Beyond the Peninsula Archive - scroll down for more stories

Fire Wrecks Historic Pub

Tuesday, March 26, 1300

Fire this morning ripped through the Ship Inn at Levington, destroying the thatched roof and causing considerable internal damage, although it is understood no-one has been hurt. 

Fire crews from across Suffolk responded to an emergency call at 9.30am and at its height 20 fire vehicles and dozens of firefighters attended the blaze. 

The 13th century pub, nestling in the village of Levington on the banks of the river Orwell almost opposite Pin Mill, was destroyed by fire 18 years ago, and was also devastated by fire in the late 1980s.

Crews from Holbrook, Manningtree, Ipswich, Felixstowe, Hadleigh, Stowmarket, Woodbridge, Framingham, Orford, Aldeburgh, Leiston, Saxmundham, Long Melford, Haverhill, Elmswell and Ixworth, helped tackle the fire.

Picture credit: Suffolk Fire and Rescue

Sad Note Found On Beach Inspires Song

A heartfelt poem discovered on a peninsula beach proved the inspiration for local songwriter who is hoping to have a worldwide hit on his hands. 

Dan Evans’ son Alex found the crumpled note, on the bank of the River Stour near Manningtree, which read:

To the sea,

“My life sucks sometimes, so please help me out, I still love him...

“Family and friends are all you need,

“Thank you.”

 It struck a chord with Dan (pictured left performing) who wrote lyrics to a new song and had it produced by friend and producer Dan McMahon.

 ’Alex had been exploring while I was looking out at the water,” said Dan Evans.  “The note looked like it was written by someone going through a tough time, and it inspired me to write my next song. 

 “I took it to my producer and publisher who agreed I was onto something.  We ended up picturing a big-sounding movie song, so it got produced that way with two great singers I know and now we plan to get it into TV, film or a play if we can.”

Manningtree songwriter Dan is also keen to reunite the note with its author, who could well be from the peninsula.

He said: “I’d love to know who wrote the note and find out what happened next for them; maybe there’s another song in there.

“If nothing else, I’d like to thank them for giving me such a gift of inspiration.’’

Producer Dan McMahon, and his partner Rachel Sellick, performed and recorded the song, which has a big sound feel.

The song, entitled ‘’To the Sea’’ (an extract from the note), was released on all major platforms last  Friday, August 10, and can be streamed for free at

An insurance broker by day, Dan Evans' songwriting has earned praise from pop superstars, including Dean Freidman and Brad Roberts from the Crash Test Dummies. 

In 2017 one of Dan’s songs was recorded and released by UK country act Danny McMahon, who is currently enjoying success both in the UK and America. That song, ‘Hide Away’ can be streamed for free at

If you are the author of the note contact Dan at 

See Archived Stories...

Blood Moon Arising

Friday, July 27, 07.00

Star gazers should be in for  treat tonight in their stare up towards the south-east skies at a special lunar eclipse from 20.15 this evening.

The alignment of Mars, the sun and the moon, will bring about a stunning blood-moon as the red planet  will make its closest approach to Earth for this year on July 31, coming just 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers) away.

Such a close approach just a few days after opposition means the July 27 alignment will be your best bet to see the red planet shine its biggest and brightest until 2035.

The previous best encounter occurred 15 years ago, when Mars was a record-breaking 35 million miles (56 million kilometers) distant. Such an epic encounter won’t happen again until 2287.

However, thunderstorms and torrential rain clouds could put a dampener on the rare experience as the sunshine finally gives way to rain for the first time in more than 40 days and nights.

Goresland Fire Near Jimmy's Farm

Thursday, July 18, 17.00

Crews from eight fire vehicles todayspent two hours fighting a blaze on gorse land near to Jimmy's Farm. 

The tinder dry field on Bedstead Lane, near the landmark attraction, caught fire at around 3pm today and firefighters had the blaze under control by just after 5pm.

Traffic was diverted from the lane which many people use as a cut through from Copdock, and Belstead to reach the A137  between Wherstead and Manningtree.

Staff at Jimmy's Farm kept a cautious watch on the blaze as they prepared to evacuate a variety of animals in the event of an emergency, if the fire got too close.

An on-call fire crew from Holbrook was again needed, and they assisted with pumps from Ipswich, Leiston, Woodbridge and Hadleigh.

Read in depth Suffolk fire commander interview...

Hundreds Witness Fly-Past By Peninsula

Tuesday, July 10, 15.00

Hundreds of people craned their necks towards skies over the across the peninsula and beyond to witness  the beginning of a historic fly-past.

Dozens of helicopters, fighter jets, including Typhoons, bombers and the Red Arrows formed up to mark the RAF’s 100th birthday.

 Flying at different speeds the aircraft met up with perfect timing and flew above Buckingham Palace for the Queen and dignitaries.

