Posters suggesting mask wearing is dangerous appear in the village

You may have seen posters appearing around the village at bus shelters and elsewhere suggesting they are dangerous to the wearer. Wearing a facemask is about one thing: providing some degree of protection to others from your own exhalation in confined spaces or when otherwise in close proximity to others.

A couple of things to note if you are inclined to take the points in these posters at all seriously:

  • The last point on the posters suggests that there have been no peer reviewed studies of mask effectiveness but interestingly does not cite any peer reviewed studies for the contrary arguments or any of the other five assertions made. You may like to consider the following which appears to be based on verifiable science:

Who knew tissues and handkerchiefs worked…when they are used?

Relative sizes of a virus and molecules (Dr Anotella Frau in answer to question on Quora)

Relative scales (or orders of magnitude) are the key. As beautifully explained by Palli Thordarson. The SARS-CoV-19 and most viruses fall below the “polio virus” in size, as shown in the graphic above.

Molecules like O₂ – Oxygen (made of two atoms) or CH₄ – Methane (made of five atoms) are about the size of “atom” in the same graphic.

Along with oxygen, carbon dioxide molecules are also tiny, far smaller than droplets containing coronavirus which the masks are designed to stop – and won’t be trapped by a breathable material, particularly during relatively short periods like a bus journey.

SARS-CoV-2 particles do not float freely in the air. They are expelled as relatively large droplets, which research shows are easily caught by a simple cloth or paper mask. If an infected person doesn’t wear a mask, their droplets quickly evaporate into smaller droplet nuclei, which are harder to filter with a cloth mask. However there are some cloth mask designs which can do a very good job of this too.

from Particle sizes for mask filtration –

Brownian Motion (the random motion of particles suspended in a medium, a liquid or a gas).

  • Take a look at this video in which a doctor debunks the ‘oxygen depletion’ assertion and by implication, all of the other points made in the posters.

Walsham Drama Group takes a bow

line drawing of olive coloured comedy mask and mauve coloured tragedy mask

Listeners to BBC Radio Suffolk may have tuned in to the Breakfast Show on 31st August, and heard Matthew Lockyer, co-founder of the Walsham Drama Group, being
interviewed by Mark Murphy. Radio Suffolk were aware that the Drama Group had donated £5,000 to the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, and Mark was keen to give Matthew the opportunity to talk about how the money had been raised, and why the group had chosen the Theatre Royal as beneficiary.

Continue reading “Walsham Drama Group takes a bow”

Managing the Wild Wood

Walsham-le-Willows Wild Wood Group Logo

Although our intention is to create a woodland which both villagers and wildlife will see as a “wild wood” this does not mean that the area can just be left to its own devices.

Any useful habitat needs to be carefully managed and it is surprising how much work has to go into maintaining and developing most nature reserves.

Please help us in our work: take any litter home – clean up after your dog
but most of all . . . enjoy Walsham Wild Wood

Problems or Comments

Contact Richard Belson | 01359 258868

Continue reading “Managing the Wild Wood”

Gardens Weekend, an Update – October 2020

Walsham le Willows Open Gardens Weekend Banner
Image of blue cornflowes in white vase on table loooking through open gate in red brick wall out to The Street beyond

Many people in the village will have been saddened that the pandemic scuppered plans for 40th anniversary celebrations and that the August Bank Holiday passed by without the traditional fun enjoyed by so many, this event being a chance to
welcome hundreds of visitors to Walsham le Willows where they share in the things that make Walsham a very special place.

It is sincerely hoped that 2021 will be the year Gardens Weekedn returns even bigger and even better than before.

Continue reading “Gardens Weekend, an Update – October 2020”

Volunteer Collator Required

The Community Council is looking to appoint a new collator to oversee the monthly production of the printed version of the Walsham Observer.

This role will require a regular monthly time commitment of half a day co-ordinating a small team of fellow volunteers in the Memorial Hall.

Our aim is to engage a new person to this role from 1st January 2021. If you are interested, please contact the Editor or Community Council Secretary for further details.

Village Hall Update – October 2020

Walsham le Willows Memorial Hall

The hall upgrade is almost completed, the new anti-slip flooring is down, the second fix
to the electrics are done, with the cooker wired in and extra sockets and the stainless
kitchen units have been delivered.
The back log of maintenance is getting shorter with new vent covers fitted to the outside of the vents from the male toilets and the broken concrete over the old cesspit to the
back of the hall assessed, removed and area made good.

The coffee shop held every Thursday morning 10.30 -12 noon, continues to be a great
success, in fact this weeks , 24th September, was a special one and raised a staggering
£271.88, every penny going to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Continue reading “Village Hall Update – October 2020”

Neighbourhood Plan Group looking for a Secretary

The Neighbourhood Plan Group are looking for someone to step forward to the role of Secretary for its meetings.  It involves taking notes in a one page format at two meetings a month at 7-8pm on a Thursday, typing them up, circulating to the group via email and, once approved, distributing for publication on the Parish Council website and in The Observer.

