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Issue No.6, 1st February 2021
Headcorn Village website

Welcome to the Headcorn Village Newsletter
Here you can find information and news from around the community. 
Got a story? Email: jane@headcornvillage.org.uk

Photo showing hoar frost on stinging nettles in the churchyard
Although we remain in lockdown there is always work going on in our community.  There are of course the shopkeepers who are able to open and businesses continuing to work from home or their own offices.
There are also providers of public services who continue to serve our community but whom might not always be visible to us.
This month we take a closer look at some of these.
Headcorn Fire Brigade - The early years
Photo of Headcorn Fire Brigade in 1937
Headcorn Fire Brigade in 1937
What do you know about Headcorn Fire Station? Here is some of it's history from Tim Thomas of the Headcorn Local History Society:

It all began at a meeting in the now gone Kings Arms Inn on Tuesday 9th April 1907, where a Mr W.H. Ruff proposed the forming of the Headcorn Fire Brigade Committee. It started under the captaincy of Mr C. P. Kingsland who remained in charge until 1928.

To fight fires the village arranged for a number of fire hydrants to be provided at various points around the village. They were free if used to fight a fire, but a small charge if used for practice. The fire-fighting appliance was a hand cart with hoses and connecting equipment. It was kept in store at ‘The Chequers’, in the High Street and later in Forge Lane. It was not until 1937 that the Parish Council built the first small wooden fire station in the Manor Farmyard, next to Rushford Manor in the High Street.

The fire brigade was originally called out by firing a maroon purchased from Messrs Brock & Co at a cost of £1.11s.3d (£1.56p). Payment for attendance at a fire was 2 shillings (10p) for the first hour, then 6d (2.5p) per hour.

Owners of property were required to pay for the services rendered, an incentive to be careful. This system operated until 1938.

It was not until 1936 that the brigade was reorganised and Mr Alfred Day, Chairman of the Parish Council presented the service with a Dennis No. 1 trailer pump, which was towed by a converted car given by John Charles and Frank Foreman in memory of their fathers. Uniforms, helmets, and axes were acquired over the next few years.

After the outbreak of war in 1939, the brigade left parish ownership coming under the control of the then Hollingbourne Rural District Council until coming part of the National Fire Service. New fire-fighting appliances were then supplied.

At the end of the war, Kent County Council took control. The fire station was moved from the Manor Farm Site to its present location in Station Road in 1953 to a purpose-built fire station. This was replaced with today’s modern building in 1978, opened by the then MP, Sir John Wells. Until their disbandment there was a ‘Green Goddess’ of the Auxiliary Fire Service housed in the building at the rear.
Headcorn Fire Station's Trailer pump
The trailer pump acquired in 1936 (photo taken 1937)
Meet the Team at Headcorn Fire Station
The current Headcorn Fire Station team
Watch Manager Nicola, Crew Manager Saunders, Crew Manager Killeen, Firefighter Stroud, Firefighter Cooper, Firefighter Fowler, Firefighter Harrison
After Tim’s brief history of Headcorn Fire Station, perhaps you’d like to know more about the current team working here.

The team is headed by Watch Manager Tony Nicola who has served in Headcorn for 18 years. He is supported by Crew Managers John Saunders and Kieran Killeen, along with firefighter trainees Loughlin Cooper, Robbie Shroud, Luke Harrison and Layla Fowler.
What you might not realise is that the whole team has other full-time jobs, yet manage to provide at least 50-hours of cover a week in Headcorn as well. Those on the team must live or work within 5 minutes travelling time to the station.

On-call firefighters are not based at the fire station itself – they instead carry a pager and
respond to emergency incidents using the local station to respond from when this happens.

