The Link Magazine

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

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Offton & Willisham PC

The ‘Link by post’
– thanks to everyone who has responded promptly with their payment for 2009 enabling us to get ahead with printing envelopes for the year.

We send out 52 copies of the Link to places far and wide in this country from Cornwall in the south to Merseyside in the north - and all points between! Two copies will cross the channel to France this year - to Mary and Eddie Fagg (ex Somersham) and now to Biddy and Tony Webber (ex Willisham) who live in Brux, France. We are delighted to welcome them onto our mailing list and look forward, as always, to exchanging news with old friends.

As always, I seek inspiration in the family and have been thinking about a riddle my grandson set me recently from the back of the car as we drove across the autumn countryside competing with Vermont for colour this year. ‘What can you lose and still have in your hand grandma?’ - I concentrated on a nasty blind curve on a hill and played for time. Ah yes! That is the answer! It dawned on me. Time. Time wasting, losing, passing, keeping, taking, marking, saving, even doing. The wonders of the English language and even more the wonders of time and how we take it for granted.

I found myself continuing to dwell on this subject of time in the run up to the end of the year as I prepared to write this letter for February 2009. I am sure, at least I hope I am sure, it will be snowdrop and crocus time, and possibly the odd early daffodil around. I am sure, at least I hope I am sure, the shops will be full of red hearts and Valentines. Some of us may even be toying with holiday plans, most of us, I suspect, will be counting our pennies and wondering whether this time we must not expect to rush off to an exotic destination hoping we will have that oh so perfect a time so well advertised in the glossy travel brochures.

The Americans forces used the phrase R & R meaning to rest and recover when they took their short leave in the Philippines during the Vietnam war, a time to escape the horrors. I prefer to think of R&R as reflect and recover as we need to stop and take the time to think in our fast moving globalised age. It is tempting to imagine we stop when we flop in front of the television but we rarely give ourselves the time to reflect, to look back and see how we have spent the day, what we have achieved, where we went wrong, the best bits, the moments when we laughed with our kids, the happy moments shared with a friend. Each moment takes time and is gone for ever, but, in reflecting, we have the chance to value these precious moments to give us the energy and enthusiasm to look forward and value each day as it comes.

Give my love to the daffodils in Offton and love to you all from Balkerne gate in the Roman wall of Colchester on a most beautiful sunny day - yes we do get them. Above all make time to thank God for these moments of happiness and the time to enjoy them.

Lucy Vignoles



February 1, 8 Mrs. J. Newman
15, 22 Mrs. C. Jarrold

Cleaning - February - Team B


February 1, Mrs. D. Fawcus
8, 15 Mrs. P. Grimwood
22 Mrs. M. Carter

Cleaning - February - Mrs. D. Fawcus, Mrs. M. Laflin
and Mrs. S. Hitchcock


February 1, 8 Mrs. Sam Copping
15, 22 Mrs. Peta Whiting

Cleaning - February - Mrs. S. Copping

Willisham (flowers and cleaning)

February 1, 8 Mrs. J. Somerville
15, 22 Mrs. T. Southall

[No flowers during Lent]

Farewell to:
Debbie Mittell of Somersham, who died on 10th November 2008, aged 51 years, and who was buried in Somersham Churchyard following her funeral;

Also to - Joyce Evelyn Whitton of Somersham,who died on 14th November, aged 83 years, and who was buried in Somersham Church yard after the funeral on November 27th;

Also to - Geoff Bye, formerly resident of Offton, whose funeral took place in Offton church on December 4th, followed by interment in the churchyard;

Also to – Jane Groom, resident of Needham Market who regularly attended services in Offton Church, who died on December 25th, and whose funeral took place in Offton Church on January 7th, followed by interment in Needham Market.

May they rest in peace

Somersham Church Notes

We would like to thank everyone who supported the Christmas Bazaar - the helpers, everyone who contributed to the stalls and those who came to support the event. We raised £320 for church funds.

Thank you to everyone who has bought a Christmas Quiz Sheet, and especially to Christine, David and Judith for doing such a good job in selling them! The winner and answers will be in the March Link.

We will be holding a Trivia Quiz on Friday 13th March. These are always great fun and popular so book your table (up to 6 in a team) by contacting Pat (831080) or Somersham Garage. See ad for more details.

