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From the Belfry – Our tribute to Prince Philip (Saturday, 10th April, 2021)

About 12 noon on Friday 9th April, the sad news was announced that Prince Philip had died. The national community of bell-ringers agreed that we should ring a single bell at 12 noon the next day. It was agreed that Leigh should join this national event.
It is traditional to ring the Tenor bell with one strike for each year of life. For Prince Philip, that is difficult to do by chiming the bell. Therefore, we were given the option to raise the bell and ring it in the English way but half muffled, 99 whole pulls (hand-stroke and back-stroke).
Shortly before midday, Helen and I fitted the muffle and raised the Tenor bell. At 12 noon precisely, the ringing started with Helen counting most carefully. Following tradition, I rang slowly, with the last 5 whole pulls slightly slower to indicate his “retirement” years. It took 11 minutes 34 seconds to complete.
We thank Adria for announcing our tribute on the Leigh web site and sending out a news flash – it was just in time for several people to join our tribute by coming to listen. We greatly appreciate their support. We also thank John Squirrell (Reigate bell-ringer) for recording the tribute – he has sent me the last part with his spoken note (2 min file) and confirmed his agreement that we shall send it to the Leigh web site.

For a list of all the bell ringing tributes to Prince Philip click here
AVH

Census 2021

All households in Surrey will have received a letter in the post from Census 2021. The access code on the letter is unique to your household and it’s really simple to fill it in online, which is quicker, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. If you’ve lost the letter then go to www.census.gov.uk to get another. However, that’s not for everybody and the letter also told you how to get a paper form, and how to access help if you need it. If you need a form then you can just ring 0800 141 2021. We’re also encouraging people to get help from friends and family to complete their census if they need to. If you or they need more information about that it can be found on the website or again on the freephone number. 

You may have already seen the distinctively dressed census staff, with their i/d cards, on the streets. If not, they are raring to go. They’ll be visiting households from which we’ve not received a completed census form. They’ll encourage people to fill in the census and help them to access further help if they need it. They won’t need to visit houses if the census has already been filled in, so we are encouraging everybody to do so as soon as possible – you can fill it in now if you know who is going to be at home on Census Day (21 March). 

In organising the teams, our main concern is the safety of the public and our staff. We want everyone to be safely counted during the census. To do this, we’re making sure that our plans are always in line with the latest government safety guidelines. As you can imagine, that means that they have been under constant review and been regularly tweaked. Our field officers will be working in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit. They will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment and will never need to enter your house. 

At the end of last year, some people asked me whether the census would go ahead and why now? We are all geared up and, equally importantly, the information it provides is incredibly important. The Office for National Statistics has used past census information to help us understand how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected people in different ways and respond accordingly. Census 2021 will give us fresh information to improve our understanding of the pandemic. Although the questions in the census have not been changed, the guidance about how to complete them in the light of the circumstances of how we are living and working through it has been updated. The results will help to make sure that the services you use meet the needs of our changing society. This could include hospitals, schools, universities and transport. 

First results will be available within 12 months, although personal records, including anything that could be used to identify people, will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations, and nobody has access to it. 

The concept of a census has been around for millenia. The first known censuses were taken by the Babylonians nearly 6,000 years ago when they recorded details of population, livestock and the quantities of butter, milk, honey, wool and vegetables. In 2,500BC, the Egyptians conducted a census to assess the labour force available to plan and build the pyramids. And the Romans carried out a census every 5 years which required each man to

return to his place of origin to be registered – such a census decree by Caesar Augustus took Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. 

In England, William the Conqueror conducted the first census which history records as the Domesday Book of 1086. The next official census of England and Wales was not until 1801 when it was carried out partly to ascertain the number of men able to fight in the Napoleonic Wars. The average population growth every 10 years between then and 1911 was 13.6% between then but after the loss of life during the war and the Spanish flu which followed it – that other devastating pandemic just over 100 years ago – the increase in the population decade on decade was in single figures for the first time, just 5%. It was also the only time in the history of the census that a question was asked about orphans. 

