Tackley Newsletter
April & May 2020

Tackley Covid Assistance

Debbie Gould

The evolving COVID-19 outbreak is a source of anxiety for all of us, not least those who live alone or perhaps care for dependents.

If you’re self-isolating, we are a group of Tackley residents who may be able to help you:

We have also put together a list of useful resources, including educational and boredom-busting websites that you can find on the Tackley village website.

To order groceries or to arrange prescription delivery please call Tackley Village Shop on [phone number removed from archive copy]. For all other requests email [email address removed from archive copy].

Please contact us via email wherever possible! The address will be checked regularly by a group of volunteers.

If you have no access to email you can text or phone:

Please note

If you’d like to volunteer with this group please email [email address removed from archive copy].

Money raised

The Harrison family

The Harrison family would like to thank everyone who came to Anita’s funeral. We raised £592 which was split between Cancer Research UK and the RSPCA.

New website

Mary McIntyre

The village website has had a much-needed complete redesign. This was necessary because the software I was using had been out of service for years and we needed to bring things up to date. My husband Mark did the majority of this work for me, so huge thanks to him for all the time he spent on it!

If you previously added specific pages as bookmarks or favourites in your browser, these will no longer work. You will need to add new bookmarks for your commonly-used pages.

A rocky path to a smoother road

Robin Gregory

Following months of negotiations, compliance and training, the final hurdles are in sight and Tackley Road Wardens will begin a two-pronged approach to improving the roads and pavements within the village.

A village representative will be appointed as a FixMyStreet Superuser able to report ‘category 2’ potholes, and the ability to approve and organise the repair of larger road defects directly to the council’s contractors Skanska, speeding up considerably the response time.

Additionally, Deb Ollman will be repairing small areas of road damage – up to 40mm deep and up to 150mm long – with cold-fill tarmac to prevent them developing into something more serious.

The programme is due to get underway in March/April and we are now looking to recruit further volunteers to assist in improving the condition of our roads and footpaths. Please contact Robin on [phone number removed from archive copy].

Thanks to Tackley Parish Council, Oxfordshire County Council volunteer coordinator and Oxfordshire County Council leaders community fund for their support for this groundbreaking and innovative project.

Door-to-door sellers and charity workers

Mary McIntyre

On Monday, 27 January, two agents representing the British Heart Foundation were going door to door in the village trying to get people to sign up to a fundraising lottery. One of them was very pushy and tried to pressure me into signing up. He talked about how generous people in the village had already been, and he then named names of some people who had signed up. This is a clear breach of GDPR regulations. I also found out that one of the villagers who had signed up had only done so because the agents had managed to talk their way into their house and they felt pressured to hand over their bank details in order to get the men to leave. I heard from other people in the village that they too had found this particular agent to be extremely pushy. So I contacted the British Heart Foundation to make a complaint about their conduct.

They did investigate this and took the matter very seriously. They identified the agency worker responsible and took him off door-to-door duties until he had been retrained. They also reminded the other agency workers of the severity of disclosing personal data.

I wanted to share this information to reiterate the message that you should be extremely cautious about dealing with people on the doorstep. Even though this agency worker was legitimate, he was extremely unprofessional and didn’t seem to care about protecting personal information. If you want to support a particular charity, it is best to donate directly to ensure the safety of your bank details.

I have now purchased a sticker for the front door that says ‘Warning: No Cold Callers’ which cost less than £2 from Amazon. I believe Age UK, Neighbourhood Watch etc. may have some they hand out for free, and there are countless examples online which you can print yourself. People who ignore the sign and still knock on your door may be committing a criminal offence, so it will deter cold callers and Nottingham Knockers. Please encourage your elderly or vulnerable neighbours to display one of these stickers to help protect them from fraud.

Cardboard recycling bins

Jim Pitts

When putting cardboard boxes in the recycling bins by the playing field, please flatten them. Otherwise, the bins are filled within days, making it difficult for other people to use them. At the moment someone very kindly checks the bins and flattens any boxes that are put in whole, but this shouldn’t be necessary. Please be considerate of other users.

