The Link Magazine

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

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Offton & Willisham PC

We are having a picnic on Saturday 15th August on Felixstowe beach. Please bring your own picnic. We will gather on the beach near the Spa Pavilion so as to be near refreshments should anyone want them and also the toilet facilities of which I’m sure we will all want!

Times 10.00am --- 4.00pm or when people want to leave.

These occasions are always better with children about so please invite any children in the family etc. and spread the word.

This is social time together as a community so no ceremony – it’s let your hair down time!


From our Priest…….

Holiday time, hurray! Well for some and the children anyway. The schools have closed for the summer break and we adults may have saved for that important holiday vacation. Hopefully the weather will behave and thoughts turn to seaside, trips abroad, activity holidays, coach trips, car journeys; trains, boats and planes - Oh what glorious thoughts! Our break could be with the family, hands up those of us who have been half buried in the sand by the children. Perhaps there is that special visit to take in or the occasion that has been discussed for months or that slap up meal we promised our selves whilst on holiday.

I remember as a child the summer break felt like a time of eternity. Long warm days (and some wet) of playing with friends on a piece of wasteland or down by the river near to where I lived using homemade fishing lines; we had to improvise in those days, this was still in the time when parents only bought gifts for their children at Christmas and birthdays. If we didn’t have something we had to make it! I had a difficult moment once when fishing as a young lad; I cast my line and got the barbed hook stuck in my backside, try getting that out when standing on the riverbank! That apart though we children felt like pit ponies that had been brought up to the surface, skipping around the fields and kicking our legs in the air. The days felt as if they would go on forever. I’m sure you can all recall some of the wonderful summer days when you were a child.

Children or adults, we all need a break from time to time: a chance to be refreshed and reflect. Holidays can do that, it’s like taking ourselves to one side for a while from the busyness of our lives; did you know also that our churches could do that for us every week. When we step inside, we find space from the everyday, peace from a busy world, spiritual refreshment that energises us and sends us out renewed and the chance to reflect and be with God who gives us meaning to our lives. When the summer holiday is but a memory, step into your village church to be refreshed, be still in the quietness or share in the Sunday worship, it is there for everyone and you will be made very welcome. You will be amazed at what it can do for your life!

May God richly bless you on your holidays and during this summertime.

Bernard (The Reverend Canon Bernard Rose)

Altar Flowers and Cleaning Rotas for our churches

August 2nd, 9th Louise Warren
August 16,23,30 Christine Jarrold
September 6,13 Wedding
Sept.20, 27, Oct 4 Pat Woolhouse
Oct 11,18 All help with Harvest please

August Cleaning Team B
September Cleaning Team C

August 2nd, 9th Mrs Laflin
August 16, 23, Mrs Fawcus
August 30, Sept 6th Mrs Grimwood
Sept 13, 20 Mrs Ward
Sept 27, Oct 4th Mrs Munson and all help for Harvest on 27th please

August Cleaning Mr and Mrs K Grimwood
September CleaningMr and Mrs P Ward

August 2nd, 9th Mrs Maartje Rondeboom
August 16th, 23rd Mrs Sue Pryke
Aug. 30th, Sept. 6th Mrs Janet Dickson
Sept. 13th, 20th Mrs Silke Pinson-Roxburgh and all
help for Harvest on Sept 13th please
Sept 27th, Oct 4th Mrs Sheila Pinson-Roxburgh

August Cleaning Mrs Maartje Rondeboom
September CleaningMrs S. Pinson-Roxburgh

Willisham (flowers and cleaning)
August 2, 9 Mrs R Cage
August 16, 23 Mrs V Large
August 30, Sept 6 Mrs E Hodson
Sept 13, 20 Mrs J Somerville
Sept 27 Mrs T Southall


Open The Book
Mary Carter and myself, Debbie Bullard, recently attended a “10” Year Anniversary of “ Open The Book” at Brickhill Baptist Church in Bedford where it all started.

Dave Todd had this idea that he would like to go into schools and read to the children the basic bible stories.

Ten years later the word has spread and there are now teams of volunteers going into primary schools on a regular basis from all parts of the country.

The stories are told very simply from the “Lion Storyteller Bible” by author Bob Hartman and are re-enacted using various props or are just read straight from the book.  

