About Keith Morris

The Centenary anniversary of the end of World War One has been marked in Wreningham with a service of Remembrance, a wreath laying, the installation of a soldier’s silhouette and the ringing of the Church bells to remind people of the sacrifices made.

The service of Remembrance at All Saints’ Church on Sunday November 11 was lead by Canon Martin Smith. The names of the war dead from the various parishes within the Benefice were read out by representatives of the community. A two minute silence was held by the 40 people attending. Canon Smith’s sermon on the necessity of Remembrance drew on his many years’ experience as a priest and RAF padre. The collection for the British Legion amounted to £121.

Immediately after the service the congregation was led from the Church to the war memorial in the graveyard beside Church Road by Michael Hill, chairman of Wreningham Parish Council. There, when everyone had gathered around, Canon Smith recited a prayer, Michael laid a wreath on behalf of the villagers of Wreningham, and all stood in silence for a few moments of contemplation.

All Saints’ Church bells were rung for five minutes from 12.30pm, as Big Ben in London stuck 11, at the start of the international bell-ringing to mark the Armistice.

Another reminder of the sacrifices made during past conflicts is the black silhouette of a soldier which has been erected on the Reading Room grass area by the village sign in the centre of the village.

The war memorial has recently been cleaned and restored thanks to a grant from Wreningham Parish Council.

 


A Wreningham village history group is set to hold its first meeting on November 7 at the village hall and anyone interested is welcome to attend.

Called Wreningham Past and Present, organiser Jean Lambourne said: “We want to draw together as many old sources about Wreningham village life from times past as we can.  Since my initial request for interest, there has been a significant response from villagers wanting to join in.  You can be any age to get involved.

“We have a plan. It’s not a rigid plan – we’re open to shaping it up to suit the interests or skill sets of those who want to help. All are welcome to come along and you might be surprised at what you learn.”

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday November 7, 7pm in the Margaret Preston Room at the Village Hall.

Pictured above are schoolchildren in Wymondham Road, Wreningham, in 1910.


The Anglican Upper Tas Valley Benefice, which includes Wreningham, has a new priest-in-charge with the installation of Rev Lydia Avery, who has moved with husband Chris from Somerset to take on the role.

Over 130 people attended a service at Tacolneston church on September 13, when the Rt Rev Dr Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, licensed Lydia and the Ven Steven Betts, the Archdeacon of Norfolk, installed her into the full-time role.

Upper Tas Valley Benefice Administrator, Christine Minns, said: “Friends and family of Chris and Lydia travelled from Somerset, Oxford and Suffolk to join with us in celebrating the start of this new phase in our church life and in Lydia’s ministry.  It was good that we were able to share this service with so many local clergy, many of whom have helped us during the interregnum.”

The schools, district and parish councils and the community at large all turned out to support Lydia at the service, which was followed by a buffet.

Lydia said: “Chris and I are absolutely delighted to be here, and to have seen the last of our packing cases!  We have moved from the Mendip Hills in North Somerset where we lived for about 34 years but felt that we were being called into a new challenge away from the West Country. So we’ve swapped one beautiful part of the world for another beautiful place.

“We’ve been completely bowled over by the friendly welcome we’ve received, and are looking forward to getting to know everyone well over the coming five years.

“During this time, I hope that we’ll worship and work together to serve our Lord, in whatever way He has planned for us. In particular, I hope to see the church-school and church-community relationships develop and grow even stronger.”


Wreningham’s former red phone box has been transformed into a village Swap Box facility for exchanging books and DVDs, complete with a stunning mosaic floor, thanks to the parish council and a group of residents.

The phone box on Ashwellthorpe Road near the school was bought for £1 from BT last year by Wreningham Parish Council and villagers were asked what they wanted it turned into.

A free library was the most popular answer and Cllr Keith Morris gathered together a group of interested residents to put the plan into action.

Hughie Glaves and Noel Course used their expertise to renovate and repaint the box and install new glass and signs. David Minns helped to straighten up the box and improve the surrounding landscaping. Andrew Moore built new shelves and the finishing touch was a stylish mosaic floor, depicting a wren, reflecting the story of how the village got its name, expertly created by Jo Billham.

