The Link Magazine

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

Home page In the latest edition Village News
Click here to go back to home page Prieist-in-charge
Church Services
Community Policing
Forthcoming events
Local News

Offton & Willisham PC
Somersham Church Notes

Hurry if you still haven’t got tickets to hear our talented local bands at the Folk Evening on Friday 12th October. It’s likely to be another sell-out! See ad for more details.

Harvest Festival will be on Sunday 14th October at 10am. Once again gifts received will be taken to the Women’s Refuge. The women and children there often have had to leave their homes in a hurry with only what they can carry, so toiletries are always welcome as well as non-perishable food items.

Keys to success!!

Piano pupils of Mrs Lynne Holton have been successful in obtaining the following Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Examinations -
In the theory exams: Alice Wilden Grade 5 Merit; Jessica Atherton Grade 3 Distinction; Danielle Chester-Flatt, Laura Dickerson, Rachel Dickerson and Yasmin Picton all passed Grade 2 with Distinction.

In the practical exams: Jane Hakes passed Grade 4 and Emily Lewis passed Grade 2 with Distinction.

Well done to all pupils and very special congratulations to Laura Dickerson who passed Grade 2 theory with 100% marks!

St. Mary’s Church Somersham


featuring local bands
Pluck & Squeeze Kate & Steve
JCB Scott, Ted & Rohais

on Friday 12th 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

Buen Camino!

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain so we thought that for our first venture on foreign soil we’d head for the hills. We’ve been doing long distance walks in Britain for some years and when we met last year to plan the latest, James said that he’d heard good reports of the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella. The city of Santiago, in the north-western Spanish province of Galicia, is the acknowledged burial place of St. James the Apostle and has been a place of pilgrimage since the early middle ages. Indeed, the city appears to have largely developed in the first place to serve the needs of the very large number of pilgrims who made the journey to pay homage at the tomb of St. James.

Pilgrimage routes are many and varied, (the basic idea is to get to Santiago by your own efforts from wherever you choose to start) but most of the main routes start in France and converge in the Pyrenees before running more or less due west through northern Spain. We didn’t have time to do all of that so chose a start point, on the main route, 120 km. east of Santiago; a place called Triacastella.

In early June this year, the English contingent (Richard Browne, James Crickmore, Terry Fordham, Peter Jay, Steve Woolhouse & myself) took an early morning Ryanair flight to Santiago where we met Eddie Fagg who had driven over from his new home in southern France. Our communications officer, James (he’s got a GCSE in Spanish!) then negotiated a couple of taxis to take us to Triacastella, a very pleasant little place in the foothills of the Picos de Europa.

There are many traditions and rituals associated with the pilgrimage and we were anxious to comply with these wherever possible. It is traditional for pilgrims to carry a scallop shell – in days gone by these would have offered protection against attack by bandits since attacking pilgrims seems to have been considered a particularly heinous crime – and so we dutifully wore our replica scallop shells; pewter badges purchased via the official website. In order to qualify for the certificate at the end, it is necessary to walk at least 100km and this influenced our choice of start point. To prove that we’d actually done it, we had to collect stamps from the places we visited along the way. For this purpose we all had a ‘Pilgrim’s Record’ book in which to collect the stamps, from churches, tourist offices and bars; although it is suggested, very politely, that you should try and collect at least some stamps from places other than bars!

On arrival in Triacastella, we had noticed that a ‘Pilgrims Service’ was due to be held in the local church that evening and this seemed to be a fitting way to start our pilgrimage. Although conducted mostly in Spanish, the priest did ask an Australian girl to read (somewhat inaccurate) English translations at strategic points in the service. The visit to the church also gave us the opportunity to collect our first stamp!

The other big difference between this walk and our previous ones was that, this time, we had not booked accommodation in advance, preferring to leave it flexible. This meant that we had to carry everything with us, rather than just the day’s rations as before. Back in England, therefore, we’d all made frantic efforts to reduce the weight of our packs to a minimum – some more successfully than others. Because of the likelihood of hot weather, we had also taken the decision to go for early starts and try and get the walking done before the main heat of the afternoon. This suited Steve W. pretty well since he’s normally up and about by about 4am anyway, but it was a bit more of a challenge to some of us.

The weather for the first couple of days, at least, proved the wisdom of the early starts as it very quickly got very warm and we were grateful to enjoy the afternoon of the first day sitting outside a café in Sarria with a cold beer rather than slogging up a steep hill. However, the early start proved even more difficult for some the next day since the church clock outside our bedroom window continued to chime the quarter hours throughout the night. There are some advantages to being a bit deaf, after all!

Accommodation for the walk was mostly in hostels; very cheap, dormitory style (i.e. bunks) accommodation. We were a bit surprised to find out early on that these were mixed but at least it means that one or two of us can now dine out on stories along the lines of ‘I once spent the night on top of a ‘tres joli’ French lady’! On only one occasion, the penultimate night, did we find accommodation a bit elusive and then, after a rather longer day than planned and still 5 miles from the finish point, we decided on a night in a more luxurious hotel rather than 5 miles extra slog.

