June 2023

Deadline for the July 2023 newsletter is 25 June.

Preston Village Society: Thursday 8 June

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 8 June in the Village Hall at 7.00pm. Sam Hallas will give a reprise of a film show he created for Hitchin Historical Society which was originally shown at the Queen Mother Theatre in 2022 in celebration of the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Running time: 1 hour.

New members are very welcome to come along.

Preston Community Shop And Café

The Preston community shop & café project has been moving steadily forward over the last few months. Our vision remains the same; to set up and run a business, genuinely owned by our community, whereby all members have equal and democratic control over how the business is set up and run. There are over 700 similar community businesses in the UK, so we have a lot of experience to draw on.

After a series of meetings with key stakeholders, a preferred location has been identified; the field opposite the main gates of PHC – known as ‘Altham’s Field’. We are currently in the process of setting up the legal entity for the community business and the management committee is in place.

Architectural designs and plans are being drawn up, they will show what the building could look like. Once the designs and plans have been completed, we will hold drop-in sessions, to discuss the plans and gather feedback.

On the advice of NHDC, we will be following the Community Right to Build Order, a process introduced by the Government in 2011. In summary, a Community Right to Build Order is put together by local people who decide on the type and design of building they want, and in the location they want. In addition, any profits generated by the business must stay within the community.

Further project updates will follow once we have the design and plans drawn up but, in the meantime, please contact me if you have any questions about this community project –

The Scarecrows Are Coming – Village Day 1st July

Join us for a day of fun and laughter

We are really happy that the scarecrows are back again this year!

Please join in the fun and build a scarecrow – the more the merrier. You don’t have to live on the scarecrow trail to take part. Visiting scarecrows will either congregate at Scarecrow Corner or spend the festival at a ‘hotel ‘along the route. Please remember making a scarecrow doesn’t mean you have to enter it into the competition. We are asking, if possible, that scarecrows are displayed from Friday the 30th of June until at least 5 00pm on Sunday 1st July.

As it’s the Red Lion’s 40th birthday we are having a theme of the 1980’s –

Can you imagine seeing Edmund Black Adder, Boy George and BA Baracus chatting together, about John McEnroe’s chances of winning Wimbledon, over Espresso Martinis and Um Bongos?

If you need straw it is available from David and Jane Clark at Castle Farm.

If you want ideas then you’re on your own – although don’t forget if you have any scarecrows you’ve used in the past, and have hidden in the back of a shed, dust them off and bring them out. We know of one person who plans to do that 😉

The Scarecrows will be vying with each other to win the OSCARecrowS, with separate awards voted by both “older” and “younger” judges.

Expect some old favourites, such as the Dog Show and Preston JMI School’s Maypole Dancing. The Birds of Prey will be returning with both a Static and a Flying Display! There also be some surprises

Parish organisations and groups will again be taking part, with stalls and games for all of the family to enjoy, including a number of themed ones for the Red Lion’s birthday –

Can you guess the number of sweets in a tankard, or name a Care Bear, or even become Preston’s own Eric Bristow and score 180? This year local voluntary groups and charities will be invited to have pitches to share how people can get involved with them

The Scarecrow Trail / Programme Sheets and the BBQ will be available from 12:30 and the rest of the festivities at 13:00.The OSCARecrowS Awards will be announced after the festival. Early evening, in the pub garden live music from SG4 will see the ending of the Village Day festivities and beginning of the Red Lion’s Birthday Bash!

As with previous years there won’t only be the scrummy BBQ (which will again be serving vegetarian options) but the Red Lion will be serving yummy treats including pizzas and the refreshment stall will be laden with mouth watering home (and not homemade) cakes, bakes and biscuits. Laden, is a hopeful adjective… We would be very grateful to receive any donations you would like to make or indeed buy for the refreshment stall. Information about where your donations can be left will be in the July newsletter or they can be brought to The Green on the day.

