When Her Majesty the Queen broadcast to the nation in April, she said ‘We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again’. April seemed such a distant memory when members of Skellingthorpe Methodist Church were finally able to meet and worship together again half a year later on 1st November.

However, it was a very different service to the last one in March. We queued one at a time to enter the premises, we wore masks, we sanitised our hands, we booked in via the NHS app if we could, we sat one to a pew in a space carefully measured to be 2 metres from the next person in any direction. The information we required for the service, led by Rev Margaret Doughty, was on a typed sheet which we were requested to take home with us. Music was played, but singing was not allowed, and there was a strict limit on numbers attending the service. After a shorter service than normal we filed out one at a time via the back door and then round the building to the front gate. We were asked not to linger, but it was wonderful to see everyone in person, rather than on Zoom, or during socially distanced street chats and to note that we all looked and sounded just the same.

As you know, the enforced closure time was put to good use and the kitchen was totally refurbished. Closure also provided an opportunity to have a good turn out and consequently an awful of ‘stuff’ was re-directed to charity shops or the bin and thence to the tip. Marie Kondo, the organising expert, would have been impressed when it was decided to dispose of all the pew seat covers and cushions which generations of posteriors have sat upon! The church and entire premises were then given a thorough clean ready for re-opening.

And then, another lockdown was announced, so at the time of typing Chapel Chat no one is sure what the plan is for the rest of the year or even longer. However, you may be sure that Skellingthorpe Methodist Church will be up and running as soon as it is possible to do so and in the meantime we wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year.


Who would have thought this time last year, when we were all looking forward to the festive season and the hope and anticipation that a new year brings, we were about to face a global pandemic which would devastate so many lives and cause so much heartbreak and change, possibly forever, the way in which we live. This then is and was 2020.

And so we face this festive season with understandable anxiety and the prospect that we may not be able to have our loved ones around us as normal. However, our own family strength will remain as steadfast as ever, whether we are able to have the physical presence of having our family around us or not, and I am sure this will prevail for us all.

Before returning to the festive period can I thank everyone for the way that help, support, and friendship has been extended to those in need in our community. I remain as optimistic as ever that we will get through this crisis through supporting each other with care, love, and understanding.

Thanks too of course to all the wonderful people in our NHS and in all the other critical services that have worked so selflessly for all our benefit. May I both personally and behalf of my family extend to you all our best wishes for the festive period and for the New Year.

Cllr. Chris Goldson

Where the Crawdads sing' by Delia Owens -

Several of our group have recently read and enjoyed this unusual book.  It is the story of a girl called Kya who was abandoned as a young child by her mother, then by her brothers and sisters, leaving her with her nere-do-well father. After teaching Kya some skills such as fishing from which he makes a meagre living her father himself disappears and she has to learn how to survive with little money or help in the remote cabin in the marshlands of North Carolina.

The story switches between Kya's childhood struggles and events leading up to the death of a young local 'Jack the lad' who becomes her lover. There is a police investigation and a trial with quite a twist at the end.

The author,who worked as a naturalist in Africa gives lyrical descriptions of the natural flora and fauna of the area and really engages the readers emotions in the heroine's  struggles.

Beryl Skellingthorpe Reading Group

GOODBYE 2020 -

This month I was so pleased to have a beautiful muntjac deer in my back garden, I’ve been hoping to see one for years. I know lots of people see them, but I only ever seemed to get a quick glimpse of one leaping across the road. The best nature sightings often happen when you least expect them.

An autumn project was to do some work on the lily pond, not something I’ve ever tackled. Had a look at Google, went to the garden centre, waited till my daughter came over (in case I fell in), and got to work with saw, secateurs and carving knife. We won’t know how successful we were until next year. Neither of us  ended up in the pond, but the secateurs were a casualty, and were never seen again. I fished for ages, there is some unspeakable sludge in the bottom and some very strange wildlife - neither of us dared plunge an arm in, and it’s very deep. Isn’t there a film called The Creature From the Black Lagoon?

Interestingly a mouse has been enjoying the lily root, a change from its usual diet.I  expect  lots of people have noticed what a good year it has been for acorns  apparently every few years there is a bumper crop to ensure plenty of new trees. Don’t really want them all in my garden though.

