Cross Keys Swing Bridge, Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire


Sutton Bridge Community Initiatives News


Jan 23 2015


I had an enjoyable conversation with David Oxtoby, Priest-in-charge of Sutton Bridge St. Matthew's & Tydd St. Mary's, on the subject of Food Banks.

After I’d lit the fire, I suggested that rather than being a solution to anything, Food Banks are part of the problem – a response to the regrettable and inhuman policies of the current government – David said that he would love to close the doors of the Food Bank but, “...Whilst there’s a human need we will carry on as an expression of absolute unconditional caring in the fundamental Christian spirit of ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’... We are all one human family.”

There’s an unthinking notion that’s been spread about that suggests that those who go to Food Banks have already spent their money on booze and cigarettes and so on and simply want some free food but this is just not an issue for David: he is in the business of unconditional caring for those in crisis – because the jobs they have are very badly paid, or because they are out of work or experiencing problems of one kind or another, or simply going without food for the sake of their children. Many crisis situations come about because of delays in paying benefit (which seems to be a deliberate DWP policy).

David said, “I’m not at all possessive about the Food Bank; I am very loose-handed about the whole thing; it certainly started from within the church but I hope that it will outgrow the church and become a genuine Sutton Bridge community project with lots of spin-offs. I am just a member of the trustees. My hope is that we will eventually be able to set up a charity shop, clothes bank and Internet Café and who knows what else. Any ‘profit’ would be ploughed back into whatever community projects turn out to be needed or requested.

The Food Bank was launched just before Christmas in the church with stock donated both by members of the community and businesses. David acknowledges that it might be a barrier to some people that the Food Bank operates in the church: some who are needy might find it difficult to go into a place that they don’t identify with and others might think that ‘Church’ is not the place for something with ‘political’ overtones. But David stoutly asserts that it’s the community’s church, his place of ministry, and (chortling) that we should adapt the building for the benefit of the community (within reason). He says that it would be wonderful to have an alternative venue for the foodbank, café, charity shop and so on – perhaps there is accommodation going begging somewhere in Sutton Bridge?

The Food Bank is in business Tuesday & Friday from 1 to 3pm – times that will depend on growing demand. The cupboards are overflowing especially with pasta and soup and there is also storage space in the ex-police room in the Curlew Centre. It is run by eight volunteers – three a session. In terms of the Food Bank being a truly community project it’s interesting that the volunteers have relished the chance to be occupied in a way that benefits both the community and themselves – they get a personal kick out of what they are doing for the community. They don’t, of course, offer a full-blown counselling service but they are available to talk to those experiencing difficulty – they offer hospitality. This is about the community helping the community.

Although there is plenty of pasta and soup, what’s really needed are more expensive items like tinned meats & fish, teabags and coffee. It’s not the policy of the Food Bank to buy in items; the expectation is that the community will provide for the needs of the community.

In order to get provisions from the Food Bank an applicant has to have a voucher from front-line professional agencies – Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Probation Service, Medical Centre, School Heads, Pre-School manager, Church Leaders, Children’s Centre – to whom they have a conversation about their crisis. Vouchers come in threes, one after another, after which a conversation takes place regarding what may turn out to be more than an immediate crisis – more of a continuing one requiring more than just a prop.

David said that so far the average voucher-exchange is about one a week, but he thinks that this will increase over the coming months. On present evidence, he anticipates that over the course of a year about 100 vouchers will be exchanged.

Donated items can be left in St Matthews at the back of the church where there is a large donation box.

For various complex reasons, over the last thirty years, Sutton Bridge has grown from being a relatively close-knit village with plenty of community events, carnivals and meeting places to a place of disparate groupings without cohesion. The growth of large supermarkets elsewhere, on-line buying, the closing of Barclays in Sutton Bridge, television and the Internet, the lack of a central point of focus in the village which the village hall could theoretically provide – all these things have led to fragmentation. ‘Things fall apart – the centre cannot hold...’

