Dark Winter by David Mark

Christmas is approaching in the middle of a bleak, depressing winter in Hull. Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy, not long moved there from his native Scotland is looking after his young son one afternoon when he hears screams coming from the town's cathedral. He races to the church doors only to be bowled over by a balaclava wearing assassin wielding a machete. Aector, though a large man himself, is knocked down and the assassin escapes, leaving behind in the cathedral the body of a young girl who has been savagely hacked to death. All that McAvoy can remember is that the assassin has tears in his blue eyes. In a bizarre twist of fate, the victim was the sole survivor of an attack in her native Sierra Leone in which every other member of her family was killed in a similar fashion. It falls to McAvoy to investigate a serial killer who begins to murder a number of unlikely victims – all of them linked only by the fact that they are all sole survivors of different tragic events from their pasts. These include the only man saved from the wreck of a sinking trawler, a girl who miraculously escaped a massacre in Sierra Leone, and a man who survived a domestic house fire that killed his wife and children The motive for the killings is twisted and complex, it rests on the idea that miracles are finite. For every person that miraculously escapes from what seems like an unavoidable, violent death, there will be someone else who doesn’t and killing those who escaped leaves a miracle for someone else.

We all quite enjoyed this book and gave it 7 out of 10. It was quite refreshing to have a book set in Hull and moving over to Grimsby at times, both of which are familiar to some of us, rather than a big city.

Quite a select, small group this time with holidays getting in the way but that didn’t stop us enjoying a very pleasant evening.

Sue Hewson Skellingthorpe Reading Group

Chapel Chat -

The summer-long quest to find Skellingthorpe’s favourite hymn is over; the votes have been counted and the winner can be announced! One hundred and sixty-six people were kind enough to take part, nominating between them fifty-seven different hymns! Some quite interesting facts emerged during the voting process, however. Despite the fact that Charles Wesley composed thousands of hymns in his life time, not one of them made it into Skellingthorpe’s Top Ten. (And Skellingthorpe’s Top Ten actually contains eleven hymns!) Twenty-nine hymns received only one vote each. Nine of the Top Ten hymns were written by people who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries, with only two being composed by people who are still living. Nine hymns were composed by men and two by women. Two composers had the same first name of Cecil, although one was male and one was female. Skellingthorpe’s winning favourite hymn ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ was written by a woman!

The most popular hymns are as follows:

1. All Things Bright and Beautiful
2. Jerusalem
3. How Great Thou Art
4. Jointly: Abide With Me
               Morning Has Broken
6. Shine Jesus Shine
7. Amazing Grace
8. The Lord’s My Shepherd
9. Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven
10. Jointly: Oh Jesus, I Have Promised
                 I Vow to Thee My Country
The most popular hymns will be sung at services during November, with ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ being sung at the Methodist church’s 125th anniversary service on Sunday, 24th November. This service will be taken by the Chairman of the Methodist District, Rev. Bruce Thompson and all residents are invited to come along to sing and celebrate with us.

Before that event though, there is the Harvest Festival which will be an All Age Worship at 4 pm on Sunday, 6th October. It will be a cafe-style service and will include home made cakes, a short video and some crafty seed sowing! Donations of tins and packets of dried foods will be accepted for the Lincoln food-banks and may be brought to the Harvest Festival or dropped off during the Coffee Morning the day before.

The Craft 4 Charity group will celebrate the start of its tenth year of meetings on Tuesday, 15th October. The group is again planning to support the Link to Hope appeal by filling shoeboxes with every day essentials to be sent to elderly residents in Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria. New friends are always welcome at the meetings, which take place on the third Tuesday of each month from 2.15-3.45 pm (ish!). Wool, knitting needles, patterns and lots of chat and laughter await!

And finally, two members of Skellingthorpe Methodist Church were overheard discussing their nominations for the village’s favourite hymn. The first member declared Charles Wesley’s ‘And Can It Be’ to be her favourite. She thought there was something really powerful and stirring about singing the words ‘My chains fell off, My heart was free, I rose went forth and followed thee,’ with gusto. ‘Yes’, agreed the second, much younger, member, ‘but the words take on a different meaning when your bicycle chain keeps falling off as you pedal uphill on a Christian cycling holiday!’

