Crockham Hill Newsletter
From the editor’s desk:
Welcome to our second online-only edition of the Newsletter. We hope you enjoy the layout and find it easy to use. Covid-19 of course has made it impossible to produce a printed copy, but half a century and more since our very first edition appeared, we want to reflect what’s going on in and around Crockham Hill for the benefit of all who live here – as well as those who may have moved away but retain an interest in the community. We can only do that with your input, so please let us know if you have any information, or an event you wish to promote that will be of interest to our friends and neighbours. We are interested in all aspects of village life, and this edition includes information about the Royal Oak, the Village Show, a fascinating ‘Zoom’ lecture on birdsong, a report on the VE-Day 75th anniversary celebrations, and a message from ‘Bonnie’ of Donkey Post fame. I shall look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks.
ROYAL OAK UPDATE
The Royal Oak is preparing to re-open as soon as it possibly can – probably just using gazebos in the car park and garden with spacing to ensure proper social distancing.
The TROG team has carried on the work started by Sarah before the virus hit her and other parts of the village.
Plans were then put in place to run the pub on this interim basis for a much longer period than originally envisaged and its future has been secured by a combination of strict expense control, continuing the off-sales and having part of Max’s costs met by his work in the village – and some short-term loans from a number of individuals.
Going forwards the model seen in the Limpsfield and Ide Hill stores where volunteers supplement any paid staff ensures that the Royal Oak can again establish itself as the hub of our village.
75th ANNIVERSARY OF VE Day
We do hope you have managed to see some of the photos of our Social Distanced celebrations for VE Day around the village, on the church Face Book page or web-site. Like many communities, we have some amongst us who were there to celebrate 75 years ago and below are a couple of memories. Sue asked Felicity what she was up to that day. As a young nurse at Guy’s she was able to be part of the celebrations in London – Sue didn’t ask exactly what she got up to!
Alfred Goldstein remembers…
I was in my first academic year at Imperial College (Engineering) and living in digs in South Kensington. That Tuesday my friend Brian and I started walking up Exhibition Road to the college. Before long it became clear that something special was afoot. College was abandoned when we learnt about Victory in Europe.
Crowds of people were moving in all directions, but mainly east and the few eastbound buses we saw crammed with passengers. We decided to walk to Trafalgar Square to see, perhaps be part of, the 'Action'.
The crowds increased as we moved eastward and Trafalgar Square was full. We decided to go down Whitehall towards the seat of government, though lots of people were also moving through the park towards the Palace.
Half way down Whitehall we could move no further. All sorts of rumours were floating around the crowds. We were told Churchill would appear from one of the government buildings near Parliament Square. The atmosphere was electric and the density of people prevented us having a good view along Whitehall.
We saw a simple bus stop shelter on the east side. Two or three men had climbed to its flat roof and we scrambled up. Soon the roof was full (and not altogether stable!)
Before long and to immense cheers Churchill appeared on the balcony of one of the buildings north of Downing Street. Luckily we had a clear view of the balcony over the heads of the crowds. I always remember his first words: “This is your victory !" and then "in all our long history there has never been a greater day than this."
Since then I have seen newsreels of the event and occasionally spotted our bus shelter with its overloaded roof; but only fleetingly... I’ve not been able to identify either myself or Brian.
…And from Mike Court:
Val and I were evacuated to a girl’s school near Tintagel in Cornwall. We were in Dulwich until the V2s started dropping ( I can remember the first night the VIs came over, and everyone wondered why the all clear sirens didn’t sound as usual after a raid). Our parents decided that rockets which couldn’t be heard were far too dangerous for their children!
Val and I were marched into Tintagel for bunting and bonfires in the evening, and Val said “how did they all know it’s my birthday!
And finally a poem from Kev Reynolds to mark the day…
Today we mark the end of war some seventy-five years ago,
Although we fight a new one now against a common foe.
