The Link Magazine

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

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Man On Wire

This is a letter about gifts, talents, and being driven.

It is actually taken from an assembly I gave at school – but in writing it, I ended up thinking about it so much, I thought I’d share it with you all!

I firmly believe that we all have gifts and talents – whether they are academic, musical, sporting, or people oriented.

I’m not sure that we always make the most of them….

This is a story about a French man, Philippe Petit. He was born in 1948, and was a talented tight rope walker, juggler and pantomime artist in Paris.

He developed a love (which became an obsession) of high wire walking, and at the age of 19, he started planning his dream – to walk on a high wire between the Twin Towers in New York City.

He spent years, making scale models and calculations necessary for the walk. He gathered a team of helpers – and managed to sneak into the buildings (illegally) during their construction, to make observations.

Finally, they ‘shot‘ a fishing wire across, and set up the 450lb cable between the 104th floors of the buildings. For the first time in the history of the Twin Towers, they were joined. The 'artistic crime of the century' took six years of planning, during which he learned everything he could about the buildings, taking into account such problems as the swaying of the towers because of wind, and how to get the steel walk cable across the 140-foot (43 m) gap between the towers.

On August 7, 1974, shortly after 7:15 a.m., Petit stepped off the South Tower and onto his steel cable. The now 25-year-old Petit made eight crossings between the mostly-finished towers, a quarter mile above the sidewalks of Manhattan, in an event that lasted about 45 minutes. During that time, in addition to walking, he sat on the wire, gave knee salute and, while lying on the wire, dialogued with a gull circling above his head. He made 8 crossings between the Twin Towers, carrying a home made 7.9m balancing pole. The police tried several times to stop him – he merely danced on the wire, and continued on his way.

Now I wouldn’t advocate that you try this in your back gardens – but it does make one consider how driven it is possible to be. Philippe Petit had to achieve his dream – and he used his talents as fully as he could.

We all have talents – and though I accept that Petit was driven more than most people, it does make me stop and think that gifts and talents need a little bit of driving if they aren’t to become dormant……

Let’s all find our talents, and give them a bit of a prod!

Helen Thorne

Church Altar Flowers and Cleaning Rotas


12th, 19th April Christine Jarrold + all help for Easter
26th, 3rd May Christine Jarrold
Cleaning - Team A

12th, 19th April Mrs Ward + all help for Easter
26th, 3rd May Mrs Munson
Cleaning – Mr & Mrs G. Dunnett

12th, 19th April Mrs A. Rumsey
26th, 3rd May Mrs A. Chapman
Cleaning – Mrs A. Rumsey

Willisham (flowers and cleaning)
5thApril Mrs D. Hill
12th, 19th Mrs R. Cage
26th April, 3rd May Mrs V Large

Somersham Church Notes

Please check times of services in Somersham church in the Link magazine or with a churchwarden, as there may be changes to the regular pattern during the interregnum. We look forward to welcoming Rev. Canon Bernard Rose to Somersham Church and working with him in the future.

At the time of copy date the Trivia Quiz is still to happen, but many thanks to Steve & Kate Dines for once again setting the questions and being excellent question masters.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting will take place in the church on Monday 27th April. All those on the church electoral roll and other members of the parish are invited to this meeting, when churchwardens, PCC members and other representatives for the coming year are elected, and the annual reports are received. If you are not already on the electoral roll and would like to be, please contact Pat Woolhouse (831080).

The fundraising committee and PCC have decided that the charity to benefit from 10% of the profits from the majority of fundraising events during 2009 should be Air Ambulance.

Looking ahead to the summer, please put the date in your diary for our Summer Fete, which is planned to take place on Saturday June 27th.

Chernobyl Children Lifeline
Mid Suffolk Link

Registered charity number: 1014274
Volunteers Required
Have you got a few hours to spare?
Can you help in our new Charity Shop
Opening 28th March
The Old Town Hall
High Street Needham Market

(opening hours Monday to Friday 10am till 4pm and
Saturdays 9am till 2:pm)
Not necessarily the same hours each week, if you have just an hour or two spare and would like to help us staff our new Charity Shop you could make a tremendous difference to us and to the children of Chernobyl.
See a large selection of different items all priced to sell!
If you would like to help or if you have something to donate then please contact us on:
01449 760343: email

Feel free to drop in and browse or to come along to our open evening – no obligation.
Meet some great people and find out more about us.

