Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Old Buckenham allotments

Ten years ago
the Parish Council were approached by residents requesting allotments in Old Buckenham. The Parish Council didn't own any land in the Parish and they had to search for land to buy or lease. Following advertising and discussions with land owners for a suitable and sustainable site, the Parish Council was offered four sites and subsequently agreed a lease on an acre of land in Ragmere Road owned by Steven and Philip Frost.
The land owners were very helpful and ploughed the land ready for it to be used. With the help from parishioners and parish councillors, 14 plots were marked out for garden allotments and mains water standpipes were installed. The plots were each 20 metres by 10 metres with some being split into half plots of 10 metres by 10 metres.
The leases on the plots were taken up very quickly by residents with some of the original tenants still caring for their plots and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour. During the start of the recent lockdown there was high demand for vacant plots and these too are now producing fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Parish Council currently have two full plots available and if any resident is interested in taking one on then please contact Rachel, the Parish Clerk, by email at or Adrian Joel at or by phoning him on 01953 860663.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Footpaths in Old Buckenham

The Parish Council would like to open the debate concerning Public Rights of Way in the parish. The history behind this initiative stems from a number of written and numerous verbal communications from parishioners to the Council. 

As a Parish we are extremely fortunate to have attractive and accessible Public Rights of Way. Whilst these have been utilised extensively over the years the volume of their usage has greatly increased since the Covid19 outbreak. This has resulted in numerous enquiries relating to exact locations and routes of the Public Rights of Way in the parish, the legal responsibilities of users, landowners and of various public bodies as well general issues relating to the usage of Public Rights of Way. The Parish Council are committed to make Public Rights of Way in our Parish easy and enjoyable to use for all people and our community (for example by groups/individuals such as walkers, cyclists, horse riders, etc). They would also like to promote increased community involvement with our Public Rights of Way. 

In discussion with a random sample of interested parishioners and within the Council members, it was thought as a first step in awareness-raising and usage of our natural facilities, would be to post an information article each month in the village blog and village newsletter an update on issues relating to Public Rights of Way. As from November 2020 we will be including, both in the Blog and in the Newsletter, a ‘Public Rights of Way Update Information Article’.
It must be stated from the outset that as a Parish Council we have no specific duties for Public Rights of Way (apart from where we are the landowner). However, we can choose to work in partnership with responsible bodies to improve their local paths. More will be explained about this area of activity in a future article.
In the meantime, if you have a question or enquiry relating to Public Rights of Way within the Parish of Old Buckenham please email or write to the Parish Clerk at 6 Forge Close.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Busy selling in Old Buckenham

It's been a great day for a village yard sale today with over forty households having their unwanted goods on display for other people to buy. Spread out all over the village there was plenty of space for shoppers to keep socially distanced.

The event was initiated and organised by Steph Gipp who managed to raise £50 from the sale of maps showing the locations of the houses involved. She also received £30 from the Coleman family from a donation box on their stall. The £80 will be split between the village Brownie group and the village Beaver group that many of the village children attend. It's been a tough time for all charities but these groups have not been able to fund raise at all this year  

Friday, 18 September 2020

 Five circuits of Old Buckenham Green

Alison Frank is taking part in the altered 'Race for Life' on Saturday 26 September in aid of Cancer Research UK.  As the participants can't all run together at the moment she will be walking five times around the Green to complete the distance. She will appreciate hearing from anyone willing to  sponsor her. Please make contact via email  or you can ring 860692.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Life of Old Buckenham shopkeeper

