The Thurlows

Village News & Information

Sport in the village

The football pitch was in Great Thurlow, on the Pasture behind the blacksmith’s. The entrance was halfway up Dowsett’s Hill, up some steps cut into the bank, with a clap gate at the top. Bob Jeffery used to be on the gate on match days.

The cricket pitch was up at the Hall and was at the end of the big lawn. Before the start of a game iron railings, which were on wheels, had to be moved from around the pitch. These were in place to keep the cattle off the wicket. The pavilion was up under the chestnut trees, a nice pleasant spot on a hot Saturday afternoon! The entrance was from the Hog Yard. I sometimes acted as the scorer.

The tennis courts were behind Hill House and the Foundry. In the winter months, with the severe frosts and the ponds frozen over, there was ice-skating and slides on the Long Pond.

Two events also to take place were the Point-to-Point races, and the visit of a travelling fair. The Point-to-Point was held in the fields, off the road to Withersfield, opposite High Noon. The start and finish was down by the side of ABC plantation. Local farmers used to ride and two names I can remember are Bob Berry and Dick Tilbrook. One year an aeroplane landed on the course, piloted by a Major Tong.

The fair used to come at Michaelmas time and was held in Pryke’s meadow. The owner of the fair was ‘Stinger’ Wright.

My asthma was now becoming a nuisance, which meant that I had to miss some school lessons. Dr Sunderland was very good and he would often call and see me at home; then my father would cycle to Haverhill after he had finished work to collect my medicine from the Surgery. Dr Sunderland’s surgery in the village was at Mill Lodge, where there was an open shelter, flanked by two dog statues. Nearby there was a gravestone to a dog named ‘Mungo’. There was no NHS then but people could subscribe to a Hospital Fund, which was a few pence weekly. The collector for this was Mrs Delia Wright, who lived opposite to us in Jasmine Cottage, now 114b. She was also the organist at St Peter’s Church, where we attended Sunday school and were taught by Miss Evelyn Tilbrook.

The Queen’s Head in Gt Thurlow had now closed as a public house, and Mr Frank Haylock had taken over as the licensee of The Rose and Crown, where he was helped by his wife Florrie and later by their daughter Sheila.

1937 was the year of the Coronation and to commemorate this Mrs Ryder planted a beech tree at Pound Green. Us children were all given Coronation mugs.

There was now an airfield being built at Stradishall. Mr Fred Wright had changed his motorcycle and sidecar for a brand new Morris 8 car, and he took me up to the airfield when it was completed to see the aircraft, which were Handley Page "Heyford" heavy bombers and Vickers "Wellesley" light bombers. The station held an open day on May 24th, Empire Day, which was attended by several thousand people.