The Swan Public House 7:30pm

On behalf of the Children of Chernobyl the Committee would like to thank Adrian and Cora Smith for their generosity in supporting this venture




Our friends from our link village from the Loire Valley in France will be visiting us in Somersham in the spring. They have fixed the date as:

21st-25th MAY 2009

We look forward to welcoming the Challainois to Somersham again. These weekends provide an excellent opportunity to get to know each other, our cultures and languages. Many long-standing friendships have already been made and new people are always welcome to join with us on our exchanges. More families are joining us this year so if you are interested in hosting a family or being involved in any way with the village link then we would be very pleased to hear from you. If you think you would be interested please contact one of the following to find out more:

Gill Fordham: 831529; David Haughton: 831511;
Janet Hodge: 832296; Pat Woolhouse: 831080


Parish Council meetings

You are very welcome to attend any meeting of the parish council which, unless stated, commence at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.
Wednesday 1st April 2009 - (Annual Parish Meeting)
Wednesday 6th May 2009 - (Annual Parish Council Meeting)
Wednesday 3rd June 2009

Summary of Parish Council Meeting
The March meeting is the final parish council meeting of the financial year ending 31st March and the parish council resolved to make the following donations and grants to local organisations:-
Link Newsletter £100
S.A.R.S. £75
Mid Suffolk CAB £150
Optua £50
Golden Link £75
Age Concern £50
Coffee Caravan £50

In addition the parish council has allocated £2000 in support of the Community Shop and is supporting the Community Association again in 2009 by providing financial support for grass cutting of the playing field. At its meeting in May the parish council will consider the level of support for the maintenance of the churchyard. The parish council is delighted to be able to support these organisations.

Councillor Julia Truelove has been very supportive of the parish council’s efforts in improving road safety which is greatly appreciated by all members of the parish council. Councillors were pleased to learn that a vehicle activated sign is to be positioned on the approach to the Chapel Lane/Main Road junction. Any opinions or views of regular users on the benefit of this sign would be welcome once it is in position.

Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting takes place on Wednesday 1st April in the Committee Room of the Village Hall. Sara Blake and David Bailey will be giving information about the ‘Your Place’ Pilot Project. This locality pilot projects enables local people to be involved in shaping services and addressing local issues. The presentation will be followed by annual reports from local representatives and light refreshments and all residents are welcome to attend.

Traffic Concerns
Thank you very much to the people who have supplied details of collisions at Chapel/Hall Lane junction with Main Road and the bend on Main Road at the Pump House. The parish council is still working on the list of priority schemes and welcomes any further details of collisions you were involved in or witnessed to add to its evidence, as soon as possible please.

Dog Fouling
Complaints are once again being received concerning dog fouling on all the footpaths around the village and also of dogs being allowed to run loose on private land. The parish council wishes to point out that it is the responsibility of dog owners to clean up after their pets and also to keep them under control. Once again we ask those inconsiderate owners responsible for this to abide by the law, and the country code and keep their pets under control. Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, the parish council does have powers it can implement which would have cost implications. It is sad that a few are spoiling our village and we would appeal to them to think of the community in which they live and keep Somersham a clean and healthy place to live.

Local Government Review in Suffolk
You will no doubt be aware that a further delay has occurred in the timetable of the recommendation of the Boundary Committee for England to the Secretary of State on the future structure of local government in Suffolk. The Boundary Committee will be consulting for a final time from 19 March until 14 May. If you have any further views please contact them either by email at or by post to:- Review Manager, (Norfolk and Suffolk Reviews), The Boundary Committee for England, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2HW.

Home from Hospital – British Red Cross Scheme
The British Red Cross is launching a new scheme next month helping people to regain independence following a stay in hospital. The service will include assistance with shopping or collecting prescriptions, offering companionship, rebuilding confidence, signposting to other support agencies etc. The service will be based at Ipswich Hospital and commences in April. If you know of anyone who will be returning from a stay at Ipswich Hospital and may need help please contact 01473 702485. If you are interested in becoming a Home from Hospital volunteer please contact the Project Development Manager, Mark Bradley, on 01473 219260 or email .

