Saturday, April 13th, 2024

Riverhead community comes together to make Armistice Day centenary an event to be proud of

ARMISTICE DAY: Around 200 people of all ages attended the 100th anniversary Armistice Day service led by the vicar, Martin Booth, on Sunday 11 November outside St Mary’s Church. It was a very moving occasion as everyone joined the church choir in singing ‘Abide with Me’. Parish Councillor Martin Denton read out the names of the 43 Riverhead servicemen and women who died in WW1 and the 20 servicemen and women and eight civilians who died in WW2. Young trumpeter Tania Casali sounded the Last Post at the beginning of the two minutes silence and the Reveille at the end. Wreaths were then laid at the war memorial by Geoff Holland for St Mary’s and Irene Collins, chairman of the Parish Council. Many people then enjoyed refreshments – including authentic ‘Trench Cake’! – at a Vintage Tea in the village hall. The success of this whole event was due to a marvellous community effort involving Riverhead Parish Council, St Mary’s Church and many residents. Particular thanks go to Cllr Shirley Stewart for organising volunteers to knit more than 3,000 poppies, Cllr Martin Denton for all his research into the names of the fallen (see more below) and providing photographs and music from WW1 era and of course to everyone who made cakes and served tea and coffee.

RIVERHEAD MEMORIALS. There are 18 names from WW1 on Riverhead’s war memorial in the grounds of the village hall. The 43 WW1 names read out by Cllr Martin Denton also included: two buried in St Mary’s Churchyard  and registered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC); another 17 names listed on various plaques in St Mary’s Church; four found on the internet  with family residing in Riverhead but not recorded on the memorial or in the church and two buried in Dunton Green churchyard and registered with the CWGC but not listed on their war memorial. It remains a mystery why only 18 names are on the Riverhead memorial (you can find out more about these via the link on the Parish Council website at but it might prove possible to find more information in old Parish records. Riverhead does not have a civic WW2 memorial but there is a plaque in St Mary’s Church listing the 28 names of those who died (including eight civilians). These are registered with the CWGC. It is hope that all this information, plus more about individuals, will be available on the Riverhead Parish Council website soon.

CHRISTMAS WINDOWS. Shops and businesses in Riverhead have been invited to enter the Christmas Windows competition. The theme this year is Snow Flakes. The windows will be judged on 7 December by Bennett Smith from St Mary’s Church and the winners will receive a Christmas hamper from Riverhead Parish Council which organises the competition.

SPEEDWATCH. Riverhead’s new Speedwatch team will be carrying out their very first speed checks (on Amherst Hill) during the first week of December and thereafter at this and other locations which have been agreed with the police. Let us hope that this will reduce the speed of traffic driving through our village. Anyone interested in joining the Speedwatch team (training given) should contact Riverhead Parish Council on 01732 461278 or at More on the council web-site at:

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Riverhead’s Christmas lights will be switched on at 6pm on Thursday 29 November. Mulled wine, soft drinks and mince pies will be available from 5.45pm for all gathering in the area under The Heights in the centre of the village.

PRE-SCHOOL BAZAAR. St. Mary’s Pre-School, which has been attended by hundreds of local pre-school children over very many years, will be holding its Christmas Bazaar at Riverhead Village Hall on Saturday 24 November from 2.30 – 4.30pm. Everyone welcome. All the usual stalls will be there: raffle, tombola, silent auction, toys, children’s crafts, face painting and refreshments. Plus of course, Father Christmas will be receiving visitors in his grotto from 2.30pm.  This is St. Mary’s Pre-School’s biggest fundraiser of the year, so do support your local pre-school.

AMHERST BAZAAR. The Amherst School Christmas Bazaar will be held on Saturday 1 December from noon until 4pm. There will be craft activities, toys, festive gifts, cakes and biscuits, games, a Grand Draw, Christmas hampers, refreshments and of course, Santa’s grotto. All proceeds go to buy equipment for the school.

KNOLE ACADEMY FAIR. The school in Bradbourne Vale Rd will be holding its Christmas Fair on Saturday December from 11am-2pm. There will be lots of stalls including a raffle with amazing prizes, a tombola and plenty of refreshments. Everyone welcome.

CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL. St Mary’s Church will once again be holding its wonderful Festival of Christmas Trees for everyone to visit over the weekend of 8 & 9 December. Societies, groups, charities, residents’ associations, businesses, schools, nurseries, families etc are invited to display a decorated tree (to be retrieved afterwards for your own use) and to place promotional literature beneath it if they wish. There is no charge to display a tree or to visit but any voluntary donations will be divided between the church and their chosen charities. For more information and to obtain an application form to join in and display a tree click on the link at or email:

TEMENOS CHOIR. The Chamber Choir, which rehearses at Riverhead church, will be giving an advent concert at St Nicholas church in Sevenoaks on Saturday 8 December at 7.30pm when composers featured span 500 years. Tickets from Sevenoaks Bookshop or at the door. Alternatively, phone 01732 457826. More information at:

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