Quote of the week

Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself'

George Bernard Shaw
If you cannot mould yourself entirely as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/wish.html

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My new cabinet role...a bit of a surprise.

I still feel rather shocked about my unexpected elevation to the Cabinet at the County Council, although I have known that it was a probability for a week or so.

The brief that I have accepted is a very wide ranging one and basically encompasses most of the internal aspects of the council’s work; finance, property management, IT, HR and so forth.

There is also the additional responsibility for ‘Waste’, which will involve working alongside partners to continue to develop Suffolk’s Waste Strategy.  This is an area that my fellow Babergh District Councillor, Clive Arthey has been working on for a long time, and I have to say that due to his clear exposition of the issues over the years I think that I have a basic understanding of much of what has been happening in this area.
Given my background, the financial aspect of the work should not prove technically difficult for me, but it is a daunting task to be responsible for reducing the size of the council’s budget by such a huge amount.  I would much prefer, or course,  to be looking at ways to spend money in the community, but unfortunately we are where we are.

A frustration is that Suffolk was actually a pretty efficient council to start with, and the Government has in no way aimed off for relative council efficiency in its funding settlements.  This means that we are in a far more difficult position than some  ‘bloated’ councils elsewhere, who, as a result of their former profligacy, are finding it much easier to find savings just by cutting the fat!

Although in a state of some surprise,  I am very excited about this new challenge.  I just hope that I will be able to keep up the flow of posts onto the Blog…..I will do my best.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Home of Hope

Which London Underground Station is spelt without using any of the letters in the word 'badger'?

This was one of the taxing questions put to some 120 people who attended the Sudbury Rotary Club quiz night in Great Waldingfield Village Hall yesterday evening.

The quiz was organised to raise funds for one of the Club's causes, The Home of Hope Beirut.  This Home offers 'Street Children' from Syria and Lebanon, often abused, abandoned and orphaned,  a safe environment in which they can receive not just immediate support but ongoing education, social rehabilitation, trade skills and recreation.

The Director of the Home of Hope, Maher Tabarani, attended the quiz.  This afternoon at 4.30 p.m. in St Gregory's Church there is the opportunity to hear him speak about his work in Beirut and answer questions about the project.  I understand that the talk will be illustrated with slides or a video.  Entry is free, but there will be a collection towards the costs of running the home.

More information about Home of Hope can be found on its website here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Masterworks from the Ford Collection...last few weeks!

There are only a few weeks left to catch the current exhibition at Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury.

This exhibition is a treat for all those interested in English landscape painting, great collecting, drawing and the Grand Tour.  It showcases paintings and drawings from the Ford family collection, most notably works acquired by Benjamin Booth (1732 - 1807), his grandson Richard Ford (1796 - 1858) and the renowned art historian and collector Sir Brinsley Ford (1900 - 1999).

Booth married the wealthy Shropshire heiress Jane Salwey and this gave him the freedom to indulge his love of art.  Amongst other artists, he amassed a large and significant collection of work by a contemporary of Gainsborough, the 18th century landscape artist Richard Wilson, whose tercentenary is being celebrated this year.

The exhibition runs until 1st June.

Gainsborough’s House is now open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, April 25, 2014

New facilities at Bildeston Primary School officially opened.

A happy afternoon was spent in Bildeston yesterday where I attended the official opening of the school’s newly installed outdoor activity equipment, pictured above.

Some £20,000 has been raised in record time by parents and children from a number of local Sponsors, including my predecessor Jeremy Pembroke, and the money has been very well spent.  In addition to the run of exciting equipment seen above,  a tyre crocodile, outdoor seating and an outdoor classroom have all been installed in the lovely playing field adjacent to the school.

While we enjoyed the April sunshine, the equipment was officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony presided over by a slightly belated Easter Rabbit, brandishing a huge set of golden shears.

The children are clearly very excited about their new apparatus, and wasted no time in showing it off to the assembled visitors who included representatives from a number of the sponsoring organisations.  The names of the sponsors are recorded for posterity on an elegant plaque attached to the new classroom.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Website link to consultation

Information on the consultation about the proposed closure of Monks Eleigh School is now on the County Council website.

You can download the documents online and learn how to have your say on

The consultation closes on 30th May 2014.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sunday afternoon talks at Chilton Church this summer.

A knight and his Lady have lain on a tomb in Chilton Church for over 500 years, so long that even the graffiti dates back centuries.  Church Trustee, Val Herbert, will be telling the fascinating story of the monument on Sunday 4 May at 3.30 p.m., when St Mary’s is open for the day.

The Church near Sudbury will be open this summer from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month with talks at the same time on most afternoons.

 The complete programme
Sunday 4th May:  What a medieval tomb tells us
Sunday 1st June: Saints and Devils
Sunday 6th July:  Disaster for the village at Gallipoli
Sunday 7th September:  How the Victorians turned back the clock.

Chilton Church can be found to the north of Sudbury off Church Field Road which is the western exit from the Homebase Roundabout.  There is much of interest to see in this small church.