The Link Magazine

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

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Offton & Willisham PC

Dear Reader,
Animals have a key role in the Christmas story. Their hay-trough we call a manger - that was the first resting-place on earth for the Son of God. Cattle, normally grazing, depended at this time on somebody feeding them and might have been more interested in what the manger usually contained, not in admiring a new baby.

From my farming origins, I have a voice reserved for horned cattle who don't wish to move. When de-horning came along, it wasn't so necessary, so it must be forty years since I used this mode of address. So it was, in recent autumn sunshine, that I instantly stopped an inquisitive horse from trying to deprive a concerned parent as he spoonfed the very youngest member of his family who were seated around a picnic table at a forest car park. The horse had developed persuasive techniques and the family were in gentle despair.
As for the cattle and who fed them at the manger, whether they were oxen for tilling the land or for drawing carts and wagons, we don't know.
Also on my travels, I renewed the acquaintance of a certain donkey: always sociable, donkeys can be horribly noisy when left alone. The preliminaries to the nativity scene involve only three figures - Mary, Joseph and the donkey. Especially good on hills, the donkey is underrated as a form of transport. For the time being, we have our own local difficulties relying on the motor car now that the Willisham to Somersham road has subsided. Our sympathies are with those who have borne the brunt of the disruption.

With the Holy Family, haste was called for. King Herod's brutal response to a rival's birth meant that Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus became refugees. They saddled the donkey, escaped by night, and made the long journey into Egypt. The first Christmas was disordered in the stable and dangerous from then onwards. This Christmas, let's not strive for perfection : let us glimpse the Christ-child and let Him reach out to us. A very happy Christmas to you all,


Somersham Church Notes

See the separate ad for details of another concert by the Suffolk Constabulary Male Police Choir on Friday 15th December. This is always popular so get your tickets before they sell out!

The Christmas Bazaar will be on Saturday 2nd December from
2-4pm, with all usual attractions. The Toy Service is on Sunday 10th December at 10am and our Carol Service on Sunday 17th December at 3pm.

At the time of going to print the Trivia Quiz has yet to happen, but a very big thank you to Mary & Richard Toone for setting the questions and being quizmasters on the night.

The Christmas quiz sheets are on sale from the usual outlets, still priced £1! Don’t forget to pick one up and why not get an extra one or two to put into the Christmas cards of relatives and friends who enjoy a puzzle.

St Mary’s Church Somersham

by Suffolk Constabulary
Male Voice Choir

on Friday 15th December
in Somersham Church
7 for 7.30pm.

Tickets £6
(including light refreshments & a mince pie)
available from Christine’s Haircare,
Somersham Garage or
Pat Woolhouse (831080)

10% of profit to St. Elizabeth’s Hospice


Midsuffolk Action in Partnership
Supporting Voluntary and Community Groups in Mid Suffolk

Free Marketing Training: “Marketing for Non-Marketeers”, 17th January 2007, 9.15am -, in the Old Library at Red Gables, Stowmarket. This course will provide an introduction to the basics of marketing and provide advice on how to develop a cost effective and successful marketing campaign. Places on this course would normally cost £40 each but thanks to funding from the Local Strategic Partnership we are able to offer the course free to employees or volunteers of community or voluntary organisations.

Free IT Support Offered By Ex-Willis Staff: A number of former employees of the IT department at Willis in Ipswich have expressed an interest in offering their expertise to help voluntary and community groups in Suffolk to resolve computer problems they are encountering. If your organisation is having any computer problems why not make use of this facility?

Bid to Bolster Volunteer Driver Numbers: Thousands of elderly and disabled people in Suffolk rely on Community Transport Schemes to get out and about. However many are currently under threat due to a lack of volunteer drivers and MAP are leading a campaign to try and address the situation. Please tell us if you have any ideas or comments regarding this project - or if you fancy becoming a volunteer driver!

Need Funding Advice? Whatever time it is you're always within no more than 25 days of a MAP Funding Advice Surgery! If you need advice on possible funding sources for your organisation or help filling in funding applications, a funding surgery is just what you need. It’s free to attend and you will be given an hour of dedicated funding support. Contact MAP for details of forthcoming surgeries.

Room Available at Red Gables
There is still a decent sized top floor office available at Red Gables for an extremely competitive rate to voluntary or community groups.
MAP Membership
MAP membership costs just £8 a year per (1st April-31st March) per organisation – or you can become a member from now until 31st March 2007 for just £4. Contact MAP now to become a member.

For more information on any of the above, please contact MAP by calling 01449 673947 or by emailing You can find out more about the work of MAP by visiting

St Mary’s Church, Somersham
Christmas Bazaar

Saturday 2nd December
2 to 4 pm
Somersham Village Hall

Visit Father Christmas!

