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From Jo Simson - 27th June

Open Church:
There are 72 steps up the bell tower in the twelfth-century church of St. Mary's. If you want to ring the bells you need to pull down on the sally (the furry bit), let your other arm go up and catch the sally as it comes past your nose. There is a fine view of Knebworth House from the top. If you want to hone your juggling skills, the trick is to scoop with your catching hand as you throw the ball back to your throwing hand. The three children at the bottom of the Lytton-Strode memorial in the Lytton chapel are not playing but holding symbols of their early deaths; the four at the top are the ones who survived. I learned these interesting facts from, Chris Simson, a patient bell-ringer, the Bishop of Hertford and Memento Mori expert Mike Howgate respectively. All were at Open Church Sunday on June 23. The weather held fine but there were a few casualties amongst the teddies who parachuted from said Bell Tower in the high winds. All were rescued (though a couple of footballs lobbed into a tree to dislodge them were not) and received certificates marking their heroism.

The one who threw herself under a horse:
Stevenage and Knebworth Arts Group were the hosts for the Festival production of Ros Connelly's one woman play about Emily Wilding Davison. 26 year old Elizabeth Crarer's performance as Emily was a tour de force - and gave us an insight into this troubled woman's life and what our predecessors suffered to get women the vote.

Merry Dance:
If you are kicking yourself for missing these festival treats, fear not, there is a hectic week-end of fun ahead. Take yourself on A Merry Dance this Friday June 28 courtesy of Knebworth Community Chorus at 7.30pm in St. Martin's Church . Tickets £12 (children £6) on the door or from the Festival Box Office, aka Village News, Station Road.

Festival Fun Day:
All the Fun of the Fair is on offer this Saturday June 29 from 1pm at the Recreation Ground off Watton Road. From 4pm the Music Zone takes off and the music from local groups plays on until after 8pm.

Festival Finale:
Sunday June 30 starts with Songs of Praise raising the roof of St. Martin's from 4pm, featuring the Royal Priesthood Gospel Choir from South Africa. At 6 and 7pm the Secrets of Knebworth House Gardens are revealed by Head Gardener Kelly Baker and Archivist Clare Fleck. The tours start with a Pimms Reception and finish with a Hog Road on the Garden Terrace with life jazz. Tickets £20.

Is there life after the Festival?:
Well the Knebworth Walking Group are inexhaustible. They set off from the Village Hall Car Park next Tuesday July 2 at 10am. Destination Charlton (village not football team). All welcome including well-behaved dogs on leads.

Jo Simson

From Jo Simson - 18th June

North Herts. Cats Protection are hoping for a full house at their new, regular lunchtime Bingo session. Taking place in the Station Pub (opposite the railway station) at 1.30pm, sessions cost just £2 a head and the cash prizes are shared between the winners and the cats. An optional senior's meal is available from 12.30pm at £4.99 for two courses.

Woolmer Green food and Craft Market:
This Sunday is the fourth in the month, so all sorts of food, crafts and refreshments are available at the monthly market from 9am-1pm in Woolmer Green Village Hall, just off Bridge Road.

A Journey into Space:
There's a wide range of activities and events in this year's Knebworth Festival which runs from 21-30 June. Next Thursday June 27 sees a celebrity talk in the Village Hall at 7.30pm. 'A Journey into Space' by Alistair Scott, looks at the Space Industry in Stevenage and the work of the British Interplanetary Society. Tickets, (£10, under-16s £2, Knebworth Twinning Association Member £8) are available from the Festival Box Office, Village News, Station Road.

Space Academy:
Space is clearly topical. This summer's Good Egg Holiday club for School Years 0-6 is based on the story of Daniel, but takes a Space Academy theme and includes lots of fascinating information about space travel and astronauts. Invitations to the Knebworth Family of Churches Club go out next week-end, or pick one up at the Good Egg Club stall at the Festival Fun Day in the Recreation Ground next Saturday June 29. More on the Fun Day next week.