One has only to think of the differences between, say, New Road, The Falklands, the old backstreets of the centre of Sutton Bridge, and the outlying areas to realise that the old sense of community has gone. Class and ethnic divisions require to be acknowledged and tackled. There needs to be a new sense of belonging.

Some might say that the Parish Council which might have been expected to play a significant role in promoting community for all residents in Sutton Bridge has, with one or two notable individual exceptions, for too long occupied itself with addressing its members’ own minority interests.

There has been some move away from this recently, though not far enough yet. The rebuilding of the Pavilion as a sporting complex for all ages is just one example of where the Parish Council should have been more proactive. The village and its young people are still waiting for this to be done. However, the current chairman’s efforts in providing, and personally supporting, a Youth Club is highly commendable; his other efforts on behalf of the village seem tireless.

David Oxtoby’s personal initiative is an attempt to introduce more of a spirit of community, starting with the Food Bank, as representative of a fundamental religious belief (something common to all religions without exception and to thinking people of no particular religion) in caring for the dispossessed. This sensitivity towards other human beings can and should move out towards other community initiatives yet to be defined in detail.

Colin Blundell

Apr 26 2014


After years of wrangling, this piece of disputed land on Falklands Road is now under private ownership. Apart from that little has changed. People are still welcome to walk within its boundaries with the request to 'leave only footprints'. The paths are regularly mown and more trees are being planted. It has become a well established haven for flora and fauna. A seat and litter bins have been provided too.

The new sign at Tom’s Wood
"Take Pleasure - Leave Only Footprints"

New seat and litter bins.

Dec 5 2013

Memorial Park Outdoor Gym Equipment

These four pieces of outdoor gym equipment were installed in the Memorial Park late October 2013.  Each piece can be used free of charge by two or three people at a time.

The equipment has been provided by Friends of Sutton Bridge Playing Fields and Open Spaces following a successful application for £10,000 from the Lottery. More equipment will be added if these prove popular with the public.

While the equipment is mainly intended for adults, many children are also enjoying using it too.

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Dec 4 2011

The Sports Pavilion in the Memorial Park

The Sports Pavilion was built in 1953 to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and was built by local volunteer labour with materials supplied by local businesses.

Volunteers building the Memorial Park Sports Pavilion in 1952

It belongs to the Parish. Since then, a small extension was added to increase the Changing Room facilities. Currently there are two main Changing Rooms, a smaller Changing Room (that also doubles as a store room) and two sets of showers and toilets, plus kitchen.

The Memorial Park Sports Pavilion in 2011

Above / Below: redecorated changing rooms and view of kitchen area

Shower room

Redecorated walls and floor

The interior is dark and is largely the same now as it was when it was built. However, it looks a bit better than it did two years ago as David Earth, the current chairman of the Football Club, completely redecorated it and laid some flooring in the Changing Room area, which makes it easier to clean.

The floor is rough concrete and only a small mat covers the floor in the entrance area. The outside is in a poor state of repair. The door lintel is worn and not weatherproof. It is an invitation for infestation by woodlice.

Crumbling door lintel

The interior space is smaller than it might be because of a large brick-built cupboard which was constructed to house the lawn mower when Peter Guy was grounds man.

The whole building needs refurbishing or rebuilding. The building is cleaned and maintained internally by David and Jenny Sutton, the Club Secretary, using Club funds. The Club also contributes to the cost of electricity, which is used for lighting (energy saver lights throughout) and for the showers.

When two teams are playing matches (as they often are) the number of players using the Pavilion is doubled. Sometimes, David said, the second team's starting time has to be delayed to ease the congestion in the Pavilion. This is an extra duty for Jenny, as permission has to be sought from the Lincolnshire Football League to allow this.