Sometimes there are additional events and presence at those would be according to availability and agreement, the role otherwise being limited as specified.

This role enormously supports communication about the work of the group and is crucial to stimulating the engagement of a diverse mix of people with that work and hopefully at the meetings. It is a voluntary position which will be hugely appreciated by the group.

Expressions of interest to

St Mary’s Clock Dial Restored

It’s time to put the clock back!

The magnificent clock dial for St Mary’s church in Walsham-le-Willows, Suffolk was restored and reinstated by S Michlmayr & Co Ltd., clock and watchmakers of Norwich, and financed by the Walsham le Willows Open Gardens Trust from funds raised in the past from its August Bank Holiday event.

S Michlmayr & Co blog have recently restored and reinstated the magnificent clock dial for St Mary’s church.

St Mary’s church sits at the centre of Walsham and is impressive by any standards, with a large clerestory and an interesting chequerwork flint porch. It was gifted to Ixworth Priory around 1540 and, as is the case with many English Churches, was lavishly restored by the Victorians, although many of the medieval features have been retained.

It is unusual for a village church to feature a clock; in fact St Mary’s sheer scale and
grandeur puts it on the map as one of the stand-out village churches in the county.

Continue reading “St Mary’s Clock Dial Restored”

Parish Council – Upcoming Street Sweeper Vacancy

The Parish Council will soon have a vacancy for the paid (self-employed) role of streetsweeper and play area maintenance person.

Now that the Parish Council has assumed full control of the Play Area it is an appropriate time to review the Statement of Particulars for both roles before advertising.

If you might be interested, please watch this space or the Observer for the advertisement.

Memorial Hall Re-Opens for Covid Secure events

The Memorial Hall has re-opened but only for events that can be assessed as possible with Covid Secure compliance. Please contact Amanda Ellis to discuss your event so that an assessment can be completed for your proposed event.

Restarting of Yoga Classes

From 9th September Hath yoga for healthy breathing stretching and relaxation with restart again. No previous experience required and all abilities welcome.

From 7.15 to 9.15 pm every Wednesday evening.

Further details from Julia (British Wheel of Yoga) 07980476140 or

Another Historic Churches Ride for 2020

Takes place on Saturday 12th September from 9.00am and 5.00pm

An excellent event, enabling you to take a pleasant leisurely ride around the area, visit a number of the local churches, meet other cyclists and maybe find somewhere to have a drink and a bite to eat – socially distanced, of course.

You might find yourself exploring some other area of Suffolk or even South Norfolk. Some
churches may provide refreshments, but don’t rely on it in these very different

The rise is for the benefit of Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (50%) and the other half goes to the church of your choice. Sponsor forms can be found in St Mary’s, or you can download here. List of churches that should be open.

Yu may have to self-register at some churches if there is no-one present to sign your sponsorship form. Take your camera, or smart-phone, and create a photographic record of your day out on two wheels as evidence for sponsors. Take something to write with for those places where you have to self-register.

Although the ride is scheduled for 9:00am till 5:00pm there is nothing to stop you
starting early and finishing late – for a really long ride – but in any event do cycle with
care and be consideration toward other road users – walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and
motorists. If you are driving in the area on that day do apply the same care and
consideration, and be aware that there may well be a cyclist around the next corner.

Do seriously consider taking part, your contribution will be much appreciated in these
Corvid strapped times with no village Church Fete or Open Gardens Weekend this year.

Julia’s Simple Free Forest Yoga – Donated Session

At the Walsham Wild Wood
Calm, Stretch and Breathe
10 am – 11 am 12th September

A wonderful one off chance to try some very simple yoga
outdoors with Julia – Walsham’s local yoga teacher – who
is very kindly donating a free hour’s yoga session up at the
Walsham Wild Wood.

Bring a mat or towel to lie on and
wear soft clothes so you can move and bend easily!

Memorial Village Hall New Alfresco Coffee Shop

The Community Council committee
would like to welcome back everyone to the
MVH Al Fresco Coffee Shop now re-opened under government guidelines for
village halls and COVID 19.

Teas, coffee and homemade cake is served in the ‘Freebourn Garden’
Open every Thursday
(to coincide with the Post Office Van and weather permitting)

New Time of 10.30am to 12.30pm
Pricing remains the same for 2020 as 2019.
Please come along and enjoy the garden and company.

Women’s Institute Lockdown Update – September 2020

There are signs that the village and its people are tentatively returning to a few of the
activities that have been absent for the last few months and Wednesday saw a group of
intrepid WI members, dutifully socially distanced, sitting beneath some very useful
canvas cover on the sports field.

