I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I know I did. Did you make a resolution? I've given up making them, mainly because I can never remember what the resolution was that I made!
On the village front we are wet. After a long, dry summer Mother Nature is getting her own back on the country. I often wonder as I drive around at night taking my son's girlfriend home or picking him up from work what stops the outside Christmas lights from fusing, after all water and electricity don't mix. And what an abundance of lights this year. It seems that the number of decorated or should I say illuminated houses gets greater every year. Lodge Road is a sight to be seen and what a marvellous entrance into the village it looks. The West End Pub is covered in lights as are numerous other properties. In fact some of the displays are so overwhelming that I shouldn't wonder that they are a danger to drivers, the distraction factor is very powerful. On a sadder note I saw a notice in a garden the other day whilst walking down The Beck, referring to the fact that the Christmas decorations had been stolen and they were home-made as far as I know. What sort of twisted mind could derive pleasure from such an act? Perhaps it's the same one or ones who caused £1200 of damage to The Surgery. Yes, we seem to have a spate of mindless vandalism in the village. I guess the culprits have nothing better to do on a dark night or maybe it's the fact that it is dark that they feel they can get away with it. We have a jolly good idea who is doing the damage, unfortunately they haven't been caught in the act yet but they will be prosecuted when they are. Now lets move on from this depressing issue.
On the website front I've actually done some upgrading; well it is the Christmas break after all so I've had a bit of available time. As I've remarked before the rate of growth of the website has slowed and, therefore, the amount of new material appearing each month is not really enough to warrant a monthly upgrade. On this basis I decided about October time to postpone any upgrade until Christmas. I should have known better! I went to the A&H pre-Christmas social in early December only to find a whole lot of photographs on display that I'd never seen before. And a couple of weeks of ago Dan Engle came round with a CD full of old RAF photos from Mick Strickland and Mary Grimwood, on behalf of Doreen Gineil, sent me some by email and Mary Wilburn sent me some of a party inside the Hut. In short, I was inundated with material and I've decided to hold some of it back until the end of the month. Looks like I'll be back to a monthly update for the next few months.
On the membership front we stand at 153 (a select group) having gained several but lost a sizeable number also. New members include Bob Martin, stationed here 96-2000, Roger Reeve, cousin of member Janet Mcloughlin and Gloria Villella has rejoined after her email address was changed by her employers. Emails of note include this one from Nick Martin:
I have for some time now been trying to find out a bit about a relative of mine who was killed on the 8th November 1941 whilst piloting a Wellington from RAF Feltwell, in a raid on Essen.
His name was Geoffrey Sidney Nunn of Sawston, Cambridgeshire. His father Sid Nunn was my grandmother's brother.
I have been able to elicit from various records that Geoffrey flew Blenheims in the Battle of Britain. At some point, however, he appears to have transferred to Feltwell and joined the 75th NZ Squadron. I would quite like to be able to piece the bits together; there is no-one in our family now who appears to know anything his time with the RAF (other than what one can pick up on the web!). I know that his Wellington was shot down by Lt Werner Rollin., piloting an ME 109. Geoffrey's plane crashed in Holland and all the crew were killed. He is buried in Doetinchem cemetery.
But what I would really like to know is how he got to join the 75th in Feltwell having been with 236 Squadron, flying Blenheims.
And this one from Helen Schmidt, which makes the work I do all the more worthwhile:
Thanks once again for the wonderfully efficient way that you got us in touch with Claudine Riches (Sparrow).! Claudine was overwhelmed and so excited about the thought of a relative looking for her that she couldn't really believe it!! She has been in touch with my mother Maureen. My mother and her brother Graham hope to come back to the Feltwell area for a visit some time next year. However she had almost no idea of the size of her fathers family. Did you know that there were 13 children, 10 of whom lived into adulthood? She said that her father didn't mention his family much.
Do you know Barbara Walker? Daughter of Mary Sparrow and Jack Walker. Her married name is now Barbara Sneddon? She is also a cousin of Freda and Doreen. My mother hasn't been in touch with her yet but we know that she lives in Feltwell as she put Doreen in touch with Freda originally.
I passed on Claudine's address to Freda Alkins who is her first cousin and Freda was so excited to be able to get back in touch. Freda is in Washington State. She has lived in America since she was 9 years old. She was adopted by her Uncle and Aunt who took her back to America with them in the 1930's. As you probably know we got your name through Doreen Giniel who is another cousin of Claudine's and who also moved to America with her American husband many years ago. Both Doreen and Freda have often wondered about their cousins and I was so pleased to help them and my mother Maureen reconnect with their past. The interesting thing is that their are still about another 15 cousins and their children out there somewhere! I wasn't sure what type of information you wanted. I had started to put together for you a brief family tree showing all the names of the Sparrow family that my mother and her cousins came from. There is a lot of information there though. But the thought of cousins from America and across England reuniting does seem to be a great story doesn't it? (It certainly does. This site gets more like Friends Reunited every month)
And now a quick plug for a friend of mine. Richard Hunt has applied to run in this year's London Marathon and has got himself a place provided that he manages to raise £1400 on behalf of the charity Sense. Sense works with children and adults who are deafblind and one of the marathon's official charities. He is working hard to improve his fitness and has already done two half-marathons. His only hurdle is to get the sponsorship so if you could help out please email me and I'll forward them to him. Richard is, I think, the fourth Feltwell resident to run in the London Marathon. (And there's a possible gap in the archive - have the names of the other three ever been recorded?)