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John Riches our Village Correspondent writes weekly reports about the village for the local media.  We are pleased to place them on our web site in order that those interested in Abthorpe can access the latest village news from anywhere in the world.

This page will keep the latest 3 or 4 reports.

On the Archive page we will store past articles and other pieces of particular interest.

Also, our newsletters can be downloaded on the Newsletters page.

 

 

20th January
Celebrate the re-opening of the Old School on 2nd February from 7:00pm.

After more than two years of planning, the refurbishment and repair of the main hall in the Old School started at the end of October.  Committees over the years have done an excellent job of maintaining this building that started life 377 years ago, when Oliver Cromwell was in charge of the country.

 However, the years take their toll and the current committee felt it was time to undertake the next phase to keep the Old School in good order to serve the current and future residents for years to come.  Equally importantly, increased income is needed to meet the running costs and build a maintenance fund.

A new air source heating system was installed in 2017 that has successfully kept the damp at bay.  The causes of the damp cannot be cured so it is a question of managing them.

The work on the main hall started on 29th October with a complete stripping out of redundant material.  The scheme involves removing all the damp and blown plaster and panelling the lower part of the walls.  All the rotting wood sills have been replaced, and the beautiful parquet floor stripped and sealed.  The doors have been stripped or replaced as required; and of course the whole room has been  redecorated.  Reverberating noise will be suppressed by an acoustic layer applied to the ceiling which will make it easier to hear each other when there is a large gathering.  A new application system has ensured that the original lines of the ceiling are not obscured.  In fact the whole aim of the refurbishment plan has been to retain and enhance the unique features of this old room. New lighting has been installed that enables  a wide range of effects to suit every occasion, from full light, for instance for playing bridge, through to a soft party atmosphere.

The Old School Committee said that it is tempting to pop in to see whatís going on, but asked villagers to restrain themselves while the work is in progress as it is a restricted building site. But that didnít stop people from trying to sneak a glimpse of the work in progress through the hallís windows.

Now the work is almost finished and the committee has invited everyone to come to view the refurbishment and attend a village supper from 7:00pm on Saturday 2nd February. Admission is free and the committee will provide glasses, plates and cutlery but ask the party goers to bring a bottle or two and a platter of food to share with neighbours, friends and family.

 

13th January
Epiphany Event.

At a recent Special  Event for local children in Abthorpe church, participants learned not only about the festival of Epiphany when Christians celebrate the visit of wise men to the baby Jesus, but also the need to be compassionate to fellow human beings. The children were invited to bring a food gift that could be taken to Towcester Food Bank to help local people in need. Some wrote letters of thanks to the volunteers who operate the food bank.

Typical of the letters was one from Lucy. It read: - ďDear Food Bank Workers. Thank you so much for everything you do. You are real life heroes and I know that Iím not the only one who thinks that. You help so many people and for that I am very thankful. I am glad that others can have food and drinks like us. I myself am very fortunate but I know others arenít, and then you help. Once again thank you for your work. From Lucy.Ē

When the food and childrenís letters were taken to Towcester Food Bank the volunteers were delighted and had a short break from packing bags for needy local people to read the childrenís letters. One of them called Barbara wrote this reply: - ďDear Children. It was lovely to receive the letters you wrote to the Towcester foodbank. Thank you for encouraging the volunteers who work in the foodbank and also the people who come in to receive food parcels. Your donations and kind words are very much appreciated. There are so many people in our community who are so generous in giving to enable the foodbank to support people who are going through difficult times. During December we were able to provide food for 436 people( 222 adults and 214 children). We could not do this without the generous donations we receive. Thank you, BarbaraĒ

The collection point in Abthorpe Church has now sent 1,504kg to the Towcester Food Bank. Thatís over 1 Ĺ tonnes! Thank you everyone for your generosity.

 

6th January
Red kites.

I was bringing in one of my wheelie-bins last week when up out of the corner of my eye I noticed a large bird gliding just above the roof tops. At first I thought it was a buzzard. They are now frequent visitors to our village. But its forked tail suggested it was a red kite that are also now regular visitors here. They are beautiful large birds with a wing span that can approach two metres and are a real tribute to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England who administered their reintroduction to southern England. The web site of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty explained what happened.

By the end of the 19th Century red kites had been persecuted to extinction. Perhaps because they were erroneously believed to eat farmersí new born lambs. Between 1989 and 1994 red kites from Spain were imported and released into the Chiltern Hills by the RSPB and Natural England. They have thrived and have gradually extended their range right into Northamptonshire and beyond. They mainly feed on dead animals but are opportunistic hunters that are capable of killing small animals. One day I was pedalling quietly down National Cycle Route 50 between Syresham and Wappenham. On the tarmac in front of me a large bird was feeding on road kill. As I approached it silently rose into the air and I could see the dark read plumage on the under-side of its body.

Today both red kites and buzzards are seen very frequently soaring above Towcester and the surrounding villages.

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