RECORD OF EVENTS AND CHANGES HALESWORTH 2015
1 January: (reported East Anglian Daily Times) Halesworth Town Council launches an on-line survey regarding the possibility of having a Mayor for the town – an idea supported by local MP Therese Coffey
7 January : A petition supporting the reopening of the Patrick Stead Hospital (closed since November 2014 as a result of staffing shortages and due to be reopened in March) is handed to the Chief Executive of Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group. The petition, organised by members of the Blyth Valley Partnership and containing over 2000 signatures, supports the opening of the Hospital at the earliest opportunity and confirms the importance of this provision to the local community
8-10 Circle 67 performs its pantomime, Cinderella, at the New Cut Arts Venue, Halesworth
Tesco announce the sale of the two sites they own in Halesworth, one in the Thoroughfare for retail and one on Dairy Farm for Housing (EADT 13th Jan).
Halesworth Campus Ltd, a local charity seeking to develop new sporting facilities on the site of the former Middle School, launches a demand survey aimed at seeking local views on sporting facilities for Halesworth and the surrounding district. The sale of Dairy Hill playing fields to provide funding for this was agreed by a town referendum in 2011.
Large display reproductions of photographs of old Halesworth, sourced by the Halesworth and District Museum and sponsored for printing and reproduction by Blyth Valley Partnership, are placed in shop windows near the Raj Puth Indian Restaurant and Golden House food outlet in the Market Place. These photographs add to those already produced and displayed on windows near Boots in the Market Place.
2 February: Halesworth Town Council discusses result of online survey on a proposal to create the title of Mayor of Halesworth. There were only 87 legitimate responses and a slight majority against the proposal (48 ‘No’, 35 ‘Yes’, 4 ‘Don’t Know’) The decision was therefore taken not to introduce the role of Mayor
7 February: The charity seeking to support the refurbishment of the Rifle Hall as a community venue, launches the first of its table top sales, to be held thereafter on the first Saturday of the month, intended to raise funds towards this refurbishment.
17 February: A pancake race is held in the Market Place on Shrove Tuesday, the first of its kind to be held since the 1960s
28 February: Due to uncertainty regarding the future of the Old Print Works, situated on land owned by Tesco and now designated for sale by them, Metherell’s auctioneers holds its final auction on these premises.
2 March: Patrick Stead Hospital is reopened by NHS Gt Yarmouth and Waveney as planned
21 March: ‘Halesworth Rising’ event is held at the Rifle Hall. The event, attended by over 300 local residents, highlights the following new initiatives planned for Halesworth –
- St Mary’s Church regeneration project (project cost estimated £1.5 million)
- Information and Support Centre supported by Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund for those diagnosed with terminal illness (estimated £.74 million cost)
- New meeting and social space at The Cut (‘The Hub’ estimated £.45 million cost)
- Rifle Hall regeneration project (project cost estimated £.5 million)
- Halesworth Campus Ltd plans for new sporting facilities (£4 million cost)
- Halesworth Health plans for the opening of a major new health facility close to the surgery which will include care beds, NHS commissioned beds, modern health facilities and palliative and end-of-life care.
28 March: A Day of Dance in Halesworth is marked by local dancers and ‘Mollymen’ performing at various venues around the town.
The Millennium Green Group embark on significant work to improve the paths on the Millennium Green by addition of gravel and hardcore and start work on a major clearance of the historic Halesworth lock
Halesworth Community Bus Group announce they have been successful in a bid to receive funding for a new community bus as part of a national £25 million community bus project.
Halesworth Town Council identifies vacancies as a result of existing members standing down at the end of their term.
Halesworth Grandparents and Parents Play Association (a working party of Halesworth Town Council) launch an appeal for funding to enable the improvement of play facilities in the town park and elsewhere.
Dee’s Den, a charity shop which has raised £120K for local charities, including £60K for Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund, announces its move to new premises in Steeple End.
Halesworth in Bloom submits its entry for the Anglia in Bloom Competition 2015 (it won a gold medal in 2014)
The Blyth Valley Partnership, which holds the lease for Halesworth Old Printworks until September 2016, confirms that these premises are still available for hire and community use until this time.
10 new Council members identified as Ann Baldwin, Peter Dutton, Anne Fleming, Rosemary Lewis, Andrew Payne, Letitia Smith, David Thomas, Maureen Took, Jackie Wagner and Paul Widdowson. This leaves 2 vacancies which the Council says it will fill once it has undertaken an expertise audit of its current members.
26 April Halesworth Scout Group and others participate in St George’s Day parade through town.
HSBC bank closes. This bank (once Midlands) had been in Halesworth for over 50 years. The closure leaves Barclays and Lloyds the two remaining banks in the town.
