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Five Parishes Magazine


Five Parishes magazineThis magazine is published monthly and is distributed free to every household in the Five Parishes.
For editorial and advertisement sales in the Five Parishes Magazine contact Mrs Angela Harbottle, 8 St Edmunds Croft, Dunmow, CM6 3AZ on 01371 876707 or via Email.

The latest edition of The Five Parishes Magazine contains the following editorial content.  For various reasons we are unable to publish the names, telephone numbers etc of private individuals.  However if you require further information about any of the events mentioned, the Editor, Angela, will be happy to help you.  Contributions for the Magazine should reach her by latest 10th of the month prior to month of publication.


Priest-in-Charge: Revd Tim Goodbody writes from The Vicarage, 7 Ruffels Place, Stebbing, CM6 3TJ
Telephone 01371 856080 /
07708 660162 Email
Curate: Revd Janet Parker Telephone 01371 870920 Email

December 2019

Dear Friends

As we enter yet another month of uncertainty, at the end of a year of not inconsiderable turmoil, my thoughts have turned once again to the Christmas story. By the end of this year, we may have a little more idea about what is going to happen about Brexit, and we will have a new government of some sort (I do sincerely hope).

There was turmoil and uncertainty that first Christmas, too. Joseph had to deal with a potential scandal when his fiancée was found to be pregnant; he could have panicked and quietly broken off the engagement, but he did not do this. Why? Because an angel appeared to him in a dream and reassured him that these strange events were part of God’s plan, and he should not be afraid.

The holy family also became refugees, fleeing the persecution of King Herod, and they had to relocate to another town. The Christmas story shows us that family relationship issues, forced migration and political manipulation, which we read about in the news every day, are not new phenomena. Yet Christmas is most importantly a story of hope and faith. Joseph and Mary were faced with a seemingly impossible task, but they did not falter, they were faithful. They had no idea what the future would bring but they carried on, trusting that God would guide them.

Brexit is nothing, compared to the task of bringing up Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Yet I am convinced that God is intimately concerned with the welfare of this nation (and every nation). This is at the heart of Christmas – God’s love for the world doesn’t stop when the decorations are put away in January, and his ongoing care and guidance are always there for those who seek it. Oh, that those who lead our nation would do just that!

This Christmas at Church we will be praying for this and every nation in the season of goodwill – do join us. The pattern of services is published in the pages of this magazine.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.






The Salings (GS: Great and LS: Little)


1st December Advent

11am Joint Advent Service at Great Easton
Guest Speaker: Revd Professor Paul Beasley-Murray

8th December
2nd Sunday of Advent

9.30am Christingle

11am Morning Prayer @ LS

11am CW Holy Communion

15th December
3rd Sunday of Advent

9.30am Holy Communion

4pm Carol Service @ GS

8am BCP Holy Communion
11am Informal + Kids Connect7pm Christmas Rocks

21st December (Saturday)



7pm Carols by Candlelight

22nd December
4th Sunday of Advent

9.30 Family Service
4pm Carols

9.30am Holy Communion @ LS

11am CW Holy Communion
7pm Carols by Candlelight

24th December


3.30pm Christingle @ LS
11.30pm CW Holy Communion @ GS

4pm Christingle & Crib Service
11.30pm CW Holy Communion

25th December

9.30am CW Holy Communion

10.30am CW Holy Communion @ GS

11am Family Service

29th December
1st Sunday of Christmas

9.30am Morning Prayer


11am Favourite Carols

5th Jan 2020
2nd Sunday of Christmas

9.30am Holy Communion

11am BCP Holy Communion @ GS

11am Morning Prayer
3.30–5pm TOTS



Curate Revd Janet Parker writes: Once again Christmas is almost upon us with all the hustle and bustle of preparation.  Perhaps you would like to take a few minutes to just sit, think and relax.  Over the years The Posada has travelled around the Five Parishes during December.  Posada are knitted figures of Mary, Joseph and Millie the donkey representing their journey to Bethlehem, for Jesus’ birth, some two thousand years ago.  Children and adults alike enjoy hosting these figures for a few days before passing them on.  They offer an opportunity to remember what this busy time is all about – the birth of the Son of God.  If you would like to host this Holy family, please do call me.

