Group magazine March 2019


(Please click on links below – there is a link at the end of the item to return back to these Contents)

Letter from Duncan 

Meet the Rev.


A prayer for March

Recent Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals

St Oswald’s Flowers 

Community Bus 

Breakfast Church

Edward Bear

Mothers’ Union

Daylight saving time

Mothering Sunday

Choral Music at St Oswald’s

Ashbourne Singers

Clifton church


St John's, Ashbourne

Norbury church 

Palm Sunday

Home Groups

The Beatitudes

Electoral Roll

Community Cafe

That special place in hell

St Oswald’s Walking Group

Ashbourne Animal Welfare

Learn Deaf Awareness and Communication

Fairtrade Fortnight

Roston Airfield


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From Duncan

Dear Friends,

If ever there was a winter to make us weary, this has been it. With the endless rain and floods (although thankfully no snow … yet!)  even the most stout-hearted of us begin to get a bit weary. Weary of the long dark nights. Weary of the bone chilling cold. Weary of the dangerous drudgery of commuting on slippery roads, walking the dog in the mud and the rain and simply having to get out of our warm beds to greet the dank dark mornings!

But at last spring seems to have sprung and all around us are the signs of new life:  the warm rays of the sun and the sight of new green shoots rising from the earth. March heralds the coming of the spring but it also sees us at the very heart of the season of Lent – a time traditionally seen as a barren and stark season focused on penitence and fasting!

BUT DID YOU KNOW that the English word Lent comes from the Old English word Lencten, meaning spring?

Along with the seasonal connotation, “spring” has an energetic, positive sense that “Lent,” with lingering mental ties to the idea of “having temporarily given up something” doesn’t.  Spring is a youthful season; it comes forth in a rush of life and promise, hope and possibility. At the heart of spring there is a great inner longing.

Longer days, flowers, warmer weather. What’s not to like? If I thought of Lent in the way I think of Spring, perhaps my excitement that winter is over, and summer is coming would translate into a greater anticipation that the winter of sin has been vanquished and the new spring of hope is within my reach.

Perhaps I could see these days, not as a time to berate myself for all my faults, but as a period of getting ready for something wonderful - spiritual spring housecleaning, as it were. Rather than “giving up for Lent” I’d be scrubbing the windows of my soul to let the bright light of the Easter sun shine in. I’d be looking forward to Easter rather than just trying to get through the 40 days without a failure in my discipline.

Finally, if I thought of Lent as “Spring,” I’d look for opportunities to get outside of myself. Just as I grab any chance to get outdoors once the weather improves, thinking of the season as “Spring” would encourage me to move beyond my closed ideas and breathe some fresh spiritual air. I’d be taking metaphorical walks and picking symbolic flowers instead of brooding by my mental fireplace.

Although Shakespeare said, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” sometimes giving familiar things a new name bestows insights we might not get any other way. So, what would you do differently during these next 40 days if you thought of them as “Spring” instead of “Lent?”

I think Lent is our springtime with God, a time for new life and growth, for opening up and basking in the warmth and light of God. It is a time for joining nature in responding to the invitation to "look towards him and be radiant". (Ps 34.6)

Springtime in our spirit is a wonderful time to undertake some new adventure, some new project. Lent coincides with the season of Spring which calls everything to new life in its own beautiful way – that is our hope and our prayer for the Church in Ashbourne:  for new life, new growth, new ways of being Church – but above all, that this season of spring will itself be transformed into the brilliant radiance and full glory of God’s Summer!

Your friend


Duncan Ballard,

Ashbourne Group of Parishes, Area Dean of Carsington,

Diocese of Derby      01335 343825

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Meet the Rev.

One of the saddest things you can ever say to a vicar is, “I didn’t want to bother you, because I know you’re so busy.” However, this is a busy parish and the clergy team works hard, so it can be hard to track down a vicar when you need one.

Therefore, starting this month (March) we’re putting aside an hour every Thursday evening – 6 to 7pm – when a member of the team (usually the vicar) will be in the parish office. No need to book ahead (unless it’s a confidential matter or something that’s likely to take more than an hour, in which case we need to schedule a time) and we look forward to seeing you.