David and Jenny Sutton

Since the building was built to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's Coronation in 1953, it would be a fitting tribute if the building could be refurbished or rebuilt in time to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Peter Guy holding the Sports Pavilion 'Coronation' Commemorative Plaque

It might encourage other groups to use it. There used to be a thriving cricket team in Sutton Bridge until not so long ago. Perhaps a new one might be formed. Or maybe a ladies' football team might be started. Who knows?

At the recent Parish Council Meeting (November 29th2012), the matter was discussed at some length. Jenny told the Council that new facilities were needed desperately as the inside of the pavilion was showing extreme signs of damp and black mould was forming on the walls. It was agreed that a working party be set up to investigate all the possibilities as a matter of urgency. (See Parish Council Meeting Notes 29.11.2011, Agenda item 22.)

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Jul 10 2011


In one of the final preparations to get Sutton Bridge looking as spic and span as possible in readiness for the judging day of the Sutton Bridge entry in East Midlands in Bloom, a small but enthusiastic group of villagers (or are we towns people) met at the Memorial Park on Saturday morning.

Litter Pick in July 2011

Cllr. Michael Booth brought his tractor, trailer, and an assortment of shovels, brushes and other useful pieces of equipment. Cllr. John Grimwood brought his trailer to collect the bags of rubbish when the litter picking was done. The rest of the group brought their litter picking tools, sturdy gloves, bags and enthusiasm. They set off in smaller groups to clear litter from various parts of the village.

Litter Pick in July 2011

Some stayed in the Memorial Park, to clear debris from the car parking area, some went along Bridge Road to the west and some to the east, while still more went along East Bank South.

Over the last few days an unbelievable number of bags of rubbish have been collected from within the heart of the village.

We made a trip around the village checking on all the sites that had been cleared, only to find that some mindless vehicle driver had made a concerted effort to ruin hours of work.

Litter Pick in July 2011

Jun 12 2011


Lincolnshire's countywide Wheels 2 Work initiative has now been operating for one year, to ensure those most in need of the scheme have access to the project could we please ask you to put a link on your council website, and if possible use the attached leaflets to encourage those unable to access transport for work, education or training to apply?

For more information, the project is funded by Lincolnshire County Council and delivered by Access Your Future as a social enterprise providing access to a minimum of 200 bikes across the county.

The Wheels to Work Scheme has the ability to:

· Enable those rurally isolated through lack of appropriate transport to access employment, education and training opportunities.

· Allow individuals to take up opportunities to enter employment for the first time, or after a period of unemployment due to rural isolation, ill health or offending.

· Reduce the number of long term unemployed across the county.

· Reduce the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET's).

For more information please go to

Nina Lightfoot
Senior Accessibility Project Officer
Lincolnshire County Council
The Advice Centre
Moneys Yard
NG34 7TW

01529 307502 / 07795 394737

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Apr 26 2011

Tom's Wood

Not so long ago, one current member of Sutton Bridge Parish Council said that the village was lucky to have so many green spaces and children’s play areas within its boundaries.  He is right.

There are five children’s play areas: Princes Street, Lime Street, Chalk Lane, Railway Lane and the Memorial Park.  Green spaces included Memorial Park, the Arnie Broughton Walk, the Village Green and the East Bank riverbank (south side)* from near Gunthorpe Sluice to the War Memorial, on the corner of East Bank and the A17, near the Cross Keys Bridge and Tom’s Wood. 

Tom's Wood in July 2010
Tom's Wood - July 2010, trees in their summer foliage

About ten years ago, a resident from the Falklands Estate approached the then Parish Council (not the current Parish Council) to see if the area of open space on Falklands Drive close to the A17, could be planted with trees.

There had been many complaints about dogs being walked on the verges and other grass areas of the Estate, and so when the Parish Council received the request from the resident, it took the matter up.

Originally, when the Estate was first planned, this area was designated as open space for the Community, and included a Community Centre.  However, this did not happen and the area remained a ‘wasteland’ long after the Falklands Estate had been completed.

