Baby & Toddler Group October – December 2021

October – December 2021 Schedule for Baby & Toddler Group

Baby & Toddler Group announce october - december 2021 programme

The West Bergholt Baby & Toddler group’s schedule for October – December 2021 includes a wide range of activities from handmade kids clothes to professional photography  The full list is shown below, please be aware that some events may change at short notice. 

You can follow the group’s activities on their secure Facebook or WhatsApp Groups.

The Schedule

11th OctoberNay-Nay Makes (handmade baby and children’s wear)
18th OctoberSally Parkinson Photography (offering 5 minute mini photo shoots of your child)
8th NovemberForever In Silver Fingerprint Jewellery
15th NovemberUsbourne books
22nd NovemberPickle & Boo (Pom Pom garlands and keepsakes )
29th November Tinsel, Baubles and Festive Treats (The Tom Bowdidge Foundation)
13th December 🎅🏻 Christmas Party  🎅🏻

So there will be lots of visitors this term, leading up to Christmas; hopefully they might help with some gift ideas or just give you something to browse while the children play.

Here we go again – Stay at home & Advent News

An advent window

Here we go again, Advent & Other News

An advent window
See a video display of the windows Advent Calendar below

Colchester will join the rest of Essex in Tier 4 a minute after midnight Xmas Day.  After that non-essential services & shops will be closed and we are asked to stay at home apart from exercise, shopping etc…

No household mixing indoors is allowed.  You can leave your home to exercise by yourself, with your Continue reading “Here we go again – Stay at home & Advent News”

Winter Bulletin & Some Christmassy News

Issue 163 Bulletin Cover

Issue 163 Bulletin CoverWinter Bulletin Is Online

First the Bulletin ‘heads-up’ and then:

Why Online?

With the recent Lockdown, it was not possible to print and distribute the Bulletin as usual but it is now available online.  If you know of somebody unable to access the online version, it will be possible to access Continue reading “Winter Bulletin & Some Christmassy News”

The First Window Opens This Evening (& other news)

The first window

The first windowThe First Window Opens

This news round-up starts with the First Window opening this evening and then also covers:

How it Started

Inspired by other places around the country that turn their village into a giant advent calendar, St Mary’s are very grateful to those who volunteered to decorate a window representing a part of the nativity story.

The idea is that each window has a number in it representing their day and that the actual design is not revealed until the allocated day. The revealed designs are then lit each Continue reading “The First Window Opens This Evening (& other news)”

Christmas Events Around Essex

Christmas Events Around Essex

As well as activities around the local parish local there are many other Christmas events around Essex, the following are a small selection:

Xmas MarketChristmas at the Castle

As a seasonal treat, Colchester Castle will be opening its doors for FREE on Wednesday 9 December from 3pm. Come and soak up the Christmas atmosphere with Christmas carols, entertainment and an opportunity to meet Santa (£3.50 with gift). Capture the atmosphere with a professional festive photograph set in our specially decorated Christmas chapel.

Father Christmas waiting on the platform for his special trainAll Aboard the Santa Special


12, 13, 19, 22, 20, 23 and 24 December. Epping Ongar Railway, departing from North Weald.

Mince pies, mulled wine, music and magician; juice and treats for the children as Santa makes his way through the carriages with his elves, handing out gifts to all good boys and girls.

Departures from North Weald are at 09:45, 11:25, 13:05, 14:45* & 16:25* (*excluding 24 December). Buses will depart from Epping Underground and locations in Ongar approximately 50 minutes earlier, so as to conveniently connect with these trains.

Our vintage buses will collect you from Epping or Ongar (if requested when booking) and will transport you to North Weald station, where our Santa Special trains will start. Here, adults will receive a complimentary mince pie and a glass of mulled wine, whilst children receive a juice drink and chocolate bar.

Once aboard the train, let the steam engine take the pressure; Santa will make his way through the carriages, accompanied by his elves, and hand out a gift to all the good boys and girls.  There will be live music to add to the atmosphere, and a magician to entertain the children whilst they await their journey. Maybe there will even be time for a photograph with Santa at one of the stations…

Tickets are now on sale; standard prices for adults & children have been frozen at £16 & £13 respectively, but we have a slight increase in price on our busier days for adults.  Full website details are at

If you are interested in one of our compartments, please click here. Our compartments offer you an exclusive space away from the other passengers, where Santa will visit and present gifts by name! Limited compartments sizes are available for 6 or 8 people, and are priced at £130 & £150 respectively.

Late Night Shopping & More in Colchester

Late night shopping in Colchester is back every Wednesday in December. You can snap up all those special gifts and must-have essentials with Colchester’s fantastic mix of  big name stores and independent retailers. Plus, you can park for FREE after 3pm (at selected car parks).

Other great winter attractions in Colchester include the Winter Wonderland and Ice Rink, new this year, located in Castle Park.  You are advised to pre-book via the event’s website.

Barleylands XmasJingle All The Way at Barleylands

Every day in December to 24th December – spend a day exploring the Farm Park and joining in Christmas activities including the brand new Giant Christmas Snow Globe that you can go inside to have a picture taken.