Duncan Ballard

Ashbourne Group of Parishes

Area Dean of Carsington, Diocese of Derby

01335 343825

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So, what’s so special about Lent, anyway?

Lent begins on 6th March with Ash Wednesday, which always falls in the seventh week before Easter. Lent is widely observed by Christians as a time of fasting or meditation

Why ‘Ash Wednesday’? What do ashes have to do with anything? This recalls the Old Testament custom of putting ashes on oneself as a symbol of repentance. (e.g. Esther 4.1; Jeremiah 6.26). When the early Church began to observe Lent as a period of preparation for Easter, repentance played a key part. Therefore, the wearing of ashes was adopted as a proper external sign of this inward attitude of remorse and repentance.

Especially during the Middle Ages, Christians began Lent by imposing ashes on the heads of the clergy and the people. Nowadays any ashes used come from the burning of the palm crosses from Palm Sunday during the previous year’s Lent. Some churches continue this theme of repentance by the symbolic use of purple clerical dress during Lent.

What about the custom of giving up things? Lent is based on the period of 40 days spent by Jesus in the wilderness before the beginning of his public ministry in Galilee. Jesus fasted for 40 days, and so his followers were encouraged to do the same thing. The early Church recommended a fast of two or three days, but by the fourth century, people were encouraged to fast for the full 40 days.

The precise nature of this ‘fasting’ varied. In general, the western church understood ‘fasting’ as a reduced intake of food and encouraged Christians to spend time in devotional reading or attendance at church rather than fasting.

What about the length of Lent? The period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Day is actually 46 days. Why not the 40 days that Jesus fasted? In the early Church, every Sunday was regarded as a celebration of the resurrection of Christ - so fasting was forbidden on a Sunday! So, the period of 46 days thus consists of 40 days of fasting, plus the six Sundays which fall between Ash Wednesday and Easter Day.

Finally, just before Ash Wednesday, we have Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday. This reflects the many thousands of Christian housewives down the centuries who cleared out their larders immediately before the fast of Lent. The simplest way of using up all their eggs, flour and milk was to make pancakes.

In some countries the day is known as Mardi Gras, and is marked by major carnivals, most famously in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With love,


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A Prayer for March

Come, all who are thirsty
says Jesus, our Lord,
come, all who are weak,
taste the living water
that I shall give.
Dip your hands in the stream,
refresh body and soul,
drink from it,
depend on it,
for this water
will never run dry.
Come, all who are thirsty
says Jesus, our Lord.

Duncan Ballard  Ashbourne Group of Parishes

Area Dean of Carsington, Diocese of Derby  01335 343825


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Church Events in the Benefice of Ashbourne


9th January       Markeaton Crematorium    Margaret Eacott
11th January     St Peter’s, Snelston             William Donald Hall, 83 yrs.

24th January     St Oswald’s      John Owen Slater, 74 yrs
25th January     Markeaton Crematorium          Elizabeth Patricia MacDonald, 89.


To arrange for Christenings, Weddings or Funerals please contact the Parish Office Tel. 01335 343052

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 Flowers St Oswald’s Church, Ashbourne


There will not be any flowers in March as it is the period of Lent.


If anyone would like to donate towards the Easter Flowers in memory of loved ones please see any of the regular flower arrangers or contact Margaret Dawson 01335 342339 or

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Free Community Bus

Free Community Bus collecting in Ashbourne town from 09:30 for the 10:30 Family Service at St Oswald’s Church, Ashbourne.

Bus normally runs on the 3rd Sunday of the month, although this might vary due to availability of bus driver.

Planned date for March

Sunday 17 March 2019

For more information contact Gill and Paul Elliott. 

Email:                            Telephone 01335 343059

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Breakfast Church

Don’t forget breakfast church at St Oswald’s

February date for Breakfast Church is SUNDAY, 10th MARCH

God, a bacon butty and a fresh mug of coffee – all welcome!   From 9:00 to 9:40 in Church Centre.

