The Link Magazine

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

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Offton & Willisham PC
We tend to look forward with such certainty these days. You hear people planning holidays in 2007 or reckoning on changing the car next December, parents work hard to get the ‘right school’ (whatever that is) for their 5 year old child when they are 11 and on television they can even show us what our kids will look like at the age of 40.  All these different expectations and predictions we just take for granted and, of course, there is nothing wrong with planning, hoping, wishing and dreaming, but I found myself wondering do we value the NOW enough?

Life is actually made up of a long series of ‘NOWs’ which pass by so quickly, often without our registering the time at all.  But let us stop
and reflect on how many times people said to you at the end of the year:
”I can¹t believe its Xmas already, where has the year gone?” or ”My goodness is your grandchild really 3 already?”

But how often do we stop to ask each other whether we are fully enjoying this moment.  Are we really valuing this afternoon, this NOW?  When did you last look at the sun and say thank you for the warmth and light it gives us? When did you last suggest enjoying a couple minutes with your son or daughter to talk, laugh and smile together for a few moments before rushing off to do all those chores on our respective lists?
When did you last say ‘I love you!’ to those you love?

What I am trying to say is this: let us value each moment and see these moments build up to a better and more valuable pile of happy memories,  let us take the time to celebrate the joy of achievements, how ever small, let us relish our actions, however mundane, and, most of all, let us take the time to appreciate each other and the beauties of this world.

Perhaps all the above could more simply be summed up with the following words taken from an old Sanskrit poem.

If today is well lived,
every yesterday is a memory of happiness
and tomorrow a vision of hope,
look well, therefore, to this day.

Lucy Vignoles



February 5th 12th Angie Osborn
February 19th 26th Christine Jarrold

Cleaning February = B March Team = C


February 5th & 12th Mrs M. Carter
February 19th & 26th Mrs Laflin

Cleaning February – Mrs D. Fawcus & Mrs M. Laflin


February 5th & 12th Mrs Sam Copping
19th, 26th Mrs Alison Rumsey

Cleaning February Mrs Sam Copping


February 5th Mrs Southall
February 12, 19 Mrs Gilson
February 26 Mrs Fisher

Cleaning same as flowers

No flowers in Lent


From the Registers:

Welcome to
Oliver William Lay, son of David and Alison, who was baptised at St. Mary's, Willisham on 13th November 2005.

May he grow in faith

Farewell to
Elsie May Coleman, long time, and much loved, resident of Somersham,
whose ashes were buried in Somersham churchyard on 24 November 2005
Also to
John William 'Jack' Wright, aged 84, of Marshmoor Park, whose funeral took place at Ipswich Crematorium on 22 December 2005

May they rest in peace


Mothers Union

On Wednesday 8 February we meet at the usual time of 2 pm in the vestry of Flowton Church to hear Mary Carter talk about quilting.  This meeting was scheduled for last October and had to be postponed. We are looking forward greatly to the afternoon and all the more because we had to wait for it. All are welcome to join us and if transport is required ring 658330.

At our January meeting we were delighted to congratulate Mrs Gertie Ely on having celebrated her 90th birthday in December.  We gave her some flowers with our love and told her how much we appreciated her fellowship and told her we felt she may have her dates wrong as she looked so young!

Somersham Church Notes

The Christmas Bazaar at the beginning of December was a very enjoyable and well supported event, raising £428 for Church funds. The children particularly enjoyed the visit form Father Christmas. Thank you to everyone who helped with the afternoon.

.This was followed by a superb Folk Evening, featuring four local bands playing and singing a wonderful selection of songs. Everyone who came had very enthusiastic comments to make afterwards. Special thanks to Rohais for getting the whole event off the ground, and of course to the very talented bands taking part.

The Christmas Trivia Quiz Sheets have sold well this year and there have been lots of completed entries returned. The answers and winner will be in next month’s Link after the closing date.

The Trivia Quiz is still to take place at copy date, so we’re looking forward to getting the 2006 fundraising events off to a good start with an enjoyable evening puzzling and arguing over the questions!





We were pleased to receive a card at Christmas from our friends in Challain with the following message:

“Dear friends at Somersham We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy year.
We are preparing a welcome for you in France and we will be delighted to see you.
Stay in good health to take up the challenge of the “Tug of War”
We embrace you all.”
(Signed by Marthe and Emmanuel and many others)

Other news from Challain is that in autumn the Commune’s “Potager” (allotments) had a fete/open day when hot wine was provided and followed by a Giant Pot-au-feu (beef stew). It was hoped that lots of people would go to buy vegetables as well as discussing gardening in general. A committee of local people look after the allotments and have reintroduced many old types of vegetables such as parsnips that have all but disappeared from the supermarket shelves. The potagers have also decided to plant fruit trees and dedicate a tree to each child born in Challain since the year 2000.

