Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

Red phone box has been calling up support for local events for the last nine years

The red phone box in the Square at Riverhead creates a great deal of interest to people walking and driving passed. It always looks like it is occupied, but on closer inspection you will find the ‘caller’ is a female mannequin who changes her outfit to promote topical local events such as the recent Riverhead carnival.

The box was originally sited at the former Cold Store in Dunton Green until nearly nine years ago. The Parish Council was offered the box as long as they could remove it. They took up the offer, renovated the phone box and sited it in The Square. The mannequin was installed and (with padding) her first role was as Father Christmas in the run up to the festive period.

The display proved very popular and the Parish Council decided to continue dressing the female mannequin in a variety of costumes. During her life she has been an enormous white rabbit, a witch, a snowman, Guy Fawkes, a tennis player, a cricketer, a bowls player, a beach baby, a scout and a morris dancer.

Many of these characters are used to advertise the various organisations in Riverhead every year. The box has also been filled with large chicks and coloured eggs for Easter, a May pole, poppies for last year’s Centenary of the end of World War 1, pictures of the Queen and the Duke to celebrate their Diamond Wedding, flowers for Riverhead in Bloom, a deck chair, flippers and other beach equipment for the summer, and one never to be forgotten display she became David Beckham with very slim legs.

This year in early October the phone box will go pink to help advertise pink week in partnership with Priti Patel in Londis (see details below).

And it looks like Riverhead is not the only location to find an unusual use for this iconic British design. Visitors to Puerto del Carmen in Lanzarote will find the amusing site of a red phone box with a large palm tree growing up through the roof (see picture).

Plus, at the top of a French mountain in the Grand Domaine Espace Diamant, hikers are often surprised to come across another red phone box. It has been stationed there so that people can get a wifi signal to make contact if there is an emergency as ironically there is no phone signal in this part of the mountain.

RIVERHEAD CARNIVAL on 15 September was probably the biggest ever, helped by the wonderful weather, and organisers 3rd Sevenoaks Scout Group raised a substantial sum to help fund year-round activities for its many young members. Thanks go to everyone involved in putting on this very enjoyable community event. The Scouts’ next event will be their annual Firework Display on Saturday 2 November at their HQ off Bradbourne Vale Road. Refreshments from 6pm, first rocket at 7pm.

RIVERHEAD LIBRARY: Following the recent review by Kent Libraries, aimed at saving £1m across the county, opening hours at Riverhead Library are sadly to be reduced from 25 to 15 hours a week. From next week, Riverhead Library will be open on Tuesdays 10am-1pm, Wednesdays 2-5pm, Thursdays 10am -12.30pm and 1.30pm-4pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. The library will be closed all day on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. Opening hours can be checked on www.kent.gov.uk – click on ‘Libraries’

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: The next Riverhead Parkland Working Party will be held on Wednesday   9 October from 9.30 -11.30am when the regular volunteer group of Riverhead Parish Councillors and local residents would welcome you to join them. The village is very fortunate to have this beautiful open area in the centre of Riverhead but more helpers are now needed to keep it looking good. Tools and refreshments are provided but do attend appropriately clad, including sturdy footwear and gardening gloves. Not arduous but fresh air and good company. The group meets at the entrance to the Parkland off St Mary’s Drive at 9.30am. Just turn up or why not take a stroll through the Parkland that morning to see what goes on?  More information on the Parish Council website (details below).

RIVERHEAD PINK EVENT: On Sunday 20 October, Priti Patel, the manager of the Londis store on White Hart Parade and her staff and friends, will be wearing pink and raising money to fight Breast Cancer as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This event will be going on all day, but from 2pm Priti and her friends will be selling chicken wings, samosas, onion bhajis, fruit, drinks, pink cupcakes, and much more.

CHIPSTEAD WI: The next meeting of Chipstead WI, which always welcomes Riverhead residents, will be on Tuesday 8 October. It will also be their Birthday Meeting. Dale Thomas will give a talk about ‘Favourite Things in the V & A’. The competition will be for the most unusual eggcup and the sales table theme will be Dress Jewellery. The meeting starts at 8pm and the venue, as always, is Chevening Parish Hall, Homedean Rd, Chipstead (TN13 2RU). For more information about Chipstead WI, which holds monthly meetings featuring interesting speakers and other events, call Janet Sharp on 01732 452715 or email: barjansharp@tiscali.co.uk. Everyone is welcome to go along to a meeting to find out more.

TEMENOS CONCERT: Local followers of the Temenos Chamber Choir, which rehearses and often performs in St Mary’s Church Riverhead might like to know that their next concert ‘Stargazer’, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Moon Landing, will be held at St Martin’s Church Brasted on Saturday 19 October at 7.30pm. More information at www.temenos-chamberchoir.org.uk Tickets from 01959 523765 and also in person from the  Sevenoaks Book Shop. Or just go along on the night.

HOW TO CONTACT RPC: You can phone Riverhead Parish Council on 01732 461278 or email clerk@riverheadparishcouncil.org.uk The Riverhead Parish Council website is at www.riverheadpc.kentparishes.gov.uk and you can also keep up to date with local events by following ‘Riverhead Parish Council’ on Facebook and Twitter @RiverheadParish.

The Riverhead village news is compiled by Maggie Miles. If you have any news or events you would like her to consider for the My Sevenoaks Community village column you can email it to her at: maggiejmiles@gmail.com

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