The land is owned by South Holland District Council and they granted the Parish Council permission to plant it with trees. At that time, Lincolnshire Council were offering free trees for planting in open spaces to improve the built-up environment and Sutton Bridge Parish Council received trees over several years and these were planted under the supervision of Tom Rowe, who was, at that time, a member of the Parish Council.

Tom's Wood - the blackthorn in blossom
Tom's Wood - The blackthorn in blossom

The trees are now reaching a decent height and grass paths are regularly mown through them. Some of the trees that have been planted there are, according to the tree preservation officer at SHDC, unusual. The area also contains several species of orchids. It is a very popular place for local people to walk with or without their dogs.  As the trees reach maturity they will help to provide protection for local residents from by-pass noise and pollution.

About three years ago, another resident wrote to the Parish Council to ask if the area could be used as a children’s play area. At the following Parish Council meeting, many residents from the area attended the next PC meeting to object to the proposal and the Parish Council unanimously agreed that Tom’s Wood should remain as it is. 

Recently members of the Long Sutton Art Group approached the SHDC to seek permission to plant four trees in memory of one of their members, a Sutton Bridge resident, who did much to improve the appearance of the village by her efforts with the Big Bloomers and in other ways.

Elizabeth Ransome's Memorial tree planting
Members of Long Sutton Art Group planting trees in Elizabeth Ransome's memory

The question of a children’s play area has arisen again.  Apparently the current proposal includes removing some trees to make room for a children’s play area. The matter is currently the centre of a new debate.

A recent national campaign to save Woodlands in Britain has resulted in the Government deciding to set up a panel of independent experts to consider how to better protect our woodlands for the future.  This surely must include places like Tom’s Wood, which is itself, a natural wildlife habitat as well as an accessible green open space for local people.

*This stretch of the riverbank is managed by Lincolnshire County Council

River Nene East Bank
The East Bank between near Gunthorpe Sluice and the Cross Keys Bridge.

This stretch of the River Nene is home to a variety of wild flowers including wild orchids. It is a protected roadside verge specially managed for its wildlife interest by Lincolnshire County council and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

The River Nene East Bank between near Gunthorpe Sluice and the Cross Keys Bridge

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Mar 30 2011

The Kingfishers Model Boat Club - Sutton Bridge

A friendly model boat club willing to help new members build model boats. We meet on the third Monday of the month, except in December, at 7.30 pm, and we sail every Sunday morning at 10 am and Wednesday afternoons all year weather permitting.  We also attend local steam and country shows.

Kingfisher Model Boat Club

Contact: Brian Moore, Club Secretary, Tel No. 01406 350968

Mar 25 2011

Sutton Bridge Multi Agency Group

Sutton Bridge Multi Agency Group (SBMAG) was established in February 2010 as part of the Connecting Communities initiative. It is chaired by the Portfolio Holder of Place for Sutton Bridge; Councillor Gary Taylor.

Sutton Bridge Multi Agency Group meeting

The SBMAG have met ten times and involves agencies such as the District Council, County Council, Parish Council, Lincolnshire Police, Westmere School and numerous community organisations. The group aims to bring together all these different agencies, to share information and identify what needs to be done to tackle local issues and improve the quality of life for local residents.

SBMAG March 2011 Newsletter

For more information please visit:

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South Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service

South Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service logo The South Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (SLCVS) supports, promotes and represents local voluntary and community sector organisations, ensuring that they have access to high quality, inclusive services and resources to operate efficiently and effectively creating a vibrant and thriving voluntary and community sector throughout Lincolnshire.

South Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service produce a quarterly newsletter called 'Voluntary News - News Bite'. This features local, regional and national news relevant to the voluntary and community sector.

News Bite header image

Anna Vickerson"For all the latest news on this week‟s Budget Announcement please see page 2. We would love to hear your views on this subject so get in touch via the contact details below."

