The Link Magazine

Linking the villages of - Somersham, Willisham, Offton and Flowton - Suffolk

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Offton & Willisham PC
Link Committee meeting

The next Link Committee Meeting will take place on Wednesday 28th April at 8.00pm at Gunn's Farm.
Anybody who is interested is welcome to attend.
If you have any items for discussion please notify Margaret Laflin on 01473 658330
or by e-mail:

Bible Readings and Psalms for our Sunday Worship taken from the Revised Common Lectionary. It is good to be sharing the reading of Scripture with Christians - both Catholic and Protestant - across the world.

4th April Palm Sunday
Liturgy of the Palms
Luke 19. 28-40 Psalm 118. 19-24

11th April Easter Day
Isaiah 65. 17-25 Psalm 118. 14-24
1 Corinthians 15. 19-26 or Acts 10. 34-43
John 20. 1-18 or Luke 24. 1-12

18th April Second Sunday of Easter
Acts 5. 27-32 Psalm 118. 14-29
Revelation 1. 4-8 John 20. 19-end

25th April Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 9. 1-6 Psalm 30
Revelation 5. 11-14 or Acts 9. 1-6 John 21. 1-19

Mothers Union

We meet again in Flowton Vestry this month for a service of Holy Communion for Easter conducted for us by the Rev. Fletcher. We think of this celebration as being open to everyone and hope that anyone who cannot get to a communion service over the coming weekend will feel free to join us at 2 pm on Wednesday, 7th April.

From the registers
Farewell to Philip John Redman aged 75 years, whose funeral took place at Ipswich Crematorium on 5 March 2002 with a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Mary's, Offton later that day.
May he rest in peace

Jars of Grace
If you have been collecting gifts in a "Jar of Grace" during Lent, please hand it in at Easter. You may take it to any of the church services, or hand it in to one of the following people, who will pass it on:
Lucy Vignoles, Wheelwrights, Offton
Frances Gilson, 9 North Acres, Willisham
Mary Carter, Otterditch, Flowton
Christine at Christine Hair Care, Somersham
Mary Fagg, Astoria, Main Road, Somersham
Colin Mayes, Somer Lodge, Main Road, Somersham

Many thanks to everybody who has kept a Jar of Grace during Lent.


The Annual Parochial Church Meeting will place on Sunday 18th April following a half-hour "Songs of Praise" service at 6.30pm and refreshments. We hope that many of you will choose to attend both the service and the meeting as this is where you can help to appoint the Churchwardens for the coming year.
If you would like to request a hymn for the service please contact Mary Carter by April 11th (01473 658522 )

The Annual Parish Meeting will take place on the evening of Wednesday April 21st in Flowton Church Vestry.

The Patchwork and Quilting groups will meet together in Flowton Vestry on Monday April 26th at 7.30pm. They will be sewing small bags by hand. If you wish to join them contact Mary on 658522 for more details.


Saturday 15th May

St. Marys Church, Flowton
at 7.00pm

Featuring local Talented Musicians
and Performers

Tickets £5.00

Food included. Bar available.

Tickets available from: Alan Munson
Tel: 01473 658425

In aid of Flowton Church funds and charity

CHURCH SERVICES in our 8 linked parishes

The new rota of services began in October - if you have any doubts about this listing please contact the churchwardens. Thank you.

April 4th Palm Sunday

Holy Communion

9.30am Willisham
Morning Prayer 10.00am Great Bricett
Holy Communion 11.00am Somersham
Morning Prayer 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking
Holy Communion 6.30pm Flowton

April 8th Maundy Thursday

Children's Workshop 10am-12noon in Offton Church
Holy Communion 7.30pm Barking

April 9th Good Friday

Children's Workshop 10am-12noon in Offton Church
Meditation on the Cross 2.00pm Willisham

April 11th Easter Day

Holy Communion
8:00am Flowton
Family Communion 9.30am Somersham
Holy Communion by extension 10.00am Bricett
Holy Communion 11.15am Barking
Holy Communion 11.15am Battisford
Holy Communion 6.30pm Offton