Incidentally, for those who are keen on researching family history, that means that the 1921 Census returns, taken not long after the end of the First World War, will be soon be available – from 1 January 2022, in fact. Those 1921 census details are particularly important because they will be the last ones published until 2051! All the records for the 1931 census for England and Wales were destroyed by fire in December 1942, during the Second World War, while in store at the Office of Works in Hayes in an event that was not attributed to enemy action. There was 24 hour security which included fire-watching but there was talk at the time of an unextinguished cigarette end… There was no census taken in 1941 due to the Second World War; however, the register taken as a result of the National Registration Act 1939, which was released into the public domain on a subscription basis in 2015 with some redactions, captures many of the same details as the census and has also assumed greater significance following the destruction of the 1931 census. 

The 1911 census was the first to use punch cards with mechanised sorting and counting machines; and in 1961, electronic computers were used to process the data – although the production of statistics from these computers took 5 ½ years! The Census Act of 1920 made completion of the census compulsory and this legislation is still in force today. 

Over the years, the structure and questions in the census have evolved to reflect the changing nature of society. The 1871 census added the categories of “lunatic” and “imbecile” to the “list of the infirm” and 1911 included questions about marriage and fertility. Before the 1951 census, women were asked to be more honest about their age although many women felt that questions relating to their age were too personal. From 1951 until 1991, households were asked if they had an outside toilet and the reference to “housewife” in the 1971 and 1981 censuses was replaced by “looking after home or family” in the 1990s. 

A question about income was tested in 1968/9 but not included in the 1971 census as the tests showed that the accuracy of responses was questionable and this question could lead to a fall in response rates. There is still no income question in the census questionnaire. 1991 also saw the introduction of questions about ethnicity. For the first time since 1851, information about religious belief was collected in 2001 

For more information, visit census.gov.uk.

Toilet and tea point at St Bartholomew’s (Leigh) Church

Unanimous approval was given for the planning application at the Mole Valley Planning committee on 4th November 2020.  The application is also supported by Heritage England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Victorian Society, as well as the experts on the Diocesan Advisory Committee.

The PCC has now applied for a Faculty (like ecclesiastical planning permission) to build a toilet and tea point inside the church. The notice giving more information about the works, and where plans and drawings and other supporting papers can be inspected, is posted outside the church.  The deadline for registering any objections is 16th December 2020, and the notice explains how this can be done.

As the church is now closed because of lockdown measures, the notice can also be viewed here:  St Bartholomew’s Notice.

The planning application can be viewed on the link below.

Planning Ref: MO/2020/1033

 

COVID-19 Leigh Community Support Group

Unfortunately, we are still living in a world impacted by Covid-19. Residents who may once again need a little help are encouraged to get in contact with the Covid-19 support group in the village. These volunteers provide an invaluable service to those residents needing reassurance and help accessing essentials. They are still there for you should you need them again. The details remain the same as before:

LEIGH COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROUP

If you are self-isolating or struggling due to COVID-19, we can arrange help with:

  • Picking up shopping
  • Collecting prescriptions
  • A friendly phone call
  • Posting Mail
  • Urgent supplies

BEN CAMBRA – (01306) 611214

JO WILKINSON – (01306) 611286

OR EMAIL ON leighcommunityaction@gmail.com

Leigh Magazine Club……New Management required urgently

After running the club for more than thirty years Jane now feels it is time to retire. The club itself has been going much longer. It is thought that it began by people sharing magazines. No-one is quite sure!

This is a very friendly group of people, aged around sixty plus-ish!.

We have meetings in the village hall during the winter months. Two a month, the first of which is with a speaker or entertainer and the second, two weeks, later is Bingo. We always have tea and biscuits, a raffle and bring-and-buy stall. And lots of laughs!  In the summer we have several coach outings.

If you feel that you could get involved with the club and run it you would be very welcome. It would be a great shame if the club were to disappear after so many years.

Please contact Jane Sturt  01306 632822 if you feel that you can help.

Next Parish Council Meeting on Monday 21st September

Our June and July (remote) Parish Council meeting went very smoothly with local residents joining us successfully. The September meeting will also be held via Zoom. The join up information will be provided in advance of the meeting on the meeting agenda. This will be published on Wednesday 16th September and the meeting minutes will be uploaded shortly afterwards for those unable to attend afterwards.

Please note that although we do not meet in August, we are still active!