Games White elephant
Cakes Tombola Crafts
Books Raffle
Kiddies’ Craft Corner

(10% of profit to St. Elizabeth’s Hospice)


Community Café and Information Centre
‘The Coffee Caravan Rural Information Project’

During the summer we were fortunate to have the Coffee Caravan Information Project visit Somersham. These visits took place once a month on the green at Brook Way in the centre of the village and provided local people with a central place to meet over a cup of tea and piece of delicious home made cake.

So successful it was that that more that 100 visits from local people were made over the time, and with good weather for the majority of the visits we were able to enjoy pleasant warm summer afternoons. Even when it did rain the Coffee Caravan provided gazebos to sit under and we were able to continue and benefit from a pleasant social event.

But the Coffee Caravan is more than a community café, it provides lots of information on many subjects which may be of concern or require help, from bus and train timetables to information on welfare benefits, local government procedures and NHS queries, plus lots more. Ann Osborn, the manager of the project, is even going to be a trained CAB advisor in the near future and so will be able to help with many more queries put to her.

Ann says that although she and her team do not come out to the villages in the winter, if anybody has any queries or problems for which they think she can source information or help, she can be reached by telephone on: 01379 855338

Meanwhile, many thanks to Ann and her great team, for all the information they have provided, for giving us such a marvellous opportunity to get together and for all the lovely cakes we have got through. I’m sure that everybody will agree the visits were well worth while and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

The Coffee Caravan will return next summer when the team look forward to meeting old friends and new. Pop along if you are able to, you’ll be sure of a warm welcome. Tea, cakes and information are free, although donations are appreciated.
Janet Hodge

Somersham & District Community Association

The junior football pitch moves a stage nearer with the news that deep ploughing the ground should rid it of the damp patches; permission has been received to remove and re-allocate the old boundary hedge, an old tree and some scrub has been removed, and funding is in place. Talks are going ahead on the replacement of the broken bridge – no one can find out exactly who is responsible for this, all records of its beginnings have disappeared in the mists of time. Lighting for the paths and pitches awaits acceptance of the planning details. These should be in place soon as the required technical information has been ferreted out. Gutters have been mended and roots, all by just a very few volunteers.

The most recent meeting aired the dreaded problem of running costs for the upkeep of the Association’s assets – ie. the field and its present equipment, the proposed additions and the pavilion. Unfortunately grants are available only for new projects, not running them once you have them in place. One of the inescapable facts of life is that grass grows – mostly when you don’t want it: it’s always long in the wrong places. The best way to keep down weeds is to mow regularly and the best solution for the entire field is to keep it short as the pitches at all times. However this takes time and money. It’s not nearly so exciting trying to raise funds for maintenance as it is to raise funds for new swings. Who’s going to go to a Beetle Drive or Pig Racing just to get the grass cut? The Football Club and Social Club are our main source of income but so many other people make use of the field it is surely time to consider joining the ranks of many other villages with our level of facilities that are backed up through the Parish Council precept. With roughly 300 houses in Somersham it shouldn’t work out much per household over a year if the entire costs were met. Every effort will be made to raise funds within the user community and if a steady back-up from the precept could be added, the future would be assured. It’s not just a case of use or lose it but may, at some future date, be a case of use, help pay for it, or lose it.

The all weather arena is in constant use as is the play area. Unfortunately we have had strong complaints from a local mum who vows never to darken our greens again because of the length of the grass and the amount of litter amongst the swings. As this seems to consist mainly of beer cans we can only assume we have some very delinquent children with very tolerant parents, or some parents need the solace of a beer whilst watching their children, OR as is most likely, some of the local lads and ladettes are leaving their markers behind. What we need is a few volunteer litter pickers or, wishful thinking, some self-regulation amongst the litterlouts. Seriously, we do need ideas and people to organise them to further the Association and to make it truly a Community effort. No doubt help will be given from those who already make the effort to attend meetings, if only we could have some fresh input it would be nice.

If you can help please contact Mike Shelmerdine on 01473 831661or
Nicky Heming 01473 831594

Somersham Football Club

October has hardly been a glorious month for Somersham FC, with the first team stuttering and the reserves not starting. Despite a few poor results the first team are holding their own in division 3, but the reserves are really up against it in division 4. Read on and brace yourselves…..

The 1st Team
Saturday 7th October Alstons – Div 3 (A) Won 3-1
Perfect weather, a perfect playing surface and heated dugouts! The Chelsea of Division 4 had it all, except for 3 points. Somersham took a while to get into their game, but goals from Tel Lawrence, Dan English and Dale Poole brought a sound Somersham victory.

Saturday 14th October St Edmunds 65 – Omnico Cup (A) Lost 7-1
Division 1 outfit St Edmunds proved too strong for Somersham on this occasion. Somersham began very well, but after not taking 2 good chances they were punished with 2 quick goals after shoddy defending. The game was ended early in the second half with a further 2 goals conceded in similar circumstances. A poor Somersham performance with Jason Brame scoring a late consolation.

