Little Waldingfield Recorder’s Report 2019

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The first church service of the year was Holy Communion on Sunday 6th, led this month by Revd Dr Simon Gill - the benefice has been without a vicar since the retirement of Judith Sweetman. After the service the church was again put under dust sheets in preparation for the builders to resume work on re plastering the walls. At the meeting of Little Waldingfield Parish Council (LWPC) on Thursday 10th councillors asked the clerk to follow up with Royal Mail re the replacement of the post box with a more traditional model, and to request 6 footpath cuts and 5 closed churchyard cuts annually in future, plus clearance of weeds on the closed churchyard footpaths. Councillors noted that the community asset value of The Swan was due to expire on August 19th and Councillor Foster agreed to investigate repair of the village entrance gate near The Grange.

A joint meeting of the five Parish Church Councils (PCC) was held in the Parish Room on Monday 14th to discuss advertising for a new rector for the benefice. Little Waldingfield History Society (LWHS) held their annual member only event in the Parish Room on Wednesday 16th, when 34 members enjoyed a talk by Roger Green on 'Discovering the Green Man', followed by wine and nibbles.

A new venture began in the Parish Room on Tuesday 29th with a free taster session for a keep fit class led by Nic Carter, organised through the Fit Village scheme. The first meeting of the year for the Over 60s club was held in the Parish Room on Wednesday 30th, with a talk by Ashley Cooper, accompanied by old photographs of the Sudbury area and followed by tea and cakes. That night was an extremely cold one, resulting in ice and freezing fog and a temperature at 8 o'clock the following morning of only -5.8C.


The monthly Holy Communion service at St Lawrence was on Sunday 3rd, led by Revd Richard Titford. The church walls have now been re plastered and the first coat of lime wash almost completed. The church electoral roll is to be completely renewed this year, it being 6 years old, and those wishing to be included on the new electoral roll had to advise the PCC by 8th of this month. The post of rector for the benefice is now being advertised.

Ditching work was carried out near the wash tunnels in Church Road on Thursday 7th, this part of the road often floods in heavy rain. There was a quiz in the Parish Room on Saturday 9th; the 33 people attending enjoyed a two-course meal of sausage and mash followed by sponge pudding and custard, while raising £308 towards the upkeep of the building.

The trial keep fit session held last month was a great success, and this class continues weekly in the Parish Room, on Tuesday evenings. On Wednesday 20th the LWHS talk in the Parish Room, given by John Goodhand (a tour of Suffolk pub signs), was enjoyed by 35 members and visitors.

The weekend of 24th/25th was very warm, and temperatures were in the 16C to 18C range for several days.


A pop-up pub was held in the pavilion on Friday 1st, where the 100 club was also drawn. This month the Holy Communion, on Sunday 3rd, was led by Revd Dr Simon Gill; the walls of the church have now been decorated up to window sill level, new wall heaters installed and the church thoroughly cleaned. The cremated remains area of the churchyard has been fully restored and extended, and Sue Mitchell volunteered to keep it tidy and pleasant to look at.

The weather turned very windy on Sunday 10th, the strong winds returning again on 12th, accompanied by rain and hail and continuing until the following weekend, with gusts of 40-50 miles an hour. At the LWPC meeting on Thursday 14th the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan was discussed; a public workshop is planned for May to consider the type of housing allocation and Neighbourhood Plan policies. The SID devices, which are in the village two weeks in every six to try to deter speeding motorists, cost £48 for the period January to March; this charge covers the cost of maintaining and charging the batteries and moving the devices amongst the villages involved. Annual street lighting maintenance and energy costs for 2018/2019 were reported at £252.79. Royal Mail have advised that the desired type of post box is no longer available and the clerk was asked to seek support from BDC Heritage. The 3 visits per year for weed control in the churchyard were agreed at a cost of £60 - non toxic weed killer is to be used. The clerk was asked to contact Suffolk Highways to ask the owner of the hedge overhanging the pavement opposite the playing field entrance to cut it back on the grounds of lack of visibility of oncoming traffic when crossing the road.

On Wednesday 20th 28 members and visitors of LWHS gathered in the Parish Room to hear Sarah Doig's talk 'To relieve need and distress' about East Anglian almshouses. Construction work has now started on the site adjacent to The Grange; work has also started this month at Priory Farm on the conversion of a barn to a residential dwelling. The annual village litter pick took place on Saturday 23rd, with the usual large number of bags of rubbish collected.

