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Welcome to the Bressingham and Fersfield Community Website
Winter Berries by Liz Handy
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Stephen Hubbard
Stephen writes: I was born in Bressingham in Marina Villa near the Old Chapel on the main road. At the age of two my parents Gordon and Vera bought what was then Cherry Tree Cottage on high road where the village blacksmith, Vic Gardener used to live, next door at Meadow View lived Wilfred Buck, a dear friend to whom I owe so much. Jason and Jackie Wyatt of Wyatt Engineering - copyright Liz Handy
After getting married to his childhood sweetheart Denise and living for a few years at Valley Bungalow, now with two children, Joanna and Emma, I moved back to the house, built my parents a bungalow next door and converted  the two houses into one which is now Anvil House. Tragedy stuck in 2002 when Joanna died after a battle with cancer, she is remembered  every day, even more so recently as she would have been a wonderful Auntie to Millie Jo, Stephen and Denise's first grandchild. Emma will later return to work as Operations Manager for the ASK chain of restaurants around Sheffield. Denise having done all aspects of nursing is now Day-Care Manager at All Hallows, Ditchingham. Stephen, with his team continue to provide first class building services and have a long list of satisfied customers, contact him at, anvilhouse@live.co.uk
Sally, Adam. Jasmine and Hazel Pankhurst
Sally and Adam Pankhurst came to live in Fersfield 11 years ago from Billingford. Jasmine was only 2 and Hazel was not yet born.  Now they are 13 and 10 and Hazel is still at Bressingham Primary School and Jasmine is now at Diss High School.  They live in what was once the old post office.  They love living opposite the Church Meadow. Sally, Adam, Jasmine and Hazel Pankhurst - copyright Liz Handy
Some time ago Rob Mellowship started the tradition during the summer months of a weekly game of rounders every Friday night.  The community space, the girls say, is a great place for meeting their friends - and especially good for playing 40/40 on! The Pankhursts like cycling - when the weather is good Hazel cycles to school and Sally cycles to her work in Banham where she is an administrative assistant.  They often cycle together to Diss along the back roads.  Adam is self employed and works from home as a wiring technician assembling control units for lithographs.


Brenda Oates
Brenda Oates
Sadly for us  - Brenda Oates left Bressingham at the end of May  to go and live near her son and grandson in Devon.  Brenda came to Bressingham to live in The Highlands with her husband John back in 1965.  In 1990 they moved across the road to Waveney Rise.  Sadly John only lived there 3 nights before he went into hospital and died later that year. Brenda’s two great loves are children and flowers and she not only brought up her own two children Martyn and Rosemary, but also two of her grandchildren Rowan and Jessica. 

They all went to Bressingham School. Brenda was one of the first people who got the Parish involved with the Friend of Chernobyl’s Children’s Diss Branch - the charity is about bringing children aged 8-12 from Chernobyl  each year to live for a few weeks with host families in the Diss area.  She has endlessly fund raised  and helped the project.Brenda was heavily involved with the Flower Show for over 35 years ending up as President.  In those days the Flower Show was held in the school.  Brenda has also for the last 20 years been in charge of  flower arranging for Bressingham Church where many of you will have seen her beautiful arrangements. And back in 1999 she was one of the key helpers  who organized an appeal in Bressingham Village Hall for the families who fled to Albania during the Serbian massacres.   They collected over 20,000 blankets which were donated from people in the district and organized lorries to drive the provisions out there.  It was a massive operation. Bressingham Church will always remember the Oates for their generous donation which started off the “Bell Restoration Project” and lead to  the bells ringing full circle again.  We now have 6 bells one dedicated to John Oates - read more >

A big thank you too  to Brenda for all the tireless fundraising events she has organized on behalf of Bressingham Church and all her generosity and friendship.

