Posts by Pam

Geddington Amazing Millennium Experience

1999, and the year 2000 could have been just another year in our lives. Except it wasn’t. Concerns were being raised worldwide that the computer industry would not be able to cope with the change from 1999 to 2000. Y2K was the shorthand term for “the year 2000”. It referred to a widespread computer programming shortcut that was expected to cause extensive havoc as the year changed from 1999 to 2000. Instead of allowing four digits for the year, many computer programs only allowed two digits (e.g. 99 instead of 1999). As a result, there was immense panic that computers would be unable to operate when the date descended from “99” to “00”. Would it all come crashing down?

Well, it obviously didn’t. But this was not achieved without a great deal of work done by major companies, who decided to resolve the problems by upgrading their systems and business processes. The smaller businesses were pressurised to do the same so that the supply chain was not interrupted. Needless to say there was an enormous increase in sales of new hard and software in the last years of the 1990s.

Was Geddington worried? Well, not that you would have noticed, instead they decided to celebrate the new New Year, and new century, with a massive party. (At this stage it’s probably best to mention the view that some people had, that the new century actually started on 1 January 2001. The same view holds that the new decade starts, not on 31.12.2019, but 31.12.2020. The argument? That Anno Domini began with year one, not year zero.)

One person had had the foresight to book the Village Hall for Friday 31st December 1999. Then he had the generosity to hand the booking over for a village event which was then organised and which eventually became known as the Geddington Amazing Millennium Experience.

After public meetings in 1998 and 1999, a committee was formed (of course!). The Minutes of the first meeting, 26 February 1999, showed the newly formed committee officers as: Chairman Lloyd Marlow, treasurer Pam Dennis (now Hopkins) and secretary Jane Rowley. Other members were: Kay Marlow, Joy Tingle, John Hughes, Paul Hopkins and Kristi Marshall. During the year, other committee members included Hartley Plumb, Paul Richardson, Richard Paragreen, Nicola O’Brian, Mr & Mrs Chew, Jane Tysoe, Jackie & Gordon Binley and David Featherstone. In addition there were many other residents who gave their help in a huge variety of ways. Over the following months the general layout and programme were set out, and supplies ordered.

By August, the main details of the party had been pretty well finalised. So what were they? First of all the layout: there were 3 connected marquees set up in the Village Hall car park, with a covered scaffold which led to the Hall’s entrance. Inside the Hall was a Disco, a huge TV with a connection to the BBC and the Big Ben countdown, a play area for children with ‘goodie’ bags for each child, balloons and a net (to be released at midnight). In the marquees: 400 chairs and 26 x 5′ x 2.6″ tables had been allocated spaces, one blower heater, rolls of white polystyrene sheeting to line the marquees (kept the heating in a treat!), red cord carpet, paper tablecloths, a quiz, thousands of fairy lights and dozens of extension cables. Outside there was Herries fencing stretching from the changing rooms to the brick wall and across to the VH entrance, this in order to secure the site (there were 3 volunteers on site for security detail, for the 3 nights up to 31 December), there was event insurance and a skip for later use! And finally, fireworks of course! Over £2000 worth. Viewing for guests was done from the Tennis Courts, although many non-paying residents could see them from the bridge, well, why not, it was that sort of night!

The very rough layout below shows how the guests could access the marquees and Village Hall. The public entrance lead into the 1st marquee (tent 1), which was attached to the 2nd marquee (tent 2), which was attached at right angles to the 3rd marquee (Scouts), and then guests could walk through a covered scaffolding into the Village Hall. Due to the very tightness of space, tables 15, 16 and 17 (shown on the Table Plan) couldn’t be set up until the guests at all the other tables were seated! To put it succinctly once in, it was extremely difficult to move around, or get out. Just as well everyone had brought their own food and drink. (Click on each image to enlarge.)

It was never meant to be a fund-raising event, but such were the skills, the enthusiasm, the generosity of so many people and businesses, plus the euphoria of this special night, that over £600 was left after expenses. This was divided between The Newsletter, the St Magdalene Church, the Samuel Lee Charity, Age Concern (local branch), Mums & Tots, but the largest proportion went to the Village Hall, who had offered it free of charge! A letter of thanks and a commemorative badge (do you still have yours?) were sent to a list of people, organisations and businesses who willingly gave their help to one of the biggest parties this village has seen in living memory.
The list included:
Mr & Mrs Chew, Geddington Parish Council, Village Hall Committee, Stryder Publishing, Lynsey, Glen Armer, Rob Bye, Andrew Plumb, Philip & Paul Sant, Leonara, Burwells, John Wilkinson, John Cole, Pete Rowney, Kettering Scouts, Geddington Scouts, G.A.M.E., G.S.S., G.V.F.B., Sealed Air and Steve Crane.

