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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.



10th December
Tony Abbott R.I.

The chapel at Northampton Crematorium was packed to overflowing with the family, friends, former police colleagues and villagers who had come to pay their respects to Tony Abbott a retired police officer who had lived in our village with his wife Janet since 1999. A Northamptonshire Police helmet was proudly laid on Tony’s coffin that had been covered with a police shroud.

The simple but very impressive Humanist funeral service was led by Steve Church. In a memorable eulogy Steve outlined Tony’s life of service to his community.

Anthony Charles Abbott was born in Northampton during 1934. He attended Far Cotton Infants School and there befriended Norman Cooper who became a life-long friend. Norman attended the funeral service. Tony grew up during the war years when family holidays were a rarity. After leaving Secondary School he attended Northampton Technical College and had a number of jobs before embarking on the life-changing experience of National Service where he joined the Grenadier Guards. Wearing his splendid uniform that included a big bearskin, he spent time guarding the crown jewels at The Tower of London and also at Buckingham palace. Tony loved that part of his life and felt that it gave him discipline, a sense of order, and the direction that he needed.

It was no surprise that in 1954 that Tony joined Northampton Borough Police Force and in no time was walking his favourtite beat – Northampton Town Centre. His role, he felt especially after he was promoted to sergeant, was a simple one – to help and protect the people of Northampton.

Tony was nicknamed “Bud,” and became the perfect role model for aspiring young police cadets. Bud Abbott was the policeman’s policeman!

A momentous turning point in Tony’s life took place when his friend Norman Cooper obtained four tickets for the Bertram Mills Circus on Northampton Racecourse. They invited two girls to join them who worked in Knight’s the Jewellers just off the Market Square. One of the girls was named Janet Austin and in March 1960 Tony and Janet married at Abington Church.

Tony became the proudest Dad in the world when his daughters Carol and Linda were born and cherished family life especially sea-side holidays where he indulged in his life-long passion for swimming.

In 1984 aged 50, Tony retired from the police service and undertook a number of jobs  - none of which particularly suited him until he became a driver for Age UK ferrying elderly clients from their homes. In 1999 Tony retired for good and he and Janet settled in Abthorpe. In our village he spent much time helping people – especially the elderly.

Tony’s chief interest was swimming. He became Secretary and latterly Chairman of Northamptonshire Life saving Society and performed judging duties and presented awards at school life saving competitions. Tony always loved dogs – hence his support for the Dogs’ Trust.

Steve Church who delivered the eulogy concluded : - “So ended the life of a truly wonderful man – one of life’s enhancers. A man who was hard-working and principled. A man with a terrific sense of humour and capacity for warmth. A man with a passionate love for nature. But Tony was a man who, above all things, cherished the company, the affection and the love of his family and his friends.”


10th December
Grand Christmas tree lights switch-on.

10, 9, 8 ..............4,3,2,1 and as ZERO was yelled by the expectant crowd gathered on our green, the lights on the village Christmas tree flashed magically into life to be greeted with a roar of approval. The real Santa and his little helper stood appreciatively watching the proceedings waiting for their reindeer to finish nibbling the grass by the old pump.

After singing some old favourite carols and Christmas songs the crowd snaked carefully along the darkened paths and into the welcoming, warm and brightly lit church where mulled wine, hot chocolate and minced pies plus lots else besides awaited them. It really was a wonderful way to begin our village’s Christmas festivities. .


3rd December

The amount donated to Crisis the national charity for homeless people in memory of my wife Joyce Riches totalled £1,217.60. We are delighted at such generosity. 

Thank you everyone. John, Jane and David.


2nd December
The Rural Oscars.

Pubs in the UK are closing at a rate of 27 a week states the Campaign for Real Ale that campaigns on beer and pub issues. If the only pub in a village closes that community loses a precious asset that encourages social interaction.  Sometimes, villages without a pub degenerate into a rural housing estate devoid of life. The list of pubs that have closed in our area is worryingly long. Some have been closed for many years such as Slapton’s Royal Oak and our own Stocking Frame, whilst others such as The Chequers in nearby Helmdon have closed more recently.

We here in Abthorpe are so, so fortunate that our ancient local – the quintessentially stone built pub called ironically The New Inn – is thriving. Local farmer Rob Smith our pub’s owner advertises our hostelry as “a proper village pub,” where “kids, paws and mucky boots are welcome.”  He serves real ales brewed locally in the Cotswolds and excellent varied foods in the restaurant. Darts and Northamptonshire table skittles are played, regular charity quiz evenings hosted and ‘open mike’ and bring your own musical events are encouraged. If customers simply wish to text friends on their smart phones our local area broadband network Tove Valley provides a very high speed link.

The Countryside Alliance that campaigns on behalf of countryside communities organises The Rural Oscars and the New Inn has been nominated in the pub category. Judges, the Alliance says, will not just be looking for evidence of great produce, customer service and innovation but also of how businesses serve their communities.

Villager Michelle Jackson is encouraging everyone to nominate our pub The New Inn, Silver Street, Abthorpe, Towcester NN12 8QR and urges us to “Come on let’s do it.”

If you would like to nominate our pub please click on the link below.


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