The crews are also expected to undertake and attend training at the station, at least once per week, which is often referred to as a ‘drill night’.
Headcorn Fire Station principally provides cover for nights, evenings and weekends – and at all other times cover for the community is provided by nearby stations. To extend cover to daytimes would require a core team of 17.
What is remarkable about these members of our community is their willingness to devote so much of their time after working a full week to keep us all safe. If you’d like to find out more about serving at Headcorn as an on-call firefighter, or to apply online, use the link below.
On Call Firefighter
Post-Pandemic Travel
Photo of Jamie Revell holding his 'One to Watch' Aspire Award
Jamie Revell, with the Aspire Luxury Travel Magazine award for the ‘One to Watch’ / Best Newcomer.

As we begin to look ahead to the lifting of lockdown some of us might be thinking about a long-awaited holiday.  It might be risky to book but there are new assurances given by some operators.  What’s more, Headcorn is lucky to have its very own independent travel specialist, Ravells Travel.  Jamie Ravell is an award-winning expert in arranging bespoke, luxury trips so if you are thinking of planning a getaway – perhaps with several generations together – then why not see if he can help.  Here is what Jamie had to say about booking a holiday now:

“Everyone wants to get away. Myself and my family included! I am sure most have had holidays cancelled or rescheduled over the last year. So, where can we go, and how can we take our much-needed break while still feeling safe? 
Keeping in touch with our customers and understanding their changing needs, we have been recommending a different type of getaway that offers seclusion and privacy.

Villa holidays are proving very popular. Spending time with family and friends away from the crowds while still having your every need catered for is what a lot of people are looking for. Destinations such as the Caribbean, Croatia, Spain and Greece are perfect for this type of holiday.
Our villas have the option of being pre-stocked with your shopping on arrival, as well as a concierge team to provide anything you may need throughout your stay. Chefs are available to come and cook for you, and you can have housekeeping staff to take care of the cleaning. It certainly makes for less interaction with others and more privacy for you to enjoy a relaxing break, which is well overdue right now!  

Rest assured, we are members of the Travel Trust Association and have an ATOL licence, making sure every penny you spend with us is protected.”
Bali Villa
Bali Villa
Cote d'Azur Villa
Cote d'Azur Villa
Revells Travel
A new whodunnit, set in Headcorn?
Photo of Jennifer Alexander
Scriptwriter Jennifer Alexander
If you’re a fan of murder mysteries then you might like a new podcast written by Jennifer Alexander, a scriptwriter based in Headcorn. Jennifer is excited to launch her comedy-drama detective series of podcasts called The Write Off, set against the backdrop of a village called Bramley. Life in Bramley village is also affected by a global pandemic.  So I asked her whether Headcorn Village inspired her?  “Yes, it did!” says Jennifer.

The story follows an investigation into the puzzling death of a village resident following a night out with ‘the dads’. With twists and turns, The Write Off delivers intrigue and humour for mystery-lovers. “I think many listeners will recognise village life as it is experienced by the residents of Bramley, there are secrets in this village and they are about to be exposed”.
Jennifer is in the early stages of her career but is already attracting celebrity actors - this drama stars Jamie Davis from Casualty/Footballers Wives and Matt Lacey from Cuckoo/Gap Yah.  Alongside them the cast includes a few other familiar local faces: Jemma MacDonald, Charlotte Bass and James Hanaway.
The Write Off was inspired by a conversation Jennifer had with Robert Thorogood, creator of the BBC murder mystery series Death in Paradise.
This is Jennifer’s third drama podcast and her first was awarded semi-finalist position at the 2021 San Francisco Independent Film Festival.
If you would like to listen to The Write Off then you can download it from the link below from 3rd February, from Spotify and from other broadcast platforms.
Photo of Jennifer with cast members James, Charlotte and Jemma
Jennifer with cast members James, Charlotte and Jemma
Find out more
Your Village Needs You!
Even through lockdown there’s work to be done by Headcorn Parish Council. Whether that is reviewing planning applications, improving services, managing our local precept or attending to crime issues. To be a councillor means you’re willing to devote some of your time and energy to enhance, protect and improve the community. So what’s it like to be a Councillor? Here we ask two long-serving Councillors about their roles within our Parish Council, Bridget Dungey and Caroline James:
Parish Councillor Bridget Dungey
Bridget Dungey
Parish Councillor Caroline James
Caroline James
What is your current role at Headcorn Parish Council and how long have you been a Councillor:

