Stanhoe Pit



Village gates

Stanhoe’s “gates” may help cut speeding, says the Parish Council.


Another crash

Serious accident at the B1454 crossroads, Stanhoe, this morning.


Parish Council Agenda

Parish Council Agenda - 14 November 2019


Presidents’ plans

Sandra Carr takes over from long-serving Pamela Austin as Stanhoe WI President.


Wartime letters

Radio Norfolk highlights Stanhoe WI members’ sleuthing skills.


Remember the RAF

Aircraft models scheduled for Bircham Newton’s 10 November open day.


Parish Council Minutes

Parish Council Minutes - 26 September 2019


Tide times

Wells 16 Nov
01:44 low (0.68m)
08:39 high (3.75m)
14:23 low (0.73m)
20:59 high (3.64m)

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Stanhoe & Barwick WI news archive


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1 November 2019

Wartime letters

Radio Norfolk highlights Stanhoe WI members’ sleuthing skills.

Listeners to Radio Norfolk on 13 October had the chance to hear Stanhoe and Barwick WI members Valerie Robson and Nicola Smith explain how they have been tracing the families of local servicemen and women who wrote to the WI during the Second World War.

Out of 14 letters thanking the WI for gifts at Christmas in 1943 and 1944, only two writers’ families remain to be contacted, Valerie and Nicola told Breakfast Show host Anthony Isaacs.

“To start with it was quite easy, since a couple of the families still live locally,” Valerie said. “After that, it got to be rather more of a search.”

Listen to Valerie and Nicola’s conversation with Anthony Isaacs on BBC Norfolk. “We went into the BBC studios in the Forum and did the interview live,” Valerie said. “It was interesting to see how it all works and especially what a tiny space the producers and programme hosts work in. We were rather nervous, but it was all over and done with quickly.”

Their tactics have included scouring electoral registers and phone books for likely-looking names. “On one occasion, just googling the gentleman’s name brought up his death notice from a local newspaper. That had the funeral director’s name on it, so I asked if they’d pass on a letter to the family.”

Back in March we explained how WI members were trying to locate the families of Stanhoe people serving in the forces to whom they had sent wartime Christmas gifts of ten shillings (50p in today’s money). The story came to light when WI historian Frances Ulyatt turned up thank-you letters from several of the recipients in the WI archives.

Now 12 of the letters have been returned to the families of the people who wrote them. Still to be tracked down are Robert E Goodman and D Mayhew.

Robert was probably the son of Albert Goodman, the blacksmith. He had sisters Evelyn and Beryl, but seems to have moved away from Stanhoe by 1943.

D Mayhew wrote from the Salisbury area, where she or he was a clerk for the RAOC. Valerie and Nicola suspect that this was Daisy Mayhew, but have no further information.

The journey has been emotional at times, Valerie said: “When somebody turns up on your doorstep and says, ‘I think it’s my brother that you’re talking about,’ it rather takes your breath away. I’ve had one lady sitting in my kitchen in tears, holding her father’s letter, and that got me going as well.”

“A lot of the families didn’t know anything about the wartime service of their parents, brother or whoever, let alone about these letters. So actually to be holding something written by Father all those years ago was was quite something.”

“Some of the letters are very much as you can imagine someone being taught in school to write a letter. Others are very personal. One man’s writing from his ship, apologising for his bad handwriting because the ship’s in bad weather. Another is talking about how they celebrated Christmas late because ‘they were a bit busy’. You can only imagine what that meant during wartime!”

Nicola knows that her family have served Stanhoe and Barwick WI for four generations, but was surprised and proud to discover that it was her grandmother who had sent out the letters in her role as Secretary. “So it was my grandmother who received most of the replies, and that was a lovely connection,” she said.

The WI’s Norfolk Federation has helped to spread the word about the project, and in due course the researchers hope to locate the Goodman and Mayhew families too.

Our original story on the “ten-bob” appeal, with all 14 names

Stanhoe and Barwick WI Facebook page

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 1 November 2019

5 October 2019

Wonder dogs

Stanhoe WI members are fascinated by the abilities of medical detection dogs.

The October meeting of Stanhoe & Barwick WI saw members transfixed by the role and abilities of medical detection dogs, about which previously we knew nothing. Our speaker Norma Howell, ably assisted by her husband and technological operator, gave us an immense amount of detail of the dogs, their training and operation, and the wonderful life saving work that they carry out.

Medical Detection Dogs logo

The Milton Keynes based charity Medical Detection Dogs, whose patron is the Duchess of Cornwall, was founded in 2004 by Dr Claire Guest, a scientist, whose breast cancer was detected by a dog. Dogs have 300 million sensors in their noses, compared to a human’s 5 million, and 40% more brain capacity than us for processing the information detected: dogs can also use their nostrils independently of each other! The dogs never interact at the diagnostic stage with humans, but breath or urine samples from patients are mounted on an apparatus which enables the dog to circle round and sniff each sample: as soon as they detect the unique odour produced in the body’s cells by disease, the dog will sit down in front of the relevant sample, as we saw in video clips.

