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14 - Village Life

 Perhaps the one thing which turns a village from a place into a community is village life.  In many urban areas, there are lots of people, but no real community spirit.  Stillington is very fortunate in having a lot of different organisations and groups which keep the community spirit alive. This is a record of some of the things which go on in an active village.


The Bonfire Committee

With increasing cost and the ever growing requirement for stringent safety precautions, organised fireworks events are becoming ever more popular.  Stillington's has become so attractive that attendance now has to be restricted to around 1000 people in order to avoid overwhelming village facilities.  On the day, children and supervising adults use tractors and trailers loaned by local farmers to collect masses of combustible material for the most enormous bonfire.  Meanwhile an army of workers prepare a tent for food, barriers for safety, and a fireworks launch area.  The evening commences with a flaming torch light procession through the village led by the guy.  Once he is in place the bonfire is lit with the torches and the fun begins with hot food, hot drinks, hot bonfire and brilliant fireworks. 


The Charity for relief in Need

The Charity was established in 1976 by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales.  It combines the Consolidated Charities Scheme of 1892 (itself revised in 1897 and 1916, and by the 1960 Charities Act) with the 1839 Charity of John Calvert.  The eight Trustees apply the income from the Charity to help either individuals or organisations from the Parish of Stillington, who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress.  Grants of money may be given, or items, services or facilities may be provided.  In 1998, besides individuals and three village organisations benefiting, flowers were given to the sick and infirm at Christmas and all village residents were invited for a free Christmas Lunch. 


The Classic Car Club

Stillington Classic Car Club was formed in 1991 when Chris Thurstans purchased his first car, a 1928 Model A.  Since then the club has grown to approximately 20 members from Stillington and York.  They meet regularly during the season for various events, and have about twelve classic cars. 


The Craft Group

In 1989 Muriel Law and Hilda Nash thought they needed some kind of craft stall at future bazaars, so they arranged a meeting at Muriel Law's house asking for volunteers to join them.  This was the start of the craft group.  For the Christmas bazaar they decided to make wreaths and table decorations.  This was a huge success.  They then incorporated the idea of cream teas every Bank Holiday Monday at the Chapel.  In ten years the Group have raised a substantial amount of money for the Church and Chapel.  All thanks to a willing band of approximately nine ladies. 


The Duck Keeper

In 1999 Vic Green took over the job of Duck keeper from Richard Frankland.  Numbers vary considerably, but at one point in that breeding season there were approaching forty mallard ducks on the pond.  They are fed twice a day; and numbers take their toll naturally or being hit (by vehicles) whilst in flight or crossing the road. 


The Gardening Club

Stillington Gardening Club was founded in 1979.  It meets monthly in the village hall from September to March with a programme of speakers and an average attendance of 30.  In 1999 membership stood at 200+, with an annual subscription of only 2 per family.  Members give and raise plants for the end of May sale.  This with subscriptions funds expenses.  There are summer visits, with the produce show between mid August and early September.  Members have discounts including seeds and fertilisers. Both the committee, which in 1999 still included two founder members, and the membership, reflects a balance of long-term and recent residents.


The Neighbourhood Watch

The 302 properties, within the confines of the village, are divided between 36 co-ordinators.  Stillington now receives information via a "Ringmaster" automatic system used by the North Yorkshire Police.  Messages are received either from the Police or from our own "Village Grapevine" and then disseminated to all residents.


The Parish Council

Stillington has seven Parish Council Members who are elected for a four year term.  The Parish rate, which forms part of the District Council tax, is set annually - and most of the expenditure is taken up by grass cutting and payment of the Parish Clerk.  The Parish Council meet monthly in the Village Hall and all electors are invited to attend.


The Pastoral Care Group

A Pastoral Care Scheme was set up early in 1995 by a group from the Methodist Chapel and St Nicholas Church.  It aims to give support to anyone in need either directly or by contacting the appropriate agency.  The village is divided into five areas each supported by two ladies.  The co-ordinator of the scheme is Desmond Redding.  The group is very much aware that a great deal of spontaneous care takes place in the village.  The existence of the group should ensure that everyone in the village knows someone whom they can contact.