Showing immaculate precision one squadron formed 100 as part of the fly-past.

Every nook and cranny along the Strand, and nearby back roads, were filled with cars as people watched the planes fly alongside the Orwell Bridge before heading towards London pretty much following the path of the A12.

The modern RAF was formed in 1918 at the end of World War One when the Royal Flying Corp and the Royal Navy Air Squadron merged.  

Hadleigh Voters Call On Town Council To Resign

Friday, June 29, 07.00

Hadleigh town councillors will today consider if they should resign after a poll went against them.

The Local Poll conducted in Hadleigh, asking “Would you like the current Councillors of Hadleigh Town Council to resign”, resulted in a Yes vote.

The result was announced by Returning Officer Arthur Charvonia, Chief Executive of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, after the count immediately followed the closing of polls Tursday evening at Hadleigh Guild Hall. The result was announced at 10.00pm on a turnout of 743, or 11%. The votes cast were:

Yes: 489 votes
No: 252 votes
Spoiled: 2 ballots

The poll, which asked: “Would you like the current Councillors of Hadleigh Town Council to resign (due to having no confidence in them due to the Town Council being dysfunctional in their current form)," was held between 4pm and 9pm on Thursday 28 June, having been called for at a Town Meeting held on 24 May.

The result of the poll is not legally binding and it will fall to the Town Councillors to decide how to respond. However, with the vote going so resoundingly against them many councillors will consider there position with opponents calling it untenable.

Disputes over how the town is being represented has caused splits among many incumbent councillors and those who believe more progressive action should be taken.

It was decided to take action in an attempt to remove councillors, rather than wait until the 2019 May elections.

While disputes within parish and town councils is not uncommon, Shotley for example is experiencing difficulties at the moment, calls of this nature are rare.

The poll was facilitated by Babergh District Council as the local electoral authority.

Bacchus Comes Out As Top Regional Wine

Friday, June 8, 17.00

Winemakers in East Anglia toasted the best wines made in the region today at the annual Wine of the Year Competition at Copdock Hall, near the Shotley peninsula.

A record number of 73 bottles were entered to the annual competition which celebrates the best of the regional wines. 

The winners were: 

Best White: Chilford Hall Vineyard – ortega/siegerebe (Cambs)

Best Red: Flint Vineyard – pinot noir/precoce (Norfolk)

Best Rose: Tuffon Hall Beatrice – pinot noir (Essex)

Best Sparkling Wine: Chet & Waveney Valley Horatio rose – phoenix/seyval/regent (Norfolk)

Best Bacchus variety: Toppesfield Bacchus Reserve (Essex) (pictured right)

Best Overall East Anglian wine: Toppesfield Bacchus Reserve (Essex)

The judges also awarded a range of bronze, silver and gold awards to a range of wines across the region.

The competition was organised by the East Anglian Vineyard Association which covers Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire which has more than 41 members.

EAVA chairman Dale Symons said this year’s competition was as strong as ever.

He said: “Congratulations to all the winners today and to all vineyards in the EAVA who are helping to raise the bar on East Anglian and English wine. The judges said they had a tough job agreeing on the winners which underlines how good are wines are becoming.

“We now have 450 acres under vine in our region which makes our region the fifth largest in the UK. That acreage continues to grow by the year adding to the near 1m bottles produced in our region.”

He added: “I’m very proud of what we are all achieving. Next time you’re in the supermarket, farm shop or passing a vineyard, pop in and buy a bottle of English wine and see how good our product is. Cheers!”

Wine lovers were able to sample the different types and buy bottles of the local produce and explore Copdock Hall's Elizabethan grounds and the vineyards.

Copdock Vineyard To Host Wine Awards

Friday, June 8, 07.00

A Copdock vineyard will today host a judging day to find the best wines produced in East Anglia. 

Copdock Hall, on the footstep of the peninsula, will also be open to the public who will be able to wander around the vineyards and buy the region’s top quality wine.

Both red and white wine will be judged in five categories with the experts sniffing, swirling nd tasting the best red, rose, sparkling, white and bacchus – a white variety which is particularly suited to the region - plus best overall wine in East Anglia at the event, organised by East Anglian Vineyards Association (EAVA)

EAVA chairman Dale Symons said the competition was a great platform for regional wines and a good opportunity for the public to taste them under one roof.

“We really do produce some terrific wines in East Anglia, and a wide variety,” said My Symons. “People are always saying to me that we don’t shout loud enough about them – so here’s a great opportunity to do just that. 

“Bacchus in particular is well suited to our soils and weather so we decided to have a separate category for it, all on its own.” 

The winners among the 73 wines tastedwill be announced around 3pm by the EVA committee where they will also rate other wines to be bronze, silver and gold standard.

Mr Symons said:  added: “English wine is enjoying something of a boom time at the moment and East Anglia is joining in with that with more land than ever being cultivated with vines. We’re also enjoying increasing critical acclaim for our wines – so this will be a celebration of that as much as a competition.” 