Brenda Oates
Brenda Oates Jan and husband Neils came to Fersfield 14 months ago after living for 20 years in Sonning Common, Berkshire. Jan worked as a teacher for children with special learning difficulties and Neils worked as a civil enginner. Their two children grew up there and are now, in their late twenties, have left home.
Jan is the 4th generation of farmers from Norfolk - her Aunt still lives in the county. Jan’s grandmother raised chickens and cows on a small piece of land and also ran a bed and breakfast near Bungay. Jan has many happy childhood memories of helping with the animals. So it was in Jan’s blood to want to be a smallholder.  During their first year here they had 2 pigs on their 2 acres of land and this year they bought 3 Ryeland Sheep who have produced 6 lambs. They also have 12 chickens provide eggs and have a very bossy cockrel!  Once a week one of Jan’s neighbours, a young man from Fenners Residential Home, comes to help her with her animals. Jan is also very active keeping fit by going to twice-weekly aqua fit classes at Diss Swimming Pool and has joined Natalie’s Knitters held weekly at the Reform Church in Diss.  Jan also loves craft work and has done courses on weaving, spinning and felt making for which she plans to use the fleece from her sheep. Neils is interested in history and is busy tracing his family roots in Lincolnshire where his grandfather was an Architect.  He often takes visitors to Fersfield Church and wishes more churches were able to stay open.


Charles and Liz Handy pay them a visit ....  
The Kinnear Kings in their French home - photo by Liz Handy The view from the Kinnear King's window
Charles and I were delighted to visit Adrian and Moira Kinnear King in their new home, a 900-year old farmhouse just outside Sguret in Provence in France, which they bought two years ago. Built by the Knights Templers as a Commanderi, the house had not been lived in for at least 100 years before Adrian started transforming it into a family home. It already has a new roof, new wiring,  new cedar beams and new plumbing, all being done or project managed  by Adrian.  Moira is yet to begin on the garden.  The view from their windows is to die for - they look out over the vineyards of Rasteau and Roaix and can see the foothills of the Alps which rise from the Rhone Valley. Their village is one of the 'most beautiful villages in France'.  Moira and Sam (their dog) are there for a two-week visit from Fersfield. You can see Sam is very much at home in front of their wood burning stove in their first ˜almost finished" room. Adrian's paintings cover many of the walls - the walls if they could speak would I am sure have many stories to tell.  Good luck to the Kinnear Kings - they will be much missed back in Norfolk once they sell their house and make the final move.
Susan Hudson
Claire and Mervyn  Porter came to Bressingham with their two boys from Tunbridge Wells in  2005.  Their criteria for finding a new house was “no neighbour and a garden”.  They started looking in Devon where prices were almost as high as Kent.  Mervyn remembered having a holiday in Eye as a child and it being very pretty!  So they began looking in East Anglia.  After a year’s search they found their present house which fits all their criteria and they say they will never move. The difference in house prices enabled them to build on two more bedrooms, a studio and an office as outside log cabins.
Claire Porter

Mervyn, like many in this area, works from home but needs to be within reach of cities.  Mervyn and Claire run a Limited Company specialising in creating software packages for manufacturing organizations. Dylan and Hallam, now 13 and 11 respectively, both went to Bressingham Primary School.  Dylan moved on to Old Buckenham and Hallam will be going to Diss High School.  Claire now combines working from home with working five mornings a week at TW Gaze in Diss. Since being here Claire has completed a degree course with the open university and has a BA (Hons) in Humanities with Literature.  One of the courses was on creative writing and it was then that Claire started writing.  She has completed her first novel which a publisher has shown an interest in.  She already has ideas for her second novel.  Claire also makes ceramics and provides bespoke items to Swank Interiors.  She also makes beach houses and birds on drift wood which she has sold to a shop in Southwold. 

Claire has always loved plants - her father was head gardener on an estate in Kent where she was brought up on.  Her father specialised in fuschias.  So we are lucky that Claire took on running the  Flower Show - which had been in abeyance for a few years.  This year’s flower show will combine with Bressingham School’s fete on 20th July.  The Show will be in the village hall and the fete on the playing fields.  She is hoping that this will encourage a lot of young entrants to the show. 