Bill Wardman Eulogy 
The editor of the Old Buckenham village newsletter and the village blog has been given the text of the eulogy given at his funeral service on Monday 7 September. Many villagers would not have been able to go to the crematorium so it is reprinted here to allow you to share the life of a most interesting man.
I’m Karen, Bill’s youngest. My sisters Ann Mary, Jane and I were very lucky to have such a caring, supportive and wonderful father and these words come from the three of us about our Dad, our Bill.
How do you condense 90 years of a varied and interesting life into just a few minutes?
Born in December 1929, during the Great Depression, he was a 14lb baby (can you imagine?) the first born child of a police officer Robert and his wife Elizabeth. From age 11 Bill was lucky enough to attend Warwick School, not far from where they lived. He enjoyed the school but was never keen on the its sporting tradition, but fortunately war time rationing meant that Bill could make sure there were never enough clothing coupons to get any sports kit! He had no time for what he called 22 or 30 silly men chasing a bit of leather about! Instead he was allowed to work in the school garden, growing both a life-long love of gardening and more food (win win!)
Bill left school at 16 and after a couple of years working in a pathology lab he left home to embark upon his national service in the medical corps in Wiltshire. A big strapping good looking lad who always wanted more food to support his fast growing frame, he signed up for the cookery course on campus. Now the ingredients weren’t part of your rationing allowance, the teacher was the only woman on camp, you learnt to cook and you got to eat what you made, another win-win all round!
Demob happy (and with a demob suit that still hangs in his closet today) Bill joined the Metropolitan police force following his father Robert who was in the Warwickshire force. Bill always took a keen interest in the career of Felicity our cousin who follows that family tradition.
As a young police man he guarded No 10 Downing Street, watching the comings and goings of Winston Churchill and the cabinet of the day. He joined the Police race walking team and extremely fit he completed the Nijmegen Marches in Holland and The London to Brighton Race Walk. Although there were elements of the police work that he loved the long cold boring nights at the back of Number 10, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey and the freezing damp smog prompted him to explore other options. Leaving the smog of London behind, in 1952 he joined the Kenya Police Force where he was involved in working against the Mau Mau. The few stories he told were of trying to protect the locals against forced enrolment and the arrested against illegal police and army action and of long nights tracing and searching.
It was in Kenya, both being part of the ex-pat social scene that Bill met Cecilia, the love of his life! Their marriage and the life they created together was indeed a love story. They worked together and laughed together, sharing a set of values and beliefs that always endured. Devoted to each other always.
Together they became shop keepers, taking on the running of a butchery business for a friend, then buying it and building it into a general stores on the North Kinangop. It was a settled life in the Scottish Highlands of Kenya and having to return to the UK was not a choice they would have made for themselves, but faced with an increased lack of safety and the prospect of giving up their British Passports when Kenya got independence in 1963 they felt that with two young children under 6, they had no option but to leave Kenya behind.
Returning from Africa in 1963 Bill and Cecilia looked at a few shops before choosing Old Buckenham which they loved then and always.
So in November 1963 Bill and Cecilia, along with Ann Mary and Jane moved to Norfolk! They found it a bit chilly compared with Africa, the winds howled from the east and the children saw snow for the first time. According to Mummy Ann Mary spent that first winter wearing every single item of clothing that she possessed!
The following year I was born on a Wednesday afternoon which of course in those days was half day closing.
Mum and Dad joined Spar in 1964, the shop went self service, and a while later they added the post office. 1971 saw decimalisation, and in 1974 they were the first grocery shop in England to get an off licence. In those days the wine selection was Black Tower and Matheus Rose, sherry was sold from a barrel into your own bottle and whisky and brandy were for medicinal purposes!
Bill spent most of those days in his green Spar overall behind the post office counter. This was the era before internet banking, mobile phones and email so most of the village went to his counter, collecting pensions and family allowance, buying postal orders as well as sending letters and parcels. Bill knew everyone and he was a man that believed that every individual had something interesting to say and to teach you if you listened to their stories. When not behind that counter he’d be slicing ham, fetching gallons of paraffin and delivering grocery orders round the nearby villages often with one of us in tow.
To three young girls growing up and to the end of his days as far as we were concerned our father was a giant of a man, both physically and intellectually, to us he knew everything (except sport!), he’d read the dictionary from cover to cover; knew lots about science, history and current affairs ; could quote case law from his time in the police plus he was practical and could make things and fix things. He was in charge of buying us second hand bikes and subsequently cars and had a solution for every problem.