The public will be able to explore the grounds of the Elizabethan barn, which has been converted to a wedding and events venue, between 4pm and 8pm sampling and buying the wine.

Owner Ian Evans said: “Hopefully the sun will shine and it will be a great celebration of East Anglian and English wine. Good luck to all those who have entered wines…and let the wines win.”

While there will be parking available, visitors are urged to either walk to the venue or book a taxi.

Plans For 100 New Homes Controversially Approved

Thursday, May 31, 09.00

A distraught resident sobbed after a planning committee controversially approved building another 100 new homes in Capel St Mary.

The outline application from Persimmon Homes was granted permission after Babergh's planning committee members were told Suffolk County Council Highways raised no objections to the application at Little Tufts, despite neighbours pointing out existing traffic issues, limited access and safety concerns.

District councillors Sue Carpendale and Fenella Swan joined Capel St Mary Parish Council and objectors in speaking out against the development, citing a number of reasons.

These including the access issue, infrastructure problems, more suitable sites coming forward and recent applications, which had already been passed. Building on high grade agricultural land, concerns over health care facilities being at full capacity and impact on residential amenities, were all put forward.

The committee were reminded Babergh does not have an adequate five-year land supply and that was a material consideration, along with the national policy of a a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

A vote of 8-6 in favour left a lady sobbing in anguish at the conclusion of the debate and she had to be comforted by friends and ward councillors.

Approval is subject to securing an S106 planning obligation securing 35% affordable homes, management and  maintenance of public open spaces, and a contribution to the Stour and Orwell Recreational Amenities (RAMS).

Members of the public and the Press were excluded before the hearing took place, while members were given legal advice.

The planning committee had previously refused an application at the same site for 150 homes, and that is currently being appealed.

Meanwhile, an application to convert a barn to a wedding and events venue in Glemsford was refused, on grounds of noise pollution leading to a loss of amenity.

An application to build 30 houses in Holbrook was withdrawn, while permission to build four new homes in Tattingstone was granted.

Labour Gain Borough Seat

Thursday, May 4, 07.00

Although there were no elections on the peninsula, Labour strengthened their hold in neighbouring Ipswich Borough Council.

Labour took the previously Conservative held Holywells with 1,048, just 45 votes ahead of their rivals.

Lib Dems held on to their only seat, so labour remain the controlling party with 12 wards, the Tories have three seats on the Borough council.

The Lib Dems took a hiding in Colchester with former Borough Council leader Paul Smith ousted and the Conservatives moved within one seat of having overall control, winning 25 seats. However, the ruling coalition has 12 Lib Dems, 11 Labour, and three Independents.

Body Cam Call for Abused Peninsula Lollipop Lady

Friday, April 20, 17.00

Suffolk County Council would consider issuing body cameras to school crossing patrols after a lollipop lady in Shotley was left shaken by a bad driver. 

Calls were made to fit the lollipop lady with a body cam after she suffered abuse from motorists driving dangerously at the school crossing.

Rebecca Love was left shaken and upset after an incident involving a vehicle, thought to be a Range Rover, outside Shotley Primary School on Thursday.

Her partner of 28 years John Nichols slammed the driver responsible, who has not been identified, and called for all motorists to drive carefully when approaching the 20-mile an hour limit near the school, especially when the warning lights are flashing.

The incident shocked and upset villagers, with some calling for Rebecca to be issued with a body-worn camera.

It is estimated such equipment would cost between £100-£150 to purchase.

 Mr Nichols posted on social media saying:“I would certainly support Rebecca being issued with a bodycam.

"This is far from the first time this has happened as well and there have been some very near misses involving children running out into the road which have frightened the life out of her.

“I want to publicly appeal for a bit of common sense when it comes to the school crossing patrol issue because sooner or later something a lot worse than this will happen and none of us would like to witness that, perish the thought.

“Rebecca has a responsibility and a duty to get all our young ones safely across the road and to school each morning and afternoon which she takes very seriously.

“if anyone out there can't understand that or feel it's not necessary to slow down and stop when you are asked then either take the long way via Church Walk to avoid the school or give up driving altogether as you are clearly not capable of observing basic safety driving standards.”

There does not appear to be any clear policy by Suffolk County Council prohibiting a body cam being used, providing certain safety
criteria was met and the police could advise on that.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman: “When something like this happens, the process is for the member of staff to speak to their manager and alert them of the situation

“This mean that the police can then be contacted if required.

“There is potential for us to look at technology in such circumstances and this may well be an option to take forward in the future.”

If Rebecca became the first school crossing patrol person to be issued with a body-cam others may follow with 59 other schools within Suffolk.