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at St Oswald’s Church

Edward Bear is a ‘Praise and Play’ group for parents with their babies and small pre-school children.  Coffee and toast as well as bacon rolls are always welcome before we go into our church for worship, ringing the bell, payers, bible stories and music followed by snack time in the Church Centre.  Edward Bear meets each Thursday morning in the Church Centre 9.30am – 11.30am.  Coffee, bacon

For more information regarding Edward Bear please contact Chris Haycock 01335 343194/Lindsay Walker 01335 343194/Parish Office 01335 3430

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The Ashbourne Branch of the Mothers’ Union meets on the 1st Tuesday of each month in St Oswald’s Church Centre at 2:30 pm and on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm at different venues. A warm welcome to anyone wishing to join us either in the afternoon or in the evening.  Please contact Nancy Bell on 01335 347915

The World Day of Prayer service takes place at St Oswald’s at 11 am on Friday, 1st March. 

On Monday, 25th March there will be a Lady Day Service at Hulland Church at 2 pm. 

On  Friday, 29th March in the morning the Mothers’ Union members will gather to make posies for Mothering Sunday followed by lunch for those who wish to attend at Fairways.

Nancy Bell
Branch Leader

Attention:  Daylight saving time 2019 in the UK will begin at 01h.00 on Sunday 31st March.

Mothering Sunday
Sunday 31st March 2019
We would love you to join us for our service at 10:30 am as we give thanks and remember all the amazing women in our lives.

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 Choral Music at St Oswald’s

Michael Halls
Director of Music


You are very welcome to join us at choir practice on Fridays at 7.00p.m. to see who we are and what we do. If your child enjoys music and is aged seven or more, then please consider the many benefits that being a chorister at St. Oswald’s brings. If in doubt, ask for more information. Contact details can be found on the contacts page of this website.

Sunday 3rd March                   Sunday next before Lent

8.00     Holy Communion

10.30   Parish Communion        O Saviour, Friend (Largo)/Handel

6.30     Evensong                       Round me falls the night

                                                   Turn thy face from my sins/Attwood

Ash Wednesday 6th March

7.00     Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes - Teach me O Lord/Attwood      

Sunday 10th March                 1st Sunday of Lent

8.00     Holy Communion       

9.00     Breakfast Church

10.30   Parish Communion      Jesu Ukukhana

6.30     Choral Evensong        Moore 3rd Service        Sanders responses

                                                 Lift thine eyes/Mendelssohn

                                                 Geistliches Lied/Brahms

Sunday 17th March                 2nd Sunday of Lent

8.00     Holy Communion                   

10.30   Parish Communion      Christ be with me/Rawsthorne

6.30     Evensong                     Lord for thy tender mercies’ sake/Tye

         Purest and highest/Stanford

Sunday 24th March                 3rd Sunday of Lent

8.00     Holy Communion

10.30   Parish Communion      View me Lord/Lloyd

6.30     Evensong                     Ave Verum /Byrd                   

at NORBURY                           Crown of Roses/Tchaikovsky                 


Sunday 31st March                 Mothering Sunday

8.00     Holy Communion                   

10.30   Parish Communion      Ave verum corpus/Elgar

6.30     Evensong                     O Lord my God/Wesley

          Hail O Virgin Mary/Rachmaninoff

Advance Notice:

The Crucifixion – John Stainer with St Oswald’s Church Choir -
Good Friday, 19 April 2019 at 7.00 pm (more in next month’s magazine).

Thank you

Michael Halls   Director of Music

Upcoming Events:

The Ashbourne Singers – Variety Night at the Empire Ballroom. 30 March 2019 at 7.30 pm.

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Holy Trinity Church, Clifton


Our February meeting got underway with the President welcoming everyone and after all the agenda items, which included updates on the social outings, the forthcoming Group Meeting and the financial situation we welcomed our speaker for the evening.

Prof. Catrin Rutland came to speak to us on "women in science".  This proved to be an extremely interesting subject and opened our eyes to how women were and still are dominated by men in this field. We were given several facts and figures relating to women through the ages. Catrin went back as far as the Ancient Egyptians and how women dressed as men virtually all their life just to get recognition and able to climb the ladder in the scientific field.  We learnt what a difference Florence Nightingale had made, about Ada Lovelace, who invented the computer as well as the serious botanical work done by Beatrix Potter.

