September 2020

Preston Parish Council

The Parish Council would like to ask residents to note the following and take appropriate action if any apply to them:

  • It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that trees, shrubs or bushes from their garden do not grow onto or overhang the road as this could reduce visibility for both drivers and pedestrians.
  • Residents are asked to be considerate of their neighbours and not to light garden bonfires in the middle of the day.
  • The Parish Council are grateful to dog owners who always pick up after their pets but would like to encourage everyone to do this. Once bagged, there are several dog bins and general litter bins in the village which can be used, as well as purple bins.

Parish Council Meeting: Wednesday 9 September

The next meeting of Preston Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 9 September 2020 at 8pm via Zoom video conferencing. Any member of the public who would like to raise an issue to be discussed at this meeting should contact the Clerk. Anyone who would like to join in the electronic meeting should also contact Lisa Lathane, Clerk to the Parish Council:

email: or phone: 07887 875442 by Friday 4 September. A link to join the meeting will emailed about 15 minutes before the meeting is due to start.

Planning For The Future Consultation

The Government Consultation on Planning is now open and can be accessed at:

Details of how to respond are included. The closing date is: 11:45pm on 29 October 2020.

Preston Village Hall and Covid-19

Due to safety and hygiene precautions, the Preston Nursery School will have sole use of the Village Hall.

This is the safest course of action to reassure staff and parents that safety during the Covid-19 crisis is priority. This will be kept under review.

Preston Village Hall Committee

St Martins’ Church Toilet & Catering Project

It’s been almost exactly two years ago that the Church Committee decided to start fund raising in order to bring about the fruition of a project that we had been debating for years. The project, with a particular emphasis on fulfilling the needs of the disabled, is to build an Annex on the northwest corner of the church able to accommodate modern toilet facilities and a kitchenette by completely reconfiguring the space currently occupied by the “old” flower and cleaning cupboard beneath the north side of the gallery. The church will also have wheelchair access for the first time and access to mains drainage, water and sewage via a service trench following the route of the path from Church Lane.

As most of you know, St Martins’ is a Grade-II Listed building and is a particularly fine example of the Arts and Crafts style having been completed in 1900 for the vast cost then of just £1,200! A great deal of work and consultation with the Diocesan Advisory Committee in particular has gone into ensuring that any alterations to the church will be as near seamless as possible thus, for example, once finished the Porch will appear completely unchanged and, viewed from the outside, the annex will match the original building. One of the original stone windows will be recycled. The “pebble-dash” finish will be retained and there will be a stone arch across the north side of the extension between the two new buttresses matching those each side of the Nave.

Fifteen months ago the Diocese granted a Faculty enabling Tenders to be sought and work to begin. Notwithstanding two lengthy Tender processes conducted by our own Church Architect involving no less than eight bidders, we were unable to identify anyone able to “tick all the boxes”. Then the coronavirus pandemic intervened effectively bringing to a halt any hope of further progress at that time. Now, with the easing of some of the pandemic precautions and at our own volition, we have been able to identify a local contractor EQUIBUILD CONSTRUCTION of Shillington. Work will commence on Tuesday 1 September 2020 with a target completion date of early December ready for Christmas.

Sadly, due to both “normal” inflation and the “extraordinary” inflation brought about as a result of the pandemic, the cost of the work has risen from £70,000 to £130,000 so I’m delighted to advise you that the required sum has now been raised. I cannot begin to thank you all for your hugely generous support. In addition to gifts from villagers both past and present, we have received donations from companies and organisations associated with our village, a number of grants and a substantial amount from our own church funds.

Following consultations with all parties involved, including the Church Committee, due to both logistical and safety concerns, it has been decided to close St Martins’ until early December. Our last service will be held on Sunday the 30 August. A regular Sunday Service will be held at All Saints at the new time of 1000 hrs from the 6 September 2020. All will be welcome. I look forward to seeing you there!