I started off this post with the words: “1999, and the year 2000 could have been just another year in our lives. Except it wasn’t.” Well it certainly wasn’t. It’s difficult to describe the enormous importance that this date meant to people at that time. Not only was it not just another year, not only not just another century, but this date put the world, as we know it, into another Millennium. There aren’t that many people alive today who will see in another century, let alone another Millennium! Just saying.

Up And Coming

Whilst we are all doing our preparations ready for Christmas, we thought it might be an idea to remind ourselves of two traditional events happening post-Christmas.

Fire engines primed and ready to go!

First, is the GVFB’s Annual Squirt.

This has been running for at least 25 years. And for those not in the know, it is a friendly, but very wet, contest between Kettering Fire & Rescue Service and Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade. Their water hoses are used to get an empty barrel across the River Ise to their opponent’s side. Onlookers can use the 12th century bridge to watch proceedings and, if the wind is in the right direction (or wrong, depending on your point of view!) you can get thoroughly drenched by the spray. So waterproofs definitely recommended. Starts approximately at 12 noon at the Eleanor Cross, then moves down to the ford.

Next up is the 12th Night Mask Supper.

How long has 12th night been celebrated in Geddington? Who knows? But I remember going to one in the Village Hall in the early 1990s. Perhaps the village’s celebrations of this date started after the Village Hall was built in the 1930s. Again, who knows? And if you do, please let me know.

The full details are in this beautiful poster.

FINALLY, we wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas, from the team

A4300 Road Closure

The A4300 will be closed from Newton Road to Grange Road on Saturday 14 December from 8am to 4pm.

For clarity see simple diagram below.

Do hope it’s to fill in all those potholes!

But expect to see more traffic through the village centre, via West St, Bridge St & Queen St, and vice versa.

General Election 2019

The 2019

General Election

takes place on

Thursday 12 December

Geddington Polling Station:
The Village Hall
Queen Street
Open from 7am to 10pm

The Kettering Borough candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Jim HAKEWILL Independant
Philip HOLLOBONE Conservative
Chris NELSON Liberal Democrat
Clare PAVITT Labour Party
Jamie WILDMAN Green Party

This month in the garden – December

December … plan the new gardening year

The Finished Project

The Knitting Club
has finished its
first project.

January 2019 saw the start of this new social club and its first aim was to knit 6″ squares to make into warm, snug blankets to be given to those who could make best use of them. We considered care homes to be the most favourable recipients.

The first two blankets, knitted during the spring and summer, were donated to Westhill Park and Thorndale Care Homes, where former Geddington residents were now living. Autumn saw the third blanket knitted, sewn together and completed with a beautiful and signature crocheted edge.

This blanket was taken along to The Old Vicarage Care Home in Weekley, where former resident, Don Brown, had been living. To our dismay and much sadness, we discovered that Don had recently passed away (his funeral is on Monday 2nd December, 2.30pm, at Kettering Crematorium). However, we considered that rather than be deterred, we would continue with our plan and donate it in Don’s memory.

The staff at The Old Vicarage were, as is so often at these homes, very kind, very welcoming, and very sad at Don’s passing. We chatted for quite some time before leaving them to get on with their daily duties.

The Knitting Club has a membership of about 25 ladies, although we have not restricted membership to just the one sex! It’s just happened that way. Not all the ladies have contributed squares to the blankets, but continue with their own projects on the Friday mornings that we meet at Cafe Oak. Not all ladies attend every Friday; it’s a very easy-going club. Not all ladies who come along know how to knit; it’s a worthwhile point to make, that these ladies now know how to knit.

Geddington village is one that has surprising qualities, none more so than when it helps communities, both in and outside the village.

This month in the garden – November

November …  winter is on its way

Time to turn the clocks back

It’s time to turn the clocks back one hour at 2am tomorrow, 27 October.

The UK is now on Greenwich Mean  Time (GMT). British Summer is over and Britons can look forward to lighter mornings and darker evenings as the winter draws in.

We just hope you didn’t have to go to these lengths
to change your clocks!

