August 2023

Deadline for the September 2023 newsletter is 25 August.

Preston Parish Council

Voluntary Emergency Telephone System

The Voluntary Emergency Telephone System will go live on Tuesday 1 August. A flyer is being distributed with this newsletter with details of how the system works and the phone number which will contact the volunteers if the defibrillator is needed. Please keep the flyer in a prominent place and put the number in your phone.

If someone is unwell, you should dial 999 without delay, even if it is in the middle of the night. If the ambulance service tells you that the defibrillator is required, that is when you ring the VETS number: . One of the volunteers will talk to you and arrange to bring the defibrillator from the Red Lion car park and will assist until an ambulance arrives.

The volunteers have been trained in how to use the defibrillator and CPR. Please note, this is a best endeavours system and we can’t guarantee that a volunteer will be available when a call comes in.

The Parish Council would like to sincerely thank the 10 members of the community who have volunteered to make VETS possible in Preston.

New Community Facilities

Many thanks to all those who came to the public consultation meeting on Thursday 20 July. We will be running the next session in September (date to be confirmed at the beginning of August) so for those of you who were unable to come, there will be another opportunity to hear about our vision for a community shop, café, market garden and a larger hall.

We will use the feedback from these consultation meetings to continuously refine our proposal and use the time to collect further data from established community businesses about what works well, and how best to mitigate identified risks and concerns. There are over 400 community shops in the UK so we have plenty of information at our disposal. Thank you to those who provided feedback after the meeting, we will collate all the input.

Documents relating to the project will be posted on the village website towards the middle of August:

The Preston Trust Needs Your Time And Energy To Keep Going

Please see second item on page 3 for updates on our activities and page 7 for how you can help ensure the Trust and the PNS continue to exist.

page 2

Our Village Day 2023:  Saturday 1 July, 12 noon – 5.30pm

Our really sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to make Village Day a success in so many ways.

The 3 main ‘activities’ followed on in sequence, as in the Programme – the impressive Birds of Prey displays, safely, in the small field beyond the Red Lion carpark, then the Primary School’s delightful Maypole Dancing before the amazing Dog Show, both on The Green, with all interested villagers seated comfortably on straw bales.

Lots of hot and tasty snacks from the BBQ, followed by a cake or two from the Refreshment Stall and a delicious ice cream from, once again, the Dawlicious family van, kept everyone feeling comfortable.

The numerous stalls and games -including trying your hand at Bagatelle or the Lollipop Tombola, or the Bottle Tombola,  playing the Ladder Game or the Buzzer Game, guessing the weight of the large homemade cake or the location of the Lost Jar of Tips in the Red Lion Detective Game, or even trying gently to milk Daisy Buttercup, our theatrical cow, kept villagers and visitors of all ages happily challenged and entertained. The volunteers from the Garden House Hospice fundraising team sold their cakes and reported that they had much enjoyed friendly conversations and had raised over £100 during the afternoon.

The 23 Scarecrows were splendid! So much thought, ingenuity and time had obviously gone into their creation. Many celebrated the theme of the 1980’s, to remind us of the Red Lion’s 40th Birthday this year. The rebus or emoji puzzles alongside each scarecrow were fiendishly difficult – an enjoyable challenge for our minds and memories as we walked round the village lanes on The Scarecrow Trail.

Our annual Village Day requires much careful thought and planning in the weeks beforehand, and many kind and capable hands on The Day. Together, this year, we managed it and enjoyed it again! Long may it continue!

The winners of the Scarecrow competition were:

1. Beetle Juice – Best In Show, All judges combined including those who didn’t give their age.

7. Breaking Free – 1st Place, Senior Judges Award

3. Phone Home – 2nd Place, Senior Judges Award

12. Johnny 5 – 3rd Place, Senior Judges Award

13. Super Mario Village Style – 1st Place, Junior Judges Award

22. Masters of the Universe – 2nd Place, Junior Judges Award

21. Morph – 3rd Place, Junior Judges Award

The winning constructors will receive caricatures, of their scarecrow with chosen family members, as soon as they have been completed!

