Events – Write Ups and Reviews


The match between  teams from the Wymondham Shufflers and the Ashwellthorpe Shuffleboad Club took place on Friday 7 October at the North Wymondham Community Hall.  The Ashwellthorpe team were: Annette Bunting, Paul Bunting, Alan Dawson, Shirley Moss, Gordon Robbie, Jennifer Robbie, John Saunders and Liz Saunders.

Four Doubles matches and eight singles matches were held on the two match courts which were laid out – longer and faster than our courts in Ashwellthorpe; some of the matches were very close and low-scoring but the final results came out as a 2 – 2 draw in the doubles and a 4 – 4 draw in the singles. What could be fairer!A very pleasant evening with good refreshments laid on as well. The return match will be at Ashwellthorpe Village Hall at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 9 November 2016


OPEN GARDENS EVENT – 13 and 14 JUNE 2015

Thank you to the members of the Gardening Club who volunteered at our recent Open Gardens Event in Ashwellthorpe and Fundenhall. The Task Force Team oversaw the arrangements and thanks must go to them too. Margaret Nielson, Jacqueline Ives, Jane Wareham, Viv Barry, Graham Conway and Nick de Spon. Ian Spratt designed the banner, the fliers and the map of the gardens which were much admired. Hannah de Spon designed the logo. Carol Bushell was the Village Hall liaison person and on hand on the day to supervise.

Volunteers opened and manned their gardens, served refreshments, sold tickets, donated and sold plants, planted containers and bric a brac. They loaned a trailer and a truck, moved, weeded and mulched!

The church threw open its doors to accommodate us and locals brought beautiful crafts to sell. The Village Hall was decorated and the garden planted and weeded and buzzed with visitors the whole weekend. Neighbours lent us a field and garden for parking, and fences to hold our publicity banners. Posters and fliers were printed for free. The churchyard was mowed and strimmed and hedges lining The Street tamed.

We had a terrific weekend with over 230 tickets sold, and in spite of the weather scores of paople enjoyed the varied gardens there were to visit. Some had visited two years previously but many came for he first time. They enjoyed tea and coffee, cakes, wine Pimms and beer and other seasonal delights.

We made a very respectable profit of £1160. This doesn’t include over £200 that the Bic C took over the weekend on their home made crafts stall, and the £70 made by the Meningitis Research Foundation on theirs, or the village Hall refreshments which were raising money for the Village Defibrillator Fund which raised £150.

We are in the happy position of donating money to our chosen charities for this event:

EACH (NOOK Appeal – £250;  The Big C – £250; All Saints’ Church, Ashwellthorpe – £150; Ashwellthorpe Defibrillator Fund – £150; and The Meningitis Research Foundation – £50. The remaining funds will go into the Gardening Club funds for future events.

We trust you’ll agree that the effort was wholly worthwhile, and we thank you again for your help in making it possible.

Debbie de Spon  Secretary  13 July 2015


Three members from the Ashwellthorpe Shuffleboard Club, which meets at Ashwellthorpe Village Hall every Wednesday evening throughout the year, took part in the first ever UK- based Shuffleboard tournament against visiting players from Canada and USA at St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich from Wednesday 29 April to Friday 1 May 2015. There were twelve players from Norfolk; nine from the Wymondham club and the three from Ashwellthorpe – Alan Dawson, Gordon and Jennifer Robbie – who won three, two and two matches respectively against their Canadian and US opponents. Two of the Wymondham Club members Roger Garwood and Martin Seaman won through to the last sixteen in the tournament.

The standard of play was amazingly good and the Canadian team included some past and present world champions. We could but look on and admire once our progress had been halted in the tournament, although the three Ashwellthorpe members did very well to win against such competition – the thinking-ahead of strategy and the subtlety of shots is something we shall have to bring to our club-nights! The shuffleoard courts were very different from the ones used in Ashwellthorpe Village Hall, being of a poly-tile construction as opposed to roll-out rubber mats we use. The Norfolk competitors found them very, very fast in comparison, whereas the Americans, in particular, found them very slow compared with the polished concrete (with beads on top) used outdoors in  Arizona.