Christmas can be a difficult time for some.  If you know someone who will be on their own, please will you think long and hard, to see if you can make a difference for them, particularly in that week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.  Will just popping round to share a cup of tea bring a smile to their face?  Could you invite them in for a meal?  If they are a person who has gone to church in the past, or would like to go, could you offer to go with them or give them a lift?  Sometimes the fear of being rejected holds us back but, in reality, the worst that could happen is that they say ‘no thank you’.

Some of you will be aware that a gentleman was found asleep recently, wrapped in only a thin blanket, alongside the river in Great Easton.  He had no clothing or papers.  This gentleman, from Eastern Europe, is now in safe hands and being taken care of.  After the tragedy, in October, when thirty-nine Vietnamese people were found dead, we have all become more aware that dreadful things happen, even in our own communities.  Modern day slavery and human trafficking is a multi-billion-pound business with a million more people being stolen from their families each year.  Should you come across someone you fear may have been trafficked and is in immediate danger, please ring 999 and ask for the police; otherwise ring a 24/7 helpline: Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121700 or Victim Referral Helpline 0300 3038151.  The Salvation Army, working with the police and Home Office, will talk you through how to help and will arrange to take care of the individual.

God bless you all and have a peaceful but wonderful Christmas.  Janet, 01371 870920


See separate advertisement for dates and venues. 


By the time you read this, our second Five Parishes event of this year will be only days away on Sunday 8th December.  The basic details are given in our advertisement on page ?? but, as this was created in June, here are some more details to whet your appetite.  The event will be held in three sites: The Barn theatre, the Turkey barn (both within the Little Easton Manor confines) plus our lovely church at Little Easton.  Outside there will be food, drinks and the blacksmith.

We have over 30 stalls with something for everyone.  There is a Santa’s Grotto, a crib area where kids of all ages can practise their painting or crayoning skills, a huge raffle and a tombola stall.  You can sample some amazing Caribbean cuisine and, of course, burgers and sausages.  If you want mince pies, mulled wine and hot drinks etc, they are in the Turkey Barn and there is a bar in the Barn theatre.  The event ends with a children’s choir singing carols in the church, but it is not a church service.  Do come along and tell your friends that car parking is free and nearby.

To finish off the day, why not pop over to our equally lovely church at Broxted at 4pm for our first Christmas Carols Service in an ancient building impressively decorated for the season.  As always, you will be made very welcome.Ron Gilder, on behalf of the Five Parishes Christmas Markets Team.


Brian Miller writes: Draw No 2 of the new term has taken place and cork No 30 belonging to Sandra Reed was drawn.  A cheque for £50 has been sent with our congratulations.


The WI Christmas Lunch will be on Tuesday 10th December at 12.30 for 1pm.  A change of day because of the Election.  For further information please contact either President, Doreen Hart, on 01371 870830 or Secretary, Christine Chalkley, on 01371 852180. 


Jill Goldsmith writes:  Strange, isn’t it, to welcome the rain we have had in October and early November?  But the Gardens have really enjoyed the rain, the lily pond has been slowly refilling and a few lost volunteer hours at this time of year has not been a problem!

The final Open Day of the season was lovely – too early in October to be Hallowe’en, but many of the 100 children who visited enjoyed making crowns for their mini-pumpkins, while other visitors were pleased to take away squashes for an autumnal soup!  The autumn colours were building and there were lots of interesting fungi to spot.

This year’s open season has whizzed by, thanks to the huge efforts of all our volunteers, who have made the Gardens so beautiful and given such a warm welcome to our visitors.  We were particularly delighted to meet and show around the grandson of the Countess of Warwick’s head gardener at the time of Peto’s transformation of the gardens in 1902.  We love hearing from people with connections to the Gardens – so if you have some stories to share or find some old photos, please do get in touch!

Best wishes from all of us at the Gardens for the upcoming festive season.   


Christmas will be the theme of Gill McGregor’s talk on Tuesday 3rd December.  Meetings are held at the United Reformed Church, Bolford Street, CM6 2PY at 7.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month.  Easy parking and disabled access are available to the meeting room.  Annual subscriptions £36, visitors £5 per evening.  All welcome.


A Christmas Bazaar will take place on Saturday 7th December at the Catholic Church Hall, Mill Lane, Great Dunmow, CM6 1BG from 10am to 2pm.  You will find seasonal stalls, refreshments, cakes, raffles.  Father Christmas will visit and The Ukes of Hazard will provide live music.  Entry is free.


