Third Advent Windows Spectacular - December 2020
After a year in which there was little to celebrate and very little social activity, this event was revived to bring some much-needed brightness and joy to the days before Christmas, with seasonally-themed displays around the village being launched and lit sequentially during the December days of Advent...
|Village Tree||Hark The Herald Angels Sing||White Christmas||Winter Wonderland|
|We Three Kings||O Little Town of Bethlehem|
|It's Begining...||...To Look A Lot...||...Like Christmas||O Christmas Tree|
|Following Yonder Star||Colourful Christmas Trees||Snowballs||Let It Snow|
|In The Bleak Midwinter||Walking In A Winter Wonderland||Ding Dong Merrily...|
|While Shepherds...||...Washed Their Socks...||...er, Watched Their Flocks||Twinkle Twinkle...|
|The Polar Express||We Saw Three Ships Come Sailing By|
|Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree||This Little Light of Mine||Dancing Around The Tree|
|The Holly...||...and The Ivy||Hope, Peace & Love|
The full calendar is below for reference:
Christmas Village Walk - December 2019
Around 40 parishioners (and a great many dogs!) took part in a bracing Christmas Walk around the environs of Great Maplestead the day after Boxing Day.
Thanks must go to everyone involved in the preparation and organisation of the food and the provision of the 'half-way' and full-time 'refreshments', which were enjoyed by all.
Maplestead Magna Miglia - June 2019
Ten teams from across The Maplesteads congregated at Great Maplestead Village Hall for breakfast and a briefing before setting off in a disparate range of vehicles to search for the answers to 21 of 28 clues randomly distributed across the local area.
This second running of the Navigational Scatter once again tested the map-reading (and question-reading!) abilities of many of the teams, some visiting parts of Essex that they hadn't known existed...
Only two teams managed to answer the required 21 questions correctly and victory went to the Watson Collective who, albeit only narrowly, succeeded in besting last year's champions, Little Maplestead’s Morris Men & Ladies.
|1. The Morris Men & Ladies, last year's winners||2. The Watson Collective||3. The Purdy/Crisp Partnership|
|4. The still Smiling Surgetts||5. The Tindall Tank Crew||6. The Breeds & Dorothy|
|7. The Kent House Krew||8. The Turner Two||9. The Mills Machine & Denise|
|10. The Jills' Jaunt||Jo, Karen, Andy & Martin receiving the trophy||The Jills, winners of the 'Least Points' Award|
|The magnificent trophy off to its new home...|
Congratulations to Karen & Andy and Jo & Martin on their win and commiserations to Bill, Bruce and the Janes - so near yet so far!
Thanks to the test team, Ian & Su, for ironing out a few of the question anomalies beforehand and to Ann, Thelma & Louise, the catering team, who provided the excellent breakfast and lunchtime refreshments.
From the positive follow-up comments received from all the participants after the event, everyone appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and seem keen to do it all over again next year…
The 7th Annual Beer Festival - May 2019
This May Bank Holiday weekend event just gets bigger and better! Rain interrupted some of the Saturday outdoor events but nobody really minded - much beer was drunk and dancing had. Roll on the 2020 session!
Some of the organisers started sampling the brews early...
|Hells Belles got some dances in before the rain...||Maldon Morris Men under glowering skies||Rain didn't stop play - Hells Belles danced indoors|
Easter Village Walk - April 2019
Around 50 people assembled at the Village Hall on a very warm and sunny Easter Monday for a 4-mile walk acround some of Great Maplestead's delightful countryside - beautiful in the spring - experiencing some newly emerged bluebells, lambs, deer and a variety of other wildlife on the way. An alfresco picnic lunch was the perfect way to round off a lovely event...
|Descending the first of many hills...||The bluebells were magnificent!||The winding trail through the woods...||...led to a stroll through the fields...|
|...during which lambs were seen.||Alongside the Colne to Hulls Mill.||The alfresco picnic afterwards...||...was well received!|
Churchyard Clear-up - April 2019
Early in the month a large group of volunteers gathered to help rake leaves, chop branches, clear debris and strim overgrowth from the churchyard, tidy up some of the graves and smarten up the Garden of Remembrance. Within a couple of hours they had the place looking well-cared for and a credit to the village. Many thanks to everyone who took part - and to those who provided the most welcome refreshments!
|Attacking the overgrowth with gusto...||Bill looking rakish...||Martin's barrowload was a bit bigger...||...than Keith's effort!|
|David was the Firemaster.||Konrad barrowing stones||to smarten up the Garden of Remembrance.||The volunteers taking a well-earned break.|
World War 1 Centenary Commemoration - November 2018
The Village Hall was packed with more than 70 people who came along to support the Maplesteads' Great War Centenary event, an Old-Time Music Hall style show with proceeds going to the Royal British Legion. As well as being a joyful celebration of the end of the war, the evening also included a respectful commemoration of those from the Maplesteads who lost their lives in the conflict.