District Councillor Johnston's CHAT REPORT - August 2019 -

Little or no Council activity during August holiday period

Digital Hub – continues each Thursday from 10.00-11.30am at the Youth Hall. Hayley Kent Simpson our NKDC Information Manager, visited a recent U3A Meeting to promote the hub. The activity relies upon Volunteer help. Unfortunately despite being free; there has been no take up of places. More information at:- www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/residents/living-in-your-area/community-digital-hubs

Western Growth Corridor. (WGC) 2019/0294/RG3: No new developments Skellingthorpe Surgery Closure. No further developments other than a reduction in Surgery Service provision over the recent week; this I am informed was due to absence and another Doctor becoming a Locum. Reliance upon the Glebe Facebook page may not get to those in most need of the information! I have actively pursued a complaint from a resident with regard to time delays and problems at the Saxilby Surgery & Pharmacy. There are perhaps more concerns in the village, about the Surgery closure proposal than have been represented in the attendance at the consults. Please let me know if you are experiencing difficulties.

Grass Verge complaints - After some research, I am not surprised as to the confusion. 4 different authorities, including Highways, LCC, NKDC and the Parish Council are all involved in this service. With the inherent costs of multiple visits and various contractors hired for the service. I am sure my colleague Chris Goldson will be able to enlighten me further on the history of the situation. I hope to see anything can be done? It will mean cooperation between all the parties to deliver a sensible outcome.

Trials on an additional- Purple Waste Bin. A small limited trial is being undertaken, not on our patch, to look at ‘clean paper & cardboard’ disposal . Currently the existing green lid bin contains ‘contaminated cardboard & paper and cannot be processed entirely successfully.

Boundary Commission - the Boundary Commission is taking a look at the Councillor & Ward Distribution across NKDC Wards, this to establish if the current 43 Councillors and their Wards, require redistribution and amendment. All Councillors have completed feedback questionnaires detailing their activities and recommendations.

Useful links: Please keep reporting these.

Reporting Odours Nuisance & Air Quality-NKDC = http://bit.ly/2HiCXwO

Pot holes - Fix my Street = http://bit.ly/2Zoikp3 LCC= http://bit.ly/2KOgrxV

For further information and assistance - please contact

Cllr Richard Johnston Mob.no. 07847 235 285 Email: Cllr_Richard_Johnston@n-kesteven.gov.uk

Skellingthorpe People

Lots of the Chat readers by now will be familiar with this month’s interviewee, not to mention the congregation at St. Lawrence’s church and his appearance on the back page of June’s copy. He is of course the Rev. Sam Durant, the shiny new Rector of our parish church.

I first met him and his wife Sarah in the garden of the rectory playing with their three boys, Jonathan 7, Paul 5 and Andrew 1 who was driving his tractor around practicing for his future work as a farmer!

We chatted about this and that in his ample sized book lined cosy study. I opened by confirming his name and noted that it may have French connections. He confirmed it came from the Huguenots (persecuted Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries).

Sam was born in Morden, Surrey where his father was the vicar. He told me that as a younger child he had thought about being an author, Rally Driver or a Missionary but his strong faith drew him to follow his father into the Ministry. Sam is one of seven children, four boys. One amusing anecdote was in answer to another question, which was his favourite colour, green he replied, being one of four boys with lots of clothing, his mother had coloured labels sewn inside each garment and his was green, colour coded children!

Like lots of us, Sam had early work experience whilst still at school. He had been a Pub waiter, working on the tills at Sainsbury’s and best of all for me, was a book packer working for a publisher, the pay was that he could take a couple of books home per day of his choice!

We spoke in depth about his Christian faith, which he recognised as a calling that couldn’t be denied. His first object in life is to tell anyone he meets that Jesus Christ died for them and believing in Him would change their lives forever. This would be brought about by the saving Grace of Jesus and following the compelling truth of His teaching.

I asked Sam which one of his heroes from the past he would like to have a conversation with. He immediately replied, Eric Liddell, the inspiration for the film ‘Chariots of Fire’. Eric was of course an athlete and a committed Christian which sustained him. I can see why he chose that man, I can see the parallels. Sam is a player of sports rather than a watcher. He played Rugby both for school in Kent and later for a separate team in Ruislip. He currently plays 8 aside football in North Hykeham- wonder if he goes there on his bike, he likes that too!

The family enjoy holidays in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales, where his parents have a cottage.

Sam’s last church was at St. Peter’s in Eastgate Lincoln from 2015. He was a Curate there, where as the title implies, an assistant to the Vicar. He took on work with youngsters in Holiday Clubs. His first memorable Sermon was at an evening service in Birmingham. It was taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews chapter 12 “let us fix our eyes upon Jesus”

Well, as usual my word count has overrun yet again and I’ve surpassed my allocation, so on that I must end, not before saying that Sam is a very nice guy with or without his Bible, Skellingthorpe welcomes you.

Thank you for your time Sam,

Peter Bell


On August 27th I had a phone call from David telling me the Combine Harvester is in the shed, it's work for this year now complete. To make the news even better, the machine that makes round bales of straw has now finished its work for the 2019 harvest.