April 18th Second Sunday of Easter

Holy Communion 8.00am Somersham
Family Service 10.00am Offton
Family Service 10.00am Willisham
Morning Prayer with APCM 11.15am Battisford

Songs of Praise and APCM
Refreshments will be served after this service

6.30pm Flowton

April 25th Third Sunday of Easter

Holy Communion 9.30am Ringshall
Morning Worship 10.00am Flowton
Holy Communion 11.00am Offton
Morning Prayer 11.15am Barking
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Somersham



Offton & Willisham Village Hall Committee

The Annual General Meeting of

Offton & Willisham Village Hall Management Committee

will be held at

Offton and Willisham Village Hall


Thursday 22nd April 2004 at 8pm

Members of the public are cordially invited to attend.


Not really much to report as we're writing, although there will probably be all sorts of things happening by the time you read this. Mr. Marrable is still away, with Mrs. Svendsen as acting headteacher. Every thing is going along tickerty boo.

Hopefully the willow will be starting to shoot and the field drying out so the children can play on it again. They are always so much happier when they can get on the field and have a really good run around.

Please take time to read the FOSS page. They are a valuable part of our school and it would be lovely if they get lots of support for the Summer Fair.

See you all next month, with hopefully lots more news!


This month we want to concentrate in telling you about the Summer Fair. (June 26th) As reported in last months issue of the Link, we are doing a 1940's theme this year. The flower show will again be held and hopefully by the time you receive this, the entry classes and forms will be available from the usual outlets. Please take a little time to pick one up, you might decide to have a go at some of the things on the list. It's rather a nice piece of fun!

A fancy dress competition will be held on the day for the children. 1940's gear of course! We know it can be done as Class 2 have already had a go.

If you have any ideas as to what we can do for the fair, please let us know.

Has anyone got any photos of local villages / families during the war that we can borrow and scan? We thought a display in the school hall would be interesting. If you have can we have them at school or contact Jenny or Leita please. And don't forget, if anybody has war time recipes we would love a copy of them.

Lots more information next month, but don't forget to pick up an entry form.

A date for your diary.

Tuesday 27th April, in the school hall,

start time 6 p.m. (till 8 p.m.)
A Beetle Drive
Everyone welcome. Do come, it's a huge laugh.

Entry is £1.00 which will include a drink and crisps/biscuits. There will of course be small prizes for the winners.

Hope you made it to the Jumble Sale. Sorry we didn't put it last months Link. Unfortunately we missed the deadline.

Think that's it for this month. Be having a good think about the Summer Fair/Flower Show!

OOPS! Forgot! Any Tesco Computer vouchers will be gratefully received. Thanks.

PC Kevin Shields
Community Beat Officer
Tel: 01473 613500


As Pc Kevin Shields deputy, this is the first chance I have had to introduce myself. I am Pc 839 Simon Mills and have held the post since around October 2003. You may have already gathered that Kevin has taken time off as I can imagine that his lack of presence has been noticed around the villages. The good news is, that it has continued to be fairly quiet, from a policing point of view, around the beat. As always I must stress that we must not get complacent, and I ask that you all remain vigilant at all times as we don't want crime to spread from places not to far away.

Vehicle crime - Vehicles are continually being targeted across the Mid-Suffolk sector. Whether it is vehicle damage, interference or theft from motor vehicles. I would like to remind everyone to make sure that they don't leave any items visible in their cars which would attract would be thieves. Always remember to keep your cars locked. Report any unusual activity or suspicious vehicles, as the chances are that those responsible may not live locally. The force has just adopted a new campaign to combat vehicle crime called Keep It Safe and Secure (KISS) where members of the public can apply for a Safe Sack (to carry their personal items) from Police stations. For more information speak to Pc Shields or myself.

Anti-social behaviour - Its now the time of year that the nights become lighter, which means that the local children and teenagers may gather at various places around the villages. I am aware that there are not too many places for the youths to go but I would ask they refrain from gathering where they may become a nuisance to residents or where they place themselves or others in danger i.e. the local roads. If you do experience an on-going problem with children/teenagers gathering please let us know, but I do ask that you show some tolerance. Remember that under 18's are NOT ALLOWED TO DRINK ALCOHOL IN A PUBLIC PLACE and that it is an offence to provide them with it for that reason! Some of the problems associated with under-age drinking are anti-social behaviour, which can lead to crimes such as criminal damage.

