If Bicker is looking rather tidier than it once did, it’s thanks to a group of energetic walkers who have dubbed themselves Bicker Buds.
They have been meeting up each Wednesday since August last year to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty as they carry out improvements to the village.
A chance comment on the state of the village between the walkers started it all. Now chairman Pete Windmill and the rest of this informal group – Dave and Barbara Webster, Tony and Kathleen Boughen, Judy Whitchurch, Brenda Trelford and Terry Coleman – cut back hedges, cut grass, strim the roadside and clear litter from footpaths.
Their work in lifting the overgrown canopy along the dyke has impressed the Black Sluice Drainage Board, which in turn has offered to bring in a machine five times a year to clear the dyke and keep the nettles down.
The group now has plans to convert a telephone box just outside the Post Office into a small information point, hopefully equipped with useful books and leaflets.
Tony Boughen is also chairman of the Bicker and District Gardening Club (which covers villages such as Donington, Quadring and Swineshead) and Kathleen is treasurer. It organises monthly meetings (third Thursday of the month, 7.30pm) with guest speakers at the village hall for its 40 members, as well as outings to see other gardens.
Bicker Buds has taken on a plot of land as a community allotment to grow a mixture of vegetables and herbs which can be sold to raise money for more projects and tools.
It previously belonged to the late Trevor Pell, and is to be named in his memory as ‘Nipper’s Plot’.
The group say there are a number of vacant allotments in Bicker – contact parish council clerk Diane Fairweather on 01775 821898.
Dave and Barbara are also joint bell captain and steeple keeper and their daughter-in-law, Maria Webster, is a bell ringer, as are two young learner ringers, Bethany and Joshua Croston.
Dave says: “The fact that there are eight bells in a village of this size is unusual.”
While Dave and Barbara are in the tower for bell ringing practice (Mondays, 6.30pm to 7.30pm) they also wind up the clock and Matthew Sheldon also winds it once a week. But Bicker is kept ticking thanks to all the Bicker Buds.