Debbie Mittell

Peter, Richard and Andrew would like to express their sincere thanks for the many cards, flowers and messages of sympathy received during their recent sad loss of Debbie.

Also thank you to everyone who attended the service and came back to the village hall afterwards and to those that helped with the refreshments.

Debbie loved the village and the people in it and it was so gratifying to know that the people of Somersham loved her as much as they did.

A very special thanks to Mark Newcombe for conducting a very special and personal service and for all the support he has given the family.

Please accept this as our very grateful acknowledgement of all the kind and generous support given to us from so many people at this very sad time.

Poppy Appeal 2008

Collections for Somersham amounted to £393.48.

Sincere thanks to Mrs Bridger, Mrs Marsburg, Mr Haughton and Mr Mason.

St Mary’s Church Somersham
Trivia Quiz
Friday 13th March
Somersham Village Hall
at 7.30pm.

Teams of 6, £2.50 per person
Bring own drinks, glasses and nibbles
(Tea / Coffee provided)

Book your team’s place by contacting Christine’s Haircare,
Pat Woolhouse (01473 831080) or Somersham Garage.




(Entrance in Black Horse Lane)

This concert, arranged by the Ipswich Arts Association, will celebrate the life of our late friend Frances Gilson. Taking part will be the Ipswich Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the Orwell Singers and the Trianon Music Group, along with other friends and colleagues.

Tickets, priced £1, will cover refreshments and a programme and there will be a retiring collection for the charities named by Frances:
(St. Elizabeth Hospice and Willisham Church)

For tickets call Margaret (01473 658330)
Jean (01473 658063) Pat (01473 831080)
Anne (01449 721181)



Somersham and District Community Shop

An update on the progress of the proposed Community Shop. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. The Steering Group are holding regular monthly meetings, with sub-groups meeting more often. A Community Interest Company has been registered with Companies House, this is a company which is regulated and for the benefit of the community and transparency of operation is paramount.

A business plan has been written, which is essential for gaining funding, and this will have to be updated as plans progress. Meetings are held regularly with Ian Toye of ViRSA (Village Retail Services Association) an experienced consultant who has been involved in setting up many of the 180 community shops already in England and Wales.

After consultation with the Community Association we are planning to locate the proposed community shop at the car park end of the playing field. We are currently investigating what type of building would be most suitable and the costings of this. Funding is also being explored and we already have promise of funding from County Councillor Julia Truelove’s locality budget. Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council have also suggested that they would look favourably at funding assistance.

The Steering Group would like to congratulate Stutton Community Shop which recently opened after three years of planning. The Stutton group have provided us with invaluable help and advice (as have other community shops). Some of our members recently visited the Stutton shop and were very impressed with the layout, the volunteers and the number of customers using the shop, to see such an excellent outcome is very heartwarming and gives us encouragement in our own endeavours.

The Steering Group members are: Janet Hodge – Chairman; Steve Bullard – Treasurer; Geoff Tottle – Secretary; Graham Amiss; Richard Browne; Terry Fordham; Mike Freeman; Mrs Freeman; Gavin Hodge; Anne Macfadyen; Barbara Tottle; Niki Whiting.

Somersham Parish Council

2009 Schedule of Parish Council meetings

You are very welcome to attend any meeting of the parish council which, unless stated, commence at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Wednesday 4th February 2009
Wednesday 4th March 2009
Wednesday 1st April 2009 - (Annual Parish Meeting)
Wednesday 6th May 2009 - (Annual Parish Council Meeting)
Wednesday 3rd June 2009
Wednesday 1st July 2009
Wednesday 2nd September 2009
Wednesday 7th October 2009
Wednesday 4th November 2009
Wednesday 2nd December 2009

Please Note – The Annual Parish Meeting is a meeting for the electorate and is your opportunity to raise any concerns/issues you may have.

Any unplanned Parish Council Meetings will be notified on the Parish Notice Board.

Budget 2009/10
The parish council has approved its budget for 2009/10. Councillors felt it was not possible to absorb the increased costs faced by the council, but agreed that any increase should be kept to a minimum. After a long discussion an increase of 3% was approved which means the precept for 2009/10 will be £12,458. The council would like to point out that the annual payment of a long standing loan accounts for over 50% of this figure.

‘Your Place’ Pilot Project

Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk Police are leading on a new pilot initiative in the Mid Suffolk South area, which aims to give local people more say in how resources for the area are used.