Anna Vickerson,
Policy and Information Support Officer
T: (01205) 315902

View the latest issue of
'Voluntary News - News Bite Issue No.10 - 25/3/2011'

Archived News Bite issues
'Voluntary News - News Bite Issue No.9 - 11/3/2011'
'Voluntary News - News Bite Issue No.7 - 25/2/2011'

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Feb 26 2011

Service Announcement by Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue
Lincs Fire and Rescue badge

Toxic smoke

EnglishDon't drown in toxic smoke - In a house fire, you might think that the smoke would wake you and give you and your family time to escape. But after just two or three breaths of toxic smoke, you're unconscious. Your lungs fill up and you can't breathe. Just like drowning.

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue are offering a FREE Home Fire Safety Check to help prevent fire in the home. Fire Service personnel will carry out the FREE check and will offer fire safety advice. This may include the fitting of a FREE smoke detector if required. Any information you give is confidential and all Fire Service Personnel hold photographic ID. If you would like us to carry out a FREE Home Fire Safety Check please contact us using the details below, or complete and return the slip in the FREEPOST envelope provided.

Poland"Nie daj się zabić toksycznemu dymowi - już jego 2 lub 3 wdechy mogą spowodować utratę przytomności, wypełniając twoje płuca spowodują, że nie będziesz mógł oddychać. Dokładnie tak samo jak w przypadku utonięcia.

Straż Pożarna Lincolnshire (Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue) oferuje BEZPŁATNĄ Inspekcję Przeciwpożarową w Domu w celu zapobiegania pożarom podczas, której udzielimy porad na temat bezpieczeństwa przeciwpożarowego oraz BEZPŁATNIE zamontujemy alarm przeciwpożarowy jeśli ten, który posiadasz nie działa lub nie masz żadnego. Pragniemy również poinformować, że nasz personel posiada identyfikatory ze zdjęciem. Aby uzyskać DARMOWĄ Inspekcję w Twoim Domu, skontaktuj się ze Strażą Pożarną pod niżej podanym numerem lub adresem e-mail lub też wypełnij poniższy formularz i odeślij w załączonej kopercie (OPŁATA POBRANA).

LithuaniaNežūkite nuodinguose dūmuose - Nemanykite, kad namie kilus gaisrui dūmai Jus pažadins ir turėsite laiko pabėgti kartu su šeima. Vos du ar tris kartus įkvėpę nuodingų dūmų, Jūs prarasite sąmonę. Jūsų plaučiai užsipildys dūmais, tad negalėsite įkvėpti. Panašiai žmogus jaučiasi skęsdamas.

Linkolnšyro priešgaisrinės apsaugos ir gelbėjimo tarnyba (Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue), siekdama užkirsti kelią gaisrui Jūsų namuose, siūlo atlikti NEMOKAMĄ namų priešgaisrinės saugos patikrinimą. Priešgaisrinės apsaugos darbuotojai atliks NEMOKAMĄ patikrinimą ir suteiks jums apsaugos nuo gaisro konsultaciją. Gali būti, kad prireikus jie patars įsirengti NEMOKAMĄ dūmų jutiklį. Visa Jūsų pateikta informacija liks konfidenciali. Visi priešgaisrinės apsaugos darbuotojai turi asmens pažymėjimą su nuotrauka. Jei norėtumėte, kad Jūsų namuose būtų atliktas NEMOKAMAS namų priešgaisrinės saugos patikrinimas, susisiekite su mumis pagal toliau nurodytus duomenis arba užpildykite ir atsiųskite mums anketą pridedamame APMOKĖTAME voke.

PortugueseNão se afogue em fumo tóxico - Num incêndio doméstico, pode pensar que o fumo o(a) acordaria e lhe daria tempo a si e à sua família para escapar, mas após apenas duas ou três inalações de fumo tóxico, ficará imediatamente inconsciente. Os seus pulmões encher-se-ão de fumo e não conseguirá respirar. Exactamente como num afogamento.