At Christmas the school held a Christmas market and Père Nöel arrived in the village to distribute presents to the children.

If you would like to go and see the potagers yourself and meet the people who live in Challain or even help our tug-of-war team in their next challenge, join us on our next visit to Challain-la-Potherie

28 April – 1st May 2006

the sixth year of our link with the people of this village, of similar size to our own and situated in the Loire Valley. Exchanges every other year – they come to us one year and we go to visit them the next. It’s interesting to learn of each other’s way of life and to get to know individuals and families well. Many lasting friendships have been formed and much goodwill flows between the two villages.

We travel by comfortable coach from Somersham to Challain and stay with host families.

Cost for the weekend is expected to be £75 per person

contact one of the following:

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

Somersham Parish Council

Proposal for a second Parish Council Notice Board
The Parish Council is planning to provide a second notice board in Somersham. The site being investigated is on Brook Green adjacent to the hedge alongside the Old Police House. The notice board will be for Parish Council notices only, but its installation will enable the Parish Council to display in more detail statutory notices and council matters. All comments and/or suggestions for the notice board are welcome, particularly in relation to the proposed location.

Parish Precept 2006/7
Every year the Parish Council must set its budget for the forthcoming financial year and the Parish Council has resolved NOT to increase the Precept for the financial year 1st April 2006 – 31st March 2007. Therefore the Precept will remain at £11,000.

Do you have broadband; do you have problems with it? If so please let us know. We understand some people are encountering problems, particularly with its reliability and are trying to ascertain the extent of the problem. If you live in Somersham and are having any problems with broadband please let us know so we can collate the responses and approach BT with detailed information on the degree of reliability/type of problem being experienced by users. Please contact the Clerk with your comments. It would be useful to also have details of your service provider.

Be Prepared
The forecasters are still saying we could have a hard winter, so are you prepared for power failures, telephone failures or blocked roads. It is a good idea to make sure you have some basic supplies, including alternative heating and lighting, candles, adequate solid fuel for open fires or solid fuel stoves, a week’s supply of any medication you need, a battery (or wind up) radio and an alternative means of charging a mobile phone if you have one, such as an in-car charger. It is also very important to ensure your water supply is safe from frost (by lagging of exposed pipes or those close to an outside wall) and don’t forget to turn off any outside taps. Keep warm.

Water mains/sewerage leaks
Delays occurred in repairing a recent leak in the water main as no report was made to Anglian Water. In the current cold temperatures this could prove extremely dangerous, as well as a waste of such an important commodity as water. If you notice or suspect a leak in the water mains, or in the sewerage system in Somersham, please telephone Anglian Water on the Freephone number 0800 145 145. They would much prefer to receive many calls, rather than none.

Schedule of Planned Parish Council Meetings for 2006
Wednesday 1st February 2006 Committee Room, Village Hall
Wednesday 1st March 2006 Playing Field Pavilion
Wednesday 5th April 2006 Village Hall
(Annual Parish Meeting – tbc)
Wednesday 3rd May 2006 Playing Field Pavilion
(Annual Parish Council Meeting-tbc)
Wednesday 7th June 2006 Committee Room, Village Hall
Wednesday 5th July 2006 Playing Field Pavilion
Wednesday 6th September 2006 Committee Room, Village Hall
Wednesday 4th October 2006 Playing Field Pavilion
Wednesday 1st November 2006 Committee Room, Village Hall
Wednesday 6th December 2006 Playing Field Pavilion

All meetings to commence at 7.30pm and everyone welcome

Any unplanned Parish Council Meetings will be notified on the Parish Notice Board.
If you have any queries concerning any of the above meetings please contact the Parish Clerk:-

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

Somersham Football Club

The contrasting fortunes of the first and reserve teams have continued throughout November and December. The first team have recorded one draw and five loses in this period, while the reserves have taken maximum points and progressed to the next round of a cup competition. There have been injuries to a couple of key players and the club has experienced a goalkeeping shortage due to injury, with Quinny dusting the old gloves off and providing emergency services to the reserves and even keeping a clean sheet!

The 1st Team

Saturday 12th November Claydon – Div 2 (H) Lost 2-1
After Octobers dismal results this derby game was hotly contested, but Claydon edged it.

Saturday 19th November Bramford – Cup Game (A) Lost 3-2
A good performance from Somersham against Division 1 opponents. Kieran Cotterell and Stu Wright scored our goals, but again the opposition were able to claim the win.

