Walsham le Willows

News Updates

THIS IS IMPORTANT ! HERE IN WALSHAM WE HAVE A DEFIBRILLATOR ! We must thank the Sports Club for purchasing this vital piece of equipment which is located at their clubhouse which you will find on the left hand side of Summer Road approximately half of a mile from the Six Bells crossroads. The defibrillator is located just inside the front door of the Club with instructions to break the glass for access if the Club is locked, and this is clearly displayed for anyone who may need this item.

Although this information is not strictly an ‘Update’ it is information for visitors who might desperately need this item of equipment - hopefully not !

It's all happening here in Walsham! If you don't believe me, just look below! And also look in the Diary of Events

October 2016


We had a fantastic weekend especially after a very disappointing couple of years. The good turnout on the Sunday was surpassed by double the number of people coming on the Monday with approximately 1500 in total over the two days.

The visitors did not only come for the gardens, however beautiful they are BUT they also appreciated the calm and serenity of our lovely village including the live music. There was also a Village Market and an Art Exhition and a Flower Festival in St Mary‘s churchthat was well worth a visit. There were also vintage cars on display with a 1936 Rolls Royce Phantom which was providing a very special chauffer service. And there must be a very special mention of the wonderful choice of snacks, lunches and teas available in the village. These were very appreciated by our visitors!

None of this special weekend would be possible if it wasn‘t for the dedication and hard work of the hundreds of people who come together to make this all possible. And of course the Garden Owners who were so proud to share their gardens over the weekend.

The brilliant turnout resulted in overall takings getting towards the £20K mark although this does‘nt take into account of the expenses associated with running this annual event. The money raised will allow 50% of the profit to go to the church and the remainder is available to various village organisations.

The above is extracted from the article published in the October edition of the Observer

June 2016


Here is yet another book from the pen of our “Cycling Author”, Ian Toulson.

A photograph showing the cover of this new book.

This one is quite different to the many books previously produced by Ian... This is a book full of Crossword, So-Doku and other puzzles involving words, letters etc. The principle of including a crossword, dingbat or whatever was applied by Ian over his many years as editor of our monthly Observer magazine and he has now cobbled up a load of new ones which are now presented in this handy little book.

Any money raised from this publication will be split between the Organ Fund and the Fabric Fund of St Mary‘s Church here in our village. I would assure you that the answers to these puzzles are included in the back of the books ! So, these books would be a very acceptable stocking filler, especially for the old codgers to enjoy whilst the younger ones are playing with their Eye Phones and Eye Pads !

You can obtain a copy by phoning Ian Toulson on 01359-259646

March 2016


A picture of a poster drawn by a young Walsham girl.

This a picture of a poster drawn/painted by Bethany Campbell, a local young school– girl who took part in the National School Competitionl entitled “A Clean Up for The Queen,” where she achieved the title of Runner Up. Congratulations Bethany !

April 2016


A motif showing Walking Football.

There is now a new kid on the block ! In the shape of the Walsham Sports Club – WALKING FOOTBALL

From 8.00 until 9.00 pm: on Mondays and Tuesdays at the Walsham Sports Club in Summer Road there will be sessions of this ‘New Sport’ and everyone is invited to take part. Everyone ?!

Walking Football is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game primarily aimed at the over 50s. Walking Football is designed to help people keep an active lifestyle irrespective of their age, as well as getting those back playing football who perhaps had to stop due to injuries.

Rules / Guidelines

• Players are prohibited from sprinting, running or jogging while the ball is in play • Anyone doing so is penalised with a free-kick awarded to the other team • No slide tackles are allowed • Played with a size 4 Futsal ball (if available) indoors or use a traditional ball outdoors • If the ball goes off the pitch over the touchline, the game is restarted via a kick, roll or throw-in (to allow for different physical capabilities) Note: It is strongly recommended to use a roll or kick in for indoor facilities • It can be played indoors or outdoors depending on weather and available facilities

Variations and game adaptations can be made to suit participants’ needs and capabilities.

Play the game you love but reduce the chances of injury. It's a great way to keep fit, learn skills, have fun and socialise all at the same time!

A commemt from your ‘webmaster!’; has anyone noticed that there is no mention of gender so presumably the ‘have fun and socialise all at the same time’ really does mean that !