From the 1920s comedy - Safety Last
From the 1920s comedy – Safety Last


Knitting Club

The Knitting Club continues to thrive at the Cafe Oak on Friday mornings, 10 – 11.30am. However, cafe owners, Bernie & Sharon are taking a holiday and the Cafe will be closed from Friday 25 October to 4 November, open again on the 5th. We are meeting at Jean’s house on Newton Road for the next two Fridays. Best to leave cars on the road.

Project One for the Club was to knit double-bed sized blankets using 96 x 6″ squares. The first one was completed using shades of blue, grey and white, with a scalloped crochet edge in grey. This was donated early in October.

Three weeks later, the second blanket, completed in multi-coloured squares and finished with a scalloped crochet edge in red, was donated to Thorndale Care Home in Kettering. Resident Mick Hodgkinson, a former Geddington resident, was pleased to see both the blanket and some familiar faces from the village. Mick goes to the Beeswing Pub on a regular basis. In the images above, he admires the new addition to his home. Also in the images are Jean, Nicky, Pam and Rea Ballard, Activities Co-ordinator at Thorndale.

View from Thorndale Care Home

The image above shows the view from the rear of the Home. The very large building under construction will be the Avery Park Care Home on Rockingham Road and the Beeswing’s chimneys can be seen at the extreme left on the horizon.

Project 2, coming to fruition as we speak, is to decorate a Christmas tree for the Christmas Tree Festival in December. A host of sparkly white angels – and more than a few sparkly stars – will grace the tree, knitted by many of the clubs’ members. We all had the same pattern to work from, but it is quite interesting to see how each member has interpreted the pattern slightly differently each time – it will make for a very interesting exhibition of knitting.

A Vacancy Occurs . . .

Samuel Lee Charity Trustee

When the Charity was setup in 1723, fifteen years after Samuel Lee’s death, there were only two Executors of the Will left from the original five, these were to become the Charity Trustees. These two men chose 3 others and the five of them continued the work of the Charity, looking after the land left in the Will.  Over the years, deaths meant changes in their names, but it wasn’t until 1827 that the numbers were increased to seven.

Two changes occurred in the 19th century, both of which affected charities. First in 1853, the Charity Commission was set up to have oversight of all charities in England & Wales.  And then, in 1894, the Local Government Act was passed, which created Parish Councils and gave them powers to appoint representatives to local charities. In 1905 and prompted by the Charity Commission, the Trustees applied for a Scheme setting out the Constitution as we know it today.  The Scheme provided that there should still be seven Trustees, but, in a major change, three of them would be appointed by the Parish Council for 4-year terms and four were to be cooptative (not co-opted, that’s quite a different matter) Trustees, nominated for 5-year terms.

Since then, the Parish Council representatives have always been Parish Councillors, although that wasn’t strictly necessary. 2017 saw the first representative Trustee that wasn’t a Parish Councillor, followed speedily by a second and in 2018, by a third.

Now, one of those representatives has had to resign their Trusteeship, leaving the Charity one short. The Parish Council is also several Councillors short of the required number, giving them all extra duties, which puts us in the most unusual position of advertising for a Trustee.  Fund-raising is a necessary activity, as is looking after the finances, plus a general knowledge of, and interest in, the village: all would be useful attributes for a future Trustee. Meetings are few, but very sociable and the satisfaction in helping those in need cannot be understated.

If you think you can be a useful Trustee, please contact any of the Trustees listed below, or the secretary.

Dates for the Diary:
14 December  Christmas Distribution, to all those in Geddington and Newton, who have let us know that they are over 75, a bag of ‘goodies’ will be coming your way from 10am.
23 December  “Breakfast with Santa” in the Village Hall, more details later on Facebook and

And finally, whilst the Charity’s resources are not great, a little help can make all the difference at a critical moment. If you think we could help you, or if you know someone who might need our help, please contact the secretary, on 742292 or speak to one of the other Trustees listed below. And please be assured that any request is kept entirely confidential and the Trustees do not engage in means testing.

Nick Batchelor, 1 West Street (Chairman)
Claire Buckseall, 7 Chase View Road
Jim Harker, Lyons Yard, Wood Street
Paul Hopkins, 9 Grafton Road (Treasurer)
Rachel Newell, 21 New Road
Tony Slough, 2 Chase Farm
Pam Hopkins, Secretary, 9 Grafton Road, Geddington
Tel: 742292, email:

The stone tomb of Samuel Lee
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