Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

Otford residents are encouraged to don some tartan for the night to celebrate the life of poet Robert Burns at church centre

BURNS NIGHT: St Bartholomew’s Church in Otford is hosting a Burns Night in the church centre on Saturday, 25 January. Burns Night traditionally is a celebration of the life of the poet Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), who was the author of many Scots poems. At the Otford event there will be a three-course Scottish meal with traditional toasts, readings, a table quiz and some Scottish themed entertainment. Make up a table of eight or apply individually and they will join you with others.  Take along your own drink and advise of any dietary requirements. Guests are encouraged to wear something Scottish even if it is only a token tartan ribbon. A suggested donation on the night is £20 in aid of church funds. Tickets are available from Vicki Howie by calling 01959 522413 or email: vickihowie@btopenworld.com

OTFORD TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PLANS are now available on the Parish Council website at www.otfordpc.kentparishes.gov.uk  – select ‘Traffic Management’. Paper copies are available in the Parish Council Office. The public consultation has extended by two weeks and now finishes on Sunday 26 January. The consultation is an opportunity for you to view the detail on the traffic measures and comment before the final plans are drawn up and finalised. The consultation period was extended as a result of some villagers being unaware of this project although it has been extensively advertised both in this column, on the web, and in the Parish Council monthly Newsletter. Notices have also been posted through letter boxes throughout the village in an attempt to keep everyone up-to-date on the Parish Councils future traffic plans. The Parish Council office at 21 High Street Otford, is open 8.30am to noon Monday to Friday, or contact the parish clerk on 01959 524808 or by emailing: clerk@otfordpc.co.uk

OTFORD STATION FOOTBRIDGE: A reminder that now is your chance to have a say about the future of the footpath crossing across the rail line close to Otford Station. Network Rail is making another bid to replace the footpath with  a 62-step footbridge. Two years ago, a KCC enquiry into the closure unanimously voted to retain the crossing instead of building a footbridge but Network Rail are making a final appeal to the Secretary of State.

If you have any views, please write to Mrs Yvonne Oddy, 3A Eagle Wing, The Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN or email: yvonne.oddy@planninginspectorate.gov.uk quoting Ref Footpath SR49, Pilgrims Way (Otford Kent) Rail Crossing Division Order 2019.

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 which 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 bought 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 01732 457842 or email: glen-chris.cable@sky.com

THREE HISTORY GROUPS meet regularly in the village Memorial Hall, the Otford and District Historical Society (ODHS), the 1940s Society and the North-West Kent Family History Society (NWKFHS). Meetings of all societies are open to the public. ODHS annual membership for nine meetings is £10 per adult, or £3 per meeting. The 1940s Society has six meetings per year and admission is £3 per meeting. Annual membership for the NWKFHS is £10 and visitors are asked for a contribution. Refreshments are available at all meetings. Doors open at 7.30pm and the talks generally start at 8pm.

CODE BREAKERS: On Friday 31 January, the 1940’s Society meet in Otford Memorial Hall for a talk by Ian Thomson, entitled Bletchley Park and the breaking of the German codes in World War Two. Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Refreshments will be available during the interval. Visitor admission to the meeting is £3.

OTFORD FOLK DANCE CLUB next meets at 8pm on Thursday 30 January at Walthamstow Hall Junior School in Sevenoaks with Colin Butson calling. 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 on 01732 458356.

THE FIELD OF CLOTH OF GOLD event ‘Not waving but drowning’ (with apologies to Stevie Smith!) is on Saturday 6 June on Otford. The re-enactment of the visit of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to Otford on their way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold has sparked the community’s imagination. The play (being written and performed by the Kemsing Players) is taking shape nicely, the Morris dancing has expanded into a ‘Day of Dance’ with up to five Morris sides, there will be Tudor Music played by an early music consort. The organisers are hoping to include a Mummers Play and there will be activities for children of all ages. The invitations to the various chairs of parish councils and mayors in the Darent Valley have been accepted with enthusiasm.

The amount of organisation means Nick Rushby is drowning in a sea of event management and seriously needs some assistance to share the load. There are a number of sub-projects (such as arranging the stage, security, sound systems, etc) that could be handled by an enthusiastic individual. Please contact him to let him know what you can do to help by calling 07968 721 958 or email: secretary@otfordpalace.org

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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