Tag Archives: Stanstead Abbotts

Hot off the Press: Issue 1 Published!

We are very happy to announce that Issue 1 of The Three Villages Magazine has published and is now available at various locations across the villages, including:

St John the Baptist, Great Amwell
St Mary the Virgin, St Margarets
St Andrew’s, Stanstead Abbots
The Village Pharmacy
The Red Lion
The Maltings Coffee House
Stanstead Abbotts & St Margarets Village Club
The Jolly Fisherman

Thank you to everyone for their hard work in getting the magazine off the ground. It has not been without its difficulties, but we are pleased to be able to share the publication with you now.

A digital version of the print magazine will be available to view on the Magazine Archive in the coming weeks.

The Three Villages Magazine: hot off the press!

The Snow Queen

Written by Anne Saunston:

Once again, travelling theatre group This is my Theatre are visiting St James’s Church to perform The Snow Queen.  

When her friend is stolen by the cold-hearted Snow Queen, Gerda must find the strength and courage to travel across the lands to save him. An array of characters along the way will guide and aid her journey but can Gerda bring the warmth of summer back to her friend?

With live music, song and characters all ages will love, this beautiful adaptation will warm hearts this Christmas!

Anyone who saw the theatre group performing The Tempest or Jane Eyre this summer will know how imaginative and exciting their productions are, and this one is not to be missed.

We don’t expect snow on the night, but would suggest you wear warm clothes and sensible shoes!

Venue: St James Church, Roydon Road, Stanstead Abbotts SG12 8JZ

Date and time: Friday 3rd December, 7.00 pm

Tickets: £15 (£12 for under-16’s)

Tickets available from:www.thisismytheatre.com 

(Running time 1 hour 15 minutes)

Advent Carols by Candlelight – St James’s Church 

Written by Anne Sauston: 

Sunday 28th November at 4 p.m.

Make a start to the Christmas season by attending this service, held in St James’s Church – the old village church between Stanstead Abbotts and Roydon.

The atmosphere of this beautiful church, lit simply by candles, helps to remind you of the wonder of the Advent season and the coming of the celebration of the birth of Christ. We sing Advent Carols, such as “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel” rather then Christmas Carols, which makes it even more special. We are happy that the Priory Choir from Royston will be with us to help with the singing, and everyone is welcome to stay for tea and mince pies afterwards.

There are no lights around the church, so wear warm clothing, sensible shoes – and bring a torch!

The Evergreens

Written by Rosemary Imroth:

 The 19th of August our first meeting since lockdown was really special – firstly it was in the delightful garden of Ruth Swallow and at the same time, we were able to wish Kath Baker congratulations on her 100th birthday a few days before.  

Kath celebrating her 100th birthday

She has been a member of the Evergreens for so many years that no-one can remember exactly how many! A second garden party was held on Monday 13th September but due to rain, we were royally entertained in the conservatory and massive breakfast room of Hill House. 

Our host was our President, Jonathan Pilkington, and he made us so welcome, as he does every year. We are now meeting regularly at Stanstead Abbotts Parish Hall on Mondays. from 2 till 4pm.  

Anyone over 60 is welcome to join us.  Each session costs £1.50 and includes tea, with bread and butter and cake.

Have you met the Vicar?

Written by Reverend Dr Sarah Forrest:

I am the Reverend Dr Sarah Forrest the new priest in charge of Great Amwell with St Margaret’s and Stanstead Abbotts…” I’ve been saying that for a whole year, but what a weird year it’s been!

I’ve met a lot of folk in the villages, but I’m so aware of the folk I haven’t met yet. I arrived with my family at the Vicarage in August 2020 and started working in September last year. We opened the churches for the first time since lockdown, and very carefully with socially distancing tried to restore that pattern of prayer and worship in the buildings which everyone had been missing so much.

November saw us in lockdown again, we reopened in December, and we were closed again for Christmas. The churches only reopened in the end of May so it hasn’t exactly been a normal start to being a priest in the Three Villages. 

