The Messenger - Serving Gislingham, Mellis and the Thornhams

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March 2021

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March 2021

March marks the month we should be getting out to start our gardening jobs for 2021. (Well, there’s not a lot else we can do!)

Research regularly demonstrates that outdoor activities (including exercise and gardening), the presence of plants and trees and seeing natural views from a window can all lower stress hormone levels and improve adults’ and children’s mental health, well-being and productivity. Being absorbed in gardening can distract your attention away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

It also gives us the opportunity to do our little bit for Planet Suffolk! As individuals we may not be able to make much difference on a global scale, but we certainly can on a local level. We all know that Mother Nature is currently struggling and needs a helping hand.

We can all do a little bit in our own back gardens. It could be putting up bird tables, nest boxes, putting out food and water for birds and wildlife, planting wildflowers etc. In this issue, we feature tips on what we can do to help hedgehog numbers (Pages 6 & 7).

At the time of writing, we can’t go anywhere or barely meet anyone, but we can walk locally, which is essential for our mental and physical well-being. This month we detail in our centre pages a walk around Thornham Magna via Wickham Skeith. Next month we will suggest another local walk.

Another thing we are still allowed to do, is care for our local environment. 7-year-old, Alice Collier, has been walking everyday around Gislingham with her family and has been disappointed by the amount the amount of rubbish she has been seeing left on the ground. She and her family have been clearing up the rubbish left by others, as part of their daily exercise walk. So, Alice has provided a poster appealing for everyone to follow her 8-point “Please Clean Up” campaign, which we have published on Page 30. So, here’s your chance to do a little bit for the both the village and the environment. In addition, we highlight the dangers of discarded face masks. – “Snip the straps” on page 31.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this issue.

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February 2021

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February 2021

What a difference a year makes. A year ago, few of us could have known how 2020 would unfold and the huge impact of covid-19 would have on our lives. This shared experience has affected us all in different ways. But as this new year begins, we must approach it with a new spirit of optimism and hope.

The Messenger will continue to update you with help and support available to you, as well as news and stories from around the villages, and of course, our regular articles.

In this issue, on pages 2 & 3, we pay tribute to Bob Moyes, who sadly passed away on December 23rd.

As events return to the calendar and they will at some point, we’ll bring you details of things to do, and events to support.

In the meantime, has something positive come out of lockdown for you? Maybe you’ve started a new home business, taken up a new hobby, or learnt a new skill. Please email me your positive stories! I think we all need to be sharing some positivity at the moment, and in this issue for example, we feature the BBC Radio Suffolk’s recognition for “Wendy the Postie” on page 7, and details of “Ruth’s act of kindness” on page 27.

Please note, our March issue has an early deadline date of 14th February, please send your contributions as soon as possible.

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November 2020

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November 2020

November is the traditional time of the year when we remember
those who gave their lives for our Country in the two world wars. This year in our Remembrance article on pages 38 & 39, we feature a moving tribute focussing on the significance of the Belgium city of Ypres, where men from our villages lost their lives.

Like so many things this year, the Poppy Appeal has had to adapt to the threat of Covid-19. In the absence of any house to house collections this year, on page 15, we publish details of how you can obtain your Poppy locally. The Royal British Legion are asking the public to support them like never before, because every poppy makes a difference to the lives of our Armed Forces community.

It might not feel like it this year, but Christmas is coming! An anxious time for various sectors of our economy such as retail, entertainment and hospitality. Many businesses depend on a busy Christmas trading period to see them through the leaner times of the year. This year will be even more critical, as late-night shopping and Christmas Fairs and markets are either difficult or impossible to organise in a safe way.

In the past two weeks two local businesses have announced their closures. The Thornham Coach House and The Manor House Public House & Restaurant in Wortham. Both served very good food, and I know were popular with local residents. Both these businesses will be sadly missed!

This news is clear proof that more than ever our independent businesses will need us to support them by shopping or eating and drinking locally. By doing so, we’ll be helping to secure local jobs and livelihoods.

