Recorder's Report 2010

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I took over the role of Local History Recorder from Rosemary Tinney and would like to thank her for all the work that she has done over the years. The year began with New Year drinks in the Village Hall and some cold weather. From the parish magazine I have the following highlights: The Berden Africa Fund, which started in 2001 is still going strong and it was set up to support youngsters in Uganda who need financial assistance to obtain an education. New members would be welcome to join the scheme.

The phone box refurbishment will be under way in the near future. British Telecom will continue to provide the power for the light.

Big Berden Garden Birdwatch took place during the weekend of the 30 and 31 January. Many more visitors to the bird tables due to the cold weather including Blackcaps and Redwings.

Geoffrey Debnam, a former Boy Bishop of St Nicholas, died on 27 December 2009 and was buried at the church on 7 January.


The Bishop of Colchester will be visiting St Nicholas Church on Palm Sunday, 28 March 2010 at 6pm to dedicate the new chapel room and kitchen facilities. On 16 May there will be the first Berden Marathon organised by John Tippett on behalf of cancer care at Isobel Hospice. ‘The Flying Phonebox’ written by Sue Griffiths was performed between 26 and 28 February in the Village Hall. It was well attended and supported by about 40 members of the village. The Berden Women’s Institute and Mothers’ Union continue to meet regularly. The main roads in Berden have been gritted for the first time thanks to the local councillor, Janice Loughlin and this has certainly helped during the recent harsh spell of cold weather. There are a lot of pot holes to deal with at the moment.


Many new families have joined the Berden and Manuden Baby and Toddler group and it now has a full register. Family night continues on the first Friday of every month and in March there will be another Fish and Chip takeaway night. A new monthly book club has also been set up by Miriam Foster of The Street. Kate Harrison has agreed to chair the Berden Fete committee this year. It will take place on 10 July. Oscar Benterman was baptised on 21 March.


The annual Fish Pie Supper took place on Good Friday at St Nicholas Church with a raffle in support of St Claire’s Hospice. The Easter Egg hunt took place on Easter Sunday for the children of the village. The PCC met on 27 April to elect the Church Wardens and other members. A collection was made for those affected by the Haiti disaster with over £800 being sent to the Disasters Emergency Committee. The Berden Croquet tournament will be starting on 8 May. A Spring Quiz night was held on Friday 16 April with a meal. It was well attended. Nicholas Heath and Camilla Ruggles-Brise were married on 17 April.


The K2 phone box has been repainted by Stephen Griffiths and now belongs to the Parish Council. It is no longer a working phone box due to mobile phone use. 3 May saw the annual ‘Get to know your footpaths day’ with a family barbecue. At family night on 7 May children made bird boxes with their parents. Joy Cuda nee Sibley, a life long resident of Berden and former May Queen, died on 18 May. The Berden marathon was successfully completed by John Tippett, it was his second marathon in 3 weeks. There was an interesting visit to Saffron Walden Museum on 25 May to look at some items of importance including the c.2500BC Berden Beaker, a medieval stone coffin, a Berden volunteer fire brigade leather helmet and a Stocks Farm land sale catalogue. A warm and sunny month.


On 2 June the funeral was held of Joy Cuda, a lifelong resident of this village. It was also the 65th wedding anniversary of her marriage to George Cuda, an American, in the same church. On Thursday 10 June Dr James Bettley gave an interesting talk on the architectural history of St Nicholas. It was well attended and was the inaugural event of the Friends of St Nicholas. Daisy Skelton was baptised on 16 May. £256 was raised for the British Red Cross last month. Preparations continue for the 63rd Berden Garden Fete, first begun in 1947. A new Boules pitch has been constructed at the Village Hall, thanks to the Stansted Airport Community Trust. A very warm month.

The Fete was held on 10 July and raised over £9000 for the Church and Village Hall. It had a variety of stalls along with vintage cars, shire horses and Morris dancers. It continues to be a popular event attracting people from all over the area. It is entirely village run with a lot of people donating their time and money. Thelma Cockram, the mother of Brian Cockram of Berden, was 100 this month. This was recorded in the Herts & Essex Observer on 15 July. The wedding of James Tinney and Caroline Topp took place at St Nicholas Church on 17 July, and on the following Saturday Ashley Wildsmith married Amanda Brookfield. On 28 July Maurice Ansell was interviewed, and his photograph collection was scanned by Clive Lane. A valuable historic archive has been put together. Local business man, Nick Lawler was featured in the Herts & Essex Observer on 22 July. He described how his automatic pizza machines are currently being used.


A well respected journalist, Sarosh Daruvala was found dead at his home on 2 August in Berden. This was recorded by the Herts & Essex Observer on 5 August. A quiet period due to the holiday season.


Bernard Stone aged 91 was buried in Berden churchyard on 1 September. Phillip Scatchard, the Parish Council Chairman, died on 2 September after being diagnosed with cancer. He joined the Council in 2001. He was involved in many village activities over the years, including the play that was performed in February, and will be sadly missed. The final of the Croquet took place at Dewes Green and was won by the Brookfields. In the bowl, Martin Benjamin and Andrew Hale were the winners. Annie Tant’s Berden sweetshop was re-opened over the weekend of 11-12 September at the home of John Burton (Wheelwrights) - all proceeds went to Berden charities. An interesting tour of Berden Hall took place on 23 September. It was a popular event. Berden was featured in the Recorders of Uttlesford History book called Let Them Make Cake with a recipe from Kate Harrison, Churchwarden.


The Manuden and Berden History Society met on 21 October, with an informative talk on the history of space exploration, in the Chapel room. It was given by Robin Mobbs, a teacher from Buntingford. This was preceded by the AGM, which confirmed the change in name from Manuden History Society to the Manuden & Berden History Society. The annual Dave Barnes quiz night took place on 8 October and was as popular as ever. There is a vacancy on the Parish Council. David Williams will be acting Chairman. Thomas McClean was baptised on 10 October. Donald Monk was buried on 26 October 2010. His father was a founder member of the Cricket Club. He attended the school and worked locally. Berden Tennis Tournament took place on 24 October and was won by Paul Flowers and Barbara Jester. A petition was organised by Stephen Griffiths regarding the site of the ‘Cock’ public house. It is hoped that it will be rebuilt after a fire destroyed it 2 years ago.


A World War One talk was given to the Manuden & Berden History Society on 18 November by the Curator of Bishop’s Stortford Museum. The first bus stop shop selling seasonal produce from around the village was held on 27 November. It was organised by John Burton and raised funds for the local church. A Nordic walking group was set up this month. Elections for the parish council will take place in May 2011. A very successful Fireworks display took place near Berden Hall on 6 November. It was well attended by many members of the village. The usual bonfire collection took place prior to this. Easingwell pond was cleaned up by the Berden Nature Group. The Crump pond will also be improved in the new year.


The Carol service took place on 19 December and was well attended. Heavy snowfall in the area has caused travel disruption. The usual services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were also popular. A Viking evening took place in Manuden on 9 December as part of the Berden History Society Christmas celebrations. Berden WI held a Swedish Christmas talk and demonstration on 7 December. The Children’s Christmas Party took place on 18 December at the Village Hall. A disco and a visit from Father Christmas was enjoyed by all who attended. The Herts & Essex Observer ran a feature on 2 December about a murder that took place in Stocking Pelham in 1969. The suspect was a regular at The Raven, Berden.

Mark Trapmore
Berden Local History Recorder
December 2010