Lesa Orford

Lesa Orford

The FABS are getting ready to organize the School Summer Fete which is to be held with the Flower Show on Saturday 20th July 11am to 3pm at Bressingham Village Hall and Playing Field.  More details about this will be on the website soon.

Lesa Orford is the secretary of the Friends Association of Bressingham School and their aim is to raise money for the school.  As we read from Kirsty - they raised £200 from their garage sales and hope to raise a lot more from the fete.  It sounds as if it will be a great event with a grand raffle prize (Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 kindly donated by Midwich Ltd), lots of craft stalls, ferret racing,  teddy bear naming, a gymnastic display, karate display, tug of wars, a fire engine and ambulance and lots more for you to come and browse.  Park Radio will be coming so the fete will be “on air” - as well as giving music and entertainment.  They are hoping that many of the school children and their parents will enter the competitions that are running with the flower show and maybe many of the parents will enjoy the “pimms” bar available.

Lesa is new to her role as secretary for the FABS team.  Her daughter Ruby is in year 1 class 2 and her son Charlie will join Bressingham School in September.  Although the Orfords live in Roydon they wanted their children to go to Bressingham.  They wanted a smaller school and were most impressed by the open day they went to when they were shown round by a class 4 pupil.  Funnily enough, Andy, Lesa’s husband went to Roydon school although he grew up in Bressingham!  But he did play  in Bressingham football team under 9’s to under 16’s.  Lesa works for Midwich Ltd in Diss where she is a Senior HR Advisor and Andy works for Brownes Butchers in Harleston where he is Manager.  So they are a very local family.

A tribute to Barbara Brooke by her husband
We met at a Young Farmers dance in Bungay and we lived at Valley Farm in Bressingham all our 61 years of married life. The last couple of years we have been at Walcott Hall.  We did mixed farming cattle and arable on 110 acres, before the children came Barbara helped on the farm.  Now our son John and grandson Robert run the farm. Barbara was always very much part of the village, she was school governor, church warden and trustee of the Fuel Allotment.
Sue Hudson

She was always the first  to welcome newcomers to the village bearing a cake. She ran annual coffee mornings in Valley Farm barn and over the years raised hundreds of pounds for the community. She used to welcome a classroom of children from the school to show them round the farm, and what they enjoyed most was eating strawberries and cream and cake in the garden - many generations enjoyed this.

She was a wonderful mother to John and Angela and a very active grandmother. John and his family lived in the bungalow next door. Barbara each year took a special pride in arranging the Remembrance Day service and maintaining the war memorial site throughout the year.  Robert  has, for the last couple of years, read the role call of all the names on the memorial. Grace (his sister)  is now living in Diss and working in Long Stratton.  Angela worked at Barclays Bank in Diss for 40 years and sadly died last year.



Linda Holly has lived  in Bressingham for 4 years.  Linda has considered East Anglia her home since childhood - (she lived in East Anglia for 5 years as a child and her mother still lives here).  Linda has lived in many countries round the world and travelled extensively. She worked for Gulf Air in Bahrain as a stewardress. It was there she met her husband Jack who is an American.  After Bahrain they briefly lived in the US and Jack’s 3 teenage sons came to live with them. Later Jack worked for the US Navy in London. When they bought a house on the edge of the fens Linda did a  BA in history at UEA and then went on to do an MA in early English history. 
It was then that Linda became interested in the historical environment.  She has spent much time researching l7th century records of  the “drainage of the fens” and the management of the landscape which was operated by the “court of sewers”.  She is interested in how language and thought eventually lead to the origins of modern capitalism. Linda is also interested in the countryside and the sustainability of land.

Chris Scott is also a new member of the parish council.  He lives in Fersfield and has only been here since March, and works for Sentry Ltd who are Farm Contractors and Chris works at Hall Farm. 75% of Sentry’s work is in East Anglia and  there are 7 or 8 farms in Suffolk and Norfolk. Chris’s job consists of looking after wheat, linseed, sugar beet, rape and spring wheat - so he is always busy, especially at this time of year with the harvest coming up. Chris has not come from far - he grew up near Colchester and his family still live there, but Chris loves the peace and quiet of this part of the world. 

