Sunday 18 November 2001

Yew Tree Planting

After the family service in Chearsley on November 18th, the parishioners spilled out to the graveyard of St. Nicholas to watch as Father Roger was helped to plant the tree by younger members of the congregation.

The tree is a cutting from a yew believed to be about 2,000 years old, and has been cared for by John and Jean Daish since being given out - at just 4" tall - at a special service at Dorchester Abbey.

Wednesday 24 October 2001

Pumpkin Night 2001

The 22nd annual Snowy Young Pumpkin Competition was held last night at The Bell Inn in Chearsley.
The winning entry weighed in at 136lbs and was grown by Mike and Joan of Brill, who are the current record holders with their 1998 effort weighing 171lbs. Nick Southall came a close second at 131lbs and Snowy Young's great-granddaughter came third with a commendable 116lb entry. The combined weight of all 11 entries totalled 762lbs!

Peter, Mike and Joan. And pumpkin.
As usual, the evening included some fund-raising with a raffle raising over £60 towards Debra - the charity raising money for support and research into Epidermolysis Bullosa. This will be added to the many hundreds of pounds already pledged to The Bell's landlord, Peter Grimsdell, who is currently on a sponsored slim. His aim is to lose over 4 stones before next Easter and is well on the way having shed 15lbs in the last few weeks.
The charity has a special meaning within the village as young resident Henry George suffers from the often incapacitating skin disorder for which there is no known medical cure. A special ceremony is being planned for next year when Henry himself will present Debra with a cheque for the grand total raised.

The second place pumpkin weighs in at 131lbs

Lifting the winner is a three man job.....

Joan is presented with the trophy.

Sunday 1 July 2001

Old Boys Pull It Off!

In glorious July weather, I was honoured to take part in the inaugural match for the Wicked Maiden Challenge Trophy.
Some images will remain in my mind for many years - the young Bucks doing a formation flypast as BA pilot Dave Thomas was dismissed, the look on the Grimsdell boys' faces as they each caught and bowled me for 0, the can of beer discreetly snuggling in an umpire's pocket and, of course, Nico Brown's eloquent and dignified speech as he presented the trophy to his father.


Match Report by John Howard

The first ever Wicked Maiden Trophy was contested at Chearsley this weekend. The match featured The Elder Statesmen (ages somewhere between 28 and 65) captained by Nic Brown - and The Young Bucks, including a large number of junior players, captained by Tim Morbey.

The youngsters opened the batting and quickly set about their geriatric opponents. Their were a number of excellent performances as they cruised to a total of 189 in the allotted 35 overs. John Grimsdell scored 59, and Charlie Howard (24) and James Corpe(23) were the other top scorers. ‘Shambolic’ would be a very generous description of the fielding performance by The Elder Statesmen, which culminated in Mark Gillis and Leif Hytten colliding as they conspired to miss an easy catch.

If the fielding was shambolic, the batting by The Elder Statesmen was hardly in accordance with the Lords coaching manuals. Fortunately for them the tournament rules were contrived to discriminate against their more skilled opponents - as each side were allowed to bat out their 35 overs, regardless of the number of wickets lost. The performance by the youngsters in the field was exemplary. Nico Brown and Tristan Corpe had the great satisfaction of dismissing their own fathers, while the Grimsdell brothers, John and Nick, took a total of 9 catches. The Elder Statesmen reached the total set by the youngsters with just 2 balls to spare - with the loss of no less than 20 wickets !!

Despite the very obvious deficiencies in the cricketing skills of The Elder Statesmen, it was a hugely enjoyable day and all the youngsters did themselves proud. The event was well supported by the Village, and raised nearly £900 for development of junior cricket at Chearsley. Our thanks to all involved - players, umpires, helpers and spectators alike. A very special thank-you to Nic and Jackie Brown and the youngsters’ team manager, Sue Grimsdell, who masterminded the event, and also our tournament sponsors, Travel Inn.

The Wicked Maiden Trophy now sits alluringly on the shelf behind the bar at The Bell, and will be even more keenly contested next year.

John Howard Snr.


