Community news: Wood Ditton, Soham, Lakenheath, Eriswell, Mildenhall

Wood Ditton

Parish Council: During the public forum held at the meeting on November 15 a parishioner expressed appreciation for the excellent firework display in Ditton Green on November 3 and mention was made of the need to reinstate the footpath from Limes Farm to Parsonage Farm. In future it was desirable for the hedge trimmings between Egg Cottage and the end cottage in Little Ditton to be swept up as they have caused punctures to the tyres of bicycles, prams, and pushchairs.

Chris Morris, district councillor, made his report. This covered: Speedwatch training and advert leaflets, the future introduction of wheelie bins in East Cambridgeshire, meetings of the licensing, finance and governance committees and an organised Ramblers Association walk on December 1 starting at Wood Ditton water tower. The council decided that some councillors should be nominated to write articles on events in the parish as the need arose. Robin Sharp offered to write about the firework event. The council will try to organise a new council photo at the January meeting to be put on the website. The clerk will ask for links to be set up with the joint parishes walks and the East Cambridgeshire Council personal interests websites.

In planning applications: for Pippin Cottage, 23 Ditton Green, conversion of garage/outbuilding to a distillery, the council considered various aspects and neighbourhood implications of this application, and decided it had no objections or comments. There was also no objections to a foaling unit, walkouts and sanded arena at Limes Farm, Wood Ditton Stud. The members had recently received the draft development envelopes for Saxon Street and Wood Ditton from East Cambridgeshire Council. These were examined in some detail but as the changes were minor the council approved the maps. Bob Burton had contacted a potential caretaker for the Jubilee sportsfield and had drawn up a service agreement which had been agreed and signed. The council thanked him for his efforts. Certain administration details will be taken up now. Robin Sharp will see if a post and device can be installed to secure the gate in an open position. The possible tree planting scheme is kept under review and a group meeting might be held soon.

The clerk had distributed current year projections and forecasts for 2013/14 which had been discussed at the October meeting. The council resolved that foreseeable revenue expenditure and modest capital costs could be met with only a very small increase for inflation. The bid estimated at £14,500 was carried unanimously. The clerk had also circulated the 2013/14 information sheet and bidding forms for local highways improvements. After a brief discussion the council decided to bid for Gateway installations at each end of The Street, Saxon Street. It was accepted that at least 10 per cent of the cost would fall on the council. June Surrage promised to try to supply photographs showing the need for traffic calming to support the bid. The next meeting of the parish council will be held on January 17 at the Methodist Church Hall, Saxon Street, at 7.30pm.


Community Coffee Morning: On December 4 members of the coffee morning group enjoyed an outing to Cromer for lunch before continuing on to the theatre a the end of the pier. Everyone soon relaxed and enjoyed the Christmas show before rejoining their coach. Thanks were extended to Sheila Knight and Margaret Claydon for organising the outing.

Over-60s Club: Members met in the Beechurst Hall at the Soham Village College and everyone enjoyed the pantomime Dick Whittington produced by the KD Productions. This was an excellent show with lots of fun and laughter. Thanks went to Ruth Ginn for organising the evening. On Friday afternoon Mrs Ginn welcomed members and guests to the club where the afternoon’s entertainment was provided by Dick Hatley and friends with a variety of songs and carols, humorous tales and members’ participation. The pianist was Frank Taylor who also played three trumpet solos. It was a great afternoon and Mrs Ginn thanked everyone on behalf of the members for a lovely time. Diane Wheeling organised the raffle and the women served the refreshments. The meeting was brought to a close with the singing of the club hymn.

The Fen and Barway WI: President Sheila Knight welcomed members and guests to the Christmas meeting. After the business Mrs Knight welcomed Mal Sargent who provided the evening’s entertainment on keyboard and a sing-along. A break was taken for everyone to enjoy a buffet supper with wine or fruit juice all kindly donated by the members. There was an excellent raffle with every member and guest receiving a prize. Thanks were extended to Mal Sargent for a lovely evening, the members for donating the food for the buffet and also the raffle prizes. A member from the Fordham and Isleham WI thanked Soham for inviting them to the party. The WI takes a break now until Friday, February 1 when it will continue to meet in Milbrook House. New members are all very welcome.


