Village Blog

The New Community Shop (March 2018)

Church Fenton - Community Shop

The Church Fenton Community Shop has just won in the VillageShop/Post Office category in the 2017 Countryside Alliance Awards. Well done to all involved.

The Community Shop is run by a dedicated group of volunteer villagers for the village and surrounding areas and has proved to be a huge success and very popular, selling a good selection of foods and other everyday items.


The New Community Shop (June 2017)

Church Fenton - Community Shop

The 11th of June saw the opening of the new Church Fenton Community Shop. Located on the site of the old Post Office, the new shop is being run by the people of Church Fenton for the people of Church Fenton and the surrounding villages.

The day saw a good turnout of village residents, with lots of cakes and local produce on sale along with raffle prizes and activities. We all hope it will be a big success, but it needs the residents of Church Fenton to use it on a regular basis, otherwise we might loose it for good!

You can keep in touch with what's going on at the shop via the Church Fenton Community Shop Facebook page


The Yorkshire Airshow (September 2015)

Church Fenton - The Yorkshire Airshow

Saturday the 26th of September saw the welcome return of air displays to Church Fenton.

The last air display at Church Fenton was held in July 1994 and was called the 'SSAFA International Air Display'.

Today's display called 'The Yorkshire Air Show' was organised by Makin Enterprises, the new owners of the former RAF base, now re-christened as Leeds East Airport.

Church Fenton - The Yorkshire Airshow

Over 12,000 aviation enthusiasts gathered at Church Fenton to watch a selection of majestic Second World War planes soar over the former front line airbase, thrilling to the sound of the mighty Merlin engines.

There were legendary Spitfires and Huricanes, the outstanding American P51 Mustang, as well as a Curtis P40 Warhawk and the classic Douglas DC3 Dakota.

Church Fenton - The Yorkshire Airshow

As well as WW2 war birds there were various historic jets such as the Gloster Meteor, the de Havilland Venom and MiG 15.

Helicopers were also represented, with an impressive display by a Bell Huey helicopter, made famous by its role in Vietnam.

There were also thrills a-plenty with aerobatic displays designed to amaze and wow the crowds from pilots of Wildcat Aerobatics, Global Stars and Team Raven display teams.

Church Fenton - The Yorkshire Airshow

For those who were not that interested in the wonderful collection of planes, both flying and on the ground, there was a fun fair, including a Victorian Carousel and of course a variety of food and drink stalls.

There were also a variey of cockpit displays for visitors to try out along with various flight simulators to enjoy. As well as planes there were a selection of military trucks and jeeps and vintage cars. All in all, something for everyone.

Church Fenton - The Yorkshire Airshow

However, the real star of the show was the mighty Avro Vulcan XH558.

Based at Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport, XH558 is the last remaining flying Vulcan bomber, unfortunately, this crowd pleasing favourite is set to be retired from the air at the end of this summer. In fact its flypast at Church Fenton may well have been the last time to see it perform in an air display.

If this was to be its last performance then what a truely memorable one it gave to the 12,000 strong crowd.


All in all a fitting finale to what proved to be a great show. Here's hoping it was successful enough to become a regular event at Church Fenton. The organisers are already looking into producing next year's show, pencilled in for the 2nd and 3rd of July.

To see more photos of the event then click on view The Yorkhire Airshow photos.

Church Fenton goes Medieval (August 2015)

Last Saturday (22nd August) stalls popped up in Church Fenton at St. Mary's church and the vicarage to host a medieval weekend. Volunteers donned medieval garb to bring the event to life, filling Church Fenton with a breath of medieval history.

Church Fenton - Medieval Fair

Over a dozen stalls were displayed over the two day event, including jewellery making and wicker making. There were also a variety of old artefacts on display, the St Mary's Fabulous Baking Belles, a BBQ, and other arts and craft stalls, along with tours of the church, medieval activities to take part in and a medieval Latin mass.

Nina Wrightson helped organise the event in aid of The Friends of Kirk Fenton Church. She placed the event at the church as she wants to start attracting people to the historic location and to create an even greater sense of community within Church Fenton.

Church Fenton - Medieval Fair

Ian Wrightson was also on hand as a medieval physician, providing customers with a variety of herbs and concoctions to treat their problems.

One such ointment was hippocras, a medieval substitute to water, which was often polluted at the time. It was hugely popular among the wildlife, attracting wasps to the elixir, and also attracting many visitors who wanted to give the drink a shot.

Other herbs that used to be appointed for medieval medical assistance included basil for stomach problems, mint for indigestion, and liquorice for sore throats, chest and stomach problems, digestion and constipation.