Saturday 21st October Ipswich United – Div 3 (H) Drew 3-3
Somersham played very well against Ipswich Us and really should have taken all three points with relative ease. However, after numerous chances were spurned by Somersham, the never say die attitude of Ipswich paid off and they snatched a pointed. Jason Brame, Kieran Cotterell and Tel Lawrence bagged the home goals.

Saturday 28th October
Bildeston Rangers – Night at the Races Suffolk Primary Cup (A) Lost 5-0
Bildeston were sitting at the top of Division 2 when this match kicked off, but again Somersham matched higher opposition for the first few minutes. However, after sloppy defending Bildeston took the lead and rapidly added another. Half time saw Somersham 4-0 down. A much better second half performance saw just one further goal conceded, but Bildeston were never in danger of defeat.

Saturday 4th November Coplestonians ‘A’ – Div 3 (H) Lost 2-1
It’s hard to understand how Somersham didn’t win this match. The home team started slowly, but had a good hold on the game by half time and were 1-0 to the good thanks to Stefan Nielsen. The second half saw a better performance from Cops, but Somersham were still relatively unthreatened. Three refereeing decisions (or lack of) swung the game in Cops favour and Somersham found themselves unable to respond. I very rarely site a ref with responsibility for a lost game, but on this occasion he certainly had a large influence.

Not a great month for the first team with some poor results and a couple of disappointing performances. On the brighter side the heavy loses were in cup matches, but the dropped points in the league fixtures will prove to be costly later in the season. All of the players need to regain the self belief from September and a return to winning ways will surely follow.

The Reserves

Saturday 7th October St Clements Hospital – Div 4 (H) Lost 8-0
This match saw the beginning of a truly miserable month for the reserves. Somersham were never really in the match as the score suggests.
Saturday 14th October Meadlands – Div 4 (H) Lost 8-0
Meadlands won promotion from division 5 as champions by some distance last season and therefore a hard game was expected. However, again as the score reflects, this was mighty hard!
Saturday 21st October Benhall St Mary – Div 4 (A) Lost 5-0
Benhall were placed lower in the league than the previous 2 opponents and so hopes were high of gaining the first points of the season. However, Benhall had different ideas.
Saturday 28th October Great Blakenham – Div 4 (H) Lost 8-0
Local rivals Great Blakenham arrived at the playing field and after the previous 3 matches confidence was low. Blakenham took advantage of this and became the third team in 4 weeks to notch 8 past Somersham.
Saturday 4th November Ipswich Postals – Div 4 (A) Lost 8-0
What can be said?

As stated by me in the last notes the Reserves were likely to be up against it this season for various reasons. However, I have not had the unfortunate task of reporting such a run of poor results since I began writing the column. Having experienced playing for a team many years ago that went through a similar set of results I know how it becomes harder and harder to have any sort of confidence going into each match. No matter how well a game begins the combination of not scoring and then conceding that first goal each week leaves you as a player with a seemingly impossible task. However, I feel sure that the combined experience of Derek and Matty will see the team pick up and register some points, but it maybe January before we see a change of fortune.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all, from myself and everyone at Somersham Football Club. The club are hoping Father Christmas will bring some goal scorers!!
See you on Saturday!!! DON’T FORGET ANYTHING!!

Al Chester


Seasons Greetings are sent from Challain to us, or Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année, as they say in France! They are making preparations for Christmas, with a tree in the square and hoping for Père Noël to visit the children in the village.

It has been very warm throughout the summer and well into the autumn, but now the forecast is for deep frosts such as have not been seen for 30 years. Our roses in the potager have taken well and blooms were seen into late autumn. It will be good to see them for ourselves when we next visit.

Meanwhile, before we go again, our friends from our link village will be visiting us in Somersham. They have fixed the date as:

17th – 20th MAY 2007

We welcome new people to join with us on our exchanges. If you are interested in being involved in the village link then please contact one of the following:

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

Somersham Under 10s Football

Stowmarket U 10s versus Somersham U 10s
With the first match some weeks earlier proving unable to separate the teams a rematch was arranged for October 8th.
Upon arrival concerns were expressed about the long grass and it was only after a third head count that it was clear the full squad had assembled. The squad consisted of Jack Barnes, Rhys Cotterell, Thomas Hiskey, Rhys Lucock, Samuel Lucock, Sam Siddel, Charlie Warner, Zack Witton and Harry Halles.

The game kicked off and after ten minutes Stowmarket took the lead against the run of play, this unsettled Somersham who would have been further behind but for two fine saves by Rhys Lucock in goal.

With ten minutes of the half remaining Somersham switched formation and started to press for an equalizer which came in the form of a Samuel Lucock thunderbolt, half time 1-1.

The second half was end to end with Charlie Warner covering all areas with distinction; Zack, Sam and Jack were linking up well in the central areas and Somersham took the lead when Harry netted from distance.

