Monday, 27 April 2020

Pretty posters for Old Buckenham

Brighten up the village
The large noticeboard in front of the Methodist Church in Hargham Road isn’t being used at the moment so members of the church wondered if any children in Old Buckenham would like to create some posters to display in it. They are thinking that something bright and cheerful for passers by to enjoy would be wonderful. 
It is suggested that they are A3 or A4 in size and the subject is 'Spring'.
If your children create a poster then you can phone 01953 861207 or email and then the organisers can arrange to come and collect it or provide the information on where to drop them off.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Supporter of Old Buckenham Mill

Murray Curtis
Murray, who died on Thursday 23 April aged 81, was deeply involved in the restoration and reopening of the Old Buckenham windmill.
Murray and his wife Jean came to the village in 1994 living in The Kenyons on the Green  and later moved on to Attleborough in 2002.
He was Chairman of windmill committee for many years, only handing over the chairmanship after they had moved out of the village. He was leading the group when the sails were repaired by John Lawn and were able to operate when the wind blew.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Shop to reopen in Old Buckenham

Welcome back
A message from Venuka
Dear customers
We apologise for the inconvenience of our recent closure. We hope to be up and running on Monday 27 April. We will be opening for a shorter period in the day and closing for lunch.
Hopefully we will be back to normal hours as soon as it is safe to do so. We will be safely following social distancing guidelines and limiting the number of customers in the shop at a time.
Thank you for your patience.
Venuka Seevaratnam

We understand she will be selling newspapers and that opening hours are 9am to 12 noon and 3pm to 6pm.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Old Buckenham Parish Council

Next parish council meeting
While they were unable to meet in April, the May Parish Council meeting will be going ahead virtually. As usual, minutes will be available later on the Parish Council website and also published in the June issue of the village newsletter. However if you would like to join the meeting from your home then please email the Parish Clerk ( with your full name and address so that you can receive your emailed invitation. 
The Parish Council would like to take this opportunity to offer their huge thanks to the residents of Old Buckenham who have worked so hard to look out for each other, help where they can, keep moral up and followed the Governments guidelines during this difficult time. The Council could not be prouder of our community.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

An Old Buckenham pinder

Jessie Allen
You may not remember Jessie’s name but if you attended a local fete or event in the area between 2005 and 2015 you will probably have bought some of Jessie’s delicious homemade jam, chutney, pies, cakes and sausage rolls. These were all made in her tiny kitchen in her cottage in Fen Street to raise funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance - she raised many thousands of pounds for the charity. 

Jessie moved to Old Buckenham in 1948, first lodging at a house on the Green before moving to Fen Street and buying her cottage in 1955. She had a variety of jobs over the years: she was a cook at Bloom’s restaurant on the Green, had a delivery round for the village shop, was one of the last “pinders” on the green looking after a green rights holder’s cattle. She was nanny to a local doctor’s family and was housekeeper at Besthorpe Hall for many years. She retired aged 74 and then started her fundraising work to keep herself busy.
She was a very shy person who did not enjoy large gatherings but if you called in to see her the coffee pot was always on and there would be a large slice of homemade cake. 

The photograph is Jessie on her way to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. She didn’t see the need to buy an expensive hat for the occasion – this one came from a charity shop.
Jessie Allen died on 12 April, 2020 after being admitted to hospital after a fall in her care home. 
She was 88. She tested positive for Corona-virus, responded to treatment at first but suddenly went down hill and sadly passed away. 
Jessie was a very good friend and neighbour and will be sadly missed.