For more information ring Mike Powles on 01359 221618

March 2014

Another Walsham History Group publication.

– CAPTURED IN BLACK AND WHITE. The Suffolk Village of Walsham le Willows.

The History Group has published ‘The life and times of Fred Ellis, Photographer and Bus Driver 1900–1996.’

A black and white photograph showing the cover of this book.

These are a collection of black and white photographs (As it says in the title!) and this book is now on sale at £5.00 and, as with all of the other History Group books, these are available from Ann Daniels, 01359 258535

Each page has a full page black and white photograph, or photographs, of various Walsham people or scenes from the village, all of which are detailed below the images.

November 2015

Another Eye !

Here is yet another book from the pen of our “Cycling Author”, Ian Toulson.

Last Christmas saw the arrival of An Eye For Poetry – a collection of poems gleaned from the pages of The Walsham Observer. This year sees the follow-up volume, Another Eye. This again contains poems from the same renowned publication, plus a few from the walls of academe, namely Thurston Community College; particularly the Staffroom Notice board and the Gents toilets (nothing risqué). For a small donation of at least £5.50 this scurrilous tome could be gracing your bookshelves. You can obtain a copy from outside Rolfes of Walsham during the four mornings of the Christmas week or by phoning Ian Toulson on 01359-259646

Dare I say; another ideal stocking filler – just get a bigger stocking !

A photograph showing the cover of the Another Eye book.

November 2015

Two wheels, one leg, no lycra. (Adrift with a bike in Suffolk)

A photograph showing the cover of this book. Rob‘s Book.

This is a book which tells us about Rob Barber‘s bike ride around Suffolk to raise funds for the Walsham le Willows Village Memorial Hall.

Rob celebrated his 80th birthday with this journey around the county of Suffolk, details of which appear on this web page.

This is an excellent read and is yet another suitable item that would make a very popular Christmas gift for anyone; although this is a record of this bike ride it also records much of what Suffolk is all about, it‘s birds, flora and an interesting potted history of a few of old Suffolk families. Buy it!

Contact Rob on 01359 259689 or pop into our Coffee Shop on a Tuesday or Thursday morning in the Memorial Village Hall between 10.00 and 12.00am:

November 2015

Bar Bag!

Below you will see yet another “Special Book Offering” from the pen of our well-known (Very!) cyclist affectionaly known as “Red Sox”, and you see all of the details that you will need to purchase this latest item that you can then use as a very worthwhile gift in this coming festive season.

And as they say, “Enjoy!”.

A photograph showing the blue coloured cycling book. A photograph showing the buff coloured cycling book. The two books of the Special Book Offer.

Bar Bag Suffolk is a pair of books, produced by Ian Toulson, detailing cycle rides around the whole of Suffolk and the facilities that (Attractions, B&Bs, Bookshops, Cafes, Campsites, Cycle Shops, Nature Reserves, Pubs, Stores & Post Offices, and the Tourist Information Offices) are available in the towns and villages which the ride passes through, as well as details about the rail network in the county, in fact nearly all that one might need to prepare for a day ride, or longer, in the county.

The rides range in distance from over 30 miles to ones of a bit more than 130, and are almost exclusively on the minor roads of the county. Sketch maps of the rides, together with detailed tables of instructions about where turns left or right shoud be made have been designed to help the cyclist negotiate the routes with ease.

Although the routes are centred on Bury St Edmunds - looping out to the county boundary and back - they can be joined in many places - these points being indicated both on the maps and on the tables. A few of the rides pass through Walsham le Willows.

The routes were designed to link up at various points so it is possible for the really energetic rider, or those wishing to have an extended leisurely ride, to circle the boundary of the county.

Copies are available in some cycle shops, bookshops, cafes, and Tourist Information Offices around the county, or by going to the web site Ian‘s Bike Rides http:/iansbikerides.webplus.net you can find out how to obtain this pair of books and other of his volumes.

They might make a good Stocking filler or Birthday present.

Money raised from the sale of these books will be going to Walsham le Willows Open Gardens Trust, a charity in the village that raises money for village organisations and St Mary’s, the village church.

October 2015

Pumpkin Competiton 2015

The annual competition took place in the Six Bells car park where there was the usual barbeque kindly provided by Kathy and Gordon.