Hammonds of Halesworth (motor company) wins a recognition award as one of the top 40 Ford Dealerships
7 May: Local and national elections take place. Therese Coffey is returned as Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal (includes Halesworth) and Tony Goldson and Letitia Smith are returned as Conservative District Councillors representing Halesworth
18 May: Anne Fleming is elected as Chair of Halesworth Town Council and David Thomas as Vice-Chair
18 May: 22 people are trained as Dementia Friends in an initiative to make Halesworth a Dementia friendly town as part of Dementia Awareness Week
Halesworth Gallery at Steeple End holds a commemorative exhibition of the work of acclaimed local artist, Olga Awtry
Halesworth Tourism Group in association with the Blyth Valley Partnership launch a new website promoting the Blyth Valley as a tourist destination. The website, designed by local firm Mustard Creative, features information on such attractions as food and drink, accommodation, events, sites of beauty and historical interest.
Following their successful oral history project on Halesworth in the 70’s, Halesworth and District Museum invite people to become involved in more recordings under the heading of ‘Growing Up in Halesworth’
30 May: Annual League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital summer fete
Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (GYWCC) launch a major consultation on significant reorganisation of local health care. All Halesworth residents receive a copy of a consultation which proposes the closure of NHS beds at Patrick Stead Hospital and the opening in Halesworth in 2016 of a new multi-purpose health facility providing care facilities, palliative and end of life care.
14 June: Halesworth Lions Annual Carnival and Procession
19 June: At a public meeting called by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, Andy Evans, Chair of GYWCCG, pledges that the Patrick Stead Hospital will not close to patients until the new health facility (which will offer care places and NHS beds) opens in 2016. Coffey herself pledged that the bulk of financing to build the replacement health facility would be new money. Money from the proceeds of the sale of Patrick Stead buildings would be used to offer additional health services.
24 June: Gardener’s Question Time (organised by Friends of St Mary’s and Halesworth Volunteer Centre) takes place St Mary’s Church. Proceeds to Church regeneration project
28 June: Halesworth Street Fair returns for first time since 2012. Raising funds for local charities, the event saw 20 shops open for business, 25 stalls offering arts, crafts, jewellery and a variety of food and drink outlets. Musicians and performers were on a stage area. (EDP June 29)
7th July: Official Clinical commissioning group Public Meeting for Halesworth discussing the future of Patrick Stead Hospital and healthcare in the area
10th July: (ITV Anglia) Six illegal immigrants from Eritrea and the Sudan were discovered at a storage depot near Halesworth hiding in the back of a lorry from Calais. Staff at the centre spotted the stowaways when they opened the back doors of the lorry. It was thought they cut a hole in the roof of the vehicle and smuggled themselves inside.
11th and 12th July: Halesworth Lions Carnival and Fete. Carnival procession
17th July: Judges of Anglia in Bloom visit Halesworth
28 July to 8 August 2015: Mia Clack, an Explorer Scout from Halesworth, was selected to attend the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan, as part of the Suffolk Contingent of 44 Scouts. 33,628 people from 155 countries and territories attended this Jamboree.
31st July 3-day ‘Big Gig’ concert starts in Halesworth Park and runs until 2nd August
1 August A new shop, Foliar, opens on Bridge Street, Thoroughfare. The shop, which sells textile artifacts and other design and artworks, replaces the Antique and objets d’art shop ‘Occasions’ which previously occupied these premises.
15th August Best selling children’s writer and illustrator and Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell visits Halesworth Library to talk to children about books
26th August (BBC News Suffolk): Halesworth-based Air Artists announces the sale 30 years of inflatable props created by Rob Harries for events such as Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and Pink Floyd, including the inflatable pig ‘Algie’ which flew over Battersea Power Station during one of Pinl Floyd’s concerts.