The crowd arrives and begins to assemble...
The Catering Corps discuss the food...
..while everyone got into the swing of things.
A short film of the lead-up to war preceded the live acts
Nadine was the Mistress of Ceremonies
|Sara and Jo duetted on 'Granny was a Suffragette'...||...whilst Tim regaled us with a rather tall story.||Konrad read Henry V's Agincourt speech...||...whilst Kevin & Gaynor did a 'ventriloquism' act!|
|The Maplesteads'Minstrels led the community singing||Konrad and Martin C were the Two Tommies||Janice and Bob ran the lights, the sound and the AV sequences.||The audience joined in enthusiastically with the community singing|
|The Maplesteads' Roll of Honour - commemorating those who died in the conflict||Where those who died fell...|
Steve & Martin E presenting a cheque for £915.83 to Malcolm Firman, Chairman of the Hedingham & District Royal British Legion
Harvest Village Walk - October 2018
Some 40-odd intrepid walkers, children and dogs set off on a 4-mile tour of the parish and its environs undauted by a less-than-favourable weather forecast. Fortunately the rain held off and the temperature remaind mild until the Village Hall was reached on the party's return, when drinks and snacks were consumed with alacrity.
|The long, long trail awinding...||...through the water meadows by the brook|
|As usual, there were lots of stops for chatting...||...and then Gaynor spotted thehalf-way drinks barn!|
Autumn Show - September 2018
Many from the Maplesteads' once more enjoyed the annual opportunity for some friendly competition in growing, making, cooking and photographing things...
|The Autumn Show Committee with the Radio Essex presenters||Children were well represented in the cooking and handicrafts classes...|
|...and also made interesting things out of tree debris||The afternoon judging took place before the public were let in|
|The independent judges were very diligent||Some of the tapestry entries were astounding...||.. as were the winning flower arrangements|
|Local artists were well-represented, with some delightful pictures||Jean (right) won the Autumn Show Trophy, presented by Ann|
A list of the various prize-winners can be found here.
Maplestead Magna Miglia - July 2018
Teams from across The Maplesteads congregated at the Village Hall for breakfast and a briefing before setting off in their cars to find the answers to 21 out of 28 questions randomly dotted around the local area. This inaugural Navigational Scatter tested the map-reading (and question-reading!) abilities of some of the teams but all arrived back safely and in a timely manner for lunch and the prize-giving, everyone having enjoyed the experience of seeing parts of Essex that some hadn't known existed...
|Signing on and the queue for croissants...||Sophie, Julie and Paul plotting their route||The Roots' and Watsons' Mean Machine!|
|Bill, Bruce & the Janes in more sedate style...||Kevin and Gaynor looking happy...||Liz & Lyn - aka Thelma & Louise - setting off...|
|More smiles from the Purdys...||Angela & Michael before running low on fuel||Julie seaching for the ignition in her new car...|
|The magnificent trophy!||The Winners! - Bruce, Bill and the Janes||Julie, the 'Fewest Points' Winner|
Easter Village Walk - April 2018
Despite a week of foreboding forecasts for Easter Monday, even on the day before, 30 or so walkers, children and dogs gathered at the Village Hall to enjoy a rain-free (albeit, somewhat muddy!) tour of the Colne Valley and the Bluebell Wood (except there was not one to be seen - delayed by weeks of cold weather!). The rain returned during the post-walk refreshments but, by then, everyone had had a great time and nobody cared...
|The advance party walking down to Hulls Mill...||...to the ford, where the Colne was well in flood.||Setting off alongside the river...|
|Brian and Ann returning down Purls Hill...||...to join those walking towards Barratts Hall.||Sophie with Phoebe in the churchyard.|
Christmas Village Walk - December 2017
The forecast was dire, the snow was falling fast, but 20 or so intrepid walkers (and 2 dogs) braved the elements for a bracing post-Christmas tour of Greater Maplestead, rounded off with welcoming glasses of mulled wine, sandwiches, sausage rolls and mince pies in the Village Hall later. Thanks and well done to everyone who made the effort to support the event...
|The White Walkers braving the elements...||Dayglo boots were a help keeping track!|
Decorating the Village Christmas Tree - December 2017
On the 1st December people gathered with baubles to decorate the Village Christmas Tree, the first to be lit in the village and the start of a Christmas Tree Trail, with trees lit all the way through to Christmas Eve.
|The bauble-bearers gather...||Placing the decorations...||Admiring the tree...||...alight for all December|
If you have a picture of your contribution to the Christmas Tree Trail, please e-mail it to email@example.com and it will be added it to this page in due course.