Food also proved to be pleasantly inexpensive and, since we lived for the most part on lunchtime ‘bocadillos’ or ‘ensalada mixta’ and evening ‘menus del dia’, it turned out to be a relatively cheap holiday all round.

The track was well marked with the ‘scallop shell’ way markers and with so many other walkers following the same route it was not difficult to find the way. The countryside was, on the whole, rolling and green and put us in mind of some of the Welsh border countryside that we’d been through on our Offa’s Dyke walks. Our route took us through Sarria, Portomarin (a relatively new town to which the old church had been moved stone-by stone to save it from the reservoir which claimed much of the old village), Palas de Rei (sounds grander than it is!) and Arzua. As on previous walks, any possible tedium was relieved by the constant opportunity for interesting and stimulating conversation on politics, religion, sports, art and culture (in its widest sense!) and the finer points of ironing and hanging out washing!!

And so, after 6 days walking, we arrived at our destination, Santiago de Compostella, first glimpsed from the top of Monte del Gozo (‘Mount of Joy’) earlier in the day. We’d allowed an extra day before flying home, to explore this fine city with its magnificent cathedral and numerous historic buildings. We had the added bonus of meeting up again with Mary, Eddie’s wife, who had spent the week in their caravan in Santiago. Of course, we also had to buy our T-shirts and visit the Cathedral’s Pilgrim Office to collect our certificates (the ‘compostellas’) which we felt were well earned – although not, perhaps, quite in the same league as those of some of the pilgrims we met on the way who’d travelled from all over Europe, often spreading their pilgrimage over many years!

Steve Dines

PS. In case you’re wondering, the title of this piece is taken from the greeting exchanged whenever two or more pilgrims meet. It means something like ‘Have a good walk!’ and, I surmise, may be a shortening of ‘ir por beun camino’, which means ‘be on the right track’ according to my dictionary.

The annual round up of our main fund-raising events in the summer of 2007

At the time of writing we can say quite safely that the summer has been non-existent – and so it is more than remarkable that the odd dry, even sunny days were reserved for our four village fetes! As each one came and went the organisers of the next felt that the good fortune couldn’t hold – but it did, and how grateful we were.

First off the mark was Offton
The 9th of June dawned amazingly hot and sunny, despite forecasts of rain earlier in the week! The team were there before 9am setting up and a busy morning followed as people brought their offerings and set up their pitches. New games and the traditional ones were much enjoyed, beautiful flower arrangements graced the church alongside the fascinating historical displays. Delicious cakes, stunning plants, crafts, browsable books and fascinating bric-a-brac were avidly bought. The Hospital youth band entertained us magnificently whilst tea, hot dogs and ice cream refreshed us. The raffle, Tombola, bell ringing and Teddy treasure hunt all added to the fun. Although some stalwarts were unable to be there this year, new recruits kindly stepped in and the day went marvellously well, a huge thank you to everyone involved, raising £1000 for church funds!
Peta Whiting

A big weekend for Somersham

came next with perhaps the least favourable weather of the four, but - Despite the weather being rather unsettled our Fete, Flower Festival & Art Show Weekend was very successful.

Preparations started many weeks beforehand and the church displays revealed some wonderful artistic talent. All village groups and organisations were invited to produce or sponsor an arrangement, resulting in a truly wonderful depiction of the message that Somersham is a very lively village.

The fete as always had a super variety of stalls, including cakes and produce, a variety of games for all ages and opportunities to win great prizes. As always it relied on residents, friends and family to man the stalls, their help was greatly appreciated. Once again thank you to the Caston family for letting us use Church Meadow, and all the support they gave. The Art Show in Springfield Road gave us another opportunity to admire the talent and work of local artist Nicky Heming; many thanks for her generous gift of the raffle prize.
The total amount raised from the weekend came to a fantastic £1140.
Pat Woolhouse

Later than usual this year Flowton’s Fete was on 15th July –
This year’s summer fete was held on the day following St Swithin’s day and the forecast was not promising. As ominous dark clouds threatened we prepared to move from our normal venue in the churchyard to the knave of the church. Without warning the sky brightened, the clouds were swept aside and we enjoyed a perfect summer’s afternoon. Highlights included Nick Carter’s games especially the “Get Nick Wet” event; it did not pass unnoticed that people’s aim had improved over the previous year - had they been practising?! In a moment of madness Wilma took Nick’s place under the bucket and the attraction of a new victim was too much for the crowd to resist! The numerous stalls did a brisk trade; the raffle with many generously donated prizes, a very busy bric-a-brac stall and irresistible cakes. Many of us took the opportunity of combining the double pleasures of warm sunshine and a superb cream tea whilst catching up on the gossip with village and other friends. A superb total of £641 was raised and it remains only to thank everyone who took any part in the event and all who supported us. Susan Skinner

Finally came Willisham’s day -
The planned date for Willisham Fete had been the 14th July, but as the year progressed a number of our regular helpers had to pull out, owing to other commitments, and the date was changed to the following Saturday. The change of date did mean the loss of our regular “live” music (Stacks of Sax) however, several new residents of Willisham volunteered help and we were able to run more stalls and attractions this year. In addition to the very popular tractor rides, fishing, air rifles, plants etc. there was also a Have-a-Go Clay Pigeon Shoot and the chance to operate a mechanical digger; we were also able to re-introduce the coconut shy. The Limeburners provided a bar and the BBQ and other refreshments did a roaring trade.