But although the church buildings have been quiet, the church hasn’t. We know that the church is really the people, the family of God, rather than just the building, and we’ve been meeting online, outside, and in church whenever we can.

You may have seen me walking to school in the morning with my youngest, and it’s been a great thing to be able to join the community as a mum as well as a priest.

The churches have continued to work in and with the schools, doing online collective worship, getting creative by using the school grounds and the churchyard as places to explore Christianity and to spend time seeking God in learning and worship.

You may have taken a stroll through St John the Baptist churchyard and found our Experience Easter Trail, and been able to explore the Easter story. We’ve had to be creative about how we do things!

We’ve also got practical, and we opened the 3 Churches Foodbank Hub, delivering food to those in need in the Villages from the Hertford & Ware Foodbank.

We have been working to welcome people coming into our villages to live in East Herts Housing’s interim accommodation at the Rectory, by supplying ‘Welcome Packs’ and general household items to people who have either been at risk of eviction or made homeless.

As Christians we believe that God walks with us in the good times and the bad, that he cares about everything that happens to us, because he made us and he loves us.

We are starting to do those things that really fill us with hope, like baptisms, weddings and celebrations, but not everybody is ready to celebrate yet. In the last 12 months I have conducted a lot of funerals, met with a lot of grieving families, and walked with people in the valley of the shadow of death. Church can be that important safe space to talk about our grief and to find God’s comfort. 

It’s such a time of waiting at the moment, but waiting doesn’t mean we don’t have hope. We still haven’t quite got everything back to normal, and I guess we all realise that normal will have to be a ‘new normal’. I

t’s been a time of change for everyone, and as we wait and watch, we pray. We pray for our community, our schools, our neighbours and everyone, especially those who are sad, lonely, struggling, sick or in pain. We pray for God’s peace and healing, and then we go out and see what we can do to help!

Why the Neighbourhood plan is so vital to our Village

Written by Julia Davies Chair, Stanstead Abbotts, St Margarets and the Folly Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group


After several years’ work of thoroughly exploring the settlement area, researching and discussing
the options for the future of the village, we plan to go ahead with the necessary regulation 14
consultation this Autumn.

This consultation will be open to any resident of Stanstead Abbotts Parish or St Margarets Parish or The Folly, who will all receive a summary of the plan through their door.


The entire plan will be online and available for people to read and we will be hoping to have online
feedback or alternatively written feedback through the post.

Any comments have to be considered by the Steering Group and if it is appropriate at the end of the consultation changes will be made.


There will be an open day when people can view paper copies of the Neighbourhood Plan and
supporting documents and ask how to complete their consultation response.


The plan will contain policies on green spaces and the natural environment; on the community and
leisure; on heritage and protection for the many much-loved historical features in the community;
there will be policies to encourage employment and others on transport addressing the needs of
residents who have a variety of reasons to travel.


We anticipate that most of the interest will be in the design features ensuring a sustainable
approach to developments and in the sites we allocate to deliver at least 94 homes which we were
tasked with finding at the outset by East Herts Council.

We had to map out which sites were in flood zones which ruled them out or green belt which we were very reluctant to intrude on. One of the powers that Neighbourhood Plan groups have is that they may release green belt land if it is set out in a strategic policy e.g. in the District Plan and there is evidence that it may be justified. We will be proposing the release of some of the land at Netherfield Lane –part of that site is brownfield land
which is the type of site that we consider to be ideal.


After the Regulation 14 consultation has closed, the responses taken into account, and amendments
made, it will be submitted to East Herts Council along with the Consultation Statement and statutory
maps etc.
East Herts Council will publish the documents online for a further consultation – Regulation 16.

ThePlan and the consultation comments will then be inspected by an independent Examiner and further
changes are likely to be made. If it is considered to meet the Basic Conditions, a referendum will
follow. All those people living in the Neighbourhood Plan Area will then have a chance to vote yes or
no, ie in favour or not in favour.