Speeding motorists - Just a reminder on behalf of Pc Shields in relation to speeding motorists. I know that some of our villages are situated on main roads and often have people travelling through. We often get complaints of speeding and if you notice particular vehicles ignoring the road signs then please pass us the details. Remember the limits are there for a reason.

Drop zone box - the one in Somersham is available to all and while Pc Shields is away I will be checking it regularly, so if you want to leave a message to your Local Community Officer then please make use of this. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE MESSAGES REQUIRING URGENT ATTENTION

I am predominately a response officer but will endeavour to do the rounds of the beat where possible but if there is any matters you wish to speak to me about then I am contactable via the same methods as Pc Shields.

If you can assist with or require further information about anything mentioned in these notes, please contact me on 01473 613500 (Force Headquarters). If I am not on duty, ask to leave a voicemail message for either Pc 839 Mills or Pc 980 Shields. Please remember that there are times when Pc Shields and myself have a four-day rest period and that we both work on the same shift pattern. If you require urgent action, do not leave a message, ask to speak to another officer.

Simon Mills Pc 839

Thank you
PC Kevin Shields

01473 383390 Stowmarket Police Station
01473 613500 Police Headquarters

To go to the Suffolk Police web site please click here

To go to the Neighbourhood Watch site of Suffolk Police click here


The 2004 season has started but were the Stars ready in time?

When the fixture list came out there was a shock with 3 meetings scheduled for March - perhaps the earliest ever start. And with the track still too wet for an 11th hour outdoor practice the team didn't have the best preparation. Print deadlines mean you'll have to wait till next month to see how we got on.

During the winter the club staged its AGM where we planned the season ahead. Everyone was happy to forge ahead with another assault in the top South East division and a plethora of other age related competitions. Barry Copping picked up the rider of the year award after easily topping the votes, while Ray Pike joined the managerial ranks as the new Team Manager. Long serving Steve Copping (secretary) and Gary Brown (chairman) retained their roles. The club's biggest requirement is still the need for an influx of new talent but we appear to struggle in this area compared to clubs in more built up areas.

It's easy to try cycle speedway racing as we have spare bikes and equipment for loan, and practice sessions are free. It would be great if we could field a team full of young local people in the British Junior League!
In fact the British Junior League is the next meeting at Somersham. It's on April 17 and open to all young riders in the region. The action starts at 13:00 with the Under 8 age category and continues through the day up to the Under 18's. This would be an ideal first meeting for any newcomers. You better get in touch today to arrange a practice session - so at least you'll be ready!

you can contact us via (01473) 831474, e-mail or take a look at the
new Somersham Cycle Speedway website:



The first match of the month was a home game with Whatfield; and we were looking forward to this game with confidence as everyone had practiced with enthusiasm. We were not to be disappointed with 3 of our 4 teams notching up success to make it a fairly decisive win. The remaining team whilst having a good game unfortunately could not make it a full house, but - with Whatfield placed high in the league - we were well satisfied with the result.

Our next fixture - another very enjoyable match - was against Bentley, who always make us very welcome. We were again hoping for a win but after a close contest it was not to be, as on the night they bowled slightly better than we did to narrowly pinch the result. There were good tussles on all mats throughout the match and with a kinder roll of the woods - who knows - the result could have gone our way
The final game of the month was a home match with Harkstead. This was an even closer affair than against Bentley, and was really not decided until the last few ends of the last game, the woods rolling Harkstead's way. Two of the visiting teams won their games, Somersham winning the third game, and the remaining game was well fought out for a draw - a fair result.