At The Messenger we will continue to do our best to support and promote local businesses; by featuring them whenever possible within our pages with our “Focus on Business” features, encouraging and supporting their endeavours on Facebook and urging you, our reader’s to “use them, not lose them”

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October 2020

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October 2020

Just when our lives were returning to some sort of normality, those
thoughts seem to be short-lived! As I write this on September 19th, it appears as though we may be heading for another national lockdown, in October.

In these changing times The Messenger is making changes. Starting with the next issue, we are going to consolidate the ‘Diary plus’ content into the main body of the magazine. This will reduce duplication of content, simplify production and therefore reduce costs. It will also provide a single point of contact for contributors. Nothing will be lost, the ‘Regulars’, ‘Notices’, ‘For Sale/Wanted’ and ‘Free to a Good Home’ will still have a place in the magazine. And we will take this opportunity to refresh some aspects of the layout. To this end, since most of the “Regular” classes, clubs and groups are currently closed, please can you notify me when you resume, so that we can announce the re-openings.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Alan Stanley, who for the past 10 1⁄2 years has compiled the ‘Diary plus’ for the magazine.

However, one thing is for sure this year. Christmas is coming! We won’t be doing all the things we normally do, but this year there is all the more reason to enjoy it! Once again, we launch our Christmas Artwork Competition for children to enter. The winning entry will appear on our December cover. (See page 5 for full details).

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September 2020

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September 2020

This month will bring more of a return to “normality” for some. All School
Children and Students will be returning to Education and we send our best wishes to them all, particularly those starting a new “Chapter” in their lives. Many will be starting nursery or primary school, moving up to High School, some will be going onto further education at Sixth Form Colleges, some are starting Apprenticeships, and some will be leaving home and going off to study at University. (But they go with the re-assurance that however much they will miss village life here is Suffolk, they’ll still be able to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the villages by reading all future issues of Messenger online, whether they are studying in Brighton, Durham, Loughborough or Leeds!).

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August 2020

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August 2020

Last month, you may have noticed the centre four pages of the magazine were missing! An unfortunate error by our printers and one which we only spotted after the magazines had been delivered to our distributors. However, within 24 hours of discovering the problem, we had put a link on our Facebook page, so that the entire magazine could be downloaded in pdf form. It can also be viewed on our website. Going forward all future editions will be accessible via our website, as well as in the current printed format.

It has been well documented on social media, and even BBC local Radio the on-going problems with litter, vandalism, and anti-social behaviour on Charities Meadow. The bit I don’t get is... we can blame the teenagers for the vandalism, the broken alcohol bottles and the drugs paraphernalia left there, as presumably, they can’t take those items home afterwards. But then despite the Parish Council having put up warning signs that the zip wire was closed, due to broken glass in the bark area; firstly, adults were seen with their children using the zip wire and when this was high-lighted the same day on social media, someone irresponsibly took down all the signs and put them in the rubbish bin. This has resulted in the Zip Wire having to be removed completely.

21⁄2 years ago, following the broadcast of the ‘Blue Planet 2’ TV programme on BBC1, there was raised awareness of the problems of plastic and rubbish, to wildlife and the environment. Sir David Attenborough’s award-winning second series was responsible for generating a surge of interest in plastic pollution and recycling. It was seen by over 14 million people (but clearly not everyone in Gislingham).

A number of residents and members of the Parish Council are cleaning up after other people on a regular basis on Charity Meadow. The problem is not exclusive to Gislingham! So bad is the litter problem throughout Suffolk currently that BBC Radio Suffolk have re- launched their “Don’t be a tosser!” litter campaign. The slogan will hopefully resonate with the very people it is aimed at! We can all do our little bit for the village(s) and the environment and together we can make ‘Planet Suffolk’ a greener and cleaner County.

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July 2020

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July 2020

Since the last issue, Coronavirus lockdown measures have been relaxed,
with schools opening for certain age groups, all non-essential shops allowed to re-open and people permitted to exercise an unlimited amount of times per day. Groups of up to six people from different households can now meet outside, Thornham Walks has re-opened (albeit with limited facilities) and even some English football has returned to our television screens. Happy days!