A special thank you to everyone who has thoughtfully put apples out in their gateways  for people to help themselves, they have been much appreciated. Over the last year I have been very glad to live in our kind, friendly village, even Covid 19 has had its upside.

Margaret Hill

The Christmas We Didn’t Expect

Watching relatives open presents via zoom, having to book for a carol service and even having to stand 2 metres apart under the mistletoe! It’s not what we were expecting!

Sometimes an upheaval like this is just what we need to get us off the consumer treadmill that Christmas has become and rediscover what it is all about…

I wonder what Mary was expecting on the first Christmas? A normal Jewish wedding to Joseph? Setting up a home together in Nazareth? In the end, she ended up ‘expecting’ the unexpected. Yes, God had promised long ago He would come to the rescue – He had even mentioned coming as a baby – but the visit from the angel Gabriel and conceiving the Son of God by the Holy Spirit must still have come as a huge shock to her!

Being poor and from a tiny town meant there was less to distract Mary from welcoming God into her life and offering herself In His service. I wonder, have things been stripped back for you this year? Some of the usual things been taken away? Could it be that your loving heavenly Father is taking away the distractions so that you begin to discover the amazing thing that He has done for you?

At the end of a difficult year, no doubt we would all love something good to look forward to – some hope to look forward to, some taste of ‘home’ where we know belonging and are given good things. Well let me tell you that there is such a hope and there is such a home – it just might not be the sort you had expected this year. This Christmas, come and meet Jesus who left his home in heaven to open the way home for us into the arms of our heavenly Father. He is only a prayer away.

With love in Christ this Christmas,



Cllr Andrew Walshaw -- Chair

Cllr Len Fear -- Vice Chair

Cllr Maureen Bunnage

Cllr Charles Shaw

Cllr Tony Richardson

Cllr Chris Lamb

Cllr Caroline Coyle-Fox

Cllr Ron Thorn

Cllr Bob Wormleighton

Cllr Molly Samms

Cllr Graeme Lawton

Cllr Jan Thorn

Should any resident wish to contact the Chair or vice chair, the telephone numbers are:

Andrew Walshaw -- 07754659265

Len Fear -- 07973713086

Notes from the Parish Council -

Skellingthorpe Parish Council wishes to congratulate the organisers of the recent Scarecrow event in the village. Also congratulations on the many and varied Scarecrow Displays, there seemed to be mainly a Spooky Theme with it being Halloween, it was good to see Mums and young Children around the village looking at the displays. The Parish Council had been hoping to run, in 2020, Open Gardens incorporating a Scarecrow Festival, so it was very pleasing to see this happening for Halloween. A big Well Done to All.

Looking forward to the next ‘big’ event in the year – Christmas. Unfortunately with Covid the Parish Council Christmas Fayre, that started last December, will not be held in 2020, but the Parish Council will be erecting a Christmas Tree next to the Heritage Centre, the Tree has been kindly donated for the Village, we hope to fill it with many lights In the light of the awful year we hope that residents will embrace the Christmas Spirit and decorate their houses with Christmas Lights, maybe more so than other years, to give Skellingthorpe a real boost.

From the Parish Clerks, Lynda and Maggie and Paul the Groundsman, we wish all the residents a Very Happy Christmas, and look forward to hopefully a better New Year.


Ministry Regulations prevent farmers from cutting hedges as frequently as we would like to. A garden hedge can be trimmed as often as the owner wishes, but a farmer's hedge can only have regular trimming if allowing it to become tall would create a traffic danger.

On the arable parts of our farm this rule presents no agriculturaaral problems, but on the dairy farm the more open type hedges produced by less frequent cutting soon cease to be stock proof.

Observing bird life, the heddge at the side of Daisy Made is trimmed twice a year and has become very thick and dense. It has a lot of small birds living in it and when magpies and other birds of prey come to feed on small birds they are able to get their heads into it but the little birds go in at the bottom and work their way up.

A larger hedge is is good for large birds but it is not a safe place for the tiny ones. I think it is a mistake to have a national guide book for all farmers to follow because a variety of habitats need to be created by making as far as possible every farm different.

These are my observations only.

Farmer Bob

Life Goes On -

What a strange year it has been. For months now, life for many of us, has been almost turned upside down, as we have not only had to adapt to restrictions, but also to realise that there is no end in sight to the predicament we find ourselves in.

