Minutes of 28th October 2021

Minutes of a meeting 28th October 2021 7.30p.m. at Royal British Legion Club

 Chairman, welcomed all present and accepted apologies from those who could not attend.   
Chairman congratulated Billy on the Award for Best School Garden in London given to the school where he is caretaker and leader of the gardening club.  Well done Billy and children.

Minutes of meeting of 30th September 2021 had been circulated and were adopted.

UPDATES.  *Community Centre Ground. This area has been tidied at the personal expense of one of the Trustees.  Team expressed thanks to this Trustee for her efforts.  *Kerb stones out of alignment.  ECC Highways were informed of location but nothing has been heard back. *Plant Stall. Just over £200 was taken on the day with other sales post plant sale day amounting to just over £27 with more to be added.  Sale was deemed to have been worthwhile.  Carol offered to take some of the indoor plants to keep overwinter for the proposed spring plant sale. *Butler Road hedges- matter was discussed at recent Partnership meeting and it was said that HTC could write to owner of the hedge that is overgrowing the footpath and if no action is taken then ECC could cut back hedge and charge householder if it is deemed to obstruct the pavement.  It was noted that the hedge at top of Factory Lane West is causing difficulties for pedestrians; this is verge area and will be reported.  *Ivy over footways. This has been cleared by Eastlight contractors. *Weed Buster machine has been trialled in Halstead but results not known.  At Partnership meeting it was said that surface weeds are dealt with but machines tried don’t grub out roots so results are not long lasting.  Other weed control methods have been tried. *Trinity Flats area has been tidied but suggestions were given to further enhance the area.  It was noted that although HiB gave some cash for planting in the beds at Trinity Flats car park it does not seem to have been used and the beds are not in good condition.  Will be reported. *Buddleia on footway at River Walk should have been cut back now (my fault it wasn’t done earlier as I neglected to report it, apologies).  *Containers for top of High Street (outside nail bar/T-shirt printers).  There is an area of private land that will take a couple of half barrels – these to be purchased for summer planting; shop to care for planting.  *Bench at Parsonage Street now has a licence to be renewed as a memorial to Linda McCarthy.  Bench and plaque are ordered and contractor ready to install.  Existing bench will be removed and it was agreed that this could be placed at the Resource Centre when the gazebo is removed. 

ANGLIA  IN  BLOOM Virtual Campaign 2021. Results to be published on Anglia in Bloom web page and Facebook page on Friday 29thPost meeting note: they are there and Halstead has been awarded a Gold mark.  Results of the Neighbourhood judging are also on the sites.  There is to be a Spring Launch for Anglia in Bloom 2022 on 24th March at RHS Hyde Hall, Essex and certificates for the ’21 campaign will be presented at this event.  The Awards Day for 2022 event will be on 7th September ’22 at Orsett Hall, Essex – not so much travelling for us next year!!    It has been made known by Anglia in Bloom that the entrants designated for RHS Britain in Bloom in 2019 will also be invited to take part for 2022 (that includes Halstead).  Team agreed that they would like to take part, but felt that statutory bodies will need to give assistance in areas such as weeding, painting/renewing of street furniture, etc.  Further discussions to take place!

CALENDAR 2022.  Calendar is now on sale at Halstead Icing, Hardys Menswear, Phil the Egg Man, Halstead Town Council, Greenstead Green P.O. Stores and Willow and Gray.  So far, on our stalls, we have sold 123 calendars so several more to sell.  It was agreed that we should try having Fridays and at Chapel Street Car Park.  So for Friday 5th November (at Chapel Street). I have 9-10 Carol and Pat; 10-11 Chris and Nicky; 11-12 Margaret T and Ian; 12-1 Fiona and Julia.  We will use this as a trial event and maybe have other Friday stalls.  If weather is not good we will have to transfer to usual place outside Solar – watch the WhatsApp group for details.  On  6/11 at Solar – 9-10 Linda and Sue; 10-11  Nicky and Margaret T;  11-12 Annie and Mick; 12-1 Alan  and Margaret E.  On 13/11 at Solar- 9-10 Linda and Annie; 10-11  Don and Joan; 11-12  David and Barry; 12-1 Margaret E and Ian.  On 20/11 outside Solar- 9-10 Linda and Joan; 10-11  Don and Helen; 11-12   Billy and Karyn; 12-1  Margaret E and Ian.  27/11 – This is the Christmas Fayre. Starting at 9.  Joan, Annie and Mick; 10-11  Linda, Joyce and Sue; 11-12  Debra and ??  12-1 Ian and David; 1-2 Billy and Karyn; 2-3 Linda and Tony; 3-4 Graham and Julia.  Just the one space to fill on 27th, offers please! 
EVENTS.  *Community Litter Pick – Sunday 31st October. Meet 10.30 at Sainsbury’s Car Park.  *Remembrance names will be placed at WW1 memorial (St. Andrew’s churchyard) on Monday 8th November starting at 10am.  They will need to be spaced out a bit more than last year to allow people to move and view and place wreaths on the memorial. WWII names will be placed on the same day.  We will put our poppy fall on the railings of HPG as we did last year, that will be probably w/e 6th/7th November.  David spoke about the poppies placed on lamp posts in Witham with names of fallen and questioned whether we might think of something similar for another year.  We guess that we will have to seek permissions for this.  *Event arranged by 21st C group at Empire Theatre on 17th November.  Local author James Canton will be speaking about Ancient Oaks and Other Wonders of North Essex.  Doors open at 7.00pm for 7.30pm start.  Admission is free.  Email info@halstead21stcentury.org.uk or phone 07842907501 to book a place. *Christmas Fayre.  Is  27th November and there will be stalls in Weavers Court, behind the gates (hope the grass gets cut!!).  We will need to move the plane to accommodate stalls (this is in hand). *Torchlight Procession is on 1st December.  8 of the team have volunteered to act as marshalls/collectors and as far as I know we will need to be on the Hill for 6.30pm.  *Christmas Tree event in St. Andrew’s Church is planned for 26th/27th/28th November.  HiB will have a tree and has booked an ‘advert’ in the programme.  Margaret T noted that youth groups haven’t yet been invited to take part – Mike and Annie to chase this up.  *There will be some Christmas trees in Holy Trinity Church, some trees and decorations have been retained in the church from previous years and HiB will have a working party on the afternoon of 23rd November to set up a display.  Speaking events: HiB team has been booked to speak at U3A AGM on 5th April ’22; Tollesbury Gardening Club on 25th April ’22 and Great Notley Gardening Club on 12th October ’22.  There may also be a booking for West Bergholt Flower Club date to be advised.  It was agreed that our presentation needs to be revamped, team will meet to discuss.
HiB Christmas ‘do’  It won’t be possible to have the usual dinner, open to all, this year as St. Andrew’s Church Hall will be too small for a socially distanced event and it isn’t possible to have a full meal at Queen’s Hall.  It is thought that perhaps an afternoon tea might be a nice idea just to celebrate success of 2021 and look forward to 2022.  Margaret T to explore options. 