Bob Hartman was the guest of honour on the day. He retold some of the great stories with such enthusiasm and had us all doing lots of actions, which we can relay back to our own primary schools. It was a really good day, meeting up with other volunteers and gave us a lot of inspiration to continue this into the new school year in Somersham from September 2009.

(If you would like to join the team, please contact Debbie Bullard in Somersham) 

Somersham Church Notes

The Summer Fete was a lovely day, with lots of people out to enjoy the sunshine, cream teas and a variety of games and stalls. Very many thanks to everyone who baked, donated prizes, helped get everything set up, gave up their time to run stalls and games, and especially to the Caston family for allowing us to once again use their meadow, providing such a lovely setting for the occasion. We made £595, which was a fantastic amount, THANK YOU!

Summer quiz sheets - These are on sale for £1 from Christine’s Haircare, Somersham Garage or Pat Woolhouse. Closing date is the end of August.

We will be holding another Folk Evening featuring local bands on Friday October 9th . These occasions are always very popular ,with a packed church, so do make sure you get your tickets early.
There will also be a Flower Festival in the church over the weekend of 11th / 12th October with our Harvest Festival service on the Sunday.

The Suffolk Historic Churches Cycle Ride will take place on Saturday 12th September. It is a few years since Somersham has had any volunteer cyclists to go round the beautiful churches of Suffolk, so if you feel like a bike ride, visiting as many or as few as you like, please contact Steve Dines (658487). Somersham church will benefit from 50% of any sponsor money you raise.

The Rural Coffee Caravan Information Project

Comes to Somersham

The Coffee Caravan

Will be found at

Brook Way

Wednesday 26th August
2.00 - 4.00 pm

Our last visit this year will be

Wednesday 30th September
2.00 pm -- 4.00 pm

We provide a wealth of information about local and National agencies and organisations

We offer an opportunity to chat to neighbours and friendly volunteers over a cup of tea / coffee and homemade cakes

******** ALL WELCOME ********

Our visit is free but donations are welcome
Supported by Neighbourhood Watch Somersham

Golden Link Somersham

Day Trip To Lowestoft

Tuesday August 11th

Coach Departs Somersham at 10.00 am

Children Welcome With an Adult

Wheelchair Friendly Coach

Anyone welcome to join us for a nice day out

Non Members £8 Children £2

All enquires to:

Colin Burrows
6 Brook Way

Tel: (01473) 830132
In aid of St. Mary’s Church Somersham


Flower Festival

in St Mary’s Church, Somersham

Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th October
11 – 5 pm

Lunches 12 – 2 pm

Stalls Refreshments Raffles

10% of profit to the Air Ambulance

Harvest Festival Service 10 am on Sunday


St Mary’s Church Somersham


Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span
will not be appearing at the
Folk Evening
JCB, Pluck & Squeeze, Folk on the Hill, Scott and David, Ted and friends

on Friday 9th October
at 7.30pm
in Somersham Church

Tickets £6
(including light refreshments)
available from
Christine’s Haircare, Somersham Garage
or Pat Woolhouse (831080)
10% of profit will go to Air Ambulance




Getting the new month underway saw an away match at Burstall although it was a depleted line up for Somersham which meant 4 bowlers having to double up and bowl two games each due to holiday absence and other commitments by some club members. All four teams refused to be overwhelmed by the latter situation and battled vainly to gain some form of result, but were unfortunately on the losing end of the results on each mat and Burstall ran out eventual winners on shots. The disappointment of the loss was more than made up by the enjoyment of bowling and the tasty refreshments which rounded off the night’s play.

Still unable to get a win under our belts in the Summer league and every intention of ... “must do better” ... our next opponents were Copdock & Washbrook who we welcomed to our mats. Again it was the circumstance of bowlers missing due to holidays and consequently the hex of some bowlers having to bowl twice. Obviously with very good bowlers against us it looked - on the cards - as though we were going to be overwhelmed, but this was not to be the case! ... and we gave a good account of ourselves, including introducing our new bowler to his first match. In the end it proved to be a match of two halves. The fours in the first half were fairly well beaten by the more consistent bowling of the opposition and it looked as if another heavy defeat might follow after the interval. However this was not to be and the triples in the second half put up resolute resistance and fared much better ... both winning their games fairly convincingly to make the final result a fairly close call. However it was Somersham who unfortunately finished up with a shortfall of 6 shots at the end of the evening to lose the overall result.