The Playgroup

The Playgroup meets in the village hall every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. The Group has one paid Supervisor who is aided each day by two unpaid helpers. During 1999, between 10 to 14 children have been registered with the playgroup.  The Government's 'Free Nursery Places For All four Year Olds' started in 1997.  Unfortunately, the Group was not able to meet the criteria for receiving funds.  Today, therefore most of our children leave the playgroup at the age of four and start the local school where Government funding was granted.


The Royal British Legion

Formed in 1925, the Stillington and District Branch of the Royal British Legion will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2000.  The Royal British Legion is the largest ex-service organisation in this country and its main aim is to help all ex-service people and their dependants whenever and whatever need exists.   As most of the ex-service people from World War II are now over 75, claims for help grow.   The main source of funds is the annual poppy appeal in the first fortnight in November. The Stillington branch also holds a Remembrance Day ecumenical service in Stillington, Brandsby and Sutton churches in turn, with poppy wreaths laid on the local War Memorials.



Sadly the Stillington group of Brownies and Guides were disbanded in 1998, owing to a shortage of volunteers to be leaders.  The Brownies now meet at either Easingwold or Huby and Guides go to Easingwold. Cub Scouts join in with the Moxby pack meeting at Huby Village Hall and the Scouts go to either Moxby or Easingwold.  Perhaps, if volunteers can be found, Stillington can have its own groups again.


Stillington News

By the start of the Millennium Year, Stillington News was 5 years old.  Published monthly for the villages of Stillington and Marton cum Moxby, it carries news on all aspects of village life.  Its purpose is to give information about every organisation in the villages and to keep the housebound in touch. Funded by voluntary contribution, it is delivered free to every house within walking distance, with extra copies available at the Post Office.  Four months after its inauguration, The Stillington News was awarded a "Community Action Award", sponsored by Tyne-Tees Television and Taylors' Tea of Harrogate.


The Sunday School

The Sunday School meets weekly in the Chapel on Sunday mornings throughout school term time.  Once a month, there is a joint Church/Chapel Family Service held in alternating venues.  There are normally six teachers who work on a rota system, and some eight to ten children with an average age of four to ten years attend.


The Women's Institute

The W.I. currently has twenty five members, meeting on the second Wednesday of each month, in the Village Hall.  Run by a committee of eight members, the Millennium Year Chairman is Mrs Kath Brown.  Meetings start at 7.30 pm, with a short business session and then a speaker.  Topics are very varied and cater for all interests.  As an example, in 1999 subjects covered included The Flowers of Greece, Whitby Jet Jewellery, The Brontes, The Salvation Army and Physiotherapy.  The August meeting is a social event, usually an outing, such as a visit to the local theatre, with a meal beforehand.  The W.I. is always open to new members, especially from the younger residents of the village.


Dominoes, Pool and Darts Leagues

'Pub' games are an important feature in the social life of the village.  The Bay Horse has a team in the Summer Darts League.  Teams from the Bay Horse and the Sports and Social Club also play in the John Smith's Easingwold and District Summer Pool League.  However, the darker winter evenings allow more time for social activities.  The Bay Horse has a darts team in the Easingwold and District Darts League.  The Sports and Social Club and the White Bear both enter two teams, and the Bay Horse has one team in the John Smith's Easingwold and District Pool League.  The White Bear, the Sports and Social Club and the Bay Horse 'A' and 'B' teams play in the "Villages" 'Dominoes 5's and 3's' league.  Matches are played on a 'home and away' basis, linking Stillington's social life to that of Easingwold and the surrounding villages.