In spite of the fact that 2007 has become one the wettest summers on record, Saturday the 21st July was dry, warm and sunny, which I am sure contributed to the £1,000 raised for church funds. Our thanks to those who contributed items for sale, ran stalls etc. and, of course, to Rod and Denny Holder for allowing us to use Crow Hall and organising so many of the attractions. Frances Gilson

Thanks to all four villages for happy and successful events


Church Fete
A full report of our fete appears elsewhere in The Link, but we would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this year’s fete the success it was - the stall-holders, those who ran the various competitions, activities and attractions, those who provided items for sale etc. and last, but not least, Rod Holder for providing Crow Hall as a venue. One raffle prize remains unclaimed (a pale blue ticket, No. 72)

Church Roof
We are very pleased to be able to report that a further £2,000 has been received from a local charity, towards the £20,000 we need to complete the repairs. We have applied to many other organisations for grants, and if anyone knows of a charitable trust we could approach, please let us know.

Harvest Festival
This service takes place at 3.00pm on Sunday the 14th October, when we will be joined by the Benefice Choir. We shall be decorating the church on Saturday the 13th October and would welcome gifts of flowers, vegetables as well as non-perishable goods. These donations will be taken to the Salvation Army’s Lyndon House in Ipswich.

Bonfire Evening – Friday the 2nd November – Crow Hall
We hope you have this date in your diary – for full details – see separate poster.

Willisham Cook Book
We have received a flurry of recipes recently, but more are required to make a substantial book, so please send your contribution to Frances Gilson, 01473 658387 or e-mail to as soon as possible. It would be nice to have a book available for Christmas!

Willisham Open Gardens, 2008
Thank you to those who have expressed in interest in this venture. However, more offers are required, so if you would consider opening your garden in aid of our roof appeal, please contact Frances Gilson. No decision has been made regarding the date, but May or June would be possibilities.

In aid of Willisham Church




Adults £2 Children £1
Family Tickets £5 (2 adults + 2 children)
From Frances Gilson – 01473 658387
Rosemary Cage – 01449 722627 (or on the gate)


7.30 Saturday 24th November 2007
St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh, Suffolk

Internationally acclaimed pianist
Hadleigh Choral Society is extremely fortunate to have the internationally acclaimed pianist John Lill to join them in their Autumn Concert, to perform Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto in C minor.
This work is framed by two choral works – Haydn’s splendid Te Deum in C and a little known but beautifully scored Mass in D by Hummel. The Colchester Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by our director Christopher Phelps.

Tickets are £15,00, (children under 16 years of age £5.00). Available at The Idler Book Shop, High St, Hadleigh, or by telephoning 01473 652433.
Further information:-
Arguably Britain’s most well known pianist, who has recently celebrated his 60th birthday with a series of concerts throughout the UK, first came to international attention when he won the coveted Tchaikovsky award in Moscow in 1970. Known for his aristocratic interpretations of Beethoven and the great masters of the 19th and 20th century piano repertoire, John Lill performs all over the world and was awarded the CBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List.
Contact:-Brian Dagwell - 01473 828157/ Mob. 07929856919


Monday 8 october 2007 @ 7.30pm
Graeme Proctor of Crown Nursery will be giving a talk with slide presentation on….
Somersham Village Hall
Refreshments provided
£1 entry for guests and visitor.



October 7, Judith Newman
14, 21Christine Jarrold + all help for Harvest
28, Nov 4 Christine Cooper
Cleaning: Team A

October 7 Mrs Laflin
14, 21 Mrs Crick
28, Nov 4 Mrs Fawcus
Cleaning: Mr & Mrs A Munson

October 7, 14 Mrs Sheila Pinson-Roxburgh
21, 28 Mrs Elaine Martin
November 4, 11 Mrs Gay Tollemache
Cleaning: Bellringers

October 7 Mrs Hodson
14, 21 Mrs Gilson + all help for Harvest
28, Nov 4 Mrs Southall

Somersham Parish Council

Forthcoming Parish Council Meetings

Wednesday 3rd October 2007 7.30pm Playing Field Pavilion
Wednesday 7th November 2007 7.30pm Playing Field Pavilion
Wednesday 5th December 2007 7.30pm Committee Room, Village Hall

Chapel Lane/Main Road junction
Thank you to everyone who responded to the article in an earlier edition of this magazine asking for comments/suggestions on how this hazardous junction could be improved. During the summer, members of the parish council attended a meeting at the Chapel Lane/Main Road/Hall Lane junction in an endeavour to resolve the hazards faced by users of this junction. As the junction does not meet criteria laid down by the Government, it does not attract high priority for improvement, but it is hoped that the county council will, at the very least, be able to improve the signage to warn drivers of the hazards. More details will be given when available.