The final report for the group of matches in June saw us make the short trip down the road to Sproughton to play in the recently refurbished Tythe Barn on a hot summer evening. Work to bring insulation of the building up to standard has now been undertaken so happily it will be warmer winter league play in the future.

For this match - yet again - we had insufficient numbers to make a full team and were again forced to field a below strength team ... which had a direct influence on the result. Some members were required to bowl twice and this can be fairly tiring especially on a warm night.
In the first half Sproughton showed consistent bowling form to take the score on both mats with high shot wins. After the mid-way break the second half followed pretty much the same pattern although one of the triples put up creditable resistance to be only one shot down going into the last end. Any chance of a win on this mat however evaporated when Sproughton made shots to consolidate the result.
Another disappointing night for Somersham and with our plea for new bowlers seemingly yet to be answered the situation is looking fairly gloomy with the approach of the Winter league in September.

Summer League – June Results: -

Burstall 46 - 27 10 - 0 Lost Away
Copdock & Washbrook 49 - 43 6 - 4 Lost Home
Sproughton 66 - 26 10 - 0 Lost Away

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Unsure as to whether Link readers see our request each month at the end of the magazine report asking for new members to join the Club, it was recently decided if numbers were to be raised to the minimum level required to constitute a valid team then the Club needed to take the matter to a more higher profile. Notices have been posted and also you may have seen the flyers or even been one of those approached at the School and Village Fetes during July in an attempt to seek new members.

It is a social activity which has existed in the village for many years and it would be a great pity to see the Club disband due to a lack of response so we ask anyone who may be interested - without any obligation thereafter - to make the spontaneous decision to come along and just try carpet bowls on a Tuesday club night. Members are friendly, you will be made welcome, and we are sure that you may find yourself enjoying the sport.

There is no better time than the present to think of joining the Club so again we are looking to you .... Yes we mean you reader! .....
Come along to the Village Hall on a Tuesday Club evening
(7-00pm – 9-30pm)
and try carpet bowls.

From: PC David Clark
Community Beat Officer
Tel: 01473 613500

Safer Neighbourhoods

Mid Suffolk South Team
Mid Suffolk District Council Offices, 131 High Street
Needham Market Suffolk IP6 8DL

Hello again ,

Crimes of Interest
15th – 16th June – Burglary at Village Hall payphone stolen
22nd – 23rd June – Theft of radio from an insecure summerhouse
Offton, Flowton, Willisham – no crimes
Keeping it Secure
Burglary is a crime of opportunity - don't give burglars a chance. According to the British Crime Survey for 2007-2008 - 36% of burglaries occur in properties with unlocked doors and windows.
To help you keep your home safe, the Home Office has put together a useful pack of information about securing your property containing information such as:
* Keep it safe. Keep it hidden. Keep it locked -
advice booklet a guide to home security
* a self assessment checklist
* how to beat the bogus caller
* Neighbourhood Watch leaflet
* guidance for private sector tenants
* ‘Before you go out’ checklist
* The Policing Pledge

You can order your home pack by calling 0800 456 1213 and quoting 'burglary pack'. Those who order the pack will also receive a discount voucher for home security supplies at a major DIY retailer. Alternatively, you can download documents from the pack by visiting
SECURING PEDAL CYCLES—Police are reminding people who ride pedal cycles when they are left unattended they should be locked with a good quality chain or other locking device and should be secured to a post or the cycle racking
Even when stored at home they should be secured inside a garden shed or garage that should also be locked.
A number of pedal cycles have been stolen recently from insecure garden sheds and also that have been secured by a locking device around the cycle but not secured to a secure post or racking.

If you have any information or would like any advice on police matters PCSO 3183 Vince Whitrow or myself would be more than happy to discuss this with you Our contact telephone number is 01284 774100
Our e mail addresses are or

Please remember that there are occasions when we on rest days for 4 days so if your call is of an urgent nature please ask to speak to any officer on duty. Thanks very much PC 466 Dave Clark

Stowmarket Stroke Support Group

Do you know there is a stroke support group in your area? We meet every Thursday morning during the school term at Hillside Community Centre in Stowmarket. We are a dedicated group with a whole range of activities to keep our members happy and stimulated, so whether you are a stroke survivor and would like to share in the fun and games and organised outings, or you would like to join our team of enthusiastic volunteers then please contact our Chairperson, Anne Helliwell on 01449 673237