Janet Clarke Tel. No. 01473 830398
Clerk to the Council E-mail:


Annual Meeting - APCM

Our annual meeting, to which all members on the church’s Electoral Roll and other members of the congregation are invited, will be held at 7.00pm on Monday 20 April in the church. This meeting will be to elect a churchwarden(s), PCC members and other representatives, and to receive the annual reports. The full agenda for the meeting will be on the church notice board.

Future Events and Special Services

The PCC continues to plan events for the enjoyment of all parishioners and members of the village, and of course to raise funds for the church. So whether you are a regular churchgoer or not, please try to come to support these occasions:

18 April – Spring Quiz at 7.30pm in the village hall. Participants should try to make up teams of 6-8 people, but if you cannot, please still come and we will assist in making up teams. Bring you own food and drink, and be prepared for some laughter. Cost £2.50 per person. Tea/coffee will be available in the interval.

13 June – Summer Fete in the church grounds starting at 2.00pm. All the usual fun attractions for all ages will be there, plus music by a large brass band. Even if it is a wet day like last year, we will work hard to make it a worthwhile event, so put it in your diary now if it is not there already.

21 June – This one is for animal and pet lovers – our annual Animal Blessing Service will be held outdoors in the church grounds, so there will be room for horses and goats as well as dogs, cats, spiders and snakes. All God’s creatures will be welcome - animal and human (particularly children).

12 July – Offton’s Open Gardens to be followed by a Songs of Praise service. Many village people have generously offered to open their gardens for this event. Refreshments will be available at various locations, and the toilet in the church will also be open. So plan on a great day out with lots to see – a ‘must’ for all gardeners.

Offton Church Restoration

Over the last few months we have been able to carry out work to the parapet and string course of the tower, one of the Norman windows and the re-plastering of the south wall together with improved drainage. This has once again brought the church up to a high level of maintenance.

The cost of this work was £13,964. We are most grateful for the grants of £4,000 from Suffolk Historic Churches Trust and a further £500 from the Suffolk Churches Capital Fund.

Paul Chapman Treasurer Offton PCC

Offton Church, Good Friday , April 10th, 10 am to 12

Children’s activities including making the Easter garden and an Art workshop,

There will be refreshments with Hot Cross Buns!
You can just come on the day, but if you let Peta know that you are coming (tel 01449 677766)
it will help to estimate how many to cater for.


The discussions with Hitchcock Farms regarding the deletion of crossfield footpath 2 (from Tye farm to Holly road) and the new classification of the concrete track as a bridleway have been completed. Additionally Hitchcock Farms have licensed to the Parish Council the use of the strip of land extending beyond the seat at Tye Farm It remains however for MSDC to complete the legal processes associated with these and the other parts of the changes packaged by Hitchcock Farms. Until that is done the agreements will not be implemented and the existing provisions remain in being. Cllr Storey has worked tirelessly with Hitchcock Farms, whose cooperation is much appreciated, in achieving these benefits for parishioners.

Details of the provisions by the Council under the Freedom of Information Act are available on the Council's website.
Pip Sands Parish Clerk
Tel 01449 721173

Saturday 18th April


(tables of six)

Offton & Willisham Village Hall

Tickets £3.00
from Ian Dickson (tel. 658637)

Coffee, tea & biscuits provided
Bring your own drinks & nibbles!

In aid of Offton Church Funds


We are delighted with the progress that has been made in the last year towards our target of providing a new village hall and an amenity area on the Lower Coney Grove site. As many residents will be aware, this project started about 15 years ago with negotiations for the land. At this point last year, outline permission had just been granted. Since then the following has been achieved:

* The land and funds tied to the legal agreement have been transferred from Mid-Suffolk District Council into our control.

* We have secured a substantial grant from Suffolk CC regeneration scheme.

* As a committee we developed an outline building requirements and internal layout that we discussed with a local company who can provide a timber-framed building at an affordable cost.

