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Festive Farmer’s Market

Homemade jams, sizzling sausages and a lovely view of Valentine’s Mansion – it can only mean one thing – the farmer’s market, with a christmassy touch, came to Valentine’s Park this Sunday, and Raeesa Mukhtar went to check it all out!

There’s nothing quite like spending a glorious Sunday morning at a farmer’s market, and with Christmas fast approaching, it was an absolute treat for those wanting that extra special touch for their festive meals! I was welcomed with aromas of fresh olives and cheeses. But for someone with a bit more of a sweet tooth, I was straightaway drawn to sweetest looking stall of them all, drooling at the plethora of homemade jams and fudge. Everything was presented beautifully in gift bags and wrapping paper; anything on offer would have made for the perfect Christmas treat.

As I marvelled at the array of goods, I got chatting to Susie, the stall-holder who was wearing a Santa hat to match the bright red tinsel that draped over her table. I asked her about her farmer’s market experience in Redbridge and she said “I’m a regular here at Redbridge, and I think the location we have by the mansion is great, people can wander round, have a coffee and stop by”. Even in light of the big supermarket chains, Susie still believes that there is an important place for the farmer’s markets. I certainly agree with her as you simply cannot get produce that was on display at the market, anywhere else. Eager to know what she had on offer for Christmas especially, she listed everything she had for a festive treat. “The special fudges are: Christmas pudding fudge and mince pie fudge, the jams are plum and mulled wine. There’s also chutney and citrus whiskey rum”. No doubt she’s going to have people queuing up for that enticing lot!

The cold wind was really starting to bite at my fingers and toes, but that didn’t stop me from soaking up the atmosphere. I watched people at the stalls, unable to decide what to purchase they looked to the experts, the farmers themselves, for some advice on the best products. I think that is the most unique thing about farmer’s markets; you get advice on goods from the people who know everything about them. Delighted with their final choice, people leave the stalls, clutching to their packages and aching to devour it straightaway.

The market is also a perfect place for families, there was an abundance of children enjoying the open space around the markets while mum and dad nipped over to the stalls. The family dog was also out in full force, edging towards the sausages being freshly made by the Giggly Pink Co. The neighbouring stall – in fact it was not a stall at all but a bright yellow truck, that revealed a whole range of goodies.

So, despite the cold, the smiles and laughter signalled that the farmer’s market was once again a success.

Post Author: Raeesa Mukhtar 

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The Night Before Christmas

Christmas is coming and we’re heading off to start celebrating! We are leaving the Poetry Corner for the Holidays with our favourite festive poem. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have. See you next year for more brilliant poetry!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Everyone!

The Do More Team.


The Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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Redbridge Museum – Map of the week


Our Map of the Week is unusual in that it is an escape map for British forces during World War II.

During this time around 1 million escape maps were made on behalf of the British armed forces.  These were issued to soldiers, seamen and airmen in case they found themselves behind enemy lines. They were particularly useful for airmen who could be shot down and then had to make their way to safety.

The maps were printed on lightweight silk, or rayon so they were easy to hide,  waterproof, crease resistant and didn’t make a noise when opened , so wouldn’t give away their hiding position to the enemy

This  particular map  shows part of India and Burma  and was donated to the Museum by a local person in Hainault.

Title  Escape map for British forces during World War II

Associated Dates- 1939-1945

Location – On display- Redbridge Museum, Central Library 1st Floor

Opening times – Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm & Saturday 10am-4pm

Redbridge Museum Wesbite


Post author: A. Deo

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Sportivate Handball Competition Results!


Yesterday Redbridge schools took part in a Sportivate Handball Competition. To find out more about the competition check out our earlier blog post.

A massive well done to all who took part in the games! We’ve got the scores for you below:


Winners- The Palmer Catholic Academy

Runners Up- Wanstead 1

Boys Year 9/10

Winners- The Palmer Catholic Academy

Runners Up- Seven Kings 2

Boys Year 11

Winners- Oaks Park 1

Runners Up- Oaks Park 3

The Most Improved School Award went to Seven Kings.

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Handball Competition in East London


Schools across Redbridge will be taking part in a Handball competition today in Barking & Dagenham! Facilitated by Sportivate the competition will be part of a wider project to develop Handball in East London.

Sportivate is the £56 million National Lottery funded Olympic and Paralympic legacy initiative that gives 11 to 25-year-olds who aren’t particularly sporty six to eight weeks’ free coaching in a new sport and then helps them find low costs ways to continue to play.

New figures published this year show that almost 250,000 teenagers and young adults have so far benefitted from free or discounted six-to-eight week sports coaching courses through Sportivate.

Nine Schools will descend upon Sporthouse – a purpose built Handball facility – to compete across three competitions; one each for Girls Year 9, 10 &11, Boys Year 9 & 10 and Boys year 11.

With the help of further Sportivate funding Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Pro-Active East London and England Handball will be working in partnership to launch Junior Handball sessions in January.

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The Valentine Singers – a Family Carol Concert

The Valentine Singers – a Family Carol Concert

 Barnardo’s Church, Barkingside

14th December 2013

I settled excitedly into my seat, ready for the concert to begin. Having seen the Valentine Singers perform before, my hopes were high. The format of the concert was diverse – mostly very well-known yuletide favourites from a bygone era plus a mix of popular modern seasonal numbers. The elevated ceiling of the church was ideal for these musical offerings, the lofty echoing environment allowing both cheer and merriment to ring out around us. Various choir members also gave a few well-chosen unaccompanied readings which were appropriate to the time of year and greatly enjoyed by all.

I was delighted to find some of my yuletide choral friends among the eclectic menu of numbers on the programme beginning with my special favourite Past three o’clock  followed by Cantemos a Maria and Gloucestershire Wassail, both completely new to me but very beautiful and I was delighted to make their acquaintance.  These were followed by some old faithfuls  Away in a Manger, Mary’s Cradle Song, Oh Holy night and We three Kings all accompanied radiantly on the piano by Tim Smith and Caroline Finlay.

From then the mood moved upbeat with spirited interpretations of several more modern numbers, Sleigh Ride, Santa Claus is coming to Town, Jingle Bells (how could it be omitted?), Winter Wonderland and, of course Rudolph could never be left out of any Christmas concert worthy of the name – all nicely delivered and packaged like the presents opened on December 25th.

The evening ended with the audience joining in, showing great enthusiasm with Come all ye Faithfull and (naturally) The Twelve Days of Christmas as a final rousing goodnight. The massively generous refreshments available were warmly welcomed by those seeking sustenance before going home to a well-earned night’s sleep.  As in the past, this event owes much of its success to the skill and charisma of conductor, Christine Gwynn.

Let’s face it, Christmas is recognised not only as a religious event, it is also a time for indulgence and a reminder to be generous to so many others here and elsewhere in  the  world who are so unspeakably in want while we have far more than we really need.

Post Author: Norman Lewis

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Redbridge Museum – Map of the week

This week our map of the week gives us a fascinating insight into the geology of Ilford. The map was produced by the Ilford Borough Council surveyor’s department in 1948.

It features a hand coloured survey drawn over a standard printed map. It was used by the Surveyor to show areas of Ilford that were safe to build on.  This map also highlights useful materials that could be extracted from the land for example gravel and clay for bricks.

It was produced using information taken from land surface surveys and work undertaken by engineers and public bodies. The use of maps like this assisted planners to decide the best possible sites for the development of homes and buildings.


Title Geology of Ilford

Associated Dates – 1948

Location – On display- Redbridge Museum, Central Library 1st Floor

Opening times – Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm & Saturday 10am-4pm

Website  Visit our website

Post Author: A. Deo