O Serviço de Bombeiros e Salvamento de Lincolnshire (Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue) está a oferecer uma Verificação de Segurança de Incêndio Doméstico GRÁTIS para ajudar a prevenir o incêndio no domicílio. O Serviço de Bombeiros realizará uma verificação GRÁTIS e disponibilizará aconselhamento de segurança contra incêndios. Isto poderá incluir a instalação de um detector de fumos GRÁTIS, se necessário. Toda a informação que providenciar é confidencial e todo o Pessoal do Serviço de Bombeiros possui identificação com fotografia. Se desejar que façamos uma Verificação de Segurança de Incêndio Doméstico GRÁTIS, por favor contacte-nos usando os detalhes abaixo, ou preencha e devolva o talão descartável no envelope do FREEPOST fornecido.

telephone image 01205 363231   E-mail:   Quote Ref: HFSC S/B


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Feb 10 2011


Are you looking for a new interest or the chance to keep up with an old one?  Then why not join Sutton Bridge Bowls Club. It is situated behind the old school in Bridge Road, opposite the Beauty Salon and the convenience store. Membership is only £18 per year, and just £2 to play a match.

Sutton bridge Bowls Club

If you are a good bowls player you might want to join the teams playing in the Spalding League, or if you just want to play for fun and relaxation you can play in the many in-house tournaments or join in the Open Days on the first Sunday of each month from June to October inclusive.

Tea, sandwiches and delicious cakes are available and the members do not take themselves too seriously.

The ground opens for the 2011 season on 7th April, at 7 pm. For more information please call the Bowls Club Secretary, Ray Ward on 01406 364015 or just come along. A warm welcome awaits you.

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Jan 25 2011

Local Heroes Film Project
Sutton Bridge 13th-14th November 2010

During one weekend in November 2010, a young film crew, who had recently graduated from Nottingham University was asked to take part in an intergenerational project, which, as its names suggests, involved young people and their elders up to long past retirement age!

The Project leader, John Potter, worked in conjunction with Jo Dobbs — Project Co-ordinator — and members of the South Holland Youth Council. The idea was to make a film about Sutton Bridge that reflected the lives of the residents, young and old and to bring the two groups together to discuss how the film could demonstrate this. Two similar projects had already been carried out in Donnington and Spalding as part of a South Holland district Council funded initiative.

Two planning meetings were held in Sutton Bridge in October/November where five young people: Holly, Ilze, Sam, Richard and Harriet initially met with Tony, John, Teresa , Beryl and Janet. At this meeting, a strategy was developed which revolved around a series of interviews between the different generations with an overview of the history of Sutton Bridge and a number of outdoor filming in different locations to reflect life in the town now. By the time of the filming weekend, the number of participants had grown to include other young people: Daisy, Levi and Kerys, while the adult contingent now included Carol, Hans and Valerie, Dorothy, Sandra and Mr & Mrs B.

Local Heroes Film Project at Westmere School
Youngsters from Sutton Bridge and the SH Youth Council learning film techniques during the making of the recent intergenerational film for the 'Local Heroes' project.

The ‘home base’ was Westmere School and from here, different groups set off to film and interview people in different locations. One group used old photographs of Sutton Bridge to compare them with views today. Another interviewed long-standing residents, some of whom had been born in the village or who had migrated in as long ago as post WW2. Beryl, the local historian, provided a voice over to tell the history of Sutton Bridge, prompted by questions from Holly. Another group went to film the developments on the old Sutton Bridge Airfield at Wingland. Adult new migrants were also interviewed about their experiences of being accepted and these were compared with those of the youngsters, most of whom were new migrants themselves. A third interview talked about how Sutton Bridge had always been the home to immigrants who had come here to work—initially to guide travellers across the Wash, or to work in the food factory, often camping out under canvas in the field next door, and later settled, either marrying a ‘local’ boy or girl or with their families. One recent ‘immigrant’ interviewed explained her reasons for settling in Sutton Bridge and explained how she had involved herself with others in helping to improve the image of Sutton Bridge.

