News From Holbrook
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 Earl’s 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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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