May 10th saw Gary in action in the 2nd round of the South-East Grand Prix at Kesgrave where he finished 2nd in the Senior section. Gary's next action wasn't until June 9th where he rode in the 1st round of the Suffolk GP for Under 19,Senior & Veteran riders which was held at Kesgrave where he scored 8 points in the Senior section.4 days later he was back at Kesgrave for the 3rd round of the Club 4 Team Tournament where he scored 15 points. The following day he was part of the Kesgrave team which faced 2 matches at Ipswich firstly in the Norfolk & Suffolk League and then in a South-East Division 2 match. The Norfolk & Suffolk League match was 1st and Gary scored 17 points +1 bonus point but Kesgrave lost 65-109.Kesgrave avenged that result in the SE2 match, winning by 81 points to 77, Gary scoring 21+3.
Also on June 14th another Somersham rider was in action, namely Steve Copping as he donned an Ireland shirt for the 2nd time in his career in the 2nd leg of the Murphy Shield against Scotland in Edinburgh. Steve scored 3 points from 3 rides as Ireland lost 73-100 on the day and 133-168 overall.

The Deborah Mittell Charity Shield at the Somersham track on 20th June was a great success with excellent support by those20on and off the track. An enjoyable afternoon was had by all and £756.06 was raised for the Ipswich St Elizabeth Hospice. The meeting was split into 2 pairs events, a race format rarely seen these days. One featured the top riders from the region's clubs, while the other accommodated the many other riders who were keen to race, albeit in a little less serious fashion. The main event featured pairings from Somersham, Hethersett, Ipswich, Norwich, Great Blakenham & Kesgrave and went pretty much as expected with Ipswich and Great Blakenham leading the way. In fact they were never out of the top 2 throughout. The Great Blakenham pairing of Lewis Osborne and Adam Peck entered the final heats a point behind Ipswich but easily secured maximum points against Somersham in heat 13 to put the pressure on Ipswich's Daniel Pike and Leon Yelland in the last race, but they took advantage of the inside gates against the Kesgrave pair of Andy Turnbull and Martin Berry and got the 7 points they needed for victory. This meant there was a tie for 3rd between Kesgrave & Hethersett which saw Hethersett's Dave Adams beat Andy Turnbul in a runoff. In the fun event the James Studd and Paul Jay partnership needed a heat advantage in their final race to win. It looked like they were making hard work of it, until Dave Palfreyman was eliminated from the 2nd rerun, to finally take the honours with 31 points. Former Somersham rider Barry Copping showed that he still knew the way round his old track scoring 17 points as he partnered Great Blakenham’s Ray Pyke to 2nd place, the latter scoring 12 points. 3rd place was taken by the Peter Ingram and Peter Williamson pairing who scored 28 points between them. The loudest cheer of the day was reserved for heat 12 when the pairing of former speedway rider Kevin Teager and Peter Mittell scored a 7-3 maximum over the Dave Palfreyman and Wil Kitcher pairing but it has to said that in the spirit of the fun event there was more than a little suspicion that the race was fixed. Peter,Richard & Andrew Mittell presented the trophies at the conclusion of the racing

The following day it was round 3 of the South-East GP at Colchester where Gary won the senior event. On the 27th he rode in round 3 of the Kesgrave Club Championship, scoring 16 points. The following day Great Blakenham were the visitors to Kesgrave for a Norfolk & Suffolk League match and a South-East Division 2 match. The Norfolk & Suffolk League match was up first and Kesgrave lost this by 108 points to 72, Gary scoring 14+2. Kesgrave got their revenge in the South-East Division 2 match, winning it by 1 point(80-79).Gary top scored in this one with 19+1.

The following week Kesgrave (including Gary) travelled to East London for a South-East Division 2 ma tch and came away victorious by 83 points to 75 with Gary scoring 20 points That’s it for now. Steve Copping
Secretary,Somersham Cycle Speedway Club

Anne Cullen of Nettlestead would welcome offers for very occasional car driving. Time to suit driver and payment to driver or any cause of their choice. Please ring 01473 831202


Forthcoming Parish Council Meetings
Wednesday 2nd September 2009
Wednesday 7th October 2009
Wednesday 4th November 2009
Wednesday 2nd December 2009
All meetings commence at 7.30pm in the Village Hall and the press and public are welcome to attend.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust
The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust has published its consultation document about becoming a Foundation Trust. Public meetings are planned for several dates in July as well as on Tuesday 11 August at the Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, Stowmarket. The Trust invites feedback on its proposals which are detailed on the hospital website. Your views can be passed online by following the ‘Foundation Trust’ links.