Local Heroes Film Project at Westmere School

An interesting fact that emerged was that today the young people from Sutton Bridge, Long Sutton and surrounding villages meet in Sutton Bridge at the Youth Club. It is therefore a shame that the Youth Club is closed for the time being, due to repairs being needed to the seriously leaking roof, but more seriously as a result of Lincolnshire County Council withdrawing funding. Efforts are being made on all sides to find a solution.

The film is now finished and will be shown on Tuesday 8th February at the South Holland Centre. Afterwards it will be screened in Sutton Bridge, the time and venue to be announced shortly.

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Oct 31 2010


On a glorious sunny day at the end of October, 2010, the work began to clear the overgrown allotment generously provided for the use of the Big Bloomers group by the Henry Smith Charity.

the overgrown allotment for the use of the Big Bloomers group
Part of the site to be cleared

Help was on hand from a Community Payback team, led by Jo Schofield, of Lincolnshire Probation Trust, to make a start on the clearing of this site. Members of Big Bloomers were also there working hard to win the battle of the brambles.

Teresa Hardy & Jo Schofield
Teresa Hardy & Jo Schofield

There will be a small parcel of the land left as it is to continue to provide a wildlife habitat. A robin was already taking advantage of the work that had been done making it easier for him to find food.

the overgrown allotment for the use of the Big Bloomers group the overgrown allotment for the use of the Big Bloomers group

Once all the brambles, rusty wheelbarrows, old tyres and other detritus have been cleared, and assuming he can gain access, Cllr. Michael Booth has offered to go round with his tractor and the necessary equipment to give the allotment a final going over, ready for the Big Bloomers to make a start on next year’s floral displays.

the overgrown allotment  now cleared
What a difference a day makes!

It is most encouraging to find that outside help has been freely brought in, not only to give a hand to the Big Bloomers, but also for the benefit of Sutton Bridge as a whole.

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Oct 29 2010

Mystery seal deaths 'caused by boats'

Report from Dr Dave Thompson, University of St Andrews dated 26th October 2010 - to view please click here

Oct 16 2010


Since last April 40 dead and mutilated seals have been washed ashore on the North Norfolk Coast, almost all of them off Blakeney Point. Fourteen dead seals were sighted in one 14-day period. Many more seals may have been swept out to sea and eaten by birds, fish and crabs.

Godfrey SayersSo reports Godfrey Sayers, a Norfolk watercolour painter from Wiveton and keen naturalist. He observed that the dead seals coincided with the arrival of a large floating crane — the Svanen — and other vessels brought in to lift and position the monopiles for the 88 wind turbines being erected for the Sheringham Shoal windfarm.

All seals are mutilated with identical injuries that are something like an Archimedes Screw. The corkscrew injuries are consistent with a ducted propeller type of propulsion/manoeuvring system known as a Kort Nozzle, as used in the Sheringham Wind Farm operations.

Godfrey Sayers reports this and all possible theories of causes on his website, which is now linked to the Bridge Watch website.

The Norfolk Police and the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) have been investigating possible causes, which have not yet been identified, although there are many theories.

Among them are:

None of these can be reconciled with two important facts:

  1. The deaths have only occurred within the last few months
  2. If done by random shipping incidents, then the seals would have been washed ashore randomly.

The latest theory is that the Greenland Shark is the culprit, as aired on a recent channel 5 Programme, about deaths of Grey Seals off Sable Island, Nova Scotia. This theory was put forward by a naturalist working as an adviser to offshore industry giants, who have formed a consortium to exploit gas fields off Sable Island.

Scientists who have been studying the Greenland shark do not agree with this theory on the following grounds:

For all latest information, visit

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Sept 16 2010


Have you ever spotted suspicious goings on at small ports, airfields or remote coastal areas near you?

If so, the UK Border Agency would like to hear from you.