* An architect has translated all these ideas into detailed plans for the hall together with a site layout complete with flat grassed play area and a terraced car-park. The proposed building is clad with modern, high insulation and low maintenance finishes, but has been designed to be sympathetic with local architecture. We are proposing a dark timber clad effect over a red brick plinth and topped with a red tile effect. Very similar in style to many local barn conversions.

* The plans and artist impression were shown to those attending the recent quiz night and received positive responses.

* Together with the architect we have been addressing the ‘reserved matters’ and conditions on the planning consent. With the support of the Parish Council we are now almost ready to make an application for the final planning stages.

We are now able to share these plans with the whole community. The plans will be on display at the existing hall from 4.30pm and into the evening of Thursday 23rd April. This will be followed by our AGM where we will be ready to take comment and feedback.

There is still much to do, and we remain some way short of the required funding given the devaluation of the existing site. We are still in the grant application process and looking at options for releasing funds from the existing site to enable the present hall to continue to be available for use while the new one is being built. If anyone does have any good fundraising ideas, please let me or one of the committee know.

Timescales are still ‘fluid’, but after a recent meeting with the architect and proposed builder, we feel it is still possible to have the construction of the new hall under way this year. However, it depends on having no issues with planning, building regulations, funding, archaeological survey and of course the weather.

I am looking to expand the committee during this crucial year and would welcome anyone who feels able to contribute to ‘making it happen’. Again, please speak to any member of the committee.

Robin Derriman - On behalf of the Offton & Willisham Village Hall Management Committee.



Offton and Willisham Village Hall Management Committee
The 2009 Annual General Meeting will be held at
8pm on Thursday 23rd April
In the Village Hall.

This will be preceded by an exhibition of plans for the proposed new village hall from 4.30pm and into the evening.




Somersham & District Gardening Club

Monday 13 April @ 7.30pm

From its origins to the present day.

Somersham Village Hall
Refreshments, raffle and bric-a-brac and card sales table
£7 annual membership £1 Guest/visitor


Friday 17th April @ Whatfield Village Hall
7:30pm – 11:00pm
Bar and Raffle
Adults £6.50 Children £3.00
(Food included in ticket price)
To purchase a ticket please contact
Whatfield School (01473)823309, Mary – (01473)822665, or Lisa – (01473)658603

Flowton News

A very big “thank you” to everyone in Flowton for their very kind donations received on behalf of the charity “Action for Children” (previously National Children’s Homes) collected during January. The wonderful sum of £100.40 was collected and sent to the charity.
Thank you once again with kind regards, Susan Hitchcock.

The Annual Meeting of parishioners at which the Churchwardens are elected will take place on Friday April 3rd at 7.30pm in the church Vestry. All parishioners are invited to attend and vote at this meeting. It will be followed by the election of the PCC and its officers.

Children (and their parents) are invited to meet at the church on Saturday, 11th April at 10.00am to build the Easter garden, decorate the church, and other activities. There will be refreshments provided to encourage the activity!

Instead of delivering and collecting envelopes for Christian Aid, we are asking for people to walk, or sponsor walkers , for the Christian Aid Monopoly Walk around Ipswich on Saturday April 25th. It will take place between 10.00am and 3.00pm.
More details and forms available from Mary Carter.

For every £1 collected in sponsorship,
the EU will contribute £3
towards Christian Aid’s water project in Ethiopia.

****Please consider walking or sponsoring a walker***

Village Coffee drop in - Last month was a particularly happy, buzzy get together and we look forward to seeing many of our friends again on the first Wednesday in April, which is actually the 1st day of the month! Hope to see you then.

Somersham Primary School

The Hawks are very busy -preparing their fortnightly Maths Mag and newspaper, the SSPress; hopefully they will be writing for the Link in the near future. Maths Mag is prepared by a small group of year 5/6 pupils. They compile a series of mathematical problems aimed at the whole cross section of abilities at school. SSPress is similarly organized by a group of year 5/6 pupils. They write news items about their school. Both groups are taking their roles very seriously and have created a real buzz amongst the pupils.

