The smaller show will go on

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
July 2021

With a variety of independent businesses, a diverse range of tourist attractions and easy transport links including its own railway station, Heckington has much to offer visitors.

The village is ready and waiting to re-establish some sort of normailty following the restrictions of the past year and the impact on businesses. Its strong community spirit and wealth of enthusiastic volunteer groups will play a key role in helping it along the road to recovery.

Its annual village show is the largest in the country, normally attracting more than 30,000 visitors to the area every year. But it had to be cancelled in 2020 because of Covid and this year it is going to be a smaller, one day show with an evening firework concert.

A committee spokesman said: “We are keen for people to be involved, so are planning as many of our usual events as possible, only on a smaller scale with reduced numbers.

“Due to Covid we have also reduced the number of enclosed spaces and marquees at the show and focussed our main ring programme on our usual competitions.

“The situation will be regularly reviewed and we will only go ahead with the show if we can do so safely and legally in accordance with all government guidance and regulations in force at the time.”

Heckington Show has its origins in the village’s 900-year-old feast week linked to the Feast of St Mary. A country show can be traced back to 1863 and the current site has been the show’s venue since 1867.

The history of the show has been brought together in a Heckington Show book written by life member and long standing cycling secretary Ray Bell and it gives a detailed history of the show from an insider’s view.

The show is scheduled to take place on 24th July. Last year despite the global pandemic it still managed to hold a Virtual Show online.

Competitions for gardens, allotments, painting, art, crafts and children’s crafts were held with photos being submitted for judging and it also ran its very popular Decorate Your House competition in the village.

Another attraction Heckington is renowned for is its windmill, which is the only eight-sailed windmill in Western Europe, as well as the sole survivor of just seven such mills built in the UK.

And its 14th century parish church of St Andrew is one of the finest medieval churches in England. Built in the 1300s in the decorated style of the period, it is a true medieval church adorned inside and out with many statues, gargoyles, beasts, royal faces, angels and animals leaping from the world and imagination of the 14th-century stone carvers – and it contains the finest grouping of Easter sepulchre, sedalia and piscina in the country.

Hopes are high that Heckington will soon once again become a lively, busy village drawing visitors to its many fine buildings, attractions and range of independent businesses from pet supplies, butchers and greengrocers to hairdressers, florists and fast food outlets.

There is no wonder that it is dubbed the ‘largest village in Lincolnshire’ when it has as much to offer its community in terms of services, facilities and heritage as the small towns that surround it.

The village boasts its own railway station – served by the Grantham to Skegness train service run by the Poacher Line, which scooped two awards in the 2020 Community Rail Awards.

The Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership came third in the Community Art Scheme’s Renewable & Smaller category for its inter-generational art project with students from South Nottinghamshire. It then won the Community Rail in Action photo competition with its entry ‘Age is Just a Number’. The photo depicts a young girl and an elderly gentleman drawing together at the station and was taken at the Vintage Festival in Skegness in September 2019.

Heckington Station was also placed in the Silver band of the It’s Your Station category.

Jo Andrews, Community Rail Officer for the Poacher Line, said: “It was a challenging time for Community Rail with all of our events being cancelled due to Covid-19 but it was wonderful to have something positive to look forward to.”

The Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership is funded by Lincolnshire County Council, East Midlands Railway, London North Eastern Railway and CrossCountry.

Another example of Heckington’s community spirit is the success it achieved in the Lincolnshire Best Kept Village competition 2019. It won in its category (Large Village) for the first time since 1985 in the competition which was run by the Lincolnshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and saw a group of judges from outside the county visit the village twice in their deliberations.

Heckington is also home to Heritage Lincolnshire, a local charitable trust working to conserve the rich history of the county for the benefit of people who live and work in the area.

Founded in 1988 and based at the Old School in the village, Heritage Lincolnshire undertakes a range of activities in the promotion and conservation of the county’s heritage.