PLANT  COLLECTION Plants due to be collected on Saturday 30th October.  Van booked. Please meet at Gate House (next to Fire Station) at 10.30am to help sort the 6,500 plants! 
Planting will be on Sunday 31st. Those helping to set out please meet on Town Bridge at 9am.  Those planting from 10.15 onwards, meet at Town Bridge.  Please bring gloves and hand tools (and steps for Bridge planting).

WORKING  PARTIES From 2nd November working parties will be for planting.  We will be selling calendars at Priory hall on 4th November so anyone available to assist will be welcome.  Hopefully planting will be complete by 18th November so that the Road Runners’ bed can be tidied. 23rd November will be at Holy Trinity Church (see above) and 25th November will be setting up tree(s) at St. Andrew’s Church.  After that work will be as and when required.

ANY  OTHER  BUSINESS.    *Margaret T noted that the Halstead Horticultural Society will be having their autumn show on 13th November at Queen’s Hall.  HiB to sell calendars (let me know if you can help).  Schedules will be sent round.  *Fiona spoke about cars/parked on verge at Parsonage Street.  This was raised at Partnership meeting but land is owned by Essex CC and it seems that nothing can be done to stop this erosion of the verge and dangerous blocking of sight line.  *Alan asked if the cart at Blamsters Crescent is due for a revamp but it was thought it is in an OK condition for now.  *Karyn and Billy offered to help on Saturdays when required – Billy offered to cut back vegetation opposite the Empire and in Factory Lane West if necessary.  *Carol says she has been given a donation from Barbara Coe and will hand this in over the weekend.  She also asked if Holy Trinity School Gardening Club had made requests for grants for the required poly tunnel.  Christine said that the Gardening Club hadn’t yet started up and that there were no funds for the Club so she wasn’t sure of the future. (Margaret T said that the future of Halstead Brownies and Rainbows wasn’t sure because fees have been set so high for future).  *Julia spoke about the Local Community Fund set up by the National Co-op Society and noted that a further payment of £662.28 is due to be paid this month.  There will be a presentation ‘do’ sometime between 18th and 20th November, no details to hand as yet.  HiB has been made a recipient of the Local Community Fund for 21/22.  Julia then spoke about Halstead in Bloom going forward.  It was said that recent events and recent difficulties encountered by local groups have highlighted that HiB must make plans for the future, for instance if/when HiB comes to an end.  Our constitution says that any assets should be ‘given or transferred to such other charitable institution or institutions having objects similar to the objects of the Charity’  All were asked to consider this point and what would be desirable.  Chairman asked what thoughts the team have about future workings and noted that some members aren’t able to work as previously and asked for considerations about what the team should be tackling. Do we do too much?  Should we be tackling weed clearing and painting?  If the answer is no, and if these duties can’t be carried out by statutory bodies should we still be entering Anglia in Bloom and if asked RHS Britain in Bloom?  Team felt that entering gives a focus for efforts but that some decisions would have to be made.  All are urged to consider and pass on thoughts to Trustees.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 8.58 p.m.

Next team meeting on   Thursday 25th November  7.30p.m. at Royal British Legion Club, The Causeway.    
Contacts:  Margaret Eskins Chairman.  01787 269443;  Julia Smith, Secretary. 0776 2587141 / 01787461806. e-mail jaygrey@btinternet.com; Joan Gibson, plants and working parties. 01787 473070www.halsteadinbloom.org.uk                                                                                                Facebook: halsteadinbloom.
Join membership of National Co-op (Colchester Road)   and note HiB as your preferred charity
 to donate via Co-op purchases

Minutes 30th Sept 2021

Minutes of a meeting 30th September 2021  7.30p.m. at Royal British Legion Club

 Chairman, welcomed all present and accepted apologies from those who could not attend.   

Minutes of meeting of 26th August had been circulated and were adopted.

UPDATES.  *Community Centre Ground.  Cllr Jackie Pell was contacted and said that money to clear the ground would be money that was needed for the project and therefore this would not be done.  Further information will be available.  *Whitehorse Avenue road sign.  The broken sign was reported and has been/will be mended.  *Himalayan Balsam.  The River Improvement Group and Environment Agency were informed and 2 of the RIG team cleared the plants (there were 2) and looked for more.  HiB was thanked for prompt action.  *Dog fouling on river walk.  This should have been cleared now and action will be taken to deter repeat offences.  *Kerb stones out of alignment.  Were reported by ECC said they could not identify the problem.  I have an incident number and now that location is established I will inform Highways. *Donation in memory of Iola was taken to Danaher Animal Home.  We were thanked and a lovely letter from the home was received.

LOCAL  GARDEN  COMPETITON.  Letters giving results were taken round by Chairman and were enthusiastically received.  An email from the winner was received, encouragement to enter next year was given!  Certificate and prize was handed to Colin Bailey who was present at the meeting

ANGLIA  IN  BLOOM Virtual Campaign 2021. A meeting of judges should have taken place on 30th September but was postponed because of the fuel situation (judges have to travel from the 6 counties of the Anglia region to attend).  Meeting will now take place, fingers crossed, on 21st October and results will be published thereafter.

 CALENDAR 2022.  Calendar is now on sale at Halstead Icing, Hardys Menswear, Phil the Egg Man, Halstead Town Council and will be on sale from tomorrow at Greenstead Green P.O. Stores.  We have had 3 successful selling stalls with more planned until Christmas.  Sellers will be required where ?? are shown.  Please let me know if you can help !

So far we have: 2/10. Joan and Carol. Sue and Margie Clarke. Linda and Debra. Billy and Karyn.

9/10. Joan and Jean.  Sue and Pauline.  Don and Margaret T.  Ian and David.
16/10 – Plant Stall.  Sue and Joan.  Carol and Margie Clarke. Linda and Nicky. Ian and David.  We need at least one more seller for each shift as we will have plants plus calendars.

23/10  Joan and ??  Nicky and Margaret T.  Annie and Mick.  Don and Margaret E.

29/10 – Friday Don and Joan.  Pat and ??  Linda and ??  Ian and David.

6/11 – Linda and Joan.  Nicky and Margaret JT.  Annie and Mick. Don and Margaret E

13/11 – Linda and Annie.  Don and Joan.  David and ??  Margaret E and Ian.

20/11 – Linda and Joan.  Don and ??  ?? and ??  Margaret E and Ian.

27/11 – This is the Christmas Fayre. Starting at 9.  Joan and ??  Linda and Joyce  Debra and ??  Ian and ??

This takes us up to 1pm so more spaces are vacant.  Graham and I will do the last shift 3-4pm.

Christmas cards are also on sale and have been selling well. Chairman thanked Joan and Dennis for their hard work.