Crispin Bridge
Members of the parish council were delighted to see that the new bridge is now in place from the playing field to Main Road. The bridge will be known as the Crispin Bridge in honour of Chris Crispin who was involved in so many aspects of community life in Somersham whilst the family lived here. The parish council wishes to thank the Crispin family for donating funds to enable this bridge to be built in the village and hopes it proves to be a fitting tribute to their father and also to their mother.

Closure of Old Barn Stores
There is no doubt that the closure of Old Barn Stores has left a huge gap in the amenities of Somersham, as it was the only shop in the village. The attempts to get more information from Royal Mail are still ongoing, but since the Government announcement of the closure of over 2000 sub post offices throughout the country the future of re-establishing a full time sub post office in Somersham does not look hopeful.

The parish council is currently investigating options to bring back some form of shop to the village, one of which is the setting up a community shop, possibly even a part time sub post office, which works well in several nearby villages in similar circumstances . The success of such an enterprise needs the support of the local community as the shop would be run by volunteers.

Would you be able to help in any way? If this project goes ahead it is likely to be organised by a small working party, would you like to be involved in this, could you spare an hour or two on a regular basis to help run the shop?

It would be extremely useful for the parish council to have your views and opinions on how the loss of the shop/post office has affected you, as well as any offers of help in the locating, setting up or running of a shop. The parish council needs to know the level of support this project would receive to enable to gauge its viability. Please contact Janet Hodge on 832296, Terry Fordham on 831529, or email the Clerk at the address below.

Springfield Road
The parish council has received complaints that cars and motorbikes are racing up and down Springfield Road and are causing concern to residents. There are many children who live and play in Springfield Road and the parish council would ask that the offender/s stop this dangerous activity immediately, before a tragedy occurs. The Police have been asked to monitor the situation.

Council Vacancy
Somersham Parish Council has one vacant seat and is looking to co-opt another member to the council. These are changing times for parish councils with the likelihood that principal authorities will devolve more powers to parish councils over the next few years. If you would like to be a part of these exciting times in grass roots democracy and help influence the way in which Somersham develops, further information on joining the parish council can be obtained by contacting the chairman, Richard Browne on 831321, the Clerk, or any of the other councillors.

Car Share Scheme

Suffolk ACRE in partnership with Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has launched, a journey matching website designed to encourage car sharing across Suffolk. Registration and use of the site is free for individuals, who can log on at There are currently over 850 members registered on the site, with a successful journey matching rate of over 30%. Car sharing can help to reduce congestion and pollution by decreasing the number of cars on the road particularly at peak travel times. For further information log on to the website or contact Chris Dashper, Suffolk ACRE Rural and Community Transport Manager, on Ipswich 242518.

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

Dear Reader,

St. Luke is known as gospel writer and author of the book of Acts, and as fellow-worker travelling with St. Paul, who called him 'the beloved physician'. In the special prayer of the 18th October, St. Luke's day, we ask,

"by the grace of the Spirit and through the medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal"

In day-to-day life, you or I may have been called upon to heal a rift, to pour oil upon troubled waters, to soothe the fractious and restore calm when quarrelsome elements seem about to prevail. There is just as much need for harmony in creation, for the painstaking work of reconciliation among tribes and nations. Wholeness, safety, peace, well-being are all translated by the same word in Hebrew which is 'Shalom'.

The risen Christ brings new life and hope when we come together to worship him. Sometimes He supplies a cure for a specific ailment. Sometimes this takes place in a service of prayer for Healing, and on the fourth Sunday evening of each month we have such a service in one of the churches in our Deanery. Such prayer can include the laying-on of hands and, if requested, may involve anointing with oil.
Whatever our condition, each of us is made in the image of God, and there is no place in our lives for anything which mars God's image in us. His overriding purpose is to restore each person to wholeness, bringing tranquility and a sense of peace in our hearts. Hence the solution to a request for healing may not be specifically what was asked for : God's healing may be a more gradual process, taking time to bring deep restoration at more than one level.