Annette and Steve Miller have their own memories:
We have fond memories of Jessie who was our neighbour in Fen Street for 18 years. She was never happier than when she was tending her garden or giving the fruit and flowers she had grown to anyone who passed. She certainly was a character and if ever there was a suspicious looking individual outside she would have pen and paper ready to take details and their car registration number - just in case! She loved her dogs and in the time we knew her she had Timothy, Toby and then Louie - they were all thoroughly spoilt.
Rest in peace Jessie you will be sadly missed.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Garage near Old Buckenham

Where to get your MOT
Millhouse Garage is now able to add MOTs and services to their list of available services they can offer during this time of restricted practices. This should ease the backlog of MOTs that had to be cancelled during March/April, although there is six month extension period currently in place for MOTs due from 31st March.
Please note that the garage is working with less staff, as some have had to self isolate, so it may take longer than the normal turnover time to complete jobs. Priority is being given to key workers. Now available, subject to the availability of spare parts, are:
- services
- MOTs
- calor gas supplies
- tyres
- punctures
- batteries
- break downs
- emergencies
- basic repairs
The body shop is currently closed.
Please make contact by calling the office number 01953 860572.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Collecting in Old Buckenham

Nearing the final countdown

Those Plant to Plate tokens that many of you have been collecting to be passed on the Chapel Green School finished in the EDP at the end of March. A big thank you to all those who have saved them up and passed them on to the newsletter editor who is then getting them moved on to the school.
The school have until September to do their final count up for the newspaper but you have helped me get to a total of 1846 tokens at the present time. If you come across any odd ones around in the next couple of months just put them away safely.
Chapel Green will definitely be able to claim their gardening pack worth £130 (just a thousand tokens needed) but with many other people having been collecting for them they will be hoping to qualify for one of the big £1ooo prizes.
Well done everybody. 

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Easter Sunday in Old Buckenham

Outside for all to see
Two photos taken early this morning in All Saints churchyard of what would normally be inside the church.

Well done Old Buckenham

Hello Old Buckenham residents 

As Chairman of your Parish Council may I take this opportunity to thank you all for being resilient and paying attention to the government advice of social distancing. I know it has been a strange and sometimes difficult month not being able to see friends or loved ones. We are fortunate that we live in such a beautiful part of the county and are able to go out for a walk and exercise whilst maintaining social distancing.
May I also take the opportunity to thank those in the village who are and have volunteered to help fellow residents with shopping or collecting prescriptions, you are all doing a wonderful job. It warms the heart to think in this day and age that we still have a little community spirit in Old Buckenham. May I also thank everyone who helps this village come alive to the sound of handclaps on Thursday evenings showing your thanks to all those working in our hospitals, care sectors, pharmacists and all key workers. I am myself continuing to go to work as are many within the haulage industry to try to keep this wonderful country fed.
Also please feel free to contact any of us from the PC if you need any help during this crisis.
Once this pandemic over let’s have a party on the Green and celebrate what a wonderful village full of fabulous residents we are.
Jonn Hicks

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Old Buckenhan village newsletter

Newsletter for May
The village newsletter for May will be going ahead as usual thanks to our fit printer and all those helpful volunteers in the village. Some villagers have been providing copy in the form of reminiscences or stories that will be needed to fill the pages as there will be very few meetings to report on.
There have been plenty of posts on the Old Buckenham Facebook page from people who lived in Old Buckenham in their youth. Information such as this would be much appreciated by the newsletter editor who you can contact by email on It looks as if the need for material to go into the village newsletter will be needed for months to come so don’t be shy in providing some words of your own.
Also spare a thought for the local firms who advertise in the newsletter. Many, through no fault of their own, suddenly had to stop trading. It would still be worth contacting them to see if they can still be of help, through home deliveries for instance, or to organise something for (much?) later in the year.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Recycling collection in Old Buckenham

Village Hall car park facilities
Paper. The container is full. White's are unable to say when the next collection will be. They have many drivers away from work so are needing to concentrate on collections from hospitals, etc. Attempt being made to obtain a temporary container for waste paper.
Glass. Hopeful that there will be a collection within 14 days.
Textiles. Unable to see inside the container to establish how near it is to being full.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Old Buckenham poetry

Local reminiscences
The following is an extract from one of Marjorie Westfield’s poems recalling her Christian enlightenment made through the Baptist Church and some of her contemporaries at Old Buckenham. 

Born again of the Spirit, passed from death to life,
Saved from condemnation, my sinful heart washed white.
And the people who worshipped with me
I hold most dear within my memory.
There was Kathy, Audrey*, Miss Germany,
Pastor Wagnell and the Hiltons from West View.
I recall the Sunday School wherein I taught
And the Thursday Prayer Meetings too.
Ah, happy days of youth which made my soul rejoice;
And I never will regret the making of that choice.