Please, may we ask that do not use nuts in your baking or buy goodies with them in, and that you also list your ingredients, in case of allergies. We promise we don’t want to steal any secret recipes – yet…

If you would like to:

  • enter a scarecrow
  • host someone else’s scarecrow
  • have a stall
  • suggest a local voluntary group or charity
  • help on the day (including setting up and / or taking down)

and / or if you have:

  • a gazebo or gazebos
  • bunting of any colour
  • other festive decoration
  • fete games

that could be borrowed for the day please

We’re looking forward to seeing you and your scarecrows on Village Day
The Preston Trust committee, Adrian, Jo, Liz, Tim, Rae, Vicky and Wal

St Martin’s Church and All Saints’ Church Services

Sunday 4th June

Trinity Sunday





St Martin’s All Age Communion

2 Corinthians 13: 11 – end

Matthew 28: 16 – end

All Saints All Age Communion

Sunday 11th June

Barnabas the Apostle






All Saints Holy Communion

St Martin’s Holy Communion

Acts 11: 19 – 30

John 15: 12 – 17

All Saints Sunday Praise

Sunday 18th June 9.30am


St Martin’s Family Service

All Saints Holy Communion

Romans 5: 1 – 8

Matthew 9: 35 – 10:8

Sunday 25th June






St Martin’s Holy Communion

Romans 6: 1b – 11

Matthew 10: 24 – 39

All Saints Holy Communion

Team Vicar of St Paul’s Walden with Preston:

Letter From The Vicar

On Sunday 4th June, at 9:30, walkers will be setting off from the church at St Paul’s Walden to raise money for the Lord’s Taverners. Funds raised from the walk will go towards the establishment of three ‘Super 1’ cricket hubs in Hertfordshire to help young people with disabilities raise their aspirations. One of the cricket hubs will be in Stevenage.

It is a reminder, that on our doorstep there are people giving up their time, and raising money, for good causes – a cause which will mean a lot in Preston, where cricket is so important. And, of course, there are countless other examples of community-minded volunteering here.

At the end of May, we celebrated the Day of Pentecost, or the coming of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was a vital moment for the early church, because the Holy Spirit supercharged the early followers of Jesus with power to do good in the world – to work for justice and peace. The same Spirit indeed that is available today for every single one of us.

Every month, I take a service for the residents of Sue Ryder. It is a wonderful experience for me. There is a strong sense of the Holy Spirit moving in the chapel at Stagenhoe, especially when quiet descends after we’ve sung a hymn or heard a reading. And by the way, can I urge you to think about volunteering at Sue Ryder? It is a most marvellous place, and you will receive more from it than you could possibly imagine.

The Holy Spirit matters. As we sang in one of our services:

The Spirit lives to set us free, walk, walk, in the light.

With every blessing


St Martin’s Church 150 Club 2023/2024

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

No. 109 Mr J Morley
No. 115. Mrs V Vyvyan-Robinson

There are a few unsold tickets and we welcome any more participants. Tickets cost £20 for the year, with 25 or more prizes of £30. This is an important source of income for St Martin’s church to help maintain the building and churchyard.  If you would like to join please call Richard Blockley

Preston’s Kings Coronation Celebrations

We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved with Preston’s King’s Coronation Celebrations. Whether lending a hand in some way, having fun at the

Big Lunch or hiking around the Parish, you being there made a big difference.

It all started, what seems such like a long time ago with parishioners being asked for suggestions and ideas on how to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III. Some we were able

to facilitate and others we weren’t …

The Big Lunch day arrived, and as tables and chairs were being put up the topic of conversation was so British- “Do you think it’s going to rain?” “Do we need the gazebos?” ”Is that a slight shower” Someone suggested the gazebos could become sun shades if the sun shone, so up they went …

Whilst there weren’t a huge number of entries, all of the fancy dress costumes were fabulous and everyone thoroughly enjoyed taking part in, and watching, the parade. Our meticulous judges were so impressed that they added a, well deserved, winning group award.