On the day I write this, the government has just reduced the coronavirus alert level from four to three - meaning there is likely to be a ‘gradual relaxation’ of more lockdown restrictions and by the magazine hits your door mat pubs and restaurants may also be able to reopen in some form. Signs that we are on our way to a slow return to some sort of normality.

However, charities are continuing to struggle to fill a £4 billion charity black hole caused by these unprecedented times. In this issue, we feature three charity fundraising initiatives that have taken place over the past month that have culminated in over £4000 being raised for charities. Thank you to everyone who has donated to these great causes!

In our continuing efforts to help support small local businesses, this issue we feature the first of our “Focus on Business” articles – pages 12 & 13.

There is one event to mention locally, a cake sale (page 8) on behalf of the Samaritans and St. Mary’s Church, Gislingham is due to take place on Saturday 4th July – please support this event!

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April 2019

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April 2019

April 2019 edition of the Messenger

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October 2018

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October 2018

October 2018 edition of the Messenger

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July 2018

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July 2018

Having returned from my annual holiday in the Greek Islands at the end of May, there was something quintessentially British about enjoying coffee and home-made cake at the ‘Hidden Gardens of Mellis’ just three days after returning. The weather was kind, the event so well organised and much credit should go to those involved. (We have featured a few of the gardens in the centre pages, along with a report on page 25).

In stark contrast atmospherically, but equally brilliantly attended and organised was the ‘not Gis-Fest’ live music event at Gislingham Village Hall on June 23rd. Some great live music by local bands, it was good to see the younger generation helping with the bar-b-q and refreshments. The Village Hall Green was packed with people enjoying the music, a few drinks and even at one point consuming all the bar-b-q food on offer, until reinforcements arrived.

The summer events are certainly coming thick and fast….

On 14thJuly, Gislingham holds its annual Summer Fayre, an event always very well-supported which brings the community together for a day. Slightly further afield, we also feature details of the Suffolk Dog Show. (Well it does have a Gislingham connection) and I am sure many of the dogs in Gislingham will be in attendance at Helmingham Hall on 29thJuly.

Finally, a couple of congratulations are in order. Mr. Gary Avis was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours. Despite being extremely busy with a brand-new production of Swan Lake, he spared us time for our article on page 3.

Also, to Tom Parkhurst on reaching his 10th birthday – (or should I say anniversary?) at the Four Horseshoes. I went along for a coffee and a chat (see pages 10/11) and in true celebratory mood, he has very kindly given readers a 10% off food voucher on (Page 19). Our congratulations and thanks to both.

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June 2018

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June 2018

This issue marks our 8th year of publication! As we put the finishing touches to this issue the day after the Royal Wedding, it seems appropriate to use a red, white and blue photo for our cover, taken just along The Mall from Buckingham Palace. And our interview this month includes details of Josie Cottam's recent meeting with HRH the Princess Royal.

In the past few issues, we have featured various residents' charity fund-raising plans and we include reports on the success of two of these in this issue. Gary Cobbold and his band of merry- men completed their epic 84-mile walk across Hadrian's Wall in just four days.

Also, as our cover photo proves, Kevin Cook completed the London marathon and raised a staggering £7,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

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May 2018

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May 2018

As 2018 develops into longer days and warmer weather, now is the time to "get out and get healthy!".

We are blessed in Suffolk with beautiful landscapes, a vibrant arts scene, world-class cultural heritage, picturesque villages, welcoming pubs, farmers markets selling local produce and many unique independent shops within our market towns and villages. So the next few months are an ideal opportunity to get out and enjoy the delights of Suffolk, both locally and also further afield.

So why not support local shops, pubs and businesses and help boost the local economy rather than the High Street Chain stores? Research shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium sized business 63p stays in the local economy.

In this edition: In conversation with Mellis resident Gordon Clark about his plans to cycle 506 miles in 5 days with 'Ride 25' across Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey in support of the 1moreChild charity.