News Notebook

Mike Bisset, Penn and Tylers Green’s first combined vicar, calls it a day

THE REV Mike Bisset, the first ever joint vicar for both Penn and Tylers Green, has announced his intention to retire next summer.

Mike, 66, took on the role of vicar of both Holy Trinity, Penn and St Margaret’s, Tylers Green in 2004. Previously the churches had separate incumbents. 

He and his wife Ali plan to move to Ealing once he has conducted his last service – a joint service on the common on Sunday, 5 June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – although he told parishioners “we do see ourselves moving back out here to the countryside at some point.”

He added: “The churches need a new and younger incumbent with a fresh vision and renewed energy.  Something like I was when I arrived!”

A friend in stressful times…

MIKE WILL be greatly missed in the Penn and Tylers Green.

He has great warmth and understanding, meeting challenging times in the community and stressful times within local families with calmness and positivity.  A spiritual leader and a reliable friend to many, with or without faith.

He was born and grew up in Greenford, Middlesex and later moved with his family to Ealing where he attended Ealing Grammar School.  He chose not to go to university (“I had had enough of school and exams”) and instead followed his father into the civil service.

He  joined the Ministry of Defence where he remained for 22 years, based mainly at its Whitehall headquarters.

“I sensed God calling me into full time ministry in 1994,” he wrote in Village Voice prior to his arrival here. “After a lengthy and rigorous period of testing that call, I was given the go ahead for training and in September 1996 I entered theological college.”  

After college he served as a curate at St Giles in Ickenham before being licensed to become priest in charge of both Holy Trinity and St Margaret’s for a provisional period of five years.

Holy Trinity, Penn, built around 1177. Mike was its 63rd full time priest.

Although the Penn and Tylers Green churches were neighbours,  for many, many years they were in separate deaneries with their own distinctive culture and, to some extent, rivalry (indeed relationships between the two churches reached their lowest point in 1913 when the Vicar of Penn sued the Vicar of  Tylers Green in the High Court for libel.)

St Margaret’s,Tylers Green, built in 1854. Mike was its 10th full time vicar

The parishes had merged and the congregations  were much more reconciled by the time Mike arrived but nonetheless being the first vicar of both churches required tact, diplomacy and patience – qualities Mike possessed in bucketloads. 

It didn’t take long for Mike and Ali,  his wife of nearly 40 years, and their children Chris, James and Suzy to become an integral and important part of the Penn and Tylers Green community. They will leave with the love and best wishes of so many people. 

Former Horse and Jockey landlord Peter Darby passes away

PETER Darby, who came to help behind the bar at the Horse and Jockey in Tylers Green for a few weeks and stayed for the next 37 years, has died from cancer aged 64.

Peter and Neusa enjoy a holiday this year. Picture: Facebook

Back in 1982 Peter, or Pete to his many friends, was working as an accountants’ clerk and used his two week holiday break to work behind the bar while the landlord Ray Dunlop took time out.  He enjoyed himself and the pub so much he stayed on and never returned to his old job.

In 2001 he fulfilled his ambition and became the pub’s landlord.  Shortly afterwards the brewery announced plans to convert the Jockey into a “gastro” pub but the local outcry was so strong the plans were dropped.

Peter ran the pub as a traditional one and certainly knew how to look after his beer. The Jockey was a regular fixture in the Aylesbury Vale and Wycombe Campaign for Real Ale Guide for years while its regulars, with Peter’s wholehearted support, successfully campaigned to have the Horse and Jockey listed by the council as an “asset of community value.”

The Horse and Jockey celebrated its 200th anniversary this year. Picture: Bucks Free Press

A quiet man, Peter ran the pub modestly and convivially. Two years ago he and his Brazilian wife Neusa took the opportunity to retire without too much fuss while the pub was closed for essential maintenance. Sadly, he was not long into his retirement before the cancer was diagnosed.

There is to be a celebration of his life at the Horse and Jockey after his funeral at Aylesbury Vale crematorium (11.30am) on  2 December. 

British Legion hall to be sold

THE LOCAL branch of the Royal British Legion, which has been so busy in the last few days organising the annual poppy collection and remembrance services, is losing its permanent home.

The Legion Hall at Hazlemere Crossroads, which serves as a base for the Hazlemere, Penn and Tylers Green branch of the legion, has been closed and will be sold for redevelopment in the new year. The repairs needed at the hall are too expensive for the legion to undertake.

The Royal British Legion Hall at Hazlemere Crossroads. Picture:

The branch is likely to hire neighbouring halls for its future meetings and in the meantime is seeking to sell the contents of the Hazlemere Crossroads hall, including crockery, cutlery and kitchen equipment.