The final ten minutes saw the home team press hard fr an equalizer but Somersham were grateful to Thomas Hiskey and Rhys Cotterell for a faultless display at the back, final score Stowmarket 1 Somersham 2.

Woodbridge U 10s versus Somersham U 10s

On Sunday October 29th Somersham made the trip to Kingston Park, woodbridge for their friendly. Somersham dominated the first half and had the lion’s share of possession, goals from Jack Barnes, Samuel Lucock and Tom Sheern (on his debut) giving them a well deserved 3-0 lead at half time.

Woodbridge changed their entire team at half time and fought hard after the break, but with Somersham a real threat on the counter attack, could only score twice;
final score Woodbridge 2 Somersham 3.

All the lads played well and were well supported by their parents; special mention for CharlieWarner for an exceptional performance, well done Charlie.

Somersham remain unbeaten after 3 matches and now face Whitton on November 12th and Shotley on November 26th. Martin


East Bergholt were our first visitors of the month; and newly relegated from Division 2 they were always going to be a difficult team to beat. All the games were close and we managed to win three out of the four games with the shots all going down to the wire. At the end of the match only 5 shots separated the final scores, and by taking the win we were well pleased with the result. A very enjoyable and friendly evening.

Our next match took us away to Shotley, and the match was very much a game of two mats. The first two games – that on Mat 1 was very evenly played with just the odd shot separating the teams. Mat 2 however belonged very much to the home team and without being able to get to grips with the mat Somersham were shown the way home. The second half of the match seemed to go almost exactly the same way except Somersham did finally grasp the run of Mat 1 and finished with a decisive shots win. Overall on the night however Shotley ran out worthy winners.

Next it was the first round of the Joe Rice Cup – which is played as two ‘home and away’ legs – and took place in October and we were pitched into battle against near neighbours Offton and Willisham.
It should have been a short trip up the road, but with the collapse of the highway outside the Limeburners due to the heavy rain it was a lengthy trip round the alternative route for both teams in order to reach the respective venues.

The visit to Offton saw us fairly well outplayed and the night finished with a 10-0 win for the home side. Whilst more closely competing in the return match on our home mats we were unable to make any great impression to overturn the away result and ended up losing 8 – 2 to the visitors. Needless to say we are out of the Cup in the first round, but … good news … we are now automatically entered into the category of teams playing for the Chairmans Plate.

We look to perhaps making better progress towards the final rounds in this competition.

Winter League - October Results : -

Team Shots Points
East Bergholt 31 – 36 2 – 8 Won Home
Shotley 56 – 32 8 – 2 Lost Away


Somersham Primary School
Well, here we are at the children's favourite time of the year. Each time is a busy time and this year is no exception.
 We kick off with our annual Christingle Service in the church on Friday 8th December. This a lovely service and is a timely reminder to the children what Christmas is really all about. The children (on the whole) love coming back for the evening service. There are always squeals of excitement from the little ones having to go to the church in the dark!
The next week is the fun week. After last year’s runaway success of the Old Time Music Hall we have decided to perform a pantomime this year. So Jack and his Beanstalk will be gracing the stage for 3 performances on the 12th, 13th and 14th December.  Wonder who will be the dame or come to that who is going to be the cow?

Beside all the rehearsals for the Christingle and panto, as many normal lessons will still be taking place as possible alongside making all the traditional Christmas things, decorating the tree and hall/classrooms/corridors, parties and a visit from 'you know who"- it's a good job we don't finish school until the 19th!

The school would like to say a big thank you to the members of FOSS who, through the events they organise, have bought the children a number of items since September, ranging from furniture, books, a paint drier, dictionaries to an oven and trolley. These things would not be possible for the school to purchase if it were not for FOSS. So please keep supporting them because without you there would be no money.
The children and staff would like to wish everybody a
Very Happy Christmas
especially Mrs. Chinnery, Jon and baby Reuben.


In the middle of October, we hosted a bingo evening for the children in the school hall and it was really nice that some other people from the village came along to join us all for a “fun” evening. We even had some visitors from New Zealand who were staying with relatives in Little Blakenham and had not just made the long journey for the bingo! Our sincere thanks go to Hilary Bridger for being our bingo caller for the evening.

At the beginning of November we had a Body Shop party in the school hall that was once again well attended. We had some really good demonstrations and enjoyed being able to try lots of the different products before spending our money!

At the time of writing this article, we are all busy preparing for our Christmas Photos and Gifts sale at the school on Saturday 11th November. We hope that those of you that came along will have received your photographs and be really pleased with the results.

December is always a busy time at the school and our committee always likes to give each class an amount of money to spend on glitter or any other art materials etc. to make Christmas so special. Members of FOSS will also be helping at the Christingle services that will be held at the church in the afternoon and evening of 8th December. The children are also now busy learning their lines for the pantomime “Jack and The Beanstalk” that they are going to perform from 11th – 14th December. We are sure that they will do a wonderful job and our sincere thanks must go to all the staff at the school for all their hard work in making such an event possible.