If more than 50% of the votes cast are in favour then the plan will be adopted by East Herts Council.

If the plan is adopted then no housing development outside the village boundary, other than that
selected in the plan will be granted planning permission by East Herts Council until 2033.

This is why the Neighbourhood Plan is so vital to the future of our village.


Did you know about the animal foodbank?

Get this image on: – Wikimedia Commons

Written by Jannette Renolyds:

ALFS, Animal Larder Food and Shelter, is a free food bank providing food parcels and accessories for families with pets, plus we will help with fostering or rehoming.


The founder of ALFS, Tina, is passionate about animals and their welfare. This is how she came up with the idea for an animal food bank.

Tina said: “One day, walking my old dogs around the cemetery my house backs on to, I saw a Hertford Food Bank Vehicle supplied by Asda. I thought if there is a food bank for people, why not for pets? So Alfsherts was born!”


Alfs is all about helping people that are struggling to feed their pets. The goal is to prevent anyone struggling having to re home their pets, purely because they can’t afford to feed them.

With the current climate, there has been an increased number of people that find themselves financially unstable, having perhaps lost their jobs, being furloughed or through illness.

Giving up pets at this time would be heart breaking, yet another thing that’s lost. Pets are, as we know, part of our family and our support network.


We have offered support to families that have found themselves in dire straits, no money and children to feed, people with mental health issues.

The teacher of some children got in touch with us on their behalf and we gladly helped them.We have had professionals that lost their jobs, life changed on a sixpence, and they were referred to ALFS by a local food bank, as they had a 14 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier to feed. 

These, and many others we are happy to help, just relieved that the beloved pets are able to stay put.
We have supported a number of cats and their kittens with food and worming up until eight weeks. We will also assist in rehoming with full rescue back up and neutering contracts, if needed.

If we do ever have to re home a pet, it is done only using our wonderful foster homes. We won’t use kennels for any of the animals we help.
The larger we grow, the more food donations we need to keep up with demand. If anyone would like to donate any pet food to help us It would be amazing and greatly appreciated. 

We are also able to accept pet toys, beds, cages, carriers, etc, but we do ask that these be clean and in good condition.  Medivet in Cappell Lane are the local drop off point for donations.  Other drop off points are:

��Queens Road in Hertford

��Chestnut Vets in Ware

��Valley vets in Stevenage

��Batchelors in Puckeridge

��Lush St Albans

��Little Gems Pet Shop in Buntingford

��Pet Playground in St Albans

Alternatively, should you wish to make a donation to support our work, this can be done via our paypal account:
https://www.paypal.me/alfsherts
Or you could make a donation via our Amazon wishlist:

Amazon wishlist link
https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1LFKNMKE3KYTX

We want to reach as many people as we can.

We endeavour to turn no one away, and have offered support to wildlife as well as domestic animals. The larger we grow, the more food donations we will need to keep up with demand. It would be amazing if you were able to help us in these difficult times, in whatever quantity.. It all helps!

Wombles of Ware

Written by Maria Sell

Arguably the impact of the pandemic has changed resident’s view of their local towns and villages.

With many working from home, more time has also been spent exploring the surrounding areas while not being able to venture further afield.

For many this ignited a desire to look after, or in this case, help clean up their local communities.

Wombles of Ware Abouts is trying to do exactly this.  

When Andy Murphy and his wife Claudia Kohler started working from home following the first lockdown in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic they, like so many, spent more time taking walks through the neighbourhood and surrounding area.

Noticing the amounts of rubbish they thought: “It’s disgusting, why is no one doing anything about it?”

So once they became aware of the issue, they started litter picking by themselves.

Murphey said: “Over a couple of months, we must have picked 50 sacks of rubbish.

“Just in the streets and open spaces around here. And with all the greenery that had died back at that time of year, there was just stuff that had been in the bushes for years.” 