Bill had his own unique way of fixing things. To make the house warmer upstairs he put a two foot hole in the ceiling above a heater! When one of my old Minis was letting in water which swooshed about like a tide he drilled holes in the bottom of the car and threw in some sawdust (so it then had a tide and a beach!). He repaired the wing of that green van he loved with the metal from a catering size corned beef tin. Only a few weeks ago he was trying to fix the downstairs loo hinge with two five pence pieces glued either side!
Living with three young people who all knew their own minds couldn’t have been easy for Bill and maybe this was the era when he started to develop his slightly grumpy persona! He made good use of those three little words to get him by “ask your mother!” There were some occasions when mum would say “don’t tell your father” and one of those that springs to mind was when our gerbils escaped and fell down Bill’s two foot hole in the ceiling!
It was a simple idyllic rural life in Norfolk and Mum and Dad loved it! They kept shop for 28 years from 1963 to 1991 and on the day they retired they became grandparents for the first time, to Deaglan and then to Clara. Once retired they maintained their links with the community, Mum as parish clerk and dad volunteering as a community car driver. Dad now had the time to return to his passion for growing fruit and vegetables. They would go out pretty much every afternoon, they loved to walk in Thetford Forest and along the beach in Southwold, plus going miles on their tandem. They adored those days and they adored each other, life was perfect.
Throughout his life Bill watched the goings on in the world with interest. He watched the 1 o’clock news and then the 6 o’clock news, switching over then to the channel 4 7 o’clock news (just to make they’d got it right he’d say) plus the 10 o’clock, then News Night, Andrew Marr and lots of documentaries. Plus he read the EDP newspaper avidly and much else besides. He read and he watched and he listened and he drew his own conclusions, he had his own take on things, “don’t you think” meant an interesting and wide ranging observation was about to follow. And he really did want to know what you thought, it was the start of many good, thought provoking, yet gentle conversations. Dad held a passionate belief in the principal that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. He was irritated by political incompetence, he was absolutely appalled by the Post Office Scandal, the Windrush Scandal and totally supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Dad also had a good sense of humour, he loved comedy programmes, laughing heartily at absurdity, silliness and satire, Dads Army and Allo Allo being two of his favourites.
Many of us here would also have known Bill’s dour outlook, mostly it was for effect though one of his favourite phrases was “I was born in a depression and I’m going to die in a depression!” Unfortunately this has turned out to be all too true!
After a long and happy retirement and when in her 80s Mum became quite frail and Bill cared for her with love, concern and tenderness. He did everything for her and was devoted to her to the end. It was 8 years ago that Mummy died and Bill has said numerous times that he just wanted to be with her again.
Bill was a lucky man, the eldest of his generation of Wardmans, brother to Ann and Mary, uncle to Robert, Ian, Mark, Lucy and Fitty, he enjoyed family parties and family life.
After a very brief spell in hospital Bill passed away peacefully with Jane by his side. He was chatty and lucid, telling Jane memories of Africa, Norfolk and his long and happy marriage. He gave her quite a number of instructions including “get that downstairs loo replaced, my 5pence piece repair hasn’t worked!” He also summed up his own life saying “I have had a good life, a wonderful wife and three daughters that I am proud of, I have succeeded”
In his old age Dad’s biggest wish was to stay in his own home and he achieved this with help from quite a number of good friends and neighbours many of whom are here today. Terry and Sue, Debbie and Stuart, Phil and Zona helped Dad in numerous ways. Dad’s good friend Jim helped keep the house maintained. The physios Becky, Jonathan and Amy from Back in Motion who kept Bill moving and extended encouragement and friendship. Daniel who lived with Bill and cared for him devotedly for quite a few months until he was fit to live independently again. The carers, especially Joe and Tessa, from Pride Homecare who called on Dad twice daily. Gavin who managed Dad’s affairs. To all of you the three of us say thank you. And as every orchestra needs a first violin to support the conductor there was Jane who tirelessly cared for and spent time with Dad, visiting and working with him to arrange things and to enjoy conversation, good food and television. Nobody could have done more or shown more care, we are very proud of you and on behalf of Ann Mary and I Thank you.
And as we say goodbye to Bill I want to pay tribute to him and our mother for everything that they did for us three girls. I for one want to celebrate his successful happy life and henceforth picture him reunited with Cecilia for which he will be a very happy man.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Busy day in Old Buckenham