Can we also take this opportunity to remind you that we are trying to compile a local recipe book. In order for us to do this, we would be very grateful if you could send us any recipes that are special to your families. They can be sweet, savoury, snacks, biscuits or whatever you like! All that we would need would be: name, ingredients, method, oven temperature and cooking time. You can also put a note with it to say why the recipe is special to your family – i.e. this was Granny’s favourite recipe because……….

These recipes can be given to any committee member, Jenny King (01473 830623) or may be sent into the school.
Looking a long way ahead, we are planning our 1970’s themed fete for Saturday 30th June 2007.
On behalf of all the members of FOSS, may we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2007.

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

Hello again ,

We have been suffering a recent spate of public telephone kiosks been broken into, mainly in the area of the B1078, between Needham Market and Nedging Tye. The following descriptions are of offenders seen at one of the breaks ….Three white males all between 5ft 7ins to 6ft, aged 20-30 years, one with a goatee beard and another wearing a Burberry baseball cap. The vehicle used is described as a dark blue Ford Mondeo with no rear number plates.
If these persons are seen please contact police immediately.

DATA LINK – The information kept inside Data Link could save your life!
+ It can help the Emergency Services in a crisis
+ It details what medication you are allergic to
+ It says what your blood group is
+ It stores details of your current medication
+ It can give information on your doctor and carers and more
+ And can save valuable minutes by always being available and always being in the same place
+ It can talk for you if you are unable to
+ Data Link is stored in the fridge - a fridge rarely gets destroyed in a fire? That's why it's stored there
+ Only 35p from your local Police Station
How does the Scheme work? Your details are stored in a clearly labelled plastic container, which is kept in your fridge. Two matching labels, known to the Emergency Services and other care agencies are displayed in your house, one on the outside of your fridge door and the other on the inside of your front door (so it is not visible from the outside).

Crime of Interest:
Nettlestead – Damage caused to vehicle parked unattended

If you have any information or would like any advice on police matters I would be more than happy to discuss this with you. I can be contacted at Stowmarket Police station on 01473 613500 or by email As previously Pc Sally Parkes will be my deputy – she can also be contacted on the above telephone number or Please remember that there are occasions when I am on rest days for 4 days so if your call is of an urgent nature please ask to speak to an officer on duty.
Thanks very much.

PC 466 Dave Clark


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



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

Flowton News

THANK YOU to all who contributed to the recent collection for the RNIB. A total of £87.44 was sent from the village. Nick Carter

As we prepare this copy of the Link we have been saddened to hear of the death of Mrs Pauline Watkins, who grew up at Camperdown, and later was to live at The Priory. More recently, she and her daughter Margaret lived in Elmsett, but remained very interested in all that went on in Flowton. She was a quiet and gracious lady and will be remembered with affection by those who were privileged to know her during her long life. May she rest in peace.

We are pleased to hear that David Hale is making excellent progress after his operation and hope that, by the time this is published, Gordon Watkins is doing the same. Best wishes to you both.
The Christmas Coffee Morning

takes place on Saturday December 2nd

in the Church

Coffee, raffle, good company, and bring and buy stalls
Sunday, December 24th, Traditional candlelit Service of Lessons and Carols at 6.30pm in Flowton church.
Monday, December 25th, Holy Communion by extension at 8.00am in Flowton church.
There are services in other churches in our group for Christmas – please refer to the listing at the back of this magazine.
A very happy Christmas to you all

Offton Church News

Church Supper
In last month’s issue of the Link we omitted to thank Jan, Sue and Anne for a happy and successful “supper in the church” on September 8th.
Lovely food, wine and company made an excellent evening. “Thank you too” to Mike for running the raffle.
The church benefited by £200 from this event.

SHCT Cycle Ride
Thank you to Jenny and Thomas King and David and Helen Thorne who cycled for Offton Church on September 9th.
Also to all who manned the church during the day to welcome the visiting cyclists--many more than passed through last year. We are waiting for a final figure of money raised.
The Trust is very grateful to all who support this event.

Dates to note
December 3rd MMM Concert in church at 4pm
17th Carol Service at 10am
24th Holy Communion at 11am
Christmas Day Service with carols at 10am

January 6th Rectors Plate from 9am in Needham Market Community Centre
13th MMM Concert in church at 7.30pm

On October 28th a quiz was held at Offton Village Hall in aid of Church Funds. There were ten tables, most well laden with self-provided food and drink to support the sixty participants. Thanks must go to all who came, to John the Quizmaster, Leita for half-time tease and Mike for the raffle. £265 was raised.
Some questions remain unanswered:-
Names - What was the other name of Nicholai Poliakoff?
Animals and birds- Who lives with Monty, Emma, Holly, Willow and Linnet?
No one did well on the slang and dialect round – a mixture of Cockney, Romany and Suffolk
What is a Dardledumdue? I.A.D.

of King’s College Cambridge

Like their predecessors, The King’s Singers,
Collegium Regale is a close harmony group of high calibre.
New Year starts well indeed!