The Highway Code states:

  • A School Crossing Patrol Officer can stop traffic to cross any pedestrian at their designated point.
  • The Highway Code regulation 210 specifically states that traffic MUST stop when the School Crossing Patrol Officer displays the patrol order STOP

Tourist Information Centres To Close

Friday, April 6, 16.00

A move to close down the tourist information centres in Babergh and Mid-Suffolk has been branded ‘short-sighted and silly’.

Independent councillors, service providers and users of the TICs are appalled to learn the two councils want to close down the centres at Lavenham and Stowmarket, with potential job losses for 11 people. 

The two cabinets want to end the face to face facility at the two bases in October and not reopen them with paid staff.

It is understood the two councils expect to make savings of £150,000 and are hoping volunteers will provide a similar service.

Babergh district councilor Derek Davis, whose ward covers a large swathe of the popular Shotley peninsula said: “This decision needs to be scrutinised closely and alternative options examined.

“Tourism is a huge part on the inward investment, not just on the peninsula, but the whole of Babergh district, and wider Suffolk.

“To close down Tourist Information Centres and probably lose very good people, who are expert in their field, seems to me to be extremely short-sighted.

“I will be pressing the council to take a closer look at this.”

Joan Molle, a regular user of the Stowmarket TIC, which fronts the Museum for East Anglian Life, was outraged at the decision.

Mrs Molle, from Finborough Road, Stowmarket said:  “I told the ladies at our Women’s Institute meeting and like me they were appalled  

 “It is wonderful a facility. A wonderful building, with lovely, knowledgeable people working there.

“It is very pleasant environment it is very welcoming high quality merchandising. They do so much there too. They book coach trips for people, supply tickets for events, it really is a vital service to local people as well as visitors to the area.

“I very much hope the council reconsiders this decision.”

Babergh leader John Ward said: “There’s a lot to see and do in Babergh, from our beautiful countryside and heritage buildings to our leisure offer, artist trails and silk and wool town connections. We want to work with others about how best to tell visitors about all that is on offer.

“We’ve got to ask whether a fixed TIC in Lavenham meets the changing needs of our visitors or whether there are other options that will better help visitors get the most out of their trip and stay.”

 Shotley Open Spaces chairman and parish councillor, Gary Richens said: “I’m extremely saddened, and somewhat surprised to hear the tourist information centres are to be closed.

“We have recently launched the Shotley Explorer guide and celebrated one year since becoming the first accredited Walkers Are Welcome area in Suffolk, these and other aspects of attracting visitors to the peninsula have been superbly supported by the TICs at Lavenham and Stowmarket.

“The value of face to face interaction cannot, and should not, be underestimated. I hope the district councils reconsider this decision.”

Cllr John Nunn, District Councillor for Long Melford, Lavenham’s sister village for tourism in the area said: "The loss of such professional and dedicated staff at Lavenham TIC would be a serious blow to the local tourist industry, an industry that brings in millions of pounds per annum to the local economy.

"I do not believe that “Modernising” TIC’s by replacing experienced Babergh staff who have a vast amount of local knowledge by putting it over to volunteers “yet again” is the right way forward.

"Furthermore the saving of an estimated £75,000 a year is definitely a false economy."

FellowLong Melford ward councillor Richard Kemp said: “The silly season at Babergh still goes on with the latest proposal to close the TIC at Lavenham.

“Just to remind people Tourism is the biggest income source to Suffolk, the savings projected are miniscule compared with all the wastage of moving headquarters to Ipswich and the proposed mergers of Authorities, come on wake up Babergh!”

Dutch Fleet Halfway Through North Sea Race

Wednesday, April 4, 15.00

A fleet of Dutch classic sailing vessels popped into the peninsula safe haven half way through the annual North Sea race. 

More than 400 students crew the Tall Ships in the race, which slipped harbour in Rotterdam on Monday and set off again tomorrow as they sail to the finishing line in Amsterdam on Sunday.

Pictured right is the Twister, with some of the crew nestled comfortably on the foresail, as it cruised up from Ipswich for an overnight stay in Harwich

Port Assurance Over Noisy Docks 

Hutchinson Ports has moved to reassure Shotley residents they take noise complaints regarding the docks very seriously. 

During his verbal report to Shotley Parish Council last night district councillor Derek Davis said he had been in positive talks with Hutchinson Ports, the company which runs the docks at Felixstowe and Harwich as part of their worldwide operations.

A number of people had complained that noise levels from the ports had got worse in recent times, especially last weekend.

Many factors, including the prevailing north-easterly wind and generator noise, could contribute to the sound levels usually coming from Trinity Terminal.

Cllr Davis said: “I have been assured that Hutchinson ports take complaints seriously and investigate to see if anything can be done to identify the source and to reduce the noise.

“They can't always guarantee to be successful but when a problem is identified it is dealt with.”

