Sutton St Edmund: where neighbours pull together to help out

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People who grew up in Sutton St Edmund possibly remember church as being a time of great fun.

The church, the Grade II listed Parish Church of St Edmund (King and Martyr), retains most of its original box pews with individual doors, the perfect place for youngsters to get up to mischief!

Churchwarden Jane Spriggs proudly shows the unusual box pews in the 1795 church at Sutton St Edmund. Photo: SG030713-114TW

Churchwarden Jane Spriggs proudly shows the unusual box pews in the 1795 church at Sutton St Edmund. Photo: SG030713-114TW

Jane Spriggs, one of two churchwardens, recalls her own two having fun in the box pews when they were young.

The church is currently without a vicar since the Rev Judith Dunklin left, but Jane is able to preach once a month if needed, since she became an authorised lay minister earlier in the year.

Jane, who is able to conduct morning prayer or family services, says the church is supported by the Rev Paul Winn and lay reader David Beeton.

Jane said: “We are an active church with services each week, except one each month when we go somewhere else.

“If anybody needs anything they ring me or the other churchwarden, Meg Norman. A number of charitable trusts help people and the church in the village.

“Most people are very friendly and if there is anything that needs doing the neighbours pull together and help each other if they can.”

Jane is also caretaker/clearer/booking clerk for the village hall where monthly bingo sessions are held and where a successful short mat bowls club meets twice a week.

Village hall chairman Andrew Powers, who calls at the popular bingo sessions, says the hall committee has the advantage of not owing any money. However he says: “The hall is not used as much as it ought to be. It has a stage and good acoustics.”

Andrew works at Old Hall Farm Co Ltd run by brothers Simon and Robin Coates.

Simon says he and his brother are at least the fourth generation of the family to work on the arable farm.

He said: “My brother and I have developed it a bit, but my father was instrumental in setting the business up.”

Simon has been involved in village life, formerly acting as chairman of the parish council and serving on both the parish council and the village hall committee, but isn’t so involved these days.

There are a number of farmers in the village and one or two more surprising businesses, such as a bridal shop, a wine merchant and a nail technician.