As part of the pilot new a Community Board is being formed which will bring together councillors and a mix of local people. It will be the role of the Community Board to listen to what local people have said and agree local priorities for action.

It is anticipated that there will be about 5 meetings per year and that these meetings will be held in the evening.

The project is seeking the involvement of local people from all parts of the community. If you are interested please contact Sara Blake on telephone number 01473 260761 or by email at

Council vacancy
Somersham Parish Council has a vacancy for a councillor. Applications are welcome from anyone aged 18 or over who is on the electoral register. The only mandatory duty of a councillor is to attend meetings of the parish council, but it gives councillors an opportunity to become involved in community life. With the change to unitary government coming to Suffolk there will be a greater opportunity for parish councils to take on additional powers if they so wish. If you would like further information on the role of a parish councillor please contact any of the current councillors or the clerk.

Donations to Local Groups
The parish council is always keen to support local groups and each year tries to make small donations to local worthy causes. Under Government legislation a group must have been of benefit to one or more local residents. The parish council will be considering this item at its March meeting. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that all requests will be successful, but if you are a member of a local group which would like to be considered please contact the clerk by the middle of February.

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


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

We look forward to welcoming the Challainois to Somersham again. These weekends provide an excellent opportunity to get to know each other, our cultures and languages. Many long-standing friendships have already been made and new people are always welcome to join with us on our exchanges. If you are interested in hosting a family or being involved in any way with the village link then please contact one of the following:

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

The Somersham Golden Link members wish to thank all who contributed to our Christmas Fayre. We had a splendid draw and £130 cash donations, we took £232.63 in the hall; after expenses net profit was £336.63 – very good!

Our thanks to the young men who came in to help put the tables away. Special thanks to Pauline and Lennie for their support as usual, and to Lennie for disposing of the leftovers, which is always a worry.

Betty Game (Secretary)


Somersham & District Gardening Club

Monday 9 February 2009 @7.30pm

Whether or not you are a member, you will be most welcome! £1 visitors & guests
Raffle and refreshments available.
Somersham Village Hall

Keys to success

Piano pupils of Mrs Lynne Holton, Somersham have been successful in the following Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams:

In the practical exams:
Felicity Payne Grade 5 Merit, Alexander Jones Grade 5 pass, Hugo Douglas Grade 3 Merit, Bethany Clarke and Emily Mayhew both passed Grade 2 with Merit, and Marsha Dalby also passed Grade 2.

In the theory exams:
Amanda Jones passed Grade 5 with Merit, Alexander Jones passed Grade 4 with Merit, Emily Beckett, Laura Dickerson, Anna Marsburg and Debbie Moore all passed Grade 3 with Distinction, Rachel Dickerson also passed Grade 3 with Merit, Julie Smith, Bethany Clarke and Jordan Chester-Flatt all passed Grade 1 with Distinction.

Well done to all pupils and good luck in exams for 2009.

Somersham Cycle Speedway

The Stars held their AGM on October 30th in the pavilion on the playing field and there was a poor turn-out which undoubtedly influenced the path of the meeting. After much discussion and consideration it was decided that Somersham would not be competing in 2009. With insufficient riders to form a league team, insufficient personnel to run meetings, and little prospect of improvement, the loyal few decided that enough was enough. The attendees did not want to be responsible for closing the club down, so have left a small hope for the future, should circumstances change for the better. Commitment was made to register the club, so that riders can still represent Somersham if they wish. And, as always, the track will be available to anyone in the community for training purposes.

At the meeting, there were several changes of personnel as secretary and track manager Peter Mittell reluctantly stood down. Peter has been the driving force of the Stars throughout the decade and owes the club nothing. He has been responsible for getting many improvements turned from dream to reality. As our most local member he has probably done more work on the track than any of us will ever know.

Barry Copping will be the new track manager whilst older brother Steve agreed to reclaim a previous role and tackle any secretarial duties that arise. While on a lighter note, club chairman and treasurer Gary Brown was voted Rider of the Year for the 3rd time - an award he genuinely values.

The British Indoor Championships closed the racing season as far as the Copping brothers were concerned. Both were drawn to ride in the 1st of the Open Individual Semi-Finals on the Sunday but both failed to make the top 8 positions to advance to the final, Barry scoring 6 points and Steve 4 (having picked up a rib injury in his 1st race which restricted his score). The focus for the brothers now is Australia 2009.
The season is now closed.