Mr Wrightson was selling these herbs, while providing heaps of information about their use.

The event was a great success, with a large turnout which took all those that attended back to their historic heritages.

Report by Aaron Renfree, photographs by Kathryn Richardson


Hundreds of planes at Church Fenton (January 2015)

Over 200 private aircraft of all shapes and sizes around the country descended on the former RAF base at Church Fenton to take part in a revival fly-in watched by about 800 people.

Church Fenton - Fly In

Organiser Chris Makin recently bought the site with the intention of opening a flying training school, which he hopes will create 100 jobs in the next five years. He said...

"It was absolutely incredible! At some stage we had ten aircraft queuing up to land. It's been unbelievable and the feedback from the locals has been absolutely mega. Blown away, are the words and the support has been incredible".

The event was due to include an air display by ex-European aerobatic champion Tom Cassell, but due to the number of planes in the sky, this was cancelled for safety reasons.

Church Fenton - Fly In

Mr Makin said: "We decided not to do the display for safety reasons, because we were so busy with landings. It didn't stop people coming and enjoying themselves, but I think it's something we will definitely look to do for next time, so watch this space. We will have a lot of events like this in future. What's been overwhelming was local people, children and farmers have come over and shaken my hand and said 'fantastic, well done', and asked what we were doing with the site".

The base was closed by the Ministry of Defence under cost cutting measures, and Mr Makin - who lives near Leeds and runs a soft fruit business - said he had bought almost all of the 450-acre site to continue the status as "one of Britain's most important airfields".

Church Fenton was the home of the first RAF Eagle Squadron of American volunteers in 1940, whose role was to protect industrial areas in Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Humberside during the Second World War. A comprehensive history of Church Fenton Airbase from 1937 to the present date can be found at Ian Herbert's excellent web site.

Thanks to Paul Richardson for the photographs.


Archbishop opens new classroom (September 2013)

On the 23rd of September the Archbishop of York officially opened Kirk Fenton School's new classroom. The grand opening surpassed all the school's expectations with the Archbishop underlining how significant an occasion in the life of the school it was. The new classroom was completed on time and under budget with Simpsons the contractors doing a fantastic job.

Church Fenton - Archbishop's visit

The school looked lovely with bright displays and a tidy, well-ordered environment. A visitor commented, "What made the school special was seeing so many happy children working hard and making the building come to life."

A visitor from the Local Education Authority wrote: "It was a privilege to see the school as it now is and to observe at first hand the tangible sense of team spirit that is accelerating progress. There was a shared sense of purpose that is clearly taking the school forward."

The Archbishop even tweeted that the Y2s gave him a "fantabulous welcome" and that he had a wonderful visit.

Church Fenton - Archbishop's visit

The Y1s presented him with a beautiful hand-woven cross mounted with some of their thoughts, the Y2s gave him a very comprehensive book full of their writings and illustrations on Dr John Sentamu, Our Archbishop, and the Y6s presented a compilation of portraits done in various styles of the Archbishop. The school presented him with a Silver Birch tree to plant in the grounds of Bishopthorpe Palace and remind him of Kirk Fenton School.

The children were all an absolute credit to the school. The House Captains showed themselves as the leaders they will no doubt one day become as they took on board their role of ambassadors for their school.

Church Fenton - Archbishop's visit

The Head Teacher, Mrs Curry, has written to the Archbishop asking if he can visit regularly as his presence was such a positive and celebratory event. He has replied, "Thank you for your welcome and hospitality when I came to bless your new classroom. I was very impressed by all those who showed me round. The House Captains could not have been more helpful... I was delighted to see that the person of Jesus Christ is at the centre of life at Kirk Fenton. I pray that you will know the presence of God very close at hand gifting you with all that you need to enable your children to become all that they have been created to be."

It was a very special day, one that children and staff will never forget.


Under 9 Cricket Festival (July 2012)

Church Fenton - Cricket Festival

The annual Church Fenton Under 9 Cricket Festival took place on Sunday 15th July. Luckily the weather was sunny (at times) and dry, if a little chilly at times.

Five teams took part in the festival, these were... Barwick-in-Elmet, Church Fenton 'A', Church Fenton 'B', Collingham and Linton and Saxton.

Church Fenton - Cricket Festival

Each team played each other and the top two teams fought it out in the final. The final turned out to be a thrilling match between Collingingham and Linton and Church Fenton 'A', which went right to the last over, with Church Fenton needing two runs to win off of the last ball. Sadly, Church Fenton couldn't manage to get the necessary runs and the trophy went to a very deserving Collingham and Linton team.