Bridget: Now I am just on two committees – Planning and Open Spaces. I have served for 21 years in lots of different roles (including Vice Chair) – you are allowed to swap around!
Caroline: I am Chair of the Open Spaces Committee, and I am also a member of the Staffing Committee. This is my ninth year as a councillor

What achievement are you most proud of in your role?

Bridget: Fighting to keep Headcorn Rural not Urban. Not easy but we need to keep trying and we need local voices to do that.
Caroline: Being involved in setting up of the Parish Office at the Village Hall which increased accessibility for parishioners, the appointment of the first full time Parish Clerk and of an additional Lengthsman.

How important do you think Headcorn’s Parish Council is and why?

Bridget: Very important! No Parish Council means no direct local knowledge going to Maidstone Borough Council. OK, they don’t always listen, but we do keep battling on and positive outcomes can be very rewarding.
Caroline: It is crucial as an arm of local government, to ensure that the views and wishes of the parishioners are represented. We don’t have the power to make decisions in all matters, but at least we get a chance to represent the views of the villagers in relation to key issues, whether it is to Maidstone Borough Council, Kent County Council or other bodies.
Is there anything you think the Council could be better at?
Bridget: Recruiting new members!! Seriously, there is room for more delegation of work (job sharing).
Caroline: I think there is always room for better communication with parishioners. Even though we have our website, Facebook, periodic newsletters and noticeboards around the village, we still find it difficult sometimes to get our message across.

Typically how many hours a week do you spend on Council work?
Bridget: Sometimes none at all, but you do need to monitor your messages regularly. It really does vary with how many committees or groups you are on. For example, Planning is quite busy at the moment (!) and can take several hours during the month.
Caroline: It’s very difficult to say as there may be three meetings one week and none the next. There is certainly a need to monitor emails on a daily basis.

This is a voluntary post, why do you do it?
Bridget: Because I love Headcorn – I have lived here for nearly 56 years. Also I do find the “job” interesting and challenging, often frustrating but also rewarding. Please join, you can make a difference.
Caroline: I care very much about the village and the community, and as I am retired I have the time to give. It is also very satisfying to see projects come to fruition.
Headcorn Parish Council is looking for new Councillors. If you’re interested in finding out more then click on the link to contact the Clerk for more information:
Find out more
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Seed Planting
Poppies in Headcorn churchyard
The Commonwealth War Graves Foundation is running a promotion to draw attention to their first ever War Graves Week in May, inviting people to obtain wildflower seeds from the CWGC to create their own memorial garden. This has prompted an idea to plant some of these seeds in a dedicated area of the churchyard at St Peter & St Paul's Church. 
The seeds within the mix have been specifically chosen to reflect those that would have grown on the battlefields of the First World War.
The seeds available from CWGC
In the churchyard there are two WW2 graves, civilian WW2 graves, as well as two graves (and one lost) that commemorate soldiers on relatives' graves, although their CWGC commemoration is abroad where they fell.
If you would like to take part in this project you can read how to get your seeds using this link, then if you'd like to plant yours in the churchyard please get in touch with Rev'd Fiona Haskett so that a suitable sized area in the churchyard can be allocated.
CWGC Seed Planting
A glance back at January
A montage of photographs taken around Headcorn Village in January 2021
A few photo highlights from around the village, taken in January 2021.
Photo of Jane Armstrong
I hope this Headcorn Village newsletter continues to prove useful and interesting.  Please spread the word if you know others who might like to register to receive it.  Can you help support it?  Please, click on the link to find out how you can help keep this project going.  Thank you!          Jane Armstrong
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