Healing is mostly ministered by the modern counterparts of doctor Luke, and so we trust and follow the advice of healthcare professionals and we pray for them most of all.
May we be channels of God's grace, Linden

From the Registers:

Welcome to:

Luke Samuel Manning and Harry James Allen, both  baptised at St. Mary's, Somersham on 22 July
Jake Anthony Bell  baptised at St. Mary's, Offton on 19 August 2007
James Frederick Fishenden baptised at St. Mary's, Offton on 26 August
Zak John Smith baptized at St. Mary's, Somersham on 2 September

Congratulations to:

Carl Perrins & Sarah Jarrold who married at Somersham on 11 August  
Paul Hill  &  Diane Bird who married at  Willisham on 18 August
Neil Partridge & Rachel Andrews who married at Willisham on 23 August
Martin Webber & Susan Miles who had a Civil Marriage at Stowmarket Register Office on 25 August, followed by Blessing of Marriage at  Willisham

We wish them all many happy years together

Deanery Resources Day
Coddenham Village Hall
Saturday October 13th
10am – 4pm (lunch provided)

Workshops on:
Worship through Drama & Music, Children & Schools work,
Buildings & Fundraising
Bookshop by Nutshell of Stowmarket
Licensing of new Rural Dean

An opportunity to share ideas & gain insights.
Tel: Bridget Sayers on 01449 720019 to book your place
or contact Rev. Linden Fletcher for more details


Bowling against all Division One teams in the Summer League has certainly brought out the best in the team members. To start the month of July we visited Felixstowe. Although beaten by the home team, we were not disgraced as the shot difference was only 11. We were quietly pleased with the result and looked forward to welcoming our opponents back to Somersham later in the season, hoping to benefit from the familiarity of our own mats and obtain a result to our favour.

Our next match – the return home leg against Tythe Barn (Sproughton) was another very close encounter. Somersham were again in good form and ran out the winners, as in the away leg, but again by a marginal number of shots, thus keeping up the high spirits and enthusiasm.

Most certainly a game of two halves was the result of our visit to Martlesham. The teams of fours bowling in the first half got things off to a good start with Somersham winning one game and drawing the other … a pretty good result for us as the visitors. Then the home team found improvement and upped their game in the second half when the trios met. Martlesham ran away with both the games leaving Somersham struggling. We’re still not quite up to First Division standard, but most certainly are giving our all!
Having bowled Claydon away on their mats at the beginning of the Summer League and being well beaten; we were looking forward to welcoming them to our own mats and hoping for revenge. Playing with confidence and not to be disappointed or overawed, we ran out overall winners of a closely contested match. A very satisfactory result to end the month.

August began with an ‘out of league’ return match at home with Great Blakenham. A very enjoyable, friendly and laid back night it turned out to be. Evenly matched, and so a draw was the result with Somersham just taking the overall points by a few shots.
Trying to hold our own against First Division Clubs through the Summer League has been a quite daunting experience; and the next match at home against Offton and Willisham was no exception. It was quite a close result shots-wise and we were marginally beaten by four points which saw us dropping down in the league.
Coming towards the end of the summer session, our penultimate game was against Tuddenham. Somersham playing on home mats had an advantage and made the most of it. Winning two of the four games and forcing a draw in the third: perseverance by the home team proved the deciding factor, making it a successful and enjoyable evening all round for Somersham, and a close match all told.

Finishing the Summer League - as at the start of July - against our friends from Old Felixstowe. A great evening much closer than the score suggests with both teams winning two games each, but on this occasion the extra shots came our way to clinch the result.

Summer League - July/ August Results : -

Team Shots Points    
Old Felixstowe 51 - 40 8 - 2 Lost Away
Tythe Barn 36 – 42 4 – 6 Won Home
Martlesham 56 – 30 7 – 3 Lost Away
Claydon 40 – 41 2 – 8 Won Home
Offton & Willisham 38 – 28 7 – 3 Lost Home
Tuddenham 42 – 46 3 – 7 Won Home
Old Felixstowe 26 – 48 4 – 6 Won Home


That for the past 23years there has been an Offton and Willisham Carpet Bowls Club where you can spend Wednesday and Friday evenings enjoying the company of very friendly people, playing an intriguing game (with a little bit of exercise) and light refreshments. Just come along to the Offton and Willisham Village Hall and see for yourself. Anyone can play from ages 9-90 and no equipment or special clothing is required.

It will cost you nothing for the first three nights but we are confident you will enjoy it and will join our happy band.

We play in the Suffolk County league division 1, have club championships and play friendly matches against other local teams.

You must be interested so please turn up at 7.30pm on a Wednesday or Friday evening or ring the following for further information:

Club Captain Peter Harvey 01473 657701
Valerie Lankester 01473 657023

Flowton Church News

Flowton Harvest Supper will take place at Flowton Hall, by kind invitation of Graham and Diana Fawcus, on Friday October 12th from 7.30pm. Tickets available in September from Diana, Margaret Laflin and Mary Carter. This annual event is great for catching up on all the news and summer happenings in beautiful surroundings.

PCC meeting - Friday October 19th at 7.30pm in the church vestry.

Flowton’s Trivia Quiz –Friday October 26th at 7.30pm in Somersham Village Hall.

Tuesday November 6th is the date for the half-yearly Parish Meeting in the Church Vestry – all welcome.