However, as we know, and as people often say during or after a crisis, “life goes on”. It may be different, it may be challenging, but when we are faced with uncertainty and do not know what might happen, life does go on, as I am sure many of you can testify to.

In the church we are coming to the period known as Advent, which spans the four Sundays leading to Christmas. Even though we are limited in what we can do as churches, I am sure that Advent rings will be set up, and each week a candle will be lit as we reflect upon some aspect relating to the coming of Jesus as a baby in Bethlehem. This year Christmas will be different for many, as friends and family may not be able to meet in the usual way. I am sure that modern technology will help many of us to keep in touch, and this is one of the wonders of the modern world that we have appreciated during this time of lockdown and separation.

In the church we still may not be able to sing the carols which we so much enjoy. Carols are such an important part of Christmas, as, in singing the words, we remind ourselves of the couple journeying to Bethlehem, of angels and shepherds, of wisemen with their gold, frankincense and myrrh. A popular carol talks of the love that came down at Christmas, and it reminds us of the message of love that Jesus brought when he became a man.

In these difficult times the need to support each other was never greater. It is so easy to lose hope when we face uncertainty, but we can help each other by being aware of those who might be lonely or, yes, even afraid.

We can still enjoy a “Merry Christmas” if we underpin all that we do with that special instruction that Jesus gave us: Love one another as I have loved you

I pray that you will all enjoy a peaceful and blessed Christmas full of love.

Revd Margaret Doughty

Beat News -


Every three months, we listen to your concerns and look at recent crime statistics to shape the things we will concentrate on for the next three months. Based on this, our priorities for the next quarter are:

1. Tackling antisocial behaviour on the open public spaces in Hykeham and the villages. If you think there is an issue we should be focusing on, please get in touch at one of our public engagement events, contact us by email, or social media.


PC Chris BAYES-WALKER has joined us on attachment. Chris has been working with Special Constables making plain clothes patrols of antisocial behaviour hotspots in the town and villages. Chris and the Specials have had some success disrupting the antisocial behaviour, including seizing cannabis, issuing fixed penalty notices and cannabis warnings.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team have been bike marking at Doddington Hall. A male has been arrested and is currently under investigation following the series of bicycle thefts in Hykeham and Lincoln.

Three males have been arrested and are currently under investigation following several reports of criminal damage to vehicles, Witham St. Hughs


Crime statistics for your neighbourhood are available at: Nextdoor is a great way of getting the latest relevant information for your area. Join at:

Thanks for the Memory Walks -

Dear Editor, Every Autumn, Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk events across the UK see thousands of people come together to raise money to help defeat dementia.

Sadly, this year, coronavirus meant we had to cancel the large-scale events we all know and love. Instead, we asked people to step out and support us by doing their own personal walks, from July to October, in line with government guidelines.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and generosity of 1,538 supporters across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire who signed up and helped raise over £1.2 million for Alzheimer’s Society.

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in Memory Walk this year and made a difference to people affected by dementia.

The pandemic has hit people with dementia the hardest, with many of the 850,000 people living with the condition experiencing crippling loneliness and confusion by losing their much-needed routines. Thousands of carers are facing care home visitor bans or are struggling to get a break.

Our services have been used over 2 million times since lockdown began, showing people need us more than ever. But we’re facing a significant loss of fundraising income because of coronavirus.

As Memory Walk season ends, please consider donating to our Coronavirus Appeal or join one of our next fundraising events, like Elf Day on Friday 4 December or any date that suits you. Sign up for a free fundraising pack at  

Judith King Alzheimer's Society Head of Region for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

My best wishes for Christmas and 2021 to all Chat readers

After a year with many activities on hold and adjusting to not doing things and to learning new ways of doing things, let us hope that we will be able to enjoy Christmas and look forward to new opportunities in 2021.

Mike Thompson
Lincolnshire County Council
Councillor Eagle and Hykeham West - including Skellingthorpe

District Councillors wishes for 2021

Thank you all for your confidence & support over the past year.