Catrin a very clever lady and teaches anatomy and genetics to future veterinary surgeons at Nottingham University - struggling even now to get equal pay. She is President of the European Anatomical Association, travels extensively, writing papers, and almost as a hobby loves writing books on scientific fiction and horror. Catrin gave us a very interesting evening which just shows us how lucky we are in WI to have the opportunity to meet such clever people and hear their remarkable stories.

If you would like to become a member of our WI and have the second Wednesday of the month available, we meet in the Clifton-Smith Hall at 7.15 pm every month except August. Everyone is made very welcome.  It costs £42 subscription a year and the value for money is amazing.  We have excellent speakers, lots of opportunities for both day and evening outings and go out for meals together as well as a general fun social evening, mainly hearing of members interesting hobbies. The President of the WI is Tina Harbinson who can be contacted on 01335 343749, and our Secretary is Phyl Kirkman on 01335 343498.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 13th March 2019 and the speaker will be Ruth Downing and her subject will be "Photography - the digital difference."

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to come along and have an enjoyable evening.

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3rd March - Joint at Mappleton at 9.15 am

10th March - 10.30 Morning Prayer at Clifton - Joined by Mappleton

17th March - Joint at Mappleton at 9.15 am

24th March - 10.30 Morning Prayer at Clifton - Joined by Mappleton

31st March - Mothering Sunday - 10.30 am Clifton


20th March - Helen Watson - 01335 346198

3rd April - Jackie Nicholson - 01335 342514

11th April – Mrs Bradley – 01335 300049

17th April - to be confirmed

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St Mary’s Church, Mappleton

March Rota - Mossie Jackson on 3rd March


3rd March – Joint with Clifton at Mappleton at 9.15 am

10th March - 10.30 Morning Prayer at Clifton - Joined by Mappleton

17th March - Joint with Clifton at Mappleton at 9.15 am

24th March - 10.30 Morning Prayer at Clifton - Joined by Mappleton

31st March - Mothering Sunday – 9.15 am Mappleton

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St John’s Church, Ashbourne

On Good Friday afternoon at St John’s violinists Claire and Howard Kilner (who take the Fiddling Around class on Mondays) will make up a quartet to perform Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Christ”.  

Full details in April’s magazine. 

St. John’s are delighted to now be offering Poterion Fair Trade Communion Wine during services. As well as being fairly traded it is also organic and vegan friendly.

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St Mary and St Barlok, Norbury and Roston

CHINESE AUCTION – Saturday 2nd March 2019 – Doors open 7pm
At Mary Clowes (Norbury) Village Hall

Come along and buy some tickets – who knows what you will be taking home!
Items for auction can be left at the Hall either Friday 1st March 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm or Saturday 10:30 am until noon.  Alternatively, ring Joy 01335 324288 and collection will be arranged.  Light refreshments will be available, and the proceeds go to the upkeep of the Village Hall.

Norbury and Roston WI.  Next meeting Tuesday, 5th March 2019
at Mary Clowes (Norbury) Village Hall, DE6 2EG at 7.30 pm.  Speaker – a local vet.  Competition:  Own written animal poem.  Visitors always welcome.  £2 to include refreshments. Contact: Tel. 01335 324980

Quiz night

Our next quiz night will be on Friday 22nd March at 7.30pm at Norbury Village Hall. This is getting very popular so make sure your table is booked with Joy 01335 324288 or Elaine 01889 590318. The format will be the same as usual with sandwiches, cakes, a cup of tea and plenty of questions, some easy, some hard.


3rd March 11 am         Morning Prayer

10th March 11 am       Holy Communion (1st Sunday of Lent)

17th March 11 am       Morning Prayer

24th March 6.30 pm    Evensong

31st March 11 am        Morning Prayer - Mothering Sunday

Hire Of Village Hall:  Even though the Village Hall is now being used as a temporary classroom, it is still available for hire in the evenings or weekends. Contact Heather Jones 07866 654689 for further details.

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Palm Sunday

Yes, the March parish magazine seems early to be thinking about Palm Sunday - Lent hasn’t even started yet - but I need to be looking ahead!

For hundreds of years, using dramatic readings and plays (mediaeval mystery plays, Oberammergau) have been powerful ways of bringing the Bible to life for people, challenging them to think more deeply and to respond to the stories. When the Alternative Service Book came into regular use in the 1980’s, it offered dramatised versions of the Gospel accounts of the last hours of Jesus’s life for use during worship. Many churches have found it very moving to hear the story read with real feeling by different voices - and congregations are encouraged to join in as the crowd shouting, ‘Crucify him!’

