News Archive 2017


Crocuses planted

26 November 2017ruby giant crocus

1000 purple crocuses were planted today along the verges at Lutus Close along the Stoke Road.  Malcolm Smith and two of his colleagues Robin and Duncan from Haverhill Rotary Club joined Peter & Nickie Carpenter (of Clare in Bloom), John Collecott, Roy and Chrissie Williams to plant them.  Because there were a few of us, the task was completed within half an hour.

The donated crocuses are Ruby Giant and are part of the campaign organised by Rotary Club worldwide to eradicate polio.  Running since 1985, it has almost achieved its aim, the only exceptions being areas of the world classified currently as warzones.  The purple signifies the ink dye put on the finger after receiving drops to fight polio.

Crocus ‘Ruby Giant’ blooms from as early as February: a fabulous display of purple flowers rise above slender, strap-like foliage.  The large blooms are supported on sturdy stems, ensuring that they remain upright throughout the flowering period.  Like all crocus, this variety will provide valuable nectar for pollinating insects in early spring.

Dog fouling update

7 November 2017

From 1st October St Edmundsbury Borough Council has brought in a new Public Spaces Protection Order for Dogs.  The text can be found on our Dog Fouling page.

This applies to every public area of Clare: pavements and footpaths, swards and roads, the Park and the Nuttery, the Playing Field and the Cemetery.  Dogs are specifically banned from the Childrens’ Playground in the Park and the Westfield Play Area.

This will strengthen the prosecution of offenders.  Recently a dog owner in Wickhambrook was fined.

WW1 Commemorations continue – a sad episode at sea

Victor Bareham died 16th September 201721 September 2017

This Saturday two generations of relatives gathered at the War Memorial in Market Hill in Clare on the 100th anniversary of the death of Victor Bareham.

On the night of 16th September 1917, Victor was a newly posted seaman, aged 21,  on the British submarine G9.  In foul weather 70 miles off Norway, his commander mistook the destroyer, HMS Pasley for a German U-boat.  Two torpedoes were fired: one failed to detonate, the other missed.  The Pasley turned on its helm.  A signal came from the submarine (probably the commander realised his mistake), but it was too late.  Trying to go astern, HMS Pasley rammed G9 and cut it in two.  Within a minute, all crew, bar one, were lost.

Relatives of Victor Bareham

Olive & Tom Smith, Ronald Bareham, Sherry Wilson & Jennifer Wood

A nephew, Ronald Bareham attended the commemoration, along with two great-nieces and a great-nephew.

Clare Town Council has been holding these ceremonies on the 100th anniversary of the death of each of the 33 fallen of Clare.

The sinking of the submarine is described more fully in a Wikipedia article.

One consequence of the fatal action was that communication methods were improved; the slow, unreliable and cumbersome arc lamps were replaced with Aldis lamps.

Details of our commemorations may be found here.


Stour Valley Educational TrustStour Valley Educational Trust

11 September 2017

Once again our Year 11 students have done us proud, achieving the best set of results since the school opened in 2011.  68% of students have achieved a pass grade of Grade 4 in English and Maths, our best achievement to date!  Notable achievements include Freya Lambert, Naomi Lawson and Edith Wild, who achieved a grand total of five Grade 9s, three Grade 8s, seventeen Grade A*s and five Grade As between them.  We are delighted that all of our students have received recognition for all of their hard work under the very challenging circumstances surrounding the new grading system, and know that they are well prepared and qualified for exciting futures ahead.

These exceptional results place Stour Valley Community School Stars of Stour Valley Community Schoolin third place overall among state schools in West Suffolk.

At Clare Primary we are delighted to welcome Mrs Lorna Stranger as Deputy Headteacher alongside our Headteacher Mrs Rebecca Loader.

Comments from Keith Haisman, Chair of the Trustees, Stour Valley Education Trust.

Stour Valley Community School: Thursday 5 October 6 pm
Clare Community Primary School: Thursday 21st and 28th September 9.15-10.45

Road name signs in Clare

1 September 2017

Road sign on Nethergate StreetThree members of the Traffic group of the Town Council met with a Highways Officer for West Suffolk this morning.  Several road name signs have been replaced, following comments from the Town Council, noticeably Ashen Road and Nethergate Street.  This morning’s meeting considered proposals for additional road signs – example: the entrance to the High Street, and for re-positioning other signs – example: moving the Church Street sign nearer to the corner with Cavendish Road.  Problems with clear identification of cul-de-sacs on either side of the Cavendish Road were noted as well as for Mill Road.