With Somersham’s withdrawal from league racing for 2009 Steve Copping will, subject to work commitments, race for Kesgrave on a secondary licence for the 2009 season. Gary Brown is expected to follow suit. At this stage Barry Copping is undecided about his racing plans team wise for 2009.

The Somersham colours will still be getting an airing during 2009, e
specially during the month of February as on the 6th Steve & Barry Copping fly out from London Heathrow to embark on their 2nd Australian adventure following on from their 2005 visit. Amongst the matches they are expected to appear in will be the 2009 World Individual Championships and a report on this and any other matches in which they feature will appear in the April issue.

This article ends on a very sad note as we have to report that Deborah Mittell, wife of Peter and mother to Andrew & Richard, died suddenly on 10th November 2008 aged 51. Deborah spent many years helping the club by running the club's refreshments, frequently single handed, and this brought in much needed revenue for the club. It was not just the cup of tea that people enjoyed but the friendly chat that came with it. She got a great deal of pleasure from watching Andrew develop his cycle speedway career before he was struck down by illness. She would always accept that Peter would spend many hours tending the Somersham track when her own garden could have done with some much needed work!

Peter, Andrew and Richard would like to acknowledge everyone for all their kind and generous support given to them at this very sad time.

Steve Copping Secretary, Somersham Cycle Speedway Club

Join St Elizabeth Hospice for the Walk of Thoughts
Sunday 22nd February 2009
Circular walk from Leiston taking in Thorpeness

Join St Elizabeth Hospice for a peaceful six mile coastal walk starting in Leiston, taking in grassy lanes and cliff paths before arriving at picturesque Thorpeness. The route will then wind back across scenic heathland and sandy tracks.

The Walk of Thoughts is an opportunity to remember a friend or loved one or to simply enjoy walking in beautiful surroundings. The walk is a circular route, beginning at Leiston Leisure Centre at 10am.

Entry is £5 per person (under 16s £2) and we hope that you will aim to raise sponsorship of at least £80 or £120 per family.

For more information or a registration form, please contact the fundraising team on 01473 723600, email or visit



After the celebrations of Christmas and into the New Year, it’s time to pick up for the second half of the league and report on the match results left outstanding from last year.

November in fact saw club members doing battle for the in-club Poppy Appeal trophy played as singles; and a case of everyone for themselves which tends to bring out the best competitive efforts. After some closely contested preliminary rounds before the tea-break, the mat was laid out for the final between John Prentice and Rosemary Southgate. After some good bowling it was Rosemary - on her birthday - who maintained the momentum to run out as the winner.

Two away matches played next in the same week were to be the start of a bad month for both results and points, which left us with a low morale. All teams struggled on our away visit to Stutton as everyone as one seemed unable to get to grips with the mats, and consequently all fours suffered varying degrees of defeat. At the end of the evening we were - disappointingly - well beaten; and this left us with much to learn about life in Division 2.

The other away match at Old Felixstowe fared little better and saw a continuance of the below par form, although one team did manage a creditable win by a single shot on the last end, and another four narrowly missed out on success by a similar margin.

Our last match of the month against Copdock & Washbrook concluded what has been our poorest run of results since leaving Division 3. Our first match at home for some while, our hopes were on a win, but unfortunately things didn’t pan out that way. Although it was a very close match the final score would tend to suggest it was another whitewash … but this was definitely not the case and every game was hard fought. Two games were lost by a single shot, and the other two mats were equally unlucky to come up against experienced opposition to lose by a couple of shots. After last month’s disastrous results and having now dropped into the bottom area of the league, December began on a more promising note with a home match against Hadleigh – currently one of the higher placed teams. Everyone played to their best ability throughout the evening - with all four games hard fought on each mat – and Somersham achieved the best result possible to take all points ... together with the welcome boost of confidence.

Our away visit to Sproughton Tythe Barn brought the first half of the Winter league to a fairly disappointing conclusion. It was perhaps unfortunate that very cold weather prevailed on the night of play, which was not conducive to comfortable bowling: we were unable to settle to the usual bowling. One of the fours commendably obtained a good result whilst the other three were unable to offer any real opposition, and Sproughton – top of the league - ran out worthy winners. Our hosts did however provide the usual welcome supper and hot drink to conclude the evening in friendly fashion.