Six medical detection dogs looking cute

There are 35 working dogs at Milton Keynes, and 125 across the country. It takes 4 to 6 months to train a dog, at a cost of £11,500, and the cost of supporting working dogs is £600 per month. Bio detection dogs have a 98% success rate at diagnosing a problem, and are primarily used for cancers and diabetes, with research now being carried out on lung infections and cystic fibrosis; another potential use in the relatively near future is for dogs to enter hospital wards and identify ‘superbugs’ – MRSA and C. difficile being examples. Dogs are also now being trained for research into detecting malaria.

Once a client is supplied with his or her own Medical Alert Assistance dog, the dog can obtain medical supplies for them, fetch help, attract attention, or alert the patient to changes in his or her condition. One patient, prone to needing help while asleep, credited her dog with alerting her 4,500 times in five years, and we saw a video of her dog pawing at her to wake her when an abnormality in her condition was detected. It takes 18 to 24 months to train a living-in dog fully, at a cost of £29,000.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 5 October 2019

6 September 2019


Stanhoe WI members learn about a very old craft.

At their September meeting Stanhoe and Barwick WI members were treated to a splendid display of work, and an illustrated talk, by Heather Flint, on the forgotten art of smocking.

Smocking, or Pleatwork, where surface stitching hold together folds of fabric in a decorative way to control the fullness of the fabric and give shape to the garment, was the forerunner of elastic.

photos: Rosemary Brown

Heather Flint with one of her creations

Heather with one of her smocking creations

Our speaker was inspired by the technique many years ago and created smocked garments for herself and her family before working to commission.

We were treated to images following the history of smocking through garments worn in medieval times to those worn by “flappers” in the 1920s and young girls in the 1950s, several of our members remembering the latter. In modern times the technique is used on special wedding dresses, furnishings such as cushions and lampshades, and on textile jewellery.

More smocking work on display

After the talk everyone was invited to look at the beautiful work on display. So many ladies found it inspirational.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 6 September 2019

2 August 2019

State visit

WI centenary attracts officials from Norwich.

As it is our centenary year Stanhoe and Barwick WI members were honoured at their August meeting to be visited by the Federation Chairman Margaret Collingwood, the Federation Secretary Louise Casson, the editor of WI News Sue Ovenden, and the local WI Adviser Coral Batchelor, as well as visiting members of Wells WI.

photo: Rosemary Brown

Louise Casson, Margaret Collingwood and Coral Batchelor seated in Stanhoe village hall

(l-r) Federation Secretary Louise Casson, Federation Chairman Margaret Collingwood and Adviser Coral Batchelor

Chris Armstrong kept us entertained for almost an hour with his talk “Anything from a pin to an elephant”, based on his book of the same name, giving background stories to the founding and running of three Norfolk department stores: Bakers and Larners of Holt, Roys of Wroxham and Palmers of Yarmouth. He also mentioned Break charity shops whose good works are dear to his heart.

The talk was followed by tea and cake made by members, before the business of the day was discussed. A collection of decorated wooden spoons created by members were presented to the Federation Secretary for use in Evelyn Suffield House, the Norfolk WI Federation Office in Norwich.

It was a very busy and interactive afternoon.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 2 August 2019

5 July 2019

Garden meeting

WI members enjoy the fine weather.

It was a beautiful sunny July afternoon when 15 members of Stanhoe and Barwick WI were welcomed into the garden of their treasurer Julia Walton.

photos: Rosemary Brown

Enjoying the sunshine

Business was very brief, with reminders about signing in and out at future meetings, and signing up to upcoming meals and visits. Volunteers were sought for various things and then we all relaxed and chatted over tea and delicious cakes made by members.

Enjoying the sunshine

Later we explored Julia’s delightful garden which is built on several levels, has a large collection of pots containing vegetables and an interesting variety of flowers, and all sorts of quirky decorative items abounded.

It was a very relaxed afternoon.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 5 July 2019

18 June 2019

Birthday tea

Stanhoe & Barwick WI members visit Morston Hall.

22 members of Stanhoe and Barwick WI celebrated 100 years since our formation in 1919 in great style this June.

We met for afternoon tea at Morston Hall, and from the animated chatter it was a much enjoyed celebration.

photos: Rosemary Brown

Looking out onto the gardens at Morston Hall

The selection of sandwiches and sweet things were delicious and the cake stands were cleared quite happily.

Some members bravely wore hats in reference to the formality of meetings gone by but we were all in celebratory mode for the afternoon out in a delightful setting.

A fine selection of cakes, sandwiches and scones

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 18 June 2019

9 June 2019

Cartoon fun

WI members learn drawing secrets from a professional.

Stanhoe and Barwick WI members and a large number of guests were entertained by a very clever cartoonist called Marko at their June meeting.

Marko shows how to draw cartoon animals

Over the years he has developed a series of cartoon characters: the elf with the red nose, the teddy bear, a range of Christmas characters, and a cat, which he cleverly drew for us with witty stories to aid the development of his drawing.

As well as being a cartoonist Marko is a well practised mimic, and his stories were interspersed with impressions of great comic characters from past eras.