At St. Oswald’s in 2016, we started the three-yearly cycle of Passion readings and this year, we’re back to Luke’s gospel again.

I’m hoping to recruit some new readers, so if you’d be interested in taking part, let me know, or I might even tap you on the shoulder one morning and ask you! Some parts are quite short, but all are important. We’ll have a read-through after the 10.30 service on April 7th for about 30-40 minutes, and again on Palm Sunday morning at 9.30, before the service; you’ll need to be able to commit to these dates. Those who’ve taken part before have felt it to be a privilege and it would be good to extend the opportunity to others.

Deirdre Wilmore

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Home groups – learning, community, support, outreach

We are launching homegroups across the Ashbourne churches after Easter and we would love you to consider joining us. Home groups are aimed at creating a small community of people who will encourage each other, learn and pray together while maintaining an external focus on the communities to which we already belong, whether that be work, families or neighbours.

We are planning to give everyone the opportunity of trying out home groups by offering a short course for 10 weeks in the evening after Easter where we will eat together, watch a video, then read the Bible and discuss together in small groups in the Church Centre.

Why are we doing this?

Our church is growing, so we need to be able to pastorally care for those coming in to the church more effectively than is possible just through the clergy team.

What sort of groups will be on offer?

Our intention is to offer 5-6 groups.  One group will take place during the daytime and at least one of the groups will have a focus on exploring faith.  The taster sessions are being offered in the evenings; but will start early with food and lifts will be offered for those who want to attend but don’t have transport. 

What next?

If you are interested in joining us, please contact any of the clergy team, email Claire in the church office or the curate, Amanda Marshall on or by phone on 07557 567751.

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The Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Each is a proverb-like proclamation, without narrative. Four of the blessings also appear in the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke, followed by four woes which mirror the blessings.

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Electoral Roll

This year a completely new Electoral Roll is to be prepared. This is the list of all those who want to be considered part of St Oswald’s, and allows you to take part in the Annual Meeting or stand for election to the Parochial Church Council.  Everyone who would like their name on the Roll needs to fill in a form (whether you are on the present Roll or not).

At St Oswald’s, forms to fill in will be available from the Church or the Parish Office from 24th February 2019. The completed forms should be given to a Churchwarden or handed in at the Parish Office. All forms must be returned before 9th April 2019.

This renewal also applies to St John’s, Clifton, Norbury, Mappleton, and Snelston churches.  Please ask the Electoral Roll Officer or Churchwarden about their arrangements.

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Loneliness is a major issue in our fast-moving modern world, and the communities of Ashbourne and our surrounding villages are not immune. As a step towards addressing this issue the St Oswald’s PCC have approved a plan, in conjunction with Derbyshire County Council, to establish a Community Café in St Oswald’s Church Centre to provide the opportunities, initially monthly, for intergeneration meeting and eating together.

It is intended that the food will be donated by ‘Fare Share’ a charity that distributes ‘close to date’ but excellent food that has, in turn, been donated by supermarkets. The delivery of fresh produce will be a surprise package, as we will not know in advance what food has been donated. From the this package a team of volunteers will prepare, cook and serve a three-course meal, and of course pot wash and clear up afterwards!

The Community Café will be open on the last Tuesday of the month from 4pm to 6pm specifically to attract young families after school and those homeward bound after a day’s work, as well as older folk who will appreciate the meal and company. A minimum donation of £2.50 per adult meal will be invited.

It is planned that the Café will first open on Tuesday 25th June, but before then there is much planning and organising to be done, not least building our team of volunteers from across the community. If you would like to be involved in this project then give Maggie or Nigel Rode a call on 01335 664159 to let them know of your interest and if you will be able to attend a Volunteers Information Session in St Oswald’s Church Centre at 10.30am on 8th March.

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Making sense of that ‘special place in hell’

by Edmund Urquhart

Where to start?  - A little research might help.