Away from the action there was a barbeque and refreshments, as well as a tombola and prize draw. Thankfully the weather held and the children had a lot of fun and showed themselves to be good sportsmen.


The Diamond Jubilee (June 2012)

This biggest event this year for Church Fenton was probably the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and to celebrate the village held a weekend of various events.

Church Fenton - Diamond Jubilee

The celebrations were organised by the Village Hall Committee and included representatives of the various groups in the village including Kirk Fenton Primary School, Jigsaws Childcare, ELF, the WI and the Parish Council.

The events started on the Monday morning of the Jubilee Weekend with the village hall showing displays of Jubilee artwork by the school children.

As well as a chance to look at the great work done by the children, there was the chance to buy bacon sandwiches, which proved to be very popular.

Church Fenton - Diamond Jubilee

Later on there was a 'mock coronation' in St. Mary's Church with children from Kirk Fenton school. The band of the ATC accompanied the procession from the school to the church.

In the afternoon there was a picnic and sports day held in the school grounds along with face painting and other activities.

There were also displays of village archives and coronation memorabilia throughout the day in the Methodist Hall, as well as guided tours of the church, trips to the top of the clock tower and lots of lovely food to buy.

Church Fenton - Diamond Jubilee

At the other end of the village, the Fenton Flyer had bouncy castles and slides and displays of birds of prey and old farm machinery.

The day was rounded off by a 50's themed dance at the village hall which proved to be popular with people coming in 50's or royal themed clothing. All in all, a great day for young and old alike.

To see more photos of the events then click on
view jubilee photos.


Frank Dean to receive Maundy Money (April 2012)

Church Fenton - Frank Dean

Frank Dean has maintained the church clock in Church Fenton for a quarter of a century - and used to wind it up every week until he and his wife eventually raised £6,000 to get it electrified.

Now his work for the community and the church in Church Fenton has been recognised when he was selected to receive Maundy Money from the Queen at York Minster.

Frank, 86, said he had only just relinquished his role in looking after the clock at St Mary's parish church and that for many years, he would climb a narrow spiral staircase in the clock tower every Friday to wind the clock's mechanisms.


In the 1990s, he and his late wife, Heather, launched a fundraising campaign to get the clock electrified, and won overwhelming support from local residents. After that, he was still responsible for routine maintenance to ensure it continued working and to change the time by an hour each autumn and spring.

Heather was also a church warden for 36 years, and Frank said he viewed the Maundy Money as much a recognition of her work as his.

Article courtesy of The Press, York.

Presentation of Bird Boxes (January 2012)

Church Fenton - Cubs and Scouts

Cubs and Scouts from the 1st Church Fenton Scout Group today handed over bird boxes they made with the Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust.

The bird boxes are part of 22 workshops the Scout Group is completing that will provide lasting community benefits for the community of Church Fenton.

They have been learning new skills in conservation and traditional craft ranging from building insect hotels, to making willow Christmas wreath's and have just handed over the 39 bird boxes to the Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust to be installed in their local woodland called the Old Park Plantation at Church Fenton.

Church Fenton - Cubs and Scouts

These workshops are being funded by a grant from a small lottery fund called 'Awards for all' and are being delivered by the Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust.

They will also be building a sensory garden in a community park, a tree nursery, making hammocks and many more exciting activities in the near future.

Church Fenton - Cubs and Scouts

These projects are building towards Scout Community Week between 14 and 20 May 2012, in addition to gaining their community challenge award.


Christmas Lights (December 2011)

Church Fenton - Christmas Lights

This Christmas saw the area of the village near the primary school lit up for the first time by six festive lights.

Following a competition held last year for year six pupils, two of the lights have been made to the designs of winners, Ben Varley and Molly Mackenzie Ward.

It is hoped that the competition will become an annual event, with the winners' designs made up to be displayed the following Christmas, thus adding each year to the number of lights.

Church Fenton - Christmas Lights

Supported and organised by ELF and the Parish Council, the lights are a welcome addition to the village during the festive season, bringing a cheerful display of colour to all who pass through Church Fenton.


Christmas Elf Trail (December 2011)

Church Fenton - Elf Trail

This year's Elf Trail in Church Fenton was even bigger and better than last year, it was truly awesome. What imaginative and talented people we have living in our village.

There were climbing elves, fishing elves, a cycling elf, an elf waiting for a bus and singing elves (Elvis might be gone but Elfis is most certainly alive and kicking out a tune!).