Other highlights of the day included the auction of a water-colour by local artist, John Capstick, who kindly donated "Cricket in the Park". This raised an incredible £160 and now graces the Downer family home. The main raffle prize of the LORD's MCC cricket ball was won by Mark Smillie.

Scorer for the day, Ian Horrocks, basks in the sunshine and below, some of the 100+ crowd.

Sunday 17 June 2001

London to Brighton Bike Ride -17th June 2001

After 58 grueling miles, all members of the Chearsley Bell Bikers crossed the finishing line of the 2001 London to Brighton Bike Ride together, to a rapturous welcome from the coach load of supporters who had made the trip to the south coast. Not only did the threatened rain fail to materialise, but the riders arrived in Brighton to patches of blue sky and touches of sunshine.

A beach-side buffet awaited all, with a generous spread of food and drink available to mark the celebrations and give the riders some well earned refreshment.
The day was capped with a pre-arranged stop for dinner at Epsom, where both Peter Grimsdell and Nic Brown were toasted in recognition of the tremendous work they had put in to organise the day - the logistics of arranging registration, transport and post-race victuals being no small matter. The day was finally complete with the presentation of a splendidly decorated cake to mark Nic's birthday.

Clapham Common, 7:00 am, and the Chearsley Bell Bikers prepare for the off...

... and just before the off, a well-clad team pose in the cool London air.

The first of two scheduled team stops. Peter Grimsdell demonstrates his missing fingers while Mark Gillis wonders just what was in that burger he just ate . . .

An unknown usurper pips the Chearsley Bell Bikers as they cross the finish line en masse.

"I know that photographer from somewhere"

The relief is obvious as the riders dismount.

On to the beach party and Sue and Nic, caterers supreme, pose momentarily as guests are forced to serve themselves.

Rider Paul 'Nibblet' Kingsman is forced to decide between beer and more beer.

Maureen is temporarily flummoxed as she's is joined by a familiar looking beach hobo...

Almost the complete team, plus a young supporter.

Then, on to Epsom for a splendid feast....

...and finally, Happy Birthday Nic!

Sunday 3 June 2001

And he picked up the ball and ran with it...

Howard's Way: Episode 2

Chearsley youngster, John Howard fulfilled a childhood dream last weekend when he pulled on the White Shirt with the Red Rose of England on it. John was one of 12 young lads chosen to represent England in the International Rugby Board World 7-a-side Tournament held in Wales on Saturday and Sunday.
The Preliminary Rounds were played in Newport during Saturday. After drawing against Spain and narrow losses against Georgia and Fiji, the England lads disappointingly didn't proceed to the main competition on Sunday. John started in all 3 games, and unfazed by the occasion, he played with his usual gusto and tackled ferociously. Although he didn't score himself, his slick passing from scrum-half created tries for his colleagues on a number of occasions. Undoubtedly his finest moment was the 'sacking' of a rather large Fijian forward (can't remember his unpronounceable name) in a very close contest against the acknowledged masters of the rugby 7's game.
The disappointments of Saturday were soon forgotten in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday, with a much better team performance. Despite the customary local hospitality i.e. booing by the (pathetic!) Welsh supporters every time England took the field or scored, the team succeeded in winning The Bowl Trophy with victories over France, Canada and Portugal. Sadly, John had to retire early from the tournament, following a crunching tackle on a French forward during which he cut his knee very badly. The wound needed stitching in the medical room and the injury meant that he was unable to take further part in proceedings. The good news is that it's not a long term injury (and he'll be spared the first three weeks of pre-season training at Saints, which begins this week).
Nevertheless, he was there to receive The Bowl Trophy, winner's medal and lap of honour with his team-mates - cue in another round of booing from moronic Welsh supporters. Otherwise, a superb day of international competition in the breathtaking surroundings of one of the finest sporting arenas in the world. Well done to the New Zealand All Blacks who were quite magnificent in winning the main tournament.
Here's hoping that dream goes on.
John Howard Snr.

Friday 18 May 2001

Welcome to Chearsley!

Born 08:00 on Friday May 18th, 20001

Congratulations to Cynthia & Charles Siddall on the birth of their daughter, Tessa Elizabeth, on Friday 18th May and weighing in at 7lbs 11oz.