Clearing out and clearing up
This Sunday 20 September, starting at 11am by the Ottomer pond, you are invited to take part in a litter pick around the village Green. Cleaned pickers and high vis jackets will be available for your use or bring your own.
The blog editor starts his picking when he leaves home and already has plenty in his black bag by the time he has walked up Cake Street to the Green.
This Sunday is also a village-wide Yard (or Garage) sale with nearly forty properties trying to get you to take away their unwanted goods.
Feel free to take part in both activities.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Latest from Old Buckenham Parish Council

Details of September minutes
These notes have been written by the blog editor from the draft minutes so may contain information that is amended at a later date.
Old Buckenham Parish Council met via Zoom on Thursday 3 September. Those present were councillors Jonn Hicks (Chair), Steve Milner, Adrian Joel, Terry Cook, Andy Nicholls and Ben Devlin. Also present were Rachel Noyes (Clerk) and two members of the public.
Mike Farrington had sent his apologies for not being able to attend.
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 6 August were approved (6 in favour).The request mentioned in these minutes for the 30 mph zone extension on Harlingwood Lane had been refused by Highways.
Financial matters. The Community account balance was now £29,479.07. Payments of £787.49 were approved (6 in favour).
AGAR forms. Due to COVID and lockdown, the AGAR (Annual Governance and Accountability Return) deadline was initially cancelled and the Parish Council were informed that they would be contacted with a new date. This did not happen and the council have been informed that the deadline has passed. Donna Oakley has worked incredibly hard to complete the AGAR forms as quickly as possible. The Parish Council could see no problems with the forms and they were approved (6 in favour).
Public participation relating to agenda items. When asked about the recent visit by the Met Office to the Airfield and the Anglian Water site the councillors explained that the email informing them was quite late and vague on times so no one attended. It wasn’t clear whether councillors were being invited to attend or was the email simply to inform them of the Met Office’s actions. Councillors decided to reply to the Met Office asking for any further information and asking to be invited to any proposed future site visits. They also queried whether neighbouring councils had been informed as well as George Freeman MP and the District and County councillor Steve Askew.
New planning applications. None.
Planning decisions by Breckland Council. The following three applications have now been considered and the applications have been approved.
Land South of March Field Way. Residential development of 9 dwellings and associated external works (3PL/2019/1401/F).
Old Buckenham Country Park, Doe Lane. New shower block and a cabin to replace an existing static caravan (3PL/2020/0675/F).
Haresfield, The Old Yard, Hargham Road. Change of use of parcel of land to rear of existing residential unit to residential curtilage and erection of a rear extension, comprising of garage bays to the ground floor and 2 no bedrooms to the first floor and terrace at the rear (3PL/2020/0437/F).
The following application has now been considered and the application has been refused. Land west of Attleborough Road, north of the property East View. Outline application for 5 residential dwellings (3PL/2020/0578/0).
Communications. Steve Milner provided a document summarising communication by the Parish Council. Councillors are to provide feedback and a plan drawn up for the next meeting.
Public Rights of Way. Terry Cook explained that the recent increase in walkers, cyclists and horse riders has raised several queries about Public Rights of Way (PROW). Terry Cook and Steve Milner would like to utilise the village newsletter to highlight the laws and rights of both landowners and walkers, and also raise awareness of some of the public footpaths that exist in and around our Parish. Ben Devlin explained that they had started looking at making a map for their customers at the Country Park and so could work together and share resources. Councillors were supportive of this plan.
Policies. Several policies of the Parish Council are in need of updating. Jonn Hicks, Steve Milner and Terry Cook volunteered to meet up and draft new copies for approval at next meeting.
Chairman’s report. As most groups have been unable to meet up and use last year’s Precept grants, the chairman asked whether we need to do them this year? Many councillors felt that this would put other groups who would still need them at a disadvantage. Some groups might rely on these grants more due to lockdown restrictions. It was agreed to keep the present Grant policy (6 in favour) with a new deadline of Friday 20 November. Village Hall doors still need purchasing by the Parish Council (in lieu of Grant) as still awaiting three quotes.
Another defibrillator has been installed, this time on 39 Fen Street. Many thanks due to Mr and Mrs Evison for allowing it to be placed on their property. Registered with the NHS and ready for use. SAM speed equipment also installed at 39 Fen St to measure traffic speeds. Will be rotated to measure speeds of cars travelling in both directions.
Playdale are being chased up to complete repairs in Play Area. Grass will be cut in next couple of weeks.
Football posts in the Recreation Area have proved popular. Proposal to accept a quote of £80 to initially mark out the pitch with £25 to re-do once a month (can evaluate and change frequency as necessary) was approved (6 in favour). Large drop between the level of the village hall car park and the recreation ground by the entrance gate has been reported. Jonn Hicks and village handyman will fill and compact in attempt to minimise tripping hazard.
Councillors’ reports. Steve Milner said he was struggling to find a clear explanation of new website accessibility regulations. He will ask for feedback on the difficulty that users face. Adrian Joel reported that one ½ size allotment plot has been taken.
Items for next agenda. These will include allotment rents, the Action Plan, communications and update of Policies.