A church service was held on the evening of Tuesday 26th, followed by a cold buffet supper, for parishioners to meet the two candidates for the post of rector, the formal interviews being held the next day. The Over 60s AGM was also held in the Parish Room on 27th; the following day sadly saw the death of Ann Miller, who was an active member of the group for many years before suffering ill health.

A further pop-up pub was held on Friday 29th. A coffee morning in the Parish Room on Saturday 30th, organised by Sarah Lane to raise funds for East Anglian Air Ambulance, was well supported and together with a sponsored run by Sarah and her partner raised £254. Sunday 31st was Mothering Sunday and a five villages service was held in St Lawrence.


The month started with very cold nights with hard frosts; there was a thunder and hail storm early in the evening of Wednesday 3rd and some hail still remained on the ground the following morning - it was to return again on Saturday 13th.  The PCC held a Lent Lunch in the Parish Room on 3rd, with 20 people enjoying lunch of soup, bread and cheese; £130 was raised in aid of Macmillan nurses. At the end of the week 6 Grove Avenue was being advertised for sale, at a price of £325,000.

Holy Communion at the church on Sunday 7th was led by Joe Hawes, the Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, while on Tuesday 9th the PCC AGM was held - all those on the electoral roll were invited to attend. The Parish Room AGM and Annual Parish Meeting were also held this week. There have been changes to the trustees of the village charities- Sue Mitchell and Peter Simpson are now trustees, and Mary Thorogood has taken over as clerk. A Parish Council meeting was also held on Thursday 11th, prior to the APM, where the planning application for The Swan was under consideration; members of LWPC voted to support the application subject to there being a noise reduction scheme and that the standard opening hours would be no later than 11pm. Approval of the application was given strictly on the understanding that permission for change the use of the pub to a residential dwelling would not be given.

Pip Wright was the LWHS speaker this month, with 31 members and visitors assembled in the Parish Room on Wednesday 17th to hear his talk on Revd Steggles (The amazing story of the Suffolk Gipsy). Friday 19th was Good Friday, when a congregation of around 20 people attended a family service in the church, led by Tim Harbord, followed by hot cross buns in the Parish Room; the Easter Sunday morning worship was also led by Tim Harbord. The Over 60s enjoyed a coach trip to Perrywood Garden Centre on Wednesday 24th; many of their members were among the mourners in the church the following day for the funeral of Anne Miller, where the service was led by Revd Titford. Anne had served the church well during her long life and was a church warden for several years.

Anglian Water carried out routine water main flushing overnight on Tuesday 23rd, while scaffolding went up on The Swan on Friday 26th ready for the roof repairs. A pop-up pub was also held this day in the pavilion and continues to be held on the last Friday of each month.


On Thursday 2nd elections were held for district councillors, Margaret Maybury and Clive Arthey being elected to represent the new Lavenham ward of which Little Waldingfield is part; 110 people voted in the Parish Room with a further 30 to 40 voting by post. A Neighbourhood Plan village consultation took place on Saturday 4th, with one session in the morning and one in the afternoon; the weather was again inclement, with hail at lunchtime and also in the afternoon.

Revd. Stephen Morley from Bures led Holy Communion in the church on Sunday 5th. The Parish Council AGM due to be held on Thursday 9th was postponed as it was not quorate; the following day there were 2 outbuilding break ins at The Haymarket. There were two social events in the village on Saturday 11th, starting with a coffee morning in the church in support of Christian Aid, which raised £94.15. In the evening 37 people enjoyed a quiz in the Parish Room, with the questions again set by Alan and Barbara Campbell. The event included a two-course meal of chicken curry followed by strawberries and ice cream, and raised £342.59.

The playing field AGM, which had been postponed from last month, was held on Wednesday 15th. The following Wednesday 36 members and guests of LWHS were in the Parish Room for a talk on the history of Landguard Fort, given by David Wood. Voting in the European elections took place in the Parish Room on Thursday 23rd. The last event of the month, again in the Parish Room, was a coffee morning and bring and buy sale for the Over 60s on Wednesday 29th.


Holy Communion in St Lawrence on Sunday 2nd was led by Revd Titford, who returned to the church on Friday 7th to conduct the funeral service of Dougie Powell, a well-loved villager who had died on May 13th.