This annual competition is judged on the weight of the submitted pumpkins with, obviously, the heaviest being the winner !

This year has not been very kind to our 'Usual Suspects' and at the weigh–in they were very conspicous by their absence ! However the day was saved by Mrs Tery Tanner who had grown an 81 and frac34;lb Pumpkin. The next heaviest one was only 20 and ¼lb and this was grown by Brandon Hurrel.

The day was saved by the younger members of our community who were very busily carving some quite elaborate pumpkins. For 2015 our resident Potter, Rob Wheeler had produced yet another trophy which is for the best carved pumpkin/ lantern and this was presented to the winner, Marley Browne, who you may remember(?), was mentioned on this page last year for his creative carvings.

I will repeat, word for word, the last sentence from last year's report - ‘This is still a popular event although the growing conditions this year have been rather strange, as everyone can testify!’

A photograph showing a pumpkin carved into a groteque face complete with sticking out ears!. The winning carved pumpkin. A photograph showing a lot of people at tables under a corrugated roof.. Children and their parents helping to carve the lanterns.

March 18th 2015

Rob‘s Cycle Challenge

Rob Barber, our Community Council Chairman is cycling around Suffolk as a personal challenge re. his 80th year, and also as a means of raising more money towards the refurishing of our Memorial Village Hall. There is further information in the articles below this introduction

“We’re raising £200 to kickstart phase 4 of refurbishing the Village Hall because the 1950s building is not fit for the 21st century.

This 1950’s prefabricated Memorial Village Hall is being transformed into a community venue fit for the 21st century. Since 2000 we have created a surfaced car park for 50 vehicles; built an extension to provide storage for equipment, plus facilities for the disabled; obtained a demountable stage; and rebuilt cloakrooms. The final phase will include new windows & insulation of walls in the main hall plus the provision of a new kitchen and serveries.

The Memorial Village Hall is in the centre of the village and is a major focus for community life, used for Post Office, Coffee Shop, Parent & Toddler Group, Carpet Bowls, Babminton, Horticultural Show, Musical Events, Touring Theatre Productions, Club Dinners, etc. Our 21st century community deserves 21st century facilities, not an emergency built post World War 2 shell.

The money will kick start this phase of the building work and provide a seed–bed for grant applications which will ultimately provide modern, Health & Safety compliant facilities and a fully insulated building to reduce energy costs.

The whole project will be completed by 2017.”

A photograph of a man standing next to a bicycle in front of a building.

“As chair of the Community Council which maintains the MVH, I decided to celebrate my 80th year by facing the challenge of cycling around Suffolk, over 200 miles, to raise awareness of, and funding for, the regeneration of this much needed community building.


Rob completed this tremendous Cycle challenge and raised over £4,225 ! Congratulations to him, this was a terrific achievement and the amount raised will be yet another help towards the constant refurbishment of our Village Memorial Hall, a project that is one of Rob's passions. In fact Rob so enjoyed his cycle ride that he was almost sorry to actually finish it!

Here are a few images of Rob; one of him ready to go outside the village hall, one of him cycling off from the village hall car park and one of Rob ouside The Plough at Rede, at lunchtime on the second day.

A photograph of a man standing with his bike outside a building. A photograph of a man cycling away from the camera waving his arm in farewell. A photograph of a man standing with his bike outside a public house ‐the Plough at Rede.

A summary of Rob’s Suffolk Cycle Challenge Route.

A black and white drawing of a map showing the route of the cycle ride.

And lastly

An Old Guy’s Suffolk Ride


I have often heard it said, and in Coffee Shop too, when people come to look at someone else’s life or to re-assess a situation of their own “Ah well, you can’t turn the clock back”. Yes, the years slip by so easily and entry into that select company of octogenarians does make one take stock of one’s self. But I am of the school which believes even if “you can’t turn the clock back” you can at least try to “wind it up again”.

So, as I am entering my eighties, I have given myself a challenge to cycle around Suffolk, revisiting familiar places and finding some, as yet, unexplored corners, to experience what cannot be felt in the car, the physical, sensory and emotional feel of the diversity of Suffolk’s landscape. It is a beautiful place, bearing comparison with my home county of Norfolk!