Offton Church
Saturday 13 January 2007 at 19.30 hrs

in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief
Tickets at £15 including Bubbly & Cheese
Only 80 seats are available

Nigel Coleman 01473-657191 or
Maartje Rondeboom 01473-658024 or



We were very disappointed at the turn out to our recent bric a brac and book stall afternoon. The tables were groaning with things to buy, but only a few people turned up. Our thanks to them and to the kind folk who volunteered to help.

We have this month said goodbye to our long time Chairman Tony Webber who is moving to France. Tony has been Chairman for many years, and has been instrumental in keeping the Village Hall going during difficult times. He will be very much missed. We send Tony and Biddy our best wishes for their new life in France, and hope they stay in touch. Perhaps they will send items of interest to the Link!)

Our new Chairman Robin Derriman is looking forward to overseeing the new plans for the renovation for the hall. However, we are short of committee members and helpers, particularly at this time when the work over the past years is coming to fruition. If you think you would like to get involved please contact Robin (tel: 657431) or any committee member.

Somersham Baptist Church

Christmas is a great festival, rightly a joyful time. What greater reason for joy can we have than that God has visited this earth in love rather than in judgement and made a way of reconciliation that was free to all.

The birth of Jesus was announced to Joseph as the fulfilment of an old prophecy, ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel” - which means “God with us”!.

In Jesus, God has been among us, healing, teaching and training disciples to follow him.
It is a cause for celebration too that he still has disciples sharing this good news. Check God out for yourself, focus on Jesus, find his disciples, you’ll find some in Chapel Lane meeting on Sundays and celebrate Christmas; Jesus, God with us.

The “Y” Course: final session this month, Sunday 3rd at 7.00pm
This session will begins with a light meal and comprise of a DVD and open discussion on relevant issues for our time. The final question is ‘Who wants to be stuck with a bunch of boring old rules?’
The evening will end by 9.00p.m. Just turn up on the night or contact Mark or Brian (01473 740565) for more details.12th 19th 26th

Christmas Services
Sunday 24th December 11.30am Worship, 6.30pm Candlelight carol service.

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;
Women’s Fellowship Friday 8th December 2.30pm, Friday 12th January 2.30pm. Contact Mark if you need transport.
Friends and Neighbours 7.45pm 18th December; Christmas Special, Nibbles and Fun. 7.45pm Monday 15th January

All events are held at the Baptist Chapel, Chapel Lane, Somersham IP84 QE, and Transport is always available.


Pastor Mark Newcombe 01473 831940 Mobile 07930 543583. e-mail
Colin Low 01473 464833 or Edwin Mayhew on 01473 658100. Web site

CHURCH SERVICES in our 8 linked parishes

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

Please note that the services are much reduced during August.
We hope that you all have refreshing and revitalising holidays.

3rd December Advent Sunday

Holy Communion by ext. (changed for Dec.) 8.00am Flowton

Holy Communion

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

10th December 2nd Sunday of Advent

Holy Communion 8.00am Flowton
Toy Service 10.00 am Somersham
Holy Communion 11.15am Barking
Carol and Toy Service 11.15am Battisford
Carol Service 3.00pm Willisham
Jubilee Choir 6.00pm Bricett
Evening Prayer 6.30pm Offton

17th December 3rd Sunday of Advent

Traditional Carol Service 10.00am Offton
Holy Communion 11.15am Battisford
Carol Service 3.00pm Somersham
Carol Service 3.00pm Barking
Evening Prayer 6.00 pm Flowton
Carol Service 6.00pm Ringshall

24th December 4th Sunday of Advent

Holy Communion 9.30am Ringshall
The Story of the Crib 10.30am Bricett
Holy Communion 11.00am Offton
Morning Prayer 11.15am Barking
Candlelit Traditional Carol Service 6.30pm Flowton
First Communion of Christmas 11.30pm Bricett

25th December Christmas Day

Holy Communion by extension

8.00am Flowton
Half hour service of carols and readings for Christmas 10.00am Somersham
Half hour service of carols and readings for Christmas 10.00am Offton
Family Communion 10.00am Willisham
Half-hour service 10.00am Battisford

31st December 1st Sunday of Christmas

United 8 parishes Holy Communion 10.00am Somersham

7th January

Holy Communion

9.30am Willisham
Holy Communion 11.15am Somersham
Morning Prayer with Sunday School 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking
Holy Communion 6.30pm Flowton