Suffolk County Council will be approached with requests to improve the quality and location of several black-on-white highway signs.

Clare in Bloom – into Winter

31 August 2017

The evenings are getting darker, though Summer is still here, but we are planning once more for the Winter.Clare in Bloom

Across the town, the 23 containers, full of red begonias, have been wonderful.  We shall be adding four more containers, two at the Country park gates by the Fire Station and two beside the Platform One Café.  We intend to plant naturalised daffodils outside the Café.  500 tulips and pansies have been ordered and will be planted on 11 October – so please clear the containers before then!

Thanks to our many supporters, funds are healthy.  We hope to get a renewed grant from Clare Town Council, which will cover our winter costs.  The Open Gardens was a success, amply covering expenses.  It is unlikely we shall need to raise money in this way until 2019.  Although it is enjoyable it is hard work – our thanks to all who opened their gardens, baked cakes and served teas……

We hope to see as many of our parishioners as possible gardening at our monthly Wednesday meets.  We would be delighted to welcome new gardeners, especially new Clare residents.  Many hands, armed with gloves and tools, make for light work!

The Wednesday Gardening Dates for your diaries are at the Ancient House (except on 11 October when we meet at The Old Manse, next to the Baptist Chapel):

6 September 9 am
4 October 9 am
11 October 9 am
1 November 9.30 am
6 December 9.30 am

Best wishes to all

Sally Collecott   E: johncollecott(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)

Saturday Market re-opens in Clare

town crier

Mike Wabe Thetford’s Town Crier

20 August 2017

After 20 years, a market was opened this Saturday in Clare.  At 10am a Town Crier from Thetford officially opened the new market with a few verses celebrating the market dated back before the Normans and now returned, with a stentorious voice and a loud bell.  He was followed by words from the Mayor of Bury St Edmunds, Terry Clements, vegetable stallClare Town Council’s leader, Paul Bishop and our local borough councillor, Alaric Pugh.  Thanks was given to Sharon Fairweather, market development officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The stalls occupied either side of the road through to Bucks Lane from Market Hill; many stalls were located in the car park of Wayman & Long – thanks to our local solicitors for use of their facilities and electricity supply!

Among the many stalls were organic vegetables, cheeses, an English distillery, salami & meat products, bread, well being, clothes, pickles, cakes & tarts. crafts…… all the variety of a busy market.


pickles stallLocal traders also contributed: Mr in the car parkSpencer’s Flowers, No 1 Deli and Humphries, as well as the Friends of Clare Library.

The crowds were out for the launch at 10 am, but the market was still busy later in the day.

Press articles: EADT 20 Aug Community support hailed after return of market to Clare for first time in 20 years
Link: Thetford Town Crier

Stour Valley Community School maintains good Ofsted rating

12 August 2017

Stour Valley Community School

The schoo maintained the Good rating that it re

ceived at the previous inspection four years earlier, with inspectors stating there had been excellent progress across all aspects of the school.  Students were praised for their achievements in science, mathematics and humanities, in which they performed significantly above the national average, while science subjects were given special mention, described by inspectors as “a beacon of excellence”.

Stour Valley headteacher Christine Inchley said: “This was a tough inspection with the inspectors very focused on student progress, disadvantaged students and development of the curriculum.  We have been tenacious in developing a wider range of curriculum courses that meets the needs of our growing student population.  We continue to be strong in English, art, music, drama, and dance, and our modern foreign languages offering will be enhanced in 2017.”

Keith Haisman, chairman of school trustees, added: “I am delighted with the outcome of this inspection.  It is external proof of the quality of education that we offer, and I am very proud of the whole team at the school for working so hard to achieve such positive results for our students.  I am particularly pleased that the behaviour of our students is confirmed to be outstanding.  Their attitude to learning, to each other and to everyone they come into contact with is exemplary, and I am so proud of them.”

As reported in Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press

Our students in the Park

27 July 2017

You may have missed the recentarticle in the latest Haverhill Echo:  Students embrace nature in Clare Castle Country Park study programme

Here’s the link.  We first reported on the building of a willow structure on the 24th March.  The Haverhill Echo photo shows Neil Catchpole and students.

New footbridge near the Nuttery

1Footbridge near the Nuttery7 July 2017

A new footbridge has been installed across a ditch through a belt of trees close to the western end of the Nuttery, on one of the concessionary footpaths in that area.  The heavy materials were provided by David Byford, the landowner and his team.  The key builders were Keith Brown and Keith Mison, with Carl Benson, Derek Blake and Phil Gryce in supporting roles (chicken-wire fixing).

