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Blaxhall Newsletter

Summer 2007 Edited by Joyce Iszard


Internal works on the hall extension are now under way with first fix electrics completed and the internal building works already well advanced. Next steps include second fix electrics and plumbing, including the toilets. I am hopeful that better facilities will be available for the September dance - but don't hold me to it!

We have received some further modest grants with the result of our application to SCDC due shortly and eagerly awaited. Regular community donations continue as do our fund raising events in the hall. Unfortunately we were not successful in our application to B&Q for the kitchen so need to raise another £5000 for this important facility. Does anyone have any contacts in "the industry' who might be persuaded to help us?

Once again the Summer Ball was an outstanding success both socially and financially. My thanks to everyone who worked so hard to prepare and run the event in difficult circumstances. Our next dance is on September 8th and will have a Caribbean theme - watch out for more information on posters and flyers in the next few weeks.

Earlier this month a family rounders match and BBQ took place and was widely supported by Blaxhall and the surrounding villages. Even the rain held off throughout the proceedings!

Back in the spring we had two working parties to paint the outside of the extension and this work is now almost complete. Once the internal works are finished volunteers will be needed once again to get out the paintbrushes.

The Village Hall Management Committee works extremely hard to look after the hall and try to organise events that will have wide appeal. As with most voluntary groups the burden of work falls on very few shoulders and we are keen to have some new blood and new ideas on the committee. If you are enthusiastic about the place of the Village Hall in the community, would like to help and can spare a couple of hours a month I'd be delighted to hear from you. Many people from outside Blaxhall have attended our events and remarked on the real spirit of community that exists in our small village.

That's a fantastic compliment of which we can be proud.

Nigel Suckling, Chairman, Village Hall Committee, tel: 01728 688 317

Playing Field News

We are please to welcome Wickham Market Youth Football Club to Blaxhall for the coming football season. They will be playing football matches on the playing fields each Saturday morning with two different ages groups using the pitch. It is pleasing that we will have young people enjoying the use of the playing field for sport on a regular basis. This will improve access for the young people in Blaxhall to sport and if anyone is interested in joining the football club they should approach one of the managers from the club or myself as chairman of the playing field.

We are also hoping to undertake much needed repairs and maintenance to both sets of the swings this summer and continue to offer an excellent variety of play equipment for the use of villagers and visitors alike. As a committee we are always looking for new members. There is not a huge amount of work involved, we only normally have 2 or 3 meeting a year and organise the annual bonfire night. No previous experience in needed just a little enthusiasm. If you feel you may wish to be involved then please contact me and I will be happy to have a chat.

Please don't be shy in coming forward I won't bite! Gary Borrett, Chairman, Playing Fields, tel: 01728 687562


The Parish Council have changed the title of the Newsletter to Blaxhall Village Newsletter, making it your newspaper, therefore if you have a story to tell an event that you think we would be interested in please let me know.

We are going to try and print August, October, December, February, April, June, so I will need the piece by the 26th of the previous month, either in hard copy or email: joyce at packgate dot plus dot com

There were not enough people standing for election last May, so you will find a new name, Valerie Fenwick was co-opted on the Parish Council at the July meeting.

Blaxhall, as you know has its own extremely good web site hosted by Jonathan Cutting, but did you know that you can also see bits about Blaxhall on At this point I will say that it does not come any where close to for its information.

As you will see in the piece next to this Rosie Clark is opening the Fete this year. Rosie was elected our County Councillor in May 2005, since then she has attended most of the Parish Council meetings that have been held. Because of the community spirit in the village, she has over the last two years been very generous to Blaxhall with her locality budget helping to fund the refurbishments at the village hall.

BLAXHALL FETE 2007 Saturday 18th August at 2.30pm

I hope you have kept the above date free for the Fete and are thinking of all the things you can do to help give us another successful day.

Someone will be paying you the usual visit to collect a bottle and a tombola/draw prize and any other objects that you no longer need but we can use to make some money however small. Please have them ready.

As usual Sheila Scopes (tel 688 178) will be doing a grand job with the refreshments and would appreciate any help you can give her.