I began soon after ‘the Vote’ with Jean Quatremer’s ‘Les Salauds de l’Europe’ (The Bastards of Europe – the racy title of a very serious book).  He has been a life-long Europhile, a journalist who has watched and reported on Brussels since the 1970s.  To my mind, from what he writes, whilst there was corruption, incompetence, stupidly high salaries, an inability to deal with the problems on our doorstep, especially migration, the crunch came in 1994 when the Commission asked one of its own at the time, Neil Kinnock, to oversee a review of how ‘Brussels’ was working.  As a result of ‘his’ recommendation, the officials gradually became no longer a group of enthusiasts with good knowledge of their own countries, but rather a group (66,000 strong) of professional bureaucrats who merely ‘ran the machine’ without vision or imagination. They incurred more and more wrath locally by some of the seemingly pettier decisions they implemented – none of them democratically accountable – hence in part the surge of nationalism now.

In ‘The Strange Death of Europe’ Douglas Murray turns the accusations into prophecy.  Basically, he says, Europe has ‘had it’ – but Brexit has pulled the other 27 together for now, at least in one respect.

In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 30 January 2019, Gina Thomas writes of the ‘self-portrayal’ of our so-called leading Brexiteers – a polite word for ‘showing off’.  All these Etonians seem to want to do, she says, is strut the stage.  It’s an ancient tradition – going back at least to the Battle of Waterloo – according to which our adversarial House of Commons provides ideal scope for theatre (and our justice system is not dissimilar in culture).

So, of course, Donald Tusk was right – they didn’t have a ghost of a strategy by which their plan might be worked out safely – and, some people add, they were ‘gobsmacked’ when, unexpectedly, they won the referendum.

But there’s no consensus in Parliament as to the way forward.  Theresa May fights doggedly on for a profoundly flawed ‘deal’ whilst Jeremy Corbyn apparently wants on the one hand a Customs Union for the sake of the workers and on the other a complete Brexit so that his party can, unhindered by EU constitutional law, turn us into Venezuela.  He hasn’t seen that the Marxist-Leninist economic model was abandoned as disastrous as soon as the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and arguably long before.

Perhaps we are all unleadable now.  Macron went too fast with his ‘reforms’ and had to turn back, although the gilets jaunes still protest.  At least in the UK the battle rages mostly in Parliament.  Let us pray that it is settled before it breaks out on the streets.

What I learnt a few years ago from Peter, our friend in Munich, who recently sent us the already-quoted article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, was that, as he sees it, Germany has always regarded Europe as a ‘Project’ entailing more and more integration for the common good.  The UK sees it (in his view quite reasonably) as an organisation based on national self-interest which should foster economic co-operation, and nothing more.

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Saturday January 26th, 2019.

Eight hardy souls (plus Zac and Fly) set off from the National Trust car park at Ilam in far from promising weather conditions – a dry start followed by heavy drizzle and low cloud by the time we reached the top of Blore Pasture. Undeterred we pressed on beneath the distinctive trees of Hazelton Clump, passing near Musden Low (the trig. point at 1,178 feet being on private land and therefore out of bounds). After some careful route finding we descended to the village of Calton, by which time the drizzle had ceased, and the scenery had reappeared.

After coffee in the shelter of a mossy hollow lane we continued north to Slade House and from there followed a pleasant grassy path down to Throwley Old Hall, with fine views of the Manifold Valley. Here we took the Manifold Trail as far as Weags Bridge, passing the impressive limestone cliff of Beeston Tor. Unfortunately, the stepping stones across the Manifold were flooded at Beeston Tor Farm, so, preferring to keep our feet dry, we had instead a very steep climb up Larkstone Lane to reach our return route along the escarpment of Bincliff. A strong south-westerly wind was blowing by this time, making our progress along a somewhat muddy and precarious path rather tricky! There were, however, stunning views down to the meandering Manifold. After passing the old Bincliff mine workings and above the Castern Wood Nature Reserve we came to the beautifully proportioned Castern Hall, where we joined the tarmac lane to River Lodge and shortly afterwards entered the grounds of Ilam Hall, our journey’s end.

Total distance: 10.6 miles; total ascent 1,600 feet.

Jackie Burns.