Saturday 26th November Bacton Utd 89 – Div 2 (A) Drew 2-2
At last, the first points for 6 weeks. A hard fought match in chilly conditions with a goal from Matty Bowers and a goal for Stefan Nielsen on his call up from the Reserves.

Saturday 3rd December Hoxne AFC - Div 2 (H) Lost 2-1
Again a very close match that could have gone either way with both of Hoxnes’ goals being a little fortuitous. The Somersham goal was scored by Stefan.

Saturday 10th December John Bull Utd – Div 2 (H) Lost 3-2
Yet again Somersham lost by the odd goal. John Hughes and Stu Wright scored for the home side.

Saturday 17th December Home match postponed due to weather.

Another disappointing run of results from the first team, who have discovered that Division 2 football is quite a step up, both in ability and physical terms. However, there are signs of improvement and a number of young local lads, most notably Stefan Nielsen and Andy “Young Bob” Mittell, have been drafted in from the reserves and are repaying the faith shown in them with splendid performances.

The Reserves

Saturday 12th November St Clements Hosp Res – Div 5 (A) Won 3-1
The reserves hardest game for a while with Dale Poole expertly converting a penalty and Stefan scoring the other 2.

Saturday 19th November Stowupland –Div 5 (H) Won 6-0
This was expected to be a close game, but Somersham ran out easy winners in the end with an excellent hat trick from Dale, 2 goals from Damon Crick in a rare strikers performance and 1 for Dan English in his first game back after recovering from an ankle injury.

Saturday 26th November Bacton Utd 89 Res – Div 5 (H) Won 3-1
After thrashing Bacton 8-2 at theirs not much was resistance expected of them. However, with a much improved Bacton team this game was quite a test for the reserves and a hard fought victory came with 2 more goals from Dale and 1 for Al Bentman.

Saturday 3rd December AFC Hoxne Res – Div 5 (A) Won 2-1
Hoxne who were in the bottom 2 of the Division came at Somersham like maniacs and continued for 90 minutes. Jason Brame eased the constant pressure with his first goal for the club and in the second half Lee Cotterell came straight off the bench to waltz past three midfielders on the halfway line, outpace the centre half and expertly finish past the advancing goalkeeper to make the score 2-0. Hoxne scored late on, but Somersham held out to secure the hardest 3 points so far. Special mention to the goalkeeper Terry O’Neill who put on a transcendent display, without which the reserves would certainly not have won the match.

Saturday 10th December Needham Vets – Harpers Intersport Cup (A) Won 2-1
A close fought match against some very seasoned campaigners was won with goals from Jason Brame (again) and Adam English in his first appearance of the season after knee surgery.

Saturday 17th December Needham Youth – Div 5 (A) Won 1-0
After beating the old boys of Needham the previous week the youngsters were the challenge this week. Once again a very hard fought, close match for Somersham against a team placed way down in the league. Stefan Nielsen provided the only goal which proved to be enough on the coldest day for sometime!

The reserves have maintained there place at the top of Division 5 and are now discovering how hard it is to lead from the front in any league. They have shown fine character in recent weeks as steam-rollering teams has become less frequent and gritty disciplined performances have been the order of the day. With the hard winter months coming up this level of performance needs to be maintained.

I’m writing this a month after the football clubs successful Christmas Disco, which was held at the Village Hall. By the time you read this that will be a distant memory, but don’t despair if you didn’t attend. February the 25th has been booked for a Race Night at the Village Hall. Many of you will have attended previous versions and the Club would like to invite everybody to attend this one. These nights are always great fun, and you may even win a couple of ‘beans’ so please come and join in the excitement. There are still races available for sponsorship and anybody interested in this can contact Ray Smith, Dave ‘Dill’ Sillett or any member of the club for further details. Hope to see you there.

Finally, I would like to announce the safe arrival of our first child on Sunday 27th November whom we have named Amber. Mother and baby are both doing well and due to Amber’s impeccable timing I didn’t have to miss a match!
See you on Saturday!!! DON’T FORGET YOUR PAINT!!!!!

Al Chester

Somersham and District Gardening Club

Next Meeting:
Monday 13 March 2006, 7.30 pm, Somersham Village Hall

This will be the AGM followed by Gardeners’ Question Time hosted by Organic Guru and Broadcaster - Karen Kenny.

Guests and New Members always welcome.


Somersham Golden Link Club members once again say a big “Thank you” for the support we received which made our Autumn Fayre such a success. To date we are £310 better off, for which we are truly grateful.