The following will be pleased to hear from you with help and contributions :-

White ElephantDoris Dunn688 401

Please can you take your contributions to Doris early so that she can price them before Fete day

CakesShirley Leeks688 220
CraftsViv Browne688 993
Produce/PlantsSheila Salisbury688 551
BooksClara Jenkins688 558
Tonya Hills688 430

Produce Show

This year all the rain has encouraged some very good vegetables and so Amy Hobbs (687 525) and Phyll Heard (688 998) will be expecting the best ever entry for the show. You should already have a copy of the schedule and entry form. Please be aware of slight changes this year. Return entry forms and money by Thursday 16th August and entries will be received between 9.30 and 11.30 on Saturday morning. This will help to make Saturday morning run more efficiently. help to make Saturday morning Happy gardening !! The Fete will be opened by Rosie Clarke our County Councillor. If you have any suggestion or offers of help please give me a ring on 688 558

Clara Jenkins

News from the Allotment Committee

A new allotment committee started in December 2006. Its first job was to ensure all potential allotments were appropriately used and, after a later cold but good humoured Stone Common site visit, we are pleased every allotment is now formally taken and paid for. It is likely however there will be allotments becoming available at the end of the season (in September) so do get in touch with any of the people listed below if you are interested. The allotment committee advises the Parish Council to ensure the allotments are looked after with due consideration for neighbours and future allotment holders. It helps to address allotment holders' concerns and makes sure matters are conducted openly and fairly. Typically it meets two or three times a year.

The meetings in April and July this year were open to all allotment holders to help us review the rules people sign as allotment holders. The latest draft will be sent to all allotment holders after the Parish Council has had an opportunity to give their views. There are no substantial changes, but there is some re-wording to make matters clearer. Most importantly, the committee will want requests to be in writing to avoid any misunderstandings for the future. We hope everyone finds the draft rules make common sense.

We expect the November meeting (14th at 7.30) will be fairly short but convivial. It will be an open meeting for the collection of catalogues and exchange of seeds and we hope to sell home made cakes and tea to make it a bit of a winter warmer for those that step out.

The committee is welcoming all allotment holders to meetings this year - it's good sense to involve local people as much as possible. Please note the future meeting below and, especially if you have an allotment or would like one, come along to listen and possibly contribute to making sure our allotments continue to be well used and cared for. Meetings start at 7.30 and are in the village hall.

Sept 5th - Payment of annual rent before the Parish Council meeting (this isn't a meeting as such -just come with your rent between 6.30 and 7.30pm if you are an existing or new allotment holder and you can pay on the night)

Nov 14th - Brief meeting & collection of catalogues and seed exchange with tea & cakes

For requests for allotments or general enquiries please contact the Secretary, Maggie Grenham 01728 688611
the Chairperson, Lyn Gash on 01728 746425 or lyngash at lgash dot freeserve dot co dot uk
or Treasurer to the Committee and Parish Clerk, Joyce Iszard 01728 688452

Lyn Gash,
Chair of Allotment Committee

The Ship

The pub continues to do well. Having started from scratch at Easter, David and Sharon have brought life back to the pub with good beer, good cheer and good food. Music is once again a large part of the atmosphere with old familiar faces and many new ones. Forthcoming events include Pieces of Eight, A close harmony group on Wednesday 15th August, and the old Hat Band on Thursday 16th August.

An allotment holder highly recommends the film...

"Grow Your Own" (PG) UK 2007. Richard Laxton's film presents its viewer with a microcosm of British Life. Down amongst the peacefully growing vegetables on the allotments lurk prejudice, mistrust and lusty confrontation, sparked into life by the advent of an immigrant family into the well-established community and the infuriating requirements of a mobile phone company. 95 minutes.



Could you, or a family member or friend, consider fostering a local child who needs you? As parents, we know how much children depend on a stable, caring family home life. Unfortunately, some children can't rely on their own family and are being looked after by Suffolk County Council. Usually, these children will live with a foster carer either for a few weeks or perhaps for much longer. But there aren't enough people in Suffolk coming forward as carers, so some children are losing out.