I wish you and your families A Happy New Year

If I can be of any help please let me know. contact:

Cllr Richard Johnston 07847 235 285 email:


- Although presumptuous of me, I couldn’t really let the moment go by without some reference to a wonderful man’s passing. A great shock when Kathy & I read the news on Ruth’s’ Facebook page of her father’s death on Tuesday 3rd. Although, only knowing Ian over the past 15-20 years and not able to express our feelings as eloquently and beautifully as Ruth has done. Her facebook page captures all the sentiments and essence of Ian’s life. The photo perhaps captures some of Ian’s wide and eclectic interests from English to spitfires, model making and many things in-between. His first impact upon me was his unselfish support and enthusiasm for starting up the U3A in the village and his calm and knowledgeable Chairmanship over many years. With his ongoing support of the reading and poetry group he brought pleasure and fun to all those who eagerly joined him in his unique sessions.

I am sure you send with us our condolences to Lesley & family and thank you for letting Ian into our lives.

Kathy & Richard Johnston

Create yourself a kinder and more compassionate Christmas -

Hello friends, as I write it is the start of November. My wider family & I would typically have a conversation about Christmas: who is going where, planning, negotiating family traits & noting the undercurrent of expectations. This conversation is not happening. I notice feeling separated from them, a feeling many of us share whether you live hundreds of miles from one another or merely round the corner.

Many of us may not be able to plan the holiday season in familiar ways because of illness, financial concerns, bereavement & of course coronavirus. We will all have different mental, physical & emotional responses to Christmas, whether we celebrate it or not. None of us can escape its presence - it is already glowing brightly on our TV screens!

I think one of the most helpful gifts we can give to ourselves, when things feel hard for us (Christmas or otherwise) is a magical mix of kindness and self-compassion. An easy way to access this is an exercise called the ‘self-compassion break’. It takes only 3-5 minutes & can help us press pause on tricky moments & big thoughts and feelings, helping to stop them tipping into overwhelm. Self-compassion is the ultimate mobile self-care device & can be done anywhere that you are! It goes like this:

1: Sit or stand still & acknowledge a moment / feeling of difficulty, speak out one of these phrases (some suggestions are shown, though for each step use your own phrases & familiar language):

This moment is draining
I feel frustrated and stuck in what to do
I am feeling stressed

2: Recognise that being human means EVERYONE will experience difficulty. Softly speak one of these phrases:

Everyone experiences difficulty, I am not alone
Everyone feels stressed at times, it’s not just me
Frustration is a normal human emotion

3: Respond compassionately, by meeting difficulty with kindness, empathy & understanding. Place a hand on your heart, speak one of these phrases or equivalent:

May I speak kindly to myself
May I be patient at this time
May I forgive myself
Just pause a little more, letting these words & phrases sink into your inner experience. What was that like? With practice, this exercise has been shown to change the structure of our brain in how we relate to difficulty, such that we will not feed automatic habits or reactivity into what is going on.

Responding skilfully to difficulty may help us feel calmer, offer a dose of courage to continue despite the many challenges we face. Collectively, this may help us focus on what we still CAN do & help to create a sense of certainty of things that are within our control. The more we authentically access self-compassion at our time of need, the more we can give compassion to others at their time of need. Please visit our website to access this & other FREE mindful self-compassion exercises over the holiday period.

With loving kindness, Sands

Xmas- a time for gifting -

Thoughts of giving often come to mind at Christmas time.

What presents shall I buy? Will they like it? Have they got one? All of these we think about during this festive period.

It becomes a good time to seriously consider what you should include in your Will. Legacies to charities, gifts to organisations or a recognition to someone whose help you rely upon. If you have a Will then review it for up to date circumstances and revise it to include such new items.

If you have families who are also growing up and with assets and children of their own why not offer to pay for a Will for them so they can secure their futures? It is certainly a present that they can hang on to for some time and may prove to be a real life saver where adverse conditions are experienced.

Such a gift may prove to be a real blessing

David Dexter LincolnWills


Friends are the family, you choose along life s way When you 're young they 're the ones, you go out with to play

In your teens your best friends the one who shares your joy As you giggle about your first kiss with a boy

The years unfold and other people, come into your life But you still remain close, when you become somebody s wife

Sometimes sadly, those early friendships, fade and disappear Though memories of them still remain, bright and crystal clear

Your ways may part as life takes you both, on different roads You miss that friend, with whom you once, shared all your woes

Yes new friends can be made, but they can never quite replace Old friendships which are lost, just like a smile wiped off your face

Maybe one day in the future, a simply normal day You could be in the park, watching the children as they play

When suddenly a face, from out of the past you espy Or you hear that once, so familiar voice, call out, "hi"

This might happen, although you will never know, where or when If it did, then your lost friendship, could be reborn again.

