Netherfield news
Netherfield news

Catsfield Village Hall: Fancy an afternoon of fun, laughter and mayhem? Then book tickets to go to Catsfield Village Hall on Sunday 19th November at 3pm. There you will find ‘Three Half Pints’ of CBeebies fame putting on ‘The Three Musketeers’. Perfect entertainment for 5-11 year olds and still be back home in time for tea.

Tickets from Catsfield Village Shop 01424 893498 Adults £10 Children £5

Memories of Pat and Derek Akers: Pat and Derek moved into Two Yews, Netherfield Hill in the 1980s following Derek’s retirement from Purley, where he had been Headmaster of Purley Grammar

School. Previously he had been Housemaster at Dulwich College. They quickly integrated into village life and soon became firm supporters of Netherfield Church. Derek was elected to the PCC and became Church Warden in 1995, and was very ably assisted by Jackie Jones - they made an excellent team, and Derek later became treasurer (for 14 years). He was also the local Village Voice correspondent. After the 1987 Storm which caused catastrophic damage to the church roof, closing it for two years, Derek worked tirelessly with the late Monty Jones to raise funds and obtain grants to repair and refurbish the building. During this time Pat had joined the Netherfield W.I. and the church flower and cleaning rotas and they both were regular readers. Derek also trained to become a Lay Minister.

They were very popular in Battle where they made many friends and were involved in Probus, Nadfas and the Battle Museum. A very hardworking and caring couple, they were very kind and supportive of

Jane Fovargue (now Chater) after her husband Hugh died. Pat was a firm supporter of all Derek’s activities and eagerly assisted him in organising the annual church fetes, village fetes and many fundraising events including regular coffee mornings both in the church and at Two Yews, which was an ‘open house’ for all those involved in the church, and Pat’s skills as a hostess were very much appreciated, especially when her home made cakes and lemonade appeared! They were keen gardeners and delighted in showing people around and participating in ‘Open Gardens’ events. Derek was quite a character and very much ‘his own man’, having a great sense of humour and tremendous energy as a great organiser, stemming from his years as a Headmaster and Housemaster and no-one dared to say ‘no’ when asked to carry out a specific task! He was very keen to get the school involved in the church and assisted with ferrying local children to Sunday School. Many will remember the wonderful Golden Wedding celebration held in the garden of Two Yews which Derek and Pat excelled in hosting. Pat had made her own lovely outfit. Pat was fiercely proud of her Scottish roots and her thriftyness was a byword!

All the family were very proud of their parents and grandparents and there were memorable family holidays enjoyed by all with every photograph showing a laughing, extremely happy Pat. Her career as a doctor led to her being in charge of a ward as a very respected paediatrician, and in later years after their move from Two Yews to Claverham Way her love and devotion to Derek kept him fit and active, despite his serious illness and her subsequent illness. Derek was a big man with a big heart and it was obvious that Pat was his rock and, as neither wanted to be here without the other, it was fitting that they died within three weeks of each other. We will always remember them with fond love and affection and hold them in great esteem and respect. - Juliette Vane

The Messenger: The magazine committee are holding a celebration in Brightling Village Hall on November 13th to thank the distributors and deliverers of The Messenger in each of the four parishes for their time and commitment. It will also be an opportunity to exchange views about the future direction of the magazine so the invitation is extended too to any subscribers with ideas about how the magazine can best help to keep everyone in touch. If anyone has any questions, or has ideas but cannot make it for a glass of wine on he night, do please contact Andrew (, 01424 838 667) or Peter (, 01580 880 614).

Netherfield Mobile Library Service: The Mobile Library is due to make its usual three-weekly visit to Netherfield on 14 November between 13.00 and 13.20. In pride of place outside the Netherfield Stores and Cafe it will allow the residents of our community to come along and oick a book of their choice to take away and enjoy the infinite pleasures of reading. Young and old alike can select something that will keep them enthralled for the next three weeks until the library returns. If you are not a member, it takes just a few minutes to take the plunge so why not give it a go? Remember, use it or lose it.