Drab weather maybe but lively chat in that party, as friends who had not met since lockdown greeted one another with smiles and laughter. No business, no speaker but a real warm enjoyment of each other’s company.

The rain dripped steadily as news was exchanged and plans suggested for a repeat meeting if a suitable site and reliable weather could be forecast. And of course, there was cake!

All WI members are staying touch with The Hive, the on-line fortnightly WI magazine. Find it on the Suffolk West Federation website.

This month it details a list of new virtual talks available on line, available tomembers and non-members also.

Jill Newell

Memorial Village Hall Lockdown Update – September 2020

The hall kitchen upgrade is progressing. The walls in the kitchen have been made good
and painted a fresh white and the anti-slip flooring is being laid. The committee thank the Parish Council for paying for the flooring and helping to maintain a valuable village asset.

The new kitchen units are on order and hopefully will be delivered the beginning of September.

The coffee shop continues to be held in the garden and is proving a great success on
Thursday mornings, another thank you to all those that attend and those who bake for

With the continuing easing of lock-down, I am now back in contact with Fit Villages
Suffolk in the hope that as soon as the hall is ready we can start opening up for some
activities, in line with COVID 19 guideline and best practises.

Amanda Ellis

Community Council & Memorial Hall Lockdown Update – September 2020

Annual General Meeting

Following the article in the July Observer the trustees have now agreed that this year’s
AGM cannot be held in September as was previously hoped as the ongoing COVID19
social distancing restrictions will severely limit the number of people that could attend.

The position will however be kept under constant review and as soon as it is practically
possible to hold an unrestricted open public meeting in the Memorial Hall then the
required 21 days’ notice will be published and the necessary arrangements put in place.

In the meantime, the trustees will endeavour to ensure that the 2019 annual reports and
accounts for both charities are finalised and reported to the Charity Commission by the
deadline of 30th September 2020.

Ian Bartholomew
Honorary Secretary & Trustee
Walsham le Willows Community Council
Registered Charity no. 278321

Digital Interactions with Health and Care Services – Public Consultation

HealthwatchSuffolk (in partnership with Healthwatch Essex) have published a survey asking for people to feedback on experience of the vastly increased digital interactions with care and health services since the start of the pandemic not just for anyone who has used them but also for those who may need to use them in future.

What are digital services?

These services are all about the NHS and social care services using technology to help people communicate with health and care professionals and enable you to access the care you need. This might include things like: 

  • Video consultations with a doctor or consultant
  • Online counselling
  • Being triaged or treated over the phone
  • Online workshops
  • Using an online system to book appointments
  • Having access to advice or information online
  • Being connected with people using services remotely

Do you have elderly relatives who will just not cope with this? You may need to speak up for them. The reality is these new means of interaction with essential services are probably here to stay and they need to be improved upon and made to work for everyone.

Walsham Play Area – Officially Re-Opens WITH RESTRICTIONS


The Play Area officially re-opened from 20th August 2020 BUT with the following guidelines in place:




Bring hand sanitiser for the cleaning of their children’s hands and play equipment BEFORE, AT REGULAR INTERVALS DURING, AND AFTER use of the playground equipment. In the absence of such sanitation parents or guardians are requested to ensure the equipment is NOT used.

Ensure play equipment is cleaned before use by any clinically vulnerable family members.

Ensure physical distancing between children at the current distance of 1 metre plus. If possible only one child to use each piece of equipment at any one time.

Advise children to avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth.

Ensure children under their care have regard to the safe use of equipment and to the safety of others at all times.

Use litter bins BUT please take PPE home with you for disposal.

Adhere to the most up to date health advice.

Ensure clothes are washed after use of the Play Area equipment.


Community Council Lockdown Update – August 2020

graphic- people-around-table

The Community Council continues to meet online during lockdown and is making good progress on instructions given by the Charity Commission following the most recent change of committee. The opportunity is being used to prepare for re-opening of the hall as soon as possible.

The work undertaken by new committee since they were elected will be presented in the proper way as soon as it is possible to hold an AGM. In the meantime, monthly updates are published in The Observer.

NOTICE: Regular Clearance of Village Stream

Every year the banks of the village stream are cleared and tidied to keep our village looking cared for and to present a good image to the many visitors who come to Walsham over the August bank holiday weekend for the Open Gardens Weekend. The Parish Council are fully supportive of this work and are grateful to the Gardens Weekend Committee for taking on this role and funding the work.

This year the work will be carried out in the Autumn. Please direct any queries or offers of help to either the Parish Clerk or John Stebbing, the Secretary of the Gardens Weekend Committee.

Neighbourhood Plan makes the Bury Free Press

A report in the Bury Free Press highlighted the Walsham Neighbourhood Plan.