Malcolm Lowle, Churchwarden

St Martin’s Church, Preston

Preston Trust Events Update

The Whys And Hows Buildings Are Built A Certain Way
September Talk by Mike Kellard on Architecture

Mike has preparation well in hand for what promises to be an interesting and fun talk, on Architecture and the reasons behind some of the decisions made (we’ll let him share those with you…). However it will have to be postponed for the forseeable future. We will let you know when he can share it with us all!

October Litter Pick

We regret that at the present moment the Litter Pick planned for October has also had to be postponed. If the situation changes a PNS will be sent round asking for volunteers and giving a date and time.

The litterpicks have gone from strength to strength since Liz Hunter first instigated them with “Clean for the Queen” and they will begin again as soon as it is possible.

The Preston News Service (PNS)

The Preston News Service is free and can be used by anyone in, or connected to, the parish to amongst other things:

  • Pass on a message or information which would be of benefit to our community – including Neighbourhood Watch notices, advice of road and footpath problems, information about Luton Airport Expansion – nice things too, like thank you notes
  • Promote or ask for help with a local event and advise of date or venue changes
  • Say something has been found or more urgently seek help if something (or someone) has gone missing
  • Offer things for sale or free that might otherwise go to waste or ask if anyone has spares
  • Updates from the Red Lion, Kings Walden Stores and ordering Dawlicious Ice Cream…

The PNS was set up by and is run by The Preston Trust who moderate requests by third parties, who are not connected with the parish, to use the PNS as a means of marketing. We may occasionally offer advice on wording messages.

To subscribe please send an e-mail to or use the contact form on the Preston website – scroll down the homepage for the link to the PNS. We do ask for your address and a contact number since in these strange times we have had a few dubious requests. You can unsubscribe at any time.

St Martin’s Church

Readings and services for September

Please note that all Sunday services until Christmas will be held at 10.00am at All Saints while St Martin’s is closed for extension works

Sunday 6th September 13th Sunday after Trinity
Romans 13:8-end
Matthew 18:15-20
Sunday 13th September 14th Sunday after Trinity
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35
Sunday 20th September 15th Sunday after Trinity
Philippians 1:21-end
Matthew 20:1-16
Sunday 27th September 16th Sunday after Trinity
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32
Sunday 4th October 17th Sunday after Trinity
Harvest Festival
Philippians 3: 4b – 14
Matthew 21: 33 – end

Team Vicar of St Paul’s Walden with Preston:

St Martin’s Church 120 Club Draw 2020/2021

The winners in the August draw in the 2020/21 120 Club (£30 each) were:

No. 50 Ms A Jeffers
No. 99 Mr & Mrs N Rayburn

Letter From Our Vicar

The start of the works at St Martin’s is very exciting. It means, all being well, that by Christmas we will have a kitchen and toilets at the church – which will improve our amenities and therefore our capacity to do more for and with our community. My thanks to those who have planned and organised for this extension, as well as to those who have raised great sums of money to make the extension possible.

The church will be closed for the duration of the works, and services will be held at St Paul’s Walden instead. Please do make every effort to join with the other half of our parish. The Sunday services at All Saints will be at the new time of 10am.

Work on the repointing and subsequent redecoration of All Saints is also starting, so both of the churches in our parish will be having important new work being done in them. Very exciting!

Meanwhile the compulsory wearing of masks at church has added a new air of unreality, although I am happy to say that the recent easing of restrictions means that our choir is once again able to lead the singing of hymns. Hallelujah! Sadly the congregation is not yet permitted to join in the singing.

I know that some of you have managed to get away on holiday, which hopefully has brought some welcome variety to the rigours of lockdown.

Finally I want to thank all those who been keeping the church services and other activities going so well during my treatment in August. I hope to be back in action by the middle of this month.

With every blessing


COVID 19: Preston Help Line

Although there haven’t been many calls for help, perhaps because residents have a network of friends and neighbours to call on for support, the Preston Helpline will continue to be available in case anyone has to go into quarantine on return from a listed country, has to self-isolate as a result of being contacted by Test and Trace or if there is an Autumn / Winter spike, as predicted by some experts.