This one wears no uniform, Coronavirus is its name
And we’re all in this together; side by side with just one aim
To capture and eradicate an evil, faceless beast.
There’ll be no winners in this war, just those who lose the least.
But today we raise our bunting high and banish Covid thought
And remember all those heroes who went away and fought,
Fought against what they were told was one man’s tyranny,
Fought to keep our country safe for folk like you and me.
So I’d like to tell the story of one ordinary man
Who became to me a hero, as only fathers can.
It was June in nineteen-forty when Dad was called to war,
A young man taught to do things he’d never done before.
Keen as his mates to do his loyal duty for the King
He marched away just days it was from giving Mum a ring.
Like those before and after him, he’d never held a gun
Now his would never leave his side, in rain or snow or sun.
Four years on he went to France on D-Day’s bloody shore,
Strewn with lifeless bodies of those who’d landed just before.
No time to mourn their loss for there were battles to be fought
Among the heaps of rubble where bread and milk had once been bought
The fighting took him on through Belgium, Holland and the Rhine
Sustained by tea-stained water, but not a drop of wine
The days and weeks and months went by, they blended into one
There were no restful moments - no, not when day was done.
Of all those unnamed heroes, my dad was not alone
Thinking of his lonely wife – was she safe at home?
Dad’s war was fought on foreign shores, Mum dodged the German bombs
But on VE Day I’m pleased to say, they were just where they belonged.
Today beneath our bunting we think of far-off days
Of all those men and women who deserve our thanks and praise
The sacrifices that they made gave the peace we have today
So fill your glass, and raise your voice – and shout Hip,Hip Horrah
THE VILLAGE SHOW
No apologies for mentioning it again - we hope you are all busy growing veg and flowers and happily crafting away the hours! The schedule for this year’s show, booked for 12th September, will be found at where there are also photographs of plants from WI members' gardens that you might enjoy looking at.
ZOOMING IN ON BIRDSONG
In a virtual online lecture organised by The Crockham Hill Wildlife Restoration Project, Geoff Sample, renowned birdsong recordist and natural history author, treated us to a feast of beautifully recorded bird songs from woodland and garden habitats. Informed and fascinating commentary included a discussion of how birds learn their songs, why they sing at different times of day, and unusual calls of common birds, such as the haunting gentle tremolo of the tawny owl crooning to his mate, which we hear so often around Crockham Hill. Artistic references reminded us of the importance of birdsong to inspire great poetry and music.
We are inviting donations to cover the cost of this lecture, and the surplus will be used to create a new wildflower meadow in the centre of Crockham Hill. If you would like to make an online donation please contact and we will send you details of the bank account (which is currently in setup). Alternatively you may wish to use the JustGiving page, but they charge fees to both donors and recipients: Details for this are as follows In case you missed it, we are hoping to invite Geoff Sample in person once lockdown is over to give us a real face-to-face lecture in the Village Hall.
Vivienne Cox (866372 email@example.com)
Now that so many of us are having to self- isolate, it is an ideal time to leave parts of your land and gardens uncut so that nature can thrive over the summer.
Crockham Hill’s Wildlife Restoration Team have produced a large map, suggesting many green corridors, allowing wildlife to travel undisturbed between habitats. If you email Michael Court on , he can send you a scan of your part of the map, so that you can suggest amendments.
Do let us know if you would like our Handbook for Wildlife Restoration, and tell us about any new wildlife habitats you are creating.
BONNIE BRAYS FAREWELL
Well....what an unusual and challenging time we are all having. I am hoping you are all keeping well. So many changes in so many ways and some of you may have noticed/heard (missing my vocals!) I am no longer Crockham Hill’s resident donkey. Just before lockdown, my Greenaway family and I had already made a hard decision to work out what was best for me. They didn’t find it easy at all. But I have moved on to pastures new, am doing very well and have settled in to my new home quickly where I’ve made friends with Tiny and Jade. The Greenaways are keeping in touch and plan to visit me when such times allow. I know they really miss me but times and things do change and it is a good opportunity for me. To be honest I think it’s been tougher on them than me! Harry and I have definitely left a donkey shaped hole in their hearts! But lots of happy memories too.
