pattern of monthly meetings in the upstairs room of the Spread Eagle will soon end. There’ll still be meetings – combining talks from visitors with something interesting to say with a short updating of Civic Trust activities. But not in the Spread Eagle, which is being subjected to some serious internal changes, making it necessary for us to find alternative accommodation.

We hope and trust that you’ll still be able to find us at 8.00pm on the third Wednesday of the month. Keep an eye on the notice board at Starbucks for the monthly venue and topic.

Wednesday March 16
The Return of Salmon to the River Dove by Tim Jacklyn
Followed by the Civic Trust AGM. Everyone welcome

Wednesday April 20
PumpAid by Karen Mercer

Wednesday May 18
Myths and Legends Around Women’s Health by Angela Reynolds

Wednesday June 15
Civic Trust Walk – Ticket Event, Venue to be announced

------ And In The Recent Past

Two meetings which had one thing in common – neither speaker relied on visual aids to punctuate or illustrate his descriptive flow- and neither speaker needed it.

November brought Graham Nutt from Swadlincote to share with us his experiences in saving tons of local historical documents to fill “The Magic Attic”. As a carpenter he didn’t see himself as a historian or an archivist but the threat of all this information being lost to posterity had galvanised him to instigate saving the material and subsequently seeing it grow. His personal commitment was so clear and his description, as the story unrolled, so bright, that he held his audience enthralled. He was talking of something he loved.

January’s speaker, C. Bailey, by contrast, talked of his direct professional experience. As a buyer and a seller of different lines of Marks and Spencer’s goods, he had a lifetime’s collection of stories of successes and failures in the ‘Chicken & Knickers’ business and of the various personnel he had worked with.

There have also been the Civic Trust’s two winter social occasions. In early December, the Christmas Dinner was held in the cellars of the ‘Old Hall’ at the kind invitation of Paul & Heather Taylor. Later, at the end of January, we held our annual Mulled Wine Party as the guests of Simon & Helen Richardson at ‘Apple Acres’. Both events were greatly enjoyed by members and guests.

Civic Trust Garden Award 2005

This year the Civic Trust has decided to concentrate solely on the Front Garden Award and has put on hold the Back Gardens Competition for the time being. There is no need to apply for entry to the Front Garden Competition, as all front gardens will be automatically considered (unless specifically withdrawn).

This award, as usual, will be judged over a 2-3 day period in June/July. As in previous years, the winner of last year’s competition will not be eligible for the next five years.

Judging dates will be announced in due course in the Rollestonian and also displayed on the notice board outside Starbucks.
The judge’s decision on the awards will be final.

We hope this notification will give you all plenty of time to prepare your gardens for the summer judging. Any queries with regard to this announcement to: Heather Taylor, Tel: 812118 or Janet Sanderson, Tel: 815480.

Listing The Village (Continued from the Winter Rollestonian 2004)

We expect the draft new conservation document to be provided during February for village organisations to study and comment on. This consultation period will probably last about six weeks, so during March, opinions should be forming ready for feedback to the ESBC.

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Last updated: 17 December 2005