The project was backed and paid for by Wreningham Parish Council and it was officially opened on September 7 and is in full use.

Residents are welcome to take books and DVDs for free and leave others in their place. Please use the facility considerately.

A light is installed in the box so it can be used at any time.

If you have any queries about the facility or ideas for its use, please email Keith at keith.morris@networknorwich.co.uk

Pictured above are Jo Billham, Keith Morris and Andrew Moore with the new Swap Box in Wreningham.


The Wreningham Community Archaeology Project got underway last night (August 7) with the digging of a test pit on the village playing field, led by local archaeologist Steve Hickling.

Old bricks fragments, pantiles, an iron nail and a fossil were among the items uncovered during the short dig.

A number of villagers took part in the digging and sifting training for the main event which is this coming Saturday, August 11, and it is still not too late for anyone to take part.

Villagers are invited to dig a 1m square pit in their garden, sift the soil layer by layer and pick out anything of interest for experts who will be on hand in the village hall to identify finds. You will then get a fascinating insight into the history of your house and land. Pits will be filled in afterwards.

The weekend will start at 10am when everyone will gather at the Village Hall for instructions and anyone who is interested in digging a pit or simply lending a hand (the more the merrier) to those who have already volunteered their gardens.

All the information gathered will be looked at by experts and form part of an official archaeological report. Becky Sillwood, a freelance finds (artefacts) expert will be on hand in the village hall on Saturday if anyone wants to show her anything they have found for identification.

There will be a barbecue for participants from 6pm onwards at the Village Hall social club, so please bring something to barbecue, and the bar will hopefully be open.

If you are interested you can simply turn up at 10am but if possible please contact steve.hickling@norfolk.gov.uk beforehand.

The Step-by-Step guide to digging an archaeological pit is here:
ACA field academy handbook 2011 final
and the test pit record booklet is here:
ACA test pit record b&w 2014

Pictured above are villagers during the test pit dig on Wreningham playing field last night.


Wreningham has paid a special tribute to a well-loved local postman – Pat Maidment – with a community meal and his own special postbox erected at the village hall.

Known, of course, as Postman Pat, he lived in the village for over 30 with wife Jill. Pat worked for the Post Office his whole career from the age of 16, until he died last March, aged 60, from a brain tumour.

After a community Sunday lunch in the village hall on March 4, around 40 family and friends gathered together outside the hall to watch Pat’s brother Mark unveil the special black postbox, which had been erected on the wall of the hall by some of Pat’s many friends in the village.

Friend Trevor Wadlow said: “There was a strong feeling in the village that we wanted to do something to recognise what a truly memorable and well-loved character Pat was and a postbox seemed a fitting tribute. We hope it will help preserve fond memories of Pat for us all for many years to come.”

Pat and Jill moved to Wreningham in 1986 and Jill said Pat worked for the Post Office since he left school at the age of 16. He started as a messenger boy and then became a postman, based at Thorpe Road in Norwich.

Commenting on the tribute, Jill said: “It means a lot to me and the family. I knew he had a lot of friends in the village, but it is great to know that so many people genuinely liked and thought well of him. It is comforting to know he is well thought of and people still think of him now. A postbox is an entirely appropriate memorial.”

Pictured above are Pat Maidment’s wife Jill, brother Mark and other close family members with the new postbox erected in his memory at Wreningham Village Hall. Picture by Michael Hill.


A welcome pack for new residents to Wreningham has been published in print and online, providing useful information and a warm welcome to village life.

Written by parish councillor Keith Morris, the Welcome Pack contains information about village history, local government, faith, village hall, regular events, clubs and societies, facilities, education, media, public transport, health and useful contacts.

Download  the booklet by clicking here

The packs are being delivered to new village residents. If you are new to Wreningham and have not received one, please contact council chairman, Michael Hill at wrendriff@gmail.com


A potentially life-saving public access defibrillator has been installed in the South Norfolk village of Wreningham, thanks to the parish council and the National Lottery.