The photo (thanks to Keith Brown of the Walks Group) is of four willing testers of the new bridge.

Lottery update central to Park Meeting

13 July 2017

Last night the Clare Castle Country Park Trust held its Annual Meeting in the Park Centre.  Attended by some 80 people, the main business, aside from a report on the current healthy finances, was an overview of the Heritage Lottery Fund project.  The newly appointed project manager, James Mellish was introduced and he took everyone through the many professional consultants advising the trust as well as many of the features of the bid.  James is a very experienced manager of such projects: Burgess and Clissold Parks in London, as well as RSPB Snape, Chatsworth House and Bury St Edmunds Guildhall.  We expect to see him frequently in the park over the coming period.  Trustees gave further details of the plans with respect to activities for all ages (both large and small), improvement to the ecology, archaeology investigations, walks events, educational programmes……

Pond in Clare Castle Country Park

photo courtesy of Clare Castle Country Park

Members of the audience asked a range of questions that included how the Park could be sustained when the HLF funding ended and what financial support had been received since the Park had been transferred.  Geoffrey Bray responded that

  • the Trustees were committed to ensuring that the Park would be financially sustainable in the future
  • the HLF would not make a grant unless they were convinced that would be the case
  • apart from the money promised by Suffolk County Council at the time the Park was transferred, no financial support had been received from Clare Town Council or Suffolk CC.

Overall there was enthusiastic support of the proposals and strong expressions of thanks to the trustees.

There have been three days when the plans have been available (during the Party in the Park and the Priory’s Art & Craft Fair).  People have been encouraged to discuss them with trustees and consultants and complete feedback forms; some 250 people have viewed the plans.  This week’s Chevron will enclose an update from the Trust which invites residents to give feedback on the consultation plans.  Make sure you have your say.

Note: James Mellish has a website where more of his work can be viewed.

The SwanSwan Inn sign, Clare

10 July 2017

Clare’s oldest pub is open under new management: Nik and Victoria.  There will be a launch on Saturday 15th July in the afternoon, with a barbecue from 1-5 and live music from 3-5.  A new menu of traditional pub food will be available from 6pm.  Opening hours will be longer: 11-11 Mon-Sat.

Party  in the Park 2017

3 July 2017

The sun shone, the music played and the people came – in their thousands!

Crowd: Party in the Park 2017

An estimated 7,500 people attended the Party in the Park in Clare Castle Country Park on Saturday 1st July.   Organised by the Clare Community Association, this event had something for everyone, young and old.

There was a fantastic raffle, tombola, stalls, donkey rides, children’s entertainment, wood carving, morris dancing, vintage vehicles, traditional crafts, birds of prey, a hog roast, beer tent etc plus live music from the Drive In’s and Jerimiah Marques and the Blue Aces, and much more!

There was lots going on in the arena too, with displays from local organisations and a fun dog show.  All in all, a great day out for all the family.

‘The Party in the Park was a wonderful success and shows that Clare people are capable of organising events in Clare Country Park without resorting to outside sources’: Cllr Chris Marchant.  ‘Such a great event – and a great big thank you, before, during and after, to all those volunteers’: Cllr Phil Gryce.  ‘What fabulous day. The sun shone on you and your team and very well deserved it was. A great success’: Keith Haisman

Watch out for future CCA events in Clare – such as Pumpkins in the Park in October and the lovely Christmas Fair in November!

More pictures are here.  Here’s a first Thank you to our volunteers and sponsors.

It’s a sell out!

11 June 2017Clare: a photographic record of the 20th century, by Robin Stone

The first edition of the new collection of historic photographs of Clare in the 20th century was sold out by May 15th.  Robin Stone’s large format, heavily illustrated book is being reprinted – order copies fro Harris & Harris bookshop; some of the profits from the cost of £17.99 goes towards the Clare Christmas Lights.


Park bench

Bench in Clare Castle Country Park in memory of Harriet Loram28 May 2017

This morning a new bench was unveiled in Clare Castle Country Park.  It commemorates Harriet Loram who walked her dogs along the New Cut with fellow walkers and who helped found the Friends of Clare Library.

The bench will be found along the southern path along the New Cut from the car park to the weir.  It was installed by Cutts & Cousins free of charge.

A group of friends gathered to toast her life and remember her efforts on behalf of the community.


Clare Antiques Centre burglary

16 May 2017

Police are appealing for information after a burglary at a shop in Malting Lane in Clare earlier this morning.