The Preston Trust committee

page 3

The Preston Trust Position On The New Community Facilities Project

With regard to the role of The Preston Trust, our current intention is to maintain a neutral position on the proposed community facility. However, one of The Trusts primary objectives, and its original raison d’être, is to protect Preston and its environs from poor development and hold planners to the highest possible standards.

To that end in the short term:

  • We may fact check statements in a PNS message request, advise of issues and/or moderate any that may mislead or offend – regardless of the source or whether the sender is promoting or has concerns about the proposed new facilities
  • We will facilitate the communication needs of any group in the community who feel their wishes and concerns are going unheard compared to those who have a platform
  • Continue to facilitate communication from the established key parish organisations.

Once sufficient information is available to justify time and cost, we may:

  • Engage our independent planning consultant to assess the benefits and risks
  • Talk to (and possibly engage) the traffic planning consultants we spoke to regarding the Castlefield development
  • Engage an independent accountant who specialises in review and due diligence of community and charitable projects to go over published business plans.

In the medium to long term, as events unfold and depending on the outcomes of the above, the Trust may choose to: support, stay neutral, make representations asking for changes or object to the proposed community facility.

At all times individual committee members are free to state their own personal views and concerns as long as it is clear that is what they are. The committee is a broad church – rest assured that in various combinations we share and always work to understand your views.

The Preston Trust committee – Adrian, Jo, Liz, Rae, Tim, Vicky and Wal

Why The Preston Trust Matters

We thought an easy way to tell you what we do is with a quick report of the last year or so. Let’s start with the events (the fun stuff) –

Village Day 1 July 2023 and Scarecrow Festival – Please see our report in this newsletter.

The King’s Coronation (7 May 2023) and The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (2-5 June 2022) – The Trust shared funding for the events with other organisations in Preston as well as helping with organising, logistics and supplies. As part of the Jubilee Celebrations we purchased a new marquee (and persuaded the supplier to deliver next day) so that SG4 and others could play in comfort and safety on the Saturday. We provided the projector and screen for the beacon lighting on the Thursday.

Easter Egg Hunt and Trail – This is an event created and run entirely by The Trust with the help of many volunteers from our community. It was another great success enjoyed by participants, their families and the volunteers. There were new Games, new Chicks in the Meadow and new quizzes. See the May edition of this Newsletter for our full report.

Continued on page 6

page 4

St Martin’s Church and All Saints’ Church Services

Sunday 6th August

Please note that services alternate between St Martin’s and All Saints

and are all at 10.00am




St Martin’s All Age Communion with baptism

2 Peter 1:15 – 19

Luke 9: 28 – 36

Sunday 13th August





All Saints Holy Communion

Romans 10: 5 – 15

Matthew 14: 22 – 33

Sunday 20th August 10.00am


St Martin’s Holy Communion

Romans 11: 1 – 2a, 29 – 32

Matthew 15: 21 – 28

Sunday 27th August




All Saints Holy Communion

Romans 12:1-8

Matthew 16: 13 – 20

Team Vicar of St Paul’s Walden with Preston:

page 5

Letter From The Vicar

It is wonderful to think of the summer stretching out ahead of us – time going perhaps a little more slowly and spaciously, school holidays giving children a break from their studies, the Proms season once more upon us, and the Ashes exercising a thrilling pull for those of us who like cricket.

Church life, too, settles into a more leisurely pace. Please note that there will be only one service per Sunday, alternating between our two churches in August. It reflects the fact that it is a quieter holiday season.

Making time to reflect, or to sit still in a room, is hugely valuable. Recently I listened to the great pianist Angela Hewitt playing Bach in St Albans Cathedral. Quite apart from the pleasure of listening to the music, there is a liberation that comes from simply sitting still and letting your mind range freely.

