Part 5 Village Life and Work

First Impressions of a New Rector


Nestling in the Upper Stour Valley lie Great and Little Thurlow. What does a prospective Rector do when it is suggested that he may look at these as part of his future “care of souls”? Well, to be quite honest, you have a quiet snoop around.

In the first instance I thought I would be at home in the West of the County of Suffolk and I knew a little about the geography if nothing else. Would I be happy here on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire borders and would there be enough to do? Well, with eight parishes in all to look after the answer was easily “yes”.

The Church buildings and grounds are well-loved and there are thriving groups in both places, in a gentle Suffolk way. Now there is a new mix of country folk and those who have moved in from elsewhere, but above all that indefinable quality, a deep-rooted “Suffolkness”, carefully preserved in the community and the area.

The school brings an extra dimension but sadly, like the Vicar, most of those who teach there live elsewhere. The Cock Public House has a warm welcome for everyone and good food. The Sports Club and the Village Hall provide a host of activities. The same faces appear at many functions but each has a part to play in the make-up of the community.

I will live for ever with the memory of the first cricket match I saw on the sports field ­ it is so very English, and a beautiful setting. There is a village shop and garage, but why is there a large catamaran on the garage forecourt? Is ours the only village shop which has the resident church organist behind the counter?

In a way we are probably going to grow old together, many of the young will move away to work but this will always be their home to which we hope many will return. It is a place where people care and are cared for in that quiet deep Suffolk way. Here people can really live a country life… and it’s harder than many think. I’m glad I came.