New initiatives

It became clear that individuals are working on a number of projects and we can start to communicate these a little more.

Swifts in Mendham - Denis Pye is trying to get nesting sites established to bring swifts back into Mendham parish.

Local walk leaflets - Colin Herbert is drafting a series of 8 walking leaflets and seeking funding for a significant print run to place leaflets in local libraries, information centres, holiday cottages, village halls, etc. A village hall meeting to review the walks and the leaflets will be arranged. There has never been a set of walks dedicated to Mendham parish.

Now & Then (or Past & Present?) - Colin would like to gather a set of old photographs and take the corresponding present day version. Jill Fairhead took pictures of many of the properties in Mendham and Withersdale in 2000 and some of those could be used as well. It would be a visual feast of changes in the last hundred years or so. Many of the old images would come from turn of the century postcards but we would use older photographs if we have them.

Any more projects to mention?

New initiatives


 Mendham & Withersdale

    Two English villages on the river Waveney on the Norfolk/Suffolk border

        One parish, two villages... bringing the community closer together






1839 Tithe maps now online

The 1839 Tithe maps for Mendham and Withersdale were photographed in the year 2000 for the Local Heritage Initiative. The photographs have been retrieved from a box, scanned and they are now available online in the picture gallery. See 'Tithe map' on the 'Interesting items' menu or browse the picture gallery under 'History'.

  Denis Pye & Colin Herbert


Free Children's Tennis Days at the MUGA

tennisMUGAChildren's Tennis Days at the MUGA in Withersdale on Thursday 21st August and Thursday 28th August, 10am - 3pm. To book your child onto the day(s) please contact Tracey Tompkins on 01379 852969 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Registration forms can be downloaded here.

A further tennis day will take place during October half term. These tennis days have been funded by Mid Suffolk District Council and the Village Hall and MUGA Committee are extremely grateful for their support.

Have fun!



Fit villages

suffolksportlogoPilates, Yoga, Chair Based Exercise, Nordic Walking, Running, Cycling, Tai Chi, etc... interested in getting one of these groups going at the village hall? If so then talk with Steve Keeling or talk direct with Maddy Knox, Physical Activity Development Officer, Suffolk Sport, 07825 790832

This from Maddy...

NEW Fit Villages Projects

- Pilates/ Keep Fit programme is due to start in Stonham Parva in September

- FREE Nordic Walking taster session in Lavenham on 8th September, followed by an 8 week course

- Badminton programme due to start in Hundon in the Autumn

Keen to set up a Fit Villages project in YOUR village?

We are currently looking for villages in Mid Suffolk and Babergh that would like to set up a project using their local village facilities. Please get in touch if your village would like to try!


The Fit Villages project has successfully delivered a summer Rounders league in Suffolk Coastal on Sundays throughout the summer. The report is here. If your village would like to get involved with some Rounders this summer, it’s not too late…

- 30th August: One Day Rounders Tournament at The Blackbourne, Elmswell

- 14th September: One Day Rounders Tournament in Sutton

Its for fun so no experience required! Teams of 9-12 people (at least 4 female and all aged 16+).

Community Games

- It’s not too late to register your Village Fete as a Community Games event. Although there is no funding available this year, each event will be supported by a box of resources. Register your event here.

Focus Groups

In September we are going to be running Focus Groups to analyse the way that Fit Villages is marketed and communicated. We are also keen to gain insight into the types of activities that people want to try in the future. If you would be interested in attending a Focus Group or setting one up in your village then please get in touch.


Mid Suffolk Rounders Tournament Poster

SC Tournament Entry Pack

Four Voices concert - Event report

Four Voices fill All Saints church - 2nd August 2014

This was the latest in a series of enterprising and successful summer musical events organised by the church committee. Four Voices is a powerful Suffolk-based quartet which filled a packed church with wonderful sound during a concert showcasing their very wide repertoire. The first part of the evening gave the singers opportunity to show themselves at their  operatic best, with an exhilarating and flamboyant version of “Granada” , and a selection of well loved songs from the opera, ranging from Rigoletto to Cosi fan Tutti.

Fortified by the usual All Saints hospitality, the audience settled down to enjoy the second part of the evening, which was devoted to arrangements of familiar standards and songs from the shows. There were some delightful surprises, including a brilliant version of “Whispering Grass”, and an evocative “Shenandoah”. Occasionally, the piano accompaniment seemed to become a trifle over enthusiastic, and we tended to lose the mezzo sound, but that is the slightest of niggles, and soon forgiven. Encouraged by a very well deserved standing ovation, Four Voices reappeared for an encore, an entirely appropriate rendition of “Jamaica Farewell”. Four Voices clearly enjoyed performing for us. We loved listening, and went home singing under a starlit summer sky. If you find that Four Voices are in concert somewhere near you, get there by whatever means you can.

Over 3,000 pictures in the gallery!!!

