Tackley Newsletter
February & March 2020


Emma Rogers

As we are now headlong into a new decade, I am grateful to live in our wonderful community, old and new. It seems an ideal time to remember friends and loved ones passed but not forgotten. All you have to do is look to the sky above us.

Percy Calcutt

Valerie Calcutt & Family

We would like to thank so many friends and neighbours for their support and kindness in the past few weeks. You have helped in many ways, which has made a big difference in such difficult times. We have been very touched by your generosity and care, and would like to offer our sincere thanks for being there when we needed you. Every good wish to you all.

We have been able to give a donation of over £500 to Cancer Research UK from your generous donations.

Introducing… Sustainable Tackley!

Jo O’Mahoney, Sara Shaw and Claire Baylis for Sustainable Tackley

Floods. Bushfires. Millions of young people taking to the streets to demand climate action—whatever your views on climate change, the issue is getting increasingly hard to ignore. It’s not surprising, then, that people are looking for more ways to make a difference. Thankfully, there are many.

As well as the small changes we can make at home – like ditching plastic bags, eating less meat and washing our clothes at a lower temperature – there’s potential for real progress at a community level too. That’s why a bunch of us have set up Sustainable Tackley, a group focused on organising events and activities that benefit the environment—and people living in the village. It’s also why we want to get lots more people involved.

Still in its infancy – we’re talking about 10 people and counting! – Sustainable Tackley will work with three key aims in mind:


Whether it’s cutting down on unnecessary packaging or slashing the amount of food that winds up in our bins, we’ll be looking at ways we can lessen our impact, reduce waste—and save money while we’re at it.


Swap, donate, upcycle, adapt—there are lots of ways to reuse the things we no longer need. And if we all go for it, the impact can be huge. Take clothing: an estimated 350,000 tonnes goes to UK landfill every year. And the textiles industry is responsible for more carbon emissions than international aviation and shipping combined! A great reason to bypass the bin and find a new life for that outfit instead.


Alongside climate change, we’re also facing biodiversity loss on a staggering scale. But again, there’s a lot we can do to help. Supporting or restoring natural habitats isn’t just great for local wildlife; it can have huge benefits for our mental health and wellbeing too. So from tree planting to seed swaps, we’ll be looking at ways to do just that.

We know none of this is new, but if enough of us get together, it could make a real difference. And with Sustainable Kirtlington, Sustainable Woodstock and Sustainable Steeple already in existence, there will be opportunities to share ideas too.

Right now, we’re at the very early stages, discussing which projects to kickstart first. Some will be relatively simple; others will take more thought and effort. We’d love more people to get involved. No particular time commitment is necessary—just an enthusiasm for making our village that bit greener! We hope to hear from you soon.

Want to find out more? Email us at [email address removed from archive copy] and we’ll be in touch with plans as we make them, along with opportunities to help if you’d like to.

Shipwreck off Tasmania: 175 years on

Rachel Strachan & Neil Wilson

On 18 January 1845 an advert appeared in the Oxford Journal offering free passage to Australia for farm labourers, shepherds and female servants. In Tackley, a fortnight later, the vestry committee met—a forerunner of the parish council. They resolved to ‘encourage’ and pay for the emigration of six of Tackley’s poorest families; thereby ridding the ratepayers of the burden of paying these families poor relief. It is apparent that the paupers had little say in the matter.

So it was that a group of 16 adults and 26 children left Tackley on 13 April and travelled to Liverpool, together with 50 others from nearby villages. Here they boarded the Cataraqui, which set sail on 20 April with 369 emigrants, bound for Melbourne. Just imagine the emigrants’ reactions to all the strange experiences on this long voyage.

By the beginning of August the ship was close to its destination, so the captain gave permission for the passengers’ boxes to be brought up from the hold so they could select their best attire for their arrival.

However, for ‘about a fortnight’, as the chief mate wrote, there’d been ‘a strong gale accompanied by heavy rain’. Early on 4 August, ‘the tempest still continuing, rain falling in torrents, and the darkness of the night such as not to allow any object to be seen within a hundred yards of the vessel, the ship struck’. Disaster! The Cataraqui had run into the treacherous coast of King Island, which lies in the Bass Straits between Tasmania and mainland Australia. In the atrocious conditions 400 people lost their lives, including all those from Tackley. Just nine survived. This death toll makes the shipwreck of the Cataraqui Australia’s biggest peacetime disaster.