Winter League (February results)
Team Shots Points    
Whatfield 32 - 50 2 - 8 Won Home
Bentley 47 - 33 7 - 3 Lost Away
Harkstead 38 -33 7 - 3 Lost Home

Easter: Certificate 18

Easter has always been unpopular at Somersham Baptist Church, guests aplenty arrive for the carol service, but Easter has become almost an in house celebration. We considered that the Easter message is too violent and too personal for comfort. At least one of our assumptions has been confirmed by the censors rating of the Mel Gibson film, 'The Passion of the Christ', so violent that it gains an 18 certificate. It's not released in the UK until 26th March so I will have to trust those who have seen the film in the US, or in the UK previews.
Billy Graham, (International Evangelist): 'after watching ''The Passion of the Christ'', I feel as if I have actually been there. I was moved to tears. I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus' death and resurrection'.
Steve Chalk, (Founder of Oasis Trust and Faithworks, regularly wheeled out on TV to give a Christian angle): 'Mel Gibson's Film is a masterpiece'.

Thankfully, the original gospel writers avoided so graphic a portrayal of the events, but then the violence of crucifixion was not limited to the silver screen but could be seen firsthand. From their accounts the Church has been able to teach the death of Jesus and its' meaning as an offering for our sins to every age range. The realisation of the pain and suffering of Jesus has brought many to be convinced of their own guilt and the overflowing love of God towards the human race. Jesus himself said 'greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command' (John 15:13). For Jesus crucifixion was not the end, we celebrate Easter because he rose from the dead three days later. His death gives the Christian confidence that sin has been cleared and His resurrection the hope that we too will be raised to life at His glorious return.

This good news of Jesus is announced every week, certificate U, in your local Church. No need to pre book.

Regular Meetings

10.00am Prayer
10.30am Coffee break
10.45am Bible Study; Junior Church for school yrs 1-6
11.15am Coffee break
11.30am Worship
12.00pm-12.30pm Preaching

Ladies Meetings
Women's Fellowship 2.30pm Friday 12th March.
Friends and Neighbours 7.45pm Monday 15th March.

Children and Young People (Held during term time)
Yr. 1-6, Wednesday Club 6.30pm.
Yr. 9 on, 14+ Friday 8.00pm,

Christianity Explained; Six sessions, which deal with Jesus, Salvation and becoming a Christian, to find out more contact Mark.
Somersham Baptist Church, Chapel Lane, Somersham, IP8 4QE

Pastor Mark Newcombe 01473 831940 e-mail
Colin Low 01473 464833 or Edwin Mayhew on 01473 658100. Web site

Somersham Church Notes

The Annual Parochial Church Council Meeting will take place on Tuesday 20th April at 7.45pm in Somersham Church. This is when churchwardens are elected for the coming year and the last year's accounts are presented.

We are grateful to everyone who donated books, tapes, CDs and records for the sale on March 6th. Although there was not a great number of people there, those who came seemed pleased with their bargains, and £135 was taken. Thank you for your support.

As the Trivia Quiz is still to happen at the time of going to edit we don't know how well it has done, but it looks promising with about 12-14 teams having booked a place. Many thanks to Rohais for putting in all the hard work to compile the quiz, to her Mum for helping keep score and everyone else involved on the evening.

The Garden Party will be on Saturday 10th July at Park Farm - once again many thanks to Jane & Denis for allowing us to use their wonderful grounds. More details next month.

Christian Aid Week May 9th-15th: Christian Aid envelopes will be distributed in next month's Link, with details of where you can drop off your contributions.

At Offton Church on 29th February

It was an outrage! I ask you, 3pm on a Sunday afternoon...good snoozing time at that. Actually there was an air of excitement, of expectation, with even an element of concern if not fear of the unknown. Can I actually sing 100 hymns?

Some seventeen stalwarts started smartly on time with the organist, famed now in all eight parishes of our group and resplendent in academic robes, leading the way at a cracking pace and working through the hymns chosen by the four 'Link' parishes. Noticeably good quality vocals these, but so they should have been, with half the Benefice Choir testing their endurance. Perhaps there was less volume than usual, maybe some were holding back for the long haul. Indeed, all the verses were to be sung, though siren voices urged selected verses only.
With warm feelings of satisfaction twenty-five were completed and, with a glow of optimism, they sat down or quaffed a cold drink; there had been no time at all between hymns.... and then they were off again exactly on the hour.
Well into their stride now the second twenty-five went easily with less caution on the vocal breaks while some were even into the descants. Oh great! Here's one with only one verse. And then it seemed without any effort up came the fifty. Glad to sit down and yes, tea please but be quick. For various reasons the vocalists had begun to dwindle, yet on they went, two hours done, two to go.