CameraThere are now over 3,000, yes three thousand pictures in the picture gallery in 145 categories!. These include all the All Saints burial monuments, a diary of the build of the new village hall, plenty of events from 2009 and even before, as well as all the pictures from the Local Heritage Initiative in 2000. What an achievement!!! I know there are some duplicates and I am trying to eliminate them so bear with me

If you go to any picture in the gallery, you can add comments such as who people are, where it was taken, etc. Please go ahead and add as many comments as you can. Maybe we should have a ‘Comments Weekend’!

MendFest 2014

Another school term finishes and with some trepidation FOMSA, mainly in the form of Vicky Rusby, encouraged people to come to Mendham school on the last day, Wednesday 23rd July, to camp overnight with the children. Excuses varied from VAT inspections to laying concrete to hair washing (from people with remarkably little) but several hardened (stupid?) campers turned up and pitched in (pitched, get it?). The evening was truly fantastic, very warm but with a gentle breeze and the boys (yes they were all boys by then) were running around for hours and hours until the adults got tired from sitting by the fire. A fire made from a washing machine, but that's another story.

Hot dogs and burgers, cream scones and drink; a scavenger hunt around the village where everyone was a winner and then after dark marshmallow burning, err, toasting. An impromptu game of 'throwing the glow stick' in the pitch dark for the children to retrieve was like watching manic dogs (more glow sticks around their necks and wrists) moving and merging in the darkness. No bodies were visible, just glowing colours rushing around for hours on end, tiring out the adults.

Finally, before midnight, sleep time, to be punctuated, it was reported wearily in the morning, by toilet visits at 3am, 3:30am and 4am (different people!) and a child being sick at 4:30am. Yes, the sausages, burgers, cream, running around and hot tents had worked their magic ;-) It just added to the spirit of camp.

It's a British tradition that will be upheld again and again and I am sure Vicky will be approaching you next year. Start thinking of those excuses now... and lets be as creative as possible ;-)

A nice brew  Man-eating chairs  Marshmallow burning  Toasting marshmallows  Tea lights  Art of tent packing



mendHAM & withersdALE

ham  ale 7 20140721 1680179173Mendham and Withersdale Community Council held the 'mendHAM & withersdALE' festival (HAM & ALE... get it?) yesterday on Sunday 13th July was an outstanding success. Great fun! Rounders teams for the knock-out from Laxfield, Stradbroke, Fressingfield and Mendham plus a team from FOMSA. Outright winners were Stradbroke. All Mendham parish organisations contributed and used it as a fundraiser and all deemed it a success.

Five Suffolk teams took part in an inter-village rounders competition; Stradbroke, Fressingfield, Mendham and Withersdale, Laxfield and FOMSA (Friends of Mendham School Association). The event was umpired by Suffolk Sports Ben Jackson and Vicky Askew. The final was between Stradbroke and Laxfield, with Stradbroke winning. Well done.

Mendham parish has recently been given the title ‘Village of the Year’ for Mid-Suffolk.

Well done everyone.


Here is a great article on the Suffolk Sport website. Pictures of the event are now in the picture gallery.

Choir update

various 5 20140720 1068268675

The choir meets regularly on a Thursday morning at 9.30 in All Saints church where a core group is supplemented by those who work and cannot make the morning practices.

We had a successful Evensong in May, led by Reverend Peter Smalls and are now practising for our second Evensong on October 12th. We shall be singing an anthem composed by our organist Jim Kirkham and the settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis have been composed by Janet Kenyon. We always enjoy fellowship before the service and look forward to sharing our worship with many visitors.

We have been asked to sing at a wedding in August and will be singing an anthem composed by Margaret Rizza during the signing of the register. We have sung several of her anthems at Benefice services when we sing with the choirs from our Benefice churches. It is good to join with others who enjoy singing as much as we do. We generally sing as a choir during the third service of the month which is a communion service and we try to sing an anthem or hymn during communion. This gives us something to work towards each week.

On 31st August All Saints church is having a fund raising event at Millers Barn, Foxes Lane, Mendham. There will be music, poetry and song theme to a vintage afternoon tea. The choir are singing three folk songs which have been set for us by Janet and we are really enjoying singing something very different.

As always we welcome new members so if you are interested then please contact Heather Lee  01379 588306.




Parish Newsletter - Spring 2014

A newsletter for the parish of Mendham has been produced by the parish council and is being distributed to all houses in Mendham and Withersdale Street. It contains a list of events, news on the school, lists of organisations with their contacts and some updates on initiatives in the community. It's well worth a read.

If you want an additional copy to send to someone outside the villages then let me know or if you want to download a PDF copy then its here (1.4Mb so it may take a minute). The paper version is A3 folded to an A4 booklet so the relevant pages in the PDF are marked in red.

We hope you enjoy it and if you have any thoughts on what you would like to see in a future newsletter then please let us know... the contact numbers are on the newsletter.


Caroline Cardwell, parish council clerk 01986 781349

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