County Councillor Rosie Clarke says: "As a mother, I respect the work that Suffolk's foster carers do for children who, through no fault of their own, can't stay with their own family. I can't think of anything more valuable for our community, now and far into the future, than helping to look after a needy child. It's a chance to make a big positive difference to someone's life - how often do we get that chance? Please do consider whether you could offer your help. You will be paid the going rate and have great support from Council staff. Do phone for a chat or have a look at all the information on our website. It could be the best thing you will ever do!".

There are about 700 children looked after by Suffolk County Council and there are around 300 local foster carers. Many more carers are still needed from all the communities in Suffolk to make sure that children in our care have the best chance of being looked after by local foster carers. Foster carers can be married or not, have children at home or not - we need everyone!

The shortage of foster carers means that children may not always be able to live near enough to their local area to be able to go to the same school or that their brothers and sisters have to live with another foster family which is not nearby. These situations make it much harder for children to cope with being in care. The County Council is looking to recruit more foster carers to join the Suffolk Fostering Service to make sure these children get all the support, care and attention that they need and deserve.

Janet and David, who are Suffolk County Council foster carers, say: "Children need routine as this means stability and a sense of place. We have had so much enjoyment out of teaching our foster children how to do things and answering their questions. Our reward is watching them grow in confidence and a feeling of pride in a job well done but, above all, it is when you are a recipient of a love returned - something as simple as a small hand slipped into yours. Having children around you certainly helps to keep you young (tired, but fit). Since we became foster carers, life has never been dull".

To find out more about becoming a foster carer, please call 0800 328 2148 or log on to

Your Parish Councillors are as follows:

Gary Borrett 687562
Graham Bowles 688192
Phillip Dunnett 688273 Chairman
Valerie Fenwick 688266
Lynn Gash 746425
Shirley Leeks 688220
Stephen Smedley 688715
Nigel Suckling 688317
Rodney West 688611
Joyce Iszard 688452 Clerk

Diary Dates

August 18th Fete
September 5th Allotment Fees Due
September 5th Parish Council Meeting
September 8th Dance
September 23rd Harvest Festival
November 3rd Bonfire Night
November 7th Parish Council Meeting
December 1st Church Bazaar
December 8th Christmas Party

I hope you will have found something of interest to read in this 1st edition of the Village Newsletter, as you can see there are six page to this newsletter and the only way we can continue to print 6 in future is if you, the villager, will write a piece for it. Does anybody keep a record of the rain fall in the village, or who has the 1st snowdrop open? Let me know all the news please.

Blaxhall Archive Group

The Blaxhall Archive Group has around 12 regular members, ranging in age from 33 to 93! Other members of the community also help with different projects. Some are relatively new to the village while others have been life-long residents but what they have in common is a passion to record and preserve the social history of their Suffolk village.

Recording images

Ada Mannall photo of Glebe Farm

The Group has been collecting images of Blaxhall, mainly photographs, since 2002. The subject matter is comprehensive and includes images of individuals, places and social events from the past 130 years or so. These photographs are being stored on a database ( BAG are using Commanet 4) so they are accessible to anyone who is interested in searching the files. There have been many exciting days when someone has brought a photograph into the Group that shows a long forgotten social event. But a major 'discovery' was finding a batch of glass negatives which belonged to a young woman photographer who was born in Blaxhall in 1881. She was the daughter of a Blaxhall shopkeeper and it appears that from as early as 1898 until the 1920s she photographed people, places and events not only in Blaxhall but up and down the Suffolk coast. The present custodians of the glass plates very kindly allowed us to use 50 or so in our recently published book. We are at present digitising all the rest of the collection under the auspices of the Suffolk Record Office.


As part of the Group's work a Local Heritage Initiative (LHI) grant was applied for and successfully won in 2005. The outputs from the project were a 160 page book called 'Blaxhall's Living Past' (published in May 2007) and DVD (to be published in August 2007) and an accessible database. The book has been very well received and has created pride and a 'sense of place' in the local residents.

Family History

Shane Pictor, the youngest BAG member, is the instigator of the 'Blaxhall Family' database. Shane's own personal project has been to create a database of over 5000 records of individuals who lived in Blaxhall and he keeps tabs on the numerous family connections. Our village joke is everybody is related to everybody else, especially if he had a bike! There are frequent enquiries from all over the world which come through the village website; hosted by webmaster Jonathan Cutting. Jonathan (with his IT skills) and BAG have some future plans for a more interactive use for the photographic database.