The parish council has grave concerns about the potential loss of even more services at Ipswich Hospital and will join the many local organisations and people in expressing concern about the effect on healthcare provision for the people of Somersham and across Suffolk.

Procedures at Parish Council Meetings
At its July meeting the parish council agreed to a slight amendment in the format of future meetings. Currently a member of the public attending the meeting waits until the end of the meeting before being invited to raise any issues. From September a public forum will take place at 7.30pm prior to the commencement of the convened parish council meeting. This will give residents the opportunity to come and give their views and opinions to the parish councillors on any agenda items or other matters of concern without the need to wait until the end of the meeting. Councillors welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have on improving life in our community and hope you will take this opportunity to voice your opinions.

Suffolk InfoLink Champions
This new Suffolk County Council initiative works in partnership with Suffolk Volunteering Federation and is looking to recruit local volunteers to search out activities and services in their community, record this information and post it to the Suffolk InfoLink website ( This will enable people in our community and across Suffolk to access more information and get themselves involved in what is going on. Training will be provided and expenses paid. For more information contact the Suffolk InfoLink Champions Co-ordinator on 07545 248222,

Promoting Independence
Age Concern has extended its Promoting Independence service which is free to anyone in Mid Suffolk aged 60 or over. Trained independence advisers support independent living, healthy lifestyles, housing advice, financial management and can assist with information on social groups and activities. The aim of the service is to enable people to have a better quality of life by helping them live more independently in their own home. If you, or someone you know could benefit from this service please telephone 0800 074 05 09, or email

Parish Council Notice Board
The Parish Council Notice Board is situated on the green in Brook Way just past the telephone kiosk and the steps from Brook Way to Main Road. Information of interest to the community which has been passed to the parish council, or parish council matters and statutory notices are posted on this board. Please watch this board for up to date parish council news.

And Finally
At the time of writing we have just enjoyed a spell of warm, dry weather.
Everyone at Somersham Parish Council wishes you a very happy holiday and hopes that the weather continues to be kind.

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


This year really has been the busiest year I remember here at Somersham School; too much to recall now, and regular readers of The Link will no doubt have kept up with events!

If you’ll indulge me however, I will just recall some of the highlights! Our library refurbishment has been a major achievement for the year, not only the physical change, but the official opening when award winning author Emily Gravett joined us for the day. I think it will be a day which stays in the memories of our pupils for a lifetime. The library work has really sparked enthusiasm for reading in the school – particularly for books by Emily Gravett!

We have taken part in all sorts of sports over the year from tennis to tag rugby and have achieved some great results – most notably coming first in the pyramid football and tag rugby tournaments, and going on to play in the East of England and London tag rugby cup. We also held another successful sports day with Wilberforce house winning this year.

Our recent whole school cross curricular weeks on the subjects of nature and the environment, and India have both been very successful with trips out and visitors in! We enjoyed a wonderful sharing assembly at the end of India week showcasing some of the Indian style dancing the children had learned.

We have of course had academic achievements too; the staff have all worked extremely hard this year to move towards more varied and interactive lessons to really get the children excited about their learning. There has been a noticeable change in many lessons and the children’s love of learning is reflected in their progress and our excellent SATs results this year; there is much to be celebrated!

The staff and pupils remain grateful to our dedicated Governing body and FOSS (Friends of Somersham School) who both give so much of their time to help our school. The FOSS summer fete this year was one of the best ever despite the showery rain, their fund raising enables us to purchase extra special resources that we otherwise might not have had, and to part fund trips to keep costs down for parents.

As Headteacher I feel proud everyday of our little school, in the hustle and bustle of everyone’s everyday life it is easy to overlook the opportunities and achievements we have had over the last year and ‘not see the wood for the trees’. However if we all take a step back we can realise how lucky we are to still have a traditional village school where everyone knows each other and where there are dedicated staff, governors, parents and community members willing to go the extra mile to support the school. I look forward to welcoming our 8 new reception children into the Somersham School Family in September and hope you all have a lovely summer.

Mrs Allison (Headteacher)

Somersham & District Gardening Club
Monday 14th September
At 7.30 pm

(involves tasting and drinking!)