The next Parish Council meeting will be held on Thursday 1 October at 7.30pm. Location to be confirmed nearer the time, subject to Government guidelines at that time.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Farewell to Old Buckenham shopkeeper

Villagers congregate outside village shop
The weather was overcast and damp but many villagers met together today on the edge of the Green to say their last farewells to Bill Wardman. Bill and his late wife Cecilia moved to Old Buckenham in 1964 and ran the village shop for 26 years.
The blog editor has put together a pictorial reminder of an emotional event.

A lone piper plays outside the Wardman's home
Villagers start to arrive...
... and so do the clergy
Talking to the family mourners
More villagers start to arrive
Rev Alistair Monkhouse talks about Bill...
...and leads the prayers
Light-hearted moment to look at old photographs
Hearse begins to leave
Piper leads hearse out to the road...
...and then off to the crematorium.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Correct times in Old Buckenham

Opening times for post office services
The newsletter editor wishes to apologise for some wrong information that was included in the September village newsletter. Having been asked to include the opening times for the post office in the village shop he took the information from the Post Office’s web page rather than checking directly with Venuka. He has now been informed that the post office services are available Monday to Friday from 8.45am to 1pm and then 2pm to 5.30pm. On Saturday the times are 8am to 12 noon.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Old Buckenham weather radar latest

Met Office looking at options
The Met Office have sent the following information to the Parish Council:
Since the withdrawal of our planning application for a proposed weather radar at Old Buckenham in March of this year (planning number 3PL/2019/1555/F), we have been exploring two alternative options to our original plan.  One option focuses on reduction of the radar tower height at the original site whilst the other option focuses on an alternative site suggested by the airfield, with a taller tower. 
 As part of our preliminary work, we would like to advise you that we will be visiting the Old Buckenham airfield and nearby Anglian Water site on Abbey Road on Wednesday 2 September and will be using a cherry picker to demonstrate the potential tower height at both sites. The cherry picker will arrive at the airfield mid-morning and will then move to the Abbey Road Anglian Water site by mid-afternoon. The vehicle will not be using roads through the village and will be leaving on the same day. 
 In order to maintain similar coverage levels to those possible from the originally proposed site, the tower height requirement will be different for the two sites. The height of radar towers largely relates to the height of the land it is sited on and the height of surrounding trees and buildings. The land at the airfield is lower lying than the land at the Anglian Water site. The cherry picker will reach to the new heights at both locations and allow us take photographs and measurements for consultation and planning reasons.  
We would like to stress that we are currently evaluating both options and we will continue to keep you informed of any progress. 
So look out for things high in the sky on Wednesday...