Sponsorship of the challenge would also help to raise awareness of, and find funds for, the final phase of the complete regeneration of Walsham’s Memorial Village Hall.

My odyssey will, I hope, highlight something of Suffolk’s unique character, its landscape, its buildings, its history and be of interest to other lovers of where we live. I take note of Benjamin Franklin’s observation, “We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing”.”

And you can also log onto Rob’s profile on Facebook; www.facebook.com/RobBarbersCycleChallenge" and you can see how to sponsor Rob on; www.justgiving.com/yimby/MVH#/." Thank you.

February 2015

Setting Off with Cakes and Coffee 2015

Cycle Ride Loops From Walsham Village Hall

If you cycle and have been to Walsham le Willows Memorial Village Hall on a Tuesday or Thursday morning you may well be interested in Ian Toulson’s latest project which is a book of cycle rides starting and finishing at Walsham Village Hall.

The rides range from just 1.6miles to those covering 30 miles. As well as the routes, produced in map and table form, there is information about the facilities to be found in each village passed through as well as a number of ‘helpful’ tips for the less experienced rider.

To obtain a copy of this book a suggested minimum donation of £4.50 is being asked for. All money raised will be going toward the continuing refurbishment of the Village Hall.

Copies are available from Ian by calling him on 01359-259646

A photograph of the front cover of the Walsham Cycle Rides book.

November 24th 2014

Another Walsham History Group publication – BYGONE WALSHAM le WILLOWS

The History Group has published a collection of photographs which is now on sale at £5.00 and as with other History Group books these are available from Ann Daniels, 01359 258535

A photograph showing the front cover of the Bygone Walsham le Willows book. Below the title there is an old photograph of the main street of Walsham.

Each page has a full page black and white photograph of various Walsham houses and roads that have been reproduced from old photographs and in some instances the quality is naturally rather poor however they are a record of times gone by in Walsham le Willows. Where dates etc. are known this has been added below the individual photographs. There are 78 of these photographs.

November 24th 2014


A photograph showing the front cover of a book.  This is in black and white and shows a bearded gentleman standing on a lawn backed by shrubs, and he is holding an open book.

This book contains 91 poems selected by Ian Toulson. During his time as Editor of the Walsham Observer he included some 250 poems within its covers. This collection is taken from the first years of his editorship. These poems were always intended to raise a smile and perhaps make a timely observation.

All proceeds from the sale of this publication will be used to support the ongoing costs of the refurbishment of the Walsham le Willows Memorial Village Hall.

To purchase copies of this book or for further details visit www.iansbikerides.webplus.net

October 2014


Over the last few(?) years our long standing, but now retired, Editor of our monthly magazine, The Observer has tackled many long and arduous cycle rides which have raised a large sum towards the restoration of our village hall.

He is, by name, Ian Toulson and here he is yet again with his account of his latest venture.

A photograph showing the front page of a book which has a photograph of a man on a bike in front of a montage of maps.

To visit the land of the midge and the promise of both wind and rain, especially after giving your word not to tackle any more really long rides, is the act of a bounder and cad, and a fool - not necessarily in that order - but that is just what Ian - one-time maths teacher, uneducated sportsman, and ‘full-on’ ham thespian - decided to do. Whether it was to celebrate having recently resigned his position as editor of Walsham’s village magazine, reassure himself that he was not giving in to the ravages of time, or just to explore the beauty of a country seeking its independence, was for others to decide. Suffice to say he had the decency to let his wife, Mary Jane, ‘accompany’ him to the islands of Shetland and Orkney, before heading off to the more serious cycling terrain of the West Highlands and Hebrides. This small volume is the diary of his ride - copies of which he emailed back to his friends and relations (as if they were interested!) - detailing the people he met, the items he unwittingly shed and the battles against terrain and weather. Throw in the occasional flashback and some homespun philosophy and you have the recipe for reading ‘pleasure’.

Thankfully, this time, he managed to remain upright for the whole journey, eschewing the enticements of a ‘wee dram’ but occasionally tucking into a plate of the ‘chieftain of the pudding race’. Ian eventually returned home slimmer but still no wiser about what drives him on and being ‘sensible’ not to vow never to do it all over again. Copies of this book - which has been produced to raise more money for the continuing refurbishment of the Village Hall - as well as other diaries of his rides can be obtained from Ian himself. Visit www.iansbikerides.webplus.net for further details.