In contrast it was a sunny day with clear skies when, on 27 December 2019, we rounded a bend along a dirt track—and the bay where the Cataraqui was wrecked was revealed. The shore was edged with line after line of dark jagged rocks, on which waves constantly crashed. The terrifying, hopeless position of those aboard the foundered Cataraqui in 1845 was all too clear. We walked along the coast until, on a small promontory, we found the memorial to those who died in this shipwreck.

Set back from the shore there’s another cairn that marks the largest of the mass graves of the drowned emigrants; here 245 were buried. This cairn shows a seascape sketch, drawn at that spot by a survivor of the Cataraqui. Here we stood silently in contemplation of those Tackley villagers who, because they were poor, were pressurised into travelling to the other side of the world where they died in terrible circumstances. These were people who drank ale in the Gardiner Arms, played on the green, worshipped in St Nicholas’ church, and worked in the fields.

Back in February 1846 there was an outcry when news of the Cataraqui’s shipwreck reached the UK; with an inquest and debate in parliament. It eventually resulted in the first ever lighthouses in Australia; built on the north of King Island in 1861, after a first near Melbourne in 1848. Quite literally a light at the end of the tunnel for all future seafarers.

This story deserves to be remembered, especially in Tackley. It has resonance in contemporary issues of poverty and economic migration. As if to remind us of this, in December 2019 a long, shaped piece of iron was deposited on the beach near the wreck site on King Island. It was a part of the Cataraqui’s keel.

To find out more about this piece of Tackley’s history and plans for 175th anniversary commemorations, come to our presentation Shipwreck off Tasmania: The Loss of 42 Impoverished Migrants from Tackley – 175 Years On at Tackley Village Hall on Monday, 6 April at 8:15 pm.

Walking group

Linda Birch

Meet at Tackley Village Hall at 10 am on the second Saturday of the month to arrange car sharing. Please contact the walk leader if you would rather meet at the start of the walk.

Some walks conclude with lunch at a local pub or café. Please contact the walk leader if you will be joining the group for lunch.

Most walks are circular. All walking is at your own risk.

Women’s Institute

Rosie Hawes

Tackley WI was (re)formed last autumn. We meet in the village hall on the first Tuesday of every month except August, and have already had three fun meetings, including learning to make biscotti and making our own wreaths for Christmas.

The committee has put together an exciting programme for 2020, covering everything from astronomy to Zumba. See tackleywi.weebly.com.

We welcome visitors to our meetings, so if you are thinking about joining us please do come along. Our next meetings will be on 4 February and 3 March at 8 pm.

Boxing Day fun run

Dane Walker

Despite the bad weather a good number turned out for the Boxing Day fun run. The collection held this year was for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. A record £450 was collected from the fun run and from the pub throughout the day. Many thanks to all who supported.

Gardening club

Mary Lee

Hello gardeners! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and I wish you all a happy 2020.

Although it’s still winter, we’ve had a few nice days recently which makes you feel you should be doing something in the garden, but not too much—the weather can still be unpredictable and it all needs protecting from frost.

Here are some dates for your diaries:

Please come and join us.

If there is anyone out there who would like to give the flower show a go, we are here to help.

Local history group

Sue Ashton

Our upcoming talks are:

Primary school

Mrs LJ Murrey, Headteacher

Happy New Year and welcome to our new Nursery children who have joined us this term. Just a year after opening our Nursery, it is a delight to see it so busy. The children are enjoying a range of activities both indoors and out; the mud kitchen and building blocks are a firm favourite!

In the rest of the school it is straight back to our learning and brand new topics: Rousham class are learning about the ancient civilisation of Benin, Harborne class are studying rainforests, and Nethercote’s topic is Carnival of the Animals.

We are all really looking forward to our whole-school trip coming up to Science Oxford where we will be practising our scientific skills and using our new knowledge.

Christmas tree on The Green

Pam Laughton for the Christmas Tree Committee

Thank you to everyone who came to the lighting-up event and carols around the tree. It was good to see so many people there, especially as it was such a wet and windy evening, and thank you too for your generous donations towards next year’s event.

Special thanks go to Barwood Homes for donating the tree, the Gate House for the electricity supply, the mince pie suppliers, Tony and Joan Wilson for the use of their Aga, Pierre Macke for the publicity posters, Dane Walker for playing the piano and Lawrence Clack for stepping in at the last moment to say prayers and send best wishes to all the villagers.

