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The Christmas celebrations this year opened with a special service for children held Christmas Eve at Little Staughton which was lead by Rev Linda Isiorho. Midnight Mass was celebrated at Little Staughton by Rev Dr John Rawlinson. As in previous years, the service was well attended by members of the village who came together to remember the real meaning of Christmas. On Christmas Day there was a Eucharist service at 10.00am at Bolnhurst. The celebrant was the Rev Geoffrey Dobson.
Bingo Night – 18th November 2006
A “Bingo Night” was held in Little Staughton Village Hall on Saturday 18th November. There were light refreshments and a raffle. This was the first fund raising event after the damage to the Spire and raised £376.00 towards its restoration.
Extensive damage caused to the spire of the Church
During the night of 21st and 22nd October 2006, thieves stole the copper lightening conductor from the church. In pulling it off the spire, they dislodged the top eight feet of the stonework. When it fell to the ground, it damaged the base of the spire, the embattlements on the north side of the tower and destroyed a gargoyle. The damage is extensive. It is therefore expected to be some time before the spire can be fully restored. While some of the cost of restoration will be covered by the insurance, there is likely to be a significant shortfall and a Spire Restoration Appeal has been launched.
Harvest Thanksgivings at Bolnhurst and Little Staughton
St Dunstan’s Bolnhurst was full for the village’s Harvest Thanksgiving which was held on Sunday 8th October 2006. The congregation included not only members from Little Staughton but also the neighbouring village of Keysoe. The service was conducted by the Bishop of Bedford, Rt Rev Richard Inwood, who was assisted by Rev Jane Bass, a retired priest who ministers at Keysoe. Following the service, light refreshments were served in a marquee in the church grounds.
The Harvest Thanksgiving at All Saints, Little Staughton, was held on 15th October 2006. The church was decorated to the usual high standard and the entries for the Photographic Competition were also on display. Despite the presence of scaffolding on the south side of the nave and the need to use a “keyboard” rather than the organ, the service lost none of its special significance. The celebrant and preacher was the Archdeacon of Bedford, the Venerable Paul Hughes. Following the service, the Annual Harvest Lunch was held in the Village Hall at which approximately £400 was raised for the church funds – a significant part of which through the skills of the Archdeacon who acted as auctioneer!
Photographic and Children's Drawing Competition, 2006
The second Little Staughton Photographic Competition was held over the summer. The subject of the competition I was “This is Little Staughton”. Young children were also invited to enter their own drawings. Judging took place on Saturday 14th October in the Church with all entries being displayed at the Harvest Festival the next day.
The winners in the Children’s Drawings Competition were Abigail Maddison (First Prize), Gracie Kidd (Second Prize) and Hannah Cooke (Third Prize).
The winners of the Adults’ Photographs were Jean Felce (First Prize), Peter England (Second Prize) and Judith Ray (Third Prize).
[See above-right of page for winning photos]
Building Work – August 2006
Building work was undertaken on All Saints Church in August and September. In addition to repairs to one of the windows on the south side of the Chancel, work was also done to improve the draining at the base of the tower and to repair the stone work on the parapets on the south side of the nave. It is hoped that this will cure the problems caused by damp on this part of the church. The plaster work on the internal wall on the south side of the nave was also repaired. The main contractor for the work was K G Wright (Builders) Ltd of Thrapston, Northants and the architect was Laurane Bubbins RIBA, AABC of the Victor Farrar Partnership. The total cost of this work was over £14,000 all of which had been raised by the village.
Church Festival – July 2006
On Sunday 9th July, a Flower Festival and Open Day was held at Little Staughton. In addition to floral displays, there was a cake stall, tombola, book stall and fancy dress competition. The bells were also rung and there was an organ recital by Judith Ray, the PCC Treasurer, who is also assistant organist. The highlight of the afternoon was parachute jumping by many of the village’s bravest “teddy bears”. Despite high winds, no bears were lost and no serious injuries to any of the bears was reported!
On 17th June 2006, the Church was host to a special service of Thanksgiving for the marriage of Emma Watson to her husband, Michael A Stergoulis. Emma was born in the village and spent her early years here. She now lives in Australia where she met Michael. They were married at a Greek Orthodox ceremony in Australia in May but returned to England for a special service here for their English friends and relatives. The service was conducted by the Rev Dr John Rawlinson who, as the local “GP”, looked after Emma when she was a “toddler”.