The Christmas Story Serial: The window, which viewed the vast eastern expanse of Russia, framed the slim upper body of Ludmilla Tereskayer as she gazed longingly at the distant horizon. A crystal tear etched a slow path down her classically beautiful face, as her mind tried to dispel the regular thoughts of loneliness that separation from Kafelnikov raised. A light dusting of snow began to fall from a darkening sky, obscuring some of this remote, wild place, she called home . It took her mind a few intense seconds to register this first sign of winter’s approach, which only enhanced Ludmilla’s feeling of melancholy.

The change in the season’s weather, would, she knew, curtail her daily forays into the fields surrounding this traditional farmstead on the Russian Steppes. Her father had been privileged to be able to work the land without tithes to the Count, whom he had saved from certain death following an attempted robbery by starving peasants. In the troubled year of 1900, the economic woes of this great nation had resulted in so many displaced people, scouring the country in ever increasing numbers for food, shelter and work. Very little of any was available to the masses and unrest was a daily occurrence. A weak Czar exacerbated the situation when strong leadership was required.

Those depressing thoughts were far from her mind as she turned slowly around, running a long finger across the stone ledge supporting the window, prior to her slow walk across this sanctuary, where she rested at night. Her traditional truckle-bed and its wooden wheels, allowed her to follow the early morning sun across the four seasons from the position of her bed, so that her day began with the maximum light at any time of the year. Her high cheekbones at times reflected this mild obsession, showing a barely perceptible discoloration to her normal tones, enhancing, some would say, her already perfect complexion.

Her clothes were warm and traditional. Many layers protecting her from the impending ravages of winter and the icy winds blowing across from Siberia. In a few weeks Christmas would be upon the family heralding the return of Kafelnikov, on completion of business in Moscow for his father, the count.

The two children had grown together from an early age, first as rivals then as something more. Walks, shared experiences and laughter had cemented a relationship which had endured. As his responsibilities grew their time together diminished, but their bond remained constant. Both families were aware and approved. This was somewhat at odds with the hierarchal structures of the time.

She began her descent down the wooden stairs that had sustained the family through many generations. The handrail was polished and patinated from hands that had grasped and steadied their travel from one level to another. The house smelled of a warmth and a welcome, dotted with furniture, mostly hand-carved and traditional, a testament to family and longevity.

As she reached the stone floor covering the base of her home and heard the crackling of wood on the already roaring fire, she felt a faint tremor through the sandstone. Her immediate reaction was to put her hand out to grasp the stair’s balustrade she had just relinquished. Whilst it gave her a feeling of security and comfort, in what she believed was a minor earthquake, the tremor increased in intensity.

Her mind was awash with many scenarios on the exact cause as it was not consistent with her normal understanding of an earthquake’s agitation. At that moment the wide front door was thrown open with a force that almost broke the latch. Her father ran in shouting, “hide Ludmilla, hide”.

Episode 2 next week – Remember if you want to contribute an episode based on what you have read so far send your entry to the email listed below.

Reflections on a garden: Leaves are almost at an end this week. The ash has shed its load, the acers are dropping their covering with a vengeance. Now comes the task of gathering, storing and composting. Where to store it while it is in the process of decomposing and rejuvenating into another state of natural evolution? This year we seem to have bags and bags of nature’s harvest waiting to turn. Bags here. Bags there. Bags are showing everywhere. Sounds as though I have a problem. It is only the initial few weeks which actually cause a problem as after a while, the weight of one bag on top of another reduces its height so that the one at the bottom almost, eventually, gets flattened. But that takes time. Oh well, I always think of myself as a shovellor.

The first stirrings of embryonic primroses are beginning to appear in the garden. The seeds from last year’s flowerings are appearing in the lawns, the drive and the paths. It is a painstaking business to dig them all up and replant them where they can be appreciated by me. My good lady thinks we have too many coming up in the season, but I prefer to think you can never have enough of a good thing. They bring colour, class and pleasure to our world. A bit like me really.

More next week...........

Claverham Badminton Club: One of our longest members came back this week after problems with his knees, I think this was due to long periods of repentance on a stone floor rather than an injury sustained through sport. Well, he has beaten a few of us at times on the court, so he should be sorry. Anyway, good to see him back .

Contact: If you have any stories or articles of interest that will give our readership a reason to buy the paper please contact me on email at