In our diocese, ‘Going deeper into God’ is one of our priorities. It is all about cultivating the practice of sitting still in the presence of God, whether in prayer or worship or Bible reading. The idea is that, as we go deeper into God, we discover the God who is within us, the one who sustains us. And as we do so, we discover a freedom that enables us to serve others – which is, of course, as Jesus said, almost the whole of the Christian life.

For the rest, there will as usual be a Holiday Club on August 16th to 18th at the Pavilion on the Rec in Whitwell. I look forward to seeing you there.

Can I wish you all a very happy and reflective summer.

With every blessing


St Martin’s Church 150 Club 2023/2024

The winners in the July draw in the 2023/24 150 Club (£30 each) were:

No. 81 Mr E Pakenham
No. 34 Mr L J Edwards

page 6

Litter Picks and Green Clean – Organised by The Trust and originally intended as a one off as part of the “Clean for the Queen” initiative this has developed into Spring and Autumn Litter picks with additional litter picking or tidying up events if the state of the parish or an area need it. In collaboration with Preston Parish Council, we organise collection of fallen branches and leaves on the Village Green and surroundings. The leaves and branches are used to build eco habitats by qualified residents. The Trust maintains a relationship with North Herts Council / Urbaser who supply litter picking equipment, pick up and dispose of the collected refuse.

LADACAN at The Village Hall – We had a small but very engaged audience to hear about Luton Rising plans and what the various groups (coordinated by LADACAN) are doing to fight for our peace, air quality and way of life.

Christmas Lights and Switch On – The Preston Trust purchase, erect and decorate the Christmas Tree outside the Red Lion each year. We organise the “lights switch-on” by children from the Primary School – which is part of their prize for winning Christmas drawing and writing competitions sponsored by the Trust. The mulled wine, mince pies, nibbles and entertainment are also organised and funded by the Trust.

Confessions of a Property Man at The Village Hall – The Trust committee and helpers had great fun creating a set of a living room for Hugh’s talk. The talk was interesting and entertaining giving insights into the world of the landed that most of us only view from outside. The Trust organises a free talk and refreshments (this year we have two talks booked) or film show every Autumn as a social event to bring members of the community together for an interesting and entertaining evening. These always have a local connection through people or place.

… and now the more serious activities including acknowledgements of some of the other organisations and people we support to provide these services.

Preston News Service PNS – In the last year we sent out 350+ messages on your behalf (based on a quick search of the “sent folder” – it often feels like a great many more). Some days there were none and others many messages. In addition to these, there were message requests we forwarded to the right people or resolved without needing to send a “PNS”.

The Newsletter – is produced and distributed by a self-organised group of volunteers. Howard compiles from entries supplied to him. Rae and Wal print it and sort for distribution under the umbrella of the Trust. The Trust, Preston Parish Council and Church Committee pay the print cost. The delivery teams (Adrian, Alison, Ann, Chris, David, Ita, Jo, Liz, Paul, Sue, Stephanie) donate their time and where needed their transport and fuel costs. The Preston Trust took on the printing when PHC could no longer continue at the end of 2019 and sorting shortly after.

Preston Website – This is a resource and portal hosting almost 2Gbytes (a lot!) of documents and images. It hosts sections for various parish organisations and links to the websites of others. The site provides online copies of the newsletters, a home page noticeboard, details of planning applications, a calendar including church services, parish meetings, events, bin collections and more.

The Preston Trust provide the domain name, Wal designs and maintains the website. Preston Parish Council and St. Martin’s Church committee assist with maintenance of their pages. IDNet (our local telephone and internet service provider) provide the webserver free of charge – you can find a link to them at the bottom of every web page. The theme and some of the features are provided, free of charge, using commercial software licensed to Wally Steele Ltd.

page 7

Preston Primary School Entrance Signs – back in 2019 we came up with a solution to replace the sign outside the main entrance to the Primary School that should cost a fraction of what had previously been quoted. Fast forward to 2023 (after the pandemic and other issues) and Wal finally designed suitable signs and the price of printing having fallen could replace both main and side entrance signs within our budget, The main entrance sign was damaged in shipping, as you may notice, but we have a replacement ready to be fitted.