The Group attempts to organise talks and exhibitions which are both of interest to local people and also help to promote the work of the Group; as well as encourage people to come forward with photographs and other historical material. For example, a poster exhibition was held in Blaxhall village hall in May 2005. The theme of the exhibition was to display a representative sample of the growing photographic database. Over 700 people visited the exhibition during its three day run. The event was LHI-grant assisted and helped promote the Group's work.

Oral History

After some professional training several members of the group have undertaken to make recordings of both past and present residents of the village. At present there is over 30 hours of recordings. Blaxhall is lucky in its heritage of its sound archives. George Ewart Evans started his oral history research here in the 1950s plus there are many recordings of singers in the 'Ship Inn' - the local village pub. Altogether there is a rich vein of sound recordings which offers further research.

500 years of Farming

An ongoing project which includes researching farm leases, maps and 'dragges' - some written in Latin or in an 'old English hand'. Fieldwork includes landscape interpretation and field walking. The eventual objective is to trace each farm back 500 years, plotting the changes in field boundaries; farming practices and the general ebb and flow of farming fortunes over five centuries. This will hopefully become another publication from the Archive Group.


Blaxhall Archive group have an enthusiastic group of people who work well together — all have different skills that combined make a successful group. The priorities for the near future are; cataloguing the photographic database; our second publication with a preliminary title of 'Blaxhall's Artistic Past'; and producing a 2008 calendar and cards using the archive resources. Finally, if anyone has any Blaxhall-related interests you can contact us through the website or on 01728 688611.

Suffolk ACRE launches!

Suffolk ACRE, in partnership with Suffolk County Council and the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has launched, a journey-matching website designed to encourage car sharing across Suffolk. Registration and use of the site is free for individuals, who can log on at There are currently over 850 members registered on the site, with a successful journey matching rate of over 30%.

Car sharing can help to reduce congestion and pollution by decreasing the number of cars on the road, particularly at peak travel times. Further benefits of car sharing for individuals include:

Provides an ideal solution to those without their own vehicle.

Additionally, offers employers the facility to set up a private group for their company within the database. Not only does this reduce localized congestion, improving relationships with local communities, but also:

Private groups can be established within the database for a small set-up fee and an annual license charge. Please contact us for more information. Contact details are included at the end of this message.

Please feel free to log on to the website at to see for yourself how car sharing could benefit you and the environment. Remember it's totally free for an individual user to use the service and ultimately you can chose whether to accept or offer a lift - you are under no obligation to do so, even if you are matched to someone else.

For further information please log on to or contact: Chris Dashper, Suffolk ACRE Rural and Community Transport Manager 01473 242518 or 07901 914568

Blaxhall Festival 2007

This was a great success again this year with the Archive Group using the Youth Hostel, the Art Exhibition in the Village Hall, and the Flower Festival in Church, also the concert on the Saturday evening held in Church.

Then on the Sunday there were open gardens a round the village, listening to some of the many visitors some of these should be called secret gardens and won much praise.

Each day there was a large food hamper raffled, at the private art viewing on the Friday evening Susan Slatter won, on the Saturday evening Jonathan Cutting, and the Sunday one was won by Mr Prior of Snape.

Blaxhall Festival 2008 This is being held on the weekend of June 28/29.

We are holding a competition. Think of a name of a theme for next years flower Festival. And let me know your thoughts; there will be a small prize for the one chosen.

We are also asking all gardeners in the village to take part by growing flowers that we can you use to decorate the church, as I'm sure you will all agree home grown flowers smell far better than bought ones, we are also hoping that more of you would like to help with the festival. Joyce Iszard 688 452 (joyce at packgate dot plus dot com)

Activities in the Village Hall on a regular basis

Monday eve 7.30 Carpet Bowls

Every 4th Tuesday of the Month Coffee Morning 10.30-12 Thursday Morning

Art Group 10.30-12.30 2-4pm all welcome