Harder and slower now with the Ancient and Modern. Who in the world chose this one, eight verses, and this one, with choruses after every verse! Still plenty of quality and volume though, and on they went again. Three hours to the minute, a brief pause.

Came the last quarter. This was getting tough. Several were sitting down now; throat lozenges running out, yet on and on went the relentless organist (gangmaster) ever faster it seemed. An electronic organ this, melodious but powerful. Was it rising and sinking with the change in tempo or just weary eyes snatching a moment from the hymn book? Could the voices be flagging now, beginning to break up like a satellite link? But the end was in sight. And there it was, the very last one, done and dusted! Applause all round, especially to "Howard the Heroic" for four hours playing almost without interruption (even if he was sitting down) and to Mrs Gibbons for deftly feeding the endless supply of sheets of music.

So was it all worthwhile? Was it just the cash so sorely needed by our respective churches? Most would agree it was very satisfying to have sung all those verses of all those hymns. All would say it was good fun even if saying anything was quite difficult for a day or two.

NB. Our collective thanks are gladly given to the wardens at Offton for making us welcome in St. Mary's Church.
On press day the final total was not known but it was in excess of £300.


Somersham Football Club

St Valentine's day saw Somersham first team entertain Sizewell & Aldeburgh Sports. Having suffered a miserable 1-0 defeat at their place in October, revenge was high on the agenda. The match was a close affair with Sizewell showing improvement from earlier in the season, but another sound performance from our boys ensured all three points were secured and the away fixture defeat was now easier to bear.

February 21st and the first team were away to local rivals Sproughton Sports Reserves. In the home encounter in October Sproughton had been soundly spanked 6-0. Hopes were high of a similar result. Sproughton set their stall out early on with most of their lads behind the ball, a tactic which proved spot-on. Try as they might, Somersham could not break them down and as the match progressed Sproughton began creating chances. The positive point for Somersham was the way they defended resolutely as Sproughton grew stronger and the game ended with both defences on top at 0-0.

The 28th saw the return leg against East Bergholt 'A' at Somersham, the away leg, played just 3 weeks earlier, saw Somersham run out comfortable 4-0 winners. The first half of the match pointed toward Somersham continuing where they had left off against Bergholt. Time and again the visitors defence was torn open by the Somersham midfield and attack, but failure to convert more than one chance left the supporters hoping the gods were not against us. The second half found a far more spirited Bergholt team and as the game progressed, they improved at the same rate that Somersham faded. The rewards for Bergholt's efforts were a 2-1 win and all 3 points, in a game they really should have been out of by half-time.

The first team were on their travels again on the 6th March, this time along the A14 to Haughley to take on Haughley United 'A'. After the previous 2 disappointing results manager Quinny was on the warpath demanding 3 points to stop the rot. Somersham started brightly, on what could best be described as an agricultural pitch, and took the lead early on through Damon Crick after he pounced on a half saved shot by the Haughley keeper. Haughley rallied and scored an equaliser close to the end of the first half through some poor Somersham defending. Again Somersham were letting the game slip by them and would have conceded a second had it not been for the sound goalkeeping abilities and graceful acrobatics of Terry O'Neill in the Somersham goal. After a sound berating from the boss at half-time Somersham attacked with more verve in the second period and thought they had earned their reward when Ross Cater slid home from 8 yards, only for the referee to disallow it for offside. Minutes later Ross was on hand again, this time he flicked the ball over the keeper with the back of his head. Again the linesman's flag signalled an offside, but this time after long deliberation, the ref correctly let the goal stand. Somersham lost their way for a spell after this but rode out the storm and got over the line to bag all 3 points. Special mention this time goes to manager Quinny who brought himself on with 5 minutes to play to show the lads how it's done. As Crumpy will vouch, the lads did well to hang on!