On Saturday 7th December the Bishop’s Stortford Choral Society will perform Rutter’s Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols.  Taking place at the Methodist Church, South Street at 7.30pm, the event will include a raffle to raise funds for the Winter Night Shelter in the town.  Visit website for tickets and information on the Society. 


Felsted Choral Society and Orchestra under their conductor, Roger Lawrence, present an evening of Christmas music and carols for choir and audience on Saturday 14th December at 7.30pm in the Grignon Hall, Felsted CM6 3JD.  Tickets £15 including programme and refreshments from or by e-mail from


Peter Layzell, a retired Police sergeant, gave a talk to Dunmow U3A at their main meeting on 30th October.  Open meetings are generally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 2pm at the ET Foakes Memorial Hall and all are welcome to attend.  The Rock Choir will entertain at the November meeting and, on Tuesday 10th December, there will be a Christmas party.


Grateful thanks have been received from the Foodbank for the support given them at the Five Parishes Harvest Festival.

As you will see from their shopping list, they are not asking for Christmas items this year as they need to keep stocks of basic items at a good level to continue to meet the increasing need for a meal on any day for those in crisis.  Food items required: lLt Longlife fruit juice, tinned custard, pasta sauce, tinned fruit, tinned soup, tinned spaghetti and sponge puddings.  Non-food items needed: shower gel, shampoo, deodorants, washing-up liquid, washing powder.


PETER SMITH: It was with very great sadness that we learned of the passing of Peter on 20th October after a relatively short illness, bravely borne.  We join with the many messages of heartfelt condolences to his wife, Susan, his children Kate, Joe, Anna, Sam and his grandchildren Sash, Isaak, Stacey, Imani, William, Gabriel, Iris, Owen, Julian, Bethan, Ana Lee, Clara and Peter and their families. 

A very moving, family-based Service of Thanksgiving took place at Little Easton Parish Church on 31st October.  The tribute read by Joe appears at the end of the magazine, as does Kate’s wonderful eulogy in verse.

Susan Smith and all the family thank everyone who sent words of comfort, gifts, offers of help and those who prayed.  Susan says that there were many answered prayers during Peter’s short illness and they are a comfort now.

MICHAEL DONALD PRENTICE SMITH: Along with everyone else in the Five Parishes community and beyond, we were shocked and dismayed at the announcement that Michael Smith had passed away suddenly just a week after Peter, on the 27th October, aged 85 years.  He was husband to Brenda, father to Claire, Hayley and Michael, and Pops to six grandchildren.  We send our sincere condolences to all his family and friends.  After a private cremation, a Memorial Service will take place on Friday 29th November at St Mary’s Church, Dunmow at 2pm, followed by refreshments at the ET Foakes Memorial Hall, Dunmow.  More will follow in the next issue.


This is a lovely Christmassy, winter sorbet.  It makes a refreshing alternative to the rich seasonal food at this time of year.  It makes 12 good sized scoops.

Black Forest Sorbet with Mulled Wine Spices

150g (5oz) caster sugar; 200ml (7fl oz) boiling water; 2 sachets mulled wine spices; 750g frozen Black Forest fruit mix; 3 orange slices; 5 tablespoons red wine; 2 teaspoons liquid glucose

Put the sugar and boiling water in a pan with the mulled wine sachets and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the fruit, orange and red wine and simmer gently for about 5 minutes until the fruit is beginning to collapse.  Remove the sachets and the orange slices, purée with a stick blender and pass through a sieve.  Stir in the liquid glucose.  Freeze the mixture, then transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth, before refreezing for a further 1 hour before serving.  Serve with shortbread biscuits.

If you have a favourite recipe, seasonal or otherwise, which you would like to share, please send it to Gill Willoughby at


We have returned from our two week half term refreshed and ready to tackle the Christmas Play season head on!  This half term started with a very special Anti-Bullying assembly from a group called The Power of One.  They deliver a message to pupils to let them know that one person has the power to change how someone might be feeling about themselves or a situation they find themselves in.  All the children in the school have signed a pledge to say that they will be an ‘up-stander’ if they witness any bullying, which means they will stand up for what is right.  This message fits very strongly with part of our school vision: We will be bold enough to use our voices, brave enough to evoke change in the world and strong enough to stand up for what is right.