PLANT  SALE. It was agreed that we will have a plant sale on 16th October .  We will be selling donated plants, anything saleable from the removed summer plants and it was  suggested that we sell the remaining knitted poppies – money from these to be given to the RBL poppy fund.  We will also sell the knitted items that we have in stock at present. 
Please let me know if you need pots for plant donations.  We do have some compost as well if necessary.

WORKING  PARTIES.   Joan has obtained permission from the Doctors’ Surgery for HiB to tidy up the area that we had cleared before the pandemic.  It is now very overgrown again so on Tuesday 5th October a small working party will convene.  Saws, loppers, secateurs, forks, spades – and muscles will be required!  Spoil will be taken away in bags to put in the green bin at The Empire.  Work probably won’t be completed on Tuesday so Thursday 7th will also be dedicated to this effort.  Any not attending at Surgery there is plenty of deadheading and weeding still to be done.  From Tuesday 12th we will begin removal of summer plants (boo hoo!!) and this will continue up to and including 19th and if necessary 21st but some work needs to be done as and when possible at the Road Runners’ bed.  On Tuesday 26th it is hoped that we may be able to help Peter in the new Play Park at HPG as this is getting a bit weedy.  There will not be a working party on 28th!! (unless there is work left to do!!!!!).  On 2nd November there will be planting to be done and on the morning of 4th November we will be selling calendars at Priory Hall.  Phew! 

ANY  OTHER  BUSINESS.    *Margaret E noted that there are hedges overhanging the pavements along Butler Road – left hand side going towards Empire.  These are responsibility of the property owner although they can be asked to cut back.  Will be reported.  Ivy encroaching on the footway was noted in the footpath between Mitchells Avenue and Holmes Road.  Not sure who has responsibility for this footpath but will be ascertained and reported.  Pat noted that there is also ivy coming through fence and onto pavement from Trinity Flats into Bridge Street.  This is Easlight Homes responsibility and will be reported.  Margaret E asked what had happened to the magnolia trees in High Street – their fate is not known at present, information to be sought.

*Linda spoke about the amount of weeds in pavements and at base of walls and asked if Braintree DC could bring their weed grabber to Halstead.  This machine was used on trial in Braintree, it isn’t known if one was purchased and if it is to be used in the district. Margaret E noted that there is to be a Partnership meeting on 26th October – the first for some time – and matters such as these will be discussed.  *Debra asked that whoever placed the new dog bin at Star Stile be thanked as this has improved the area greatly.  *Ian noted that the area near to the gates to Trinity Flats, at the rear of the Library is in a poor state and looks neglected.  This is Eastlight Homes property and this will be reported.  *Colin noted that at Portway Bridge (Chapel Street) the buddleia bush is overhanging the walkway and needs to be cut back.  There is only a very narrow gap for pedestrians to negotiate now.  This is BDC property and will be reported.  Colin also said that he had attended the Notley Gardening Club where HiB gave a talk some time ago and there were several favourable comments about Halstead and HiB.  Nice to hear!  *Don (a recent recruit to the team) said that he very much admired the flowers and the work done by HiB team that was let down by the state of the river.  It was agreed that while some good work had been done to ‘landscape’ the river bed the weeds do look unsightly.  EA say that they are good for wild life.   *Joan said she has heard that there is to be a Christmas Tree event at St. Andrew’s Church this year but no details have been received.  Mike said he would ask at forthcoming Church Meeting.  Joan also asked whether Holy Trinity Church would be open for refreshments and decorated with Christmas trees after the switching on of Christmas lights (27/11).  Situation not known at present.  Joan asked if HiB would be placing the soldiers’ names at WW1 and WW11 memorials this year.  It was said that this will be done, and the poppy fall will be placed on HPG railings as previously.  Joan said that the Chamber of Trade wanted to give a donation to HiB but it was agreed that we are struggling to handle the goods we have for sale at present and can’t really accept anything else.  Joan said that she had been approached by Chamber Chairman to place containers near to his premises in Head Street.  It isn’t known at present whether the designated area is Highway but this will be investigated.  *Joyce asked if Council could enforce owners to upkeep their properties in the centre of Town.  This isn’t possible, it is believed.  *Julia said that BDC are offering free bulbs and free whips and HiB has applied for 4 bags of 100 bulbs for entry beds and memorial bed in Chapel St. Car Park.  HTC are also going to apply and I suggested that they might be planted at Butler Road, outside the Public Gardens and at the Sudbury Road project.  Julia also said that the Officer at ECC now has all the info required regarding the bench replacement at Kings Road/Parsonage Street but it isn’t known when the licence will be granted.  The family who donated money are now pushing for this to be spent.  *Margaret T said that her Brownies and Rainbows would like to apply for bulbs and it was said that some could be planted in Sharon’s Garden and some at Adams Court.

*DON’T FORGET THE MONTHLY COMMUNITY LITTER PICK – date for next one to be announced as on 30th October we will begin planting.  For Community Litter Picks meet 10.30am at Sainsbury’s Car Park.  Monthly river clean will be on Sunday 3rd October.  Meet at 10am at Sainsbury’s Car Park.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 8.30 p.m.

Next team meeting on   Thursday 28th October  7.30p.m. at Royal British Legion Club, The Causeway.     


Contacts:  Margaret Eskins Chairman.  01787 269443;  Julia Smith, Secretary. 0776 2587141 / 01787461806. e-mail jaygrey@btinternet.com; Joan Gibson, plants and working parties. 01787 473070

www.halsteadinbloom.org.uk                                                                                                Facebook: halsteadinbloom.
Join membership of National Co-op (Colchester Road)   and note HiB as your preferred charity
 to donate via Co-op purchas

Newsletter 25th Jan 2021

26th February 2021

Good day to you.  Hope that you are still keeping well.  It is a year ago – 27/2/20 – that we had our last Halstead in Bloom team meeting.  In my diary for 26/02/20 I noted that there were ‘concerns about the new Coronavirus that seems to be spreading in UK.  If we had known then……….. 
At our meeting we were planning various events for the year with no idea that most of them wouldn’t happen.  Derek Holmes (from Daniel Robinson & Sons) joined us to pledge to provide transport for Anglia in Bloom and RHS Britain in Bloom judging; there was to be a seminar about Climate Emergency Water Crisis in April that Graham was interested in attending; we planned our AGM in March, VE celebrations, Halstead Marathon, Halstead Flower Festival, Children’s’ Competition ’20 and a Quiz and none of them could take place.  We did visit Gestingthorpe church and museum on 17th March and that visit was interesting and informative, and we did manage to get some summer bedding in place – bit of a scramble, but we got there!  We had attended a Britain in Bloom seminar in Birmingham and came back with lots of ideas – we can hold them over until 2022!  What else did we discuss?  Well, it was reported that Graham had repaired the Bluebridge cart but concerns were raised about the seed drill on Sudbury Road.  Bellway Homes were contacted and they rose to the challenge – the drill now looks great.  Damage to the drinking fountain on Mount Hill was reported – thankfully this was not too difficult to repair and the water has been flowing freely.  The very bad state of pavements in Colchester Road had been reported to ECC, and these have been repaired in the past 12 months.  A letter had been received from the GP Surgery thanking the HiB team for work done in their courtyard garden – unfortunately there has been no possibility of maintenance and the bamboo has enjoyed the lack of attention!    But let’s not dwell on what didn’t happen, but look forward to a better 12 months coming.