Harvest Village Walk - October 2017
By the time the surprisingly large party of intrepid walkers, children, dogs and ponies set off on their 4-mile tour of the parish and its environs, the earlier rain had stopped. Although the skies remained grey, it was warm and the walk was enjoyed by all...
|Pausing for a chat...||...after climbing Link Hills.||Noah and Moses were looking forward to the walk...||...although Noah hadn't bargained on carrying Sophie!|
|The ponies (with Sophie & Poppy), dogs and people...||...enjoying a drink at the half-way point.||The last uphill stretch...||...before reaching the Village Hall|
Autumn Show - September 2017
The Maplesteads' annual autumn opportunity for a bit of friendly competition in the fields of horticulture, crafts, cooking and photography...
|Carol introducing the Committee.||There were plants...||...and delightful flower arrangments...||...some with an Autumn theme...|
|...and some which were very delicate and small.||There was a wide range of craft entries...||...which featured some very delicate work...|
|...and there was the usual range of produce and cakes.||The prize-winners with their trophies.|
A list of the various prize-winners can be found here.
Boules on the Playing Field - July 2017
A lazy summer Sunday al fresco on the Playing Field with a distinctively French twist; the wine flowed, ice-creams were enjoyed and a hot afternoon of even hotter competiton ensued. The eventual winners were Team 1 (Steve & the Martins C & E)...
|Boules is a serious business! Judge Joe had to be called in to adjudicate on many occasions...||Martin C attempting to out-psyche James before a crucial match...||Keith being advised of the finer points of boules etiquette by the Jills...||...while the Rices just came along for the picnic.|
|By half-time, Team 1 had established a lead they were never to relinquish...||Martin E & Gaynor getting refreshed during the break, while Philippa, Dierdre & Sara share the sausage rolls...||The final few ends were played out as the late afternoon shadows lengthened...|
5th Annual Beer Festival - April 2017
Another year and another well-appreciated 2-day social event to raise money for the Village Hall - with music, Morris Dancing, lots of different beers and, this year, Prosecco!
Half-a-Whopper's Ian gets bluesy amongst the barrels...
...whilst Andy shows Chairman Dave some interesting chord shapes
On Sunday the Belchamp Morris Men were back, by popular demand.
Easter Village Walk - April 2017
More fine weather - it's a special arrangement we have(!) - saw a 50-strong walking party (plus many assorted dogs) complete a 4-mile circuit of the parish, taking in a fine display of bluebells on the way...
|Rolo revelled in his walk with Sophie...||Phillipa & Joseph enjoyed the sun...||The bluebells were out in force in Purlshill Wood...|
|The drinks stop offered a welcome, thirst-quenching break...||Ann & Howard out in the wilds...||Angela in deep discussion en route...|
Christmas Village Walk - December 2016
A stunningly sunny winter's day encouraged a record number of participants (50+) to gather to walk off their Christmas calories (only to put more on consuming sandwiches, sausage rolls, mince pies and mulled wine at the end...).
|Setting Out||The traditional 'half-way' refreshments...|
|...gave everyone the chance for a breather and a chat.||Poppy and Phoebe enjoyed the walk too|
Second Advent Windows Spectacular - December 2016
After last year's successful initiative: another selection of Christmas-themed displays around the village, launched and lit sequentially during the December days of Advent...
|Day 1 - Village Christmas Tree||Day 2 - Oh Star of Wonder, Star of Light||Day 3 - O Christmas Tree||Day 4 - Step Into Christmas|
|Day 5 - We Three Kings||Day 6 - Santa's Reindeer||Day 7 - Three Christmas Trees|
|Day 8 - The Twelve Days of Christmas||Day 9 - Angels from the Realms of Glory||Day 10 - In The Bleak Mid-Winter|
|Day 11 - While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night||Day 12 - Mistletoe & Wine||Day 13 - Jingle Bells|
|Day 14 - Blue Christmas||Day 15 - We Saw Three Ships||Day 16 - Cosy Christmas|
|Day 17 - Winter Wonderland||Day 18 - Away in a Manger||Day 19 - More Shepherds, More Sheep|
|Day 20 - Five Gold Rings||Day 21 - Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire||Day 22 - Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)|
Harvest Village Walk - October 2016
Another warm, sunny day for the second Autumn Harvest Walk - one enjoyed by dogs and people alike...