The phone line will be monitored daily from 8.00am to 8.00 pm.

Please note that the answer phone will pick up calls coming after in 8pm and the caller will be linked to a volunteer the following day.

Please stay safe and remember to follow the latest Government guidance.

The Late Doreen Mabel Sansom – A Small Tribute

Born 28th May 1920 – Died 27th June 2020

On Tuesday 14th July this year, a small group of Doreen’s closest relatives, including her son Mark, granddaughter Natasha and her former partner Tremayne and the absolute pride of her life, her great grandson Korrin, together with a number of her friends from Preston and the surrounding area, met at the North Hertfordshire Memorial Park and Crematorium to say farewell and to give thanks for her life of a truly great Christian lady. Just a few short weeks earlier some of us had also attended her utterly memorable 100th Birthday at her care home in Stevenage where she was so well looked after. While it is quite impossible to sum up the life of anyone in such a short piece, what I will do is to attempt to present a few facts and then, more importantly, to tell something about Doreen the woman, her life and some of her many and outstanding achievements.

Doreen was born in Leytonstone about eighteen months after the end of the Great War. She was the first child of four with two sisters and a brother, Roy, who is still alive today but sadly was unable to be with us. Her parents were Charles and Mabel Gold. The family moved to Borehamwood where it became clear that Doreen was a very bright child who could both read and write at an early age. School for her was a serious undertaking to be enjoyed. At the age of fifteen, having become interested in Christianity, she became a Sunday School teacher – teaching remained with her for the rest of her life.

In 1938, at the age of eighteen, two important events took place. First she took her Civil Service Exams and having passed with distinction, went on to work for the Air Ministry in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Like teaching, her involvement and interest in the military was to become very important to her. But her young life was shattered by the death of her young sister who was just fifteen. In Doreen’s house in School Lane there were, indeed still are, a number of photographs of her, one taken not long before she died of consumption, which at that time was not at all uncommon.

The Second World War followed a year later, during the early part of which she trained as a nurse in the British Red Cross and was posted to Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire which at the time was one of the largest military camps in the country. She was later posted to Durham and then back to London where she nursed many soldiers. She had fond memories of many of these young men and could even remember some of their names nearly seventy-five years later.

In 1944 Doreen married her cousin Jack, a soldier serving in the Middle East who she’d been corresponding with for several years. They moved to Colchester married quarters where their first son, Christopher, was born a year later in 1945. Sometime after the War, Jack was posted to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Doreen, already pregnant with her second son Mark, bravely travelled with Christopher by sea in a journey that took three weeks. Mark was born in Ceylon in 1948. They lived happily in Colombo until the early 1950’s when they returned to Borehamwood. Doreen enjoyed her time in Ceylon even owning a small sports car!

On his departure from the military, Jack set up a floristry business while Doreen worked with the local Council before taking a teacher training course and then teaching reception children at Woodlands School in Borehamwood. These were happy days for Doreen. In the early 1970’s Doreen and Jack moved to Preston in Hertfordshire where Doreen taught the Reception Class at St Ippolyts School just a few miles away. She remained there until she retired. Several years later, I recall meeting Doreen quite by accident in Sainsburys’ in Hitchin where she regularly shopped until the age of ninety-nine. While accompanying Doreen around the shop, a youngish man rushed across exclaiming “it’s Mrs Sansom isn’t it?” Doreen paused, peered over her glasses and said, “and you’re Tom Hicks!” Doreen never forgot a name. He then explained to me that following the failure of previous teachers to teach him anything at St Ippolyts, Doreen had managed to teach him reading, writing and, yes, arithmetic before he went on to Secondary School. Much to Doreen’s obvious delight, though not without a little embarrassment, Tom explained that “this lady had saved both his pride and his life.” Interestingly this happened on at least two other occasions and always in Sainsburys’!