The UK Border Agency – which helps prevent illegal immigrants, drugs, weapons and other contraband from reaching the UK – has a dedicated team which covers the region north of the River Stour to the Wash, including Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Wisbech, Sutton Bridge, Kings Lynn and the cargo vessels into Ipswich Port.

The UK Border Agency

The team, based at Felixstowe’s Customs House, handles all light aviation and maritime traffic coming in and out of marinas, jetties, slip ways, landing points and light aircraft strips in the region.

Its officers are trained to deal with both customs and immigration matters and are constantly on the move intercepting and searching incoming aircraft and vessels from abroad.

Officer Adrian Kudela said:

“We carry out regular visits to harbour masters, coastguards, marina staff and lifeboat stations, but are keen to hear from members of the public too.

“Anyone who has seen suspicious activity along the coast or unusual light aircraft behaviour can reach us 24 hours a day on our hotline - 0800 595000. You can also write to us at Custom House, View Point Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk, IP11 3RF, or email us at All information is treated as confidential.”

Examples of suspicious activity might include:

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Jul 4 2010

Best Kept Villages & Small Towns / East Midlands in Bloom

Something good has been happening in Sutton Bridge and with only a few days to go before the Big Day: July 7th — the date when the judges of the East Midlands in Bloom Competition will visit the village and make their tour of inspection and their judgment — last minute attention is being given to making Sutton Bridge look ‘blooming marvellous’! And it is all due to the hard work and determination of the Big Bloomers. This group of ladies (and their behind-the-scenes-helpers, otherwise known as husbands, partners and friends) have worked for a year planning and preparing for this date.

Some of the big Bloomers and their supporters
Some of the big Bloomers and their supporters

It’s not been just about planting flowers in pots and baskets, it’s also been about weeding existing beds, picking up litter, persuading local retailers to have a basket/container outside their premises and to water it regularly, cleaning bus shelters and many more things besides.

Watering Billy’s Bed
Watering Billy’s Bed

Planting and watering in Billy’s Bed
Planting and watering in Billy’s Bed

Removing dumped black sacks
Removing dumped black sacks

Cleaning the bus shelter
Cleaning the bus shelter

One of the BB’s big triumphs was to involve the local schools — Westmere and The Peele Community college in Long Sutton — in producing murals for one of the premises that was boarded up in Bridge Road. The Peele School CC is where most of Sutton Bridge’s pupils go after they leave Westmere CP School. The older pupils painted six boards as part of their B-Tech 1st Certificate course. The theme was farming and their work is certainly very eye-catching. Westmere’s board, also on a farming theme, depicts a farmyard with tractors, animals, birds and insects, scarecrows and even wind turbines!!!! The young artists have painted self-portraits as well as signing their names, in the long tradition of all artists.

The window boxes on the windows of the Old School were painted by some of the BB’s themselves, while the ‘schoolroom’ mural was painted by local artist, Maureen Hunt and her assistant. Both ladies thoroughly enjoyed the task even if it was a bit daunting climbing high on ladders to paint the teacher’s head! All of the window frame effects at the Old School had been prepared by two of the male-behind-the-scenes helpers. Take a look at the big Bloomer’s page on this website.

The project has been given a lot of favourable support by the folk of Sutton Bridge and also some unexpected offers of help. One young lad wanted to help with schoolroom mural because, as he said, he was ‘good at graffiti’. More practical help came when one of the Bloomers was litter picking and the west end of the village and a householder came out to help her and continued to do so after she had moved on. When Cllr John Grimwood was sweeping outside the church, a local resident came along to assist. The Riverside supplied the thirsty ladies with drinks to keep them going in the hot weather and Baxter’s Fish Shop made available the use of their sink and water supply to the ladies responsible for maintaining Billy’s Bed. And there have been other examples of support and encouragement.

Blooming marvellous!
Blooming marvellous!

It’s difficult in a linear village, like Sutton Bridge to have a central focus but the efforts of the Big Bloomers have done a lot to bring about a ‘joined-up’ feeling, to create a Bridge in Sutton Bridge.

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