Winter league—November/December Results:

Stutton 75—19 10—0 Lost Away
Old Felixstowe 55—25 8— 2 Lost Away
Copdock and Washbrook 41—34 10— 0 Lost Away
Hadleigh 34—58 0—10 Won Home
Sproughton Tythe Barn 61—29 8—2 Lost Away

The approach of the season’s festivities gave the opportunity for other relaxed matters to the month with enjoyment of the annual traditional Christmas meal - this year at the Sproughton Wild Man, and rounded off in the afternoon with a friendly tournament bowl in the Village Hall. The final get-together before Christmas sawenjoyment of a club fun night with frivolity, silly games, accompanied by the requisite assortment of sausage rolls, mince pies and other tasty nibbles together with liquid refreshment.

With the start of the New Year - and whilst we have recently welcomed new bowlers to the Club - we are still on a quest to find additional bowlers to increase Club numbers so why not make it your ‘resolution’ and come along to the Village Hall one Tuesday night and try carpet bowls to see if you can help consolidate the membership. How friendly it is could surprise you!

Flowton Church News

The date of the Summer Fete is probably going to be changed as it clashes with the Wimbledon men’s final day and Andy Murray has made such a good start to the season…………!

Thanks to everybody who helped to arrange the different parts of the Carol Service on Christmas Eve – and to everybody who took part and came to sing. And I think we all enjoyed Howard’s impromptu concert as we drank coffee and enjoyed a mince pie. We hope that the coming year will be happy for you all.

The PCC plan to maintain the current rota of services but are always open to suggestions for change if you have any ideas for improvements. The format and length of the services on the first and fourth Sundays of the month are especially suitable for families with children; BUT everybody is welcome to any of the services, and often the person who is taking the service will adapt hymns and prayers to the congregation who attend on any particular Sunday.

Just to remind you that the Village Coffee drop-in will not be open this month. We meet up again on the first Wednesday in March when we hope there will be signs of Spring in the air.

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 Autumn Exams:

Eleanor Seddon: Grade 4 with Distinction
Alice Downie:   Grade 3 with Distinction
Alistair Grant:  Grade 2 with Merit
Natasha Downie:  Grade 2 with Merit
Jade Squires: Grade 1 with Merit
Melissa Canham: Grade 1 with Merit
Susie Tucker: Grade 1 with Distinction

Catherine Funnell: Grade 1 with Merit
 Misha Dewes: Grade 1 with Merit




Recent Events and Special Services

On 29 November, a packed audience in Offton church was once again fortunate to experience another concert by candlelight in the well known Magical Musical Concert (MMM) winter series that are organised by Mrs Maartje Ronderboom.  This concert featured the well known cellist, Orlando Joplin, who explained and then played a selection of Bach Suites.  Mr Joplin played sublimely, interpreting Bach’s musical scores with great technical ability and feeling, and his explanation for each piece brought the music to life.  At the end of the concert, Maartje presented the PCC with a cheque for £800 to go to the church’s fabric and repairs fund.  This fantastic sum represented the proceeds from this concert, including Mr Joplin’s usual fees which he had also very generously donated. 
The Christmas Carol Service was held on 21 December when a large congregation enjoyed some fine carol singing by the Benefice Choir, and by themselves.  This was followed by mince pies and wine, thanks to Paul and Ann.  On a crisp Christmas morning, a short communion service and carols was held to be followed 3 days later on Sunday 28th by the usual communion service.  So there was something for everyone over the festive season, and the PCC hopes that everyone in the parish had a chance to attend one of these festive services which are always a highlight in our calendar.  The PCC thanks all those people who decorated the church so splendidly with flowers etc.
Rector’s Plate Indoor Bowling Competition

On 3 January, the final Rector’s Plate Indoor Bowling Competition was held throughout the day in the Needham Market Community Centre.  Indoor bowlers from around the region know all about this annual event; however, this was the last such competition to be held after 20 consecutive years.   As always, the kitchens were operating to provide tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches, cakes etc, and the bar provided other refreshments and bonhomie, and for some, possibly solace.  This event raised the magnificent total of £1,771 for our church funds.  The Rector’s Plate has been organised each year with great distinction by David and Jane Schofield, formally from Offton parish.  Over the years, the competition has raised over £23,000 for Offton church, and the PCC and members of the congregation feel humbled by such a generous effort over two decades.

