Saturday, March 28th, 2020

Your chance to take part in a lighthearted look back in time to when Henry VIII visited Otford 500 years ago

HISTORICAL DIARY DATE: An original play written to form part of the celebrations of the visit of Henry VIII to Otford 500 years ago is complete and the organisation responsible for the event is now looking for actors, entertainers and technicians to bring it to life.

It’s a lighthearted, irreverent look at what might really have happened. Read throughs of the play will take place at St Bartholomew’s Church Hall in Otford at 7.30pm on Friday 7 February and Thursday 13 February.  Please go long if you would like to be involved in any capacity.

GIRL GIIDES AND GIRL SCOUTS around the world have celebrated World Thinking Day on 22 February annually since 1926. It is a day to connect with their worldwide sisters and enjoy being part of an organisation with 10 million global members. Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, Trefoil and Leaders from Kemsing and Otford District will be marking the day on Saturday 22 February with a local walk, finishing at Otford village green where the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scout) flag will be flying. If you were once a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide, Ranger or Leader you are invited to go along and join them at 11.5am on The Green when they will be renewing their Girlguiding promise. They would love to see you, or follow them on social media using the hashtags #WTD2020 #Our Hands.

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.

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

OTFORD OAST WI: The next meeting will be held at 9.30am on Thursday 20 February in the Memorial Hall. A talk will be given by Caroline Alexander on The History of Ladybird Books. New members are welcome, the first meeting is free. For further information email: otfordoastwi@mail.com

OTFORD EVENING WI meets at 7.30pm on 13 February in the Club Room of the Memorial Hall to hear Brian Nobbs talk about gardening for wildlife. Visitors are very welcome to join them and if you need more information please contact 01959 524831.

OTFORD PARISH COUNCIL: A reminder that Otford Parish Council meet in the Memorial Hall on the second Monday of each month and at every meeting there is a 10-minute public forum during which you are able to raise any matter of concern. The next meeting is on Monday 10 February.   This is your Parish and your Council and they want you to be involved. To contact the Parish Council ring 01959 524808 or visit their website www.otford.info/parish/council/

OTFORD HERITAGE CENTRE is open between 2.30 and 4.30pm on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday afternoons offering visitors to our village the opportunity to see Otford’s continuous habitation over 4,000 years with changing displays of recent history, village life, natural history and models of Otford Palace, and the interior of an Oast House as well as many others. It is free to enter, although donations are gratefully received. If you are interested in becoming a steward then extra help is always welcome.

TONBRIDGE & MALLING RAMBLERS offer a short walk around Knole Park on Wednesday 15 March starting at 11am. Meet and park in the main Knole NT car park, £5 for non-members, car share if possible (TN15 0RP, TQ538543). Good paths and tracks. Followed by lunch or coffee in the National Trust cafe. Toilets near the start. Dogs on short leads. This is a circular walk with an estimated finish time of 12:30pm. For more info call: 01732 220477 or 07850 562527.

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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