Temporary rail bridge

Matthew Thompson, Network Rail

The new bridge is in place, and the deck will be put in imminently. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be installing lighting and CCTV.

As a critical organisation, we are still operating to keep people and goods moving around the country.

Rail timetable changes

From GWR via Robin Gibbons for Tackley Parish Council

The new rail timetable came into effect on 23 March. There will, however, be temporary changes to advertised services until further notice.

These will prioritise key routes, essential for those people delivering vital services as the UK responds to the current situation. We will be operating hourly London services to Bristol Temple Meads, South Wales, Worcester Shrub Hill and Plymouth where customers will be able to connect for Cornwall. Customers for the South Cotswolds will be able to connect with a two-hourly service from Swindon. There will also be significant changes to regional and branch line services.

We are working hard to enter all the changes into online and digital timetables, so that you can check individual journeys on our website. See also our dedicated COVID-19 page.

Robin tweets

Canon Robin Gibbons

During this time our churches are having to stop services and follow the government guidelines.

The rector and the Methodist Church will let you know what they are doing and also share the many resources we have!

My own parish is in London, and for 30 years I have driven or taken the train to be with my chaplaincy every Sunday, but until further notice I cannot!

So now in part-isolation, I am being a good virtual priest and putting up thoughts and prayers via my Twitter feed @RobinGibbons2.

Please feel free to follow, but if anybody is worried or needs to speak to me I can be found via email – [email address removed from archive copy] – or drop a note through 40 Nethercote Road and we can then arrange to speak. I’m not handing out my mobile number as it’s needed for the parish!

You are always welcome to drop into St Nicholas’ which will be open for prayer. If you need, add a prayer petition on our prayer board. Stay safe, wash hands, keep in the social distance zones!

But know that each day, several times a day from my Nethercote Road ‘hermitage’ you are remembered in my thoughts and in prayer! For those who share my own faith I will, as has been asked by our Church authorities, celebrate mass on my own at 10 am on Sundays—so join in thoughts and prayers at this time.

As I’m also Canon of the Cathedral, they too will be praying for our village.

We have a wonderful community. Keep each other in thought, and if a praying person does pray, blessings on all of us!

Strength out of weakness

Revd Marcus Green

Christ is risen! From all at St Nicholas’ Church, I would like to wish everyone in the village a very happy Easter.

Of course, the truth is that following the December general election, January’s Brexit, our persistently wet and stormy winter, and the onset of this COVID-19 pandemic, Easter 2020 isn’t now promising to be the happiest of times…

Is there anything we can do to make things better?

On a global scale, it’s hard to see how we can say ‘yes’—but perhaps we have to leave big answers for others to worry about. Church is about loving God and loving people, however, and maybe there are some things we can do locally that will help us here and now. Faced with any situation where the news seems scary and uncertain, all of us have a tendency to think of ourselves – to wonder if we will be alright – but one of the surest tests of our humanity is to stop and see if we are thinking about others too.

Easter is a time when Jesus’ nail-pierced hands are pulled wide apart and fixed to a plank of wood. But the truth is his arms are always wide open and ready to welcome you, me, all of us with his never-ending love. It’s not nails that keep his embrace so wide—it’s love.

A time when we all face something we have no control over can be truly awful. Some people will get sick. Some people may have to face the very worst news. For the rest of us, we are given a chance to put ourselves to one side. We are given a chance to rise up a bit and become our better selves. To care a little more: not to fear, but to choose to do good.

Good hygiene and washing hands is just the beginning. Then maybe we pick up the phone and check on someone we haven’t seen for a day or two—are they self-isolating or under the weather? Can we help get them anything? Can we offer to loan a book or help them find something online that will make life feel a bit less empty? Can we drop off food or even just send a text regularly?

Fear, isolation, and death are things that rob us of ourselves; of community; of the will to live. When Jesus died on Good Friday, his family of followers fell apart. And then he rose again. And the people who had fallen apart rose with him and became unstoppable. This Easter time perhaps all of us here need to see that story, and find in it a picture of how we as a community know that all sorts of things face us all the time—and yet God gives us strength, if we will take it, to live and to love and to offer to each other life and love so that when we are weak then we are strongest.