Mr.Marshall from Westbourne School has been teaching the Hawks tag rugby, in preparation for the Claydon pyramid tag rugby tournament. The class have really enjoyed his lessons and even the girls have liked getting muddy! Mrs. Raspin (Claydon pyramid sport's coordinator) is now running an after school netball club, in preparation for the pyramid netball tournament. Thanks to extra tuition from parent governor Alison Scahill last year, we actually came second in 2008 -we were all rather proud!! We're hoping to do as well in 2009! In culmination of a school badminton club run by Jo Hughes last term, and continued at Claydon High School this term, Hawks and Ferrets have attended a badminton festival too. The children are lucky to have so many opportunities to try many sports, learn new skills and then compete against their fellow pupils from the pyramid (that is all the feeder schools for Claydon High). It all helps when they make the transition to high school.
Emma Shackleton is a second year student from Canterbury Christchurch University, and is spending this half term in the Squirrels class as part of her teacher training qualification. Somersham School is very pleased to welcome her. As a small school we are continuing to build our network of contacts and links to the wider community. Emma is our first degree level student.

We are also constructing a third raised bed so that each class can grow their own vegetables. We are grateful to the main gardening team -Gemma Addicott and Benji Marsburg, for all their hard work and efforts. Tanya our cook enjoys having her own supply of fresh vegetables! Do the children enjoy eating them??? I hope so.

Somersham has also teamed up with a local toddler group and the Meredith Children's Centre and is hosting a first aid course for parents. We also hosted a parents' reading course last year, which has now been put to good work with lots of parents now coming into school to hear children read. The next film for French Film Club has been chosen too. It will be La Prophetie des Grenouilles, or Raining Cats and Frogs. It is an animated modern day Noah's Ark -with English subtitles. These screenings are always well attended and the French snacks much enjoyed!!

We are still seeking a community governor for our school. Is anyone interested? Those wishing to visit our school should contact the school secretary Mrs. Maguire 01473 831251: email

Barking Pre-School

(Registered Charity 1020882)

With the worst of the weather hopefully behind us, the children are able to spend more time outside, to take advantage of the new and safer bridge that Barking Parish Council has supplied to the play and activity area behind the Village Hall, we’ve also received funding from Suffolk County Council to purchase a fence that enables the staff to cordon off part of the car park so the children can safely enjoy the ride on toys in a larger area.

We are doing well with the attendance figures at the pre-school, but if you would like a place for your child please contact us. We are more than happy to invite parents/carers along to see who we are and what we do. Contact either the Pre-school on 07754892077 or Sally Aveling on 01449 744510. Children can start pre-school from the age of 2 ½ and, from the term after their third birthday, the government funds the sessions. The pre-school is open every weekday morning from 9.30 until 12 noon during term time and children can attend any number of sessions per week (space permitting). Our staff are committed, enthusiastic, well trained and work hard to organise a wide variety of fun and educational activities including crafts, cooking, music, story telling and construction. We have many toys and activities so there are bound to be something to capture each child's imagination.


Our journey in the Second Division so far in the Winter league has been a real rollercoaster .... good highs and very low lows, interspersed with the occasional close match. Most certainly the away form has been somewhat lacking over the past weeks.
The wintery conditions - and also a diary mix-up with one of the visiting teams - caused the postponement of matches at the beginning of the month and resulted in some necessary re-arrangement of fixtures.

Of the three matches remaining to be played, the away visit to Hadleigh turned out to be another disaster night for Somersham. Struggling to raise a full squad, all four teams were much below par on the night and failed to offer any real opposition against our opponents. This was disappointing as we had beaten Hadleigh at home at the end of last year by the maximum margin. They were obviously intent on not letting this situation happen again - on their mats - and maintained steady consistent bowling to take a fully deserved result.

With a couple of weeks practice between two of the matches we were looking to improve our recent poor performances ... and this was to happen in the next match by the closest of results.

This turnaround in performance came about when we welcomed Old Felixstowe to our mats. Very likely peeved by the non-show of East Bergholt for the match on the previous evening was perhaps the kick up the backside needed which saw everyone determined to put in a good effort. All four ensuing games couldn’t have been closer in the winning or losing by either side. The games for both teams in the first half were won or lost by the single shot, and in a very competitive second half the battle for points similarly continued to a nail biting finish. After all shots were totalled up at the end of the match the overall result was in favour of Somersham winning by a single shot. A good result!