The first team are still in second place in Division 4, still with a number of games in hand. However, although Claydon did lose once during this sequence of matches, any ground we could have made up disappeared with our defeat by East Bergholt, and so their lead is maintained.
Please accept my apologies for the lack of notes on the reserve team due to technical difficulties, but measures are in hand to improve this element of the service.

As always, your support would be greatly appreciated by all at the club, so please come and join us and help propel us back to Division 3 next season.

See you on Saturday!!! DON'T FORGET YOUR PAINT!!!!!

Al Chester



Somersham Parish Council

April 2004

Parish Council Meetings

Wednesday 7th April 2004 at 7.30pm in the Pavilion
Annual Parish Meeting

Wednesday 5th May 2004 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall
Annual Parish Council Meeting


Bottle Banks

It has come to our attention that there are problems with the bottle banks in Princes Gardens, again. Children are asked not play near the bottle banks, and everyone is asked not to use the bottle banks at unsociable hours.


Donation Requests

Every year the Parish Council gives money to deserving charities, under the power of section 137, in the Local Government Act 1972.

We welcome requests from any local group or organisation, if funding is required. So if you are a member of a local group or organisation, and wish to obtain funding for a specific project or to help with general costs, please contact the Clerk to the Council.


Rubbish Problems

It has been brought to the Parish Council's attention that rubbish is being dumped at the Somersham/Flowton Road junction. We would ask that people do not dump their rubbish, anywhere in the village, except in the litter bins provided.

If the problem persists the Parish Council will take action, and will bring in mobile CCTV equipment to catch the culprits.

Andrew Mayhew
Clerk to the Council

Andrew Mayhew
Clerk to the Council
Address: 21 Morgan Court, Claydon, IPSWICH, IP6 0AN
Tel No: 01473 834035
Web Site:


Offton Church News

Easter Day Service:
Please check for details at the back of the Link.

Easter Workshops:

To remind you there will be Easter Workshops for the children on Thursday and Friday 8th and 9th April in the Church from 10 am to 12 noon. Do come along. There will be working with clay and other activities. Further details from Pam Redman 658896.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting:

The meeting will be held on Monday 26th April 2004 at 7pm in Offton Church for the purpose of electing the churchwardens for the coming year. Members to serve on the Parochial Church Council will also be elected at this meeting and the Accounts for 2003 will be presented.

Just to remind you:

Coffee Morning First Thursday of the month April 1st and May 6th. 10.30 in the church
Chick Chat Club April 14th and 28th at 7 pm in the church

Festival of Talents Sunday May 9th

Church Fete on Saturday 12 June 2004 in the churchyard.

Philip Redman 1929 - 2004 lived in Offton for more than 20 years and was an active member of the village community. He served on the Parish Council, four years as Chairman, belonged to the local Conservative Association and worked tirelessly for the church serving for several years on the PCC. He supported Pam in all her endeavours and she supported him in his and most particularly during his last months of debilitating ill health. Many people will remember him for his generosity, warm welcome and hospitality at Mount Pleasant and his easy sense of humour. He was greatly loved by his extended family and will be sorely missed. LJV

Pam and family would like to thank so many of you who showed such love and care over the passing of Philip. Your cards have been greatly appreciated. Thank you to friends and neighbours for your support.

Dear Reader,

April is the season of Annual Meetings and of celebrating the Resurrection. I started wondering what, if any, is the connection between the two. It's within our Annual Parochial Church Meetings that we elect churchwardens, two per parish. Churchwardens have been in existence since the thirteenth century. From the fifteenth century onwards, they have been chosen annually, all adult parishioners having a voice at the meeting which elects them. On behalf of everyone in the parish, churchwardens record information about the church, its contents, and the churchyard, they allocate seating, keep order if it should ever prove necessary, and are the officers of the Bishop. The importance of this ancient office is that parishioners all have their say.