To mark the occasion, Jane was presented with a bouquet of flowers and David a bottle of whiskey.  However, a more permanent record for their efforts will be made in 2010 when the silver platter will be presented to David and Jane as a permanent reminder of the pleasure they have given to so many people, and the gratitude of Offton PCC. 

The winners’ silver plate was originally presented by Rev John Potter in 1989, and we were delighted that his widow was able to be present at this event, accompanied by their daughter who, as a jeweller, found the plate and did the cutting/engraving work. 

Future Events and Special Services

Planning is well under way for our summer highlight events – the annual Fete that will take place in the church grounds on Saturday 13 June, and an Open Gardens event combined with a Songs of Praise that will take place on Sunday 12 July.  Further details will be published in the coming months; however, if you had a new 2009 calendar or diary as a Christmas present to record future events in, why not put these dates in them right now so that you do not ‘double book’ later.  The village needs your support.

Church Fact File

In the December/January issue of the Link, the eagle eyed reader will have noted an error that appeared in the ‘Church Fact File’ which stated that ‘…the eagle (lectern) is highly symbolic on two counts…’ and then proceeded to list only one as being symbolic of St John the Apostle.  The other symbolism is that the eagle represents the spreading of the word of God.  This error was unwittingly caused by the Link editorial team that needed to reduce the length of the article. 

A Plea

You will note from what has been reported above and in previous Link articles, that St Mary’s church in Offton is used for secular activities as well as religious services.  With church attendance numbers down nationally as supermarkets, the high street and sporting events compete for everybody’s time and money, the Offton PCC knows the importance of using our beautiful and historic church as widely as possible.  In a national survey recently undertaken by a soft drinks company, and reported in the Daily Telegraph on 24 November, one of the things that came to light was that the British public ‘mourned’ the loss of Sundays as a day of rest.  Interestingly, other British ‘institutions’ that the public felt so threatened included the loss of village post offices and the old red telephone boxes.  We all know about those in these villages!  If you are also nostalgic for old Britain and its way of life, please contact any member of the Offton PCC (details on the back cover) to suggest how we may continue to use the church more in our local community, and whether you may be willing to help in some way.

The Council must thank on its own behalf and I'm sure also of the elderly residents who participated, the group of volunteers who prepared the hall and provided the Christmas lunch.  In particular Janet and James Crickmore, Lois and Trevor Seddon, Silke  Colin Pinson-Roxburgh but also everybody who pitched in.

The footpath from the Bildeston road on to and through the environs of Tollemache hall has now been waymarked by Suffolk County Council enabling a variety of circulations within the parish to be enjoyed. Also the path up from The Old School  house in Offton up to Middlewood has been opened up by the County Council.

At its meeting on January 5th the Council set the precept for 2009/10 at £7720 which is very slightly below last year's figure.

The Council is keen to produce a Parish Plan covering the two villages with a view to enhancing and promoting the villages but also because it realises that any funding from MSDC would be withheld for development schemes eg Village hall, unless the need had previously been identified within the Plan submitted to it.  A Steering Committee is close to being formed to carry the project forward.

Pip Sands  Parish Clerk 01449 721173


We held a very successful Carol Service on Sunday 14 December and thanksare due to all those who contributed, especially to Mary Carter who, once again, conducted the service.

There will be no service of Evening Prayer at Willisham Church on Sunday 8 February. On that date a concert in memory of Frances Gilson, organised by the Ipswich Arts Association, will take place at 3pm in the Museum Street Methodist Church, Ipswich. Admission is by ticket only, price £1.00 (with a retiring collection) and available from the Tourist Information Centre, Ipswich or, in Willisham, from Jean Hardman (658063).

The Building Project has now been completed, the chancel has been re-roofed, the drainage system improved and the concrete path renewed and extended to give access to the West Door.

The work has been excellently carried out by our builder, John W Younger, of Sudbury. We should also like to thank and acknowledge the contribution made by our architect, David Whymark, and Ivan Gilson for taking responsibility for liaison with the architect and builders.

We are grateful for grants from the following:

English Heritage, who provided the bulk of the money needed for the project and without whom we would have been unable to go ahead, and four other charitable sources from whom we received generous donations. They are: Suffolk Churches Capital Fund; The Ganzoni Trust; Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (; and National Churches Trust (

If you would like to know of ways in which you could help these charities which help churches in need, further information is available in Willisham Church, or on their websites, above.