Harvesting started early and the wheat and barley at Woodbank and Lincoln Road Farm was cut in excellent weather. As soon as the combine went to Fen Farm, it rained and everytime grain became dry, it started raining again. Finally, a spell of extremely hot weather arrived and the job has been completed. With a long spell of showery weather in the middle it has seemed a bit like two separate harvests.

Now I can say to the noises in the sky, let it come, we can do with a drop of water. The exact yield I do not know but, I think it will be above average.

It is raining again.


The Technology Hub -

Don’t despair – There is hope!

If you’re looking for some help or support with a tablet, laptop or smartphone then look no further! You can get some help and support with technology and get online here in Skellingthorpe for FREE by popping into the Digital Hub at the Youth Centre every Thursday between 10am – 11:30am.

Across the District there are places and people to help not only get you on line but to guide you once you’re there! Heckington, Osbournby and Ruskington already have their own FREE digital hub groups and now Skellingthorpe have now joined the list! There is no charge for the sessions and as it is run on a ‘drop-in’ basis people are able to learn at their own pace.

The hub will be run by volunteers who have varying levels and areas of expertise; some can use laptops/desktops, some prefer iPads and tablets or even smartphones. There are many reasons why residents attend weekly existing hubs including learning how to use social media, keeping safe online, access North Kesteven Council services, apply for a job or are just looking to refresh themselves having not used a device for some years.

We are always looking for more volunteers too; you don’t need to be a techie or ‘expert’ – just being able to explain how to send an email, search the internet or shop online would be helpful as that is what many people want to learn. Whether you can come for two hours each week, maybe just an hour a week in term-time or once a month – whatever – all help is appreciated.

Supported by North Kesteven District Council, you can call 07816 294739 or come along on Thursdays between 10am – 11:30am where you’ll be most welcome.


If you have a disability that may not be immediately obvious but you would appreciate support from staff in airports or supermarkets, then you may be interested to know there is a lanyard you can wear to signal this.  The lanyard, which is entirely voluntary for people with hidden disabilities and their families, acts as a discreet sign for staff that additional support or help may be required.

The lanyard is sometimes known as the “sunflower lanyard” because of its appearance – a strip of green with a pattern of sunflowers. Once you get one, it is yours to keep and use for future travels or shopping trips where the scheme is recognised. You can pick up a Sunflower Lanyard at railway stations, major airports and supermarkets such as Tesco's. There is no charge.

Have you a Vulnerable Beneficiary? -

It may happen that one or more of the beneficiaries of your Will can be classed as Vulnerable. This is usually someone who is registered as disabled(or would be if an adult) or is a minor who has lost their parents.

It could be a person who has lost the ability to manage their own affairs.

If you wish to provide for them in some way or other after your death then a Vulnerable Beneficiary Trust Will can provide a protective shelter for your property and assets for this purpose.

Such a Trust in your Will can give someone an emergency fund for when they need a little extra. It can protect the inheritance of the vulnerable person so that others do not take it from them. It creates a pot of assets that your chosen Trustees can use to support the vulnerable person,to ensure they have a good quality of life,and to provide luxuries that they may not receive otherwise.

Assets placed in such a Trust are not means tested for state benefits and also if your principal private residence is held in trust for the benefit of one of your descendants the new Residence Nil Rate Band can still be elected for inheritance tax purposes.

It is advisable to appoint up to four Trustees to be responsible to manage the trust's assets after your death and for making decisions regarding the needs of the vulnerable person.

You can see the many advantages of introducing this form of Trust into your will  

David Dexter LincolnWills

Lincolnshire Family History Society - Lincoln Branch -

Lincoln Branch will have it’s October meeting on Saturday12th at Bracebridge Heath Village Hall, Red Hall Lane, Bracebridge Heath , LN42LB from 1.45-4.00PM. All are welcome to come and join like minded folk who enjoy, family, local and social history. We will welcome our new Society President Pat Pomeroy to present “The Bramley Apple” and her family’s connections to this most famous of apples! Our bookstalls, refreshments and raffle will also be available along with ample parking. For more details contact

Tracey 07941245322

35 Years of Local Village Pantomime! -

This year we are celebrating our 35th performance at Welton Pantomime Group since the group was formed in 1984. The group was an off shoot of the Welton Amateur Dramatics Society (WADS) which was formed in the 1940’s and ran until taking a five year break from 1977-1982. Once the group was restarted by Judy Hall, Pam Gozzard and Kath Keyte along with a group of new members, it was decided that WADS would like to put on a pantomime. The first pantomime took place in 1984 and from this point on a separate group, which became ‘Welton Pantomime Group’ was then formed. The very first pantomime in the village was a performance of Cinderella which raised £170 for the NSPCC. As the years went on, the pantomime became the main focus raising money for local charities and causes each year.