The Parish Council meeting on Thursday 13th was the AGM postponed from the previous month; Barbara Campbell was elected chair and Chris White vice chair. Non-attendance of councillors at meetings was discussed, and councillors were advised that they would be disqualified, without any discretion, following a 6 month period of unapproved absence. A member of the public raised concern about the proposed discontinuation of the 112 bus service, which currently operates one service to Sudbury and back on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Work is being carried out at The Swan, with the approval of BDC Heritage, following a water leak in the building.

In the Parish Room on Wednesday 19th Geoffrey Robinson gave a talk on 'Sudden deaths in the 19th century' to the 30 people present. On Thursday 20th the funeral of villager Jan Betteridge, who had been in ill health for some time, was held at West Suffolk Crematorium. The annual village afternoon tea was held on Sunday 23rd at the Parish Room; more than 45 people attended this free social event, with sandwiches, cakes and scones kindly donated by many residents.

Hay cutting started in the fields behind the houses in Church Road on Tuesday 25th, the hay then being tossed several times before baling later in the week. On Saturday 29th the playing field committee held their summer event, with music by the Disraeli band accompanied by a bar and food; around £1,200 was raised for playing field funds.


A coffee morning was held in the church on Friday 5th and Holy Communion this month was on Sunday 7th. Revd. Robert Parker-McGee has been appointed rector of the Box River Benefice but has not yet been inducted - he moved into the rectory with his wife Sarah, and children Jasmine and Thomas, on Wednesday 10th. He grew up in Soham, where he lived for 28 years before moving away for training, and was ordained deacon in 2010 and priest in 2011; prior to moving to Boxford he had been vicar of All Saints Church in Orpington.

At the LWPC meeting on Thursday 11th, councillors agreed to make a £5 charge in future for hirers of the village projector; they also considered advertising for 2 additional members plus a speedwatch coordinator. BDC advised that from 15th bin collection days would change - the Church Road collection is to be on a Tuesday while for the rest of the village Thursday would be collection day.

The annual village sale trail was held on Saturday 13th, with several sellers around the village and further sale tables, tombola and refreshments in the Parish Room, raising £139.41 for the room's upkeep. This was the last event to be held at the Parish Room until September, as it was closed later this month for internal redecoration and the fitting of new LED lighting.

The weather turned hot and stormy during the last week of the month; there were thunderstorms overnight and in the early morning of Wednesday 24th, with the temperature later that day and the following day reaching 32C in the shade. The Over 60s summer strawberry tea was on Wednesday 31st - this was held in Great Waldingfield this year as the Parish Room was closed.

Wood Hall was put up for sale this month at an asking price of £1.4 million.


Combining was well under way at the start of the month, with a steady stream of grain lorries up and down Church Road. The monthly church coffee morning was on Friday 2nd, while Revd. Titford led Holy Communion on Sunday 4th; Revd. Rob was also at the service and had coffee with the congregation afterwards.

The induction of the new rector took place in St Lawrence on Tuesday 20th, when approximately 200 people from across the benefice, and including some 30 from his previous church in Orpington, attended the service.

The hot dry weather continues, with the temperature still 30C at 6pm on Monday 26th; several fire engines were seen around the village over the next few days due to the likelihood of field fires. The Over 60s went for lunch to the 6 Bells in Preston St Mary on Wednesday 28th.


Revd. Rob began his ministry this month, leading Holy Communion on Sunday 1st. The new Parish Room lighting was fitted on Tuesday 3rd and the following day trustees gave the room a deep clean before reopening. The village flower festival was held on the weekend of 7th/8th, the theme this year being 'A garland of song' - the flower displays depicted 18 well known songs such as 'Teddy bear’s picnic' and 'Bring me sunshine'. The event was sponsored by Holmes and Hills solicitors, and with stalls, refreshments, raffle and tombola raised £1,856 for church funds. The weekend finished with songs of praise and evening prayer in the church.

A village consultation organised by the Neighbourhood Plan steering group also took place on Saturday 7th; this was held in the Parish Room to consider the Joint Local Plan and was attended by 56 villagers. There was considered to be no general support for any development at Churchfield. At the LWPC meeting on Thursday 12th Caroline Dawkins was co-opted to the council.

The church coffee morning this month was on Friday 13th, a week later than usual owing to the flower festival the week before. Revd. Rob and family held 2 garden parties for residents of the benefice on Thursday 12th and Saturday 14th; approximately 150 people attended over the 2 days, enjoying the sunshine and hospitality offered.

