I had planned to delay this newsletter but not by quite as much as 10 days. I wanted to include both a mention of the July 4th celebrations at RAF Feltwell and the Parish Council meeting on the 5th. The USAF commander, Brig. Gen Matthews, kindly invited the British community to share in the USAF celebrations on RAF Feltwell on Sunday 4th July and a lot of Brits, especially the younger ones, did just that. The biggest draw for us older ones is the closing firework display which this year was particularly spectacular featuring a flying saucer and 'worm' like fireworks. I'm still trying to figure out how they did this. Of course the teenagers went for the fairground rides, testosterone and bravado were thick in the air! The rain poured down late afternoon but fortunately the evening was dry for the display and the black clouds in the distance made a suitable backdrop for the firework explosions. Security, of course, was very visible with machine gun carrying British policemen and women welcoming everyone onto the Base. I don't think I'll ever get used to this sight. No matter how important and necessary it is I still think it's a sad indictment of the times. The American forces did a good job of traffic management considering that a new middle school now stands on a large piece of the old parking area, but their job was not made any easier by a contingent of peace protestors arriving at the main gate. I fail to understand why they had to protest at Feltwell (not a front line base) on July 4th (a national American holiday) when both British and American communities were simply enjoying themselves. I know that in a democracy they have the right to protest but was this the time and the place? Just what did it achieve apart from making the traffic problems worse for both Brits and Americans? Perhaps someone will explain it to me eventually.
A few months ago I talked about national policies such as those on housing impacting upon small communities such as ours. At the Parish Council meeting on the 5th we had a perfect example. The owners of the Old School on the Beck, which is the home for a specialist engineering company, are moving to larger premises and have applied for planning permission to build 12 houses on the land at the rear of the building. Although this is in line with the national housing density it is in contravention of the local plan for 'in-fill' development in villages, which stands at no more than 5 houses. To cut a long story short the application was opposed by the Council. On the same theme, the ground has been broken at the Doctors' Surgery and a new on-site pharmacy is starting to take shape. This is because the law on locating new pharmacies was changed some years ago and new pharmacists are finding it more difficult to set up business in towns so are looking at the smaller communities. I have talked about this before but push has now come to shove and Dr Nisbet and his partners are now having to build a pharmacy in order to prevent one being established elsewhere in the village. The consequence of this for the patients is two-fold, firstly they can still get their prescriptions at the same location as they get their consultation, they will not have to walk somewhere else and, secondly, the pharmacist will have the time to provide additional medical services such as blood pressure monitoring because he/she is not going to be running a shop. In short, the medical services available to the patients are set to improve even further, which must be a good thing.
On the sporting front the Bowls Club are only 2 points below the leaders in the County league, the cricket club have had two good wins and Feltwell Social Club were runners-up in the Methwold & District darts league Roll of Honour.
Things are really slowing down on the website front with only one new Feltwellian this month and very few new photographs. (See the 'What's New' page). However, John Alce sent me some wonderful photographs of the opening of the 204 SU Golf course in 1970. They'll be going up next month.
And finally, can anyone help with this request: "My name is Adrian Neville, Gt Grandson of Ernest James Neville, who lived in Feltwell. I am trying to trace my family tree, and I am hoping you may be of help. Do you have, or know who may have any information on my Ernest James Neville?"