Pantomime: What a spectacular success the pantomime Sleeping Beauty was by the Lakenheath Amateur Dramatic Society on November 29, 30 and December 1. Produced by Chris Clements, with director Mandy Morrish, the cast was brilliant and the village hall was full every night with enthusiastic audiences who were really enjoying themselves. The cast were well rehearsed and full of spirit and verve. Cast members were: Lucy Current, Rachel Surry, Darren Hitchings, Samantha Bowker-Laine, Emily Cash, Glem Hussein, Steven Yallop, Tania Fieldsend, Hazel Thompson, Meghan Brannigan, Maria Buckles, Pheobe Blanchard, Darcy Blanchard, Esme Harrison, Linda Spencer, Jackie Jackson, Molly Parrington, Lily Parrington, Ellie Parrington, Toni Matthews, John Pluckwell, Annabel Fox, Esme Riser and Maisy Holder.Production credits: Mandy Morrish and Toni Matthews (choreographers); Vic Cook (audio editor); Tracey Corker and Damon Murry-Morrish (technicians); Martin Corker and Terri Lea-Hunt (lighting); Chris Clements, Natalie Taylor and Martin Taylor (stage managers); Mandy Morrish (costumes); Tina Yallop, Terri Lea-Hunter and Mandy Morrish (hair and make-up); Chris Clements, Mandy Morrish and Natalie Taylor (sets); Natalie Taylor and Vic Cook (photos); Chris Clements (programmes, tickets and posters); Judy Cullum and members of LADS (front of house) and ticket sales Lakenheath News.


Parish Council: At the November meeting the police reported there had been diesel oil stolen and theft in the area and they asked the public to make sure all doors and windows are locked and to keep garages and sheds locked when not in use. Cllr Colin Noble could not attend the meeting but sent in a report which included information on the fire department in Suffolk co-opting with other fire departments in Eat Anglian. He also briefed on youth matters and local school programmes. Sqdn Ldr Jerry Neild, of RAF Lakenheath, discussed night flying and road issues when the A11 starts its new duelling plans and in particular the Fiveways Roundabout. Chairman, Cllr Pearl Brunning, briefed on her meetings with SALC and the Forest Heath Parish Forum. There is no further information at present on the bio-fuel site. The council discussed at some length financial matters including the budget for 2013/14. Parish clerk Bob Shimmon made a thorough briefing to councillors and the draft of the budget. This will be completed and signed in January. The next meeting of the parish council will be on January 20.


Christmas Evening: The hardworking group behind the Merry Mildenhall Christmas evening can look back on a grand event, one enjoyed by large numbers of people, especially the younger folk of the local community. There was ample evidence that many hundreds thoroughly enjoyed the whole affair. The key to the success was the arrival of Father Christmas on the top of the Lions Club’s sleigh with many families and children waiting for him behind the barriers after a carol had been sung and prayers led by the Rev Sue Leathley. Not least in their anticipation were the selected youngsters from the three primary schools, Great Heath, St Mary’s and West Row. They, after the parish council chairman Malcolm Smith had officially opened the event waited patiently at the electrical board to press the buttons at the countdown, thus turning on the twinkling bright lights decorating the Christmas tree in the St Mary’s churchyard and those adjacent to it. As Santa moved on to his grotto and further fundraising, elsewhere a great deal of craftwork was undertaken, with face painting again popular, while the balloon twisting, children’s roundabout and some carol singers attracted attention. The second highlight of the event was at the grotto where at one stage some 70 to 80 people were lined up. Those shops which bravely stayed open on this intensely cold night, showed the real good spirit of the evening and deservedly did a brisk trade not least those offering hot beverages.

While enormous gratitude has rightly to be expressed to the hardworking staff trio from the parish council, with their two clerks supervising, a word of praise is also due to officers and cadets of TS Fox 574, the local sea cadet unit who in great numbers turned up trumps in their support of this occasion. All deserved the praise accorded them at the full council meeting two evenings later.

Charities Payout: Chairman Gerald Taylor-Balls and clerk Vince Coomber were joined by others of the trustees in the distribution of several thousands of pounds to those who had the right to the allocated sum of £10 per head in various locations in the town. Mr Taylor-Balls said the whole procedure had gone well once again.

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