Cared for from the cradle to the grave in Sutterton

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The residents of Sutterton have the important events in life taken care of right through from the cradle to the grave.

And when it comes to the end of life, they have rather more options than most as the landlord at The Thatched Cottage restaurant and bar has established a natural burial site in a peaceful nature reserve behind the pub.

At St Mary’s Church in Sutterton the congregation has just welcomed a new vicar, the Rev Charles Robertson, who was licensed at a service at Swineshead, where he has made his home.

He and the Rev Alan Barker at the Methodist Church – popularly known as “the church with the yellow door”, says Alan – are there to look after their congregations at those key events in their lives – and offer spiritual support during all the times in between.

Alan says the Methodist chapel offers a warm welcome to a growing congregation, with weekly Sunday services, fortnightly open house on Wednesday morning and an annual flower festival.

Worshippers at St Mary’s, including one of the churchwardens, Janice Despicht, have welcomed their new vicar with open arms, particularly as they have had a period of instability, with the last incumbent leaving after just two years and being without a vicar for three years before that.

Those weren’t the only troubles for the congregation at the church, parts of which date back to Norman times. A couple of years ago lead was stolen off the roof – now repaired at a “massive cost”, says Janice. The work doesn’t end there though because a recent property inspection has identified problems with a roof and some stonework which is going to cost £250,000.

However, fundraising is already under way, with money raised from a successful annual flower and scarecrow festival. An open garden weekend is planned for June 15 and 16.

As well as a primary school, Sutterton has its own nursery, Bramble Hall Day Nursery, catering for 102 pre-school youngsters at what was once the local school.

Manager Louise Bradley says the nursery will have been in the village for 17 years in the summer with a lot of changes in that time, such as a larger outdoor play area and extended toddlers’ room.