Beverley Balogh Nov: 2012

Have a Laugh -

I have become really good at jigsaws during Lockdown.
Last week I completed one in one and a half days.
Really pleased with myself as it said two to three years on the box.

Mary Berry gave a good tip on her Cookery Programme last week. To separate two eggs, put one on the table and the other on a chair.

Jane’s mother was concerned when on asking 5 year old Jane what she had learnt at school that day Jane replied she had learnt how to make babies. So, how do you make babies, mother asked?.. Well. said Jane, you take off the y and add ies.

Val Butler


As many customers will be aware that Mr and Mrs Siman are running the shop. I would like to take this time to thank everyone for the support and kindness you have shown to me and Vali and the boys since we moved here.

You will continue to see me as I will still be running the takeaway. Hope to see you in there and once again, a big thank you to you all.

Dev, Vali, Akash and Dhruv.

12 DAYS -

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My truelove sent to me
Eleven Ladies dancing
Ten Pipers piping
Nine Drummers drumming
Eight Maids a milking
Seven Swans a swimming
Six Geese a laying
Five Gold rings
Four Calling birds
Three French hens
Two Turtle doves and a
Partridge In a Pear Tree.

Finding Amy -

5 weeks ago we collected a rescue Labrador, a timid 8 year old called Amy. Walked daily by my husband Gary, she never ventured from his side even though on an extendable lead. One Monday, startled by another dog she slipped her collar and both dogs took off down Waterloo lane, crossing the Bypass avoiding traffic and down Skellingthorpe Road. The first dog was caught near Hartshorne Park but no sign of Amy. A plethora of people searched Hartsholme Park and surrounding areas but to no avail. As night fell, myself and all helping felt so sad and scared for poor timid Amy outside on her own. Flyers went up, social media posts placed and quickly shared. Possible sightings were followed up by an army of volunteers to said destinations, days and nights went by but no confirmed sightings, we were losing hope.

Volunteer dog finders from Temple Brewer were tireless in their search, launching drones and walking miles in all weather attempting to find poor Amy. Then Friday a friend spotted a nervy looking Labrador in Pig Lane, hopes raised again. The army of searchers descended and Gary spotted her confirming it was indeed Amy. Cameras were set up and more sightings followed, but how to catch her, she was still too nervous even to come to myself or Gary.

Our now friends from Temple Brewer had the idea of trapping her and borrowed a trap for the attempt. The trap set and cameras were placed on Thursday on her believed planned route. Friday morning the cameras showed her enjoying the bait but failing to activate the trap. Now knowing she had entered the trap hopes were high she would enter again Adjustments to the trap were made and it re-primed. Pouring rain then followed, Amy was a no show until Sunday morning when a frantic Gary phoned, "got her" the army descended and manhandled the trap and a frightened Amy into a van and returned her to a sobbing 'me' at our bungalow. Remarkably she seemed to return to her 'normal' albeit still very nervous self almost immediately. We had this dog wrong, fearing the worst she proved she's a survivor, stronger than we gave her credit for and took her two weeks in the wild in her stride.

Amy originally wouldn't move in the harness we bought her hence a collar, now knowing she is an escapologist she'll have to learn before we venture out with her again. We now look forward to starting where we left off to rehabilitate this lovely, nervous dog and let her live out the rest of her days relaxing with us into her old age. I have purposely not mentioned names here in her brief adventure which to myself and Gary seemed to last an eternity because there are simply too many to thank, you all know who you are!

I would however like to make a few exceptions, firstly Greg the confirmed spotter who spent hours scouring the surrounding fields. Secondly the land owners, The Retreat on Pig Lane and Fen Farm (any others?) who let us trudge their lands at will, any time day or night, and finally Matt and Becky, the finders who we had never met before this and played a massive part in securing Amys return.

So again to all that helped, the spotters, the sharers, the searchers, the comforters and people even now sending good wishes and gifts, we cannot thank you enough to give us this blissfully happy ending to finding Amy.

Julie and Gary.

I have written this for the chat as 5 weeks on I am still constantly asked about Amy, she really does seem to have become a Skellingthorpe celebrity!