Did you know, that with YOUR help, Harry and I raised £20,173:70p for charity! Not bad for Donkey Work and we made a lot of friends along the way! I feel very lucky to have lived in your village; you have been amazing, always showing so much interest in us two donkeys. So, I just wanted to “Bray” a Goodbye and say a big thank you from myself and the Greenaways for all the kindness and support the village has given us over the years. I think I may have a quieter Christmas this year!
Eeyore from Bonnie The Donkey and the Greenaway Family
Editor’s note: On behalf of the village I’d like to thank Bonnie and Harry for adding colour and fun to Christmas card deliveries over the past few years – and CONGRATULATIONS on raising such an impressive sum for two worthy charities. (And thanks too, to Peter, Sheila and Dawn Greenaway.)
CROCKHAM HILL WI
As you might imagine we’re benefiting from our well-known WI resourcefulness, resilience, and community spirit to meet the practical and psychological challenges of lockdown. We’re spending our time positively to develop old and new skills and to support each other, our families and the community where, when and in whatever way we can during these difficult times.
What’s next for us? If government guidelines permit, we’re hoping to move forward with:
Our annual August Summer Garden Party – always a highlight of our year.
Our September Show – we’re ready to press the start button.
Our exciting and interesting list of activities and speakers at our monthly meetings and external events which is ready to take off from September (watch this space!) At the same time, we’ll be thinking very seriously about how life might and perhaps should change post-lockdown when we emerge into the ‘New (or should we say Next?) Normal’.
If you’d like more information about our WI, please visit or ring June Davies on 866350.
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
The best careers advice to give is: ‘Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.’ (Katherine Whitehorn)
COPY DEADLINE FOR THE JULY (DIGITAL-ONLY) ISSUE:
Friday 19th June. Please send all items for inclusion to
COPY DEADLINE FOR JUNE ISSUE:
Friday 19th June
All items for inclusion please to
Kev Reynolds (Acting editor)
THE SUMMER FETE
As reported last month, the organisers waited until after Easter to make a decision on the fete. With the uncertainty of the duration of the lockdown it was decided with great regret to abandon this year’s, and to make next year’s fete a real bumper one!
NEWS FROM THE VICARAGE
As I write this the church is about to celebrate Ascension Day, the day when the risen Christ returned to Heaven, and enter the period of waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, this year 31t May, a day which would begin the ‘new normal’ that would be the bench mark of the Christian Church for the next 2,000 plus years. Many of us are now in a period of waiting, a time when we know the ‘old normal’ will not return but not know what the ‘new normal’ will look like for each one of us.
If, like me, you are waiting can be hard, especially when you don’t know how long it is for or what things will look like when the waiting is finally over. Can I suggest that as we wait, we spend some time reflecting on what we have valued during this very difficult time of lockdown as we have all struggled with the impact that Covid-19 has had on us, our families and our community. For some that will, I know be harder than others, especially if family or friends have been affected by the virus, with loved ones unwell or even sadly amongst the many who have died over the last few months.
Amongst all the difficulties I have been really struck by the amount of kindness that has been so evident here in our village. The team of volunteers who have shopped, collected prescriptions and generally looked out for their neighbours. The sharing of ‘on line’ orders with neighbours and friends and the gifts left on doorsteps; fruit cakes, Sunday lunch and cheese scones to name but three! Kindness is something I want to take into whatever my ‘new normal’ will be.
As church we have very sadly been required to close our doors and here we have become Covid Zoomers! It has been a challenge for some, vicar included, and again the kindness of those who have not only enabled the service to happen but to help those who are technically challenged to log on and join-in has been wonderful to see.