We would welcome new members! Come and try us out at any time, and if you like our company do join. Otherwise, drop in and for 25p you can have a cup of tea and a chat. We meet fortnightly on a Tuesday at 2.30pm. (To find out when the next meeting is please phone 748279)

Again, many thanks.Betty Game -Secretary

Somersham & District Community Association
Playingfield Improvement Project - Update

The implementation phase of the project has gathered pace significantly. By the time you read this the perimeter fencing should be more or less complete. We have also ordered the all weather multi sports arena, which will be sited next to the pavilion. Delivery and installation of the arena is scheduled for the middle of February although the groundwork may well be undertaken before that.

The other significant progress is on the purchase of the extra land (squaring off the field). We expect this to be complete by February and you will see the new perimeter fence extending along our new boundary. The project team will now turn their attention to turning the new area into a playing field for community use.

Other parts of our plan have also moved forward including the pavilion patio area, new paths and lighting.

This project, worth over £145,000, is a considerable achievement for a village of our size and we cannot thank the funders enough for their support. The role of honour is :

Living Spaces
County Councillor, Ros Scott
Somersham Parish Council
Section 106 contribution
Mid Suffolk District Council
Suffolk Environmental Trust
The Foundation for Sport and the Arts

If you would like to know more about the project or would like to HELP please contact any of the following:

Terry Fordham – Tel 831529 Mike Shelmerdine – Tel 831661
Steve Woolhouse – Tel 831080 Derek Ottaway – Tel 832562


We were hoping to report good news for the start of the year with wins, but unfortunately the November results were not as we would have liked. The Joe Rice Cup started with a well-earned draw against Brockley at home, and resultwise it was a good effort as – in league competition - they are placed in a higher league. It was only when we went away to play the return leg that the crunch came resulting in a complete rout, and – no excuses - we have to report to having been totally overwhelmed by their determined bowling. They obviously know the run of their mats very well and once in command played a blocking game, and consequently we were always struggling to make any inroads into the head. So they - not us - go through to the next round, and we wish them well.

On the back of our ‘cup match’ we didn’t fare a lot better with our first league match of the month against Bentley. Our saving grace was that we were the visitors, but obviously came up against them on a good night and again were on the end of a poor result.

The next three matches were so close they could have gone either way. Although only few shots difference, the effect on the points result was quite dramatic. The match with Whatfield was a good winning margin; but against Hadleigh B and Burstall the scores were very much closer. Unfortunately for us in both the latter matches the points were lost and went to the opposition, which saw us dropping in the league placings. Nonetheless the games were very enjoyable, and the close finish made the enthusiasm that much greater with everyone putting in their best efforts.

In amongst the league matches the club rolled off the Christmas Pairs for all members. The names are picked at random, and this year’s winners were Mike Southgate and Keith Deaves. In December the Club enjoyed the conclusion of the year with the traditional Christmas meal held at a local hostelry.

We now look forward to the first matches of the New Year, with games against Martlesham (home and away) and also Stratford St. Mary in the league; and hope for good bowling from the club members.
By the time the Link readers see our entry we will be well into 2006, but we wish everyone a belated Happy New Year.

Winter League - Nov./Dec. Results: -

Team Shots Points
Bentley 21 - 54 0 - 10 Away Lost
Whatfield 48 – 35 8 – 2 Home Won
Hadleigh B 39 – 43 2 – 8 Away Lost
Burstall 38 – 42 2 – 8 Home Lost

Ipswich Appeal For Romania
- car boot sales - 2006

Indoor car boot sales recommencing every Sunday morning (except 19th February ) until April 2006. 8am - 12pm ( sellers 7am ) Great Blakenham Village Hall ( opposite The Chequers Pub ). Tables œ5. Hot food available. Plenty of car parking space. Free entrance fo buyers.

Enqs. Lee or Anna-Maria - Ipswich Appeal For Romania 01473-833292.

Keys to Success!

Piano pupils of Mrs Lynne Holton, Somersham have been successful in obtaining the following passes in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music examinations:In the practical exams: Aaron Beckett Grade 7 Merit; David Wade Grade 4 Merit; Samuel and Joshua Seddon Grade 2 Pass; Alexander Jones Grade 1 Distinction; Florence Cage and Danielle Chester-Flatt also passed Grade 1 with Merit.

In the theory exams: Jean Hardman Grade 5; Jessica Atherton and Maisie Clover Grade 2; Deborah Moore, Emily Beckett and Laura Dickerson Grade 1. All pupils passed their examinations with distinction with Deborah Moore gaining 100% marks!

Well done to all and good luck in the examinations for 2006!