Father Christmas will be making a one hour appearance twice a day, meeting and greeting in the Festive Barn. There’s also Christmas Crafts, Snowy Owl flying displays and free hot chocolate! Open until 1pm on Christmas Eve.

To find out more or to book your visit go to their website at

Speed Watch & Crime updates, Xmas precautions

Essex PoliceSpeed Watch News

Throughout the Colchester area Community Speed Watch Checks resulted in:

  • 1,120 first warnings,
  • 70 second warnings, and
  • 10 requiring further action (officer visits and possible enforcement).

The West Bergholt Speed Watch team undertook the 10th highest number of speed checks out of the 60 teams and will have contributed much to those numbers.

Mick Green of Essex Police’s Casualty Reduction section, further reported to the Speed watch groups:

BRAKE week was a great success and I can’t thank you enough for all your effort during the week despite the rain! 53 groups were visited, if you were not one of them then I can only apologise I understand that demand was greater than the officers available, but on that note our new Community Engagement Sergeant Graham Freeman will be tasking his Community Officers with arranging more CSW visits in the new year.

The Casualty Reduction section are trialling a new speed detection laser that records the offence which is then processed in the back office the offender then receives the details in the post. This device is capable of detecting hundreds of offences per hour and is now being used to great effect.

December’s activity is largely around drink and drug driving offences as we move towards the Christmas period, if you know of a regular drink driver or pick up any information we would love to hear from you, information will of course be treated in the strictest confidence.

Adam Pipe the Casualty Reduction Section manager continues to forward information via Twitter if you want to receive these tweets then log on and connect with him.

Crime Update

The Essex Watch Liaison Officer has reported on crimes committed between 9th to 15th December including one local crime, and offers a range of ‘Festive Security Tips’.

New Church Road

This “Burglary in a building other than a dwelling” took place between late afternoon on 6th & early morning on 9th December.  Suspects unknown have gained entry to secure class room by forcing the door, no search made, property removed from within.

Christmas presents and treeFestive Security Tips

With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, you are probably in the process of buying presents and stocking up on supplies for the festive season. However, at this time of year rich pickings can be found.

We want you to be able to relax and enjoy the festive season, so here are some useful tips to ensure that you don’t become a victim to an opportunist thief.

  • Make sure gifts and valuables, wrapped and unwrapped, are out of view and not visible from any windows. This applies in the car as well as in the home.
  • Photograph valuable property and log any serial numbers. Don’t store the information on a laptop, as that might be stolen too – keep it on a memory stick in a safe place.
  • Don’t put gift packaging out for recycling or leave it sticking out of your bin – thieves will notice boxes for branded products like laptops, TVs or accessories that could indicate an expensive piece of kit somewhere in the house. The safest thing to do is to break down any cardboard boxes or fold them inside out so that you cannot see the branding. You can then store them out of sight inside your home until you can dispose of them at a local recycling site.
  • Mark any expensive gifts you receive for Christmas with a UV pen or property marking service. This will make it harder for burglars to sell the items and allow police to return them to you. Call your local policing team on 101 for advice about property marking products. You can register your property with which is endorsed by a number of police forces.
  • Lock all doors and windows, leave a light on and draw the curtains when you go out at night. Keep your doors and windows locked from the inside even when you are inside your home.
  • Visible burglar alarms, exterior security lighting, timer lighting switches and leaving the radio on help to deter thieves and give the impression that somebody is at home.
  • Bolt and padlock garden gates and make sure you don’t leave ladders out, or other things that burglars could easily use to climb on. Remember to lock your garden shed and store your tools inside; it stops burglars using your tools to break into your house. Consider fitting extra padlocks to gates, sheds and garages. Don’t keep presents in the garage or shed.

If you’re going away, we always recommend asking a trusted neighbour to pop in to your home every now and then to turn the lights on and off, draw the curtains, collect the mail and make the house look occupied. It goes without saying, make sure everything is properly locked up before you leave and the burglar alarm – if you have one – is set. We advise cancelling your newspapers, magazines and milk deliveries. We also recommend that you don’t advertise the fact you are away from your home on Social Networking sites – thieves use Social Media too!

You don’t have to be a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme to be a good neighbour, and even if you don’t have much contact with your neighbours, Christmas could be the perfect time to break the ice, have a friendly chat and get to know them a bit better.

Burglars wander around looking for chances. The best opportunity for the police to catch them in the act is for you to spot them before they break in. Wherever you live, remain vigilant and if you see anything suspicious, call 999 immediately. You can also call 101 to contact your police in a non-emergency situation.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust has also produced a guide on how to keep safe during the Festive season, which can be viewed and downloaded here:



Drink Driving & other Xmas crimes?

Police Drink Driving poster

Drink Driving

Adam Pipe, the Casualty Reduction Manager at Essex Police is asking all Speedwatch groups, and other community-minded folks, for any  support they can give to the Xmas drink driving campaign.  Such support is always much appreciated and could help save lives. He says:

We always look to the support of the community in providing us with intelligence relating to possible known drink drivers within your communities and this information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

As always you can stay in touch with our daily operations via following my Twitter page @EPAdamPipe.