One vessel was identified as being a particular problem over the weekend, but port officials insist the ship had been to Felixstowe in the past without incident of noise pollution., and its departure coincided with a change in wind direction

Residents that are particularly disturbed by exceptional noise can call the Port Police on 01394 604747, and dock officials will attempt to identify and deal with the source.

Train Crash Closes Line

Services between Ipswich and Felixstowe were cancelled after a car and freight train collided at a level crossing.

The collision at Levington crossing and the Felixstowe Road sparked a huge emergency response and the track remained closed this scorning s repairs are being carried out.

The condition of the car driver is not yet confirmed.

A statement by Greater Anglia said: “Owing to a freight train hitting a road vehicle between Derby Road and Trimley all lines are blocked.

“Train services between Ipswich and Felixstowe have been suspended until further notice.

“Emergency services are nor [sic] clear of the site and the freight and vehicle have been removed.

“However due to damage to the level crossing and some line side equipments, further assessments/testing and works are being carried out.

“As a result train services will be suspended until further notice.”

A rail replacement bus service operated by Angies will run between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Greater Anglia tickets will be accepted on First Suffolk bus routes 75, 76, 77 and X7 between the two towns.

Further afield, the line between Colchester and Clacton was closed this morning following a landslide.

Babergh HQ Gone To The Dogs

Monday, March 12, 22.30

Police sniffer dogs are using Babergh's mothballed former headquarters for training.

Three of Suffolk's finest canine officers were let loose around the building at Cork Lane in Haleigh by their handlers in the first of what is   planned to be a regular exercise.

Black labrador Jazz, Zuma, a springer spaniel, and German shepherd Jukie, were the first to explore the empty premises as the three animals from Suffolk Police's Dog Section took advantage of the large office spaces and surrounding area.

The dogs are being trained to sniff out drugs, weapons, ammunition, cash, explosives, and track down people, under the supervision of PC Tony Russell and PC Peter Pitts.

Police dogs undergo a rigorous 13 week training programme when first learning their role, followed by regular training sessions until they retire.

The training is an interim measure while the long-term future of the site is secured. As part of the training Suffolk Police could arrive at the offices at any time of day or night to allow the trainee dogs to get used to the unpredictable schedule of police work.

 The use of the site is being provided to Suffolk Police by Babergh District Council at no cost, in the interests of making the best use of the public sector estate in the county for Suffolk residents.

PC Tony Russell from the Dog Section said: “We’re very grateful for the kind and generous offer of the use of the premises by Babergh District Council by our dog unit.

"It will provide us with a valuable location where we can continue to train our dogs and we look forward to using the site in the weeks and months ahead.”

Babergh council officers and members moved out f the building last November to share with Mid-Suffolk council and Suffolk County Council, and other agencies at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

It is costing Babergh taxpayers £100,000 a year to keep the offices secure, while plans to convert the Corks Lane property into housing are being formulated, although it is not expected Babergh will make  profit from the sales. 

District councillor Derek Davis said: "It is wonderful to see the building being put to good use and these dogs are being trained to such a high standard.

"However, questions about the whole move remain and I'm sure many people and businesses in Hadleigh will see this as a poor substitute for the revenue that was previously generated for the local economy.

"With no public access to Babergh officers at Ipswich at the moment, peninsula residents have to travel to Stowmarket or Sudbury for one on one interaction, which is not acceptable."

Fire Victims Overwhelmed By Support

Friday, March 9. 1pm

Two victims of an inferno which destroyed their workshop have been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and strangers alike,

Adrian Clampin and business partner Chris lost a Jaguar car, a boat, valuable tools and spare parts in the recent blaze in Lawford, which forced them to temporarily cease trading. 

The duo started E&C Auto Spares Ltd selling spare car parts online on a part-time basis as they continued with other part-time employment elsewhere in order to build slowly.

But the fledgling company suffered a serious set-back when the fire, started by a faulty electrical consumer box, destroyed their dream.

Adrian lost a Jaguar XF, which he was doing up, while Chris had a boat he was working on wrecked.

However, family friend Susan Beard started a GoFundMe page and £500 of a £5,000 target has already been reached, with 41 people contributing in five days.

The generosity and support shown has given Adrian and Chris renewed vigour and they plan to raise the Phoenix from the ashes and get their business going again, although they may have to move.

Adrian told Peninsula News: “The support and donations we've had is so overwhelming and I cannot thank everyone enough with their kind words and generosity. To see complete strangers donating is heartwarming. 

"We will start over again with a new business plan and build the business bigger and better.”

Site owner Dave Surgin believes the premises will not be back up and running for at least three months.

If you would like to donate anything from as little as £1 please go to this Go Fund Me page.

Your Chance To Vote For Suffolk

Peninsula people who love to promote the area, have less than a week left to vote for Suffolk, in arguably the nation’s most prestigious tourism contest

Suffolk is a finalist in BBC Countryfile magazine Holiday Destination of the Yea 2018, with the Shotley peninsula, so often overlooked in the past, becoming an ever-increasing popular destination,

Suffolk is up against Speyside in Scotland, the Isle of Wight, across from Portsmouth in Hampshire, the Forest of Bowland and the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales.

Keen Shotley walker and Babergh and Mid-Suffolk Tourism officer Annette Ellis, said: “It occurred to me how many of wonderful aspects of Suffolk we enjoy right here on the stunning Shotley Peninsula ~ with the RSPB Reserve on the banks of the River Stour, (and incredible birdlife and nature easily accessed in many other areas of the Peninsula too, such as at Alton Water), beautiful villages too numerous to name, many of which boast fabulous traditional pubs and yes, honesty boxes for not just fruit but vegetables, plants and produce too.

“Sometimes it can be easy to take such farmland scenery which we pass regularly for granted, then we perhaps see it blanketed in snow, bathed in early morning or late evening pale sunlight, and we're smitten again.

“It would be incredible for Suffolk to win this award, and receive the further recognition it so richly deserves.

“Voting will only take you a couple of minutes, and yes, we're definitely friendly and welcoming, so I reckon we'd be happy to share our little piece of heaven on earth with a few more visitors.”

 With Alton Water, the Freston Tower, HMS Ganges Museum, Tattingstone Wonder (pictured right) Anne Boleyn, the Arthur Ransome Trail, Shotley marina and the harbour ferry, the peninsula is a haven for visitors

Shotley was last year recognised as a Walkers Are Welcome destination, the first in Suffolk, now joined by Clare and Eye, and sailing on the rivers Stour and Orwell attract visitors from around the world.

A number of bed & breakfast venues have grown, with the Shipwreck Loft the latest to open, and traditional pubs such as the Bristol Arms, Shotley Rose, Brantham Bull and Wheatsheaf are popular along with the Butt at Pin Mill.

The poll finishes at midnight on Monday, March 5, so cast your vote for Suffolk on the link here…

Beast From East Disruption Update

Tuesday, February 27, 07.00

UPDATES: Train services from Manningtree and Ipswich on the main line route between London and Norwich have been severely disrupted, however some are running. There are no trains running on branch lines.

Suffolk Highways gritters have done a great job and all roads are clear, however caution is urged.The B1456 is passable, but many side roads are slippery. Further snow showers are expected.

Juliette Maxim, spokeswoman for Abelio Greater Anglia said: "We are working wit Network Rail who are responsible for the track and signals and they have kept mainline routes clear.

"Services will run until 22.00 tonight as severe weather continues. 

"We appreciate this is a huge pain in the neck for passengers and we will re-open routes as soon as we can."

Schools on the peninsula are open, although the Suffolk County Council website is down and not able to provide up to date information.

B&B For Freezing Rough Sleepers

Monday, February 27, 06.00

Babergh District Council will put rough sleepers up in bed and breakfast during this winter freeze. 

The council which serves the Shotley peninsula, and as far west at Sudbury, does not have provision for emergency beds but does have a cold weather protocol in place, which will be activated.

Many rough sleepers in the area tend to go to Ipswich although there are a tiny minority who prefer the isolation the peninsula offers

A Babergh spokesman said: “We are asking people to help us by contacting if they know of any rough sleepers in the area and they will be put up in a B&B.

“This will be in place all week, starting from now.”

Concerns have been raised about a man that lives in his car near the Strand, but he has refused help.

Derek Davis, Babergh District Councillor, for Shotley, Erwarton, Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston said: “It is difficult sometimes to offer to help people when, even in these freezing conditions, they are making a choice.

“Many others are not so fortunate and would rather be in a warm, secure environment which, Babergh, and other councils are looking to provide.  

Tiffers, the Bus Shelter project, which is currently parked on Freston lay-by, only takes in rough sleepers when they are referred and guests have to sign up to certain protocols and go through a rehabilitation process.

Ipswich Borough Council will be providing 11 cold weather beds in partnership with the Genesis Housing Association at Cavendish Lodge on Turret Lane. 

A Borough Council spoeksman said: “Access to Cavendish Lodge is from 5pm for an initial assessment by staff, with risk assessments completed by 6pm. 

“After that, access will be limited to service users being brought in by prior agreement of staff or by Police.

“Accommodation also comes with an offer of housing advice to see if trained staff can provide longer term help.”

Financial Help During Cold Weather Snap

Monday, February 26, 12.15

Scores of families on the Shotley peninsula will be given an extra £25 a week after the Government triggered their Cold Weather  Payment for this area.

The payments, for people on certain benefits come into effect when average temperatures drop, or are forecast to drop, to zero degrees Celsius or below.

With the so-called Beast from the East moving in, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge today confirmed those payments will be paid, starting from February 23, initially for one week.

People in postcode area IP9 and CO11 are among those that will be paid, with payments made automatically with 14 days.

With Universal Credit being rolled out in this area shortly, others who will get the winter weather payment are those who are on pension credit, income support, income-based job-seekers allowance, and employment and support allowance

The winter weather allowance is different, and separate, to winter fuel allowance.

Hostage Rescued And Gun Recovered 

Sunday, February 25, 07.40

Police recovered a gun during an incident on Wherstead Road this morning after reports a 20-year-oldwoman was being held against her will.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of kidnap, and there are no reported injuries which was dealt with swiftly and safely by armed officers.

The incident started at around 5.30am and police blocked closed Wherstead Road in both direction this morning following an incident between Bourne Bridge and Stoke Bridge by the dock area.

There were some minor traffic delays as was were diverted away from the closure just before 6am this morning (Sunday).

Gas Engineer Gets A Vansky

One peninsula van driver has a unique version of colour and shape on his vehicle. 

The artist known as Vansky has created a mud mural on the back of gas engineer Dave Turner’s van, featuring the Foo Fighters, whose first album was called The Colour and The Shape.

Dave’s work mate James Gibson, from Harwich, is the talented artist, who has risen to international fame after his version of Stormzy on the back of a van was retweeted by the musical star himself.

JG Vansky, cleverly uses the continuous mud to create the images and then seals them with a varnish, although they will eventually wash off. 

“I love my van, it's something a bit different," said dave Turner. "It is a great talking point and Vansky is amazing. People don’t believe me when I tell them it is made from mud, but it really is.”

Other Vansky creations include boxer Anthony Joshua and Star Wars Clone troopers, which you can see on his Facebook page Jg Van Art Gibson.

Or, keep an eye out for Dave’s unusually liveried van rear, as he ventures up and down the B1456 with his favourite band on board.

Copdock Crash Caused Traffic Chaos

UPDATE: 15.45

All lanes have been re-opened after earlier accident, with no serious injuries reported.

Friday, February 16, 13.40

Peninsula motorists can expect hold ups of up to 45 minutes on the A12/A14 interchange following a five vehicle collision at Copdock.

Emergency services were still at the scene early afternoon following the incident, which led to traffic tail-backs in the surrounding area, especially on the northbound A12.

Paramedics treated several injured motorists at the scene, with some victims transported to hospital.

Five fire crews were called to the accident, which happened just before midday today.

Cocaine Found Wrapped In Trump Flag

Drugs valued at nearly £1million has been found on a ship on the River Stour opposite the Shotley peninsula.

Border Force officers discovered 12kg of cocaine, wrapped in cellophane and Trump branded American flags after searching a vessel at Harwich international port at the end of January.

The Class A drugs were found among a lorry load of paper towels after scans were carried out and officers physically went through the load.

A 27-year-old Polish man was arrested by National Crime Agency officers who and investigating further.

“This was a substantial detection by my officers who are always on the alert to intercept illegal substances," said Mick Holmes, Border Force assistant director. "The estimated street value of the cocaine was found to be in excess of £950,000.

"We work closely with other law enforcement agencies like the National Crime Agency to keep drugs off the streets and bring offenders to justice."

The Home Office last month revealed they were looking into recruiting volunteers, including those from the Shotley peninsula, to assist the Border Force.

Volunteers would be fully trained and work alongside regular Border Force in a similar way that Special Constables aid police.

Meanwhile, anyone with information regarding smuggling of people illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco, should call the hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Traffic Chaos Beyond The Peninsula

Joe Harvey Monday, February 12 06.00

Overnight road works from Levington to Copdock over the Orwell Bridge are among of a number of potential traffic delays for car and van users leaving the Shotley peninsula this morning.

The bridge was closed at 9pm last night and due to open at 6am this morning after essential maintenance work carried out by Highways England, and scheduled to continue for the rest of the week.

On top of that, there will be verge clearances on the A14 between Felixstowe and newmarket, with possible lane closures overnight.

Drivers heading further afield were warned of possible delays along the A12  with repairs being made carriageway between junctions 20 and 19, near Boreham, Essex, which will close the southbound carriageway on weeknights between 9pm-6am.

Bridge repairs on the Halstead Road over the A12 will continue this week, with the bridge closing between 8pm-6am, although there will be no restrictions on the A12.

However, safety repairs to Oaks Bridge on the A12 in Colchester begins this week, bringing lane closures and temporary traffic lights beneath the bridge from 8pm-6am.

Similarly the A120 will be disrupted overnight  with resurfacing work to the A120 in Braintree, which will close the eastbound carriageway on weeknights between 8pm-6am from Panners Interchangeto Galleys Roundabout.

Slightly closer to home are structural repairs to the A120 Crown Bridge in Colchester. These will close both sides of the bridge at separate times on weeknights between 8pm-6am. Southbound traffic (for the A1232) will be diverted via A12 J28, Axial Way and Severalls Lane to the A1232. Northbound traffic will be diverted west to A12 junction 28 where they can join the A12 northbound carriageway.

Trying to go via the M11 may not help either as CCTV maintenance continues on the between junctions eight, Stansted and nine, the A11, bringing lane closures in both directions overnight between 9pm-5am, for five nights from Monday, while repairs to damaged safety barriers along the M11 between junctions six (M25) and nine (A11) continue this bringing single lane closures from 9pm-5am on weeknights.

Boundary Review Results Delayed

Monday, February 12 - 06.00

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has delayed the publication of its final recommendations for the Babergh review.

The commission is currently examining the electorate data and forecasts, which underpin all the recommendations and is expected to be able to make a further announcement about the completion of both reviews following its next meeting on 20 February.

The Shotley peninsula currently has three wards, Alton, which covers Tattingstone, Stutton and Brantham with Independent Alastair McCraw and Harriet Steer, a Conservative, the district councillors. David Rose, an Independent, is councillor for Holbrook, Lower Holbrook and Harkstead, while another Independent councillor, Derek Davis covers Shotley, Erwarton, Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston, along with Peter Patrick, a Conservative that lives in Polstead.

The new ward boundaries under review would see Shotley, Erwarton and Harkstead become a single member ward, while Bentley would join with Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston but stay a two-member ward, while Holbrook would go in with the current Alton ward.

It was expected that the Boundary Commission review would have been completed now, but issues with Mid--Suffolk figures have set things back. The current administration of both councils want to dissolved Babergh and Mid-Suffolk and became one Heart of Suffolk council, although Conservative leader John Ward had promised a referendum would be held in Babergh, after  previous poll resulted in 61 per cent of resident that voted going against the proposal in 2011.

Mistley Family Firm In Line For Top Award 

Mistley rigging manufacturer Sta-Lok Terminals have been short-listed in the East Anglian Family Business United of the year awards.

Also among the finalists are clothing retailer Coes from Ipswich and weaving company Stephen Walter & Sons from Great Cornard.

Sta-Lok, which specialises in stainless steel wire rope, has been operating for 45 years after being founded by Ivor Barfield and remains a family0run business.

The company will find out if they are successful in the main regional award at an awards ceremony at the May fair hotel, in central London and there is an opportunity for you to vote for the company in the popular ‘People’s Choice’ category by clicking here.

Also on the East Anglian shortlist are RG Abrey Farms from East Wretham, near Thetford, H Banham from Hempton, near Fakenham, the Highfield Event Group, based at Burwell, in Cambridgeshire, Hi Team, from Impington, near Cambridge, and Peterborough-based Paintshield.

Paul Andrews, managing director of Family Business United, said: “We are delighted to be able to pull together such a vibrant bunch of family businesses, some that have succeeded for numerous generations and continue to thrive, and others that are relatively young but have great values at the heart of what they do.”

Sponsor Adam Jones, a partner and head of family business services at regional law firm Birketts, said: “Any one of those shortlisted would make worthy winners and ambassadors for the sector. 

“We are looking forward to finding out more about each of them and I am sure that the decisions to determine the winner will not be easy. We are looking for a great family business ambassador to fly the flag for family businesses in the East and East Anglia region.”

Don’t forget to vote here

Ancient Tree On Fire

An 800-year-old oak tree suffered damage after catching fire on Saturday morning.

Old Knobbley in woods at Furze Hill, Mistley was set alight and Essex fire crews were seen dousing the ancienttree, whch created lots of smoke.

Locals took to facebook page Manningtree Shout to tell of their disgust and dismay at the incident to the much-loved feature.

‪Lesley Brooks‪ No!!! What toss bags would do something like that to an ancient tree

‪Leanne Kenny‪ Not again ‪😠

‪Michelle Hammett‪ This makes me sad

‪Carol Anderson‪ Nooooooo....

‪Ziggy Cole‪ Hoping its not too bad.Knobbly is an icon. For that reason other ancient trees in the UK are fenced off / railings.Very much doubt if the cctv cameras at the car park spotted anything !!

‪Barry Soames‪ Another one what’s the matter with these kids that poor OLD tree how much more can it endure

‪Skye Rose‪ Not necessarily a kid though is it??

‪Dan Webb‪ The arsonist needs burning! Knobbly brings many happy memories.... Rope swings, climbing, jumping... Good times, but this post makes me sad and angry ‪😡

‪Michelle Hammett‪ Exactly.

‪Connie BeeGee‪ I'd like to think we've moved on from burning people though! Jeez

‪Chris Tuck‪ So sad

‪Kelly Robinson‪ No way, that’s sad xx

‪Alison Jones‪ Selfish twats!!

‪Diane Gray‪ Noooooooooo !!!!!!‪😱 we love that tree !!!! Xxx

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