Kind regards,

Laura

Clerk – Leigh Parish Council

Coronavirus Pandemic Update April 2020

Due to the current pandemic, Parish Council Meetings – these are currently not taking place in line with government guidelines. There is the possibility that meetings will be allowed remotely in the future. Should this take place, and the Parish Council decide to hold such a meeting it will be communicated via the community newsletter, Facebook and the noticeboards.

COVID-19 Leigh Community Support. In mid-March the Parish Council put out a plea for volunteers to help vulnerable and self-isolating residents in our community. A fantastic number of helpers came forward – thank you so much! Two wonderful people are co-ordinating these efforts, helping many in need.

If you are self-isolating due to COVID-19, just call us and we will do our best to help you (for free). They can arrange help with:

  • Picking up shopping
  • Collecting prescriptions
  • A friendly phone call
  • Posting Mail
  • Urgent supplies

BEN CAMBRA – (01306) 611214

JO WILKINSON – (01306) 611286

OR EMAIL ON leighcommunityaction@gmail.com

Allotments. In line with government guidelines allotments are able to remain open to plot holders only. These plot holders are requested to follow safe social distancing measures.

Playgrounds are to remain closed until further notice. Please adhere to this to help spread the virus, keeping your families and other safe.

For the most up to date advice visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

With best wishes from the Parish Council at this difficult and unprecedented time.

Leigh Parish Council has vacancies.

Make a difference to the community you live in! Want to find out more?

What is a Parish Council?
A parish council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish.  It is the level government closest to the community, with the district authority (Mole Valley District Council) above it in the hierarchy. As it is the authority closest to the people, parish councils are invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas.  For this reason they are a vital part of any community.

Why become a Parish Councillor?
If you’ve never been to a parish council meeting before, you may be forgiven for thinking that parish councillors are a group of (probably older) people who meet now and then in a draughty village hall.  If, however, you live in a community where something ‘big’ has happened, you’ll know that when people in the community need support and guidance, it is sometimes the parish council that is turned to.

By becoming a parish councillor, you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support – a community leader with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the people you serve. Seeing your community change for the better, as a result of decisions you have helped make, is something that can give you a sense of achievement and pride.

What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Parish councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community.  Probably the most common topics that parish councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, managing open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities.

It’s true to say that on their own, parish councils have limited powers to make decisions.  But they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the borough council, health authorities, police etc).

In this respect parish councils are extremely powerful.  The organisations that make the final decisions know that a parish council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and its views will be taken seriously.

How much time does it take up?
Leigh Parish Council usually meet once a month for the council meeting, to which members of the public are also invited.  Meetings normally last two hours, depending on the agenda set for the meeting to discuss.  In addition to the regular meetings, councillors are required to attend other meetings representing the council.

How long does a parish councillor serve for?
Once elected, parish councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years.  If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election.

Am I eligible to be a Parish Councillor?
To stand for election on a parish council, you must:

  • be a UK or commonwealth citizen, or;
  • be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or;
  • be a citizen of another Member state of the European Union;
  • be a least 18 years old.

To be eligible to stand for an election for a particular parish, you must:

  • be an elector of the parish, or;
  • for the whole of the previous 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish, or;
  • during the previous 12 months have worked in the parish (as your principal or only place of work), or;
  • for the whole of the previous 12 months lived in the parish or within three miles of the parish boundary.

You don’t have to be connected to a political party.

If you do become a parish councillor you will have to sign up to the Code of Conduct.

What powers do parish councils have?
They have a wide range of powers which essentially related to local matters, such as looking after community buildings, open space, allotments, play areas, bus shelters, car parks and much more.  The council also has the power to raise money through taxation, the precept.  The precept is the parish council’s share of the council tax.  The precept demand goes to the billing authority, the district council, which collects the tax for the parish council.

Parish Duties – Leigh Parish Council meets at Leigh Cricket Pavilion on the 3rd Monday of a month in the evening from 7:30pm (apart from August). There are currently 2 vacancies which means that new councillors if suitable, can be co-opted on without election.

Don’t take our word for it! The best way to find out what it’s like to be a parish councillor is to talk to someone who’s doing it now.  Come along to a parish council meeting, or speak to one of our councillors and find out what they think of the job.

If you contact the clerk on leighparishcouncil@gmail.com they will put you in touch.

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