The Sports And Social Club

The Stillington Sports and Social Club, founded in 1959, is south of the village off the York Road.  The land is vested in the Charity Commissioners under the Playing Fields Association, and is run by the local committee.  The club house has two main rooms each with a bar.  It is the venue for many social activities such as bingo monthly quizzes which raise money for local good causes, and country music nights.  It is also 'home' to the rest of the groups and organisations described below.


The Bowling Club

The Bowling Club, opened by Yorkshire Bowler Bob Ashman, is now in its 21st year and currently has 44 members.  Teams compete in the following leagues: Hovingham District (Rinks), York and District Private Clubs (Triples), Galtres League (Triples) Hovingham Mini-league (Triples) and the veterans play in the Hovingham District League (Triples).   Each season the club holds an Open Pairs Tournament and a two-wood Open Singles competition.


The Cricket Club

The Cricket Club has two teams in the York and District Senior Costcutter's League (in Division 2 and Division 5) and a team in Division 2 of the Pilmoor Evening League.  Junior cricket has recently taken off in the area and Stillington has had an Under-14 side in the Galtres League since its inception.  For 1999 there has also been an Under-16 team in the York and District Mitchell Sports League.  Collis King, an ex-test cricketer from the West Indies, has been playing with Stillington for the past four seasons (1996-99).  In 1999, the club installed two artificial practice wickets and nets with aid from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts. 


The Dancing Group

The group started about ten years ago.  Initially there were ten members from the village; and they now have about forty members, mainly from the surrounding area.  They do Sequence and Modern Ballroom, and it is all good exercise for all ages. 


The Line Dancing Group

This energetic pastime became very popular during the 1990s.  Every Tuesday from February 1996 to Easter 1998 Dave and Marion Ford led a full hall at the Sports and Social Club.   However, as other venues have taken up Line Dancing the numbers have reduced.  The group continues to meet led by Bob and Pauline Young who have been in charge since May 1998.


The Football Club

The Football Club has certainly been in existence for over 100 years.  At present the First team is in the Leeper and Hare York and District Senior League Division 2, and the Reserves are in Reserve Section C.  Junior football has been played in the area for about 25 years and some of the youngsters have gone on to sign professional forms.  The Corinthians Under-15 and Under-11 sections are playing at Stillington for the 1999 - 2000 season.


The Hockey Club

 The Hockey club's first gathering on the pitch in December 1979 produced over 30 players, and included the future international player, Andrew Bolland from Easingwold.  Games have always been played on Sunday afternoons and initially were friendly matches for Mixed, Men's, Ladies' and Junior Girls' teams.  The Club now caters for Ladies and Junior Girls, with friendly matches being played with fixtures from Driffield over to Pickering.


The Jazz Club

In 1994 a jazz band that had been regularly playing in Easingwold stopped because of lack of support.  However, two or three villagers felt that there was an audience locally for live extemporised music and so The Stillington and Brandsby Jazz Appreciation Society was born.  Concerts are held at about three monthly intervals, and several excursions have been made to the Pickering Jazz Festival.  Mike Green, an accomplished jazz band leader from Harrogate brings a varying group of musicians which usually make a four-piece line up.  They mainly play melodies written either just before, or in the early part of this century.  The events in the social club are free and are funded by a raffle and generous support by enthusiasts.


The Squash Club

Dickie Jeeps, Chairman of the Sports Council, opened the Courts in 1983.  The Club has a mainly senior membership of about 100 players.  For the winter season, there are four Men's teams and two Ladies' teams playing in the York and District Leagues.  During the summer, two Mixed teams play in the Mitchell York and District League.


The Tennis Club

The courts were opened in 1977 by Gina Huntington (LTA Coach) and Malcolm Huntington (Wimbledon Umpire).  The shale surfaces were replaced with an all weather surface in 1986.  The Club caters for all standards and has over 100 Senior and Junior members.  In 1999 there were two Mixed Doubles teams playing in Divisions 2 and 5 of the York and District League, and a Ladies' Doubles team in Division 5 of the Fulford Ladies League.