The church doors will open again to all at some time in the future and just like all of us church will have to work out what its ‘new normal’ will be, but, however we move forward I pray that kindness, one of the marks of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives will be increasingly evident in all our lives.
WEEKLY AT HOLY TRINITY
Please note the church is still CLOSED to all apart from Rev Sue
Daily at noon: Join Rev Sue as she lights a candle, prays the Lord’s Prayer and reads the 23rd Psalm
Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.15am Morning Prayer in church
Wednesdays: 5.00pm Evening Prayer in church
Sundays: 9.00am Holy Communion in church for the parish
10.00am: Sunday Morning Prayer at home or on zoom
7.00pm: Light a candle and pray for the Covid crisis
Please contact me in confidence with any specific prayer requests.
WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
Sadly we cannot meet again this month but we are supporting each other and the village with our prayers and thoughts. Stay safe.
THE PRAYER GROUP
Sadly, we will be unable to meet for the foreseeable future, but will let you know when we can. Meanwhile, perhaps you might find help by following Sue’s suggestions listed under her Weekly at Holy Trinity notes printed above.
OUR FRIENDS IN TANZANIA
Richard and I should have been visiting Kongwa during the last two weeks of May along with others from the Diocese of Rochester. Sadly this has not been possible due to the Corona virus. We are in touch via our What’s App Group and understand that currently there are no cases of the virus in Kongwa itself. The local school is closed, as is St Philip’s Theological College, but the churches remain open, and I am very happy to pass on greetings from one of our contacts in the area.
We may not have been able to visit physically this year, but we are still able to keep supporting each other in prayer. Please keep Kongwa in your thoughts at this time as they are doing for us here in Crockham Hill.
LOCKDOWN – WHAT LOCKDOWN?
Church buildings may be temporarily closed during lockdown, but the life of the church never sleeps. Uninvited isolation ‘merely’ presents an opportunity to do things differently. During the current crisis, the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the community are still being met by Rev Sue and an active team of volunteers. Elsewhere in this edition, mention is made of some of their work and the inventive ways it is being carried out. Meanwhile, our neighbour churches in Edenbridge continue to do what they do best – in a variety of ways. The following report from Fr Stephen Mitchell (former Priest in Charge at Holy Trinity) describes some of the issues faced by our friends down the hill.
CHURCHES OF EDENBRIDGE – WHAT DID YOU DO IN LOCKDOWN?
Some of you may remember those posters produced by HM Govt during World War II before conscription was introduced to encourage men to get out of their armchairs and join up. They depicted a small boy sitting on his daddy’s knee and asking that put-you-on-the-spot question: what did you do in the war, daddy?
Well, some of you might be asking yourselves what your local churches have been up to these past weeks now that we are effectively barred from even entering our buildings, well, most of us are, anyway. So, the other night, at an ECC zoom meeting, attended by faces from all our churches with a guest appearance from the Crockham Hill rep as a number on a blank screen, we decided to tell you what the churches have been up to in your name within our local community. It seems quite a lot has been going on!
Prayer & Worship
On Good Friday many of you participated in our Ecumenical Stations of the Cross so ably put together by The Rev’d Mel Commandeur of the Eden Church. This was just as much an inter-church event as it is when done in the more conventional manner. Zoom made it possible for Mel and Co to do some really imaginative things.
Sunday by Sunday worship has been provided according to our several traditions. Some services have been more traditional than others and all of us have had to deal with tech issues from time to time! Apparently I appeared back to front last week! Don’t ask.
We are enormously grateful to the tech experts who have emerged onto the centre of the stage of late to make possible stuff which some of us thought we’d never be involved in.
In addition to Sundays, our churches have sought to keep up the usual programme of prayer and study in less formal contexts whether via the printed word and email or Zoom and the like. Indeed some of these ideas seem to work so well that they may still have a place in congregational life once normality returns.