We have also had a visit from a Road Safety officer from Essex County Council who talked to the children in an assembly about the importance of being visible and sensible when walking on pavements and when crossing or cycling on roads.  Key Stage Two children then went down to the main road near the premises of P & A Wood and practised how to be safe.

Our excellent PTA organised an evening of dancing for KS1 and KS2 with the very popular discos, and our Christmas Fayre will be taking place on Sunday 24th November from 12 noon to 3pm, so please pop that date in your diary and come and visit us if you can.  And don’t forget to diary the Carol Service in church at 2pm on Wednesday 18th December.

Finally, a couple of special mentions: we would like to say a big thank you to Robert Pickford and Michelle Pickford for allowing us to host two cross country events on their fields.  These were very popular, with over 200 children running the course over the two occasions.  Also thank you to David Steele, one of our Grandparents, who has offered to help with the choreography for our Christmas plays.  We are very grateful to everyone who volunteers their time for our very lucky children. 

Thank you for reading.
Holly Miles,  Year 4/5 Teacher, Assistant Headteacher


Brian O’Leary reports:  Great Easton Village Hall shone like a beacon in the darkness of the Essex countryside.  The lights struggled to penetrate the shadows but from out of the night, ghosts, ghouls, witches and vampires are drawn to the light.  The locals gather, too, for a night of Magic and Mischief.

For the seventeenth year in a row, Brian and Audrey Miller have organised and produced a night of fundraising.  Because of the demand for tickets, nine years ago it was extended to two nights, so twenty-six shows have taken place.  This is the third year these shows have supported the Simone Cowland Trust charity to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers.  The last two years raised over £7,500 for the Trust. 

The night began with food, drink and table magic by Michael Carr, Paul Clancy and Barry Hicks, three excellent close-up magic performers providing much laughter and amazement from the guests.  Once the guests had been warmed up, it was time for the fancy-dress competition.  Potterites, vampires, witches, fortune tellers, zombies and Miss Hallowe’en herself all took part.  The judges deliberated, votes were cast and eventually the Zombie was declared victorious.

Competition complete, the lights were dimmed and our host and compère Brian introduced the first act.  We were transported back to an era with the classical magic of Scott Penrose.  Doves appeared from silks and yo-yos were transformed into doves.  A beautiful linking rings routine was ably assisted by one very talented dove.  Finally, the doves themselves vanished from sight to be replaced with … well let’s not spoil any surprises but the new guest was very popular and cute.

Whilst the stage set was taking place for the next act, Brian explained to the very appreciative audience that Scott Penrose was the Immediate Past President of The Magic Circle, he then introduced the newly elected President, Noel Britten, who had travelled from his home in Bath, Somerset and was pleased to attend as this was his first official engagement.

Next was Bertie Pearce.  A newspaper was torn into a mess, to be restored with a deft flick.  The act got dangerous when a large blade was revealed and a volunteer plus two carrots (I don’t think they volunteered) were asked to put their arms though a rather innocent looking wooden frame.  The blade was then placed in the frame.  I’m sure it turned out fine, but your humble narrator was worried, so looked away.  There was no screaming, but there was plenty of applause.

There was now a handbrake turn into the ‘music hall’ side of magic with The Great Desmondo and Cherry, an act full of comedy and witticisms and glamour.  Bottles were produced and Cherry was levitated in a way that challenges the meaning of levitate.  Perhaps the patrons doubted the magical skill on show, so Cherry was placed into a plain cardboard box which was penetrated with wooden stakes.  We were certain Cherry was in trouble, but she emerged unscathed – and in a whole new outfit.

Brian informed the audience that “to close our show tonight” the next performer was the first British Magician to ‘fool’ Penn and Teller and had been invited to appear in their show in Las Vega … and here he is tonight appearing in Great Easton Village Hall!

He introduced John Archer who began with some help from the front row where his volunteer seemed to forget his own name.  Was it hypnotism by John or the fact that it was the end of the evening and an unknown quantity of mead had been imbibed?  We’ll never know.  John began with a card trick with a difference.  This was greeted with spontaneous and not at all prompted gasps!  Once the card trick was completed, we had a quick ukulele break before moving on to the big finale – an impossible prediction based around celebrity deaths.  Well, it was Hallowe’en, so a ghoulish finale was required.

