Christmas Newsletter for 2001

from Colin and Elizabeth Hicks

Each year we send out a Christmas Newsletter to family and friends.
The text below is a slightly edited version of our Christmas 2001 Newsletter.

Miriam Carpenter
(age 7½ months)

Joanna and James in August 1998
Joanna and James

Grandparents Again!

A second grandchild for Colin and Elizabeth, Miriam Rachel, was born on 3 January 2001 to Joanna and James. Everything went well with the birth and with mother and daughter (plus father) throughout the year. Miriam is crawling well and trying to talk and stand. See our Grandparent page for more photos and more details!

Joanna went back from maternity leave to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in September 2001. She has begun working three days a week supported by the two grandmothers (Elizabeth and Gwyneth) who share the childcare between them. Two years after her front teeth were damaged in a cycling accident in France, she is due to get her dental implants (paid for by the NHS) at the end of November.

James is still at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London). During the year James secured his Professional Accreditation of Teaching in Higher Education - by means of a part-time diploma course. James has managed to help with some childcare by working from home using a broadband connection to the Internet. Joanna and James' broadband example encouraged Colin into following suit in April which means he can now hold video conferences with Miriam.



He said, 'I am the light of the world'
John 8:12 (NIV)


Work! Work! Work!

Colin has now completed two years as Director General of the British National Space Centre (BNSC). This has been a very busy year for him because the UK hosted a major European space conference in November. He had extra trips to the Paris headquarters of the European Space Agency because he chaired the committee preparing all the policy papers as well as being responsible for the planning of the event itself. Appearances on tv and radio are now taken as part of the normal office routine.

In October Elizabeth received a twenty-five years continuous service award from Richmond Council - a great surprise as her service was split between three schools and included part-time as well as full-time working - and the bonus vouchers were very welcome.

Elizabeth is very much in demand for dyslexia tuition both at Chase Bridge School and privately. She helped Rachel with Jasper until September and since then has done one day a week looking after Miriam while Joanna is at work. Consequently Elizabeth is effectively working full-time again either at school, doing private tuition, or looking after the grandchildren.

Hicks family in August 2001
Richard, Jasper, Mum, Colin, Elizabeth, Rachel, Miriam, James and Joanna
(from left to right) in August 2001

Click to see Colin and Elizabeth's eChristmas Card to You!

Richard and Rachel in August 1998
Richard and Rachel

Miriam, Joanna and Grandma
Miriam, Joanna and Colin's Grandma
in September 2001

France & French

The middle two weeks of August were spent on holiday in France with everyone (including grandchildren) sharing a house near Bordeaux. Jasper travelled there and back in the car with Colin and Elizabeth (greatly enjoying the adventure of the overnight car ferry across the Channel). Richard and Rachel flew via Toulouse where they made final preparations for their year living in France (see below). Joanna, James and Miriam travelled there and back by train.

Richard, Rachel and Jasper moved to Toulouse during September 2001. They intend spending a year there during which they will improve their French (Richard passed an A-level in French this summer). A few weeks after their arrival there was the dreadful Toulouse explosion which they heard but which did not affect them directly. Rachel has got part-time work teaching English as a foreign language.

Jasper attends a bilingual Montessori nursery school every weekday and loves it. He is beginning to understand some French although he is reluctant to speak it.

Colin and Elizabeth plan to fly to Toulouse for Christmas and spend the holiday with the Evans family in a rented house on the edge of the Pyrenees. They will miss seeing anything of Ruth Payne (daughter of Richard, Elizabeth's elder brother) who is sharing the house in Toulouse.



Miriam and Jasper
Miriam and Jasper
in January 2001

Miriam and Joanna
Miriam and Joanna
in May 2001

Church, Home & Away

Colin stood down from the Leadership Team of Teddington Baptist Church in March after twenty four years of almost continuous service (no 25 year award for him there!). It was just as well he stood down since the demands of work (and pleasures of holidays) mean that he will have been abroad for 60 nights in the year (44 of them in France). Elizabeth only managed 33 nights abroad (26 in France).

Apart from August and Christmas in France, Colin and Elizabeth went to Spain on holiday for June half-term and to Toulouse for October half-term. In fact with work and holidays, Colin hardly ever seemed to be in Teddington during the week this year, making a mockery of his longstanding claim that "Every Wednesday night is Church Night and that is the first engagement in my diary"!

Even so Colin and Elizabeth continue to be fully involved in the work of Teddington Baptist Church. Among other roles, Colin still runs the website and Elizabeth the welcome team. Elizabeth has been hosting a Book Circle once a month which involves church and non-church contacts. The Book Circle chooses a book to read and then meets to discuss it.

Despite all the travel, Colin and Elizabeth have managed to welcome a number of Tearfund guests for one or two night stays. These guests are visiting this overseas aid Christian charity which is based in Teddington. This year they hosted Tearfund guests from: Afghanistan, Canada, Ethiopia, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Philippines, USA, and every part of the UK.



Miriam and Dad
Miriam and Elizabeth's Dad
in March 2001

Other Family News

Elizabeth's Dad moved into sheltered accommodation in Birmingham in June 2001, selling the house in which he had lived since the 1970s. Dad has access to a guest room which can be used by Andrew (Elizabeth's younger brother) when he visits. Colin and Elizabeth hope to be able to visit Barbados (where Dad was born) with Heather (Elizabeth's sister) - possibly next Easter. Colin's grandmother is well and will be 100 in Sept 2002 - that is sure to be a great family celebration.


e-mail and website addresses

e-mail to Colin and Elizabeth:

Colinís web sites:
Colinís office e-mail:
Colinís office web site:

e-mail to Richard and Rachel:

e-mail to James:
Joanna's office e-mail:
e-mail to Joanna at home:
The Clipper Cards web site is at: