A rural parish in North Devon, England including Brayford village, High Bray and Charles, and a part of Exmoor National Park


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From the December 2003 Newsletter:

Christmas Celebrations

A very Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year to everyone.

The Christmas festivities are listed immediately below so that you don't miss an opportunity to get into the 'spirit' at the earliest opportunity.

Carols at Charles Church will start at 6.30pm on the 14th December.

Brayford School carols and nativity play will be held at High Bray Church at 6.30pm on the 15th December with refreshments afterwards in the Church, provided by the Motherís Union.

The School will also be holding its Christmas Party at 2.30pm on the 18th December. Pre-school children are also welcome.

Carols at the Methodist Church will be held on Sunday 21st December at 6.30pm.

The Parish Council invite everyone to gather around the Christmas tree for carols at the Nook, starting at
7pm on 22nd December when the traditional mulled wine, mince pies and good company will make it a festive gathering.

Candlelit carols will be held at High Bray Church on 24th December at 6.30pm. Don't forget to bring your own candle.

Christmas Day Holy Communion at Charles starts at 9.00am.

Christmas Day service at the Methodist Church will be at 11.00am.


Parish Council News

Members of the Parish Council would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Annual parish paths survey

Members of the Parish Council survey the footpaths in Brayford annually to identify any work required to make them safe and easy use. Any work required is then prioritised within the funds available.

If you would like to walk one of Brayfordís lovely paths and help the P.C. to inspect them for maintenance requirements, please contact any member of the Parish Council. They would welcome volunteers to help with this annual task. You could also let them know of any footpath problems you are currently aware of.

The P.C. have a copy of the map showing the ĎDefinitive Footpathsí in Brayford, again contact one of the two Parish Councillors above if you require details.

Parish Lengthsman
The County Councilís parish lengthsman is about to visit Brayford shortly so if you are aware of any problems on the highways, particularly regarding blocked gutters or drains, contact Norman Barrow on 710569.  D.C.C. will be spending more on this type of work in the current year (see  Letís hope that Brayford benefits.

Land at Brayford Bridge
Earlier this year the P.C. purchased a small piece of land at Brayford Bridge. They are currently seeking planning permission for change of use and hope to encompass this within the Millennium area.

Affordable Housing
The P.C. would like to thank those who responded to the request for ideas of where to build affordable housing. A meeting was held to discuss the issue on the 27th November and news of the outcome will be reported in the next newsletter.

The Pound
The builders who were asked to quote for the rebuilding of The Pound at High Bray are all too busy to undertake the work. If you know of a suitable contractor, contact a Parish Councillor.

Parish Council Meetings

If you have a view, opinion, idea or comment on anything that impacts on the parish, the P.C. want to know about it. Read the minutes of each meeting posted on the notice boards and if you agree or disagree with anything you see, donít be afraid to mention it. Either attend the public participation part at the beginning of each P.C. Meeting (see diary for dates) or if you canít get to the meeting, tell your local Parish Councillor.

Brayford School

Members of the school would like to take this opportunity of wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Donít forget the School Carol Service and Nativity Play and Christmas Party (see diary for dates).

Methodist Church

Members of Brayford Methodist are pleased to welcome the Rev. Clay Andrew and his wife Jen, from Texas, who have settled in as the Minister for Brayford and its Circuit.

Mother's Union

The Motherís Union Autumn Council meeting will be held in South Molton on Tuesday 9th December at 10am. A speaker from Betheney House in Barnstaple will attend to talk about their work. Currently there is no meeting organised for January 2004.

Charles Church

If you havenít already bought your Christmas cards and crackers, its not too late to purchase them from any member of Charles Church. Proceeds will go Church funds.

High Bray Church

Fifty four feet (25 people and a dog) aged between two months and 81, set out on 15th September from High Bray Church to walk to Challacombe on a perfect autumn day. With a stop for lunch at North Whitefield, cream tea at Fullacott and good conversation on the way, most of the group arrived at Challacombe Methodist Chapel for a brief service. As well as being enormously enjoyable, the group raised over £800 for the churches and chapel represented as well as for the Devon Historic Churches Trust. This is the third of these annual walks - plans are Ďafootí for next year.

Members of the Church were amazed to see so much local talent at the recent packed Church concert where £340 was raised for the Church Roof Fund. They would like to thank the performers as well as everyone who supported the event.

The Church Kneelers Group next meet on Monday 5th January at 7.30pm at Little Bray House. If you are interested, you can join in at any time - novices are welcome. 

Women's Institute

The W.I. Christmas dinner will be held at the Sportsmans Inn, Sandyway on Thursday 4th December.

At the Christmas meeting on Tuesday 9th December Rosie Wedlake will bring a caseful of artefacts which will prove to be very entertaining followed by a Christmas party - guest welcome. Starting at 7.15pm in the village hall.