Hello, Tony & I are volunteers for the Suffolk Befriending Scheme. They would like your help, and you can if you shop online at stores like Marks & Spencer, MFI, Littlewoods, Comet, John Lewis, Index and many more. You do not have to pay more, but every time you buy online with this website Buyat will donate a small percentage to Suffolk Befriending Scheme.

Please tell your friends.
Thank you

Dinah Jessup



In aid of Willisham Church

11th February

10.00 am – 12.00 noon



Christmas Services

Thank you to everyone who came to decorate and clean the church prior to our carol service. It was a real team effort, and we received lots of compliments. Thanks also for the help in cleaning up afterwards.

2006 Events

Our next PCC meeting is on the 7th February, when we will be fixing dates for this year’s events. If you have any ideas please let us know before the meeting. Full details next month.


Collections for the Poppy Appeal 2005 for Somersham amounted to £348.59. Sincere thanks to Mrs. F. Southgate, Mrs. H. Bridges, Mrs. H Marsburgh, Mr. R Barr (shop), Mr. D Houghton (garage) and Mr. R. Mason (Marlborough).


Collections for the Poppy Appeal 2005 amounted to £156.97. Sincere thanks to Mrs. L Ruffles, Mr. R. Hollaway and Mr. S.Breen (Limeburners).

Barking Pre School
(Registered Charity 1020882)

We are holding a Race Night to raise funds on Saturday 18th February 2006 from 7.30pm at Ringshall Village Hall. This is a really fun evening and we would be grateful for your support. To buy tickets at £5 each to include a Sausage and Chip Supper please ring Nick Banks on O1473 658368 or Hayley Hedges-Quinn on 01473 657846.

To register your child with us to attend the pre-school or come for a visit, please ring Veronika Pryke on 01473 658368 or Sam Banks on 01473 658693. Our sessions are from 9.30am to 12.00 noon each day for children from 21/2 years to school age with funded places for those aged 3 and over. Class sizes are small, enabling the children to receive individual attention providing a good head start for primary school.

Flowton News

Thank you

The PCC would like to thank Maureen and John Goodess for their continued care of the Church Stall during the past year. At the close of the year, sales totalled £190.80. Thanks also to all who put plants and produce on the stall and encouraged others to buy from it. Many people drive past and stop regularly to see what is available.

The Suffolk Trivia Quiz – for which many thanks to John Minns and his family –raised a total of £238.50, with a further £48 being Gift Aided to the Church. The coffee time collection raised an additional £41 for Children in Need.

Betty and George Dunnett send their thanks to everybody for all the kind thoughts and good wishes. They greatly appreciated the card signed by so many at the Carol Service. Their recovery is slow and painful but they are supported by their family and also by the messages they have received from so many friends.

Quilt Group
The Quilt Group continues to meet monthly in Flowton Vestry – the next meetings are Wednesday February 1st at 7.30pm, and then March 1st. New members welcome.

Offton Church News

Events coming up:

Magical Musical Moments Concert next event the ‘Seven Up’ concert on Saturday 18th February 2006 – see details elsewhere

Festival of Talents – please note the date in your diaries Sunday May 11th.

Weekend of June 10th & 11th 2006 - A Flower Festival and Fete.
Contact Janet Dickson for flower details and Ian Dickson or Lucy Vignoles for fete.

Looking Back:

The Rector’s Plate:

What a wonderful days bowling for the Rector’s Plate. David, who arranges everything for that day with Jane, will be making a donation of £1571.69 to St Mary’s Church and with the Gift Aid element will make a grand total of £2000.

Thank you to all the every many helpers who made the day so successful. David and Jane are getting married in April and we wish them a very happy future together. We thank them both very much for all the time and energy they have put into seventeen consecutive years of the Rector’s Plate. We now look forward to the eighteenth.

A Warden’s Lot in Offton from November through December

In early November Offton hosted a remembrance Service for all those who had died in the previous twelve months. Much preparation beforehand. The service was conducted by a minister and a Lay Reader, so we were in safe hands. The church was three quarters full with some people even coming up from Kent and everyone had the opportunity to light a candle. Many people stayed afterwards to talk and take tea. It was a pleasure to see our little church being used by the eight parishes for a service that had real atmosphere and meaning and it justifies the efforts of the many friends of Offton to keep it going.

Evensong. National Remembrance Day. Really good hymns and a most interesting talk by a former Air Force navigator on religion and moral issues in the Air Force. I wanted to know if breaking through thick cloud into clear blue sky made you feel closer to heaven, the navigator’s reply was that he was more concerned with how far he was above the earth than how close to heaven: not very romantic.

December is the month that I put the star on the top of the tower. It is floodlit at night and can been seen from miles around.