Since penning these few words I have learned that the sum of £5,000 was raised over the two nights and a cheque for that amount has been sent to the charity.  With full houses over twenty six shows, Brian and Audrey Miller must be doing something right and I am sure they are appreciative for all the help and support they get from their local village and other patrons who travel in from far and wide.  Let’s hope that they continue for another year.



The Churchwardens write: Happy Christmas and we hope to see you all at our first Carol Service for a number of years in Little Easton which will take place on Sunday 22nd December at 4pm.  Please save the date.

As ever, a big thank you to the Committee and all our team of volunteers that have ensured another successful year for Little Easton Church.  There are so many of you involved in running our church, too numerous to list, who arrange our flowers, provide refreshments after the service, keep the churchyard tidy, play the organ, or other instruments, to mention just a few of the tasks.  As recorded elsewhere, we have recently and sadly lost two very important volunteers and friends – Peter Smith our legendary organist and Michael Smith who helped in so many ways.  Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

One of Michael’s roles was as the correspondent for the village of Little Easton, keeping us all informed via The Five Parishes Magazine.  Is there a budding journalist in the village who would like to take on this role? 

A big thank you to the Revd Tim, who leads the Pilgrim Parishes’ eight churches and who has managed to introduce a new services rota to take into account his seemingly mission impossible.  Happily for us, Tim is supported by Revd Janet and others.

We thank you all for your support for our annual fundraising event, the Countess of Warwick Country Show which celebrated its 30th year.  Little Easton enjoy hosting the Show along with the generous support of Andy and Mel for the use of their Manor.

Last but not least thank you to you, the congregation, for your support.  Wishing you a Very Happy Christmas.  Warwick Newbury and Joan Boulton


From the desk of the Parish Clerk:  Apologies to anyone wanting to attend the Council meeting in October.  Sadly, due to individual circumstances, four of the Councillors had to offer their apologies for not being able to attend the meeting which meant we were not quorate so the meeting had to be closed.  The majority of the items on the agenda are rescheduled.

Additional Noticeboard

A Noticeboard has been erected at the entrance to the Memorial Hall car park in Manor Road.  The display space is to be shared between the Parish Council and the Memorial Hall Trust.

The Council would like to add its voice to those expressing their sadness at the news of the death of Michael Smith.  We send our condolences to his family and close friends at this time.

To contact the Clerk please e-mail


The monthly gathering of parishioners is held on the last Thursday of each month.  However, for December, that falls on Boxing Day and so we will pause and resume again in January – hoping in the meantime, though, to see lots of people at Carols on Tuesday 10th December and other opportunities throughout the festive period.  Do keep an eye on The Stag website and Facebook page  Get out, away from the tech, be social and support your local!

The Five Parishes Knit and Natter Club is held at The Stag on alternate Wednesdays of the month.  For more information contact Glen on 01371 870214 or join the Facebook group  You may have seen the delightful poppies that adorned the village war memorial recently which were kindly created by some knitters.  All are welcome for knitting and/or nattering.


The service will be at Butchers Pasture on Thursday 12th December, arriving at 9.35am and leaving at 10.05am.


To hire the hall, contact Jenny Green on 01371 870402.  For more details see the hall website at


1pm to 2.15pm

British Lung Foundation Exercise Class


2.30pm to 4pm

Active with Parkinson’s


8pm to 10.15pm

Carpet Bowls

Wednesday (first 3 in every month)

7.30pm to 10pm

Great Dunmow & District Ringcraft Society


10am to 12 noon

Art Club



Dog Training


JOAN PIRIE DITCHFIELD: With much sadness it was learned that Joan passed away peacefully on 20th October, aged 81 years.  Joan was the beloved wife of the late Barry Ditchfield and a much loved Mum and Grandma.



Ron Gilder, chair of Great Easton Church Committee writes: On behalf of all the Team at Great Easton, I would like to offer all our faithful worshippers, volunteer readers, music makers, Intercessors, cleaners, groundkeepers and visitors who continue to support our village church, a wonderful Christmas holiday and a happy and healthy new year in 2020. 

The year about to end has been an interesting one – the new team which I am proud to lead has faced a few problems with our lovely but ancient church in keeping it in good repair (and warm).  We held an amazing Sunday afternoon Summer Swing Jazz session which many of you supported, and later this month our SongCycle event will hopefully do as well.  Revd Janet held possibly the first ever Pet Service at Great Easton which resulted in one amazing picture of Alison’s dog Miski being blessed.  I would also like to thank my predecessor (self-dubbed Nagging Nora) or as we all know her, Angela, for keeping us on the straight and narrow. 