The Resurrection of Jesus is about making all things new. Whether or not as an individual you're able to say "I believe in Jesus", it is important to ask, Who did Jesus die for? He did not die just for churchgoers. All things - all people are the reason why All-mighty God let his Son take upon himself the sin of the whole world and take it far away.
"God was pleased....through him to reconcile to himself all things....
by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross."
(Colossians 1, verse 20)

Being raised from the dead, Jesus will bring with him all those who ask. From God's point of view, the good news of Resurrection is for everyone, or for none at all. From our point of view, people of each generation look at what has been achieved for them once and for all, and choose whether to follow the one in whom they can place their trust.
Like the parish system, it is for everyone - where each and everyone can belong, eternally.

Happy Easter!
Linden Fletcher


April 11, 18 Christine Jarrold + all help for Easter
25, May 2 Angie Osborn

Cleaning: Team A

April 11, 18 Mrs Ward + all help for Easter
25, May 2 Mrs Laflin

Cleaning: Mrs P. Brooks & Mrs B. Dunnett

April 11, 18 Mrs Jo Gray + all help for Easter
25, May 2 Mrs Alison Rumsey

Cleaning: Mrs Dickson

April 11, 18 Mrs Cage + all help for Easter
25, May 2 Mrs Large

Village Appreciation

David the milkman, and his partner, were presented with a cheque for just over £300, wine and flowers at the Trivia Quiz in Somersham Village Hall.

Pam & Cliff have been sent a cheque for £256.50
Thank you to all residents who contributed to the collections, and to Christine & Heather for organising them.


Magical Musical Moments

For the third and final performance in the successful series of Magical Musical Moments concerts, Offton welcomed the Opus clarinet quartet to the church on Saturday 28 February.

Once again, tickets were sold out for this performance, although some empty seats were evident when the threat of snow discouraged a few visitors from further afield.

The cold evening was, however, immediately warmed by the group's opening piece, their arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, a composer and theme that they would return to later in the programme with Summertime from Porgy and Bess.

The programme ranged from the smooth sounds of city jazz through to more swinging jazz numbers and the inclusion of popular compositions by Henry Mancini, Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington had feet tapping in the pews.

For those who would like to hear more of Opus, this wonderfully versatile group have recently recorded a CD which they plan to release in March.

The main programme was supported by local talent, Alice Porter, whose delightful playing at the keyboard both before the performance and during the interval added to the ambience of the candlelit church.

The interval provided the now familiar delicious spread of quality international cheeses, breads and wines and credit needs to be given to the team of volunteers who have so ably supported this programme of concerts in support of such deserving charities.
Perhaps we can look forward to more Magical Musical Moments next winter.

Glen King

The series has come to end. The audience liked what was offered and the musicians were unanimous in the view that the candle-lit church had atmosphere and was a pleasure to perform in.
All three ensembles volunteered to return!
Comments received:
What a super evening with excellent entertainment. This quartet (Highly Strung) is very good! They play with ease and pleasure. And the soloist! Just magical.
This trio, what a combination! A great future lies ahead of them.
I thought the MMM at the church indeed truly magical.
An evening to foster friendships within the village and to give the village 'life'.
Wow, a concert with party atmosphere right on my doorstep. Fun for us and charities benefit to boot!
The trilogy of concerts is over and it has been a resounding success. It was a brilliant idea and I am sure that everyone present thoroughly enjoyed the variety and quality of the artists involved.
The foundation stone for the Offton Trilogy has been laid!

We are pleased to acknowledge the generosity of the audience (including those kind people who had to cancel without demanding a refund) ánd of the musicians, all of whom forfeited their fee.
Nett proceeds of ticket sales plus donations came to just over £ 1000.
This was distributed as follows:
£50 each to The Link magazine and Tools with a Mission,
£ 300 to the Fabric Fund of Offton Church.
The remainder was equally divided between Cancer Research UK and Motor Neurone Disease Association-Suffolk Branch.