The first event in the Church was a Magical Musical Moments concert featuring part of the orchestra and choir from Ipswich School, including two young musicians from Offton. The seventy two candles and carefully set up stage lighting made the church look wonderful, which matched the performance of the musicians. The wild man and wild women who live in the roof also basked in some of the light and they seemed to enjoy it, but I did notice evidence of woodworm up there.

On my Evensong Sunday I went to a motorcycle club Christmas lunch and came back buoyed up with turkey and Adnams. To curb the mounting excitement amongst the senior members of the congregation I told them to enjoy the celebrations of the birth of Christ but to focus more on the second coming of a very different Jesus, who will judge the worth of our lives. In return they told me that I had read the wrong collect (3rd Sunday before Advent not 3rd Sunday of Advent) and that the second collect had been left out altogether, in spite of it having been read here for every evensong since about 1549. Oh Adnams! I am indeed a miserable offender.

The Carol Service. Many people involved in decorating the church with fifteen arrangements plus the Christmas tree and seven readings to be done. A well supported service with a good number of children who all had chocolates from the tree that had somehow escaped the attention of the church mice. My Christmas talk was about presents: two properly wrapped and one badly wrapped with binding twine and old brown paper. The meanly wrapped one contained a bottle labelled Holy Spirit. It was empty of course because The Spirit was already among us. The green bottle was one of many varieties I dug up in the garden and that evening Mrs C deciphered the worn writing on the lid. Kills Germs. My goodness I said ‘What have I done to the Holy Spirit in a bottle of disinfectant?’ But then I thought it was an ideal container because the Holy Spirit does indeed cleanse our lives. The choir sang well and it was a very happy service.

Midnight Service. The generosity of an Offton resident allowed us to flood light the church. It looked really lovely inside as well with all the candles and decorations. Good attendance. I had put 70 wafers in the box for Communion but counted nearly that number in the congregation and got really worried. What if we ran out? I discreetly got another bag of wafers and filled my pocket. Part of my job was to assist serving the wine. All seventy wafers were blessed but only a few people came up for communion. Once blessed all the wafers have to be eaten and so in the last carol ‘O come all ye Faithful’, the priest, Mary and myself had to go into a corner and consume them. Now these wafers, like Ezekiel’s bones, are very dry and this was no mean task. I decided not to mention that I had another pocket full.

I can assure that ‘Sing Choirs of Angels’ x 70 plus an unfettered organ sounds magnificent from the front of the church. Ian Dickson.


Spring Clean Suffolk Week 20 to 25 March 2006
The Council supports this initiative and Councillors will be seeking help from residents to undertake the work of freshening up the verges etc. Resources will be available from MSDC.

Grant received for the Offton Sign refurbishment.
The Council is most grateful to our County Councillor Julia Truelove for the grant of £500 from her Locality Budget towards the cost of refurbishing the sign.

Pensioners Christmas lunch
Once again this event was most successful and thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks are generously given to Janet Crickmore and her helpers and also to Frances Gilson and Rev. Linden Fletcher for the accompanied songs and carol singing.This occasion does bring together socially people from our separate villages and from Marshmoor Park. It is an event which the Council will endeavour to continue.

Pip Sands, Parish Clerk Tel 01449 721173


Holly is very spiky,
Old holly is brown,
Luscious holly is green,
Lucky holly is shiny,
Yucky holly is crispy.

by Tantoo Lily Fox


Snow is so cold
Now it has gone
Oh no!
Wow it comes
It is all about snow.

by Chloe Durrant

Magical Musical Moments

This year’s season of concerts by candlelight in St Mary’s Church Offton started off with a superb performance by the Ipswich School Chamber Orchestra, directed by Andrew Leach. The church was packed with parents and locals all in support of the performers and the evening’s charity, St Elizabeth Hospice. As you walked into the church you were greeted with a welcoming atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. The candlelight and the subtle use of lighting used as a backdrop for the orchestra added to the ambience of the evening.

The evening’s performance started with J S Bach’s Minuet, Trio and Polacca from Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, a wonderful work that started off as a Sinfonia with initial Allegro, then Adagio followed by the Minuet. Bach turned the work into a Concerto by adding a second allegro and expanded the minuet by adding a Polacca.. The work was excellently performed, which set the scene for whole of the evening.