Vacancy – “House for Duties”
The search for a “house for duties” priest for the Benefice continues. An advertisement earlier in the year met with little success and the living has been suspended for a further five years. However, the Parochial Church Councils of Little Staughton and Bolnhurst have now rescinded all the resolutions which had previously been passed under the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure and the Act of Synod. This has removed the bar on a woman being considered for the post. Information about the vacancy can be obtained from the Archdeacon of Bedford, the Venerable Paul Hughes (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). See photo above-right.
“Pathfinder Service” – 19th June 2005 and 18th June 2006
On 18th June 2005, the final Reunion and Memorial Service of the Little Staughton Pathfinder Association took place. The Association is made up of members of the 109 and 582 Pathfinder Squadrons of the RAF who served at Little Staughton Airfield during the Second World War. The preacher and celebrant was Air Vice Marshall The Venerable Ron Heskell CB, Chaplain in Chief to the RAF. The Crests (109 and 582 Squadrons, the RAF and RNZAF Ensigns, the Flags of Canada, Australia and South Africa and the Roll of Honour were presented at the commencement of the service. The Old Testament lesson was read by Joan Greenwood, Chairman of the Association and the Epistle by Tom Thomas, (Ex 109 SQDN). The Dedication was read by Ron Jeffries (Organiser of LSPA) and the Homily by Laurence Binyon. Among the congregation was Air Vice Marshall David Hobart CB, a former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff.
At the conclusion of the service lunch was served in the village hall. Following lunch the members went to the airfield to watch a flypast by a Lancaster bomber and its escort of a Spitfire and Hurricane.
Although the service in 2005 was the final formal memorial service, the Pathfinders were remembered at the Parish Communion Service held on 18th June 2006 when the celebrant and preacher was the Rev Dr John Rawlinson, Chaplain of Churchill College Cambridge. It was good to see some of the members of the Association present at that service.
Baptisms – 2006.
5th March Niame Marie BUDDERY of High View, High Street, Little Staughton
19th March Jack Alastair SHELTON of Braintree Rd, Ruslip.
Baptisms – 2005
1st May Jacob Stuart BUSBY of Hedley Cottage, High Street, Little Staughton
23rd July Anna Louise PRICE of Lodge Farm, Little Staughton
23rd July Kieran Robert DEANS of Belle Isle Crescent, Brampton
27th Nov Benjamin Charles HOPPERTON of Cherry Orchard Farm, Staughton Moor.
Palm Sunday - 4th April 2004
The Lord Bishop of St Albans, the Rt
Rev Christopher Herbert, was the celebrant at at a special
Palm Sunday Benefice Sung Eucharist held at All Saints,
Little Staughton. It is the first visit by our diocesan
bishop to the church for a number of years. Members
of the congregations of St Mary's Keysoe, and St Dunstan's
Bolnhurst, the other two parishes in the benefice were
present and many of the priests which serve the churches
during its current "suspension" also attended.
Neville Adams, a Lay Reader from Sharnbrook Benefice
assisted the Bishop.
The chant selected for the Kyrie was
the traditional chant set for Sundays in Advent and
Lent. - Mass 17, of the traditional plainchant service
book and is at least 600 years old. For other parts
of the service, Merbeke was used. In 1550 John Merbeke
(c1505 - c1585) compiled "The Booke of Common Praier
Noted". This was a chant setting of the Prayer
Book and written for the Church of England in the reign
of King Edward VI. It introduced a simplified form of
plain chant for congregational singing. These settings
of the communion service have been in common use ever
since. Merbecke's settings provide an organ accompaniment,
but at this special service, the choir is singing unaccompanied.
The Choir was the Oakley Plainchant Singers,
a small group who meet informally with the purpose of
keeping alive the tradition of plainchant singing in
church services in Bedfordshire. They usually sing the
Mass settings in Latin, in Greek, or in English at special
services in local Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.
They sing unaccompanied and use the traditional mediaeval
chant music notation for chants. Members of the choir
have sung in special services in cathedrals in England
and on the Continent.
Following the service, the Bishop
met with members of the congregation over light refreshments.
Following the service the Bishop met with members of the congregation over light refreshments. Bishop Christopher is
presently researching the existence and use of Easter
Sepulchres in England and the structure in the north
chancel wall at Little Staughton is high on his list
of possible sepulchres.
A photograph of the Sepulchre can be
seen in the "Church Tour" section of this