Diary Dates

On 6th October we will have the annual Supper in Church – an event that is in its third year. At the time of writing this (late August) there are still some places available, although by the time this Link reaches you that situation may have changed. Nevertheless, if you would like to attend this event, please phone Mike Bolton on the number below to find out if spaces are still available. Tickets cost £10 and are limited to only 20. The ticket price covers a 3-course meal plus a first glass of wine in a beautiful candle-lit setting. There will be a raffle and much jovial conversation.

Later in November, we will hold our annual Autumn Quiz in the village hall. At the time of writing this Link entry, the date for this function is still under discussion. Full details will appear in next month’s magazine. If further information is required, please contact Ian and Jan Dickson (see number below).

Church services this month are listed on the inside cover of this magazine. You may like to note in your diary that the Christmas Service at Offton will be held on Sunday 16 December at 10.00hrs.


Offton PCC, the group of volunteers that organises church events and generally keeps thing running on an even keel, still has room for more members. If you would like to take part in this activity, or have any questions regarding what is involved, please call one of the following:
Ian Dickson Tel: 01473 658637
Mike Bolton Tel: 01473 658304
Paul and Anne Chapman Tel: 01449 721181

Church Fact File

In July, we challenged any school children to relate historical dates that had been learnt at school to dated parts of our ancient church. Unfortunately, there was no response. Perhaps parents reading this magazine might like to encourage their off-spring to relate something in the 14th century that happened to coincide with the construction of the church’s tower. Any response to this challenge should be sent/given to Mike Bolton – Churchs – Ipswich Road - Offton – IP8 4SF.

The square western tower was erected in the 14th century. The tower has four fine gargoyles that throw rain water clear of the north, east and south faces. The western gargoyle has a particularly ugly and frightening face.

The tower’s ringing chamber, which probably dates also from the 14th century, houses a ring of eight bells covering a period of around 500 years. The earliest sixth bell dates back to the late 15th century while the latest bells, the treble and the second, were hung in 1983. The tenor bell, which dates from 1700, weighs nearly 430 kg. The very enthusiastic bell ringing group, led by Brian Whiting, can be heard practising on most Tuesday evenings, plays before each Sunday service, and may be heard peeling on ‘special’ local days to herald events, and on some national days. The bells are very fine and are sought by visiting campanologist groups for ringing.

So come on parents: take your children to view the ‘horrible’ gargoyles that children always find interesting, and listen to the bells – a real free family treat. The best gargoyle photo (digital please) may be printed at a later date in the ‘Link’, along with the historical challenge entries.

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.

7th October 18th Sunday after Trinity

Holy Communion

9.30am Willisham
Morning Prayer 10.00am Bricett
Holy Communion 11.15am Somersham
Harvest Festival 11.15am Battisford
Harvest Festival 3.00pm Barking

14th October 19th Sunday after Trinity

Holy Communion 8.00am Flowton
Harvest Festival 10.00am Somersham
Holy Communion 10.00 am Great Bricett
Holy Communion 11.15 am Barking
Family Service 11.15am Battisford
Harvest Festival 3.00pm Willisham
Evening Prayer
6.30pm Offton

21st October 20th Sunday after Trinity

Holy Communion 8.00am Somersham
Family Service + comm. by ext. 10.00am Offton
Family Service 10.00am Barking
Holy Communion 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 6.00 pm Flowton

28th October 21st Sunday after Trinity

Holy Communion 9.30am Ringshall
Morning Worship for all ages and baptisms 10.00am Flowton
Morning Prayer 10.00am Barking
Holy Communion 11.00am Offton
Evening Prayer with Prayer 6.30pm Somersham


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 (Communion 1st Sunday)
11.30-12.00 Worship
12.00-12.30 Sermon

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
Friends & Neighbours

All events are held at the Baptist Chapel, Chapel Lane, Somersham IP8 4QE, and Transport is always available.
Contacts: Mark Newcombe (Pastor) 01473 831940. Mobile 07930 543583.
Edwin Mayhew 01473 658100

PC David Clark

01473 383390 Stowmarket Police Station
01473 613500 Police Headquarters

PC 466 David Clark

To go to the Suffolk Police web site please click here

Mid Suffolk South Team
Mid Suffolk District Council Offices,
131 High Street Needham Market Suffolk IP6 8DL
Tel: 01449 724997
Hello again ,

Whilst writing this report in the glorious sunshine I am wondering if summer has eventually arrived !!

It is normal for us all to open windows and doors of our houses and cars in an effort to keep cool , but this does give rise to reports of opportunist thieves entering houses and cars and stealing contents etc .

Obviously nobody wants to turn their houses into a fortress , but just a few simple precautions will deter them .If you are leaving windows ajar , make sure that the catch is secured to prevent access .and never leave the door open even if you are going into another room for a short time .

There have been occasions when an offender has entered a house whilst the occupants were sitting in the next room and they didn’t even know they had been burgled until much later …

Crimes of interest
SOMERSHAM -A Vehicle was entered and property stolen overnight 22nd – 23rd August 2007
OFFTON- A notice board outside the Village Hall in Offton, was damaged by 2 young children throwing stones at 3pm on Saturday 7th July.