30th August Halesworth Antiques Market
12/13 September Halesworth participates for the first time in National Trust backed Heritage Days. The theme of these days is the Brewing History of Halesworth. 16 participating organisations open buildings and conduct tours: Bassetts (private house now, one time bakery and then restaurant), Black Dog Antiques (on the site of the old Gildhall), Black Eagle (one time pub, now private house), Cross Ram (solicitors since early 1700s, Magnolia House (dating from 1840), Museum, New Reach Trail (trail following part of the Millenium Green near the old Quay), The Old Rectory (dating from Tudor times), Poetry Trust, Police Station, Pubs Walk, St Mary’s Church, Halesworth Gallery (housed in former almshouses dating from 17th Century), Tilly’s Restaurant (dating from 17th Century), Wellington Court (site of former tenements dating from 18th Century)
25th September Halesworth wins Gold award and overall winner of Best Small Town and taking home a gold award for the second year best small town category of Anglia in Bloom
26 September: Grand Opening of the Halesworth Men’s Shed located on Norwich Road. The shed, whose construction and furbishment was supported by the Halesworth Volunteer Centre and by charitable donations, aims to give provide a friendly and engaging environment for local men to meet, socialise and engage in supportive projects
The initial results of the 13-week consultation on changes to care facilities were presented to NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) with full discussion due on 22 October 2015 and final decisions later in the year. Over 1000 responded. On the question of whether to permanently close Patrick Stead hospital beds 20.7% agreed, 57.37% disagreed and 21.93% did not know. (Source Health Watch)
The Chief Executive of St Elizabeth Hospice suggests that one of two Waveney hospitals threatened with closure (Southwold Hospital and Patrick Stead Hospital) under consultation Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG proposals might become a hospice. This would depend on suitability of either hospital and necessary CCG funding (EDP October 5th)
10th – 25th October: Halesworth Arts Festival. Now well established, this event presents a wide range of events including well known performers as well as rising local stars.
Waveney District Council announces a consultation into the proposal to raise parking charges, including withdrawing the free first hour of parking from Halesworth car parks. This measure, along with similar measures across Waveney, is designed to meet the effect of budget cuts to Waveney District Council. (Waveney Advertiser October 23rd)
24 Halesworth Civic Dinner: First time for this event held at the Golf Club. The evening aimed to raise funds for Halesworth Dementia Carers and North Suffolk Association for the Elderly. Individuals and representatives of various organisations invited by the Chair of the Town Council.
24- 31st October Scarecrow Festival – Over 70 scarecrows will on display in the town centre area – Thoroughfare, Market Place, Angel Link and around St.Mary’s church. Raising funds for Christmas Lights
Halesworth Grandparents and Parents Play Association (GAPPA) celebrate the news that they have been awarded £5,000 towards new play equipment for the Town Park from the OneFamily Foundation Community Award. The grant brings GAPPA to within £2,600 of its fund raising target for the year and the play equipment order is placed (EDP Tuesday November 17)
Halesworth Museum celebrates 30th anniversary with on 26th November its AGM and a presentation to outgoing Chairman Brian Holmes. The event is marked with a cake a talk from both Brian and Alan Holzer who were both both involved with the Museum from its earliest days (Beccles and Bungay Journal and EDP)
Christmas Lights Switch on on 28th November
Halesworth Community Nursing Fund received two cheques totalling £3,160 which are in support of their efforts to raise £714,000 to build an innovative advice and support centre for those living with a life limiting condition. Once cheque for £1,100 came from Rumburgh Morris Dancing Group, whilst a second for £2060 came from Rachel Welsh, a local homeopath and Judith Samuels, a local reflexologist. (Halesworth and Southwold Community News November)
Prosposals for a new bus hub which would be sited near the Angel Link road but which might result in the loss of up to 45 parking spaces are displayed for public consultation at the Old Print Works on 9th December (Waveney Advertiser Dec 18th)
Halesworth Playing Field Associaton (HPFA) and Halesworth Campus Ltd (HCL) publish opposing articles in the Community News regarding blocks on the progress on the Halesworth Campus which is to provide new sporting and health facilities. HPFA claim that progress is being delayed because HCL (who own the land on which the new facilities are built) are refusing to accept the demand of the HPFA (who, to provide finance for the new facilities, are selling land they hold in trust for Halesworth) that they should have 50% membership of the HCL Board. HCL counterclaim that HPFA have ‘jumped the gun’ because discussions about this change to HCL’s Board were already due to be discussed at a scheduled meeting. In the same article HCL offer 50% membership of their Board. (Halesworth and Southwold Community News December)
A retired exhibition trader, Michael Symonds, is featured in the EDP December 9th, regarding his collection of postcards of Halesworth dating from the early 1950s.
The Lion’s annual Winter Fayre takes place on the Thoroughfare and in the Old Print Works on December 13th
Major Frank McCauley, veteran flying ace who served at Halesworth (Holton) Airfield with the 56th Fighter Group during the Second World War, visits Halesworth at the age of 99. Major McCauley, who flew dozens of missions during the 10 months he was stationed here, visited Halesworth Airfield Musuem. (EDP December 15th)
Bryan Semain of Halesworth, now 91, is awarded the Legion d’Honneur as one of the men who helped liberate France. As a young officer in 45 Royal Marines Commando helped to secure the eastern flank of the Normandy beach-head from June-August 1944. (Beccles & Bungay Journal 24/12/15)