Join us 4:30 pm on 6 December 2020.

Breakfast on the Heath

Jane Walker for the Breakfast on the Heath Committee

Due to the date change of the bank holiday in May we have decided to reschedule Breakfast on the Heath to Sunday, 3 May. This will hopefully avoid any clashes with VE Day celebrations. Keep this date free – put in your diaries now – and we will look forward to seeing you all there.

Choosing films is no holiday

John Newton

I was watching TV yesterday and realised that choosing screenings for Features has many similarities with choosing a summer holiday for a large family. There is so much choice, but everyone has their own idea of perfect. Where do you start? What type of holiday? What you did last time? Do you repeat, go somewhere similar or do something completely different? Resort and hotel reviews help, as do personal recommendations and at Features, we use personal recommendations and trusted review sites to choose our films.

We start with a couple of recommendations: Red Joan, a slow-burning drama telling an intriguing true story; and Downton Abbey, a sumptuous period drama in which every element you expect to see, you see.

At this time of year, the Oscar nominations list does tend to influence our screenings. Influence but not dominate, as choosing movies that will ‘work’ at Tackley is paramount. For the last 10 years, we have tried to present a balanced programme that entertains and challenges our audience, and 2020 will be no different. So, we follow our recommendations with four Oscar hopefuls: 1917, the astonishing WWI drama; JoJo Rabbit, a recommended WWII satire; The Two Popes, a dramatic and visual feast, portraying its adversaries as passionate humans; and Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s beautifully acted, thoughtfully directed adaptation of sisterhood. Will any of these win an Oscar? Find out the morning after our February screening.

Please remember Features is free with 100% of the collection going to the named charity. Not yet been to a Features screening, or not been for a while? Please make a note in your diary that Features screens movies every second Sunday at seven at Tackley Methodist Church, and come along and support us in 2020.

Your village needs you

June Collier, Parish Council Chair

An exciting opportunity is coming up for you to make a difference in your village. On Thursday, 7 May there will be a parish council election.

It’s time we had an elected council. There hasn’t been a council made up of elected councillors for 16 years! Only two of us were actually elected all those years ago and are still here; the remaining five were co-opted over the years.

The existing council consists of seven people.

The time has come for a change. The village is changing; maybe you would like to have a say in how it is run. People have lots to say – comments and ideas of how it should be done – and now is the opportunity to make it happen.

The role is varied, bringing ideas and making decisions on everything from mowing the grass to planning; from care-taking the heath to deciding how to spend the village precept! From liaising with Oxfordshire County Council and West Oxfordshire District Council to allocating an allotment; from choosing a new road name to making sure the buses keep running; keeping tabs on the airport or representing your PC on a village committee. Keeping the play area safe and the playing field green and clean… but most importantly, talking to your parishioners and lending an ear.

Some topics are varied and interesting to debate, and some boring and mundane but nonetheless important to your village.

A parish councillor is involved in all aspects of village life. Don’t worry about not knowing how; there are various training courses you can attend, but more importantly come along to your next parish council meeting or surgery (every other Monday) or talk with one of your councillors. Dates of meetings and details of our current team are in Parish council and on the village website.

Now is your chance to come forward and be that person who makes a difference in your village. Hoping to speak with you soon.

Parish council



The next formal meeting of the council is on 10 February with a surgery on 24 February. Should there be matters of urgency during that time, please contact the parish clerk or councillors whose details appear above.

Draft minutes of all meetings normally appear on the website two weeks after the meeting. See there, also, some personal details of your councillors.

Copies of this report are also circulated via Tackley Notices.

Election for parish council

A council election is due on 7 May 2020. The current chair of the council has penned some notes (Your village needs you) to which readers’ attention is directed.

Council budget 2020–21

The council has set a precept of £26,046 for 2020–21 which will mean the portion of the Council Tax paid to Tackley parish council will increase by £3.05 annually.

Barwood Homes

We are intending to take further action to remedy the situation regarding the planning procedures on this site. Also, we are awaiting advice from Oxfordshire County Council Highways on the way forward regarding the issue about drainage.

Gardiner Arms

Your council has entered a strong objection to the planning application for the redevelopment of part of the Gardiner Arms site which we believe is contrary of the pub’s status as an Asset of Community Value.

Road warden scheme

A grant application has been made to enable this work to start very soon.

Work site on the playing field

The organisation responsible for the unsightly remains of a work site on the edge of the playing field has been instructed to clear and make good the area.