Doreen and Jack have one grandchild, Natasha born 1973, daughter of Mark. Korrin is Doreen’s great grandchild, son of Natasha. Doreen and Korrin absolutely adored each other, having what Natasha describes as “very fabulous conversations together” even though Korrin is still only ten years old. Like his great grandma, Korrin is very bright indeed.

Doreen and Jack were both very committed Christians, members of the Church of England and both were heavily involved with the Church and the Parish for many years. Doreen ran the Sunday School for years and relished every moment. She also had an immense love of flowers and gardening and with Jack, did most of the flower arranging for St Martins’ for many years. She was also on the Church Committee and the Preston Village Hall Committee, only handing over the keys to her successor three years ago.

Much to Doreen’s dismay, Christopher died in May 2001. Jack died just ten months later in 2002. For a while Doreen found life very difficult indeed but she rallied and in her own inimitable style, came through it all becoming even more religious. Doreen wrote and presented arguably the best and most carefully considered Intercessions I have ever heard right up until just before Christmas last year. Her gift of clear public speaking and diction, which she retained right up until her first stroke, came over particularly strong when she read the First Lesson in church on a Sunday morning. She only ceased doing this when she declared that she was shrinking and could no longer see over the Lectern, which she undoubtedly couldn’t! Doreen was extremely fond of St John who she greatly admired and probably understood better than most people. Doreen had a huge interest in books and history, retained an excellent knowledge of Latin and was also a fabulous baker. In her younger days she was a really first class potter – both the house and garden are full of her work.

In retirement, Doreen completed an Open University Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Art and continued to study Theology and Religious Studies, by distant learning, with Bristol University until last year – what an astonishing achievement. Mind you, there was considerable competition between Jack and Doreen, thus when Doreen acquired her degree, Jack went off and did his! She could also be pretty plain-spoken at times, could not take fools lightly and only occasionally showed it.

What is quite clear from all I’ve spoken about, is that Doreen was a devout Christian, was an excellent theologian and achieved absolutely everything she set out to do, including reaching the age of one hundred on the 28th May this year. That in itself was a remarkable achievement because she had been in somewhat indifferent health for about six months before she died having had at least two strokes and several serious infections. During that time, on both the occasions she was admitted to the Lister Hospital, she survived the utterly physical trauma of resuscitation with a smile, with courtesy to the staff and with great courage. As a patient she never complained. I know because I was there. I was privileged to be with her when having collapsed quite suddenly at her care home in Stevenage, she was rushed to the Resuscitation Unit for a third time. I sat with her holding her hand as she quietly slipped away and looked into the face of God.

I feel privileged to have known her. I was privileged to have called her my friend.

Malcolm Lowle

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.

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

PC Johnie Streeter: 07525 905431 or 01438 757604

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

Thank you again to all who have donated so generously to the foodbank.  Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic all walks of life have found day to day existence challenging. The Foodbank has seen an increase in demand of over 90%, which matches the national picture as reported by the Trussell Trust.

The following items are most urgently needed: Shampoo; Shower Gel; Deodorant; Toothpaste; Toilet Rolls; Size 5 & 6 Nappies.

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.

Beds & Herts Bike ‘N’ Hike – 12 September 2020

I am taking part in the bike ride again this year to raise funds for the Beds & Herts Historic Churches Trust and would really appreciate your support.

If you wish to sponsor me please go to my JustGiving page on the link below, search for Ita Leaver, click on Ita’s Page and select Donate:

If you are a tax-payer please remember to tick the gift aid box.
Half of the money raised will be donated to St. Martin’s and the remainder to needy church projects in the diocese.

Many thanks, Ita

COVID-19 and the Newsletter

Producing our Parish Newsletter is a community initiative. Between us, we have taken steps to protect both the volunteers who produce and deliver as well as our readers. We have reduced the number of people involved in production – Howard edited the newsletter and e-mailed it as a Word file for printing; Rae and Wal printed, folded and sorted into delivery rounds this month; each delivery round was laid out separately for contact free collection.