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The Sandford Link

History of 'SANDFORD LINK'

‘The Link’ is over 30yrs old, so this is a brief look at the early days, when Sandford was a smaller village, while some of us can still remember!

It took some years and some growing pains before ‘The Link’ attained its present nature – an attractive and well-regarded quarterly village magazine, hand-delivered to every household.

Before 1981 there had been ‘Sandford Parish Council News’ which was distributed by volunteers to the whole village. It gave information on deliberations of the parish council and encouraged people to take an interest in village affairs. In 1978 it announced that “an application had been made for planning permission to build a new hall to replace the old Reading Room and all Sandford residents were invited to attend a meeting on 10th October to form a fund-raising committee.” And that was the start of a period of much good community action which will have to be the subject of another article.

Three years later in November 1981, issue no. 1 of the 'SANDFORD LINK' was published by the parish council and the first editor was Max Hobbs.

That first issue was published on one A4 double-sided sheet and was sub-titled ‘Sandford and Littlemore News’ because it was an experiment in collaboration between our parishes to celebrate one hundred editions of ‘Littlemore Local.’ (Edited by Geoffrey Hedge.) It was intended that the Sandford Link should be distributed only in Sandford unless there was news warranting a special edition.

There was plenty of news on that front page - perhaps the most interesting being the announcement that the new village hall had opened on Saturday 19th September. Also, there was a notice that “Sandford’s Youth Drama Group” would be presenting their 4th pantomime – Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – in January in the new hall; all proceeds to the Village Hall Fund. There were reports from the Toddler Group and from the fund-raising committee who said that £400 had been raised for the hall at a 50-50 auction held in the old Reading Room.

The main article in the centre of the front page was a notice titled “Sandford’s Future; Land for housing, employment and recreation needs is required in the Oxford Area, states the Oxford City Council in a consultation document on possible development at Blackbird Leys and Littlemore. South Oxfordshire District Council in recognising this need have put forward suggestions for development at Sandford Paper Mill, The Brickworks Site and Land at the Temple Farm Country Club. To discuss the various proposals a Public Meeting will be held on Wednesday 18th November 1981 at 8.00pm in the Village Hall.”

On the reverse of the page was church news, various notices and a drawing of the church by Yvonne Winkfield. The early editions of the Sandford Link captured the many changes which were occurring in the village and had no struggle in finding copy once a month. Max Hobbs was editor for the first six issues of the Sandford Link and Don Edwards’ line drawings of notable village buildings added to the appearance. As Geoffrey Hedge wrote in ‘Farewell to Editor’ “Max will be remembered as the founder editor of the Link; a community newsletter, which has , in a short space of time, gone from strength to strength…he has set a high standard for his successor to follow.

Alfred Robinson was editor of twelve editions, when there was a notable change in tone and content until the parish council asked Laurence Boyd to take over as editor in July 1983. This was when the Sandford Link first adopted the A5 format and was issued quarterly. It was under Laurence Boyd that ‘Kingcup’ (aka Bob Crickmay) first made an appearance, with the first of a series of interesting and well-researched historical articles covering many aspects of Sandford life. Another noteworthy contributor of that period was Carl Reynolds, our splendid community policeman.

During the next four years there was an increasing disagreement between the parish council and the editor, who resigned, and the Sandford Link went underground, re-appearing briefly as an A4 size ‘New Link’ – the newsletter of a newly-formed ‘Sandford on Thames Community Association’.  Belinda Nicholls was the editor and Carl Reynolds the main inspiration behind getting it moving again and chasing around for funding. In August 1988, the Sandford Link finally turned into ‘The Link’ as it was known, which was A5 in size and with a coloured cover.  Richard Jackson took over in August 1989 and six monthly editions were produced until July/August 1990 when ‘The Link’ became bi-monthly.

The next editor, Prue Sykes, took over in November/December 1990 when she thanked Richard for ‘all the work he has put into the Link. In particular for his artistic talents, as under his editorship the standard of design and production have been exceptional.’ 

The magazine continued bi-monthly until 1994 when the present, quarterly, editions took over. Our village magazine seeks to represent and be a voice for all sections of Sandford. It is paid for jointly by the parochial church council and the parish council.

In 2018, the present editor, Hazel Douglas, took over the job and the name reverted to “Sandford Link” . Hazel can be contacted on: sandfordlink@gmail.com