This crime report came from Police Connect

Officers were alerted at 4.50am today, Tuesday 16 May, to reports a black Jeep-style 4×4 vehicle, with a large radiator panel and a bull bar on the front, had been driven into a side door at the shop, triggering an alarm.  Police arrived and discovered two cabinets had been smashed open and a quantity of jewellery had been stolen.  It’s thought at least two men, dressed in dark clothing, were involved and the vehicle appeared to drive off in the direction of Stoke-by-Clare following the incident.

Officers are also looking at whether the crime may be linked to an attempted burglary in Glemsford around 4.25am yesterday, Monday 15 May, where

a 4×4 vehicle was driven at a store in Hunts Hill.  Damage was caused to a window and a bollard but no entry was gained to the premises.

Police are asking anyone who may have been in either area around the relevant time who may have seen the vehicle, or anyone with information about the burglary or those involved to call Suffolk Police on 101, quoting crime number 35321/17.   Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers, anonymously if required, on 0800 555 111.

Street lighting in Clare

10 May 2017

Over the coming months many of our street lights will be replaced by Suffolk County Council in a rolling programme.  They will be LED lights that are clearer than the existing – using much less electricity, better focused – shining on pavements and roads rather than buildings, dimmable – capable of being adjusted at different times.  Permission from Planning in St Edmundsbury Borough Council will be sought where necessary.

The main streets affected in this round will be Common Street, Highfield, Snow Hill and Stoke Road.  The full list may be found here.  The situation is complicated as some lights require a different approach, being placed on power or telephone poles not owned by SCC; in other cases, where attached to listed buildings, other checks and permissions have to be sought.  All lights will eventually be replaced.

County Council elections

6 May 2017

The results of the elections for councillor for the Clare ward were:

Robin Davies, Labour                     355
Mary Evans, Conservative           2445     Elected
Stuart Letten, UKIP                       315
Alex Rolph, Liberal Democrat         545

Turnout: 42.06%

New café in the Park opens on Friday 28th April

19 April 2017

Platform One cafe in Clare Castle Country ParkPlatform One opens next week in the original 1865 bookings hall of Clare Railway Station.  Hours: 8.30 – 5 every day.  It will be run by the same folk as Number One Deli in the High Street.

On Saturday 29th from 12 – 4, Bury Theatre Workshop will be playing some scenes from ‘Brief Encounter‘ throughout the day, celebrating Noel Coward’s railway tearoom romance.

We look forward to sitting outside in the sunshine, sipping a coffee or sampling a slice of cake.  Too nippy?  Then inside, beside the log-burner.

The menu will offer soup, sandwiches & paninis, jacket potatoes & specials, scones. & cakes………plus teas and coffees from Butterworths in Bury St Edmunds.  See Clare Castle Country Park’s page for more information.

Clare Community Primary SchoolClare Community Primary School

13 April 2017

New signs have gone up around the school and in Callis Street reflecting the new relationship between our primary school and the Stour Valley Community School.


The management has moved away from the county council, but for the children their education rolls on, the learning, the fun:  here are some photos of the recent Forest School, a six week programme that was run with the help of parents, volunteers and the Clare Castle Country Park Trustees.

A slideshow of more pictures may be found on the Park’s website.

Clare Forest School 2017Clare Forest School 2017








4 April 2017

Tree work in Clare Castle Country Park continues apace.

Here’s Neil Catchpole felling a dead elm up the side of the motte.

Clare Castle Country felling on the motte 5 Clare Castle Country felling on the motte 3 Clare Castle Country felling on the motte 4 Clare Castle Country Park felling on the motte 5


















Living outdoors!

24 March 2017

Willow shelterStudents from Stour Valley Community School, assisted by Neil Catchpole, have begun work on creating a willow structure in the Country Park.  The willow boughs & whips were cut from the pollarded trees alongside the moat closest to the motte.

The work is in progress, more will be woven into the frame.  As the season progresses, those boughs & whips planted into the ground will root and flourish, making this into a living shelter.  We will leave our readers to find it for themselves – just enjoy the walk!



Harp Lane footpath
Other work around Clare

Foothpath repair along the New CutThe Stour Valley Volunteers have carried out a tremendous clearance along the footpath that goes north from Harp Lane – the muddiest stretch of any footpath in Clare.  In one section as seen in the photo on the right they have returned the path to its original line, higher up the field bank, away from a treacherous slippery section.