Staying in Touch
Keeping in contact with each other is a major thread in the common life of our local churches (including Crockham Hill) with clergy and others getting hold of people any way they know how, whether that be through fancy bits of modern kit or that relic from the stone age known as the telephone. We have been discovering just how out of date membership lists and the like become and just how many of you change your telephone numbers etc but don’t remember to tell your clergy (maybe you don’t want us to know!)
Many of our laity have taken on the role which at the parish church we call buddies, that is undertaking to stay in contact with a number of vulnerable neighbours and make sure they are fed, watered and supplied with all necessary pills and potions.
Parish Nursing & the Food Bank
Of course projects like the Food Bank and Parish Nursing have come into their own these past weeks! It is to the undying credit of the wider community that so many contacted the Food Bank offering their help as the perception of developing real need increased.
Pre-pandemic our Food Bank was supplying 9 families with necessary foodstuffs; now they support 19 and the number grows at the rate of 3-4 cries for help per week. But folk have risen to the challenge and the needful cash is there!
Huge amounts of time have been spent on telephone calls since face to face contact is essentially ruled out. Some of the challenges met by the team have been great, as you might imagine. Lockdown means overcrowding and lack of privacy which itself makes the solving of problems more difficult.
Of course there have been problems, both technical and human, and new ways of achieving old goals have had to be sought. Like many of us, Julie, our Parish Nurse, has resorted to sending cards to folk otherwise out of reach. Nothing wrong with that, folk like receiving such things!
Coming the other way has been the almost non-stop stream of donations from folk who recognise the value of this kind of project and want to do their bit to help it serve its purpose in these extraordinary times. A heartfelt THANK YOU to all our donors! Waitrose and Lidl’s are both on board with supplies and the Town Council are working alongside our people distributing frozen meals by Cook, and there is now a more joined up way of working with SDC.
Much of Anthony Shipwright’s usual work has been wiped out by our present situation but there have still been Zoom sessions on Friday evenings in place of the usual Youth Club as well as One to One. Anthony’s imagination has been working at full stretch as he seeks to keep young people engaged when they are already suffering from Zoom overload due to their school work.
Within our churches there are those, like Sue and Anthony, who have taken it upon themselves to continue work with children and young people using the many resources available on line these days, with not a little dose of their own imagination!
It’s all about Imagination
Indeed imagination seems to be the key to much of all this. We all have to find new ways of being and doing what God still wants us to be and do and sometimes it feels like he’s hovering around, just saying, Come on! Use that imagination I thought I gave you!
Thankfully there are those among us who know just how to do that!
Fr Stephe4n Mitchell
OUR FRIENDS IN NEW CROSS
If you've recently turned out cupboards and have discovered unneeded items, you may like to know that we've come up with a safe way of resuming our much-needed support for the homeless and vulnerable in New Cross.
If you can help, we’d be grateful if you could: Drop off items into the left-hand side of the open garage in Redlands Barn(everything for personal and home use welcome – immediate need for clothes, shoes, towels)
Ensure items are securely wrapped in plastic bags (or boxes for china etc)
Our Friends in New Cross will be coming to collect them at various times and send you their greetings and thanks.
You may be self-isolating at home, but Crockham Hill has been celebrating, and at the regulation social distance! Look on the website for pictures of VE75’s tea parties in Oakdale Lane and elsewhere, of Palm Sunday crosses and Easter trees. Check how to attend Sunday’s virtual service, and get details of what’s about to happen.
Email with suggestions, and anything you’d like to publicise on the website – it’s full of information, photographs, news items and biographies of former residents.
PARISH SAFEGUARDING CONTACTS:
Jo Naismith (Parish Safeguarding Officer)01732 866248 or 07966264290
Susan Cash (Advocate for Children & Vulnerable Adults) 01732 866218
Rev Sue Diggory (Vicar) 01732 446466 or 07799892583
Further details are displayed on the noticeboard in the church porch, and on the church website: