Holbrook Archive

Breakfast Club Row

Wednesday, October 30, 15.00

A row has erupted in Holbrook after a primary school announced it was opening a breakfast club and after school provision, on the same site where Holbrook Pre-school Play Group and the Cabin has operated for more than five years. 

Holbrook Primary School, on the Street in the village, has informed the pre-school of their plans, which are expected to start shortly after the children return from half-term.

However, the pre-school management has sent a letter to parents asking them not to support the primary school’s initiative by writing to the executive head teacher, Steve Cloke, saying they do not require such extra facilities.

Nicky Lowe, business manager at the pre-school, warned the rival clubs would threaten the future of the pre-school playgroup.

The letter states: “… without the children coming to the Breakfast Club and After School Cabin Club it is very possible that the Pre-School itself would not be viable and would have to close.

“This would be detrimental effect on the community and our children we are sure you would agree.”

Holbrook Primary school has been approached for a comment but has yet to respond.

Pub Sale Falls Through

Friday, October 25, 18.00

Plans to buy the Holbrook Swan have fallen through after owners Calvors decided not to sell. 

A Shotley Peninsula-based holding company had agreed a deal to buy the pub, understood to be in the region of £250,000 after being put up for sale at £265,000, and continue to sell Calvors beer for a year, before the brewery pulled out days before competition was due to take place.

Alec Williamson. Calvors director, (pictured) told Peninsula News: "The deal is not going ahead now and we will continue to run The Swan ourselves."

Calvors bought the Swan for nearly £200,000 from Punch in February, 2018 and have successfully refurbished and breathed life back into the local, making it popular with locals and visitors alike.

Concerned villagers listed the Swan as an Asset of Community Value, but that was allowed to lapse when the deal was initially agreed, and with Coddenham-based Calvors retaining ownership, there are no plans to seek a new ACV.

Calvors also own the Rampant Horse in Needham Market, which is on the market for offers in the region of £475k and the brewery has alsomoved into canning its lagers.

Moves by community to buy Queen's Head after change of use application made...

Both of Holbrook’s Pubs Set To Change Hands

Wednesday, October 23, 17.00

Holbrook pubs The Swan and the Compasses will be operating under new owners within weeks. 

The Swan at Holbrook has been sold by Coddenham brewery Calvors to a holding company, understood to have connections with the Freston Boot, for approximately £250,000, almost a year after buying the property for £184k

Due to assurances given to Holbrook Parish Councils, an Asset of Community Value notice will not be followed up and the private sale was allowed to proceed.

It is understood the new owners will continue selling Calvors beer for one year, have no immediate plans to change the management and no jobs are under threat.

Swan manageress Kirsty McLaughlin has initiated a number of events, which have proved popular and well attended, and has recently announced its Christmas menu.

 Meanwhile, pub owners Punch have confirmed changes are afoot at Holbrook’s other pub after rumours new tenants were taking over at the Ipswich Road hostelry.

It is understood personal circumstances have prompted the current tenant to find new people to rent and run the 295-year-old Compasses pub.

Andre Quilbell, Punch development manager, announced in a report regarding another pub: “The Compasses in Holbrook is due to change hands on assignment soon and a new food business will be set up.”

Elsewhere on the peninsula:

  • Mike Keen resigned as a director at the Freston Boot on August 5, transferring his shares to Andrew Whittle and Daniel Saulter who have been directors since July 2019 and March 2018 respectively.
  • The Riverside restaurant in Woolverstone has closed for the foreseeable future.
  • A planning application for a change of use has been lodged for the Queen’s Head at Erwarton, although it is possible a fresh Asset of Community Value application for the property could be made.

For more peninsula headlines click here...

Lone Pupil Refused Bus Pass Amid School Transport Debacle

Thursday, September 5, 1000

An 11-year boy's first day at secondary school was marred when he was the only pupil from Tattingstone to be refused a bus pass after Suffolk County Council would not recognise a long-standing footpath.

James Moore, (pictured right) has started school at Holbrook Academy along with all his friends he went to Tattingstone primary school with, but SCC insist his nearest school is East Bergholt, therefore not allowed a bus pass to Holbrook.

His mother Amanda Moore appealed the decision pointing out the eight-metre path, marked as a Suffolk County Council bridleway, goes straight to the school gates making it nearer to their Tattingstone home than East Bergholt. In a letter to Mrs Moore, SCC transport managers accepted the path does exist but as it belongs to Anglian Water, is not a public rights of way, therefore can not be included in their measurements.

Mrs Moore has been left frustrated and angry by SCC, and her son bewildered and upset seeing children from across his street being allowed on the school bus, while he is not allowed to board. James is the only child in Tattingstone who hasn't been issued with a bus pass. James has attended Tattingstone Primary School for the past seven years along with his school comrades; all of which have been issued with Holbrook Academy bus passes, except him. 

Mrs Moore said: "It is all very pathetic, when buses to both Holbrook Academy and East Bergholt park next to each other at the same place opposite my house.They will allow my son on the East Bergholt bus, but not the Holbrook Academy bus. Holbrook Academy is our catchment school...where all his friends are going, other children in the same village and where his brother went. 

"We are talking about an 8 metre path. As a result, I'm now contributing to vehicle congestion and pollution around Holbrook Academy school twice a day; plus having to have a conversation with my work about potentially having to reduce my working hours and take a salary cut." 

"James is the only child in Tattingstone who hasn't been issued with a bus pass. James has attended Tattingstone Primary School for the last seven years along with his school comrades; all of which have been issued with Holbrook Academy bus passes, except him.

SCC confirmed it had investigated Mrs Moore's complaint and remeasured the route, not including the path it has signposted, and found  East Bergholt High School was 3.61 miles for her home, and Holbrook High School - 3.88 miles.

Jane Gould, Orwell ward Babergh district councillor, and county councillor David Wood have been trying to help Mrs Moore and other affected by school transport problems.

"The problem is the policy, other than the officers implementing it," said Cllr Gould. "There needs to be a better system to ensure this sort of thing, which unfortunately is all too common, does not keep happening." 

The council has offered to look into the possibility of James being allowed spare seat place but the family will not know the outcome of that until October. 

James plights comes amid a shambolic return to school for thousands of schoolchildren cross the county. Parents, pupils and teachers, including those at Holbrook Academy, reported incidents, where some buses were oversubscribed, drivers refused to take over-crowded busses away from the school, teachers had to take students home in the school's mini-bus and thousands of passes were not issued.

 A Suffolk County Council statement read: "As of Tuesday 3 September, 152 spare seat applications that were received on time are still awaiting an outcome. This is because the council is unable to process these applications until applications from entitled students have been processed, GCSE results also have a significant baring on the allocation of spare seats. 

There are 530 outstanding late applications for school travel, 185 of these were received between 27 August – 31 August coming in three months after the deadline of 31 May. Out of the 530 outstanding late applications 168 have requested a spare seat. 

The total number of applications received by the county council this year is 10,288 (including the latest applications received last week). 

Gordon Jones Cabinet member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “I understand this is a frustrating time for families who are waiting to hear the outcome of their spare seat application. Can I please reiterate that every child whose application was received on time and who is entitled to SCC funded school travel has received confirmation of their application outcome. 

“We do have a backlog of late applications which the team is currently working through and I would like to thank them all for their hard work and dedication. We have not reduced the capacity of available seats for this September so we hope that the spare seat applications can be met.

“I would like to ask parents to help us to make progress by not reapplying if you have already applied for school travel.  I would also like to remind everyone that it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure their child gets to school, if parents haven’t received the outcome of their application by the first day of term, they must make their own travel arrangements.” 

“This is the first year of this new process. Lessons are being learnt all the time and we will be making adjustments and improvements to the process in preparation for future years.”

Yesterday the council issued 2,500 bus passes to pupils, taking the number of passes issued to a total of almost 8,000. As letters of confirmation continue to go out to parents to inform them of their eligibility, it is imperative that a suitable photo of their child is loaded onto the system before any pass can be issued. There are a high number of cases where a funded seat has been confirmed but no photo is currently on the system. No bus pass can be issued until this is in place. To add a photo, parents need to visit www.suffolkonboard.com/photo  and follow the instructions on screen.

Holbrook Set For Quoit A Turnout At British Championship

UPDATE: Wales win- picture special of day

More than 40 competitors will be chucking steel discs into a clay pit in the British Open Quoits Championships at Holbrook on Saturday, where throwing a *potty is encouraged. 

Teams from Scotland, Wales and England are competing for £1,000 prize fund and the British title in the championships, which start at 10am, on the fields next to the village hall. 

Holbrook has become an established venue for the British Open, hosting the first championship in England back in 2010, and again in 2016.

Suffolk players will pit their skills against the best in the three nations playing the 'Long Game' rules of the sport, with the origins of game going back more than 2,000 years with a similar version played in the Greek Olympics.

Spectators are welcome with free entry to the day-long event, with a barbecue, tea, cakes and other refreshments on sale, and the chance to win some great raffle prizes.

*A potty is a skilful throw designed to dislodge your opponent's quoit.

More Peninsula News headlines

Rude Patients To Be Banned

Thursday, May 9, 12.00

Rude or aggressive patients will be banned from Holbrook and Shotley surgeries after an increase in unacceptable behaviour towards staff. 

The warning was issued after staff suffered verbal attacks by impatient people and the surgeries' bosses have been compelled to act. 

Practice manager Julia Smith said in a monthly newsletter:  "I am sorry to say that we have had a number of episodes recently where patients have been rude and verbally aggressive towards our staff.

"This will not be tolerated and any patient who displays this type of behaviour will be sent a warning letter. If the behaviour continues, they will be removed from our patient list and have to register elsewhere.

"We appreciate that when patients are ill they may act differently to usual but rudeness and abuse will not be tolerated under any circumstances."

Click here for full newsletter:

Shock And Sorrow As Academy Head Dies Suddenly

Sunday, April 14, 19.00

Shocked Holbrook Academy students and parents have expressed their sorrow after popular head teacher Dr Simon Letman died suddenly at his Chelmondiston home. 

Chair of Governors Louise Cullen broke the news in a statement on social media and said the school would take every measure to support pupils and staff.

Mrs Cullen said: "This very sad news will come as a terrible shock to us all and we want to make sure the pupils feel supported and can talk about how they are feeling. Dr Letman was so loved and we know that the students, staff and parents will miss him so much.

"We will be arranging for a book of condolence to be placed in the Sports Centre from Monday morning. Students, past and present and their families are welcome to leave their thoughts and messages for Dr Letman’s family who will take great comfort from hearing how he helped and inspired so many young people.

"Once term starts again, we will make sure that staff and students are supported in managing their feelings and grief and have an opportunity to talk about their memories and to pay their respects to Dr Letman.

"Dr Letman has transformed Holbrook Academy since joining the school in 2013. His enthusiasm, energy and warmth have had such a huge impact on the school and our community. He was an incredible team leader, and so respected by staff and his peers, and he was so devoted to his pupils, knowing them all by name and taking great pride in all their achievements."

A number of parents and former students echoed those sentiments in a string of messages postedon Facebook.

Deputy head teacher Nicky Mayhew (the recently married Miss Shelley), will take on the role of Acting Headteacher 

The school expressed its thoughts and prayers to Dr Letman’s wife, Sally, and his two daughters.

Dr Letman was also recently appointed chairman of governors at Ipswich High School in Woolverstone.

Academy Rated Good in Latest Ofsted Report

Wednesday, March 20

Holbrook Academy has been rated Good in an Ofsted report after an inspection was carried out last month. 

Two Ofsted inspectors visited the school a week before head teacher Dr SimonLetman told councillors the school was nearing capacity, and revealed the dining hall was not large enough and children were having to eat their lunch in a variety of places, including on at least one occasion the toilet area.

The report recognised that the academy had grown in popularity and the number of pupils had increased, with more children travelling a distance from their homes, leading to increased class sizes and a greater pressure on the school facilities.

The Inspector praised the leadership team for maintaining a good quality of education in the school since the last inspection in November 2019, which also rated the school as Good.

Previously the school had been reported as Requiring Improvement by Ofsted in November 2013, before Dr Letman was appointed as head teacher. 

Improved literacy and numeracy due to investment in a new centre to support smaller groups of pupils to improve their reading, writing and mathematics skills, was noted and the report added that pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities received well-organised support in their education.

However, relative weaknesses that remain include outcomes for some disadvantaged pupils at the end of key stage four, that are not as good as for other groups in the school and while overall attendance has risen slightly, for some groups, it is below average.

Inspectors noted during their visit how well pupils behaved and wrote that. almost all pupils worked well and interacted positively with their teachers and with each other

Almost all parents who responded to Ofsted’s online questionnaire, Parent View, agree their children are safe and well cared for at Holbrook Academy and pupils who spoke to inspectors and responded to Ofsted’s online survey agreed.

The report pointed out that while safer recruitment and child protection records are acceptable, they are not organised as systematically as they could be. Leaders and governors have recognised this and are taking steps to improve these procedures.

During the inspection, most pupils said bullying is infrequent and that teachers generally respond to it swiftly and effectively. This was consistent with pupils’ responses to Ofsted’s online survey and with the school’s records.

The report concluded that the next steps for the school should be for leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure that they develop a better understanding of why some groups of pupils do not attend regularly, so that their actions can be more effective and also that the use of pupil premium funding is linked to the profile of each disadvantaged pupil.

Holbrook Academy Ofsted Report, March 2019

Head Claims Students Ate Lunch In Toilets At Crowded School

Tuesday, March 5, 1800

Some students are having to eat their lunch in toilets as Holbrook Academy struggles to cope with increasing numbers, after becoming a victim of its own success. 

The Academy is close to capacity and there are fears even more houses being built in its catchment area will have a detrimental effect on learning and potentially spark a decline in standards, according to the school’s head teacher.

Dr Simon Letman warned the academy will start having to turn away pupils, initially from outside the catchment area, but also nearby villagers as number grow due to development on the Shotley peninsula, unless significant investment is provided.

Financial backing from councils and other funders to build more classrooms will also be needed to maintain current high standards after Holbrook Academy went from being one of the worst schools in the country, as the best in Suffolk.

The Academy, which is legally allowed to take a maximum of 590 pupils, currently has 557 enrolled, with some children travelling in from as far west as Needham Market and Felixstowe in the east.  

Pupils are also bussed in from all parts of Ipswich, while children from primary schools in Shotley, Chelmondiston, Holbrook, Stutton and Tattingstone are within the immediate catchment area.

Suffolk County Council’s Local Education Authority forecast 615 pupils will apply for places at Holbrook Academy this September, with numbers predicted to rise to 620 next year and at least 629 in 2021.

Dr Letman and the school’s governors have set out a strategic plan up to 2023, when potential pupil applications are predicted by the LEA to reach 672.

 The immediate concern is space for eating at lunch-time and there are plans to build a canopy and install picnic tables, costing an estimated £32,000.

“The main hall does not have the capacity to cope with hot meal consumers and packed lunch students at the same time,” said Dr Letman. “In fact, it struggles to cope with just the former. As a result, students eat takeaway hot lunches or their own cold packed lunches in corridors, outside on benches, sitting on the grass etc. etc

“It is even the case that some students eat their lunch in the toilets, such is the shortage of space when the weather outside is wet and windy.

“Most form rooms are available to students during lunchtime, but these are full too, with resultant mess in rooms and corridors.

“This situation isn't much better when the main field is open in the better weather as eating there is banned.”

The medium-term priorities are to increase space to provide much-needed areas for specialist and practical subjects including cookery, product design, art, music and science.

The long-term priorities are to ensure ‘everybody can be somebody’ by providing students with a high quality and memorable educational experience.

The focus will be in pupils, partnership working and a platform to provide high quality facilities.

Community Infrastructure Levy payments from developers, administered by Babergh District Council, can be applied for. To help fulfil the CIL criteria, the new buildings could also be used by the wider population with evening classes among the suggestions being considered. 

Suffolk County Council is understood to be preparing a £220,000 CIL bid on behalf of the academy but the school is keen to find other grant and fund providers and held a presentation for parish and district councillors to make their case.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: "We are in regular dialogue with Holbrook Academy and when a plan to expand the school is fully developed, will be submitting a bid for money from the Community Infrastructure Levy. We will continue to work with the school to get to this point."

While the 75 homes being built at Admirals Quarter are the nearest to the academy, nearly 600 houses have been given permission to be built in Shotley, Chelmondiston and Wherstead, and developers have expressed interest in other plots on the peninsula, which will add further pressure to schools, doctors' surgeries, traffic and utilities.

The rise and rise of Holbrook Academy started in 2013, a year after he school was in the bottom one per cent in the country in terms of pupil progress.

Dr Letman was appointed as head teacher in November 2013 and by August 2016 the school was rated sixth best in Suffolk. 

In August 2017, 88.2% of Year 11 students gained Grade 4 or better in maths and English and Holbrook was the best performing state school in Suffolk, and last year Holbrook was in the top 10% nationally for progress.

Dr Letman added: “By 2023 we fully intend to be the best school in the East of England.”

However, Dr Letman warned studies have shown that every improving organisation will eventually fall into decline if nothing is done differently to future-proof the organisation and that is what action is needed now.

March into Spring - promoting local businesses

Campaign For New War Memorial Launched

Tuesday, February 26

A campaign has been launched to build an addition war memorial in Holbrook. 

The second stone would honour the names of 12 new names of men from world War One, which were missed off the original memorial.

Historian Samantha Lanier discovered the additional dozen men’s names during her research for a book which was published last year, to coincide with the Great War centenary.

Ms Lanier has already raised around half of the £2,500 estimated to put up the second memorial and is now pushing to raise the rest.

Holbrook Parish council has agreed an additional memorial can be erected as the 12 names should not be included on the original memorial.

A table top trail is being organised around the village on the first bank holiday in May between 10am till 4pm. Members of the Methodist Chapel have offered to serve refreshments on the day and provide comfort breaks for all of you bargain hunters. 

The basis of the trail will be that for a sum of £10 per house you can place a table in your front garden and sell any unwanted items

Ms Lanier said: “it is hoped to have at least 50 houses sign up and will create a trail around the village. This will be a great fundraising opportunity but also a great community event for everyone in the village.

“Brantham has been holding a similar event for a few years and has always been a great success. If you would like to book a table, please e mail me at Samantha.lanier@outlook.comand I will e mail or post you a booking form.

“I hope to produce a map of homes taking part so please book before mid- April. All cheques are to be made payable to Holbrook Society who have gladly agreed to keep the funds safe in their account until needed.”

Ms Lanier is also asking each household in the village if they could donate £1 towards the fund similar to how the original memorial was funded by the community in 1918.

With the table sale and a £1 donation from most households will help reach the £2500 target by May and it is hoped to have the new memorial erected by November 2019.

Please place your £1 in an envelope clearly marked Memorial Fund and post either through Ms Lanier’s door at 49 Clench Road or through the post box of the Methodist chapel.

Email is Samantha.lanier@outlook.comif you wish to ask any further questions.

More Peninsula News Headlines...

Free Course To Prevent Diabetes On Offer

Friday, November 30, 16.00

A diabetes prevention initiative will be launched in the new year for adultsliving on the peninsula. 

The 12-week course, organised by One Life Suffolk’s Community Connector, is free and open to those aged 18 or above, with a body mass index of more than 30. 

Starting at 6pm on Wednesday, January 9, the course at Holbrook Sports Centre will also include a weight management plan, and advice and guidance from specialist nurses.

Type 2 diabetes currently affects 3.7million adults in the UK, with contributing factors including being overweight and lifestyle choices, although it can also be hereditary.  

Diabetes costs the NHS more than £1.5M an hour (10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales) with a further £14billion a year treating it and its complications.

Around 60% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by making lifestyle changes (to diet, losing weight, taking physical exercise, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake).

 This prevention plan at Holbrook Sports Centre is aimed at reducing the number of people on the peninsula becoming diabetic by helping to educate and guide them in their lifestyle choices.

The course will also include taster activity sessions at the sports centre, a healthy three-course meal at the Shotley Rose, and on-going professional support.

It is hoped the course members, which will be limited to 18 people, will leave with a better understanding of preventing diabetes, a clearer understanding of long term lifestyle choices, make new supportive friends and enjoy a healthier future.

The initiative comes as the NHS plans to extend a trial offering an 800 calorie a day diet of specially designs shakes, which have shown possible of reversing type 2 diabetes.

To book a place please call 01473 718193 or email info@onelifesuffolk.co.ukand quote Shotley Community Connector.    

  • One Life Suffolk is also offering a free Health Check for anyone aged between 40 and 74, at Shotley village hall on Wednesday, December 12.
  • If you have not had a health check in the past five years, or not already diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, kidney disease or vascular dementia, please use the contact details above to book an appointment.

What is type 2 diabetes?

  • It is a common condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high
  • It is caused by problems with a chemical in the body (hormone) called insulin
  • Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include excessive thirst, needing to urinate a lot and tiredness
  • It can increase the risk of getting serious problems with the eyes, heart and nerves
*Online Christmas Market

Police Appeal After Villager Goes Missing

Monday, November 26, 17.00

Police are appealing for help to trace a Holbrook woman who has gone missing. 

34 year old Corisha Bailey was reported as missing yesterday afternoon (Sunday 25 November).

It is thought she left Ipswich hospital  at about 3.50pm yesterday and hasn’t been seen since.

She is described a black, about five foot five inches tall and of slim build. Her hair is described curly and shoulder length.

Enquiries are ongoing to locate Corisha and anyone who has seen her or a person matching the description given or has knowledge of her whereabouts should contact police on 101, quoting CAD 194 of Sunday 25 November.

Peninsula Remembers 100 Years On

Every Remembrance Day is poignant but this year the Royal British Legion will commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One with a series of special events. 

Many parishes on the peninsula will mark the 1918 Armistice on both the 11th hour of the 11th day in November, and also at cemeteries across the county on November 8 with a unique commemoration organised by Suffolk Remembers 100.

Every one of the churchyards, including the Commonwealth War Graves at Shotley, with a grave from someone from the 1914-1918 Great War will be visited and marked at 11am on Thurday, November 8.

Children from schools at Woolverstone, Holbrook, Stutton, Shotley and Chelmondiston will show respect as commemoration markers are placed on the graves, which are part of 1,332 graves in 248 Suffolk cemeteries.

There will be a special service at Holbrook on Friday, November 9 at All Saints' church when the Holbrook Society will be holding an evening of Remembrance from 7pm. 

Vivo choir and pupils from Holbrook Academy will be there as the society looks at what the war meant for Holbrook using records researched by the society, including Samantha Lanier, (pictured right) while refreshments with a WW1 theme, will be available.

Then on Sunday, November 11, a special concert will be held at Shotley Village Hall in the afternoon, organised by Shotley and Chelmondiston British Legion chairman Brian Ives along with the two parish councils.

Featuring the Suffolk Concert Band and the Brigade's Drums and Bugles starting at 2pm. This will be followed by a Sunset Ceremony.

Poppies created by volunteers will also be displayed from November 5 for at least two weeks within Quay Place. The display will form the back drop of a variety of events.  A display of information unearthed on the stories of the 22 men and a service of dedication from the Bishop in the evening. Thursday, November 8 there is a music and poetry evening featuring Royal Hospital School.

* Send us your event or Remembrance Service details: editorial@shotleypeninsulanewsandfeatures.com

Peninsula School Triumphs In Field Gun Competition

Thursday, August 9, 10.00

A field gun crew from the Shotley peninsula has scooped the prestigious Endeavour Trophy after combining clean drill with a quick run. 

The 18-person crew from Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, (pictured right in Limber Action) triumphed with the fastest run by a non-military team at the Junior Leaders Field Gun competition, at HMS Collingwood in Fareham,

HMS Sultan were the overall winners while the RHS crew finished third overall in the competition and were the best team from a non-military establishment. 

The Junior Leaders Competition is held over the same course as the former Brickwoods Field Gun competition and requires the teams to haul a 1,250lb (567kg) field gun from one end of the course to another, stopping to break down then reassembling gun and limber and firing two, three-shot volleys along the way, racing against other crews and the clock.  

Time penalties are issued for infringements but RHS completed their quick runs with clean drill.

The Royal Hospital School, one of the country’s leading independent day and boarding schools, has more than 300 years of Royal Navy heritage and students today demonstrate the values and service that comes from those links with the Senior Service.

Former Royal Navy officer Nigel Griffiths, Head of Ceremonial at RHS and a former Field Gunner, formed the Royal Hospital School Field Gun Crew just over three years ago. 

 (Pictured left, RHS crew on the run home)

 He said: "Every single person gave 100 per cent and I could not have asked for anything more. RHS Field Gun Crew beat two other full time serving military crews, many colleges and universities and we were the youngest crew to enter the competition. 

“The crew should be very proud of this fantastic achievement. They have proven that the school’s values of loyalty, commitment, courage, respect, service and integrity have underpinned this competition.” 

Head Master Simon Lockyer, who was among the supporters at the competition in Hampshire, said: “I am so proud of everyone in the RHS team that performed so well at this event - they showed discipline, teamwork and a hard work ethic that brought them the success they deserved.”

The non-assault course type field gun competition is derived from  the Command race which used to be held annually at the Royal Tournament in Earls Court. (pictured right. Pompey beating Devonport in the 100th Royal Tournament in 1980)

Field Gun originated as a mark of respect for the men of the Naval Brigade Blue Jackets, from HMS Powerful and HMS Terrible that hauled, dragged and carried 12-pounder guns from the ships to relieve the town of Ladysmith, which had been laid siege for 119 days, during the Boer War.

A former Shotley petty officer, Ernest Abram, based at HMS Ganges, was among the crew of HMS Powerful which took part in the daring, and incredibly arduous action which ended the siege in February 1900. 

District Ward To Be Reshaped And Called Stour

Tuesday, August 7, 08.00

Holbrook is to come under a newly formed Stour ward in the Boundary Commission review of Babergh district wards.

The village will remain a one-member ward and that councillor will also look after Stutton, Harkstead and Lower Holbrook. 

The new ward boundaries will reform after the Boundary Commission released its final recommendations, which will go before Parliament when MPS return from the summer recess in September..

Newly named Ganges, Stour and Orwell wards will replace the bulk of the current two-member Berners and one member Holbrook wards and overlap into Belstead and Tattingstone. 

The Local Government Boundary Commission For England (LGBCE) had originally looked at making much of the peninsula a three-member ward, but representations by Holbrook councillor David Rose, supported by Shotley councillor Derek Davis and a couple of parish councils, pointed out that would be unworkable and the panel agreed.

Ganges, named after the former Royal Navy Training Establishment, will comprise of Shotley and Erwarton and be looked after by just one district councillor.

Boundary commissioners took into account of development at the former Ganges site, comprising of 285 new homes, a small hotel, residential care home, a café, retail units and a number of community facilities, which would add to the electorate.

Stour ward, named after the mouth of the river, will also be a one member ward and will now take in Harkstead, Holbrook and Stutton, making it slightly larger than the current ward.

On the other side of the peninsula Orwell ward, will also be a one-member ward but will include Belstead, Wherstead and Tattingstone along with Freston, Woolverstone and Chelmondison.

Brantham will become a one-member ward as expected growth will also boost the electorate there.

The division of those four wards means the same geographical area will lose one district councillor.

In total Babergh district council will reduce the number of councillors from the current 43 to 32, serving 24 wards, with the changes coming into effect at the next district council election in May 2019. 

In its report the Boundary Commission explained how it changed its original recommendation of forming  three member ward to three single member wards after representations were made.

Cllr Davis said: "As a former HMS Ganges boy I'm delighted that the Shotley and Erwarton area will become known as the Ganges ward. I'm delighted the commission took notice of our suggestions and have adopted the three different wards, rather than one huge ward., which I believe would have been unwieldy.

“It is a difficult balancing act in getting the allowed variance in electorate numbers marrying up with geographical areas to comprise the number of wards needed.

“However, while the Orwell ward seems a little stretched with Belstead a bit out on a limb.

“It makes sense for one member to serve the area, rather than three trying to cover everything from Shotley to Belstead, especially if some councilors do not necessarily pull their weight locally.”

Cllr Alastair McCraw, current Alton ward member, added: “The best bit about the new ward structure is that the Peninsula will have four single member wards.

"Brantham & Ganges are two large population centres. There are some compromises in the centre, because equal representation is very important. I like the names of Orwell & Stour.

"The parish groupings follow the roads connecting them and should have similar concerns because of it. But every parish will have one councillor to deal with and to help them."

A little further afield, Capel St Mary, which is subject to some large scale development will also become a one-member ward, while Copdock and Washbrook, will stretch from Bentley to Hintelsham, but new-look Sproughton and Pinewood ward will become a two-member ward.

The LGBCE was tasked to reduce district council members but ensure they improved electoral equality by equalising the number of electors each ward councilor represents. They had to take into account community identity and provide effective and community local government.

Further information can be found on their website www.lgbce.org.uk

Fire Station Open Day Hots Up

Sunday, July, 15, 17.00

With impeccable, albeit unfortunate timing, the importance of on-call firefighters was highlighted on the day Holbrook Fire Station celebrated its 50th anniversary. 

As visitors arrived to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Queen Mother officially opening the new fire station, one of the appliances was heading back from a shout at Chelmondiston where on call volunteers helped put out a house fire and entered the building wearing breathing apparatus and used high pressure hoses.

This follows call outs to deal with an incident at Great Welham and a car accident between Shotley and Chelmo, within the previous 24 hours.

 Refusing to be deterred, the fire crews quickly cleaned up and joined colleagues in giving displays to an entranced crowd of young and old, with some remembering the crew from 1998 (pictured left at RHS).

A simulated crash, including cutting the top off a car to rescue the trapped occupants, reflected their work in an all too realistic manner. The public also saw his ire crews deal with high rise incidents, climbing ladders carrying heavy equipment, entering smoke-filled buildings using breathing apparatus and generally saving lives.

Youngsters were able to get up close with these everyday heroes, see fire engines, skylift appliances and other vital firefighting equipment.

A lot has changed for the fire service over 50 years, in fact even in the 14 years Watch Commander John   Bartrum (pictured centre in kit) has served.

Modern equipment is better, as is prevention, which has changed the fire crews’ role, although fundamentally they remain an emergency service saving lives.

“It is not just about going out in red lorries and squirting water,” said Mr Bartrum. “It is aboutpreventing fires so we don't have to go out and put out a house fire.

“There has been a lot of good work done in prevention, like people having a smoke alarm fitted, which means nowadays instead of going out to a fully developed fire it is a dishwasher or tumble drier, similarly with businesses we have people who go out and advise.

“We have community safety officers here giving advice on anything from smoke alarms to fire safety. 

“It is not just about going out in red lorries and squirting water. It is about preventing fires so we don't have to go out and put out a major house fire.”

Austerity has also had its effect with fire stations closing, cuts in budget mean less full time firefighters and appliances no longer active. That has meant more reliance for on call firefighters, which Holbrook has traditionally supplied but modern life has affected recruitment.

Potential recruits need to be aged 18 or above, physically fit and live within five minutes of Holbrook station, and while they are volunteers and will need permission from their employees, an allowance of £5,000 is paid.

Mr Bartum added: “It is always going to be difficult in this day and age to recruit on call firefighters due to work and family commitments.

 “Things have changes with employers and family life but we would always encourage anyone who has an aspiration to get involved to come and have a chat and we can explain how it works.

“Ideally for Holbrook, we are looking at people who live Stutton, Tattingstone, Lower Holbrook, Freston and of course Holbrook. Anything outside that can be a bit tricky getting here.

“People need to be fit. The one thing I can't do is get people on the bike to get your cardio vascular but I can do is help with your development as firefighter and encourage people to develop as an on-call firefighter right through to be a watch commander and switch from on call to full time.”

 Motivation for becoming an on-call firefighter can vary, but for John it was simply about giving back to the community after colleagues at the Royal Hospital School where he worked inspired him.

“It does feel good, and it can be varied,” he said.  

“We had a guy stuck in the mud at Shotley and we worked closely with other organisations in getting him out and back to safety.

“It may be a cliche but it is often the case that we are driving towards an incident when others are running away.

“For me it was about putting something back into the community.

“There are many high points, like this Open day, being involved with the community, and going out and doing things which help.

“There are no real low points for me, there can be challenging days, but that is the same for everyone in most things.”

*If you are interested in volunteering go to www.suffolk.gov.uk/oncall for more details.

Picture special here…

Accident Closes Main Road

Sunday, July 16, 07.00

A person was hospitalised after an accident on the B14566 between Shotley and Chelmondiston last night.

Five fire pumps, police, paramedics and an ambulance attended the incident just after 6pm, 

The road was closed for less than an hour while recovery took place. 

Retained fire crews from Holbrook joined colleagues from Ipswich in freeing people and making the area safe following the incident.

*Holbrook fire station today celebrates its 50th anniversary with an open day – see poster.

Road Due To Stay Closed Until June 14

Friday, June 8, 09.00

Church Hill in Holbrook is due to remain closed until Thursday, June 14 as Anglian Water carry out repairs. 

The section of the B1080 both ways along from the church and fire station  (pictured right) has been cordoned off following a water mains burst on Wednesday.

Diversions are in place taking traffic around the village enable drivers to get to and from Stutton or Ipswich.

Meanwhile, BT Open Reach engineers are hoping to complete broadband installation in Freston by Tuesday June 12, with three-way traffic lights at the junction of the B1456 and B1080 causing minor delays.

A number of events on the peninsula, including Holbrook Fete, Open Studios, Open Farms event and a pentanque-a-thon,  are not expected to be affected, but visitors are advised to allow themselves more time.

New Book On Holbrook During The First World War Published 

Wednesday, June 6, 11.30

A Holbrook historian has published a book detailing the lives and losses in her village during World War One. 

Author Samantha Lanier painstakingly researched the background of 190 men and the book is crammed with information on their backgrounds and war honours.

Holbrook - Our Story (Memories of 1914-1918) also shows what life was like in pre-war Holbrook, including the primary village occupations, and information regarding families. 

Getting the book published was among items on a bucket list for Ms Lanier, who is suffering from a life-limiting illness, and was started as research part of her history degree from Suffolk University, which she successfully graduated in October, 2017. 

Sam will be selling her Holbrook-Our Story  at the Holbrook fete on Saturday, and copies are also available at Woody's the Butchers in Holbrook, and the Shotley Rose.

Read Samantha's moving blogs here...

Application For More Holbrook Houses Withdrawn 

Thursday, May 31, 09.00

An application to build up to 30 new homes in Holbrook has been withdrawn by the developer.

Babergh’s planning committee was yesterday due to hear plans to build the new development at Woodlands, on the edge on Holbrook, close to the boundary with Stutton.

Neighbouring parish councils, including Tattingstone and Stutton, objected due to traffic and infrastructure concerns.

The case officer had recommended refusal for the application as it was deemed contrary to the council’s core strategy policy CS2 and the harm outweighed the benefits.

Committee members were not told of the reason for the withdrawal by applicant Mr J Suckling.

Separately, an application for four new homes to replace an existing house in Tattingstone, was unanimously approved.

Meanwhile, the committee controversially approved 100 new homes in Capel St Mary’s.

Planners had already rejected an application on the same site, accessed by a cul-de-sac called Little Tufts, for 150 houses. See Beyond the Peninsula for full story…  

The planning committee did refuse one application at the meeting, when it turned down plans to convert an unused barn into a wedding and events venue In Glemsford.

Planners felt noise pollution from the venue would mean a loss of amenity to neighbours, with the nearest living within 160m of the venue.

Objectors had also expressed concerns regarding access and safety on approaches to the building.

Fired Up Pizza Fun With Extra Pizzazz

Friday, May 18, 13.00

Two young mums have pledged to serve up a theatrical show to top off their wood-fired oven pizzas. 

Rachel Jackson and Sophie Bennett are cooking up the popular Finezza pizzas in the car park of the Holbrook Swan and they are going down a storm.

Rachel and her husband Bradley Purse bought the business last year but, along with Sophie, wanted to add their own little extra pizza pizzazz by putting on something of a show while preparing the food by hand.

"It is about having fun," said Rachel, who also a business development consultant. "It is two mums having a laugh but making sure we produce high quality pizzas.

"It is a great for me to have an evening out with my bestie Sophie. We used to do a pizza and movie night and we still do that, after refinish here."

At £5 each, with a wide choice of toppings, the pizzas are proving popular with customers able to eat their meal in the Swan, and that can be part of the experience.

 Rachel added: "Alec very generously asked us to come to the Swan. It is great, parents can have a beer in the pub garden, the kids can play in the park and then they can eat pizza either in pub or take home

"We thought we would give it a go and it is working well.

"It is about building up the reputation, and being part of village life. We know we have to get it right to make people come back. 

“We are building on a brand that had  a good reputation for the actual product."

The secret to the special taste is closely guarded but Rachel revealed: "It is about good quality ingredients and getting the technique right so the dough is absolutely perfect.

"Timing in preparing the dough and making sure the oven is really hot. But it is also about fun, it is two mums having a laugh but making sure we produce high quality pizzas."

Once theatrically prepared, the pizzas take about two minutes in the wood-fired oven, heated to 500 degrees.

Rachel and Brad's son has Asperger's and, along with Sophie who is also a mum in Holbrook, insist their priority is family.

Although he works  away a lot  as teacher, Brad fell in love with Finezza pizza's after initially trying an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven in Italy. 

Brad said: "As our son has Aspergers we we looking work from home more often. 

"We have a love afor Italian food. We have afriend in Italy who built a pizza oven outside his house, so I then built one outside our house and we enjoyed some great social events.

"When the former pizza man owner tld us he wanted to sell we thought it was a good opportunity, not just the quality of the food but the theatre aspect of putting it all together.

"The previous owner did share one good thing, and that was a great product."

Their reputation is clearly spreading with a couple of gentleman from Stevenage visiting the couple on a Friday night to see how it was done, with an intention of setting up their own franchise in the future

 Swan owner, and Calvors director, Alec Williamson was delighted to have Rachel and Sophie operating outside the pub.

He said: "Finezza Pizza perfectly complements our craft beer and as we are not doing food ourselves just yet it was ideal.

“It is great to have people like them coming n and doing good quality food and being part of the community.

“The van has been here before and I had a pizza myself, so I know how good it is.

“Whatever we are doing has to be good. They take pride in what they are doing, and their high standards fit in with our standards."

The pizza oven us usually fired up for 4pm on Fridays and carries on through until around 6.30pm, or until they sell out, which is more often than not

Finezza Pizza can be booked for events, contact Rachel on 07595731513.

More pictures...

On-Call Firefighters Sought

Tuesday, May 14, 10.00

Holbrook fire station are looking to recruit new on-call firefighters. 

The initiative is part of Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s county wide search for retained fire crews, male or female.

Candidates are expected to be over 18, physically fit, happy at heights, not concerned about being in a confined space, calm under pressure, live within 10 miles of the fire station and able to be released from work at a moment’s notice.

Being able to work within a team environment, handle emergency situations, be prepared to receive full training and happy to work within the peninsula community to understand the importance of fire safety.

 Those recruits accepted can expect payment of approximately £5,000 a year to attend call outs, undergo training and carry out maintenance work on fire equipment.

There is also a retaining fee, dependent on agreed hours of cover.

Check your eligibility on the Suffolk Fire and Rescue website here, or pop into Holbrook fire station on Thursdays from 18.30 onwards and meet the current crew members. The latest recruitment window closes on July 6, 2018.

New Home Owners Urged To Join In With Community

Friday, May 11, 15.00

Prospective new home owners at Admiralty Quarter are being urged to mingle with the rest of the village. 

Babergh today delivery of the first seven of 12, two and three bedroomed share-ownership homes at the Taylor Wimpey built development and ward councillor David Rose welcomed the project.

Providing affordable homes is the upside of new developments, which helps mitigate the concerns, including the additional traffic on the peninsula, and Cllr Rose (pictured right at hand over) hopes newcomers will help boost the local economy.

"My hope is people get involved with the many community activities we enjoy in Holbrook," said Cllr Rose. "These are really lovely, well built homes, and I'm sure the new owners will soon enjoy the benefits of living in our lovely village and join some of the groups."

The Shared ownership project is the first time in 25 years Babergh District Council has been able to offer this type of housing scheme and were handed over by Orbit Housing at a ceremony today. There is already high interest in the new properties ahead of the official launch tomorrow, May 12 when the Orbit affordable sales team will first offer potential customers the opportunity to view the properties by appointment.

Shared Ownership housing allows homeowners to purchase between 25 and 75% of a property, while paying rent on the remaining share. This allows households who may not otherwise be able to afford mortgages to become homeowners.

The 12 properties earmarked for shared ownership, as well as an additional 15 properties that Babergh District Council will be acquiring for affordable rent, are part of a 78 home development in Holbrook built by Taylor Wimpey. Following this first tranche of seven properties, Babergh will take ownership of the remaining 20 homes in two tranches in Autumn 2018 and February 2019.

Cllr Jan Osborne, Babergh District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This is the first shared ownership housing the council has offered for a quarter of a century and will enable residents who may not otherwise be able to buy property to become homeowners.

"Babergh has been consistently voted as one of the best places to live in the country and shared ownership homes are a fantastic way of helping more people to step onto the housing ladder in our district. We are looking forward to welcoming the first residents in to their new homes and would encourage anyone interested in viewing the properties to get in touch.” 

Those interested in shared ownership properties can contact Sharon Mackmin, Regional Sales & Marketing Consultant, on 01603 221905 to register their interest.

Check out shared ownership with Orbit here...

See more pictures...

Chance To Tell Police Of Concerns

Sunday, April 22, 07.00

Holbrook villagers can today let the police know first hand what concerns they have regarding to crime in the area. 

Officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Team are due to be at Holbrook Village Hall car park from between 10am to 1pm for face to face meetings with the public.

Appointments are not necessary and people can pop in to see them anytime within the three hours.

Although the SNT regularly visit villages on the peninsula, the recent spate of petty crime in Holbrook and nearby has meant this event was needed with some urgency.

Over the past couple of months, one March weekend in particular, a number of cars have be broken into, there have been thefts of tools and the items, an attempted burglary at Holbrook Academy, vandalism, including to some bird tables, and late night traffic nuisance.

* Police Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore will be briefing district councillors ahead of the Babergh Council Meeting at Endeavour House on Tuesday. Contact your district councillor if you would like a question put to Mr Passmore. 

For Holbrook and Harkstead contact David Rose, Alastair McCraw for Brantham, Stutton and Tattingstone, and Derek Davis for Shotley, Erwarton, Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston . Click for details.

Spruced Up Swan Welcomes New Customers and Old Regulars

Friday, February 13, 16.00

The new-look Swan at Holbrook was given the thumbs up by locals when it officially re-opened today. 

Bought by Suffolk brewery Calvors, the Swan has enjoyed a face lift outside with a smart yellow, while inside has been spruced up, with an open fire, and a newly-varnished bar, among the improvements.

One of the first back in the traditional drinking pub, was Jim Gitsham, (pictured below) 70- years since he enjoyed his first pint in the pub, aged just 14.

“It is good to have the pub back and looking good.,” said Jim, ‘It’s an old-fashioned English pub where locals are welcome and that is what we need.”

Former bar manager Danielle Harris, loves the new look and added: It shows what can be done with proper investment by people who care. They have done a really good job.”

 As well as the locally-brewed Calvors lager and real ale, the pub serves ciders, stout, wines and is making a point of welcoming coffee-drinkers.

Another old-fashioned touch is newspapers available to be read and enjoyed on the wooden tables, there are no fruit machines and there are no plans to have live music.

Owner Alec Williamson welcomed villagers to the opening and was delighted to hear about the old stories, and looked forwad to people enjoying the new look.

Alec said: “It is excellent to come across these people who have so much history with the Swan and to learn about all the good times that have been had here. Fun times which we hope can be replicated going forward.

“It is very important for us to engage and welcome the community. This time it is a real change of ownership, not just the tenant.

“It is a big change and I hope this time people will come and give it a try and like what they find.”

While he knows they will never be able to make everyone happy, Alec is keen to make the pub as welcoming to as wide a variety of  customers as possible.

“A lot has been done here and I’m very keen to work with the community and be as welcoming to as many different people as we can,” said Alec.

“We are a different sort of pub in a way, we are not a restaurant, we are not offering live music and sports, we are a traditional pub. We will be offering coffee, different gins which are popular nowadays as well.

“Whether you are coming in to have a cup of coffee, or a gin and read the paper, or coming in for five pints of beer, it is an old-fashioned pub, with a slightly modern touch, welcoming everyone.”

The Swan is still recruiting a chef/cook and bar staff. Full or part time. For details, or to send your CV email: admin@calvors.co.uk

More pictures:

Meet the newowner. Read our full interview with Alec Williamson.

Heartbreak For Parents After Memorial Daffodils Ripped up

Tuesday, April 10, 20.00

Vandals who ripped up daffodils planted in memory of a vet who was killed in a car accident, have been banded ‘callous’ by a distraught  father.

John Ambrose, whose son Robert died aged 24, four years ago in a collision on the A137 at Wherstead, bought the daffodil bulbs and with the help of Year Six pupils from Holbrook Academy, placed them in Reade Field, so they could be lasting reminder. 

The yellow flowers were ripped up and de-headed on Sunday by vandals, in the latest of a spate of petty criminality on the peninsula.

Mr Ambrose took to social media to express his disgust at the petty-minded action.

He wrote: “I am deeply upset about this callous act of vandalism as I bought the bulbs and with year six children from Holbrook Primary School planted them as a lasting memory of our eldest son, Robert, who died following a road accident nearly four years ago.

“We had hoped that every spring the woodland area would become a bright show of yellow as a lasting memory of Robert and enjoyed by users of the field. 

“If you did this vandalism, I hope you are ashamed of your actions. If you know who may had did it, please let them know the effect of their actions.”

 Robert, who lived at Clifton Wood, adjoining Reade Field, had just started a new job as a veterinary surgeon when he died, his parent revealed their son
 was able to help four other people after his organs were donated to them, as he had requested.

Dozens of people responded to John’s post with many offering to help buy and replant the daffodils, and posters denouncing the vandals, as ‘mindless idiots’.

Bulbs have today been planted and some damage repaired but evidence of the damage was still on show, as the a picture above shows.

Holbrook Mum On TV To Tackle Suicide Among Young Men

Monday, March 26, 07.00

A Holbrook mother whose 20-year-old son took his own life will this week appear on ITV's Good Morning programme to highlight how 84 men a week commit suicide each week in the UK. 

Laura Hall teamed up with world-renowned street artist and sculptor Mark Jenkins to create lifelike images of men, which are to be displayed on the roof of the TV station’s building.

They helped to create 12 of them, (pictured right by Laura Hall) with a further 72 being adapted from mannequins as part of “Project 84” which tells the stories of 84 men lost to suicide every week in the UK.

Archie Hall had returned from university in Lincoln in November 2015,  with emotional problems and while his family frantically searched for him he went to the Orwell Bridge and fell off. son Archie in November 2015 when he fell off the Orwell Bridge.

The campaign was instigated by CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, and which is dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

Mrs Hall said: "It was an honour to be involved and I hope it goes a small way to reducing the astounding statistics."

Read Connor Sams' first hand account of how close he came to ending it all...

Exercise:Coastguard Called Out To Help Find Missing Girl

Sunday, March 25, 22.30

Holbrook Coastguard last night helped find a little girl who had been missing along the river Orwell, in what was an important exercise by the volunteer team. 

The unit based at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club in Woolverstone, gave up their Sunday evening to  respond to a pretend emergency call at around 7pm and mustered at Shotley marina.

The team was split into teams to conduct a search along the Orwell and a little way down towards the Admiralty Pier, Shotley and the Bristol Arms. (pictured)

Volunteers were recalled at around 8.30pm when they received a radio message the young girl and been found safe and well. As part of the exercise the crew were tasked with moving the girl's father, who had become unwell, to an area at Pin Mil, where he was prepared for a medical evacuation by helicopter.

Mainly Praise And A Little Grumble For RHS Run In the Sun

Thursday, March 22, 17.00

Nearly 2,000 primary school pupils from across Suffolk made the most of Wednesday’s sunshine to take part in a huge, well-reveived cross-country event at the Royal Hospital school. 

Holbrook primary school took advantage of nearly home territory and did especially well as they entered 34 pupils with three of them finishing first in their categories.

A RHS spokesperson told Peninsula News: “The Royal Hospital School was delighted to host the Ipswich Primary Schools’ Cross Country event on Thursday 21 March which enabled over 1800 primary school children from the local area to take part.

“This is the fourth year that we have held the event and we have worked closely with the Ipswich Primary Schools Sports Association and Suffolk School Games to put on an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all competitors.”

Many schools and participants praised the event, especially the sportsmanship and encouragement, showed, although one incident did cast shadow on an otherwise enjoyable day.

One mum was unhappy when a small number of RHS students were allegedly unkind to her son, but she refused to let it mar the day for her and her lad.

Sasha Bell alleged a group of boys from RHS verbally abused her son as he ran past them.

Mrs Bell said: “My son isn't the fastest of runners, is very anxious and lacks self-esteem so the fact that he wanted to take part was massive for him.

“He was really struggling so his dad went to find him to run the last half mile with him, myself and the others from Handford Hall were waiting just before the finish line to cheer on all the kids for their final sprint - it really was lovely.

“Despite Liam being third from last coming through he got a massive cheer and encouragement not just from us but from the other primary schools. This was how it was throughout the day.

“I noticed Liam was very quiet and withdrawn after the race despite the amazing achievement of finishing the race, he later told me that as he ran past some of the "posh kids in the posh uniforms sat on the boat thing" they were laughing at him and calling him a loser, it really hurt him bless him.

“He put his all into that race and he said even though he felt awful he's going to try again next year.

“He might be from a school in the most deprived area of Ipswich but he's got more courage and conviction than those entitled rich kids.”

Last year during a sports day Liam was awarded a special sportsmanship award after he stopped during a race to help anther pupil who had dropped their glasses.

The RHS spokesperson added: “Having received information regarding the alleged incidents, we contacted the relevant families so that we can establish exactly what happened and who may have been involved.

“The Royal Hospital School expects all of its pupils to behave in a decent and respectful manner and is taking the matter very seriously.

“A full investigation will be undertaken once further details have been received.”

The £31,185 a year co-educational independent day and boarding school with naval traditions has been in Holbrook since 1933 and the cross-country run is a popular annual event.

Anger At Lack Of Police Presence As Holbrook Hit By Crime Spree

Monday, March 19, 08.30

Calls have been made for a mobile patrol group to be set up after peninsula villages were hit by a spate of petty crime, vandalism and theft over the weekend.

Cars in Clench Road, Holbrook, were broken into with some contents stolen and damage was done to cars. 

Other vehicles in the area were also targeted, while bird tables and bird boxes in a front garden were vandalised and strewn across Ipswich Road.

Meanwhile, thieves damaged a door a they attempted to break into Holbrook Academy, and nearby garages and new homes at Admiralty Gardens were reported to have been targeted. There were also complaints of cats being shot at by people with air pistols.

Tools stolen from a vehicle in Abbotts Way, were recovered nearby and return dot the owner.

Suffolk Police confirmed police were investigating five incidents over the weekend and had carried out door to door enquiries.

Separately, a rug was taken off a horse, while a lady had items stolen from her front garden in Chelmondiston, and last month thieves stole items, including World War 1 medals, from a house in Shotley.

Oil being stolen from tanks across the peninsula is now a common practice.

The lack of a police presence was criticised by a number of peninsula villagers on social media, with some suggesting a voluntary peninsula patrol being set up.

Holbrook resident Gareth Brenland said: "I'm confused about what happened to our cars. Although they broke into my vehicle they didn't take anything, not even a bag of change I had, yet they took time to squirt hand cream all over the dash.

"My wife Sarah's car was vandalised though, they broke off he mirror and threw things all over the drive.

"People are angry, and there is talk of setting up a voluntary peninsula patrol, which is something I would be interested in joining.

"We appreciate the police are are overstretched, although they responded pretty quickly. Even so, it's still a 15/20 minute drive even on blue lights and I think that's what makes the peninsula an easy target."

Meanwhile, it was announced this morning that even though council tax, including the police and fire charge, increased, the county was looking to reduce the police budget by £1million, leading to 32job cuts.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore defended the lack of police visibility blaming funding cuts from central government and budget priority during an increased workload.

Speaking to the public leader panel last week Mr Passmore said: "The days of Bobbies on the beat are gone." 

Elderly kept Warm As Council Steps In With Emergency Oil Delivery

Saturday, March 17  06.00

Babergh council has provided an emergency oil supply to elderly residents in Holbrook after fears they would go cold when the Mini-Beast from the East arrives today. 

Residents in Samford Close were left with just small fan heaters after an oil delivery failed to arrive last week.

With temperatures expected to plummet to zero and below, with snow predicted for the area too, Babergh moved to secure an emergency oil supply, which arrived Friday afternoon.

A Babergh District Council spokesperson said: “An oil delivery was scheduled to be made at the start of this week, however the supplier was unable to make this delivery. 

“After making enquiries we were informed that the supplier would not be making this delivery until after the weekend, at which point we immediately provided electrical heating to residents to cover any gap in heating. 

“We have managed to secure a delivery tomorrow with enough oil to last until our regular delivery is made next week.

“We are of course very disappointed with this delay and will be raising it with the supplier at the first opportunity.”

Mini-Beats from the Est arrives today – check today’s hour by hour weather and forecast…

Great local Run Practice Event 

Tuesday, March 13, 7pm

Holbrook Sport Centre is holding a practice event this Sunday ahead of its first official Great Local Run. 

The pilot run starts at 9am this Sunday, March 18, at the centre and runners can choose between the 2km or 5km course, which is a flat course.

The idea is to testt out the route, the signage and general logistics and is free for all the family. As the course is in the grounds of Holbrook High School no dogs are allowed on site there is no smoking.

Once this test event has ironed out any snags, the first for real Great Local Run will be held at the sports centre later this month, again starting 9am.

Great Run Local is a free, weekly, friendly running initiative organised by fantastic volunteers that can take place on any day and time of the week. Offering both 2km and 5km distances, our aim is to increase and encourage sport participation for all abilities and ages, from absolute beginners and families to more experienced regular runners.  

All events are supported by trained volunteers including Great Run Local event coordinators as well as first aid trained volunteers.

All the events provide a social start and finish area for participants to meet new people, interact with other runners, share their stories and offer encouragement to each other. The weekly runs provide participants with the opportunity to attend frequently and maintain the fitness benefits associated with running regularly.

With your own personal Great Run Local Tag ID, participants can also track their progression through our unique mobile app.

Pre-school Appeal For Chair So It Can Stay Open

Saturday, March 10, 07.00

Holbrook pre-school are looking for a chairperson to manage the voluntary committee and prevent the facility closing.

The role of chairperson is pivotal in making sure the Pre-school, breakfast club and after school club stay open as it is a charity, the chair is essential in maintaining its status and operation.

The previous chair stepped down after two year to concentrate on teaching, and the remaining seven committee members are looking for a new leader to chair meeting, which are held once every half-term.

The role of the chairperson is to ensure that the committee and pre-school function properly and that there is full participation during meetings, that all relevant matters are discussed and that effective decisions are made and carried out. 

The committee members have a broad range of skills and bring lots of ideas to the table, making meetings fun and engaging. 

There will be a thorough hand over and the person voted in to be chair will be offered some training sessions on the roles and responsibilities of the voluntary led management committee.   

The position is open to everyone, although as with all positions involving the welfare of children, you will be required to complete an enhanced DBS check. 

If you would like to get involved and make a difference to your community, please get in touch with Holbrook pre-school administrator Nicky Low on 01473 328414 or admin@holbrookpreschool.co.uk for more details.

Academy Fined For Minimum Wage Breach

Joe Harvey Friday, March 9, 06.30

Holbrook Academy has been fined by the Government for failing to pay two of its workers the minimum wage.

Arrears of £1,878 were owed to the two employees, according to data from the period between September 2016 and January 2017.

SPNF has asked for a comment from Academy headteacher Dr Letman.

The school was rated the best performing state school in 2017 after an impressive set of GCSE results, and it last Ofsted report in 2015 rated the academy as Good.

The figures released by the government comes ahead of the next rate rise on April 1, when the National Living Wage will go up from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour. Apprentices under the age of 19 and those in the first year of their apprenticeship will benefit from a record 5.7% rise.

Later this month the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the new rates and encourage workers to speak to their employer if they think they are being underpaid.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:“The world of work is changing and we have set out our plans to give millions of workers enhanced rights to ensure everyone is paid and treated fairly in the workplace.

“There are no excuses for short-changing workers. This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught - not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200% of wages owed.

“Today’s naming round serves as a sharp reminder to employers to get their house in order ahead of minimum wage rate rises on 1 April."

Bryan Sanderson, Chairman of the Low Pay Commission (LPC), said:“As the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates rise on 1 April, it is vital that workers understand their rights, and employers their obligations.

“The Low Pay Commission is pleased to see the government maintaining the momentum of its minimum wage enforcement.

“The recent announcement that all workers will have a right to payslips stating the hours they have worked – an idea originally proposed by the LPC – is a positive step.”

This 14th naming round comes after the government published its Good Work plan last month, which announced the right to a payslip for all workers. The new law is likely to benefit around 300,000 UK workers who do not currently get a payslip.

For those paid by the hour, payslips will also have to include how many hours the worker is paid for, making pay easier to understand and challenge if it is wrong.

The move is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, the long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future by helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK.

SPNF has asked for a comment from Academy headteacher Dr Letman.

The school was rated the best performing state school in 2017 after an impressive set of GCSE results, and it last Ofsted report in 2015 rated the academy as Good.

New minimum wage rates for 2018

Bosses are currently legally required to pay workers the following rates:

  • Aged 21-24? Your current rate is £7.50, however this will rise to £7.83 on 1 April 2018.
  • Aged 18-20? Your current rate is £5.60, however this will rise to £5.90 on 1 April 2018.
  • Aged below-18? Your current rate is £4.04, however this will rise to £4.20 on 1 April 2018.
  • Apprentice? Your current rate is £3.50, however this will rise to £3.70 on 1 April 2018.

There are a few rules to these rates:

  • Apprentices are entitled to the apprentice rate if they’re either a) aged 19 or under or b) aged 19 or over and are in their first year of apprentiship.
  • To qualify for the minimum wage, you must be at school leaving age (16 years or older).