NETTLESTEAD -Vehicle entered overnight 24th – 25th August 2007
Theft of garden furniture and statue from garden between 11th July – 4th August 2007

If you have any information or would like any advice on police matters PCSO 3155 Sian Uttley or myself would be more than happy to discuss this with you Our contact telephone number is 01449 724997

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.
Mid Suffolk South Safer Neighbourhood Team

Thank you
PC David Clark

01473 383390 Stowmarket Police Station
01473 613500 Police Headquarters

PC 466 David Clark

To go to the Suffolk Police web site please click here

Ipswich Appeal For Romania

If you're looking for a sizzling, fun-packed, family night out - then come and join Farmer Peter Trotter and all the gang at our charity pig racing night on Saturday 27th October at Great Blakenham Village Hall.

First race starts at 7.30pm and with a hog roast, bar, grand raffle and charity stalls - a piggin' great night is in store! Just think, you could win a trough full of prizes, as Farmer Trotter races his delightful pigmy porkers and keeps you in stitches with his west country banter and jokes.

So don't just sit there and grunt - bring along your friends and come and join in the fun! Race programmes (includes entry ) cost just £2. For further information call Lee on Ipswich 833292.

Barking Pre-school (Registered Charity 1020882)

We are pleased to announce that during our recent Ofsted inspection we received a “good” grading. This means that all aspects of the pre-school strongly met the criteria set out by the government inspectors. The report also mentions that “(the) group is led by a supervisor who is very experienced and dedicated”, “parents are welcomed in by very friendly staff”, “(c)hildren are cared for in a warm and welcoming environment” and “(c)hildren are valued by staff who respect their individuality which is helping them develop a good sense of belonging.” This is excellent news for the pre-school and shows all the hard work put in by the staff and committee over the last three years. If anyone wishes to see a full copy of this report it can be found at

We have sadly had to say goodbye to some of our children. We wish them well and know that they will have every success at their new schools. We also wish to extend a warm welcome to several new children starting at pre-school this term. We hope they will soon settle in and have fun joining in with all the interesting and exciting activities that have been planned.

The children meet every morning at 9.30 until 12 noon during term time. The pre-school is run by a committed and enthusiastic team of qualified Early Years Practioners, who work hard to organise a wide variety of fun and educational activities including crafts, cooking, music, story telling and construction. The group is well equipped with many new toys and books, and has a spacious area within which to play. There is also a secure garden, behind the hall, which is used when the weather allows.

We currently have some spaces in our 2½ to 3 age range and a number of funded spaces for 3 and 4 year olds. Children are able to stay with us until they are ready to join mainstream education in the reception year and we are happy to work with any school although the majority of children go to either Ringshall or Somersham Primary School.

The continued success of Barking Pre-school relies upon sufficient numbers of children to make it viable. Please tell your friends, neighbours and family about our pre-school. If you have or know of any pre-school age children who would like to reserve a place then please ring Veronika Pryke (our pre-school leader) on 01473 658368 or Helen Smith on 01473 833285.

Our next fundraising event to put in your diaries is our Christmas Shopping Evening, which will be on 8th November at Barking Village Hall from 7:30pm. Many stalls have already been confirmed and more details about this event will follow.

Somersham Cycle Speedway

July 14th saw Andy Turnbull provide the Somersham “interest” in the 1st National round of the Wosskow Brown British Youth & Junior League at Newport where he finished 2nd in the “A” final of the Under 14 event.

2 weeks later a new competition for 2007 took place at Norwich, the South-East Youth Grand Prix for Under 12 and Under 14 riders, The line-ups for these competitions were the top 16 scorers from the regional rounds of the Wosskow Brown British Youth & Junior League. Andy Turnbull provided the Somersham “interest” in the Under 14’s competition which he won on the day but I am not sure where he finished overall. I will endeavour to have that information included in a future article.

Moving into August and the 5th saw round 6 of the South-East Grand Prix take place at East London where there was Somersham success as Gary Brown and Dan Croft won the Senior and Under 19 events respectively. Andy Turnbull also rode, finishing 4th in the Under 16’s A-Final.
3 days later it was the final round of the Suffolk Grand Prix for Under 15, Under 17 and Senior riders and this saw Andy Turnbull finish as top under 15 rider on the night, scoring 10 points, whilst in the Seniors Gary Brown scored 11 points.

The 2nd National Round of the British Youth & Junior League took place at Great Blakenham on the 11th and Andy once again provided the Somers ham “interest” where he finished 4th in the Under 14 category.

The following day it was back to Great Blakenham, this time for a South-East League Division 1 match and it resulted in a 50-102 defeat, not helped by the fact that 2 riders were missing due to work commitments. Gary Brown was the top scorer for Somersham, scoring 13 points.
1 week later Eaton were the visitors in a Norfolk & Suffolk league match and it was the same story as with the match at Great Blakenham as Somersham again failed to provide a full team. This meeting was rearranged at the request of the visitors, but the original date was probably the only one that suited us! We lost 68-92 but it was good to see fine form from Barry Copping and Andy Turnbull in preparation for the British weekend. A pre-meeting shower made track conditions rather tricky, but the abundance of shale at least reduced any track damage.