March 26th 2014


Due to the research and dedication of Mr Herbert (‘Hubby’) Frost we are adding three more names to our WW1 war memorial which stands next to the porch of St Mary‘s Parish Church,


Hubby also found another eight men who were born in Walsham but they had moved away before they died during their active service and their names are mainly recorded on other villahe memorials, and five of those men were members of The Suffolk Regiment.

Thank you Hubby.

December 20th 2012

Village Memorial Hall Restoration Fund

Further down this 'page' we 'spoke' about the new toilets and that they were due to be finished by December 20th 2013 - well, they were! They were handed over by the builders during Friday the 20th and they are now complete, and looking very, very good! The old ones were really awful weren't they? There are a few photographs here to give you a flavour of these improved, updated and modern toilets.

But before adding these photographs it should be explained that the Gent's toilets are now accessed via the new door on the left as you come through the porch.

Three of the ladies toilets are in the old but rebuilt area and there is now an additional toilet in what was the old cleaning cupboard, which contained the cleaning equipment. The new facilities all include hand driers, mirrors etc. with all of the sinks built into vanity units, there are also adequate heaters installed and all of the door furniture is very up-to-date and modern in its design. All in all they are excellent!

Here are the Ladies new facilities.

A photograph showing a row of three blue doors outside the toilet cubicles. A photograph showing a toilet inside a cubicle with an open door. A photograph showing a blue vanity unit with two sinks.

And here are the Gents.

A photograph showing three urinals against a tiled wall. A photograph of an individual toilet indide a cubicle. A photograph of a vanity unit with two sinks.

Don't they look good!

October 2016

The Blue Boar is now open for business with new owners!

Joe and Ruth are the new owners of the Blue Boar and they are intending to continue running the pub and restaurant in the ame way as the previous owners. They are determined to keep this old pub as a friendly family orientated venue.

They have a menu of home cooked food with several special menus. Food is served daily (except Mondays when the Blue Boar is closed), from noon until 9pm. In addition Tuesday night is a Fish and Chips night including a takeaway facility, open from 4pm until 9pm. On Wednesday there is an Over 60's Lunchtime offer followed on Sunday when there is a Traditional Sunday Roast. There are also Bar Meals available.

Children are not forgotten with main meals available daily including the Sunday Roasts when their meals will be charged at half price.

It is advised that you should book to avoid disappointment and you can make these bookings on 01359 259168.

November 25th 2012

The Wild Wood Group inaugural planting

On Sunday November 25th volunteers from the Wild Wood Group gathered in their 'field' behind the allotments off Wattisfield road to plant the saplings that had been given to them from the Woodland Trust.

 A photograph showing several people planting saplings, shown on the left side of the field.
Hedge planting.

These were actually 428 'whips', a large Hazel coppice, a circle of Birch trees and the Sandringham Oak, all part of the Jubilee pack of hedge and tree plants from the Woodland Trust.

 A photograph showing four children playing on piles of earth with a view of the parish church in the background.
Church view from site, children playing on the planting mulch.

The Jubilee pack included that Oak sapling which was from the Sandringham Estate to mark the Queen's Jubilee, and this young 'tree' was planted by young Luke !

 A photograph showing a field with a line of people posing for a group photograph.
All of the volunteers after the planting.

This was a very successful, and enjoyable, day where the saplings were finally placed in their new home! And there will be much more planting fun at 10am on Sunday December the 16th. At last the wood is now finally becoming a reality !

 A photograph showing a wooden Wild Wood sign in front of a field which has a number of saplings on the left.
The new sign.

June 5th 2012

The Walsham le Willows Memorial Village Hall Restoration Project

 A photograph showing a patio garden with trellis arbours and a trellis fence in the background and with lots of colourful flowers.
The Freeborn Garden.

On Monday June the 4th the extended Village Hall was officialy opened, along with the new Freeborn Garden. A commemorative plaque was unveiled by village resident Mrs. Joan Freeborn, whose late husband Ray Freeborn created and donated "The Freeborn Garden". Unfortunately Ray did not live to see the fruits of his labours but fortunately he was delighted to have seen the plaque earlier this year.