Our final match to close out the monthly report was away against Kesgrave who like ourselves are presently languishing in the lower area of the league table; and for this reason the match was always going to be a dour struggle .... and so it was! All teams gave of their best over the four games and the results were evenly split and - for our part - those losing were only disadvantaged by the roll of the away mats. However it was Kesgrave who collected the more shots and eased themselves into the win. Nevertheless we remain above them in the league but it is now going to be difficult for either team to avoid dropping down into the lower division for next year’s Winter league.

Winter League – February Results: -
Team Shots Points
Hadleigh 65 - 26 10 - 0 Lost Away
Old Felixstowe 35 - 36 4 - 6 Won Home
Kesgrave 41 – 31 6 – 4 Lost Away

We still look to consolidate the membership of the club …. so why not come along to the Village Hall one Tuesday night and try your hand and enjoy a friendly evening of carpet bowls.


The winter season has continued, starting with the first round of the Joe Rice cup, in which we faced a tough challenge against Hundon, the first leg was played at home and after some tight games, we managed to win 2 and lose 2, the away leg was a hard contest and we managed to win only one game, losing the match 3-1, thereby losing the tie 3-5. So our campaign in the cup was short lived, let us hope we have better luck in the plate competition for first round losers.

Our first match of the winter league was at home against Brockley always tough opposition, we halved 1 game, won 1 and lost 2, the shots total, was home team 39- visitors 34, unfortunately, owing to sudden illness we were a player short, and as per the league rules, we were unable to claim the 2 extra points, so we lost the match 3-5.

Our next three matches in the league have involved travelling, first to Barrow where, after some closely fought, but friendly games, winning two each, the home team managed to score more shots, and they won the match 6-4. Next we visited Hoggards Green, generally our teams found the mats difficult to master, but one of our teams managed a win, the match ending 47 -23 to the home team , the match score was a 2-6 win for Hoggards green. We started November with a visit to Stanningfield here the home team out played us in three of the games, but one team managed to salvage a draw in a tightly fought game, the shots at the end of the match was 27-46, giving Stanningfield a 9-1 win. The evening ended, as with all the matches, in some tasty refreshments, a raffle and some friendly chat.

Not the best start to the season, but we hope to fare better in our next group of games in which we have one away match and four home ones.

We are still looking for new members to boost the club’s strength, no experience is required, any age, any fitness level, all are welcome, we play at Offton and Willisham Village hall on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7.30pm, why not give it a try you may be pleasantly surprised at what fun it is.
For more information call 01473 657023.


St Elizabeth Hospice is inviting women of all ages and fitness levels to join together to help raise funds for their local Hospice by taking part in the

Midnight Walk on Saturday 23rd May.

The eight mile circular route leaves Copleston Centre on Foxhall Road in Ipswich at midnight, walking around Ipswich town centre, returning approximately two - three hours later depending on how quickly you walk! There will be attractions along the route to keep you smiling and entertained.

The Hospice is looking for 800 ladies to take part so invite your friends, family and colleagues to come along, support your local Hospice and join us for a night to remember.

To take part, please contact us for a registration form or download one from our website There is a £10 registration fee which includes your Midnight Walk t-shirt and goody bag which will be available to collect on the night. Once we have received your registration form, we will send you further information about the Midnight Walk and a sponsorship form. For more information, please contact the fundraising team on 01473 723600, email or visit our website

Perhaps this next one is more for the men…!

Following on from the success of our 2008 Zip Slide at Ipswich Town Football Club, the Zip Slide is back by popular demand on April 25th.
This time you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to zip off the Suffolk New College building in Ipswich. The famous tall building in the Ipswich skyline is due to be knocked down later this year so our Zip Slide really is unique. Whether you are a former student, a current student or just fancy doing something exhilarating, this Zip Slide will be fast, furious and frightening!
Details available from


Annual Church Meetings
These will take place on Monday 20 April at 7.00 pm in Willisham Church.

Evening Walk

This very popular walk will take place on Saturday 9 May, at 5.30 pm.
The walk will start from a different point this year – WILLISHAM HALL.
Afterwards, refreshments will be provided, as usual, at John and Leita Minns’ home, Derrick Hill.
There will be a charge of £5.00, proceeds going to Willisham Church. Please note that the walk is at your own risk and that suitable footwear and clothing are essential.
For more information, and to book, contact John Minns on 01473 658352.