Holbrook Fire Crew Help Fight Huge Blaze

Saturday, March 3, 11.00

Firefighters from Holbrook helped extinguish a blaze at a car repair shop in Lawford last night. 

Crews from Colchester, Manningtree, Halstead, Clacton, Frinton and Dovercourt were also deployed at the fire, which destroyed several outbuildings on the Harwich Road.

Flames were spotted at just before 1am Saturday morning, and two nearby houses had to be evacuated as a precaution.

Investigators discovered the fire had started accidentally by a fault consumer unit in a building.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: "At 2.24am, the officer in charge reported that the incident had been divided into areas to allow fire crews to surround the building more efficiently.

"By 3.10am, firefighters had managed to isolate the electricity supply and surround the building completely.

"At 5.16am, crews reported the fire was under control and almost completely extinguished.

"Four fire engines remained at the scene for a further hour to continue dampening down remaining hotspots."

The final fire engine left the scene at 10.20am.

Holbrook houses retained firefighters and the station is also home to the local HM Coastguard volunteer crew.

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.

Volunteers Join Missing Man Search 

Sunday, February 25, 23.40

Holbrook coastguard joined in with other volunteers and police, in the search for a missing Kesgrave man Paul Moore over the weekend.

The whole of the shoreline along the rivers Orwell and Stour were searched, with particular attention given to the Strand, under the Orwell Bridge after reports of a man seeing leaning over the parapet

A police helicopter, along with a Coastguard chopper, were mobilised along with a volunteer group, coincidentally, holding an induction day

One volunteer told Peninsula News: “A lot on man hours and resources have been put into this. Many volunteers were out for most of the day."

An Ipswich man in his 30s was arrested on Sunday evening in connection with the disappearance of Mr Moore.

A statement issued by Suffolk Police tonight said: “Suffolk police have today (Sunday, February 25) arrested a man in connection with the investigation of missing person Paul Moore.

“The man, aged in his 30s and from the Ipswich area, is currently in police custody and assisting officers with their enquiries.“

The searches for Mr Moore are continuing and police continue to liaise with his family.

Volunteers from Holbrook coastguard, along with up to 30 other volunteers, helped the Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue team (SULSAR) look for signs of Mr Moore near his home, and on the area between Ipswich and Felixstowe over the weekend.

Mr Moore, who is 6ft tall, of stocky build and with mousy hair, is also known to have links to Diss and Great Yarmouth. To help police, call 101.

Swan At Holbrook Shuts Down

Sunday, February 25, 10.00.

The Swan at Holbrook has been closed down after new owners took over and are planning to refurbish inside.

The pub, which is more than 140 years old, was sold recently for a little under £200,000, and is due to open again in early to mid-March.

A karaoke leaving party was held last night (Saturday, with landlady Danielle Harris stepping down, she will not continue when the Swan re-opens.

Former owners Punch Tavern sold the pub as they look to trim their property portfolio.

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.

Spare Room Appeal For Single Lodgers

By Joe Harvey (Tuesday, February 6, 06.00 )

Householders on the Shotley Peninsula are being asked to use their spare bedroom to take in single lodgers.

Solo Housing have linked up with Babergh Distrct Council to try and help singeltons struggling to find suitable accommodation.

The scheme works by matching a suitable single person, referred by the district council or other agencies, with potential landlords on the penisula, that have been vetted by Solo Housing.

Solo Housing will ensure the landlords’ criteria and accommodation suit the scheme, and will also assess potential lodgers’  circumstances and needs.

It could be the landlords are looking for help with bills, or would like the security and company of another person in their home.

The single people tend to be those either homeless, or close to becoming homelss. They may be on low inclomes, or suffering a break up of a relationship.

Solo Housing chief executive Carolyn Howell said: ‘It’s a very simple and successful model, Solo provides practical help and advice to anyone who has a spare room in their house that they would like to rent out.

“At the same time, we will use our assessment criteria to match suitable people to available rooms, providing advice and support to single people who may like to take up a lodging offer.

“The service aims to provide a simple solution for those who would like to rent out a room, perhaps to help them pay their bills, or for companionship, and at the same time provides a housing solution for a single person who may not be able to access other suitable affordable accommodation on their own.”

One of the first landladies to sign up for the Solo Housing Lodging Scheme was a lady called Joan, who lives in the Babergh District.

She said: “As an elderly female, who lives independently, I didn’t want to be alone, especially at night, so taking in a lodger that met with my requirements was very helpful. 

“Solo met with the prospective lodger to make sure they were suitable for my circumstances and helped me with the paperwork.  It all seemed very thorough.

“I really appreciate the company and social interaction and my current lodger helps with small jobs around the home.”

Derek Davis, Babergh District Councillor for Shotley, Chelmondiston, Erwarton, Woolberstone and Freston, said: This is a sensible, proven scheme that can have very positive benefts for both parties.

“I know there are probably many people with rooms available. It may be they are being charged the empty bedroom tax or they would just like the company. Either way, once matched it is a win-win.”

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ Homelessness Team took 227 homeless applications in 2016/17. 

In addition to this, they prevented homelessness in more than 450 cases and are hoping this scheme will help to settle more people at risk of becoming homeless into permanent accommodation.

If you have a room available, or a single person looking for suitable lodgings, contact 0800 652 0155.

Holbrook Coastguard Called Out To Woolverstone

Holbrook Coastguard's rescue team was called out on an emergency shout last night after an overturned dinghy was reported   floating in the river Orwell near Woolverstone.

The Coastguard responded at around 6.30pm with fears there may have been people on board, or worse, they had gone overboard.

A two-hour search and local enquiries confirmed their had been no casualties and the team was stood down.

Two Coastguard emergency responders attended the initial shout, with another half dozen on stand by, all pleased with a positive outcome.

Holbrook Coastguard, based at the fire station, is a voluntary teamwith crew members often having to leave their day, or in this case evening jobs, to attend emergencies.

Youngsters Wanted For Voice Audition

Potential pop stars from the peninsula are being offered the chance to audition forthe The Voice Kids. 

Superstar coaches Emma Willis, Will.i.am, McFly's Danny Jones and Pixie Lott will be looking to spin their chairs at the blind audition this weekend.

Highly talented young singers, aged between seven and 14 are invited to attend the show 

Even as an audience member who could witness a star being born.

Click here to book your place or get free audience tickets this Saturday or Sunday.

Apaches Wake Up Call

The unmistakable whirring sound of helicopters shattered the silence on the peninsula last night as the world's finest air crews, led by a Harkstead pilot, exercised over the rivers Stour and Orwell.

An Apache helicopter was among the top secret exercises flying above the rivers Stour and Orwell last night in preparation for activity demanded by NATO in the near future.

British forces are expected to be called up to join in with US Forces and other Un Troops as  tensions rise in Afghanistan following a surge in insurgency activity.

Sue Smith, from Holbrook, said: "In a way it is annoying, especially when they wake up the young ones, but I know they do a fantastic job defending us, so I just tell the kids, the goodies are practising in case the baddies start on us."

SPNF is not allowed to reveal any secret information, but Government ministers have already been briefed on potential British armed forces being asked to support the Afghan government, following recent Taliban activity.

Specialised air crews, from Suffolk-based RAF Wattisham have been told about  potential conflict in the region and how they could be involved.

Many personnel from the area have previously been involved in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other war zones and training exercises are vital in their preparation for any potential call ups.

Recently, Lynx helicopters bade farewell to service life after a ceremony at a Suffolk airbase.

Scam Warning

Holbrook residents have been warned about a team of potential scammers after door to door salesman claiming to be ex-offenders were reported to the police and trading standards.

Concerned villagers also took to social media to warn about the group, with one describing how she had been told by a man looking to sell her household cleaning products, he was from Middlesbrough trying to get his life can on track following a spell in prison.

A warning on Suffolk Trading Standards' Facebook page said: “These individuals knock at doors and claim to be ex-convicts attempting to mend their ways, before trying to sell the householder everyday household products at very high prices.

“Trading Standards advise residents to refrain from buying at the doorstep and not to buckle to pressure from salespeople offering supposedly one-off ‘buy it now’ low prices.

“These Nottingham Knockers work in groups across the country but they are not involved in any officially recognised offender rehabilitation programme and many do not possess Pedlar’s Certificates, which are issued by police and are necessary for salespeople to be legally allowed to sell door-to-door.

“If you are approached at the door, please refuse to buy and then report them to us on 03454 040506 or to Suffolk Constabulary Official Page on 101.”

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