Community Litter Pick should be happening this Sunday but won’t take place as an organised event this month.   Please do feel free to combine some collecting with your permitted daily exercise safely at all times please.  The next event should be on Sunday 28th March, just one day before the planned ‘rule of 6 will apply’ so similar plans for then, please.  Hopefully by the last Sunday in April it will be possible to have a ‘proper’ community litter pick.

River Colne.  Work to repair the Riverside footbridge has been completed and Halstead TC minutes say that when painting is completed the footbridge can be opened to the public.  With regard to the stretch between Town Bridge and the Mill the planning application has been lodged (can be viewed on the BDC web site – look for Old Surgery, Weavers’ Court) to trim trees on that side of the river and if no objections are received by 1st April we will be free to organise the work.  Cllr Jo Beavis, ECC, has arranged for a grant of £1000 to be made to HiB so the cost of work will be covered.

Vandalism You may have read in the local press that there has been a spree of vandalism recently.  Two of the troughs at the Fountain on Market Hill were pulled off and were damaged.  Linda and Carol cleared up the mess and put the troughs back together as best they could.  The plants seemed to survive and are brightening up the area.  It was prudent, however, to purchase new troughs that will be put in situ for the summer bedding – money from the ECC grant will be used for the replacements and the surviving troughs will be used elsewhere.

Re-vamp of the High Street A post appeared on Facebook (but was quickly taken down) saying that HiB has received £400K to revamp the High Street while businesses are struggling.  This, of course, is not true but we did wonder if this ignited the spate of vandalism.  HiB has been asked and has agreed to be a consultee on plans.  Some of the planters in High Street – especially those near to W H Smith – have rusted through and badly need to be replaced.  We will be asking if water retaining containers can be purchased; they are robust and will assist with maintenance.  A meeting between Halstead TC and Braintree DC will take place soon and HiB will attend.

Plant Stall After much discussion, fingers in the wind and eyes on the news we decided that we would go ahead with purchase of some bedding plugs and hope that we can have a plant stall in early May.  Some of the team are growing on various cuttings from their gardens as well as these plugs and with the recent published ‘route map’ it looks as if the stall can go ahead.

Summer Bedding has been ordered and we will be planting up the town at the end of May/beginning of June under whatever restrictions are in force at the time.

 RHS Britain in Bloom and Anglia in Bloom  Britain in Bloom this year will be aimed at  Community Champions and Halstead in Bloom told the Chairman for  Anglia in Bloom that we would be prepared to stand aside for 2021 and let others have a chance of entry.  The 5 chosen entrants from Anglia are Brandon, Chatteris, Dunstable, Gosfield and Huntingdon.  We are sure that they will bring some great entries forward, and of course HiB will be pleased to assist them if we can.
Anglia in Bloom has also decided that for the safety of all entrants and judges the 2021 campaign will be virtual.  There are 10 categories for entry, and I attach a list and terms of entry.  Please note that up to 5 photos of each entry can be submitted, and up to 3 entries in each category except the Its Your Neighbourhood category where there is no limit.  All this for a £10 entry fee!!  We must be able to put forward a strong entry from Halstead, please have your cameras primed!

 Calendars 2021 We have, once again, to thank Phil the Egg Man for his great assistance in selling when we could not.  We now have most of the money in from sales and I’m pleased to say that most of them were sold – none were recycled by us. 
We will be producing a calendar for 2022, so please send any photos of Halstead or surrounding area to me so that we have as wide a choice as possible.  Maybe think of some areas that we haven’t featured before, and ‘bright and beautiful’ will be the order of the day.
We do still have some face shields left, and I guess that we will all be need to wear some sort of face covering for weeks/months to come.  They cost £2.50 each and will be available at our plant stall or ask one of the team and we will get one to you.

Banners at entry to the Town you may have noticed that the banners on the muck spreader, near the seed drill and at Halstead Public Gardens proclaim Halstead’s successes in 2019.  While we don’t mind shouting that the Town is a Gold Award Winner we aren’t keen on out of date posters.  Team has decided, therefore, to remove those posters, but some others noting successes will be hung.

I think that’s all the current news, so stay optimistic and keep safe and well.


Please, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments don’t hesitate to contact us .          
Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070. Trustee Annie Rees.  Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email
jaygrey@btinternet.com.
Facebook: Halsteadinbl

COMMUNITY LITTER PICK

There is a Community Litter Pick planned for the last Sunday in each month. Meet at Sainsbury’s Car Park (Chapel Street) at 10.30am. We have some litter sticks and High Viz Vests but please bring your own gloves and wear suitable clothing.

Newsletter.30th December 2020

Good day to you,  the end of another month and of course coming to the end of the year.  I’ve heard it said that 2020 was ‘a year like no other’ but I feel that’s lazy talk; surely each year is unique?  As we look back to this time last year would we have believed some of the events we have experienced in 2020?  New words like lockdown, furlough, social distancing, etc. have enriched our vocabulary and new ways of communicating have come to the fore.  There have been some dark times, but some brighter moments too; and we are still here to tell the tale!

I must pass on seasons’ greetings to all from David Tarbun; he continued with his plan not to send Christmas cards and to give the money saved to charity, but he does want to wish all a happy and healthy new year.  The wishes are reciprocated, David thank you for all your support.

Our December Community Litter Pick, scheduled for 27/12, couldn’t be held for obvious reasons although some of the team did go out for daily exercise, litter sticks and bags to hand.  It is hoped that the January event – booked for Sunday 31st January – will go ahead; meet at 10.30 in Sainsbury’s car park.  If Tier 4 rules are still in place then please don’t come to meet but if you are able then there will be litter to collect I’m sure!  Your daily exercise on your own or in ‘bubble’ groups (another of ‘those’ words!) will be great and pick your own spot to clear.
The Keep Britain Tidy Group is soon to launch their appeal to help turn the tide on the plastic pollution that’s choking our planet.  The appeal can be heard on BBC Radio 4 on January 3rd – look for the Charity Appeal on Radio 4 website or published programme details.