Beyond Reasonable Doubt:
In fact beyond any doubt at all our very own Knebworth Players will be performing Jeffrey Archer's play of that name as part of Stevenage Festival. It's a popular choice - the 'other drama group', KATS (Knebworth Amateur Theatrical Society) put it on a few years ago in Knebworth. Both productions share the same leading lady - the fragrant Margaret Webb. Catch it on Thursday June 27 or Friday June 28 at 7.45pm in the Gordon Craig theatre. Tickets £7 from www.gordon-craig.co.uk

Jo Simson

From Jo Simson - 13th June

You really must come for coffee:
All are invited to Knebworth Family of Churches Coffee morning this Saturday June 15 in St. Martin's Parish Centre in the heart of the village, from 10am-12noon. Unlimited tea and coffee will be served to chat over and home-made cake and Fairtrade goods will be on sale. All proceeds to Christian Aid.

Fathers' Day at Knebworth House:
Up at Knebworth House and Country Park this Sunday June 16 there's a Festival of Transport aimed at the Dad in your life. Classic cars and a motorcycle show are combined in two arenas with commentators. Competitions, trade stands and over 500 display vehicles on show. Usual park admission prices (£9 per person £32 per family of four) apply or book online at www.knebworthhouse.com and get a 10% discount.

Open Church Sunday:
There's a full programme of events in this year's Knebworth Festival which runs from June 21 - 30. Sunday June 23 sees Open Church Sunday. This is a whole day of events and activities which you wouldn't normally be able to do up at the lovely twelfth-century Parish Church of St. Mary's in Knebworth Park, Old Knebworth. You can try your hand at bell-ringing, take a tour of the tower or a penalty shot at the Rector. The Bishop of Hertford will demonstrate his juggling skills, and teddies will be parachuting from the tower. All are more than welcome to all or some of the events. The programme for the day is as follows: 10am All Age Service, from 11.15am children's activities including brass rubbing, activity sheets and a treasure hunt; 12.15pm The juggling bishop; 12.30pm Bring Your own picnic lunch; 2.30pm Organ Recital; 3pm Talk on the Momento Mori in the Lytton Chapel; 3.30pm Quarter Peal of Bells.

Lottery Funding Advice comes to Knebworth:
The Big Lottery Fund is holding a free funding event for organisations based in and around the rural areas of Stevenage in Knebworth Village Hall next Thursday June 20. Stephen McPartland, MP, will be opening the briefing event for representatives of not-for-profit and community groups, schools and Parish Councils based in the area and looking for funding. Places must be booked. Email Click Here.

Jo Simson

From Jo Simson - 6th June

Fêteful day:
If it's June it must be Fête season. The weather seems to have taken a turn for the better, so let's hope it holds for Datchworth's fête just up the hill. That starts at 2pm this Saturday June 8.

Big Tea Party:
It's never too early for a tea party. This Sunday June 9 there will be one following the 10am service in St. Martin's Church in the centre of the village. Penny Paton is organising tea and cake at approximately 11.15am in St. Martin's Parish Centre in aid of Open Doors, an organisation which supports the persecuted Church. They are focusing this year on the Top Ten most persecuted countries.

Funny Girls:
If you are looking for a little light relief, all are more than welcome to the WI's next meeting on Wednesday 12 June at 7.45pm in Trinity Church. Whilst I am sure they can all tell a good joke with the rest of them, the funny girls are not the members themselves, but British Comediennes, the subject of a talk by Geoff Bowden.

Children's and Families Outreach Worker:
Knebworth Parish has a vacancy for a Children's and Families Outreach worker. The 1 year part-time paid contract of 10 hours per week starts in September. Closing date for applications is June 24 and interviews will be held on July 7. An occupational requirement is that the post-holder is a Christian. Download an application pack at Click Here.

Eyes down for a full house:
From next Friday June 14, weekly lunchtime Bingo sessions come to the Station Pub, opposite Knebworth Station in Station Approach. The Bingo sessions are in aid of North Herts. Cats Protection. £2 a game and the cash prize is shared between the winners and the cats. An optional seniors' meal is available for just £4.99 for two courses.

Emily Wilding Davison (the one who threw herself under the horses):
On June 4 1913, Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison ran in front of the King’s horse during the Epsom Derby and was knocked unconscious.  She died of her injuries four days later having never regained consciousness.  Acting on the suffragette slogan ‘Deeds not Words’, Davison’s protest against the refusal of Britain’s rulers to grant votes for women made her a martyr for democracy and women’s rights.  As part of Knebworth Festival this year, Stevenage and Knebworth Arts Group stage a new play by Ros Connelly will be performed on Friday June 21 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. Absorbing, challenging and wry. Tickets - £8 to include a glass of wine or soft drink - are available from Village News in Station Road.

Jo Simson

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