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

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

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

Not the best start to the season, but our next fixture in November, a home match in which we entertained Cockfield, had a much better outcome for O/W, after a keenly contested match, we ended the evening winning the match 10-0. The next two matches were in the Friendly League, we drew at home to Barking, and just lost away to Needham Market.

We ended the year with a visit to near neighbours Barking, The host club were masters on their own mats, and we were well beaten in all the games, losing the match 10-0.

Here’s hoping we start 2009 on a more successful note!

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

For more information call 01473 657023.

Poppy Appeal 2008

Collections for Willisham and Offton amounted to £197.59.
Sincere thanks to Mrs. L. Ruffle, Mr. Roy Holloway and Mr. K. Bradley.

John Dickerson, Local Hon. Organiser

Elmsett Pre-school Playgroup

After many changes during the Autumn term, we are pleased to start 2009 with new Session Supervisors Karen Craig and Emma Hughes, and Play Assistant Kelly Mires. We also welcome Melissa Laflin & Cara Woog into Preschool.

At Preschool our aim is to plan and provide activities that are play based,where children learn and develop in their own unique way supported by staff.

The theme for this term is 'Animals past and present' including the Chinese New Year which will include activities such as dinosaur junk modelling, salt dough dinosaurs, making cheesy dino biscuits, dragon masks and animal printing.

We are also focusing on a few letter sounds & letter shapes each week, and all children can bring in an item to put on our Letters & Sounds table for us to talk about. In addition we provide enhanced activities for small groups of older children (rising 5's) such as phonics games.

Stepping Stones
Come and join our friendly Parent and Toddler group on a Wednesday morning,
9.15-11am at Elmsett Methodist Church.
February activities:
Wed 4th February – Play doh fun
Wed 11th February – Baby gym
Wed 18th Feb – ½ term
Wed 25th Feb – Messy week

Ringshall School, Offton Road, Ringshall December 10th 2008

Dear Everyone,
I am writing this surrounded by tissue, glue and glitter all the usual accompaniments to a primary school Christmas. Our Early Years children are busy preparing for the Nativity Tableau and Carol service next week whilst the older children are delivering cards from the Ringshall school post box. It is hard to believe that it is nearly a term since I joined the staff here, at Ringshall School. I have had such a warm welcome that time has simply flown by.

This term has been very busy and eventful term for the children with lots of exciting things happening.

At the start of the term we held our Harvest Festival. The children made some beautiful flower arrangements using Autumn flowers. The children took the arrangements to Barking Nursing home.

The Parents and Friends organised a very successful Apple Bobbing evening. The proceeds of this purchased a bright Elmer rug for our new parent’s area. We have also been lucky enough to have received a grant to enable us to install a computer as an information point for parents.

We hold regular coffee morning drop-ins on alternate Friday mornings for parents and friends.

In October we held a day of Circus skills training. The children learnt to spin plates, balance on the high wire! (8” off the ground) juggle and do rhythmic gymnastics. They showed their skills to their parents at a special assembly.

The children in Oak have taken part in an exciting Victorian project with a Victorian School day, when they dressed in Victorian clothes and were taught by a Victorian School ma’am. They were very pleased that local sculptor, Sean Hedges-Quinn, came to school to help them make a moving model of Stevenson’s Rocket, complete with passengers.

Earlier in the term the school was visited by Willy the Wizard, as part of our Book Week. He left all sorts of messages and puzzles for the children to solve.

Thanks to an army of volunteers we have been able to decorate and completely refurbish the Year 1 classroom ready for January.
There are lots of things planned for the next year including……but I better keep that to myself and tell you about it next term.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Monica Gibbs, Headteacher

Barking Pre-School (Registered Charity 1020882)

We’d like to begin by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, and we hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas.

At the end of the last term we said goodbye to a few of our children who are starting primary school, we wish James, Emily and Imogen and their families all the best. We will of course be welcoming new children over the next few months, which is always an exciting time, we hope they will enjoy their time at Barking Pre-school.

In November we held our Christmas shopping night which raised just over £400 which is a fantastic boost to our funds, thank you to everyone for making it such a great success. We also held our Christmas Fair on the 13th December thank you to everyone who supported us again and congratulations to the lucky people who won a prize in the Grand Prize Draw. Thank you also to all the local companies who provided us with great prizes, your generosity and support is always greatly appreciated.