Another charity appeal is Freemarket Radicals looking to promote new cultural and heritage activities to support Halstead’s economy.  They say that markets and fairs used to bring people to local areas and visitors would then spend money in local shops and hospitality venues and they want to explore the possibilities of bringing this back.  The project is supported by the National Lottery Emerging Futures Fund and feedback from residents is requested to gauge what can be done, and what is required/needed.  There is information at www.freemarketradicals.com and a survey form at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/freemarketradicals1

You will have seen in the local press that there is a move by Braintree DC with Halstead TC to make some improvements in our High Street.  It is reported that lighting will be improved and street furniture renewed.  HiB will be asking if any new plant containers can be of the water retaining type to help with maintenance.  The containers favoured by HiB are made from recycled plastic and have been found to be robust and long lasting.  It will be great if any new benches can be replaced with those made of recycled materials, we will put forward our suggestions to the consulting team if requested.

Halstead TC has made progress with the Riverside footbridge but work has been hampered by a lack of building materials and latterly by the high water levels.  Hopefully matters will be resolved and the Bridge can be opened soon to enable good trade for local businesses when the current restrictions (another of those phrases!!) are lifted.

On the subject of the river: with the recent heavy rains it has been reassuring to see that the flood defence at Box Mill worked and kept Halstead from disastrous floods.  The high water level and current restrictions has meant that not much can be done by volunteers to keep the channel clean, but it is obvious that there will be some debris to clear when waters subside.  Environment Agency made it known that some money has been set aside for planting on the stretch of river between Town Bridge and The Mill in the Spring and discussions are taking place between the Halstead River Improvement Group (HRIG) Environment Agency, Essex Wildlife Trust and HiB as to what might be suitable.  It is hoped that some grants may be available to carry out further sympathetic tree trimming work while maintaining shade for aquatic life – of the horse chestnut trees alongside Weavers’ Court in particular – and any ideas you may have on how to ‘disguise’ the sewer pipe would be welcomed.  Planting to soften the hard concrete/metal banks would be desirable, all plants used will be native to the area to help with conservation and give habitats for wildlife.   Further information on plans for the above will be posted on HRIG Facebook page.


The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is promoting a scheme ‘Roots of Remembrance’ urging us to plant a tree in memory of those lost to the current pandemic.  Free trees are available from the Woodland Trust – applications must be made by 5th January – and the RHS ask that they are mentioned in any application so that a map of remembrance trees can be made and published.  Details can be seen on the RHS website – www.rhs.org.uk/remembrance.
As I said last month there will be no Britain in Bloom campaign this year, but the RHS will be launching a campaign with applications invited from the regional In Bloom teams (Anglia in Bloom in our case) for five entries from each region.  There will be no physical judging; it will be on photos, text, video, etc. and in specific areas.  The scheme is called Community Champions and I think that details are still yet to be refined.  We don’t know, as yet, if Halstead will be put forward by Anglia in Bloom and we don’t know full details of the campaign – watch this space!

Anglia in Bloom hasn’t yet declared any parameters for the 2021 campaign, but I guess that there won’t be any physical judging – or at best there will only be limited contact by judges.  This will mean that there will be another ‘virtual campaign’ but I don’t have any details at the moment.  If you have any suggestions I can put forward, please do let me know.

It is very difficult at the moment to make any plans – personal or for the HiB group – but I can say that the summer bedding plants have been ordered, and it looks now as if there will be no trade barriers to us receiving them.  I think there may be some more paperwork to contend with and we will assist in any way that we can with this.  We hope to collect the plants from growers at the end of May ready for planting on 30th/ 31st May and onwards. 
You may have noticed that one of the troughs on Town Bridge is missing at the moment – last weekend someone obviously decided that it would look better in the river.  Fortunately it fell on the only piece of riverbank still visible above the water and it has been rescued and will be replaced as soon as the brackets have been straightened out and repaired.  The plants, too, were rescued and are a bit bruised but seem to be recovering; they will be replanted.

We do still have a few calendars 2021 for sale at £4 each.  They comprise 13 months so are relevant until 2022!  We also still have about 20 face shields in stock.  If you require any of these items please speak to one of the team or use the contacts below.

I think that’s all the news for now.  The HiB trustees wish you a happy, peaceful and above all a healthy New Year.    The team and HALSTEAD will be Blooming in 2021!!


Please, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments don’t hesitate to contact us – details below.          
All the best, stay safe and keep well.alsteaH Hal

 Halstead River

Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070. Trustee Annie Rees.  Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email jaygrey@btinternet.com.


Facebook: Halsteadinbloom.  Instagram: HalsteadinBloom    Web:www.halsteadinbloom.org.alsteadhH

Newsletter 30th July

31st July  2020

Good day to you, I hope you don’t mind if I produce another HiB newsletter to try to keep everyone up to speed with our plans and events.  It’s a sobering thought that we are now two thirds of the way through (meteorological) summer and I’m sure you’ve noticed that the evenings are getting shorter.  Still, another month of summer and hopefully some good autumn weather to come.

First of all, some good news for Halstead in Bloom.  I had a call from the Secretary of Halstead Dominoes League to tell me that the League is to be disbanded.  They had some funds in hand and intended to split them among local charities and clubs and HiB was given a donation of £55.00 for which we were very grateful.  We were sorry to hear that the League is to end, but hopefully some of the members will still meet to play dominoes when regulations permit.

Now some not so good news; we had planned to hold a fund-raising Quiz on 16th October at Halstead’s Con Club.  Questions were being prepared by David Tarbun, but because of social distancing rules and the uncertainty of us being able to attract enough quizzers to make the evening viable we decided that, in order to be fair to Quizmaster and venue we would have to postpone this event to – hopefully – hold it in Spring 2021.  Watch this space.

We have pressed on with entering the Anglia in Bloom virtual campaign 2020.  We have entered all the categories open and our submissions are as follows:-
Best Local Authority Planting – Halstead Public Gardens; Best Large Container Planting – Seed Drill on Sudbury Road (newly refurbished by Bellway Homes), Best Hanging Basket – those on the Bandstand in Halstead Public Gardens, Best Community Effort – Halstead’s Hungry Caterpillar on the River Walk (painted stones that stretch for yards!), Best Woodland/Conservation Effort – Halstead River Walk, Best Wildflower Display – Mill Green, Best area of Sustainable Planting – The Road Runners’ bed near to Halstead Leisure Centre, Best use of Rose Planting – a residents’ climbing rose over front door at Sudbury Road, Best Innovative Planted Container – the Muck Spreader on Colchester Road, Best Planting on a Theme – the 60th anniversary of Hume’s Bakers bed in Halstead Public Gardens, Best Public Art, the Spitfire made by Joan Gibson at Weavers’ Court,  Best Display Using Recyclable Materials – our Virtual Allotment at the Loom Garden, near to the Hospital.  I hope you will agree that all of these entries are representative of the best that Halstead has to offer – let’s hope the Judges agree!!