The automated external defibrillator can play a vital role in saving people’s lives and works by detecting an irregular heart rhythm and then sending an electric shock to restore a normal one.

The £2,000 defibrillator, which is available to the public 24 hours a day, was paid for by a grant from the National Lottery and purchased off the Community Heartbeat Trust. It is now fixed to the wall of the village hall next to its car park, near the centre of the village.

Parish council chairman, Michael Hill, said: “Our thanks go to the Mulbarton First Responders Group and the National Lottery for helping us to follow through on our plan to secure a defibrillator for the village. It is positioned at the village hall as it is well located and the hall regularly hosts sizeable events including dancing, Zumba and private parties.

“We know that with a cardiac arrest, every minute is vital and the chances of survival go down by 7-10% with every minute’s delay in using a defibrillator.

“We have arranged life-saving training sessions for villagers already but the equipment is designed to be used by anyone.”

In the event of an emergency ring 999 and they will direct you to the nearest defibrillator and give you a code to access the box. The device will literally tell you what to do and will only give an electric shock if it is needed. It is perfectly safe for anyone to use, no training is needed.

Wreningham Village Hall is located on Mill Lane, NR16 1AN.

If you live near Wreningham and would like further information and to join the next training course, please email Michael at wrendriff@gmail.com

Pictured above is Michael Hill, right, with the defibrillator, and fellow villagers Hughie Glaves, left, and Chris Peachment.


Rev Suzanne Cooke said goodbye to the Upper Tas Valley Benefice in South Norfolk at All Saints in Wreningham on Sunday morning (July 2) at her final service before moving to begin a new ministry in Northumberland.

Suzanne is taking up the post of vicar of Doddington, Ilderton, Kirknewton and Wooler and will be licensed at Kirknewton on July 27. She is moving with husband Adrian and children Alice and Toby.

She was part-time priest-in-charge of six parishes, eight churches and four church schools, including Wreningham, in the Upper Tas Valley Benefice for just over four years.

Parishioners said goodbye at a party in Ashwellthorpe Village Hall on June 24 and a farewell service at All Saints Tacolneston on June 24. They presented Suzanne with money to buy her own set of vestments.

Her final act in Norfolk was to celebrate a Book of Common Prayer (BCP) Holy Communion service in Wreningham on July 1 with a congregation of over 40.

She said: ”I have felt most at home here in Wreningham, partly thanks to lots of small acts of kindness.

”I am very proud of what we have achieved here, increasing the congregation for the BCP service from small beginnings of around 5 or 6 to 20 to 25.

”Jesus model of ministry is to go and then stay and love and then to move on. It can appear tough but we need to trust that Jesus knows what is best for us all. For me it is now time to take the message and move on.

”I am still fully committed to rural ministry and I will take all the things you have taught me into my new role – so thank you.”

While part of the Diocese of Norwich, Suzanne also helped to run a creative worship service called Soul Circus at Norwich Cathedral, led a chaplaincy team at the Royal Norfolk Show and was a regular columnist for Network Norfolk.

Pictured is Rev Suzanne Cooke during her final service at All Saints, Wreningham.


Wreningham’s last remaining red Phone Box is under threat and will be removed by BT unless the community adopts it, and finds a new use for it, within the next few weeks.

Wreningham Parish Council wants your views about the community adopting the box and finding a new use for it. Or would you prefer to see it go?

It also wants to hear if you have any good ideas about what it could be used for and if you are prepared to help to turn your ideas into reality.

Other villages have used their old phone boxes in a wide variety of ways: as art galleries, lending libraries, cafes, notice boards, tourist / local information centres, plant swap shops.

Please contact parish councillor Keith Morris with your ideas or offers of help at keith.morris@networknorwich.co.uk or on 01508 488318, before the next parish council meeting on November 15, when the idea will be discussed and a decision taken.

BT have set a deadline of December 14 for a decision otherwise it will be lost to the community.

You can find more details of the adopt-a-kiosk scheme here.

See pictures of adopted phone boxes

Picture courtesy of MEJ Pearson