The group recently enjoyed vists to see Annie at the Queenís Theatre, a shopping trip to Bath and an evening visit to the newly refurbished Ashford Garden Centre. They get around a bit!

The new programme for 2004 will be available at the Christmas meeting.


The Boomerangs are looking forward to their Christmas Fayre on Saturday 6th December (10am - 12.30pm). This seems to have become an annual event in the village and they are hoping lots of people will attend the event.

There will be a wide variety of fabulous 'stalls' to suit all tastes and pockets, including plants, Christmas wreaths, cakes, homemade yummies in aid of Childrens Hospice, RNLI goods, wooden crafts, candles, cards, lace goods, educational toys, bric-a-brac, jewellery, knitted toys, garments, crafts etc .

There will also be competitions, an excellent raffle, skittles, and of course Ruth's delicious bacon rolls! They also have a professional portrait photographer coming - photographs will be ready to view and buy on Thursday, 11th December (1pm-2pm approx.) at the Village Hall (if you cannot make this time an alternative can no doubt be made).

I hear that Santa will be dropping in at the Fayre too! £1 admission including tea/coffee. Children Free.

The Boomerangs would like to thank everyone in Brayford for their continued support and wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Children In Need

The recent Halloween Party was not only a successful event but raised £235 for Children in Need. The charity benefits many local projects including this year, the Womenís Refuge in Barnstaple.

Gardening Club

On Wednesday the 26th November the Gardening Club met at The Bell, Chittlehampton for Christmas dinner and to catch up on gardening news. They had an excellent supper and many laughs. The 2004 programme was distributed.

There is no meeting in January but the 18th February is a members evening whereby cooking with herbs will be discussed. Start 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Free membership is on offer to encourage more people to join the Club during 2004. A good programme is planned for the year - do join them (admission is £1 per meeting).

Neighbourhood Watch

A few weeks ago Brayford had a troublesome Monday night with three cars broken into and a private outhouse burgled with a £1,000 worth of tools stolen. In spite of the Police Messaging System, nothing was communicated to the households in the Parish. A strong representation has been made to the Police and it is hoped that this "blip" in the system has now been ironed out.

Brayford is now listed as a Ďhot spotí and is regularly patrolled at night. A good contact with the Police at South Molton has been established and they will ring our co-ordinator direct whenever there is any cause for concern. It is hoped the Messaging System will also be effective next time.

Remember its the time of year when there are more items in your house worth stealing. Try to avoid leaving presents under Christmas trees on view from windows. Be extra safety conscious and vigilant over the festive period. Donít let someone spoil your enjoyment of the festive period.

Fire Safety

It is probably timely to remind everyone about fire safety, particularly over the festive period. Most safety issues are fairly obvious but as many fires start at night, make sure you have a 'bedtime routine'.

Switch off and unplug all electrical appliances (not designed to be left on), make sure no cigarettes are burning, switch off portable heaters, do not leave burning candles unattended (place candles in suitable containers) and close all doors. Make sure you have smoke alarms fitted.

Devon County Council News

Fifty percent of Devon's pensioners could benefit financially from Pension Credit which was introduced in October. Many people are now entitled to Council Tax benefit for the first time as well, and many more are getting increased benefits according to CAREdirect. Ring CAREdirect on 0800 444 000 to find out more. At any given moment between 15 and 20 children in Devon are waiting to be adopted. Devon's Social Services is calling for potential adopters to contact their Adoption Unit on 01271 388050.

The risk of flooding to properties from surface water on roads is being reduced in Devon thanks to a programme of drain clearance and improvements works. Additional 'Parish Lengthsmen' have been employed to resolve minor drainage problems such as blocked gullies and drainage ditches. Work will also be undertaken to improve ponding on road bends.

Devon Trading Standards is warning the public to be on their guard against bogus charity collectors currently active in the Devon area. If you suspect anything fraudulent please contact the Charity Commission on 0870 3330123.

Trading Standards are also warning the public to be on the look out for the sale of imitation babies' dummies which could be life threatening to babies and young children. The product looks very similar to a standard dummy and can be easily identified by the flashing lights and the packaging which normally bears the wording "I am a baby I need to be loved" or "Disco Dummy". If you have any concerns ring Trading Standards on 01392 382818.

The debate about the Council Tax increase this year is still continuing with Devon's Councillors asking the Government to consider funding local services from a new local taxation. The County Council says that the successive Governments have pursued a policy of switching funding of local authorities away from central to local government. It is stated that the majority of the increases this year was due to:

* 5.2% to cover the loss of Devon's grants switched to help councils in the north.
* 4.7% to meet Government spending targets, particularly on education.
* 4% to cover the £8 million shortfall in the roads budget.

Special thanks to the Newsletter Editor for providing extracts from the December Newsletter.

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