After lunch everyone made their way over to the pond where, dressed in full uniform, the Deputy Lieutenant Paul Brenham planted the Coronation Oak Tree. David Clark, our MC for the day explained to the children, in his wonderful, inimitable style, that in 75 years’ time they should gather at the tree and raise a glass to the fabulous day they had in 2023 !In time a sign board will be erected, showing where and why trees have been planted. For instance, do you know what type of tree was planted for Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation and where it is?

More fun and games followed, led by our enthusiastic and energetic ‘games masters’. Seeing a live chicken taking part in an egg and spoon race is a sight to behold…The tug ‘o’ war showed, for that day and time at least, which the strongest sex is. A proud parent of a winning welly wanger, has shared that it is a great accolade to add to his CV. Prizes and certificates were awarded for the Games, the Fancy Dress and the Great Preston Bake Off. Our conscientious Bake Off judges had a hard time deciding on the winners, as all the cakes and bakes looked and tasted delicious. The idea of having Champion Parish Welly Wangers has been muted so start practising your wanging for next year’s Village Day.

Having been fortunate with the weather throughout the entire day, the evening saw a number of people still celebrating on The Village Green.

Bright and earlyish the following morning friends, family, strangers and a dog met on the Village Green, donated some cash and off they went. Some hiked up to Minsden Chapel, the others around the Tatmore Loop. Over £250 was raised for local good causes within the Parish!

If anyone has any photographs of the celebration weekend, that they would like to share, please send them to

Thank you in advance.

Did you miss out on a certificate of Participation

The prize winners weren’t the only ones who received certificates at the awards ceremony. Everyone who came to Preston’s ‘The Big Lunch Street Party,’ whether for 10 minutes or 10 hours, also left with theirs. Not everyone had a chance to collect their certificates though.

We still have some left. If you (or your children) would like a certificate, please email

to reserve and arrange to collect your certificate(s).

Preston in 2023

Back in 1953 a scrapbook depicting village life of the time was produced by the Women’s Institute of Preston and Langley to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II Coronation.  We think it would be fantastic to create a similar masterpiece depicting life in Preston in 2023.  If you think that you would like to contribute a short piece about your family / house / pets / travels etc please keep an eye out for further communications on this in the coming weeks.  GDPR was not even a word (let alone an abbreviation) in 1953 so please only divulge information that you are happy to be shared.

If anyone would like to see the digitally reproduced version of the original please contact

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 www.north-herts.gov.uk, 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.

PC Claire Ross and PCSO Heather Burrows can be contacted regarding local community issues. Their contact details are as follows:

PC Claire Ross: 01438 757604 claire.ross@herts.pnn.police.uk

PCSO Heather Burrows: 07740 745168 or 01438 757604 or heather.burrows@herts.pnn.police.uk

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 www.herts.police.uk/report and follow the links.

​Reporting Scam Emails and Texts

Please report suspicious emails to Action Fraud at: report@phishing.gov.uk
Scam text messages should be forwarded to 7726.

Open Garden

We are opening our garden in aid of the NGS on 4 June, so this is an apology in advance should visitor’s parking cause any issues. We are opening from 12:00 until 17:00 so please be patient. Steve & Lyn Woodward, 1 Chequers Lane

PS Do please come and visit as all NGS income goes to Macmillian Nurses

Hitchin Foodbank Shortages

The following items are the most urgently needed: Tinned fruit (not grapefruit); Tinned tuna; Coffee 100g; Tinned meat (not pies); Sponge puddings; Fruit juice; Tinned potatoes; Dried milk; Shampoo.

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 letchworth.foodbank.org.uk

Preston Parish Council Bottle Tombola

The Parish Council is organising a bottle tombola on Village Day on Saturday 1 July and will be grateful for any donations of unopened and in date bottles. Contributions can be either left with Jane Clark at Castle Farm where a suitable container will be provided or brought to The Green on the day.