There were literary elves and a very cheeky elf, elves to save the euro and a naughty devil elf. There were wee elves and large elves, a very wee elf sitting on a bench and a scrooge elf created by many little helpers.

Church Fenton - Elf Trail

There were over 30 different individuals and groups throughout the village that had created an elf, you could even become an elf yourself.

ELF would like to thank to all our volunteers and to the support of our wonderful Hi Flyers W.I. ladies for the scrumptious buns. Also thank you to our Parish Council for supporting our trail and the village web site for promoting it. Church Fenton is certainly the place to be at Christmas and it is great to see the whole village coming together in this way.

Church Fenton - Elf Trail

The highlight, as always, was seeing the joy on the faces of our wonderful children. Surely there is nothing nicer at Christmas, than to see happy, smiley wee ones skip around our village just loving being there visiting all their elfie friends and knowing Santa will be calling soon.

For more pictures download the photo presentation compiled by Nina Watson. It is in PDF format.


Halloween Trail (October 2011)

Church Fenton - Halloween Trail

The weekend of the 29th and 30th of October saw lots of wee ghosties and ghoulies visit the Wildlife Habitat Protection Trust's Woodland Project at the Old Plantation in Church Fenton, all hoping to scare and be scared. Proceeds from the event were for the Trust who is currently developing six sites close to Church Fenton. The key objectives for developing these schemes are to protect wildlife while educating all ages on wildlife and habitat preservation.

The event was organised by Lynne Kilburn from Branching Out who work in partnership with the Trust to raise funds through social events.


Lynne, who broke away from serving up Pumpkin Soup and Creepy Ghoulash in the cafe area, said that, "The event was a massive success especially as this is our first Halloween Trail and it is so rewarding when you get so many parents and children thanking you for such an enjoyable evening!"

Church Fenton - Halloween Trail

Parents came along with their children, all of whom dressed up in scary outfits to follow the trail around the woods. On their walk they saw a very creepy cemetery with many skeletons trying to climb out of graves, the headstones of the rather unfortunate 'Eileen Dover...Too Far' and the infamous criminal 'Robin Banks'.

There was much more to come as every few yards there appeared gruesome werewolves, hovering ghosts, ghouls and worst of all a giant spider. The spider was wonderfully handcrafted from willow by the talented hands of the Trust's Grants and Marketing Coordinator, Leilah Vyner.

Church Fenton - Halloween Trail

Just as everyone was getting over the shock of the enormous spider and then having been shocked, many times, by further blood curdling scenes, out, from nowhere, jumps a frightening ghoul. This ghoul scares the living daylights out of everyone. Surprisingly this young ghoul was a local schoolboy and future Hollywood horror actor, Ben/

At the end of the trail there were lots of delights waiting for all the trembling and excited ghosties and ghoulies, especially the hungry and thirsty ones. There was a very inventive menu of seasonal food and beverages. The temporary cafe was situated in a stunning setting, where giant white spirit-like globes surrounded the wildlife pond and reflected beautifully across the mirror-like water.


There was also a tent where visitors could learn more about what the Trust has achieved and what they hope to achieve in the future. Many visitors were amazed at how much has been done in just a few years and signed up for a newsletter service.

Church Fenton - Halloween Trail

There was yet even more fun to partake in. Children were invited to make lots of Halloween goodies, from witches' hats, spiders and they could also create drawings of their scary experiences in yet another tent. Grandma 'witch' Brenda and grandson 'vampire' Max were there to greet visitors. Thank goodness there were only two members of this family present. Heaven knows what Grandpa looks like!

Founders of the Trust, Martin and Craig Blakey, were thrilled at the hundreds of visitors that visited the woods for the Halloween Trail and the brothers were even more thrilled that children and parents alike had such a wonderful time.

There are more events planned for the future so keep visiting the Church Fenton Community Web Site for details.


Banardos Big Toddle (June 2011)

Church Fenton - Banardos Big Toddle

In June 2011 Jigsaws staff, parents and children got involved in The Banardos Big Toddle.

Heading off from Jigsaws Childcare on the Main Street in Church Fenton, over 20 children aged from three months to four years took to prams or walking shoes to the Sandwath nature area.

The morning toddle raised over £150 for the Barnardos charity.


Christmas Elf Trail (December 2010)

Church Fenton - Elf Trail

This took place over the 18th and 19th of December and was organised by ELF (Everyone Loves Fenton). Many Church Fenton residents volunteered to create and place Elves of various sizes and styles in the front of houses or front gardens and at key sites around the village.