|Brain & Joan ready for the off.||It was a beautiful day...||...with some spectacular clouds!|
|There was interesting wildlife to spot for the quiz...||...as well as a scary sculpture!||Simon & Julie obviously had a good time...||...as did Sophie & Phoebe.|
Flower Show - September 2016
An annual opportunity for a bit of friendly competition in the fields of horticulture, crafts and cooking...
|The produce was scrutinised...||...to find the best fruit, vegetables, eggs...||...and cooked confections.|
|Flower arrangements...||...of various sorts were on display.||Philippa won a prize with this.||There were cakes aplenty too...|
|Denise (O'C) was a prize-winner for her flower arrangement...||...and Denise (T) was a double-winner for her watercolours.|
A full list of the various winners can be found here.
Celebrating the Queen's 90th Birthday
A day of fun, festivities, a barbeque and spectacular fireworks to mark a very special occasion...
Afternoon events: the ladies tug-of-war...
... Morris dancing by the Maplestead Mincers...
|and Graham's 'Royal Rolls'.|
|Connie & Dorothy, Maplestead's own royalty...||
...watching the decorated wheelbarrow competition.
|Mary's fine exhibit...||...and while Sophie & Julie went for balloons...||
...these Princesses decided flowers worked best.
The three lamb spit-roast barbeque was the focus of the evening's events...
The cooks, Ian & Joe, being chivvied into action by Ann...
|...and finally getting down to the serious carving.|
|These ladies looked after the catering so well...||...that everyone enjoyed a really great evening.|
4th Annual Beer Festival - April/May 2016
A well-appreciated, and very well-attended, 2-day social event to raise money for the Village Hall - with music, Morris Dancing and lots of different beers!
Celebrations at the Saturday opening...
Belchamp Morris Men dancing on the Sunday...
|The Saturday evening scene...||Dancing to the music...||Half a Whopper (Ian & Andy) live in the Marquee...|
Easter Village Walk - March 2016
Cancelled, due to Storm Katie... This was the fallen tree blocking the route at St Mary's!
|Looking up Toldishall Road towards Barretts Hall...||Looking down Toldishall Road towards the brook...|
Magic Night - March 2016
A great success: £650 raised for the Herts & Essex Air Ambulance and a good time had by a capacity crowd in the Village Hall...
|An appreciative full-house...||Sophie helping with a rope trick...||Julie being sawn in half...|
Christmas Village Walk - December 2015
A dry, sunny day and a great opportunity to walk off those excess Christmas calories...
|Crossing the field towards Byham Hall...||Mid-way 'refreshments'...|
Advent Windows Spectacular - December 2015
An interesting and original initiative: 24 windows around the village, decorated with Christmas themes and lit sequentially during the December days of Advent...
|1st - The First Noel - what else?||2nd - Hark the Herald Angels Sing||3rd - Angels from the Realms of Glory|
|4th - Away in a Manger||5th - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear||6th - Mary Had a Baby Boy||7th - Silent Night, Holy Night|
|8th - The Holly and the Ivy||9th - Ding Dong Merrily on High||10th - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer||11th - I Saw Three Ships...|
|12th - O Little Town of Bethlehem||14th - I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas||15th - The Carol of the Drum|
|16th - We Three Kings of Orient Are||17th - God Rest Ye Merry...||18th - When Santa Got Stuck Down the Chimney|
|19th - O Christmas Tree...||20th - In The Bleak Midwinter||23rd - A Spaceman Came Travelling||25th - Away in a Manger|
Apologies to those whose windows/displays were unable to be featured due to the absence of a decent quality photo - if you have one, please forward it by e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be added it to the page in due course.
Autumn Harvest Village Walk - October 2015
A warm, sunny day for the inaugural Harvest Walk - enjoyed by dogs and people alike and ending with an al fresco picnic...
|Walkers and dogs on road...||...and off...|
|Al fresco refreshments at the finish|
Blooms in Maplestead - June 2015
Great Maplestead decorated inside and out in a celebration of Summer...
|Decorated plough under the village oak tree...||Flowers in the font at St Giles'...|
|Display in the Church entrance...||WI Black & White display...|
...and there was a car show too.
|Caterham; MGA; Vauxhall Viva; AC Cobra replica; Ford Popular||Mercedes Convertible; Mazda MX5 Roadster; TVR|
|Morris Minor; Lancia Delta Integrale||Lotus Elan 2+2 restoration project; Hillman Super Minx; Morgan|