Saturday, December 14th, 2019

Do you have a wartime story to tell? Otford starts to prepare for next year’s VE Day 75th anniversary event

VE DAY 75: As part of the nationwide celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War in Europe, on Friday Bank Holiday, 8 May 2020, Otford is planning a series of events to mark the role that the village and her people played during the conflict.

The 1940s Society and the Otford and District Historical Society would like to hear your Otford memories and family connections to the Second World War.

Rather like the ‘Poppies around the Pond’ in 2018 that sought to honour the Fallen from the First World War, they are trying to find out as much information as possible about those from the village who fought during the Second World War. Eight Otford men sacrificed their lives, and they would like to know more about each man’s story.

However, they also seek to highlight all those from the village who entered the Forces and ‘did their bit’ – where all too frequently that ‘bit’ involved incredible tenacity and bravery. Their individual stories deserve to be told on ‘VE Day 75’ and preserved for future generations. If you know of, or are related to, a service man with local connections they would love you to get in touch with them.

Similarly, the Otford organisers would like to hear about the whole ‘sweep’ of the conflict as it impacted locally – not just those in the forces, but also the hard-working men and women who kept the war-factories open, the hospitals operational and our local farms running throughout the years of turmoil. Was your dad or uncle an ARP warden, a police officers, a firemen, or in the Home Guard?

Perhaps your mum or aunt was a ‘Land Girl’, or you remember the war through the eyes of a child, or as an evacuee… all such reminiscences tell a story, and Otford wants to hear them !

If you think you have a story to tell, please leave your name and contact details at the Parish Office (in the Heritage Centre next to the village school) and they will get in touch.

OTFORD Folk Dance Club meets at 7.30pm tonight, Thursday 28 November, at Walthamstow Hall Junior School when Sue Hastings will be calling and the cost is £3. All kinds of mixed folk dances are on offer and all are welcome. Whether you have little or no knowledge, the caller will give help and your fellow dancers will also assist you. The emphasis is on friendly enjoyment rather than perfection. If you would like more information ring Mary Butson, 01732 458356.

CHRISTMAS QUIZ -MEDICS V PATIENTS: The second Patient Group Christmas Quiz in Otford is on Friday, 6 December from 7.30pm. This is just a fun evening with a Christmas twist. Up to eight per team or just come as an individual – £7 per person. Bring your own refreshments and join in the fun. Contact: margaret.robarts@talktalk.net or phone Margaret on 01959 522853.

1940’s Society meets at 7.30pm on Friday 29 November for an 8pm talk by Alan Williams entitled Over-paid, over-sexed and over-here. The American Invasion of Britain 1942-1945′. Between 1942 and 1945 American service personnel flooded into Britain in what George Orwell called ‘the invasion of Britain’. Alan Williams will explore this ‘invasion’ and show the 1943 British War Office film ‘A Welcome to Britain’ which explained to American servicemen and women how strange life in Britain could be, from ‘funny money’ to warm beer. 1940’s Society Meetings are held in Otford Memorial Hall and admission is £3, refreshments are available including home-made cake.

OTFORD GARDENERS SOCIETY Quiz and Fun Night has become a firm fixture in their calendar and this year it’s in the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 3 December from 7.30pm. Teams of maximum of six are invited to pit their wits against each other and have a fun evening into the bargain. Please note the start time for this meeting is 7.30pm. Please contact Society Secretary, Janet Finney, 01959 523760, e-mail: gardeners@otford.net

OTFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL’S Christmas Bazaar is on Saturday 7 December from noon until – 3 pm. This fun family event will include a Winter Wonderland, Santa’s Grotto, Christmas Market, Tombola, Face Painting, Games, Raffle, Refreshments and much more. Entry: Adult £1, Children free. Everyone Welcome. If anyone would like to book a stall or request more information please email: ptfa@otford.kent.sch.uk

OTFORD METHODIST CHURCH welcomes back the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir for a very special Christmas performance at 7.30pm on Saturday 14 December. Refreshments will be provided in the interval. Tickets (£10) are available from the church’s website or from the Sunday morning box office. You are advised not to delay in buying tickets as this is a really popular event and was in high demand last time the choir visited. For further information call the box office on 07948 309484.

OTFORD’S CHRISTMAS POST: Stamps for the Girlguiding Otford’s Christmas Post Service go on sale on 28 November for the 37th year running and will be available until Friday 20 December. The special charity post service, which is one of the longest running in the country, delivers Christmas cards with the scheme’s special stamps to addresses in Otford village.

Stamps cost 30p and are available to purchase in Otford library during normal opening hours or in the Parish Council office every weekday morning. Christmas cards can be posted in the special post boxes located in the same places. Otford’s Brownies and Guides will collect, sort, frank and then deliver the cards over the two weekends before Christmas. This year the money raised from the sale of the stamps will be donated to SERV Kent Bloodrunners, a charity that provides emergency courier services transporting blood products, samples and other essential items for major hospitals and hospices in Kent out of normal working hours.

Please support this service by purchasing the special stamps and posting your cards early. Library opening hours are Monday 9am – 1pm, Tuesday 9am – 1pm, 2pm- 5pm, Wednesday Closed, Thursday 9am – 1pm, Friday 1pm – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 2pm. Parish Council opening hours Monday to Friday 8am – 12:30pm.

FAIR FEAST 2020: Falling within Fairtrade Fortnight 2020, where the emphasis is again on ensuring that all farmers are paid fairly for their work, Fair Feast 2020 (pancakes, etc, and quiz) is on Shrove Tuesday (pancake day 25 February) in Otford Methodist Church Hall. All receipts from ticket sales and any donations will be sent to All We Can, the Methodist relief and development fund.

This year, as All We Can has suggested, the money raised by Fair Feast 2020 will be used to support communities in Ethiopia who have been affected by their rapidly changing climate, making it increasingly difficult to grow crops and earn a living. All We Can are supporting vulnerable families in these communities with crops that are better adapted to the climate, as well as arranging, as necessary, training in farming and business management.

Tickets are £7, or £3.50 for students, and they may be ordered now, although payment need not be made until the night. Tables seat eight people, but everyone is welcome and reservations may be made for any number from one upwards. To reserve places, please contact Glen Cable on 01732 457842 or email: glen-chris.cable@sky.com

The Otford village news is compiled by Kay Drake. If you have any news or events you would like her to consider for the My Sevenoaks Community village column you can email her at: drake_kay@hotmail.com

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