Over the years we have covered all the major pantomimes such as: Peter Pan, Aladdin, Babes in the Wood, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White, Dick Whittington and Puss in boots. Undoubtedly, everyone has their favourites but it’s clear that the Christmas pantomime has become a firm favourite within the village with many returning each year for some festive, family fun.

Many panto members have come and gone but the panto lives on and each year lots of hard work goes into planning, rehearsals, costuming and events to fundraise. Without the many people and members who volunteer their time, the pantomime wouldn’t be able to continue.

During the 35-year period we have raised over £27,000 however we are hoping to reach the milestone of £30,000 after this year’s performance. All the money raised has been donated to local groups and charities such as Umbrellas Lincoln, Special Care Baby Unit, Lives, St Andrew’s Hospice, Kid’s STRUT and Welton Patients and Doctors Association to name but a few! All of this has been possible due to the fantastic support we receive from locals by attending the pantomime each year and the generosity of local businesses in donating prizes for raffles, costumes etc. Our 2018 charity was Umbrellas Lincoln which received a donation of £2000. This year our chosen group is Welton Scouts and Guides and FISH (Food In School Holidays- Dunholme) which will benefit children from the local area.

Please join us on 29th and 30th November for this year’s performances. Its great family fun and raising money for good causes. For more information contact weltonpanto@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook! Tickets on sale from 1st October.

"Blowing Again at 80!" -

I used to play in a band before I went in the RAF when I was 20, then never  played a note again until my wife suggested I join the Witham Valley Community Band last year.

I felt a bit awkward walking into the room without and instrument and not even sure if I could play a note if I had the chance.

What a nice surprise, friendly people, some had never played before, some like me played years ago, and some were (and still are) willing to teach us. An instrument was lent to me, and with a with a loads of bum notes I had a go.

A year later I now have my own baritone and with some easy music I can play tunes that are recognisable. (Not correct yet but passable!)  It's good fun on Thursdays and I am glad I took my wife's advice and joined the band. (I think she wanted a quiet evening with a bit of peace to do her own thing!)

It only costs me £2 a week, we are all ages and abilities playing together (I'm now 80) and we are making quite a good sound. So why not come along and give it a try on Thursday nights 6-8pm in the Youth Hall Skellingthorpe.  2nd Thursday in the month at Stone Arms as youth hall is not available.

Alan Rust member of the Witham Valley Community Band.

Planning Applications and NKDC Decisions -

The following Planning Applications Decisions by North Kesteven District Council:

19/0011/Ful - 2 Lower Church Road Approved

19/0780/Ful - Lincoln Road Farm Approved

19/0925/Hous - 10 Magpie Close Approved

19/0656/Hous - 6 Nurses lane Approved

The following Planning Application was placed with Lincolnshire County Council:

18/0709/CCC - Jerusalem Farm Rendering Plant Refused


When I'm on a ship far out at sea
There's no other place I'd rather be
Watching the water slip gently by
It's changing colour reflecting the sky
Bright emerald green and dark navy blue
Turquoise and slate grey flows beneath you
Sometimes smooth like a mill pond of glass
Then swells of angry white horses rush past
The waves rise and fall with thunderous might
Whilst you gaze for hours with nothing in sight

Then suddenly you see a whale's water spout
Or a pod of Dolphins driving in and out
With that happy looking grin on their face
They swim abreast of the shop as though in a race
If they could talk I am sure they would say
You are welcome humans to join us in our play
Come share our seas we have oceans to spare
But please we don't want your rubbish left here
Plastic bags, empty bottles oil and grease
Dispose of on land and leave our world in peace
Don't dump there here to harm creatures like we
Who live simply to swim, play and be free.


How lucky I was to be able to sit reading the splendid poem “Trees” (in the August Issue) cooled by a breeze under a tree on one of the hottest days of the year.

It reminded me that, since we moved to the village in the 1960s new building plots have become smaller. Increasingly, front gardens are used for family car parking, thus, tree and shrub planting has reduced considerably.

At garden centres, information is limited to small cards and finding a knowledgable assistant is unusual.

Would it be possible for our councillors to request their informed staff at council offices to produce a pamphlet showing details and drawings of a few trees and shrubs suitable for the street scene? These could include height and span in relation to we humans.

I know that many “Acers,” for instance, are relatively small and have lovely, delicate foliage.

This year, “Buddleia” shrubs have been visited by clouds of butterflies including the “Painted Ladies” originating in North Africa.

It would be good to know the whereabouts of any tree and shrub specialists in our area in order to make a considered choice.

John Atkin

EDITORS COMMENT – I would be pleased to publish such information as part of a future CHAT issue.