The first LWHS talk of the new season was in the Parish Room on Wednesday 18th, when 27 people listened to Pip Wright's talk entitled 'The watery places of Suffolk.' A quiz evening was held there on Saturday 21st, with 38 people enjoying the questions and a two-course meal of chicken and ham pie followed by apple pudding and custard; £414.36 was raised for Parish Room funds.

The Kersey Bell was the location of the Over 60s lunch trip on Wednesday 25th. The keep fit class returned to the Parish Room this month, after spending the summer exercising in the garden of one of its members while the room was closed for decoration.

The asking price for Wood Hall has now been reduced to £1,299,000; the property still did not sell and was subsequently let.


The monthly church coffee morning was held on Friday 4th, and there was a harvest festival Holy Communion service led by Revd. Rob on Sunday 6th.

At the LWPC meeting on Thursday 10th the planning application for conversion of two barns at Slough Hall to residential use was supported; the application for development of land behind Enniskillen could not be discussed as the council was not quorate for this item. Delme Thompson was co-opted to the council, but no progress has yet been made on the recruitment of a speedwatch coordinator. Councillor Maybury advised that her efforts with BDC regarding the post box had yielded no progress so Suffolk Preservation Society will now be contacted. It was reported that a rider in the Dunwich Dynamo cycling race in July had sustained a puncture while riding through the village due to upturned drawing pins having been placed on the road. Work by SCC cutting back the hedge opposite the playing field entrance was deemed by councillors to be insufficient; Councillor Foster is yet to commence work on the village gate.

Ashley Cooper gave a talk on Goldingham Hall to 37 members and guests of LWHS gathered in the Parish Room on Wednesday 16th. There was a frost overnight on Saturday 19th, with frost still on cars at 9am the following morning. An additional LWPC meeting was held on Monday 21st to consider the planning application for development of land to the rear of Enniskillen. The council considered the development was inappropriate and decided to object to the application on grounds of overdevelopment, the housing type not meeting the needs of the village, increased traffic, loss of trees and access. On Wednesday 30th members of the Over 60s travelled by coach to Alder Carr Farm for a very enjoyable afternoon tea.


The first event of the month, on Friday 1st, was the church coffee morning; the following day brought strong winds and heavy rain in the afternoon. Holy Communion was led on Sunday 3rd by Revd. Rob, while the Remembrance service on Sunday 10th, with a congregation of 25 people, was led by Tim Harbord. The LWHS talk in the Parish Room this month, on Wednesday 13th, was 'Made in Ipswich ', given by Brian Dyes to the 36 people attending.

There was a meeting of LWPC on Thursday 14th, when Councillor Maybury reported that she was still monitoring the situation regarding the replacement of the post box, but that there was no change in Royal Mail's position. Councillors requested that the clerk contact the benefice magazine, the BRN, to amend council contact details and to advise readers in Little Waldingfield that copies of Council minutes would be available in the phone box or from the chair on request. The council discussed the no parking posts on the verge in Church Road, many of which have rotted, and agreed to support their replacement.

On Monday 18th there was a very hard frost, the hardest of the autumn so far, with the temperature still only -1C at 7.30 the following morning. A burglary at a house in the village was reported on Thursday 21st; the intruders smashed a security light and broke a rear window to gain access to the property while the owner was away.

A new venture in the Parish Room on Saturday 23rd was a race night, run by Alan and Barbara Campbell. The evening was much enjoyed by the 25 people who bought tickets, with a meal of chilli and jacket potato followed by ice creams accompanying the races while raising £261.64 for Parish Room funds. On Wednesday 27th the Over 60s met in the Parish Room, where 26 members were instructed on and then made Christmas wreaths.

The Grange is now up for sale at an asking price of £795,000; a house in the corner of Croft Lea is also advertised for sale, at offers in excess of £500,000.


Revd. Rob led the Holy Communion service on Sunday 1st, lighting the first candle on the advent wreath; the last church coffee morning of the year was on Friday 6th. LWHS welcomed Dr Kate Jewell to the Parish Room on Wednesday 11th, where 35 people enjoyed her talk entitled 'Cakes, ale and partying'. The Parish Room was in use again the following day, as a polling station for the general election.

The Over 60s enjoyed a Christmas lunch at Newton Green golf club on Wednesday 18th. The Christmas carol service in the church on Saturday 21st was followed by mulled wine and mince pies, with an early evening Holy Communion service on Tuesday 24th. The playing field Christmas raffle was drawn at the last pop-up pub of the year; this raised £750 for playing field funds.


Susan Sheppard                                                                                                                                                                                                                     April 2020