Sutton St James Village View

Most people have to go to work, but 86-year-old Eric Garner reckons he goes to The Garage at Sutton St James “for a hobby”.

It’s a good thing he does, because although he describes himself as semi-retired, Eric performs a useful function, acting as a source of information for anyone who wants to know anything about the village.

Coffee morning at Sutton St James Baptist Church. Photo: SG311013-111NG

Coffee morning at Sutton St James Baptist Church. Photo: SG311013-111NG

Eric has lived there for 62 years so can say with good authority: “We have all the amenities: a church and chapel, couple of butchers’ shops, Post Office, corner shop, a village hall, school, hairdresser’s and pub.

“We have a few complaints about the speed of cars and lorries going through, but it’s quiet really.”

Eric is a parish councillor as is Chris Griggs, who says the council wants to restrict lorries to access only and introduce a weight limit. He too applauds the village’s many facilities and says: “It’s a lovely village and we have it all. It’s a question of keeping it going.”

While Eric is at work, as many as 25 mainly elderly people meet on Thursdays at the coffee morning organised by Annette Dean, wife to pastor Ross Dean, at the village baptist church.

It’s been going for ten years, Annette making a selection of cakes each week, apart from the summer holidays when there is a break.

She says: “It’s a community service, but it’s also showing that we are sociable as well as being a church.”

Annette also organises a fellowship meal once a month for about 55 people which she describes as a place for people “to meet and share together”.

Pastor Ross said: “It’s one of those places that is very community minded. They do a lot of things together and support a great many of the activities, in the church, the chapel and the village hall.”

Churchwarden Pauline Stebbings at St James the Greater Church – where a number of theories abound about why the tower and church are two buildings – says there is an active church life, with monthly Saturday coffee mornings, sausage suppers, quiz nights and flower festival.

The village may have concerns about fast traffic, but the village primary school is doing its bit, appointing Danielle Hewitt, Georgina Hewitt and Georgie Van Dyke as road safety officers.

Teacher Dawn Howell said the trio were selling lots of reflectors so children are seen