Maartje Rondeboom

by Ted Sampson

I've always been an urban boy, I've journeyed up and down.
I'd several years in Rochdale, and I lived in London Town.
'Country folks have dreamy ways', those words now make me wince,
For I came to live in Offton and I've never looked back since.
(Repeat last line)

The name comes from King Offa, the man who built the Dyke.
That's several hundred miles from here, so he must have had a bike.
There used to be a castle where Castle Farm do stand,
And where we celebrate each year with a barn dance ceiligh band.
(Repeat last line)

There isn't a cathedral, but we have a lovely church.
It dates back to ten eighty six according to research.
A nice man plays the organ and his lovely wife's a gem.
It's mentioned in the Domesday Book - the church that is - not them.
(Repeat last line)

It has an octave peal of bells which ring out loud and clear,
If the wind's in your direction, then it's certain that you'll hear.
But surely people these days aren't relying on those chimes.
Oh yes, because each week the service starts at different times.
(Repeat last line)

We have our own Fisteddfodd in the merry month of May
When local folks recite and sing, it is a lovely day.
And music also can he heard down at the local pub
Each Sunday there's a buskers' night, but they don't serve any grub
(Repeat last line)

We're having a new village hall, at least that is the plan.
It won't be in this village, but next door in Willi-sham.
But I have heard that some folks think, in Offton it should be.
So, with the one in Somersham, around here there'll be three.
(Repeat last line)

We dedicated an extension - last year - back in May,
It's a disabled W.C. like you have to have today.
't Was done by the Archdeacon, his words were like a sonnet:
He said, "God bless this toilet, and all those who sit on it".
(Repeat last line)

The fete last May had stalls and teas, and a cow that you could milk,
(It did: lan made it)
't Was very realistic, with udders soft as silk.
There were teddy bears abseiling, and the bells were rung in rounds.
So, thanks to all who helped to raise - eleven hundred pounds.
(Repeat last line)

I saw it in the paper and could not believe my eyes.
Castle farm was up for sale - it was a great surprise.
Were the owners emigrating - flying far just like a swallow?
We're glad they're not - for they would be the hardest act to follow.
(Repeat last line)

Some people in the village had this great idea,
To have some winter concerts to bring us all some cheer.
The string quartet was grand, but what's this trio all about?
Few have ever heard of them, but the seats were all sold out.
(Repeat last line)

I'm happy now I live my life in a country way.
And now I know how good it is, in Offton I will stay.
With city life it seems to me they're always in a fix.
It's better for your peace of mind to live out in the sticks.
(Repeat three times)

© Ted Sampson 2003


Easter Services
There is a service of Meditation at 2.00pm on Good Friday in Willisham Church. We look forward to welcoming members of all eight parishes to this service.

We have no service on Easter Day - please see details at the back of The Link for times of services in the other churches.

Fete Planning Meeting - Saturday the 24th April
This year's fete takes place at Crow Hall on Saturday the 17th July. Please come along at 10.00am to 9 North Acres on the 24th, with ideas and offers of help.

Sponsored Hymn Sing
Thanks to the Willisham singers and sponsors who came to Offton Church on the 29th February (even if we did only manage half the course). Special thanks to Florence Cage for her contribution to the Junior Praise hymns. At the time of writing, the amount raised for Willisham church is not know, but it is in excess of £60.

Altar Table
At the beginning of March the altar table was moved forward for a three month trial period, to enable Linden to celebrate communion facing the congregation. Do please let the pcc have your comments on this arrangement.

Christian Aid Week - 9th - 15th May
Envelopes will be enclosed with next month's issue of The Link, together with full details of where to return them.

Following the success of the last two walks
this year's walk takes place on

Saturday the 22nd May
Starting at 5.30pm sharp

The walk will be approximately 5 miles, and will start from Derrick Hill at 5.30pm, returning at about 8.30pm for a cup of tea and light refreshments.
There will be a charge of £5 - all proceeds to Willisham Church.
Please note that the walk is at your own risk
Suitable footwear and clothing essential

For more information and to book
Contact John Minns on 01473 658352

Coffee Morning
Saturday the 29th May at 9 North Acres, from 10.00am. All proceeds to Willisham Church.

David the Milkman
A cheque for £182 from Willisham residents, was presented to David on the 13th February, to mark his retirement.

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