Visitors and guests welcome
Entrance £1-00
Raffle and refreshments available


Flowton News
The Village Coffee Drop In will be open as usual from 10 am on the first Wednesdays of both August and September.
The regulars would be delighted to welcome families during the school holidays and there will be chocolate biscuits waiting with them in mind! Lovely to see you if you can spare the time for a chat.

The FETE—A big “thank you” to everybody who helped with the Church fete, or who came to support the event. We were blessed with a beautiful afternoon. Strawberry teas, cake and bric-a-brac stalls, raffle, a few games-and with families lining up to take turns to dowse each other with water! I have not heard the official result, but I think it will be about £520.
Thank you all very much.

Coming up:
Saturday 12th September annual church sponsored cycle ride—could you ride to raise money for historic churches, or help to man our church?
Saturday September 26th—Harvest workshop for children and parents at 10.00am
Sunday September 27th—our Harvest Festival at 4pm followed by tea at 4.45pm
Friday October 23rd—Harvest Supper at 7.30pm at Flowton Hall, by kind invitation of Graham and Diana Fawcus.

Our annual Summer Fete was held in lovely warm weather on 13 June. This is an important event in the social calendar of Offton Church. It brings together members of the village who might not otherwise meet, and also raises important funds for the church. The PCC thanks Peta Whiting and all those who assisted in the organising and running of this event, and to you, the parishioners, who came and enjoyed such a lovely day. Your generosity meant that we raised a total of £1,025.

“We had beautiful weather this year for our Fete at Offton, everyone pulled together as always and a grand total of £1025 was raised.
Thanks go to the Hospital Intermdiate Band who created a very traditional atmosphere playing wonderful music and to all the people who came and enjoyed the afternoon, the kind donations of goods and time, all supporting this important fundraising event which keeps the church in good repair for the use of the people of Offton. Peta” 

By the time that you receive this issue of the Link, the Open Gardens event will have taken place on 12 July. A report will appear in the next edition of the magazine.

The annual Cycle Ride in support of the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust will take place on Saturday 12 September. Entry forms are available from Mrs Alison Rumsey Tel: 01473 658591. More details about this event are probably contained elsewhere in this Link.

Our annual Harvest Festival Service will be on 13 September after the summer holidays. Please try to make room in your busy schedules and come to this joyous celebration of the good things in life that we value so much.

At our Harvest Festival service on 13 September, we will be presenting the Rectors’ Plate to Mr David Schofield and his wife Jane. Those who attended the 20th and final Rectors Plate Indoor Bowling Competition held on 3 January will recall that we had promised to present David and Jane with the plate, once it had been returned by the winners, as a permanent reminder for all their good work. The PCC feels that the Harvest Festival service would be an excellent event at which to undertake this pleasant task. We therefore especially welcome all indoor bowlers and friends of the Schofields to this happy service and presentation. Your support for the many hours that David and Jane have given to this project over 20 years will be most gratefully received.

Church Fact File

The smallest and least noticed window in Offton Church is also the most beautiful. You will find it on the north side of the chancel to the left of the altar. The architectural style is Early English, and is called a Lancet window. The doorway leading to ‘Harry’s Room’ is also Early English, which indicated that the basic size of the church has not changed much in the last eight hundred years.

The stained glass, with its vivid colours, is Victorian, and it has all the vibrancy and drama of the Pre-Raphaelite movement that swept through Britain and Europe and which rattled the staid Victorian establishment if the 1860s. When the Lancet window was installed, it would have been considered really modern, certainly controversial, and many people would have come to look at it in amazement.

Offton Church is dedicated to St Mary, and three windows show images of her. In this one, she is adorned with the most beautiful clothes: her dress (kirtle) is crimson red; her headdress (wimple) is emerald green; and her mantle is purple. All this is set-off against a vivid blue background. She has a halo with five stars which is one of the symbols associated with the Virgin Mary. You may wonder what is controversial about this image of Mary. Well, colours are important in stained glass windows, and they each have individual meanings. The window opposite on the south side of the chancel depicts Mary in the traditional blue colour for her clothing, whereas the Lancet window has Mary dressed in crimson, which is the colour of passion, of love and of blood, and is the colour normally associated with Mary Magdalene, not the Virgin Mary. Which Mary then is shown in this Window? There are two clues in the secret language of the church, which lead to it being the Virgin Mary. One is the inclusion of a red rose without a thorn, which is a reference to the Rose of Sharon in the Song of Solomon (in medieval times, the Virgin Mary was known as the Mystic Rose). The second is the inclusion of a pure white lily which is the flower most associated with the Virgin Mary. Our Mary is carrying a pure white Lily.