Coffee Morning and Nearly New Sale
This will take place on Saturday 23 May at Foxgloves, Main Road, Willisham from 10.00 am.
There will be Nearly New clothes, books, CDs and other items on sale, and there will be a raffle.
If you have any good, nearly new items that you would like to donate, in aid of the church, please contact Jean Hardman (658063) or any member of the PCC.

There will be a Marquee so please come even if the weather is unfavourable.

Bulletin from the Webbers (ex Willisham) in Brox

What do you give someone who has everything they need? The answer is a year’s subscription to the Link! That is precisely what two very good friends did for us Christmas 2008.

Tony and I moved here to France on a permanent basis in late November 2006, having spent the previous 3 months going to and fro from Willisham to Lapiteau with van loads of junk!

The hamlet we live in has 14 dwellings, all natural stone, some in the throes of renovation by French couples, with only one other English couple who have proved to be great friends and great company.

We are gradually integrating with the French. Msr and Madame Beau who live directly behind us on the other side of the road have become friends and invite us into their home and visit us. Etienne is 83, still rides his bike, has three large veggie plots throughout the village, and when I was trying to cut a small tree down he mumbled something, went away, and came back with his axe - one chop and that was that. August 2008 Lapiteau hosted a lamb roast with an Algerian man cooking the lamb, it started at 12.00 noon with aperitifs and nibbles, moved on to the starter, homemade rough pate and tomatoes, lamb with potatoes, 5 choices of cheese, and then dessert of crème brulee or tart tatin. Of course our glasses were never empty. About 5.00 someone suggested we have a game of boules on their drive, so off 10 of us went and played until we were called for evening aperitifs and time to eat supper. What a day, I was very much hung-over and slept well!

Lapiteau is very quiet - a farming community with no shop, church or bar. Bread comes daily, I can see deer in the field across from our garden, hunting is still very much the order of the day in this area,. a great many varieties of birds come into the garden, along with the wretched ‘souris’, large mice like rodents who will eat all my bulbs and the young leek plants as soon as I put them in. The weather in general is good, cold in the mornings but the afternoons have been wonderful.

Best wishes to the Link and to everyone who knows Tony and myself.

Biddy Webber






Snowdrop weekend

Blakenham Woodland Garden is a bit of a secret, even for those who live in the area. The garden is normally open from March to July, and it is best known for its bluebells. Unlike grander gardens it doesn’t normally do teas or sell plants

The garden had its first winter opening on the 14th and 15th of February to celebrate it’s snowdrop collection. Hearts were in mouths because of the bleak snowy weather, and the snowdrops were at least three weeks behind their normal flowering pattern but the weekend was a success. Teas, coffees and homemade cakes were very welcome for those who adventured round the garden and the wood, and plant sales were brisk. Umbrellas only had to be borrowed once for a brief shower

The garden is going to do another Special Opening on the 4th and 5th of April, this time to celebrate the many different magnolias that flower in the woodland. The whole garden will be open again and there will be teas and coffees and cakes as well as sales of spring flowering plants and shrubs. The proceeds of the weekend will go to Suffolk Together.

The Volunteer Centre - Mid Suffolk

5 Poplar Hill
IP14 2AS
Tel: 01449 612486


I you live anywhere in Mid Suffolk and can spare some time to help a voluntary organisation or charity, we can find you the right opportunity. Also, if you run a voluntary organisation we can help you advertise your volunteering needs, help you with ‘best practice’ in their management and find you any necessary training for them. Please contact me at the address above.
Mrs Helen M Fairweather

Elmsett Pre-School Playgroup

The AGM for the pre-school will be held on Tuesday 5 May, 8pm at Elmsett Methodist Church. As you know, Stepping Stones and Elmsett Pre-school are run by a group of volunteers (the Management Committee). Each year some parents are lost, due to the natural progression of children to the school, and it is essential that new volunteers fill these positions so that the groups continue to run smoothly. With such a large group of children leaving the pre-school in September, we have vacancies for the roles of:

Chair/ Vice-Chair Treasurer Secretary Fundraising team
Advertising General committee members.