To finish, everyone was turned into a cartoonist. We were each given a template of a circle drawn on paper, and a pencil, and were invited to follow step by step instructions to create a cartoon dog. To our amazement we achieved this, and the results were impressively varied.

The following business meeting was a more sombre affair as Fran Ulyatt was presented with a certificate in recognition of 25 years of membership of our WI; we were able to look at and marvel at the displays set up for the recent WI exhibition in the church; and we firmed up details for several outings including our upcoming birthday tea which we are looking forward to greatly.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 9 June 2019

7 June 2019

WI on display

Stanhoe shows off WI achievements at Open Gardens.

Although the general view of the WI is “jam, craft, and Jerusalem”, we in Stanhoe & Barwick do our utmost to persuade people that there is more than that to the WI.

photos: Pamela Austin

WI crafts and history on display in the church

Hence, despite a large number of breathtaking craft items on display in All Saints on Saturday 1 June, our information panels had headings like “We keep up with the times and listen to our members”; “We are about much more than craft”; and “Is this how you imagine WI members behaving?” (above a selection of photos from our WI albums).

We also had a display about our project to reunite descendants with letters from local servicemen abroad in the Second World War, writing to our WI to thank members for sending each of them a gift of ten shillings.

Just for a laugh, we included a caption competition, too – the results of which will be announced shortly! This showed a photograph from our tree planting ceremony in March:

Caption suggestions please!

WI crafts and history on display in the church

With the agreement of the MEHM Trustees, we have now been able to mark our centenary further by hanging three framed items in the Reading Room alongside our new centenary plaque:

WI certificates and other framed items on the Reading Room wall

On the left are the two carved plaques, the higher one commemorating our founder president, and the one below, our centenary, with the words “100 years of fun and friendship”.

Between the top plaque and the clock are a colour photograph – embellished with ribbon embroidery flowers – of Denman College, the WI’s own educational and recreational facility near Oxford; our official centenary certificate from the National Federation of Women’s Institutes; and a certificate of having been awarded third place in this year’s Norfolk Federation of WIs’ annual Rosebowl competition.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 7 June 2019

2 May 2019

Banners to baskets

A busy meeting continues the WI’s centenary year.

The May meeting of Stanhoe and Barwick WI, held in the Methodist Church, was a multifaceted one.

As part of our centenary celebrations we presented the vicar and leader of Stanhoe Methodist Church with a well received Christmas banner as thanks for allowing us to meet in their church.

For members, we distributed at tea time pieces of a beautifully iced celebration cake, ceremonially cut by our president.

Pamela cuts the cake

Pamela cuts the cake

And an individual member was presented with a framed certificate for 30 years of membership of Stanhoe and Barwick WI.

All members were given a wooden spoon and were invited to decorate it creatively for the Norfolk Federation at Evelyn Suffield House in Norwich, for the 2019 Norfolk Day display in July.

Rosemary and Pamela on the platform

Rosemary receives her certificate

And all members were asked to vote on the acceptance of two resolutions for the national AGM. One asks for positive action to be taken over the decline in rural bus services, and the other for action to increase the uptake in acceptance of the opportunity offered for cervical screening for all women.

We were updated on our centenary project, in which four letters from village servicemen, written in 1943–44 as thank-yous for a gift of 10 shillings each sent by members of Stanhoe and Barwick WI, were reunited with their descendants.

And we were informed that our WI now has a Facebook page for everyone to see.

Making the base of a basket

Jonathon makes a basket

Prior to this busy time we were all entertained by Jonathon Carrie from Norwich who is a professional willow basket maker.

He had brought a range of willow baskets to show us, as well as his workbench, tools, and some soaked willow. With great humour he then proceeded to make a willow shopping basket before our eyes. It took 50 minutes from start to finish, using very strong hands, a variety of weaving processes, and a great deal of experience.

It was a very busy, but very enjoyable meeting.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 2 May 2019

4 April 2019

Baby Basics

Stanhoe WI members hear tales of crime and collect £366 for charity.

Stanhoe and Barwick WI members were honoured in April to have as a speaker Peter Lawrence, who had spent his working life in the London Police Force, as he said “policing from the Krays to the Queen.”

He regaled us with tales of the many well known people that he had met, from life in the seamy side of London to many years working as a diplomatic protection officer and in royal protection.

It was a tale of an impressive career path delivered in an understated way.

Later in the afternoon we were treated to a presentation by Maggie Anderson and Wendy Leedham on their work with Baby Basics, a charity with a West Norfolk branch in Dersingham.

In front of our eyes they packed a new Moses basket with clothing and vital items needed for the care of a newborn baby up to the age of 3 months, all of which had been either donated or acquired by fund raising.

photos: Rosemary Brown

WI cheque presentation to Baby Basics, Stanhoe Reading Room, April 2019

Each Moses basket is given to a needy young mum living locally who has nothing, and has been referred by a midwife or social worker.

Stanhoe and Barwick members had, last year, saved money in Smartie tubes for Baby Basics, and a cheque for £366.55 was presented to them to further their work locally.

WI cheque presentation to Baby Basics, Stanhoe Reading Room, April 2019

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 4 April 2019

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