As well as trawling through photos for the Anglia in Bloom submission, we have been looking at suitable pictures to include in the Halstead 2021 calendar.  It was down to the Trustees to choose this year as obviously we couldn’t meet with the team to make choices.  However, most of the team have seen the ones that were identified and with just one or two changes the copy has now been given to our graphic designer to get the pages ready for printing.  Paul Clark Print at Sible Hedingham have given us a good price for work, and have identified some slightly glossier paper that should give a good reproduction of photos.  We hope to get proofs made up ready to show to team for proof reading and then to print by end of August.  We have tentatively ordered 700 copies and have already been asked when the calendar will be ready for sale.

It was noted above that Halstead’s entry for the ‘best display using recyclable materials’ is the virtual allotment at the Loom Garden; all of the items at the display were made by the Krafty Krew of Halstead in Bloom – including the scarecrow that was fashioned by Annie.  The team decided that the scarecrow needed a name, and Nicky organised a competition for young people to ‘Name That Scarecrow’.  Over 35 entries were received, so judges had a tough time in deciding on winners!  There were 3 Age groups, and the names chosen were as follows:
Up to 5years:  1st Prize – Mr Scruffy; 2nd Prize – Ozzy; 3rd Prize – Jim Strawford.
5-9 years: 1st Prize – Sonny Sunflower; 2nd Prize – Scarecrow Sam; 3rd Prize – Patch
10-14 years: 1st Prize – Sunny McSmileyface; 2nd Prize – Scarecrow Stanley; 3rd Prize – Daisy the Scarecrow.
The Overall Winner was Sunny McSmileyface – very appropriate as I’m sure you will agree if you look at the scarecrow!!

It has been a tough decision to take, but we have decided that there will be no more Halstead in Bloom meetings for the foreseeable future.  We could not keep to social distancing rules at our usual venue, and meetings indoors will probably not be viable for the rest of this year.  We don’t usually meet in January anyway, so we will look to see what is possible at the beginning of next year.  I will try and keep everyone up to date with news via this newsletter, but do let me know if you don’t want to still receive a copy.

Working parties do still take place on a Tuesday at 2pm.  Obviously here there can be social distancing, and it will be outdoor work.  There is a possibility that some Thursday afternoon working may be needed a bit later in the summer – we will have to see what the weather throws at us.  Do contact Joan if you’d like further details about work needed – you know the saying ‘many hands make light work’ and this is certainly true when it comes to deadheading and weeding!

To end on a ‘high’ – we have managed to order plants for the winter, from our usual source Colne Valley Nurseries.  We have arranged with East Anglian Van Hire to have a tail lift van for Saturday 31st October and Peter and Claire Robertson have kindly agreed to let us use part of their garden to receive and sort plants.  Who knows what the situation will be then, but let’s hope that we can go ahead as planned.

Please, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments don’t hesitate to contact us – details below.

All the best, stay safe and keep well.

 

alsteaH Hal

Halstead River

 

Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070
Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email jaygrey@btinternet.com.
Facebook: Halsteadinbloom.  Instagram: HalsteadinBloom    WebSite:www.halsteadinbloom.org.alsteadhH

 

31st July  2020

Good day to you, I hope you don’t mind if I produce another HiB newsletter to try to keep everyone up to speed with our plans and events.  It’s a sobering thought that we are now two thirds of the way through (meteorological) summer and I’m sure you’ve noticed that the evenings are getting shorter.  Still, another month of summer and hopefully some good autumn weather to come.

First of all, some good news for Halstead in Bloom.  I had a call from the Secretary of Halstead Dominoes League to tell me that the League is to be disbanded.  They had some funds in hand and intended to split them among local charities and clubs and HiB was given a donation of £55.00 for which we were very grateful.  We were sorry to hear that the League is to end, but hopefully some of the members will still meet to play dominoes when regulations permit.

Now some not so good news; we had planned to hold a fund-raising Quiz on 16th October at Halstead’s Con Club.  Questions were being prepared by David Tarbun, but because of social distancing rules and the uncertainty of us being able to attract enough quizzers to make the evening viable we decided that, in order to be fair to Quizmaster and venue we would have to postpone this event to – hopefully – hold it in Spring 2021.  Watch this space.

We have pressed on with entering the Anglia in Bloom virtual campaign 2020.  We have entered all the categories open and our submissions are as follows:-
Best Local Authority Planting – Halstead Public Gardens; Best Large Container Planting – Seed Drill on Sudbury Road (newly refurbished by Bellway Homes), Best Hanging Basket – those on the Bandstand in Halstead Public Gardens, Best Community Effort – Halstead’s Hungry Caterpillar on the River Walk (painted stones that stretch for yards!), Best Woodland/Conservation Effort – Halstead River Walk, Best Wildflower Display – Mill Green, Best area of Sustainable Planting – The Road Runners’ bed near to Halstead Leisure Centre, Best use of Rose Planting – a residents’ climbing rose over front door at Sudbury Road, Best Innovative Planted Container – the Muck Spreader on Colchester Road, Best Planting on a Theme – the 60th anniversary of Hume’s Bakers bed in Halstead Public Gardens, Best Public Art, the Spitfire made by Joan Gibson at Weavers’ Court,  Best Display Using Recyclable Materials – our Virtual Allotment at the Loom Garden, near to the Hospital.  I hope you will agree that all of these entries are representative of the best that Halstead has to offer – let’s hope the Judges agree!!

As well as trawling through photos for the Anglia in Bloom submission, we have been looking at suitable pictures to include in the Halstead 2021 calendar.  It was down to the Trustees to choose this year as obviously we couldn’t meet with the team to make choices.  However, most of the team have seen the ones that were identified and with just one or two changes the copy has now been given to our graphic designer to get the pages ready for printing.  Paul Clark Print at Sible Hedingham have given us a good price for work, and have identified some slightly glossier paper that should give a good reproduction of photos.  We hope to get proofs made up ready to show to team for proof reading and then to print by end of August.  We have tentatively ordered 700 copies and have already been asked when the calendar will be ready for sale.

It was noted above that Halstead’s entry for the ‘best display using recyclable materials’ is the virtual allotment at the Loom Garden; all of the items at the display were made by the Krafty Krew of Halstead in Bloom – including the scarecrow that was fashioned by Annie.  The team decided that the scarecrow needed a name, and Nicky organised a competition for young people to ‘Name That Scarecrow’.  Over 35 entries were received, so judges had a tough time in deciding on winners!  There were 3 Age groups, and the names chosen were as follows:
Up to 5years:  1st Prize – Mr Scruffy; 2nd Prize – Ozzy; 3rd Prize – Jim Strawford.
5-9 years: 1st Prize – Sonny Sunflower; 2nd Prize – Scarecrow Sam; 3rd Prize – Patch
10-14 years: 1st Prize – Sunny McSmileyface; 2nd Prize – Scarecrow Stanley; 3rd Prize – Daisy the Scarecrow.
The Overall Winner was Sunny McSmileyface – very appropriate as I’m sure you will agree if you look at the scarecrow!!