Could you take on any one of these roles? By doing so, you will be making a vital contribution to the first stages of your child’s education, and without a committee, Stepping Stones and the Pre-School would not be able to continue. If you are interested and would like to find out more, please see me or any member of the committee. Many thanks and Happy Easter, Sarah Laflin.

Dates for the diary:

Nearly New Sale - Baby/Children’s Clothes, Toys, Pregnancy Wear etc. Saturday 25 April, 10-11.30am, Elmsett Village Hall. To register as a seller contact Victoria Gregory on 01473 658726

Elmsett Pre-School Playgroup AGM Tuesday 5 May, 8pm, Elmsett Methodist Church.

Spencer Brown Photography Session Saturday 26 June, 9am onwards, Elmsett Methodist Church. Back this year by popular demand! For stunning individual or family portraits in a studio style at a very reasonable price, look no further. Session times will be available to book in advance at the pre-school nearer the time or contact Victoria Gregory on 01473 658726.

Somersham Baptist Church

We have arranged a family night at the village hall with Steve Price, gospel Illusionist at 6.30pm Wednesday 29th April. Steve uses intriguing tricks and entertaining illusions to present the message of Jesus

‘Steve Price is professionally crazy. He's a full-time illusionist and a member of The Magic Circle. Steve uses his unique mix of comedy, magic and mayhem to amaze and amuse audiences all around the United Kingdom’.

View Steve’s web site

Tickets are available from Mark Newcombe, contact 01473 831940
Donations towards costs on the night please.

Regular Sunday Morning Programme (You are welcome to join us for all or part of the morning).
10.00-10.30 Prayer Meeting
10.45-11.15 Bible Study (Communion 1st Sunday)
11.30-12.00 Worship
12.00-12.30 Sermon

Other Meetings
Children and Young People (During term time) Wednesday Club: 6.30-7.30pm for primary school children; 14+ Friday’s: 8.00-9.30pm Year 9 upwards.
Meetings for Ladies:
Lunch and Listen 12.00 noon 23rd April 2009
Friends and Neighbours: 7.45pm Monday 20th April.

Contact Mark if you need transport.
Meetings are held at the Baptist Chapel, Chapel Lane, Somersham IP8 4QE.
Pastor Mark Newcombe, 01473 831940, mobile: 07930543583, email:

CHURCH SERVICES in our 8 linked parishes

If you think there may be a mistake in the rota please contact your Churchwarden.

Please contact a Churchwarden if you think that there is a mistake in the listing. Thank you.


5th April Palm Sunday

Family Communion by extension 9.00am Flowton

Holy Communion Rev S Ritchie

9.30am Willisham
Morning Prayer 10.00am Bricett
Holy Communion Rev S Ritchie 11.15am Somersham
Morning Prayer 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking

9th April Maundy Thursday

Holy Communion Rev M Wainwright 7.30pm Ringshall

10th April Good Friday

Workshop for children 10.00am Offton
Service of readings, hymns, prayers and time for meditation 7.30pm Flowton


12th April Easter Day

Holy Communion by extension 8.00 am Flowton

Holy Communion Rev S Ritchie

10.00 am Willisham
Family Communion by extension 10.00am Somersham
Family Service 11.15am Battisford
Holy Communion Rev S Ritchie 11.15 am Barking
Evening Prayer 6.30pm Offton

19th April 2nd Sunday of Easter

Holy Communion (Rev C Everett) 8.00am Somersham
Family Service + Holy Comm. by ext. 10.00am Offton
Family Service Rev T Wilcox 10.00am Willisham
Holy Communion Rev T Wilcox 11.15 am Battisford
Evening Prayer 6.00pm Flowton


26th April 3rd Sunday of Easter

Family Communion Rev S Ritchie 9.30am Ringshall
Morning worship for all ages 10.00am Flowton
Morning Prayer 10.00am Barking
Holy Communion Rev S Ritchie 11.00am Offton
Evening Prayer John Andreason 6.30pm Somersham


3rd May 4th Sunday of Easter

Family Communion by extension 9.00am Flowton

Holy Communion Rev S Ritchie

9.30am Willisham
Holy Communion Rev S Ritchie 11.15am Somersham
Morning Prayer 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking


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