God Bless – Ron Gilder


There will be no meeting in December.  The next meeting of the Parish Council will be on Thursday 30th January 2020 commencing at 7.30pm in Great Easton Village Hall.  All are welcome.  Minutes of the meetings will be posted on the notice boards in Great Easton, Duton Hill and Tilty and also on the new website

The Parish Council now have a Facebook page, please like and share Great Easton and Tilty Parish Council.

Great Easton and Tilty Parish Council would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

If you need to contact the Parish Clerk, please e-mail


Carol Singing at The Swan

See display announcement for details of this popular evening on Tuesday 17th December.

School’s Carol Service in Church

This will be on Wednesday 18th December.  Everyone is welcome.

Carols Around The Christmas Tree

Carols around the tree on the village green will be on the evening of Monday 23rd December.  The starting time of 6.00pm is confirmed (please watch out for updates from the Great Easton Community Association on Facebook or on the village notice board).


We are very proud of resident Barbara Armishaw who has received an award in recognition of her gardening skills.  She received a Highly Commended Certificate and a £25 gift for her green fingered gardening capabilities.  The competition took place earlier in the year and James Greene, our Home’s Manager, presented the award and certificate.  Barbara, who shared the event with her visiting grandson and partner, said she was overwhelmed.

Barbara has decided to share her winning money by buying hyacinth bulbs for her fellow residents so they may each have a flower in their room.


The next service at The Moat House Residential Care Home will be a Christmas Communion on Monday 24th December at 10.30am. 


This service will be at the Great Easton Village Hall on Fridays 6th and 27th December, arriving at 12.05pm and leaving at 12.35pm.


To hire the hall, contact Audrey Miller on 01371 870927


6.30 to 9.30pm

Dog Training




Sarah McLagan’s Keep Fit

and Circuit Training


9.30 to 11.30am

Five Parishes Toddler Group


9.30 to 12.30pm

1.00 to 4.00pm

Upholstery class and

except for half term weeks


CONGRATULATIONS to Basil and Grace Townsend of Mill End Green, who celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary on 17th October.  They marked their occasion with a lovely lunch at The Farmhouse Inn along with their family and friends.  Sending love to them both, Clive, Linda and family.



Churchwardens Paul Rutterford and Fiona Down send their very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone who has supported St Mary’s during the year.  Thanks go particularly to the regular flower arrangers, those who provide the refreshments, clean the church and maintain the churchyard so immaculately.  Thanks go also to the Show team and for the funds they raise for us.  Special appreciation is recorded to Tim and Janet for the services they have conducted, especially the well-attended All Souls afternoon which was led with sensitivity.

As always, the Flower Festival was a very special event contributing much needed funds.  Many thanks go to the Tilty team for their organisation and particularly to the flower arrangers for their magnificent displays.  As always, the weather played its part, with attendance being good on the Saturday, but bad on Sunday.  The Joanna Eden concert on Saturday was well attended and contributed to a pleasing result.



Churchwarden Terry writes: It is hard to believe that it is five years since the local community came forward to support St Mary’s Broxted staying open and by the time you read this the fifth year of the Festival of Angels will have taken place.

Broxted can only stay open with the help and support of my committee members and all the other helpers who give up so much of their time.  We are fortunate to receive regular monthly giving from many people who are able, and want, to support us in this way.  Without this support and also the income from the Countess of Warwick show and other fundraising events, Broxted and all the other churches would crumble.

So thank you to my committee and all the volunteers, the Countess of Warwick team and everyone working to maintain the presence of the churches of the Five Parishes.

We do not have a regular organist but this is more than made up by musical support from Alison Rumbold, Sarah Jeffrey, Martin Atkinson and Andy Dodsley.

Thank you to everyone who reads lessons or prayers and supplies us with extra food, cakes or raffle prizes when a plea is made.

Revd Tim Goodbody and all his ministry team, you are so great in your commitment to us and all the Pilgrim Parishes churches.  With Canon Cilla Hawkes, Archdeacon Robin King and before he retired Canon John Sibson, we are very fortunate indeed.