This path is part of the Stour Valley Long Distance Walk as well as essential for walkers on the Clare-Cavendish trail or the Houghton Hall circular walk – see our Walks website for details


In Clare Castle Country Park, Suffolk County Council have relaid a footpath damaged during bank repairs last year.  See our news item from 15 March below.

Red Kite overhead

20 March 2017Red kite

A red kite was seen flying over Westfield last week.  It has an unmistakable silhouette with a forked tail, unlike the buzzard, a more frequent visitor, with a semicircular tail.

It’s almost time for the swallows, swifts and martins to appear – perhaps the best sign that spring has sprung!

Cemetery storageCemetery storage

15 March 2017

A new storage facility has been placed in the cemetery in the facility area behind the laurel bushes opposite the chapel, on the left-hand side of the entrance way.  It will used to store equipment for our grave digger plus various bulky council possessions such as the temporary road signs used for Memorial Sunday.

Further work in the Park

Temporary footpath closure

Temporary footpath closure

15 March 2017

The footpath along the New Cut from the car park towards the weir will be closed for a few days while Suffolk County Council make good what was disturbed when they worked on the banks last year.


Work continues apace on the tree-cutting programme announced last year.

Wood chipper at work in the Park

Wood chipper at work in the Park

Coppicing the willows on the moat

Coppicing the willows on the moat






Hedging plants have been dug in along the boundary fence of the bowling green.  This will make a more attractive edge than the wire.

CLASP at Waitrose in Sudbury

Clare Liaison & Support Project

28 February 2017

Throughout this March Waitrose Community Matters involves CLASP.

Every month this branch will donate £1000 between three local good causes that you choose.

HWaitroseow does it work?
At the checkout you’ll receive a token, which you then place in the box of the good cause you’d most like to support.  The more tokens a cause gets, the bigger the donation they receive.   You can also nominate good causes to be considered for the scheme in the future.  Just pick up a leaflet in store for more information.

So if you’re shopping in Sudbury Waitrose, don’t forget to pick up your green token and vote for CLASP!

Clare Councillor Election

27 February 2017

St Edmundsbury Borough Council have published the timetable for the election of a councillor.  The Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll, made public today, reveals that the candidates standing are:

  • Paula Rippingale
  • Richard Smith
  • Robin Stone

If you have not registered and are entitled to so, or you wish to change your method of voting (in person, by proxy or by post), you can use this form.  It can also be done online.  The last date for registration will be Tuesday 7 March.  Postal vote applications will close on Wednesday 8 March.  Proxy votes will close by Wednesday 15 March.  Poll cards will be issued by post.

The Electoral Registration Officer for West Suffolk has online advice and information and is based at West Suff0lk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 3YU.

The election will take place on Thursday 23 March, 7am – 10pm.  Like any other election, whether national or district, voting will take place in the Old School, Callis Street.

New shop in Market Hill

10 February 2017

Maison de Clements, run by Linda Dabbs, opened today in the former Clare Farm Shop, offering French country furniture. antiques & vintage kitchenalia & interior design pieces.  Opening hours: Mon-Tues 10:00 – 4:30; Thurs – Sat 10:00 – 4:30

Welcome to the new business.

ATM is restored in Market Hill

2 February 2017

The Co-op’s ATM is at last restored and flush with cash.

 Coming soon to the Library

24 January 2017

New kit is arriving in the Library: a Flash Forge Finder 3D Printer
Flash Forge Finder 3D PrinterDesigns to download from the web will be available plus different design programs.  A free induction course will take place. Free to print, just pay for the material used.

Watch this space for news of the installation.

Housing Fund for East Anglia

5 January 2017

Communities and Local Government have just announced a £9 million boost for the East of England to tackle issues relating to second home ownership and community led housing.

The Government recognise the issues regarding the availability of housing stock in areas where second home ownership is popular. This reduces not only the availability of homes but in some cases development land and opportunities.

Community-led housing will be given a further boost (as announced on 23 December 2016) from a new annual £60 million fund which will help almost 150 councils tackle the problem of high levels of second homeownership in their communities.

The Community Housing Fund will put local groups in the driving seat and help them deliver affordable housing aimed at first-time buyers in response to the problem second homes can cause in reducing supply.

One third of the funding – almost £20 million – will be allocated directly to local authorities in the South West as this is the most popular region for second homes in England. It accounts for 21% of all second homeownership.

Second home ownership in England is at an all-time high and is crowding out first time buyers and causing a shortage of available properties. Often second homes stand empty for a large proportion of the time which can also affect community cohesion, affect the demographics of an area and distort local housing markets.

Information from LCPAS, one of the Council’s advisory service providers, a local company.