Tuesday, 31 January 2012


by Ann Foat

What an exciting year we've had!
We started the year with a shell which Sid Castle had been determined to make weatherproof by Christmas 2010. This he achieved, and, as 2011 progressed, so did the Heritage Centre.
The grand opening was performed on September 22 by Councillor Leyland Ridings. All supporter members were invited, along with those who'd helped us in any way.

The grand opening...in the pic, from left: Ann Foat, Sue Nicholas, chair of Dover Council, Kent councillor Leyland Ridings and Village Hall chair Jean Ryan

This was a hugely enjoyable evening, opening with a scene from The Swing Riots our very first event. This was much enjoyed. The exhibition at the Centre proved very popular and was opened to the public on two Saturday mornings, both of which were well attended.

The lease for the building is in the final stages of completion. We owe thanks to so many for this achievement - the committee, who have worked tirelessly, the funders and supporter members. But I must mention one person without whose quiet help and professional expertise we could not have managed the building process. Ken Collingwood has been a massive support at all stages of the planning and building. We owe him a big vote of thanks.

We're now waiting for acid-free boxes and folders donated from the Centre for Kentish Studies and shelving donated from the Whitfield Archive Centre. Both of these are re-locating. We can now start the huge task of cataloguing all the material we already have.This will be led by Cressida Williams and Peter Ewart, with Kevin Connolly advising on the computer front. They're all historians, so we should be in good hands. We hope to be open to the public at least once a week some time in 2012. We now have charitable status and have also applied to claim Gift Aid.

It was a very busy year for events. We started in March with a very interesting presentation by Clare Ungerson on the refugee camps at Richborough, which stirred many memories. This was followed by the Archaeological Fun Day, organised by Penny Barnard and supported by Rebecca Smith. This involved Canterbury and Dover Museum personnel as well as Canterbury Archaeological Trust. This was held at Cartwright and Kelsey school and proved very successful. Around 100 people attended, including many youngsters.

In July, a concert by the Snowdown Male Voice Choir took place in St Nicholas Church - and the proceeds paid for the splendid worktops in the Centre. We owe the Farbrace family grateful thanks for this event. The following month we again took part in the Sandwich Festival, with a Heritage Walk - Buildings with a Story - devised by myself and Peter Ewart and led by Peter. This was so well supported that we had to turn people away! We contributed to the St Nicholas Open day which was also part of the Sandwich Festival, as David Cave led two groups around the church in the name of the Heritage Group.

We helped the Hallow'e'en Dance with the Drama Group and the Friends of St Nicholas. Thanks to Nina Vallack, Kevin Connolly and two supporter members, we organised the door and the raffle.

The final event of the year was the David Downes Memorial Lecture, given by Anthea Jones who started the work on the registers in Ash. She revisited her time here and talked on Ripples - some personal observations on Ash history.

These events have all run successfully thanks to the hard work of committee members and supporter members acting as stewards and helping with raffles, seating, coffee and other practical matters. Here the work of the lady committee members has been invaluable. So has the assistance from supporter members, whose help when I ring up in a panic is unfailing! Thank you to you all.

The tea towel which we produced - with design help from Ash Art Group and Claire Limbrey - is proving a great success. Thanks to Kevin Connolly, we now have this website too. Please use it and add comments. We've bought a computer, recording equipment and a digital camera with a grant from Bridging the Gap, so we're ready to start data collation.

I hope it emerges from this report how closely we've worked with other organisations in the village, the Drama Group, the Art Group, the school, the church, and, of course, the Village Hall. We must mention the W.I. - whose splendid refreshments added so much to our opening night - and the library, whose opening hours we hope to enhance a little. This is an important aspect of our work and featured prominently in all our funding bids. We're here to work with the community and serve it and that's how we want to continue.

We're working all the time on our present project Ash in World War Two. We're collecting memories from those who were here at the time, on paper and by recordings. Other projects are emerging - mapping house ages in the parish, changes in shops and businesses, making up school history boxes and accessing information from the 1910 survey for The People's Budget. There's plenty to do in the future!

I must finish by thanking our treasurer Graham Foat and secretary Sylvia Profitt for all their hard work and support, as well as the rest of the committee and all the supporter members. Without you all we could do nothing.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Our next event will be a talk by Richard Filmer on 'Kentish Crafts and Industries.'
It will be held in Ash Village Hall on Thursday, March 22 and starts at 7.30pm.


Please fill in a Gift Aid form to accompany your membership fee. Then Ash Heritage Group, a self-financing charity, can receive tax relief on membership fees. Just print out the form below, or get one from our chair, Ann Foat (phone: 01304 812121).


Ash Heritage Centre on the Village Hall

This is now built and is administered by Ash Heritage group, a charity which depends entirely for its sustainability on the supporter members and help and encouragement from the Parish council and Village Hall management team.
As a supporter member you will receive notice of all our talks and activities, most of which are also open to the public, as our main aim is to conserve Ash Heritage and raise public awareness of our heritage.
To achieve this we rely on your financial support. If you can also offer some voluntary help that is an added bonus.
We need volunteers to help man the centre when it is open and become involved. Please sign and return the slip below to the treasurer or any committee member.
Treasurer Graham Foat Upper Goldstone Farm, Cop St , Ash
Tel 01304 812121


I wish to become a supporter of the Heritage Group and enclose £5


Print name here--------------------------------




I am willing to offer time to help man the Heritage Centre.[tick]