I very much hope, as I write, that all our church Easter services will be happening as planned. But if events conspire against us this year, then I know that we will do even more glorious things as we find constant, small ways to show love and care throughout our community and to bless each other day by day. That may indeed help make this Easter feel like the happiest of times.

Finally, a note about our Annual Church Meeting on the evening of Sunday, 3 May. Only Church Electoral Roll members can vote on issues, but everyone is welcome to attend. As Rector I look forward to our church continuing to grow in faith and love and number, and especially in caring for others. If that’s something that matters to you, please come and join us.

Update: The archbishops have now called on all Church of England parishes to pause public worship, so we will not be holding Sunday services.

However, the church building will be open daily for private prayer or reflection or for folk to come and find a little space with God. A short video resource, ‘Worship at Home’, will be posted every Sunday on the homepage of our website.

In addition, I am sending out regular emails to everyone on our benefice email list. These have offers of help, a little news of others, and some encouragement, hope and love along the way. If anyone who isn’t currently on that list would like to be, please let me know: [email address removed from archive copy].

Review review

T. H. Espian Esq, Back Stage, City Varieties Leeds

In January I was at the Leeds City Varieties music hall, a place much connected with the alliterative Mr Leonard Sachs and The Good Old Days, but there didn’t seem to be much of one as I caught the train down to Oxford. It rained and the thought of a depressing return to Tackley in the dark filled me with gloom.

However, as I left Birmingham a pinging text reminded me I had been sent tickets from an admirer to attend a theatrical entertainment of the music hall kind: Tackley Review 2020, one which whetted the appetite by hinting at such acts of desperation as music, murder, mayhem and magic.

And so with a sense of delicious anticipation I entered the well-appointed Tackley Village Memorial Hall and took my place.

What can I say? How to compare it to the City Varieties Leeds? The answer is that by far the enthusiasm in the village hall surpassed ours!

And what took place—it would be invidious for me to single out any one act above all others, but I can state that they fell into four main classes.

The musical treats were graciously and merrily performed by the soloists, players and singers and the groups. You all surpassed yourselves and the audience really enjoyed you. Bravo!

The Tackley Players gave us a meaty murder; did we guess what was going to happen, who was the murderer? Well my neighbour did, but he got it all wrong, so well done—a real minty performance!

There were the two offerings from village groups: shop and bell ringers. Whoever wrote the songs should be given a medal for entertainment, and the various cast members applauded for their versatility, most importantly the younger element that helped with the props and stage changes that added to the spice. More, please!

Then where would we be in a music hall without the touch of magic? The drama was palpable when the saw cut into the space beside the willing victim, but as always the magic seemed to turn out, as it should—so thanks for the tension and awe we experienced.

In all the evening was ever enjoyable. You were all too good to single out, so a big round of applause from us in an older stuffier music hall!

On a serious note, I can now say we were really fortunate the Review took place when it did. As we hunker down, each doing our bit to try and defeat the COVID-19 virus, maybe we can all get inspiration from our memories of those two evenings in February.

History group

Sue Ashton, Secretary

We are very sorry and regret that, due to the situation with the coronavirus, we have decided to cancel our meetings and talks for March, April and May, including the special talk on the Cataraqui scheduled for 6 April.

The safety of our members is paramount, and the speakers have all expressed their support and are happy to reschedule their talks for a future time when things hopefully return to a more normal situation.

Horse show

Alex Machin, Horse Show Committee

Very sadly, this year’s show has been cancelled. We would like to thank all those who have given or offered their time and support. We will return!

Late Spring

Joan Douglass

The Age UK Oxfordshire Late Spring bereavement group held in Tackley Methodist Church on 2nd and 4th Thursdays has, as you might suspect, been suspended.

In the meantime, Age UK staff are manning a new helpline on [phone number removed from archive copy]. They may be able to put you in touch with helpful services going on in your area, or be a listening ear to concerns as we all cope with this worrying time.

Silver Threads Bingo

Bingo is currently suspended because of COVID-19.

Walking group

Walking group is currently suspended because of COVID-19.