Fellow citizens of Offton, we are all custodians of this most unusual image of a vibrant, passionate, red dressed Madonna, and although she is coyly placed in a side window, she is worthy of your support and admiration.


The removal of footpath 2 and the classification of the concrete track as a bridleway, both of which lead from Tye farm across to Holly road, has been negotiated with Hitchcock Farms and MSDC, but the status of the changes has to be legally authorised by the empowering authority ie MSDC. MSDC is working to complete these formalities but until it does and issues the Order accordingly, the changed routes are not officially available. It may take until the end of the year for this to be accomplished but I will be notified and receive a copy of the Order when it is issued

BBC Breathing Spaces is a campaign to inspire people to create and care for green spaces where they live, and is being supported by MSDC.  To learn more go to selecting Discovery Project
Pip Sands     Parish Clerk 01449 721173


The Club has continued its campaign in the summer league, but I have only two matches to report, Our away match against Tuddenham was unfortunately cancelled, and has been rescheduled for August.

On the 15th June a group of members and their guests enjoyed an afternoon boat trip down the River Deben, we were very fortunate with the weather, enjoying the sunshine, although rain had been forecast. On our return to Waldringfield, we ended the afternoon with a meal at the Maybush. Our thanks to Jane for arranging this outing.
On 17th June we entertained Claydon bowls club at home, there was some good bowling on both sides, and after a well fought match in which O/W had the upper hand, winning three games to Claydon’s one, we ended the match 8 points to 2, a good result for O/W.

On 29th June in the “heat wave” we travelled to Kelsale, our longest journey of the season, here it was a different story, a complete reversal of the previous match, the home team’s familiarity with the mats proving decisive, only one of our teams played well enough to manage a win, and we lost the match 8 points to 2, following the match we enjoyed some lovely refreshments and hospitality before the journey home.

We now look forward to the second half of the summer season, having six more matches to play, hopefully we can maintain our good form at home, and improve on our away match results.

Once again we appeal for more people to come and try their hand at the game of carpet bowls, it is good fun and club nights are not serious, as you can see we have social events as well as playing bowls, in fact we have a club barbecue planned for later in July. We need some new blood to strengthen our team, experience not required, why not give it a try? For more information call Valerie on 01473 657023.

The Ladies of Ringshall and Barking WI
are lightening their wardrobes and shedding their clothes in aid of funds with a
Saturday 10th October
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Barking Village Hall
All clothes and accessories in good condition – no jumble
Home made refreshments
Free Entrance


Bulletin from BRUX

I expect we all say it at some time, but ‘doesn’t time fly’. It seems only last issue that I was writing for the Link, but here I am again. Like the UK we have been suffering a heat wave, 45° at 8.30 in the evening; too hot at midday to even put your noses outdoors. But for all that it is great to be able to sit outside in the evening wearing the briefest of clothing and sipping a glass of wine. The garden, though, has suffered greatly, no amount of watering is really helping, but earlier in the year I was able to have lettuce, spring onions, beetroot, black and red currants, strawberries and a very few raspberries (first year bushes). I am hoping that it will rain soon and help to swell the tomatoes.

Earlier in the year the deer came into the garden and ate the heads off most of my roses! They also went into Msr Beau’s garden-he was not at all pleased-the man that rents the field next to his plot has taken away the high hedge that stopped the deer from coming across, also my other neighbours have taken all their hedges down. I could hear him on the plot swearing and gesticulating as only the French can do, and he is now in the process of erecting a 7ft. High barrier. I also think he may have a GUN.

There has been a happening in BRUX!
Msr Beau came hurrying into my garden talking away in patois French, even his neighbours have difficulty understanding him, anyway he was all excited and wanted me to follow him; he hurried off and I duly followed, only to discover that a lorry had attempted to back around the narrow entrance to the village and had smashed part of the wall down. The mayor arrived, the mayor’s assistant arrived, someone took photographs and a great deal of red and white plastic tape was draped all around, many people came from near and far! Watch this space.