“Residents in a Suffolk village are making great bounds towards deciding on the future development of their area amid recent tensions with housing developers.

A hundred people from Walsham-le-Willows came together to discuss their neighbourhood plan –a document the district council would have to consult by law before signing off on development plans in the area – and learn about the history of the village.

The plan is currently going through a consultation period and is due to be finalised in 2022.”

Large maps displaying parish flood zones and protected areas were exhibited.

New bench seat donated to the Wild Wood

With thanks to Geoff Pollard who has very generously donated a lovely bench to the Wood in memory of his father, Bernard Pollard.

The bench has a super view down to the church where Bernard Pollard was a church warden for many years.

The photo shows Geoff and his sister Valerie with her dogs taking full advantage. The Wild Wood group are thrilled to have this new addition to the seating at the wood. Come and enjoy it too. Read development of the Wild Wood since its inception in 2012.

Open Gardens 2020 is cancelled – take a substitute Virtual Tour

It is with great regret that, owing to Covid-19, the Gardens Weekend Committee have had to cancel the 2020 Walsham Gardens Weekend which was to have been the 40th.


The event has been cancelled only once before in its history, again due to circumstances beyond the control of the committee.

But it is hoped that this ‘virtual’ substitute will give some pleasure and the committee and the village look forward to welcoming visitors next year when the atmosphere and enjoyment of the real event will be back.

Visit the gardens that are ‘open’ this year

John Stebbing (Secretary)
2 Vine Cottages
The Street
Walsham le Willows
Suffolk IP31 3AZ
01359 259 061 / 07831 325 610

Thieves at Sports Club 30th June / 1st July 2020

Colour drawing of willow tree in roundel with text Walsham-le-Willows Sports Club

On the night of 30th June or early hours of 1st July, containers holding equipment and machinery were cut open at the Sports Club with mowers, welders, strimmers, etc. being stolen.

The police are unlikely to do other than record the incidence without further evidence. If you have CCTV covering roads as well as your own property, or know someone who has where this might have picked up a large van or truck in the early hours of 1st July 2020, please contact Ian Campbell.

It is unlikely to be a big vehicle as the thieves left some mowers. But it would have been big enough to take the 60 roof sheets that had just been delivered to complete the compound roof.

This was clearly a professional job and had been scoped as the thieves used an angle grinder to break in.

Police Appeal – serious road traffic collision

Officers are appealing for witnesses or information following a serious road traffic collision in Badwell Ash.

Police were called shortly after 10.30am, Thursday 30 July, following reports that a white Ford Transit van had left the road and collided with a tree on Badwell Road.

Emergency services attended the scene and the driver, a man, was flown by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital after sustaining life-threatening injuries. He remains in hospital at this time and his condition is described as critical.

The road was closed while an investigation into the circumstances of the collision was carried out. The road has now reopened.

Officers are appealing for witnesses or anyone who was driving in that area at the time of the incident who may have seen the manner of driving, either immediately before or after the collision, or anyone who has a dash-cam fitted in their vehicle, to contact the Roads and Armed Policing Team, quoting CAD 138 of 30 July via one of the following methods:

Other useful links to help keep communities safe

Police advice on a variety of subjects

To contact the police or report something

To report something anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit

Alternatively call 101 for non-urgent matters.

Always call 999 in emergencies, or if an immediate police response is required

Police Connect Team

Walsham lockdown cautiously easing

Signs of ‘normality’ are beginning to return to village events. The Coffee Shop, in the village hall, is now open, but only on Thursdays, when the Post Office van comes. Cricket began its
season on Saturday, with a reconstructed league, The Six Bells is open again, but only in the evening during weekdays. The queues are outside Rolfes are shorter – but with masks –
Church services are back but with no singing.

There was a good turnout for the Neighbourhood Plan ‘exhibition’ at Church Farm Barn
on Thursday 23rd July

Gardens Weekend remains cancelled but a ‘virtual’ Gardens Weekend is being put
together and should be available to view by the middle of August here on this site
from middle of August.

However, the pandemic is far from over and if we want to minimise the
risk of there being a second wave we need to be vigilant and behave with due
consideration and care towards others. Keep others Safe by keeping yourself Safe as

History Group 2020/21 Programme Cancelled

Covid-19 – Programme of Events Update

Walsham History Group regrets the cancellation of its programme of events for 2020-21 due to the need to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep people safe.

The group know that many really enjoy the these events and were particularly pleased with the planned programme for 2020/21 as there was something of interest for everybody. The intention is to deliver this programme in 2021/22 if possible.

Annual membership fees have been suspended but publications remain for sale and the Reviews will continue as usual. Any changes will be communicated by the usual channels, the Walsham Observer, email or telephone.