The hall is the second British Legion hall in the area to be put on the market. Last week the legion announced the sale of its premises at neighbouring Flackwell Heath.

*All of the pupils at Tylers Green First School and the Little Oaks nursery, stood in perfect silence for two minutes in the cold and damp on Tylers Green Back Common at 11am on Thursday 11 November in a short, poignant service for Remembrance Day. Around 80 adults attended. 

Branch chairman John Youers read the dedication with Roy Rigg the standard bearer. The Rev Mike Bisset, vicar of Penn and Tylers Green, explained to the children, aged from four to six, why the two minute silence was being held and suggested that if they had photos of their grandparents or great grandparents at home they should picture those in their minds while  they stood in silence. 

If, at first, you don’t succeed…

TYLERS GREEN First and Middle Schools this week launched yet another initiative to persuade parents and carers to walk their children to school instead of dropping them off as near to the school gates as possible. 

They have already pointed out the obvious – that it’s healthier, more environmentally friendly and children feel happier walking to and from school – in an attempt to persuade parents to leave the car at home or, at least, park a minimum five minutes away.

But, as anyone passing the schools in the morning or afternoon can testify, that’s had just a limited success.

Then, last week, they tried a “Parents Parking Promise” asking parents to physically sign a form with four pledges: 

  • I will protect the safety of children at my school by being a thoughtful driver
  • I will try to use my car as little as possible for school journeys
  • I will park five minutes away and walk to school if I have to use the car
  • I will not park near to the school entrances

Now they are using the children themselves as effective parent persuaders with a national scheme called Living Streets. 

The children are being asked how they travel to school and if they walk, cycle or scoot at least once a week for a month they are rewarded with a badge.  The badges have a theme – currently it’s Walk for the World with the badges featuring animals at risk of extinction because of climate change.

And if all that fails?  How about bringing in Greta Thunberg to harangue miscreants at the school gates? That’ll teach ‘em.


Heating problems – Home Group, the housing association that runs Wheelers old people’s flats in Church Road, Tylers Green, says it is replacing the heating system where appropriate at the complex after complaints from residents. One resident, Kathleen O’Kane told the BBC she had not had proper heating for ten months.

Top journalist – Sam Cunningham, of Hammersley Lane, Tylers Green, has been shortlisted as sports journalist of the year in  the British Journalism Awards 2021 for a series of stories in the i newspaper, including insights on the mental health of professional footballers. 

Penn School treesJoe Flight, on behalf of the new owners of the Penn School site in Church Road, Penn, has applied for planning permission to fell a total of seven yews, seven oak, four thorn, five ash and three holly trees, some of which are subject to tree preservation orders, plus the reduction and reshaping of other trees on the site.

Sky-dive – Jackie Sturgess of Birch Way, Tylers Green has raised over £1,000 for Stokenchurch Dog Rescue from her tandem sky dive at Chiltern Park airfield. Jackie, a retired ambulance technician and member of Beaconsfield Rock Choir, runs a dog walking business in the village. The charity has rehoused and cared for thousands of dogs since it was formed nearly 58 years ago.

School effort Parents, children and staff at Manor Farm Community School in Rose Avenue  spent part of their weekend creating a safe standing space at the front of the school for the beginning and end of the school day.

Cyber pint – Peter Gilbert, owner of the Potters Arms in Winchmore Hill, told the Mirror that all his staff have accepted his offer to pay their bonuses in cryptocurrency – a form of payment that can be exchanged for goods and services online. He told the paper: “I’m a big fan of cash…(but) in the future I do want to be able to accept payments in cryptocurrency.”

Covid update – There were 114 new Covid infections in the Penn, Tylers Green and Hazlemere area last week: at the equivalent of 471 cases per 100,000 population that’s  higher than the average for Buckinghamshire (375 cases per 100k) and the UK (465 cases per 100k).

Buckinghamshire Council reported by that the end of last week 83 per cent of adults were fully vaccinated; while 67 per cent of 16 and 17 year olds and 55 per cent of 12 to 15 year olds had taken up a vaccine offer.  Just 60.4 per cent of those eligible for a booster vaccination have so far come forward in the county.

New health centre A new diagnostic centre opened last week at Amersham Hospital will reduce waiting times for patients in this area requiring X-rays, ultrasound and blood tests, says the Bucks NHS Trust. Meanwhile our local ambulance service, South Central says it is receiving an ‘overwhelming” number of calls.  999 emergencies are up 13 percent on two years ago and the number of non-urgent calls has increased 30 per cent more than expected.

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