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New Playing Field Swings

The new swings are now open for business, and very nice they look too. A new climbing frame should be ready by the end of October followed by a new roundabout by Christmas - who says there's no such thing as Santa Claus.

New Swings - One

New Swings - Two

Amazing Generosity at our "Tea Fit for a Queen" Event

On 4th June, a collaboration of village organisations, coordinated by trustees of The Parish Room, hosted a cream tea to celebrate our Queen's 90th birthday, and what a great day it was too. The event was free to villagers and their families, and trustees put out a donations box for people to give to local charities; at the end of the day, we were astonished to find a total of £98.90 in the basket. After a short deliberation, trustees decided that EACH should benefit, given the brilliant work they do supporting families and caring for children with life threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Trustees would like to thank everyone who helped support the cream tea with donations of cakes, scones, jam and cream, as well as their time, and everyone who so generously made a donation on the day - a perfect end to a perfect day we think.

EACH thankyou letter


Tea Fit For A Queen Invitation

Obituary: Olive (Coodie) Sparkes

Sadly Coodie Sparkes passed away on the morning of Monday 4th July after a long and eventful life.

Less well known since her move to just outside the village, Coodie was very well known before then, as she ran the White Horse public house during the Second World War with her husband Frank. The White Horse also is no more, having closed in 1977, but during the war it was a favourite haunt of many US airman based locally at the Chilton and Lavenham airfields. A number became lasting friends with the Sparkes, proving that some good things do happen during dreadful times. On Remembrance Sunday in November 2013, a wreath was laid for the first time at the Little Waldingfield war memorial to the men of the USAAF 486th Bombardment Group who were killed during the war - that wreath was laid by Coodie Sparkes.

Our thoughts are with her son John at this difficult time.

Andy Sheppard                         13th July 2016

Coodie with US airmen and husband Frank outside the White Horse Pub in 1944


Coodie with Jill Duffy at the 2013 Remembrance Sunday service

Village Litterpick

On Saturday 19th March, a merry band of willing volunteers turned up for our annual village litterpick, on what turned out to be a good day for it. Happily there were 17 people, including all of our parish councillors, a district councillor (Margaret Maybury) and many villagers who variously: put out road safety signs, picked litter, collected full rubbish bags, washed and cleaned village road-signs and prepared welcome refreshments for all who participated - a true team effort.

We were expecting to find less litter than previous years, which perhaps was the case, though in addition to the seemingly obligatory cans, bottles, chocolate bar wrappers, crisp and sandwich packets etc, we also collected the following:

If only passing drivers were more considerate, life for everyone else would be so much nicer and the local wildlife would significantly benefit.

Andy Sheppard       21st March 2016


Volunteers gather

Ready to go

The fruits of our labour

Welcome refreshments aftewards

French Drain Finished

Yesterday ten brave souls turned up one final time to complete the work on the much needed Frence Drain around St Lawrence Church, digging the last two soakaways and moving the final eight tons of large gravel, and very nice it looks too. In total over the five Saturdays, 28 tons of gravel have been used, taking the place of soil and rubble, meaning of course that more than 50 tons of material have been moved, mostly by hand, kept fortified by the very welcome and copious amounts ot tea / coffee and bacon / sausage rolls, much needed on bitterly cold and damp days in February / March. Hopefully the church can now begin its long process of gradually drying out, though internal plaster will also have to be removed to ensure this process can fully occur.

Andy Sheppard       6th March 2016

French Drain Update

On Saturday, about half the previous weeks crew, being gluttons for punishment, turned up once more to continue the good work on the new St Lawrence Church French Drain. We again made good use of the two machines kindly lent to us by Charlie Miller, along with Matt Foster's tipper lorry to remove the spoil. Another five tons or so was removed, on top of the six tons last week, with four tons of gravel replaced, so the digging out is now virtually complete. Once the estimated four tons of gravel still required has been acquired and put in place, the French Drain will be finished.

It was particularly hard going in the afternoon, with just the Fab Four in harness, so Nancy and Felicity's tea / coffee and bacon rolls / biscuits were most welcome and very much needed; we also had to make use of both of Charlie's excellent machines round the back of the church given the very limited availability of manpower, wheelbarrows and spades.

Once again, a small selction of photos taken on the day is shown below.

Andy Sheppard       1st February 2016


Loading Matt's tipper truck


We found the mains electric cable


Loading gravel into the tipper barrow


Taking the larger digger round the back of the church


Not your usual sight on the footpath thrugh the churchyard

Taking soil to spread on the verge by the footpath fence

Digging out the trench to the rear of the church - not a lot of room to spare

Loading the larger digger

Operation French Drain

Saturday 23rd January saw  the next stage in the ongoing project to address the issue with damp in the walls of our much loved church. Fifteen hardworking villagers joined a working party to dig out up to 4 tonnes of spoil from around the base of the south aisle, tower and south & east side of the chancel. Replacing the removed earth with an equal weight of shingle to create a French Drain. Copious amounts of coffee together with bacon sandwiches and snacks were provided keeping the workers spirits raised throughout the day.  This exercise will improve the run off and general drainage of rainwater away from the church and help to dry out the walls. Our longer term objective remains to address the issue of damp and damaged wall plaster within the interior of the church.  Watch this space for more updates as the project continues.

Peter Simpson

Below is a selection of photos taken on the day.









By Andy Sheppard on August 9th, 2015

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