Methodist church

Jan Grimwood

Messy Church 2:30–4:30 pm

January’s Messy Church was very well attended and we were delighted to welcome a new family among us. We made a lot of mess and generally had a really good time. As usual this was followed by a Bible story and some prayers before we shared tea together. The next Messy Church will be on 8 February and we look forward to welcoming you whether you’re new to Messy or have been before, so come along and see what we have in store for you this time.

Future Messy Church dates will be 7 March, 4 April and 3 May

Coffee mornings

Coffee mornings are held every Thursday from 10 am until noon, and everyone is welcome to come and join us. We’re a friendly lot and it would be great to see some new faces in addition to our regulars. Do come along and enjoy a cuppa, a chat and some laughter. Toys and books are available for any young visitors.

A better world

Revd Marcus Green

Tackley Praise

Last year we began a series of afternoon midweek ‘Tackley Praise’ services with the school, and this year we are continuing to run them. It was great to see so many at the Christingle service in December!

In February we will be repeating last year’s enormously popular pet service. At a time when so many of us are thinking about our responsibility to the world around us, a pet service isn’t just a chance to bring the animals we love and thank God for them—it’s a chance to remember that all of creation is a gift for us to cherish and treasure.

We’ve seen pictures of animals in distress in the Australian bushfires, and we know that this is the time for us to stand up and protect our beautiful world.

Thanking God for the parts of this world that are precious to us – our homes, our village, the Oxfordshire countryside and our own pets and animals – is a way of focussing our prayers and our hearts on the whole world.

Come and join us on Wednesday, 5 February at 3:30 pm. Bring a pet, or a picture of a pet if that’s easier (!) and let’s celebrate together and pray that we might play our part in making a better world for all God’s creatures.

Sunday mornings

And also… it’s a year since we’ve had the return of a Sunday morning service at St Nicholas’. I’m delighted that many people have taken the opportunity to join us on the last Sunday of each month at 9:30 am for our relaxed communion service. If you haven’t spotted that this is happening, or if you’ve forgotten, then do please feel free to join us! The service in March will be a week early so that it falls on Mothering Sunday, which I hope is an especially perfect time for everyone to come and join us. Most other weeks we continue to worship at 5:30 pm, with a mix of traditional evensong, communion and occasional more informal services.

Worship is the heart of any church’s life, but it’s also very much a place with open doors, where anyone is welcome at any time. We aren’t a club where you have to be a member to enjoy a service! Just come along, any time. If God can bless pets, he can certainly bless any other member of our community!


Lent is a very special time of year. For the six weeks or so in the run-up to Easter we prepare our hearts for the most exciting part of Christian life—celebrating the story of how Jesus died and rose again that each one of us might have the chance to know God for ourselves. For real. For always.

Some Christians take Lent as a time to ‘give things up’, but this is always as a sign of taking away the stuff that doesn’t matter (but somehow fills our lives) so that we can give more time to what really matters. What really matters for you? Perhaps in Lent you’ll lose something less important so that you can focus on what matters most.

Some Christians take Lent as a time to take on extra responsibility, but always as a joyful way of serving others, and never as just having more cares to wear us down. Helping others can be exhausting but it can also make us all feel so much better; perhaps finding a way of doing this well might be something you could do this Lent?

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on 26 February. We will celebrate with a service in church at 10 am. If you are free, why not come along and work out how your Lent might make a really positive difference this year?

Anita Harrison


Today’s a celebration of the life you spent with us,
And although you were disabled you rarely made a fuss.

We’d take you out on Saturdays to Witney and go shopping,
But then the moaning started and didn’t seem like stopping.

We’d grab ourselves some lunch in the Hunters Cafe,
And share a pot of tea and have a real good laugh.

I’d push you around in your wheelchair from one shop to another,
Saying you were out on day release and my aunty or me mother.

We also went to Countryfile and I pushed you through the grounds,
The four of us together as we made our way around.

Then we came to cross a bridge while we were in our stride —
And did I really tip you out or did you take a dive?

You always loved your animals in every possible way,
And Teddy really misses you each and every day.

He has now moved in with us and we’re all doing great,
And Molly’s looking after him coz he is her best mate.

You saw the good in everybody and treated everyone the same,
And now you’ve gone and left us, no one takes the blame.

Your body lies before us and your spirit has left home,
And you have gone to Heaven reunited with mother and Tone.