Chris Scott
After leaving school Chris trained as a chef and went to catering college.  But after joining the Young Farmers in Essex as a member he decided he wanted an outdoor life - and so went back to college to study agriculature for another 2 years at Writtle College in Chelmsford.  There he spent one day a week working on a farm as well as most weekends. After leaving College Christ trained as a manager with Sentry  - and then started work. Chris loves his work - as there is always something new to learn.  His puppy Cleo now 20 weeks old rides on the tractor with him and is nearly always by his side.  Chris has just joined the Young Farmers Group in Diss.  He was also a member of the Young Farmers Tug of War Team in Essex that came 6th in the national competition competing with 610 other teams.His dream is to have his own arable farm one day of about 1,000 acres - in the meantime he is looking after other people’s farms.


Alison was brought up in Fersfield and although she moved away to Kent for 15 years after she got married, she's back and has been working in her family’s farming business - G J Orford and Partners in Fersfield - for the last four years.  There are six employees and four family members. The farm is very diverse -  they own 600 acres but also have a contracting business using their farm equipment for fertilizing, spreading and tilling.
  They have a recycling business on which Alison spends most of her time. They recycle fertilizer bags, spray cans, seed bags, black plastic cover from silage - which has to be collected from approximately 200 farms in Norfolk and Suffolk - 98% of what is collected is recycled and made into other products.Alison has taken courses in agriculture in Stoke Mandeville Buckinghamshire and at Easton College, but what she most benefited from was learning to drive a tractor as a child - and also spending time working in the field with the team at Hill Farm who have helped her.  Alison can, and has to, multitask from doing the wages to tilling the land.  Seeing women driving tractors or lorries is not unusual today. I asked Alison what work an average year in the farm was made up of:

January and February - quiet months when time is spent on maintenance of machines.
March, April & May - spraying, drilling and fertilizing (crops are spring barley, wheat and sugar beet)
June & early July - busy recycling time collecting seed bags etc from the farms - machines are checked in readiness for the harvest.
End of July - harvest begins
August - oil seed rape is drilled and is the first to be combined.
September - the busiest time lifting sugar beet, drilling for winter crops (winter wheat and barley)
October, November & December - lLifting sugar beet and spraying

Farming she says has changed over the last 15 years with a lot of admin and paperwork - but  the big advantage is the mobile phone.  It means the office can be in touch with those working in the fields as well as those in the fields being able to be in touch with each other.  The mind boggles as what way farming will have changed by the time Alison’s son Joe grows up!
Both Sam and Heidi subscribe to Bressingham tennis court and love playing there. As a child Sam lived in Bressingham and went to go Bressingham Primary School and often played tennis on the Bressingham court.  He was also a member of the Bressingham Youth Club and played was in the Bressingham football team.  Sam then went onto  Diss High School.  Heidi also went to Diss High School but they did not meet until they had both left!

Sam went to University in Derby where he studied Sports and Exercise Science.  Heidi did a foundation course in design at Wentham Lodge and then went on to study shoe Design at De Mortford College in Leicester. But they have both come back to live in Diss.  Heidi has just started a job in Norwich with the Florida Group and is doing design for Van Dal footware company.  Sam is now a plasterer and general builder but teaches tennis and is a sports coach in his spare time. Sam likes teaching adults as well as children and you can contact Sam on T: 07714 706033. (Re playing tennis at Bressingham Court contact Brenda Webb on T: 01379 688375 and see the Sport section opposite).

Sam in the meantime is teaching Heidi tennis which luckily she loves as its something they will be doing alot of in the future - but shoe design is Heidi’s passion as you can see from her tennis footware!