This was a bit like the village scarecrow trails organised in the summer by other nearby villages. However, for Church Fenton, the theme was Elves and there was lots for children and adults alike to see and enjoy throughout the village.

Church Fenton - Elf Trail

Apart from displaying Elves all over the village, the theme was also a play on the word 'elf' and so we saw displays entitled "Watch your speed or ELF! and "Elf and Fitness" amongst many others."

Volunteers manned a stand in the school grounds, handing out maps of the trail and providing hot drinks and mince pies and cookies to eat. A big thankyou to all those who manned the tent in the cold weather.

Church Fenton - Elf Trail

The photos shown here give a flavour of the Elves on display and the considerable work that many people put into making the weekend a success. There were many more on display than are shown here. Hopefully, this will become a regular event in the Church Fenton village calendar.

So, from the Prince of the Elves, see you all again in 2011.


WI Craft and Produce Show (September 2010)

Church Fenton - WI Craft and Produce Show

The Women's Institute has always associated with crafts and home produce, so it's fitting that the Church Fenton High Flyers WI, which was formed less than a year ago, organized a Craft and Produce Show in the village hall on Saturday 25th September.

With over 20 classes, including vegetables, jam, chutney, home baking, photography and children's classes of decorated buns, pasta pictures and vegetable animals, there was something for almost everyone.

Home produce was judged by a WI judge, looking very official in a white coat, armed with sharp knives and 100's of plastic teaspoons, for cutting and tasting.

Home produce entries, of apple pies, bread and cakes filled the tables and with abundant entries in the jam and chutney classes, obviously not only WI members are enthusiastic about pickling and preserving!

Church Fenton - WI Craft and Produce Show

Church Fenton Brownies also participated in the event, with produce grown in their own allotment winning prizes in several classes.

Vegetable entries ranged in size from cherry tomatoes to "marrow sized" courgettes! Experienced vegetable show judges gave tips for future shows, advising root vegetables should be the size of a tennis ball, onions should be "dressed" - in other words they should have their tops tied and be presented in a bed of sand or saw dust.

Church Fenton - WI Craft and Produce Show

There was a lovely community feel to the day, with two of the exhibits aimed at raising the profile of the ELF (Everyone Loves Fenton) - a miniature garden, complete with shed made from ice lolly sticks and chairs from champagne corks, and a fascinator spelling ELF.

Visitors filled the village hall to view the entries, enjoy home baked WI refreshments and buy from the cake stall. At the end of the afternoon exhibits were auctioned off with enthusiastic bids for everything from vegetables to cakes.

The exhibition class included paintings, quilts, knit wear and crocheted necklaces.


The ladies of the High Flyers WI were delighted that the money raised at the show covered their costs and that they are in a position to make a donation to a community charity or project, a decision which will be made at their forthcoming AGM.

ELF Tidy-up Day (May 2010)

Church Fenton - ELF Tidy-up Day

A big thankyou to all those who turned up to the ELF tidy-up day on the 8th of May. The whole of Station Road and Main Street was weeded and tidied. The arrival of the beast of a mower (Now belonging to ELF) cut all the uncut green patches which now really helps. Families mainly concentrated on tidying up around the school and planted some sunflowers! They did a stirling job.

We were able to plant lots of lovely lavender plants, kindly grown by and donated by Val Marshall, to the sides of some of the benches and on flower beds which will offer a lovely aroma and be adored by our friends the butterflies and the bees.

Church Fenton - ELF Tidy-up Day

However, a brilliant job well done! The village looks so much better for it and our flower beds are looking much more enhanced.

Many others who could not attend on the actual day have been working away privately during the days previous.

Thank you to the Parish Council for covering the costs of the Village Hall. Community cohesion at it's best!


Nostalgia Weekend (July 2006)

Church Fenton - Nostalgia Weekend

This took place over the 14th, 15th and 16th of July and allowed residents and all those interested the chance to see documents and deeds in the care of the Parish Council dating back to the 1700s.

Village residents, past and present, were asked to provide old photos and other pieces of information depicting how the village had looked in times gone by.

The response was fanstastic and a wealth of old photographs, documents and letters were made available to be examined by vistors to the event.

Church Fenton - Nostalgia Weekend

The school also got involved, with the children studying local history and investigating how life in the village fitted in the wider scheme of what was happening in the country.

It provided pupils a chance to research how their village had changed over the years and to interview some of the older residents, allowing them to get a more personal view of how things had changed.

The whole event attracted a lot of interest and was extremely well attended over the three days it was on. All those attending agreed that it had been a really worthwhile event and a great opportunity to reminisce about times gone by.