So they decided they needed to get more people involved and, over a few glasses of wine, the idea of Wombles of Ware Abouts was born.

In March this year they set up a Facebook page and group with the same name.

The idea was for everyone to adopt their own street, with Murphy keeping a map updated on the Facebook group that shows which streets have been adopted and which areas need more support, which, he adds, has been “effective and helpful for managing the group”. 

While the initial take-up was slow, once word of the Womble of Ware Abouts group got out via various local communities and environmental groups everything changed. 

“All of a sudden the numbers of people that were applying to join just sort of mushroomed. We went from 30 people in the first three days to 200 by the end of the week and we’ve now got 1,500 members.” 

There are now three more “Wombling” groups for different regions in Hertfordshire, including Hoddeston and Broxbourne, Hertford, and one for the local waterways, set up by a narrowboater that Murphy got talking to on the Facebook group.

“So basically it stretches from the M25 right up to Royston and almost all the way to Cambridgeshire.”

Not only has it helped clean up the streets and surrounding countryside, it’s also provided many people with a much needed sense of community, particularly during the difficult and stressful periods of lockdown. 

Murphy added: “People have said to us, it’s really helped their mental health because they’ve been able to go out and do something positive.”

Once more Covid restrictions have been lifted, he anticipates that more organised meet ups could happen. 

But the mental wellbeing aspect isn’t the only benefit Murphy sees, he also regards the educational benefit as an important aspect. 

According to Murphy 80% of the Wombles of Ware Abouts members are women, many with children of primary school age who tend to take them along.

”All those kids will get a taste for litter picking and when they grow up to being teenagers and adults they won’t be the ones littering the streets with their chip paper, or their McDonald’s wrappers, or facemasks.” 

Moreover, a couple of the local councils and organisations have also supported the initiative, such as Hertford Town Council which “dusted off an old litter picking scheme”. 

Murphy explains, “they’re prepared to give litter picking sets to people who join them. So if someone from Hertford joined the Wombles we can say go and talk to the council to say you’ve adopted a street with them and they’ll give you all the gear.” 

While a small organisation called Ware in Bloom, which looks after the planters on Ware High Street in summer, donated some money with which the Wombles of Ware Abouts bought litter picking sets that include a picker, some gloves and bin bags as well as a high vis jacket.

These will be made available to community groups such as primary and secondary schools, youth clubs, and scouts among others, and they can be picked up from a central point.  

So how can you get involved?

The easiest way is to join their Facebook Group the Wombles of Ware Abouts so you can adopt a street of your choice, or just help out while out and about on your daily walk. Every bit of litter picking helps towards the goal of a litter free neighbourhood. 

Update From the Scouts

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and even the village’s Scout Group had to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances.

After the difficult year we have all faced, we thought we’d look back over 2020-21 and highlight some of the activities and successes that our Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and indeed their volunteer leaders, have had.

Throughout the pandemic, the Group found ways to make Scouting accessible to all our members, supporting their wellbeing and helping to keep some sense of normality for everyone.

Our leaders have worked tirelessly to support our members’ needs, as well as providing interesting and varied activities that comply with the new social distancing regulations.

Leaders created and ran weekly sessions by Zoom for all Scouts, Cubs and Beavers, as well as socially distanced face-to-face meetings when lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Our two Beaver colonies managed to cook over Zoom, enjoy an assault course, made homes for bugs and take part in doorstep Remembrance Day, all from home or at socially distanced Scouting evenings.

Both our Cub packs have taken part in a multitude of activities, online and face to face, including camping at home and pancake day in lockdown. 

The two Scout troops also had a hectic calendar in spite of the pandemic. They had many evenings during lockdown over Zoom, including Ready Steady Cook, local knowledge and lots of games! Activities since lockdown eased included a two-day expedition hike and ‘camp’ (without the sleeping over), fire lighting, wobble boarding and learning local knowledge. 

To find out more about us and how to join or volunteer at the Scout Group, please visit StansteadAbbottsScouts.org.uk.

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