Rebecca and Brian Greathead
Rebecca and Brian Greathead have lived in Bressingham for 14 years.  Brian has his own architectural firm in London and lives there during the week.  Rebecca was brought up in rural Herefordshire and loves being in the country.  She has been very busy home schooling their two children - Briony and Bobby.  They both went to the Play Group in Bressingham and so have quite a few local friends. Briony  is now at  Diss High School and Bobby will follow her next year - he plays in the Diss Rugby team that plays at Bressingham playing fields and also goes to the Swimming Club in Diss with the Otters. 
Rebecca went to Falmouth Art School and later did a masters in education and art at Norwich.  Before the children were born she taught art at a local school and ran creative workshops with schools and galleries.  Lucky for them both their parents have followed them  to East Anglia and live  near by.
Rebecca and Brian Greathead
Rebecca and Brian Greathead
Sophie lives with her parents and sister in Fersfield where she has lived for 5 years and for 10 years before they lived in Shelfanger. But Sophie is very determined - she left Diss High School to go to the 6th form in North Walsham, which meant travelling 4 hours a day - leaving home at 6am, cycling to Diss Station and getting back at 6pm or later.  Sophie did this as she particularly wanted to do the Art Course there for her A levels. She achieved an A grade, and hopes to go on to Art School next year and study film. But this is her gap year and she is determined to raise enough sponsor money to go on Raleigh International (see their website - click here). They run expeditions to Borneo, Costa Rica and Nicaragua and Tanzania for individuals to work on sustainable and worthwhile community and environmental projects alongside young people from the host country and local skilled workers. Sophie has to raise about £2,800 to enable her to join one of these expeditions.  So far she has raised £260 so has some way to go.  But her poster describes the kind of jobs she is willing to do for a 'donation' eg house cleaning, gardening, car washing, dog walking, sweeping leaves, babysitting, lawn mowing etc. She can also give references.  To contact Sophie email her or ring 01379 687587 or 07788 239122.

 


   
David Choules and Denise Port
David Choules and Denise Port came to Bressingham 10 years ago from Essex where David was a builder and Denise worked as a cook in a childrens day nursery.  They planned to buy a house where they could do B&B and work together. When they found Rodger Groome’s old house for sale they knew this was the ideal place to convert for their B&B business. Many people will remember Rodger and Janet Groom who  lived in Bressingham for many years.

David and Denise opened their B&B two years ago and say they have been very busy.  During the summer they have had a  90% capacity.  They say that many people come back again and most of their guess come through word of mouth or through Trip Advisor. They are amazed at how many tourists come to South Norfolk.  They tend to like to bird watch, walk on the Fens or visit the beautiful churches.  They also have a lot of guests who come to local family weddings or parties or people who are house hunting in the area.

David and Denise support local businesses by recommending local eating places and also buying everything they can locally.  They find Norfolk people very friendly and wish they had more time to join in local events.  You can read more about them on their website.

If you have a family of  3 horses, 3 children, 1 dog and 1 cat, it can be difficult to find a house to rent.  But the Marshall family were lucky to find such a place in Bressingham where Lynn Fox had her riding school.  They moved in last August and are really happy to be here - it was the second time they had moved in a year as the last house they rented had been condemned!

But its an unusual family in that they also have 3 teachers in the family. The reason for their move from Cambridge was that Peter had been offered a headship at Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft.  He was due to start in January but in September the school was placed into “special measures”, so Peter took up his post in October 2012. Tanya was running the Young Actors Company in Cambridge for 2 years but gave up her job when they moved.  She has now started a company of her own for acting workshops for children as well as a children actor agency (see her website).  This week she starts her first workshop in Bressingham Village Hall on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings see poster for more details. Rosie their daughter is a teaching assistant at a Hobart High School in Norfolk.  She has her final year doing an Open University Degree Course in Sports and English.  She hopes to train as a teacher with the Schools Direct placement scheme. Tom now 12 started at Diss High School this term.  He has been elected to the school Council. Tom has always liked acting since the age of 2, and at 5 he entered the Young Actors Company which his mother eventually worked for.  Living in Bressingham with Diss’ frequent trains to London makes it possible for him to go up to London for auditions. Harry started at Bressingham Primary school this term and has recently had his 5th birthday.  Lucky for him he was one of the l7 new pupils starting this term.

 

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