Planning – last but perhaps it should be first. Residents were visited door-to-door to gather views on planning applications for two large developments. Early in 2022 The Trust were still making representations, supported by an independent planning consultant, on your behalf regarding those two large property developments that are ongoing in the village.

And more going on behind the scenes – some of which we hope will see the light of day at some point and some including supporting those in need we hope will always go unnoticed.

The great wealth of The Preston Trust is not in our modest bank account but everyone in the community who takes part in these activities and supports us. Thank you all!

The Preston Trust Needs Your Time And Energy To Keep Going

The Preston Trust, like other parish organisations including Preston Parish Council and the board of The Red Lion, rely on volunteers joining our committee. Like the others we have found a direct approach the most effective way to recruit rather than public appeal. Since the pandemic we have been unable to attract new committee members. All of the committee are passionate about Preston, you (our friends and neighbours) and this small charity which does so much.

Two of the committee need or want to stand down this year. Another two are being realistic that they may have to stand down soon. Rae and I have burnt out running some of the services and delivering three major events (Rae was The Trust representative on and chaired the Coronation committee) since April. We desperately want to stay on but need to focus on direction and design, rather than service and event delivery.

We are actively looking for new committee members to help with:

  • Organising and minuting our committee meetings
  • Managing finances including bank accounts, expenses, event floats and record keeping
  • Organising logistics and volunteers for events
  • Being part of our team that carry out and make decisions on the business of the Trust.

In addition, we need a new member to join the committee to take over running the PNS. I will support and help – as will the whole committee over issues of policy.

We are planning to have our AGM in September. I hope that I will be introducing new members standing for election. My great fear is that the agenda will be about how we should wind up the Trust.

We are looking forward to hearing from you, Wal

Wally Steele – Chair, The Preston Trust

For information about joining the team please

page 8

Neighbourhood Watch

The number to contact at North Herts Police for all non-emergencies (including witnessing of fly-tipping) is 101 or 01707 354000.

For removal of fly tipping which has already occurred, call NHDC 01462 474000 or online at, then follow the links to Transport and Streets, Street Cleaning and Fly Tipping where there is a form to complete to report the details. If you use the What3Words app, please include the three words for the location of the fly tipping.

PCSO Heather Burrows can be contacted regarding local community issues.
Contact details are as follows:

PCSO Heather Burrows: 07740 745168 or 01438 757604 or

In the event of an emergency or if you witness a crime taking place please call 999.

Reporting suspicious activity

Please report any suspicious activity or vehicles you may witness in the locality.
Call the police on the non-emergency number 101 or report it online by using the website and follow the links.

Hitchin Foodbank Shortages

The following items are the most urgently needed: Tinned potatoes, Small bags of sugar, Dried potato, Sponge puddings, Tinned vegetables.

Please ensure items are undamaged and in date. Donations can be deposited in the blue box in the garage at Lychgate House, Church Lane, or at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.  Thank you for your continued support; for more information please visit

Preston History Website Recently uploaded pieces to the Preston History Website include:

John Hadfield (bookman) of Sadleirs End, Chequers Lane (1940 – 1952); a news story re: Preston Cricket from 1954; The Hammonds of Sootfield Green (1935); news cuttings featuring Preston from 1935 and 1936; my cousin, Charlie Wray – shoe repairer of West Alley, Hitchin; photographs of the newly-restored Minsden Chapel; details of my first ancestors to live in Preston ca 1750, Joseph and Elizabeth Ward and my Ancestry DNA experience.


Bottle Tombola At Village Day

Preston Parish Council would like to thank everyone who donated bottles to its Bottle Tombola at Village Day. This raised £205 which will be used to fund the VETS system and the cost of the flyers.