As their poster cautions – drink-driving can have devastating consequences, don’t take the chance, make sure you arrange your lift home in advance.

Seasonal Fraud On-line

Criminals are always present in our lives and Christmas is no exception.    The City of London Police recently issued a document detailing 12 top seasonal frauds being conducted on-line and how to protect yourself from them:

  1. Shopping On-line?  Beware bogus shopping sites – some may have nothing to deliver, others are shifting counterfeit goods;
  2. Auction Sites are safe aren’t they? Only if used in the safest way and using trusted sellers.
  3. Email links and attachments?  Click them at your peril
  4. Booking a holiday?  If the price seems too good to be true it probably is.
  5. E-card or e-virus?  Many e-cards are safe – but not all are!
  6. Social network special gifts & offers?  Often just trying to capture personal data with nothing to offer at all.
  7. It’s good to give to charity isn’t it?  Of course it is – but make sure it is a legitimate on-line donation.
  8. Paying on-line for presents and services?  Safe only as long as you take precautions.
  9. Transfer the money now to secure your purchase?  Despite the financial institution involved, the ‘seller’ might be running a scam.
  10. Voucher codes are good news?  Possibly, but open to fraud as criminals spread ‘ransomware’ viruses.
  11. Must-see event and cheap tickets?  They might only be cheap because they don’t exist.
  12. Paying with your mobile?  Highly convenient but subject to hacking if not careful.

Read more about how you can protect yourself in 12 Online Frauds of Christmas.

Xmas Bulletin now online

xmas-bulletinThe Xmas Bulletin is now available on-line here, highlights are:

  • First Responders (crucial emergency care) are in danger of collapse.
  • Village Traffic Safety Plan updates.
  • Crime Prevention update, preparing for Xmas.
  • NHS report on cancer services at Colchester being investigated.
  • Round-up of the West Bergholt Concert Band’s 35th Anniversary year.
  • Update on ways of handling a shortage of rectors in our area.
  • Colne Valley Flower Club celebrated its diamond anniversary.
  • Neighbourhood plan update.
  • Updates from many of the village clubs and associations.
  • News on street lighting, and
  • Dairy events and contacts.

Buying Online This Christmas?

If so, why not access your favourite e-Tailer through our webshop. The prices, offers, discounts will all be the same with the single difference that they will pay commission to parish funds which can then be spent on community projects! For a typical Xmas Present shopping list commission of around £15 could be earned. The website is dead easy to remember – just type in in your browser and either search there or click through to your favourite online shop.

The latest update from includes new offers and shops:

Activity Superstore – 10% off everything

  • Use code ‘ASNOV10’ to receive 10% off everything
  • Expires: Friday 31st December 2010
  • Commission: 15%

PLAY – 25% off selected board games

  • 25% off selected board games like Monopoly, Yahtzee, Pictionary, Jenga, Twister and many more
  • Commission: 6% on clothes, 3.5% on Mobiles, 2% on DVDs, CDs, Books & Games, 4% on Gadgets, 0.5% on PCs & Electronics and 1% on Game Consoles

ASDA grocery– 3 for £10 on selected Wine

  • Great offer in the build up for Christmas: Get 3 bottles for £10 on selected wine
  • Commission: £.5.50 for new grocery customers (minimum spend £25)

Thorntons – 3 for 2 on selected treats

  • Thorntons is offering 3 for 2 on a great selection of treats from Chocolate Smothered Orange Slices to Continental chocolates. Grab three items from the 3 for 2 selection and get the cheapest FREE!
  • Commission: 8%

Game – Call of Duty: Black Ops for only £24.99 (RRP£42.95)

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops launches tomorrow Tuesday 9th November and GAME has a limited launch offer which allows you to get the Standard Edition on Xbox 360 or Play Station 3 for only £24.99 when bought with selected titles
  • Please see their website for full Terms and Conditions
  • Commission: 3% on software sales, 1.5% on Solus hardware sales

Dare 2b – 60% off sale

  • To help launch the new autumn/winter range you can now get 60% off hoodies, fleeces, shorts, jackets and much more
  • Commission: 6%

Superdrug – 3 for 2 deal

  • This fantastic 3 for 2 offer gives you the chance to get some amazing deals. You can mix and match any items that have the ‘present’ icon and get the cheapest free!
  • Expires: Tuesday 16th November
  • Commission: 6.5%

Hotels – up to 40% off winter beach holidays

  • The fabulous winter sale has launched and you can save up to 40% on winter beach holidays to Barbados, Thailand, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia and many more!
  • Expires: Book now until Wednesday 15th December and travel between now and Monday 31st January 2011
  • Commission: 6%


National Trust Memberships

  • From £16.50 you can visit hundred of fantastic places in England, Wales & Northern Ireland as many times as you like. No commission is offered for Life Time Memberships
  • Commission: 30% off the membership value
  • Note: Get 12 months membership for the price of 9. There’s a FREE pair of binoculars for you too!

This material has been developed for the West Bergholt Village Website at