 A photograph showing a lady in a white shirt looking at a plaque which is on a trellis next to a window in a brick wall.
Joan Freeborn unveiling the plaque.

As you will be aware from other articles on this website the first stage of the Village Hall Restoration Project has been completed and Monday the 4th of June saw over 120 residents enjoying tea and cakes at this official opening. The day was blessed with a dry and sunny afternoon which showed the garden in all of its late Spring glory.

 A photograph showing a bald headed man bending forward and cutting a pink ribbon. There are three or four people in the background.
Bob Bell cuts the tape.

After an opening speech from the Community Council Chairman Rob Barber, he then called on the previous Chairman, Bob Bell to say a few words and Bob then explained some of the background to the building of the extension and then he listed the various organisations etc. that had helped with the funding of the project. He particularly mentioned the invaluable help given by Ian Bartholomew, and it is here relevant to tell everyone that although the decisions relating to the project were taken by the Community Council Committee, the detailed liason with the architect and the builder was undertaken by the executive committee which consisted of Bob Bell, Ian Bartholomew and Rob Barber. Bob then cut the tape at the point where the new extension joined onto the existing hall and the hall was officially opened!.

It was obvious to everyone that without the extension it would have been very difficult and very uncomfortable for this number of residents to have attended this opening, especially as there is now ample room for plenty of tables which enabled everyone to eat their cake and drink their tea in comfort ! The other reason for the increased area was accounted for by the removal of the old stage and the residents were also able to see the obvious advantage that this achieved enabling the whole area to be on one level - particularly appreciated by the people who were responsible for setting up and taking down the tables and chairs !

The speeches also reiterated the ongoing fund raising that is essential to enable the Community Council to proceed with the next stage - the updating of the toilet facilities; again this has been covered in other parts of this website (See the KUMFEY KARSY KWEST below this article). All in all this was a very successful showcase of the first stage of the restoration, and everyone could see how the results of the money that had already been raised had been spent.

It was then the turn of Joan Freeborn to give her speech relating to the building of the new patio garden which is now officially known as "The Freeborn Garden" and everyone was invited to step outside to see Joan reveal the plaque in the traditional way by pulling back the custom made little curtain ! There were of course many residents who were now seeing the garden for the first time and it was very gratifying for Joan and everybody else to hear the complimentary remarks made by everyone. The garden looked magnificent - just as Ray visualised it ! Then back inside to partake in tea and a taste of some wonderful cakes, all made by our local residents ! And so ended a very pleasant afternoon...

 A photograph showing a concrete path between flowers and a fence.  The path has a right angle in it.
The path from the car park.

Before closing this little article it is worth mentioning that the hall has now become much more suitable for wheelchair users by the addition of disabled toilet facilities in the extension and a user friendly path leading from the car park to the Freeborn Garden. And one other advantage of the extended area is that there is now a dedicated storage area for the Mother & Toddler Group equipment. And, there is the new small meeting room, and....!

To quote our Chairman Rob Barber; "This project brings Walsham village hall's facilities into the 21st century and has been achieved through the collective efforts of many local supporters and dedicated committee members." "The realisation of the Freeborn Garden on the sunny side of the hall has been a marvellous bonus and has created a facility which we are sure will be much used and appreciated by the whole community well into the future.!"

August 12th 2010

“Pieces Of Cake”

Cake recipes and tales from the Coffee Shop at the Walsham le WillowsVillage Memorial Hall

“It was a bad day in 2003 when Walsham le Willows Post Office closed, until eventually a Satellite Post Office was set up in the Village Memorial Hall on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Rob Barber then set up a Coffee Shop to run jointly with the Post Office from August 5th 2004..”

The Coffee Shop is run entirely by volunteers who take their favourite homebaked cakes, biscuits etc. to serve along with coffee, tea or a cold drink for a very modest £1.00. This booklet gives the public the opportunity to share those recipes and it is a very welcome addition to the various booklets published by the Community Council. Any profits accrued will help to fund the Village Memorial Hall Restoration Fund project.

Copies are available from the Coffee Shop or from Rob Barber on 01359 259689, at the cost of just £4.00

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