Its charitable aims are lifelong education, building conservation and archaeological fieldwork and research. It also has a national reputation for the conservation and re-use of historic buildings and for delivering innovative activities that engage local people.

It is also the most active Buildings Preservation Trust in the East Midlands offering a wide range of consultancy services dedicated to preserving and developing historic buildings, providing effective and sustainable conservation plans and working with local community teams to secure funding.

In addition, Heritage Lincolnshire has been selected to deliver a new project that is underway to help protect the county’s heritage.

Lincolnshire has been chosen to take part in the national scheme to help better understand and enhance existing records of our locally important buildings, monuments and places. Funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), the local heritage list campaign will be rolled out in all 10 authorities in Greater Lincolnshire.

CEO of Heritage Lincolnshire, Greg Pickup said: “As 2021 progresses and a sense of cautious optimism returns, we have a host of new projects and initiatives to share.

“With the wealth of funding now available to help the country rebound from the effects of the pandemic, investment in Lincolnshire’s heritage must be top of the priority list.

“There will be no meaningful recovery if we are not able to support our struggling high streets and town centres.”

HECKINGTON RAILWAY MUSEUM
Heritage is a big part of Heckington village and one village group exists to maintain and protect the village’s character and atmosphere.

The Heckington Village and Railway Museum Trust was formed 30 years ago and, among other things, it campaigned for the A17 bypass to be built, saved the windmill from closing and transformed the old station building into a railway museum.

The museum is housed in the original 1859 Heckington Railway Station buildings, which having been saved from British Rail demolition in 1975 have been carefully restored to their former glory,
The general waiting room contains a selection of local and railway displays, GNR fireplace, ticket window and sales counter and in the adjoining ticket office there are numerous railway artefacts, ranging from station name boards, railway uniforms, cast iron warning signs and railway lamps, to railway models, as well as the ticket office equipment with ticket racks, Edmondson ticket stamp, and other railway office furniture.

EASY CARE LAWNS FOR GORGEOUS GARDENS
If you’re struggling to maintain that perfect patch of outside greenery, a well laid artificial lawn could be the answer.

As a local specialist in the supply and installation of artificial grass for garden and outdoor spaces, Smith Leading Lawns offers unrivalled service and professional advice based on 40 years’ experience.

As the number one supplier in the area, the company has an enviable reputation for installation and all necessary groundwork, including hard or soft landscaping and driveways.

There are many advantages to choosing an artificial lawn, including no mowing, no watering, and no fading, with the added bonus of being pet-friendly too while also remaining green, neat and tidy all year round, regardless of the weather.

Smith Leading Lawns offers a vast choice in artificial grass, from pristine dark green surfaces for a modern outdoor space, to a natural looking grass with multi green coloured blades of grass, perfect for a cottage garden.

Don’t miss the free new season samples now available to order.

For more information visit www.smithleadinglawns.co.uk

HECKINGTON WINDMILL
Set in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside, Heckington’s Grade I listed windmill was built in 1830 with five sails and has a history all of its own.

The mill was originally built in 1830 by Edward Ingledew of Gainsborough for Michael Hare as a five-sailed mill. Following a severe thunderstorm which blew off the cap and sails, it was repaired in 1892. It ceased work in 1946 and deteriorated until it was purchased by Kesteven County Council in 1953 and made safe. The mill underwent restoration in 1986 and further major repairs were carried out in 2004.

Now in full working order, the mill is owned by Lincolnshire County Council and operated and run on a voluntary basis by Heckington Windmill Trust.

The site is also home to a visitor centre and tea room. Located in the old engine shed and saw mill is Heckington’s unique and award-winning 8 Sail Brewery, which opened in 2010. In that same year Heckington Windmill Trust established itself as a company limited by guarantee with the charitable objectives to: ‘preserve, restore and maintain Heckington Windmill for the public benefit as a building of architectural and historical importance’ and, ‘to advance the education of the public in the history and operation of the mill’.

Following a successful funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, in 2013 it began a programme of conservation, restoration and development work, culminating with an official opening in October 2017 by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.



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