If you have not been to see us for some time and the results of everyone’s efforts to keep all the churches open, why not call in to see us?  You will be very welcome indeed.

All of us at Broxted send our good wishes to you, your family and friends at Christmas and throughout 2020.

Traditional Christmas Carol Service

Broxted’s traditional Carol Service will be held on Sunday 8th December at 4pm.  Do come along and join in the celebration of this most important event.  Children are especially welcome, and refreshments will be served after the service.


This enormously popular event is being held on Thursday 12th December from 7pm to 8pm.  Absolutely everyone is welcome, especially children.  To ensure you start your Christmas festivities with a rousing sing-along, make sure you are there!


Changes to the new website for the Council will be on their way soon and will be publicised widely.  The Council will not meet in December, so the next meeting will be on Thursday 9th January 2020.

Byway from Browns End Road towards School Lane in Mole Hill Green

The Essex Highways department has said they are scheduling repairs but it is not known when the work will start.  Problems with byways, bridleways and footpaths, as well as with roads, can be reported on the Essex Highways website.  If you leave your e-mail address, Highways will let you know when a decision is taken.


Village Coffee Morning

Our Christmas Village Coffee Morning will be on Wednesday 11th December in the Village Hall from 10am until noon.  At this event the usual free raffle is suspended and instead a raffle will be held of a number of festive Christmas hampers made up from donated items.  The Coffee Morning is for everyone and children are very welcome. 

Christmas Gathering

Get your Christmas celebrations off to a flying start by coming along to our annual Christmas Gathering.  Held from 6pm to 8pm in the Village Hall on Saturday 14th December this is the ideal opportunity to meet your neighbours and enjoy drinks and nibbles provided by the Association.  Children are more than welcome and there will be games and activities especially for them.

Peter Smith

The Committee were extremely saddened to hear of the death of Peter.  He had been a committee member of the Association for very many years, and his hard work and subtle wit will be greatly missed.


Just one quiz this month.  The Christmas Special is on Thursday 5th December, so expect lots of questions about the festive season.  As usual, the quiz is at 8.15 for an 8.30pm start.  This evening is always very popular so if you are planning to eat before the quiz, it is best to book a table.  Call Karen or Terry on 01279 850256. 


Jeannine and Paul Godfrey organised a Charity Hallowe’en Quiz in the Prince of Wales on 31st October for Together in West Essex, a local breast cancer charity.  The quiz, together with a raffle and auctions, raised an amazing £1,837.30 for the charity.  Congratulations and thanks are due to Jeannine and Paul, Karen and Terry, and all who donated raffle prizes and auction items for this incredible result.


This service will be at the Prince of Wales on Thursday 12th December, arriving at 10.35am and leaving at 11.05am.


To hire the hall, contact 01279 850638



Pilates Class



The Wednesday Walk

Third Wednesday

10am to 12pm

Village Coffee Morning


BARBARA ARMISHAW: See Great Easton Section for the latest news about Barbara.


5th June 1947 to 20th October 2019

A Service of Thanksgiving for his life took place at Little Easton Church on 31st October attended by some 280 people. 

When dad and mum talked together about what he wanted for today, he was adamant he wanted a small, low key funeral with just close family there.  Mum explained we’d have to do something afterwards so that friends could pay their respects and his response was, “well, if you think there’ll be the interest.”

Naturally modest and unassuming despite his many talents, this is typical of dad; never wanting to be the centre of attention even when his station demanded it, yet never failing to rise to the occasion.  Appropriate as Chief Weasel, musical director, or as spokesman for the family or farm but perhaps, not today.

I imagine he’d have been tickled that we are doing this on Hallowe’en, frustrated that it’s on one of the few days this October that we might have been drilling and relieved to still be a European but today, Kate, Sam, Anna and I have had to say goodbye to our greatest ally.  To have someone on our side so considered, generous and loving; thankfully, patient and forgiving too is beyond all worth and our lives are immeasurably more joyful and full as a result.

Whenever anybody asks me if I enjoy my job, I’ve always answered that I love working outside and I get to work with my dad.  I appreciate how fortunate I’ve been these last 20 years to have worked alongside him and been able to see first-hand how, even with the innumerable vagaries of farming; the weather, markets, blackgrass, agronomists, dad never swerved from his positive outlook, his selfless good humour and boundless patience.  No problem was unsolvable, no engine unstartable, no two pieces of metal unweldable-togetherable.  His mark is everywhere on the farm, a tangible memory and comfort.