It has been a tough decision to take, but we have decided that there will be no more Halstead in Bloom meetings for the foreseeable future.  We could not keep to social distancing rules at our usual venue, and meetings indoors will probably not be viable for the rest of this year.  We don’t usually meet in January anyway, so we will look to see what is possible at the beginning of next year.  I will try and keep everyone up to date with news via this newsletter, but do let me know if you don’t want to still receive a copy.

Working parties do still take place on a Tuesday at 2pm.  Obviously here there can be social distancing, and it will be outdoor work.  There is a possibility that some Thursday afternoon working may be needed a bit later in the summer – we will have to see what the weather throws at us.  Do contact Joan if you’d like further details about work needed – you know the saying ‘many hands make light work’ and this is certainly true when it comes to deadheading and weeding!

To end on a ‘high’ – we have managed to order plants for the winter, from our usual source Colne Valley Nurseries.  We have arranged with East Anglian Van Hire to have a tail lift van for Saturday 31st October and Peter and Claire Robertson have kindly agreed to let us use part of their garden to receive and sort plants.  Who knows what the situation will be then, but let’s hope that we can go ahead as planned.

Please, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments don’t hesitate to contact us – details below.

All the best, stay safe and keep well.

 

alsteaH Hal

Halstead River

 

Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070
Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email jaygrey@btinternet.com.
Facebook: Halsteadinbloom.  Instagram: HalsteadinBloom    WebSite:www.halsteadinbloom.org.alsteadhH

 

 

June Newsletter

26th June 2020

Another month,  I guess if someone had said at the beginning of March that we would still be in this situation at the end of June we would have questioned that fact.  However, we are here, and likely to be in this new way of living for some time to come and we will continue to make the best of it.

All of our summer planting for this year is now done and is brightening the town and lifting spirits.  Many residents have commented that it’s good to see a touch of ‘normality’ and all of those volunteers who have worked so hard under such difficult circumstances are to be praised and thanked.  We have been very careful to keep to the rules and stay socially distanced – and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Plants have been difficult to come by this year – and have been expensive – so some of our Krafty volunteers have set to and made a very different display at the Loom garden in Hedingham Road, near to the hospital.  Have you seen it?  It’s a sight to behold!  All of the flowers and ‘produce’ are made from recyclable materials – including the scarecrow. It is just amazing what can be done with a plastic bottle and some glue and paint.  Please go and have a look and I’m sure you will agree that this garden is a great credit to the team.  If you think that the scarecrow looks a bit sad it is because he doesn’t have a name.  Poor thing doesn’t like being called ‘it’ or ‘that thing’ so he/she really needs a proper identity.  Nicky has arranged a competition for children up to age 11 to ‘name that scarecrow’.  There will be prizes in various age groups; competition runs to 22nd July so don’t leave it too late to enter, see our Facebook page or posters for information.  There may be some other competitions coming up too – perhaps something for adults as well as young people – about using recyclable materials to make an item to show.   Make the most of the summer weather to get out and enjoy all that Halstead has to offer.

The spitfire installation is still at Weavers’ Court and will be left to celebrate VJ day later in the summer.  Joan’s handiwork is still a sight to behold so if you haven’t seen it do go and have a look.  It’s just a shame that the environment of Weavers’ Court and the Mill is getting more and more unloved and dilapidated – not a great credit to the Town.

And it’s great that we are celebrating our long established bakery business – Hume’s of Halstead – with a bed in Halstead Public Gardens.  Joan and Chris have made a ‘birthday cake’ to celebrate Hume’s 60 years of trading!  Well done Joan and Chris, and what an achievement for Hume’s;  local people running local businesses is surely the way forward.  Anne and Dennis Hume have helped Halstead in Bloom for many, many years and it’s fitting that they should now have a sponsor sign.  It’s affixed to the new ‘big flowerpot’ at Sainsbury’s – you will see it if you have to queue to enter.  We thank all the Hume’s team for their continued support.

It is good news that the cafe near Solar that has been untenanted for so long is soon to re-open under new management.  It will be called the Corner Cafe and Steve, the new Manager is keen to support Halstead in Bloom.  Very many visitors ask about the former Riverside/Blacksmith’s Cafe so I’m sure that this new venue will be appreciated.

Another piece of good news to pass on is that Oliver, who manages our Facebook page, has just graduated from Cranfield  and is now an Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA).  How proud are we!!  Very well done Oliver, Congratulations from us all.

We are looking forward to 2021, and we will be producing a Halstead calendar again.  We thought that it should be bright and colourful, so will depict the beautiful flower displays and the wonderful wild flower areas in and around the Town.  If you have any suitable photos please do send them to me as soon as possible.  I’ve had quotes from a local printer for production, and we hope to get the calendar to print by mid-August.  I’d particularly like photos of rainbows over Halstead, so cameras at the ready for the sunshine and shower forecasts.

We are also hoping to plant our usual winter displays for winter and spring delight. East Anglian Van Hire have offered us use of a tail-lift vehicle to collect plants from Colne Valley nurseries at end of October so let’s hope that there isn’t a second uncontrollable spike of this virus infection and that we can go ahead as normal.

We are hoping that we may be able to offer some plants for sale when we are selling calendars, so if you are lifting and dividing planting in your garden this autumn and would be willing to donate please think of potting some up for us to sell and do let us know.

We have applied to be a charity partner with the national Co-op (the one in Colchester Road).  We won’t know if we have been successful until a bit later, but we are very grateful for the support we have had from them in the past.

The team is keen to have a meeting to catch up with all news so we have planned for an open air team meeting on Thursday 9th July, 7.30pm at Weavers’ Court (if the weather is not conducive to an open air meeting we will cancel and make another date).  You must bring your own chair, or be prepared to sit on the grass, and you will need to keep 2metres from anyone sitting alongside you.  If there is a ‘second row’ you will need to be at least 1M from the person in front.  There won’t be any refreshments so please bring your own drink if you need to.  We will keep the meeting as short as possible, so if you have anything that you think needs to be reported please pass it to me in writing at the start of the meeting and I will process.  We need to discuss Halstead’s entries for the Anglia in Bloom competition, and arrange for any photos that we will need to submit.  We already have the Spitfire as our ‘display on a theme’ entry, and Mill Green as our wild flower submission.   BDC have given us permission to enter the Public Gardens as ‘best local authority’ planting – we will need some colourful photos.  We need to have an entry for hanging baskets, so if you know of a particularly beautiful basket please ask the gardener if that could represent the gardeners of Halstead.  The Loom garden will be our ‘display using recyclable material’ but there are other categories that I’m sure we can enter – ‘best innovative planted container’? ‘Best area of sustainable planting?  If you’d like the full list of categories, please let me know.

Well, hopefully I will soon be able to produce some ‘minutes of a meeting’, but I guess that’s a case of ‘watch this space.