14th January

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

21st January

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

28th January

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

Offton & Willisham Village Hall

How gratifying it was to see so many people taking part in the quiz on 28th October, 2006. The village hall has struggled for years and years to attract people to support and work for the good of the hall, latterly having to rely on a small band (i.e. 2 people) to maintain and carry on the work related to keeping the hall up and running. It appears that suddenly the good people are coming forward – callers, draw number selectors, refreshment helpers etc. etc. one can only hope that the hall will flourish in the years to come. I wish it well
Biddy Webber

Somersham Parish Council
December 2006

Forthcoming Parish Council Meetings

Wednesday 6th December - 7.30pm - Playing Field Pavilion
Wednesday 3rd January 2007 – 7.30pm – Committee Room, Village Hall
Wednesday 7th February 2007 – 7.30pm – Committee Room, Village Hall

Emergency Response Plan for Somersham
Dundee, Boscastle, Lockerbie- such disasters don’t happen very often, but if they do happen it’s important that the community is prepared. The emergency services are of course the first point of contact, but until they arrive at the scene we will have to rely on our own resources. That is why the Government is encouraging local councils to prepare an emergency plan. Somersham Parish Council has put its plan in place- you can see it at

To implement the plan, we’ll need your help. Firstly, we need to identify people who might be particularly vulnerable in the event of an emergency- the very young for example, or those who are not very mobile or who have serious medical conditions. And, if the worst happens, we’ll need help- people to assist with the emergency and to make tea at a rescue centre, and equipment such as four-wheel drive vehicles and lifting tackle. If you feel you would be vulnerable, or could help, in the event of an emergency please complete the form enclosed with this magazine and give it to any Parish Councillor.

If you have any questions, or want to discuss any aspects of the Emergency Plan, please contact Richard Browne on (01473) 831321. He can also give you a paper copy of the Plan if you want one.

Snoasis Public Inquiry
Several councillors attended a meeting of the Snoasis Parish Group recently and were brought up to date with the current situation. The group will join with Snoasis Concern and Suffolk Preservation Society and legal representation will be appointed to act for all three organisations. Snoasis Concern and Suffolk Preservation Society have already indicated their intention to contribute towards these legal costs for the forthcoming Public Inquiry, which begins on the 23rd January 2007. Parish Group members are also being requested to make substantial contributions to these costs which are expected to cost many thousands of pounds. The parish council has decided that everything possible should be done to ensure that any development at that site is in keeping with the area and has the smallest impact possible on the local environment. The council has therefore approved a contribution of up to £3500 maximum as Somersham’s contribution to the legal costs. This sum will be paid from parish council reserves.

Speeding on Main Road
The Parish Council has received reports of speeding on Main Road. With the current closure of the road at Offton, it is very likely that the offenders are local residents. The parish council will be liaising with the Police and the Highways Authority to look at options available in an attempt to reduce these incidents, but please remember you are driving through a residential area in Main Road where there are often children and keep your speed down to the limit of 30mph.

Warm Front Scheme
Government funded grants of up to £2700 (this goes up to £4000 if oil fired heating is fitted) are available to homeowners and private tenants receiving certain income related or disability related benefits or credits, to provide heating and insulation measures to improve their homes.
Warm Front will organise and pay for all work up to the value of the grant. This scheme is funded by the government and managed by Eaga Group Limited. All you have to do is call all free on 0800 316 2814(between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or 9am and 5pm on Saturdays) to find out if you are eligible. If you are not eligible they offer a Benefit Entitlement Check to see if you are eligible for any benefits. You will be guided through the process by a trained advisor.


Now that Christmas is fast approaching, may we at Somersham Parish Council be one of the first to extend very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful 2007.

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



Gift Weekend Update
In last month’s Link we told you that our gift weekend had raised £515, we are delighted to be able to inform you that this has now risen to £550. Once again our thanks to everyone who contributed to this splendid result.

Family Bonfire and Fireworks - 3rd November
Once again we were very fortunate to have good weather for this event and, in spite of the road closure, still attracted a large number of people. Our thanks to everyone who helped on the day with refreshments, car parking, manning the gate and letting off the fireworks so safely. Special thanks to Rod Holder for providing the venue and building the bonfire and to Richard Cage for organising the fireworks. We raised a total of £215 for church funds. This includes a donation for material collected for the bonfire and entrance money from a group who walked to Crow Hall and bypassed the gate. Unfortunately not everyone was so honest, which is a shame as the money goes to church funds, and it only cost £1 or £2 to get in!! A child’s hat and earmuffs were left at Crow Hall, if you think these belong to you, please ‘phone 658387.

Christmas Services
The complete list of the December services can be found at the back of Link as usual. However, just a reminder that the Willisham Carol Service takes place on Sunday the 10th December, when we shall be joined by the Benefice Choir. The official service starts at 3.00pm but if you come earlier you may be able to hear the choir singing some of the carols not included in the service. Our service on Christmas Day is 10.00am Family Communion. We look forward to welcoming you to one or both of these services.