Soloists followed: Anna Churchill sang ‘Tu Lo Sai’ by Giordani; cellist Harry Thorne played two movements from Vivaldi’s Cello Sonata No. 5; soprano Jacy Race had us perched on our seats with an excellent rendition of ‘Agnus Dei’ from Paukenmesse by Mozart; finally Anna Campbell on harp played Bacarolle by Grandjany beautifully. Anna recently achieved the accolade of being top student for GSCE music, ahead of 19,000 others.
The first half ended with a trio; Edward Leach and James Westrip on oboes and Tim Passmore on bassoon, playing Corelli’s Sonata No.6.
After the interval, where we had enjoyed various Spanish cheeses and wine, we sat down to an exciting performance of excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and we were not disappointed.

The evening provided a platform for the young musicians to perform for a real audience. The programme was professionally executed, a credit not only to Andrew Leach and Ipswich School but to the students themselves who, many of them will, I’m sure, have promising futures. For us it was a real pleasure to see young talent perform together in such superb surroundings. £335 was sent to St Elizabeth Hospice.

Alan Munson

Magical Musical Moments
by candlelight in Offton Church in aid of Alzheimer’s Society

Saturday 18 February at 19.30 hrs
Seven Up
Andrew Jacobs
Paul Winterborne Peter Andrews
Horn Tuba
John Pilborough Chris Ozanne
Cornet Euphonium
Matthew Peek Ian Alderton
Cornet Trombone

This jolly brass ensemble plays a wide range of classical and contemporary music, offering something to suit everyone's taste.

Tickets £10 include an international cheese board & wine
and entry in a draw for a 5 day return crossing with car and two passengers, value up to £250, courtesy of Stena Line, Harwich

Draw takes place at end of concert!

Tickets available from
or 01473-657191



In the grey dawn on April 9th 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged by the Gestapo for his part in the conspiracy against Hitler. His last message was sent by an English fellow-prisoner to an old friend, George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: This is the end. For me, the beginning of life. He was 39, and it was less than a month before the end of the war. Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor, teacher and theologian.

We have several reasons for remembering him in 2006, the centenary of his birth. He was a Christian who lived his faith, to the end; he engaged with the problem of how to resist evil when violence seemed the only way; he realised the need for Christians of all denominations to unite against terrible destructive forces; and he insisted that Christian faith must be made positive and attractive to people who had pushed God to the margins: I should like to speak of God, not on the borders of life, but at its centre.

4th February 19.30
Centenary of Bonhoeffer's birth. Showing of acclaimed drama documentary of his life, directed by Martin Doblmeier.
Christ Church, Symonds Rd, Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds IP32 7BW BKG

8th February 19.30
Another opportunity to see documentary at St Nicholas' Church Centre, 4 Cutler St, Ipswich IP1 1UQ BKG

8th March 19.30
Churches Together in Suffolk open meeting, Christchurch Methodist URC, St. Mary's Square, Newmarket CB8 0HZ. Lecture Discipleship Together _Counting the Cost by Rev. Dr. Keith Straughan, Senior Tutor at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge BKG

9th April Palm Sunday.
Anniversary of Bonhoeffer's execution. Opportunity for Churches in Suffolk to mark it n prayers, preaching, magazine articles etc

20th May 15.00
Talk Faith and Political Resistance at United Reformed Church, Ipswich Rd, Stowmarket IP14 1AD by the Revd. Martin Hueneke, former pastor of the Bonhoeffer Church in London; from International Bonhoeffer Society BKG

21st May 15.30
Choral Evensong to commemorate the centenary of Bonhoeffer's birth. Cathedral of St James, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1LS

4th June 15.00
Revd Eckhard von Rabenau, former pastor of the German Lutheran Church in Cambridge, will speak and lead a simple memorial act of worship at the Quaker Meeting House, St John's St, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1SJ BKG

22nd July 10.00 _ 16.00
Quiet Day on Bonhoeffer theme led by Rt. Revd. Martin Shaw, Bishop
of Argyll & the Isles. Assington Hall, nr Sudbury CO10 5LQ. Bring own lunch. Cost œ5. Cheques to 'DBF'. BKG ESSENTIAL. Deadline 10th JULY.

3rd October 19.30
Another opportunity to see the drama documentary of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Cathedral Lecture Room, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1LS BKG

10th October 19.30
Reading group led by the Revd. Canon Andrew Todd on Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship. Cathedral Lecture Room, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1LS BKG

BKG = book by phone, email or in writing to Elizabeth Moore - see below. For other events, just turn up. Most events FREE; donations welcome on the day to cover costs.

For further information contact:
Lay Education and Training Adviser –
Elizabeth Moore 7 Maltings Garth Thurston
01359 233050

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

From your Community Police Officer
PC 466 Dave Clark

I would like to introduce myself as your new Community Beat Officer as from the 1st of January. I am sure most of you are aware that PC Kevin Shields has hung up his boots after 30yrs in the police force and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a long and well deserved retirement.