Children can start pre-school from the age of 2 ½ and from the term after their third birthday, the government funds the sessions. The pre-school is open every weekday morning from 9.30 until 12 noon during term time and children can attend any number of sessions per week (space permitting). Our staff are committed, enthusiastic, well trained and work hard to organise a wide variety of fun and educational activities including crafts, cooking, music, story telling and construction. We have many toys and activities so there are bound to be something to capture each child's imagination.

If you would like a place for your child please contact us. We are more than happy to invite parents/carers along to see who we are and what we do. Contact either Veronika Pryke (our pre-school leader) on 01473 658368 or Laura Woods on 01473 830118.

Elmsett Airfield Liaison Group (‘EALG ‘) Meeting

held at Wattisham Airfield on Wednesday 15th October 2008.

Prior to the main meeting members the committee were given a guided tour of the Air Traffic Control Centre at Wattisham Airfield. They were able to observe, on radar, the air traffic over the area covering Stansted, Luton and Norwich civilian airports and the various military airports in the area.

The current system of air traffic control was explained and the problems which could occur with light aircraft in the area. The possible effects of the proposed new stacking system for aircraft heading for Luton and Stansted was discussed. The most likely impact would come from the lowest altitude for aircraft being reduced from 7500 ft. to 6000 ft.

Jonathan Ralph was elected Chairperson for the next 12 months, commencing with the meeting to be held on 11th March 2009.

Charles Course advised the group that he had recently purchased the airfield. There are no plans for re-licensing the airfield for training or use as a commercial airport.

The aircraft movements at Elmsett have been consistent with previous periods and the number of aircraft based at the strip have remained constant. There have been a few complaints which have been dealt with by the Noise Abatement Procedure. The airfield operators will continue to rigorously follow up any complaints, with updated laminated copies of the procedures to be sent out to local parishes shortly.

New contact details for any complaints are:
By email: and
By post : Charles Course, Dairy Farm Office, Semer, Ipswich IP7 6RA
By telephone : 01449 744685

It is hoped to hold to hold another Open Day next year, with a provisional date of 19th September 2009. The Chairman and organisers will endeavour to ensure that the event is publicised locally and will also try to ensure the Open Day does not clash with any local village events.
Charles Course Chairman EALG

Somersham Baptist Church

Lunch and Listen
You are welcome to a light lunch followed by a thought for the day at 12.00 Noon on Thursday 26th February.

14 years of Independence on Feb 1st.
Guest speaker Timothy Alford
After many years of support from other local Churches,
Somersham Baptist had been strengthen enough to manage her own affairs, for these past 14 years we give thanks to God.

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

Other Meetings
Children and Young People (During term time) Wednesday Club: 6.30-7.30pm for primary school children; 14+ Friday’s: 8.00-9.30pm Year 9 upwards.

Meetings for Ladies:
Women’s Fellowship: 2.30pm Friday 13th.
Friends and Neighbours: 7.45pm Monday 16th.

Contact Mark if you need transport.

Meetings are held at the Baptist Chapel, Chapel Lane,
Somersham IP8 4QE.

Pastor Mark Newcombe, 01473 831940, mobile: 07930543583, email:

CHURCH SERVICES in our 8 linked parishes

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

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

1st February Epiphany 4 / Candlemas

Family Communion by extension 9.00am Flowton

Holy Communion (Rev T Wilcox)

9.30am Willisham
Holy Communion (Rev T Wilcox) 11.15am Somersham
Morning Prayer 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking

8th February 3rd Sunday before Lent

Holy Communion by extension 8.00am Flowton
Family Service 10.00am Somersham
Holy Communion (Canon S Richie) 10.00am Bricett
Holy Communion (Canon S Richie) 11.15am Barking
Family Service 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer
6.30pm Offton

15th February 2nd Sunday before Lent

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

22nd February Sunday next before Lent

Holy Communion (Canon S Ritchie) 9.30am Ringshall
Family Worship for all ages 10.00am Flowton
Morning Prayer 10.00am Barking
Holy Communion (Canon S Ritchie) 11.00am Offton
Evening Prayer (John Andreason) 3.00pm Somersham

1st March Lent 1

Family Communion by extension 9.00am Flowton

Holy Communion (Rev T Wilcox)

9.30am Willisham
Holy Communion (Rev T Wilcox) 11.15am Somersham
Morning Prayer 11.15am Battisford
Evening Prayer 3.00pm Barking


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