*Audrey Hammond but what was Kathy's surname?

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Some Old Buckenham history

Memories of Marjorie Westfield

A link with Old Buckenham’s past stretching back almost 100 years has been broken with the death of Marjorie Walshe (nee Westfield), who was born in the village in 1926 and whose father and stepmother ran a garage and shop on the Green for many years either side of the second world war.
Marjorie’s father was Herbert Westfield who came to the village from Essex in the early 1920s and set up his business and home in the former village Reading Room, nowadays the premises of the Laurel Tree Centre. He did general engineering, specialising in cycle repairs, and installed petrol pumps to sell fuel to the growing clientele of motorists in the district. In the early 1930s, Westfield’s petrol was among the cheapest for miles around, at a halfpenny under a shilling a gallon – equivalent to just over 1p per litre.
His wife Elsie looked after the adjacent shop which sold household items, confectionery and tobacco. She had originally been employed as a housekeeper after Herbert’s relationship with Marjorie’s mother broke up.
They married in 1930 and had a son Raymond who died when just over a year old. Herbert, who died in 1955, and Raymond are both interred in the churchyard.
Marjorie was among the first pupils to attend the current High School when it opened in 1938 as Old Buckenham Area School. In the war years she worked for her parents in the shop and, in her late teens, attended village dances which attracted an eclectic mix of locals and American airmen newly arrived at the wartime aerodrome. 

The date 1944/1945. Marjorie is on the right, the American is Mike. Do you recognise the young lady on the left who is thought to be 'Vera'.
She inherited a love of music from her father who was an accomplished pianist and had played accompaniment for silent movies in earlier years. After a hard day’s work in the garage, he loved relaxing at the keyboard and Marjorie often recalled listening in awe to the music of Beethoven, Grieg or Liszt drifting up to her bedroom. She too learnt to play the piano and sometimes acted as organist at the Baptist chapels in Old Buckenham and Attleborough. 
A deep Christian faith was central to her life. She was baptised and taught in Sunday School at Old Buckenham before moving just over the parish boundary to Foundry Hill, Attleborough, in 1951 after her father retired and sold the business.
She joined the congregation of Attleborough Baptist Church but retained many links with the village via the friends she had made through family connections, school and as a member of the chapel community.
In the 1950s, she started her own Sunday School, called “The Children’s Church”, in a disused building adjacent to Bunn’s Bank on land which had been part of the aerodrome. There she gave spiritual and often social support to many deprived youngsters and their families living in makeshift accommodation on the site.
Marjorie herself had a challenging time in her 20s after she became a single parent, being forced apart from the man she loved. It was nearly 10 years before they were reunited, marrying in 1960.
Some villagers may recall Marjorie and her mother Elsie for their connections with Gaymers cider works in the 50s and 60s. Marjorie was employed in the canteen and served meals to the villagers who worked there, many of whom made the daily five-mile round journey by cycle. Elsie picked apples in late summer and autumn in the orchards which then adjoined the factory; she also worked at the United Dairies depot, or “Creamery” as it was known, on Buckenham Road.
Marjorie and her husband Tom moved to Stowmarket in 1970. Nine years later, and by then mother to another three children aged between 16 and 11, she was widowed at the age of just 53.
She continued to live at Stowmarket for the rest of her life. In later years she became a prolific artist and poet, some of her verse* inspired by her earlier days in Old Buckenham. She always loved returning to the village which held so many memories.
She remained active well into her 80s, lovingly tending her garden and doing DIY work in the house. Her physical and mental health declined in the last few years, though she remained living in her own home until just before Christmas. She died at the West Suffolk Hospital on March 18th and a family funeral took at Stowmarket Baptist Church on April 1st.
The family hope to hold a further celebration of her life later in the year when current restrictions have ended. If anyone who remembers Marjorie would be interested in attending, they would be most welcome. Please contact her son, Tom, on 01953 789510 or email:

* A piece of her poetry will be posted later