The Bank Holiday Weekend saw Somersham host 2 of the qualification meetings for the British Individual Championship. Club members, especially Peter Mittell had been working hard in preparation for the event and there has been positive feedback from the weekend.Somersham's top riders Gary Brown and Barry Copping were eliminated from the competition during the qualification heats, scoring 22 and 13 points respectively over the 2 days. The British Under 16 Championship was also staged during the weekend and 2 semi-finals were staged at Kesgrave and Great Blakenham, where Andy Turnbull scored 12 points but unfortunately finished 2nd in a 3-way run-off for the final qualifying spot which meant he lined up as 2nd reserve. One Somersham rider experienced the biggest moment of his career in the U-16 Final and that was Steve Copping. But Steve swapped his bike for a whistle on this occasion as he refereed his 1st ever British Final. Steve’s next target is to referee at international level.

2 days later the Suffolk Under 10 championship was staged at Kesgrave and there were 2 Somersham riders involved, Harry Reece scoring 15 points and Joe Hodge scoring 11, both from 6 rides.

Into September and the 1st saw the 3rd National Round of the British Youth & Junior League take place at Bury, Manchester and this saw Andy Turnbull finish a magnificent 2nd in the Under 14 “A” final

The Somersham staged Suffolk Senior Final on the 5th saw Gary Brown, Barry Copping & Peter Mittell represent Somersham scoring 13, 11 and 7 points respectively, Gary qualifying for the East Anglian Final which will be staged at Kesgrave in October whereas Barry missed out by 2 points.

As a club Somersham were not involved in the East Anglian 4’s at Great Blakenham on the 8th but 2 of our Kesgrave loanees,Andy Turnbull and James Day rode, scoring 13 and 3 points respectively as Kesgrave finished 4th in the Under 16 competition.
One event worthy of a mention and that is the annual Club Championship which at the moment is provisionally scheduled for October 21st. That’s it for now

Steve Copping, Assistant Secretary (
Club Secretary:Peter Mittell(01473 831474)

Lady required to help keep house clean 3 hours a week. Salary negotiable. Tel: 01473 658268


Somersham Primary School

A new year has started here at Somersham primary school, and as the new Acting Head I am keen to keep in touch with the communities in the surrounding villages that have always been so supportive of our school. At the end of the last academic year our school was sorry to say goodbye to Ms Hubbard who had worked very hard as our Headteacher for over two years. However, we are now looking forward to the year ahead and embracing the changes!

As I have taken on the role of Acting Head we have a new teacher for Class One. We have been fortunate enough to recruit a teacher who has worked here at Somersham before. Many past pupils will remember Miss Knowles, and as a staff we look forward to working with such a dedicated and experienced teacher.

Many of you will know that due to a small intake this year we have decided to incorporate the foundation stage class with years 1 and 2 so we now have all of KS1 together. The class are very fortunate in that they now have the use of 2 classrooms, as well as the purpose built outdoor play area all to themselves! The class has also had additional funding for equipment including several new laptop computers. The older children also have their share of new technology to look forward to with a complete re-fit of the ICT suite planned for this term.
With lots of other exciting events and changes, not to mention Harvest festival and Christingle in the church, and hopefully another Christmas panto, it promises to be an exciting term!

Please remember, we always welcome helpers and visitors so feel free to come and see us! We are also in particular need of a ‘community governor’ to work with our keen and committed board of governors so if you would like any information regarding this, don’t hesitate to phone or pop in.

We hope to see you soon,

Mrs Lynette Allison.

Alan Munson, Piano tutor at Flowton would like to congratulate the following pupils on their achievements in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Summer Music Exams:
Alistair Grant from Elmsett for passing Grade 1 Theory with Distinction.
Boya Robinson from Willisham who passed Grade 3 Theory with Merit.

Tel: 658425


We are your local ladies North West clog dancing group. A friendly welcome awaits anyone who would like to join us at our Sunday practices, in Haughley Village Hall at 7.30 pm. All the dancers are ladies, but men and women play in our band - however good or bad you consider yourself to be come along and give it try.

Joining Haughley Hoofers not only keeps you fit but can open up a new social life for you and your family. During the summer we dance at many local events as well as making weekend visits to various different counties in England, and sometimes to Europe. We are a very friendly enthusiastic troupe.

If you think you would like to join, or just watch to see what we are all about, we begin our Sunday practices at 7.30pm September 30th please pop in any Sunday evening after 30 September to see what happens. If you wish to chat to someone about joining the group as a dancer or musician, or if you wish to book us for an event please contact Dorothy our Squire on 01449 766372, or Sharon, secretary on 01449 676083.

We also have a website -

Page last updated: 25-Feb-2009    
This site was designed and is maintained by TRC Solutions please refer any queries to the webmaster