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Ashbourne Animal Welfare

March Madness Open Day

Sunday, 10th March 2019, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Ark, Wyaston Rd, Ashbourne DE6 1NB


Spring into Action and visit The Ark

Visit cattery and kennels. Homemade Lunches and Teas

Gifts, Books, Bric a Brac

Free Admission

Telephone 01335 300494 for more information.

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Fairtrade Fortnight 2019

25th February – 10th March

Time to renew our commitment to Fairtrade!

This year we’re focusing on cocoa.

  • Less than $1 a day is the current income of a typical cocoa farmer in Côte D’Ivoire

  • $2.50 a day would provide a living income for a typical cocoa farmer in Côte D’Ivoire

  • 70% is grown in West Africa, and over 60% is grown in 2 countries – Ghana and Côte D’Ivoire

  • 90% of the world’s cocoa is grown on small family farms.

Fairtrade can help protect farmers from market volatility and extreme poverty prices through the safety net of the Fairtrade Minimum Price, and the Fairtrade Premium money that goes directly to the farmers’ co-operatives and their communities.

The UK chocolate industry is worth £4 Billion each year

We can each make a difference simply by choosing Fairtrade!

As a Fairtrade Church we have undertaken to serve Fairtrade tea or coffee.

Lent Challenge:

  1. Check your regular brand of tea or coffee. If it isn’t Fairtrade, then change to a Fairtrade one.
  2. Put at least one Fairtrade item in your shopping basket each week


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It is intriguing to learn the names of the fields when one takes over a block of land or farm.  Often they evoke a moment in history or a physical landmark.  Such was the case with The Plane on Birchwood Park, which straddles the parish boundaries of Norbury & Roston and Snelston.

Legh Farms took over Birchwood Park in 1976 from the previous tenants T & G Prince, a long-established and noted farming family.  It was the largest farm on the Cubley Estate, purchased by my family a decade earlier from Major L A Clowes of Norbury.  The Plane was an unusually large land parcel, sometimes sub-divided for husbandry purposes, but without permanent boundaries, situated at the top of the farm on the 600’ contour and exposed to the elements.  I learnt that it was reputed to have been the site of a WW1 airfield, hence the spelling.  I went along with this piece of folklore, assuming that perhaps a plane had once landed (or even crashed) there.  Military historians and archivists have now confirmed its existence and status.  The Plane remains part of Birchwood Park, now farmed by Brian Mycock and his family.  It is still noted for flying things, albeit unpowered and unmanned.

Roston Airfield is listed by the ‘Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust’ as an unpaved landing surface in operation from October 1916 until relinquished on 15th August 1918.  It was available to No. 38 Squadron of the RFC (from 1st April 1918, the RAF) for FE2b fighters “as a Home Defence landing ground during World War One”.  [The squadron was formed at Castle Bromwich in July 1916 and in September 1916 was equipped with F.E.2b aircraft and the HQ moved to Melton Mowbray. Operations involved pilot instruction during the day and air defence against possible attacks from Zeppelins by night. For several months in 1916 the squadron was commanded by Captain A. T. Harris, later to become Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris, C-in-C, RAF Bomber Command and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. 

At the start of WW1, flying was in its infancy; by the end of the war the growth was phenomenal.   A total of 1,939 F.E.2bs alone were built.  They were two-seaters: the pilot sat in the rear cockpit and the observer in the front, behind a .303 Lewis machine gun.  Before long, a second Lewis gun was added in front of the pilot “so that the pilot could fire forward, over his observer's head.  In practice, this gun was appropriated by the observers, especially when they discovered that by climbing onto the rim of their cockpits they could fire backwards over the top wing….. although even this failed to cover a very large blind spot under the tail. The observer's perch was a precarious one, especially when firing the "rear gun", and he was liable to be thrown out of his cockpit, although his view was excellent in all directions except directly to the rear.”]

Flying in and out of Roston Airfield must have been a challenge to those aviators.  The predominantly westerly winds over The Plane are notoriously fickle, and often gusty.  Living at Cubley Lodge, three miles to the south and on the 400’ contour, we have become used to receiving advance notice of bad weather giving us time to batten down the hatches.  One can only imagine what it was like for the pilots a century ago.  It is good to learn that a plaque will commemorate the airfield’s place in history.

David Legh
Cubley Lodge, Ashbourne

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