 

Thank you for all your interest and help to make Halstead bloom.  In the midst of all this awful situation the community spirit of Halstead shines through.  We do care for each other and for the Town. Keep smiling!!   All the best, stay safe and stay well.
Photos to: jaygrey@btinternet.com or to our Facebook page: halsteadinbloom.
Chairman: Margaret Eskins- 01787 269443. Plants/Planting: Joan Gibson 01787 473070
Secretary: Julia Smith 01787 461806/email jaygrey@btinternet.com.alsteadhH

 

 

 

News Letter

                     1st May 2020

Today I should have been writing up minutes for last night’s Halstead in Bloom April meeting – but obviously the meeting didn’t happen.  As I am getting withdrawal symptoms for writing minutes I thought I’d send you an update of news from the last month.

First of all – sponsorship.  Our sponsor year runs from 1st June, so in March/April each current sponsor is written to and asked if they wish to continue for another year.  ;Those letters were sent out just as the lockdown began, so the future is very uncertain for many of our local businesses.  I have to say, however, that some have already come back to us to say that they appreciate what we are trying to do, and will want to continue with their support.  Dale Hairdresser’s, T & N Developments, Halstead Townswomen’s Guild, Halstead Flower Club, Halstead Royal British Legion Club and Dr David Hessayon all pledged to sponsor for 20/21 and Dr. Hessayon also gave us a donation.  Keith Thorogood of Halstead Road Runners was due to run the London Marathon for HiB this year and we had paid his entry fee.  Keith won’t be able to take part in the rescheduled 2020 marathon but has given us back the sponsor money paid plus ‘a bit more’ and we are very grateful for this effort.  We will continue to display all sponsor signs including a new sign for Hume’s Bakers – who are celebrating 60 years of serving Halstead and District in 2020.

We also appreciate our ‘sponsors in kind’ and this year Peter Robertson, has offered to deliver any plants that we are able to put in.  We are also grateful to Bellway Homes for fully restoring the seed drill that has stood for many years at Sudbury Road and was in a sorry state.  We will be planting up this feature and will add a sponsor sign for Bellway Homes.

More good news – we have received a first payment from the Co-op Society for charity dividend donations. This amounted to £447.25 and was paid on 9th April.

We have had some expenditure this year on renewal of containers; in the light of last summer’s hot, dry weeks we are trying to change all main containers into the water retaining type.  We have 2 new containers for outside the bookie’s near to Town Bridge, 1 ‘big flower pot’ type container to replace the small trough at Sainsbury’s, 4 large barrels to replace the tired containers planted by Brownies in the Churchyard,  2 half barrels to replace the old troughs planted by Rainbows outside the Church Hall. 5 new Cup and Saucer hanging baskets for the Resource Centre and 2 black Cup and Saucer hanging baskets will replace the two stolen at the end of the summer 2019.  We will also be replacing the broken trough at the Butler Road sign and the one at Ronald Road.  We have a new trough to replace the rusting metal trough on the wall at Dale Hire.  Jason has advised us that there are two troughs on the railings in High Street that have split (been hit by a vehicle, probably) so those have had to be replaced – they were originally purchased by Halstead Town Council but HiB will replace them.  You may have noticed that the tubs sponsored by Dr. Hessayon outside the Day Centre have been removed; they were of the fibreglass over wood material and were installed by Halstead Town Council.  It was agreed with the Groundsmen, Town Clerk and Halstead in Bloom that they should be replaced as soon as possible, and therefore HiB has purchased new barrel type containers for this location.  The dated containers near to the litter bin outside The Bull will be replaced.    We still want to renew the containers in Butler Road Car Park, but the factory from which these will be purchased are still on lockdown.
Graham has refurbished the cart from Bluebridge; this will be installed and Annie will repaint.

It will soon be time to remove the winter bedding; this will be done by individuals working as part of their daily permitted exercise.  Plants will be offered free of charge to anyone who cares to take them as is our normal custom.  We won’t expect any payment, but of course we are always grateful for donations – if you would like to have some of the plants please speak to one of the HiB team, or let me know and we can arrange for some to be left for you.  We do intend to plant up for the summer.  We won’t have our usual supply as those plants come from Holland and they were not imported.  Plants will come from Bourne Brook Nurseries, Greenstead Green and Clive Baker has offered to deliver them to us, probably in small batches so there will be no sorting necessary.  Planting will be done by individuals or couples and we will adhere to strict social distancing rules.  There will be no hanging baskets in the town this year, although there may be a few in locations not on the main street.  Watering and maintenance will be done by individuals as best as can be achieved. I am afraid that the usual weeding/cutting back, etc. won’t be done this year, although Jason and Tim have been spraying in some areas and we are grateful for their help.

Joan has transmogrified the plane into a Spitfire, and this will be installed at Weavers’ Court together will some artwork of a tank and a destroyer to celebrate 75 years anniversary of VE Day, 8th May.  Please go and have a look if you can pass this way as part of your daily walk.

We had planned a plant stall – and have been growing on plants to sell – for Saturday 16th May.  At this time we are waiting to see if there will be any lifting in restrictions that will allow us to have this stall, planned for 16th May but possibly may take place a week later if permitted.  The stall will be on Market Hill – so in the open air – and again we will be very careful to abide by all rules on social distancing, etc.

Our usual Local Garden Competition had to be cancelled, but we are asking for photos of gardens that we may be able to include in our 2021 calendar.  We’ve had one front garden already submitted, and please feel free to pass on the request for photos to anyone you know who will have a garden they’d like to share with us all.  We would be pleased to have any photos for the calendar of the Halstead area.

Anglia in Bloom judging and RHS Britain in Bloom campaign were cancelled for 2020, but Anglia in Bloom is holding a ‘virtual’ campaign asking for photos to be submitted in various categories.  Halstead does intend to enter some photos in some categories – we can’t let a year go by with no certificates and trophies!! Please see the Anglia in Bloom website for details, and let us know if you or anyone you know has something we can enter in Halstead’s name.

The RHS has cancelled all flower shows for 2020, but they are putting virtual tours on their web site so that we can feast our eyes on new plants and varieties that we will be able to purchase next year.

Well, I hope that you’ve found this news update of interest. Please feel free to send it on to anyone you think may be interested.  Please stay safe and stay well – keep calm and stay blooming!!      Julia
ContactsMargaret Eskins Chairman.  01787 269443;  Julia Smith, Secretary. 0776 2587141 / 01787461806. e-mail jaygrey@btinternet.com; Joan Gibson, plants and planting. 01787 473070

www.halsteadinbloom.org.uk        Facebook: halsteadinbloom.    giveasyoulive.com/join/halstead-in-bloom
join membership of National Co-op (Colchester Road)   and note HiB as your preferred charity to donate via Co-op purchases.

www.angliainbloom.co.uk

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