Willisham Church Cook Book
We hope that since reading our November Notes, you have started to think of a recipe for inclusion in our new Cook Book. Once Christmas is over please make your decision and send it to
Frances Gilson, 9 North Acres, Willisham – 658387 – of by e-mail to Don’t forget our taste-in on the 20th April.

The late Mrs. Margaret (Lucy) Chapman
Willisham Church is very grateful for the donations received in memory of Mrs. Chapman, these total £153. Her son, Paul, has recently moved to Stowmarket and we wish him every happiness in his new home.

Church Roof
At the time of writing we have no further news of our grant application.

Church Electoral Roll
The collation of the new Roll has been brought forward a year to 2007. This means that every one at present on the Electoral Roll will be asked to complete a new form, prior to our Annual Meetings on the 26th March.

A Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year
from Willisham Church


Jan. 8 - Companion Planting - Steve Coghill
Feb. 12 - Ipswich Flora & Fauna - Michael Sanford
March 12 - Pond Plants - Mike Burch
April 9 - No Meeting - Easter

May 14 - VISIT: Danecroft Cottage Garden, Near Stowmarket - Judith & Steve Thompson
May 20 - Plant Sale In aid of S & DGC
June 11 - Japanese Gardens - Ian Seager
July 9 - VISIT: Columbine Hall -
Hew & Leslie Stevenson
Aug. 13 - Visit: Desert World - Barry Gayton
Sept. 10 - Winter Garden Plants - Barry Gayton
Oct. 8 - Shrubs & Use of Hedging - Graeme Proctor
Nov. 12 - Syringa - Colin Chapman
Dec. 10 - Christmas Social

All meetings commence at 7.30pm
For further details
‘phone 658063

Part-time Assistant Required
A caring and understanding Assistant is required to assist an Arthritic, disabled young lady in her own home in Somersham. Duties involved will be for her personal care, preparation and cooking of meals etc. No lifting involved. 1 to 2 mornings a week. Also to cover some relief care hours when necessary. Good hourly rate. Tel: Maureen 01473 327558.

Offton & Willisham Village Hall

How gratifying it was to see so many people taking part in the quiz on 28th October, 2006. The village hall has struggled for years and years to attract people to support and work for the good of the hall, latterly having to rely on a small band (i.e. 2 people) to maintain and carry on the work related to keeping the hall up and running. It appears that suddenly the good people are coming forward – callers, draw number selectors, refreshment helpers etc. etc. one can only hope that the hall will flourish in the years to come. Looking through the records the same 2 people, i.e. Tony Webber and Percy Thorp, have served the village hall continuously since 1983. With Tony going it looks like you are on your own Percy. I am sure it must be an oversight that the rest of the committee and community at large has not acknowledged the part the retiring Chairman/Treasurer/cleaner/groundsman has played. I wish it well
Biddy Webber

Parcel Scam
Suffolk Trading Standards are warning that a card is being posted through doors, claiming to be from Parceldelivery Service. It lists a premium rate number to call 0906 6611911 – on calling this number you hear a recording and are billed £15 for the call. If you receive a card, please call Royal Mail Fraud on 0207 2396655, the premium rate regular ICTIS at, or the local Trading Standards Office.


Dec. 10, 17 Mrs. F. Jaggard
Dec. 24, 31 All Help for Christmas please
Jan. 7, 14 Mrs. J. Newman
Jan. 21, 28 Mrs. A. Osbourne
Feb. 4, 11 Mrs. F. Southgate
Dec. Cleaning – Team C
Jan. Cleaning – Team A
Feb. Cleaning - Team B

No flowers during advent
Dec. 25, 31 Mrs. Ward +all help for Christmas
Jan. 7, 14 Mrs. Munson
Jan. 21, 28 Mrs. Laflin
Feb. 4, 11 Mrs. Fawcus
Dec. Cleaning – Mrs. R. Lock
Jan .& Feb. Cleaning – Mrs. D. Fawcus & Mrs. M. Laflin

Dec. 3, 10 Mrs. Carol Langford
Dec. 17, 24, 31 Mrs. J. Dickson +all help for Christmas
Jan. 7, 14 Mrs. Susan Bolton
Jan. 21, 28 Mrs. Hilary Derriman
Feb. 4, 11 Mrs. Sam Copping
Dec. Cleaning –Mrs. G. Tollemache
Jan. Cleaning – Mrs. S. Bolton
Feb. Cleaning – Mrs. S. Copping

Dec. 3 Miss Taylor
Dec. 10, 17 Mrs. Cage +all help for Carol Service
Dec. 24, 31 Mrs. Large
Jan. 7, 14 Mrs. Hodson
Jan. 21, 28 Mrs. Gilson
Feb. 4, 11 Mrs. Southall
Cleaning – as flower rota

Thank you to all who have helped with the flowers at our four churches during 2006. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

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