I am now the proud owned of a cock bird ’Dennis’ and 3 hens-Henny Penny, Katie and Jenny –and have been collecting eggs from the word go, however 2 weeks ago I noticed that Katie had been sitting on the nest all week. As I am going to be away from home for 2 weeks I did not want her to have babies whilst Msr Beau is looking after them, so I lifted her off the nest!!! 12 eggs—she was sitting on the eggs that the other chickens had laid—I was cruel and removed all the eggs—however I did not reckon with Katie all last week back there and she was refusing to get up. I spoke to my French friend Samuel who lives in the village and he said he would find a large box in a cool shed and we should take Katie and her eggs and put her in his shed, together with 3 of his eggs—by the way, mine are only small hens and his are regular size-when they hatch, which will be whilst I am in hospital, he will keep the chicks to rear. He was very jealous that I had a broody hen before him when we both go our chickens about the same time.

Many people have asked if I speak French—the answer is very , very little, which will be obvious when you read this –I wanted my hair cut, so I go into the salon. The Madame asks what it is I need—I hold up 2 fingers and say “Coupe deux centimetres.” I go and have hair washed, take off glasses (now I am blind) - chop, chop, chop. I think that’s a lot of hair coming off-Yes, you’ve guessed it—she thought I meant deux centimetres all over, not just off the ends. I left the shop scalped but I learnt a lesson.

French bureaucracy gone mad: in April last year Tony had an accident. I duly let DVLA know and they asked for his driving licence to be returned—no problem. On Monday 1st July 2009, two gendarmes arrive in the evening. I immediately think they have caught me committing a misdemeanour, but no, they merely want to inform us that another gendarme will come, but he will telephone and arrange a time, and explain that it is ‘the judiciary’. Wednesday morning the phone rings and it is the gendarme that speaks a little English; he asks if my husband has a driving licence. I say NO, it is law in UK that if you are unable to drive anymore and live outside the UK you must return the licence. He then said that I must go immediately to Montmorillon to get a French licence. I said he does not need a licence, the French would not give him a licence seeing how he is paralysed down one side and his eyesight is affected—but he must have a French licence, the judiciary want to put points on it for the accident in April 2008. Please, if anyone has a simple answer to all this please let me know—I shall probably be in the Bastille.

Enough I hear you say, so I will end with kind thoughts of Willisham and Offton and to the many friends Tony and I made there.

Biddy Webber

Barking Pre-School (Registered Charity 1020882)

The children have been busy with the seasonal activity of seaside and holidays, they have made sand pictures, flags and explored different shells and talked about where they come from. They even opened their very own travel agents booking holidays for the staff! We have said goodbye to several of the children at the end of term, we wish Mia, Brandon, Cassie, Aimee, Judah, Amelie and Lewis all the best as they start their journey at Primary School. We are also looking forward to welcoming the new children and their families at the beginning of the new term in September. In September we will be holding a Healing/Spiritual evening at Ringshall Village Hall, we will have Haughley Spiritual Church leading the evening’s events. Look out for posters in the next few weeks for details.

We have places available from September, if you would like a place for your child please contact either the Pre-school on 07754892077 or Sally Aveling on 01449 744510. Children can start pre-school from the age of 2 ½ The pre-school is open 9.30 until 12 noon weekdays in term time and children can attend any number of sessions per week (space permitting). Our well-trained, committed staff work hard to organise a wide variety of fun and educational activities including crafts, cooking, music, story telling and construction. Something to capture each child's imagination.


Somersham Baptist Church

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
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:
Women’s Fellowship 2.30pm Friday 11th September
Friends and Neighbours: 7.45pm Monday 21st September.

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.

6th September 13th Sunday after Trinity

Family Communion 9.00am Flowton

Holy Communion

9.30am Willisham
Holy Communion 11.15am Somersham
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking

13th September 14th Sunday after Trinity

Holy Communion 8.00 am Flowton
Holy Communion 9.30am Bricett

Family Service

10.00 am Somersham
Holy Communion 11.15am Barking
Family Service 11.15 am Battisford
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Willisham
Harvest Festival 5.30pm Offton

20th September 15th Sunday after Trinity

Holy Communion 8.00am Somersham
Family Service 9.30am Willisham
Family Service 10.00am Offton
Holy Communion 11.15 am Battisford
Evening Prayer
6.00pm Flowton

27th September 16th Sunday after Trinity

Holy Communion 9.30am Ringshall
Holy Communion 11.00am Offton
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking
Harvest Festival and Tea 4.00pm Flowton
Evening Prayer John Andreason 6.30pm Somersham


Page last updated: 31-Aug-2009    
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