His work ethic and strength will now pass into family legend.  Like the time he built a trailer with, as it transpired, a dislocated hip.  Or fought off 5 guys, 20 years his junior, because he didn’t want to be put in the ice bath.  And lately working a 12-hour grain store shift after receiving his cancer diagnosis.  As daunting an act to follow as he is, I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor in fatherhood, farming or in life and I know my siblings think likewise.

In August, suddenly, we had two months to be with dad and commit to memory his countless facets; to learn 40 years’ worth of office routines, record keeping and enigmatic passwords, where more than a passing knowledge of classical music, Latin and cryptic crosswords seems to be necessary.  Two months to enjoy his unique witty one-liners and his remarkable musical skills.  Two months to see him with his grandchildren whom he loved so openly.  Two months to hear him talk to his brother about the day’s business, both drawing comfort and strength from that bond.  Two months to see him with mum and their loving constancy.

I can’t begin to thank you all enough for the support and kind words, the cards and flowers we’ve received over this difficult time.  It’s that love and encouragement and your fond memories of dad that has seen us through these last weeks and will sustain us in the days to come.  Thank you all very much for that and thank you all for being here today.

Dad 31/10/2019

This poem by Kate sums up the many facets of Peter Smith’s life, as husband, father, grandfather, farmer and musician.  He touched so many lives in our community.

How do you write about a man who meant so much to you?
How do you do him justice when your heart is broke in two?
I thought and thought for quite a while and then out of the blue
The inspiration came to me: What would my father do?

I’m pretty sure what he would do, creative man he was,
He’d write something sharp but heartfelt and raise a laugh of course.
Well, I’m sorry: this’ll have to do, I’m just not quite as able.
This is for you my awesome dad, my offering to your table.

Memories come flooding back as I begin to write:
A patient man untangling (again) a funny blue box kite.
And then there was his go cart, a dangerous contraption,
Who’d have thought a plank of wood on wheels would see such action?

A game of ‘Fat Cheeks’ round the garden (if you want to know ask Joe)
Takeaway on a Saturday night in front of a video.
Tea up at the grain store with him dusty, tired but smiling,
Bill paying in his office, his unique way of ‘filing’.

A corn trailer full of water made a fabulous swimming pool,
He’d tip it up – a wave machine- our daddy was so cool!
Choir practice in the sitting room, around the pi-ano,
Dad would sing falsetto, along with the sopranos.
A little bit of history, I hope you’re still awake?

Dad met Susan Lizzy Knowles, his own precious soulmate.
They wedded in Broxted Church in May, a pig cart for their carriage
It was to be the start of a full 45 year marriage.

Along came Kate, Joe, Anna, Sam, all in quick succession,
Not all wholly planned was the later-on confession.
The offspring thrived, a credit to this wife and husband team.
And in their turn, they did produce grandchildren in their reams.

Boys Sash, Isaak and Stacey were the first ones to appear, then
Imani, William, Gabriel, these three within a year.
Iris Christmas baby, Owen speedily behind
Julian in Nashville, then Bethan one of a kind.

Then it was back to Nashville for the last, or last so far…
Ana Lee, Clara, Peter, that meant a bigger car.
Proud grandfather of thirteen, and somehow, had the capacity
To teach them chess and woodwork, piano, welding, driving a tractor, fixing a pipe, painting a wall, clearing the gutters, unblocking the toilet, with such vivacity.

An unassuming gentle man, he’d always time to share
Advice with thoughtful words when asked, without a grace or air.
Hard working and dry humoured, honest to his core,
Reserv-ed and dependable, could we have asked for more?

Well… More we got! Who would have thought, that such a man existed?
We would be here all day if all his qualities were listed.
But there is one important thing that I’ve up til now omitted,
His gift to all, a verse all to itself, if I could be permitted….

Music was his first love, it was one of his very last,
His talent and his passion were nailed right to that mast.
His generosity with this gift, I’ve never seen ‘fore or after,
And it lives on in all of us, for times of sadness and of laughter.

So raise a glass, or teacup, if that is more your thing,
Thanks to Peter Morris Smith Esquire (that has a certain ring)
For the music and the memories, which will never cease,
We love you dearest dad. Rest now in God’s eternal peace.