Having worked in Mid Suffolk for many years I do know the area and possibly some of you will recognise me when you see me out and about.

I hope you have all had a wonderful and safe time over the festive period. Please remember that the bad weather is still with us and if you are driving particularly early in the morning the roads can be very icy. There have as usual been many minor accidents over the recent period – most of which could have been avoided simply by slowing down and driving according to the conditions.

Crimes of note -
Nettlestead - over 3rd – 4th of December where a car was parked on a driveway was entered by unknown means and a briefcase stolen. This was then dumped in Baylham.
Flowton – a car stolen overnight 3rd – 4th December abandoned near Bramford, and two vehicles entered over the same period

Those of you who are computer literate may be aware of the various scams that are around on the internet ..…for those of us that are not so familiar, a recent one reported to us by several residents ….is to offer to buy an item you have for sale on the internet ..a buyer contacts you,nearly always from abroad – paying immediately by bankers draft or cheque etc and attempting to get the item before the bankers draft/cheques are discovered to be fakes /stolen etc …..

The internet is as a great tool – but its increasing use is bringing a rise in numerous scams and cheats.

Lastly – I know Kevin enjoyed a close and friendly working relationship with many of you and how highly he was regarded – I hope to carry on his good work!!

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 DaveClark

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

Somersham Baptist Church

Valued in old age

At the risk of generating a large post bag of angry letters I don’t think I know of anyone who is looking forward to old age or who experiencing old age recommends it as a lifestyle choice. We hope to reach a good old age as an alternative to death.

But it is too easy to adopt values from our society about old age rather than to be shaped by the word of God.

An elderly poet writes of his experience in Psalm 71, he feels incredibly vulnerable and appeals to the LORD to rescue him, rescue that in faith he extends even to future resurrection.

But he is no passive victim. He enriches his life with songs of praise about the LORD, his righteousness and mighty acts of Salvation, and he determines to bear witness to each new generation of the salvation God provides.

It is never too soon to begin these practices; they will prove to be the best investment we can make.

God values the elderly, life’s purposes are still valid in old age, praising God and to commending him to others are the two this Psalm writer focuses on.

The Church should value the elderly too, as we have been formed for God’s family we need to involve the elderly, especially when they are prevented from meeting with us. Visiting and encouraging them is a service we can all be engaged in.

Sunday 5th February marks the 10th Anniversary of the Church becoming independent once again. As a treat we invited Pastor Brian Ward of Whitton Baptist Church, and a chaplain at Heath Road and St Clements Hospitals to be our preacher for the morning. Since that invite Pastor Ward has retired from Whitton and to our delight has joined the Church at Somersham. Do come and rejoice with us at what the Lord has done.

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 2.30pm 10th February, Friends & Neighbours 7.45pm 20th February; Family Court with J.P. John Betts.

All events are held at the Baptist Chapel, Chapel Lane, Somersham.
Pastor Mark Newcombe 01473 831940 e-mail
Colin Low 01473 464833 or Edwin Mayhew on 01473 658100. Web site


Be your best

Optua is the new name for Suffolk charity Rethink Disability.

We are based in Stowmarket and provide a wide range of services and opportunities for disabled people including Leisure Activities, Advice and Advocacy, Community Brain Injury Services, Community Transport, Care Services, Volunteering and Access Groups.

Our new name ‘Optua’ is taken from the Latin for ‘Be your best’ which describes our vision that disabled people can achieve their best without barriers, and without other people deciding what the best should be.

We have been running for nearly 25 years and our new name marks the start of an exciting time for us. We will continue to provide the same services to assist and enable disabled people as always, but we also expect to develop new services in response to the needs of disabled people in the future.

For more information about Optua call us on 10449 770127, email or look at our new website at

CHURCH SERVICES in our 8 linked parishes
If you think there may be a mistake in the rota please contact your Churchwarden.

January 29th

8 parishes Holy Communion 10.00am Great Bricett

February 5th:4th Sunday before Lent

Holy Communion

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

February 12th 3rd Sunday before Lent

Holy Communion
8:00am Flowton
Family Service 10.00am 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

February 19th 2nd Sunday before Lent

Holy Communion 8.00am Somersham

Family Service

10.00am Offton
Family Service 10.00am Bricett
Holy Communion 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 6.30pm Flowton

February 26th Sunday before Lent

Morning Worship 10.00am Flowton
Holy Communion 11.00am Offton
Morning Prayer 11.15am Barking
Evening Prayer 6.30pm Somersham

March 1st Ash Wednesday

Holy Communion

9.15am Bramford
Holy Communion 7.30pm Needham Market


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