The tournament was well-organised and a pleasure to attend and to meet the North American competitors – many of the Canadians spend the winter months in Florida where Shuffleboard is on the calendar every day; the Americans also mostly play in Florida or in Arizona. Many members of the public wandered in to St Andrew’s Hall to see what Shuffleboard was all about and the tournament was covered by Anglia TV and Mustard TV. Apparently, the Germans are expressing an interest in another UK tournament, perhaps also in Norwich. Ashwellthorpe will have to practise.

Jennifer and Gordon Robbie

Competitor Alan Dawson facing camera; Jennifer Robbie vs. American competitor

Competitor Alan Dawson facing camera; Jennifer Robbie vs. American competitor

IMG_5969 shuffleboard international


24 March 2015 – Back in February, Simon, from Peter Beales Roses, gave a very interesting talk and photo demonstration of many various types of roses and their care, and a history of the Peter Beales’ company and its future plans. He also came along with a huge array of potted and bare root roses and all the necessary equipment to tend them after planting. Many bargains were snapped up by the Gardening Club members.

The annual subscription for Gardening Club members is now due -£12.00 for each person for the year; subs to Nick de Spon at The Parsonage, The Street, Ashwellthorpe.

The date for the April meeting has been changed to MONDAY 13 APRIL at 7.30 p.m. at The Piggeries, Home Farm House, The Street, Ashwellthorpe.

Plans are now well under way for the Ashwellthorpe Open Gardens Event to be held on 13 and 14 June 2015. If you would like to open your garden, just contact Debbie de Spon at The Parsonage. It is also planned to have Craft Tables at this year’s event so, again, if you are interested in this aspect, just get in touch.


Seventeen members of the Gardening Club attended the meeting on 16 October (with 12 apologies for absence) when the main topic of conversation was the Open Gardens event in 2015. A sub-group of the Club was set up to work on the details with a provisional date of the weekend of 13/14 June 2015 being looked into and checked against other public events scheduled in the area. Public liability insurance and  an events licence will be investigated as well and publicity with  will be sought. It was thought that money raised from our Open Gardens event should be split between Ashwellthorpe Village Hall (which acts as the central hub for selling tickets and providing refreshments and toilet facilities) and a charity yet to be chosen.


All the news from this October meeting can be read by scrolling on to:

Ashwellthorpe Gardening Club Newsletter October 2014



The latest meeting of the Gardening Club took place on Thursday 10 April 2014 at The Piggeries, Home Farm House,with 24 members present, hearing Terry Illsley speaking on gardens and gardening in East Anglia. He illustrated his talk with slides showing the background to gardening styles and planting schemes from North Kent to East Anglia.

The next meeting will be on Sunday 15 June 2014 for a group visit to a garden of choice; a list of places to visit which was circulated at the meeting is given below (with the distance in miles from Ashwellthorpe) and perhaps those members who were not at the April meeting could let Debbie de Spon know which one they prefer.  A number of cars will be making the trip, so anyone without transport please contact Debbie – any new members to the Gardening Club are welcome so, again,  please contact Debbie the secretary (Telephone Number 01508 488300)

Bishop’s Garden 10 miles;    Blickling 24 miles;     Bressingham 16;    East Ruston 26;    Fairhaven 21;    Felbrigg Hall 33;    Gooderstone Water Garden 40;    Hales Hall Gardens 20;    Hindringham Hall Gardens  41;     Holkham Hall 48;   Houghton Hall Garden 47;   Hoveton Hall Garden 22;     Lake House Water Gardens 15;     Mannington Hall Gardens 28;    Norfolk Lavender 55;     Norfolk Herbs 15;    Oxburgh Hall Garden 40;    Pensthorpe 35;    Raveningham Hall Gardens 22; The Plantation Garden in Norwich 9;  The Exotic Garden 126 Thorpe Road, Norwich 10;    Hyde Hall (The Royal Horticultural Society Garden in Essex) 85;    Beth Chatto 57;    Peter Beales Roses 14

It is likely that meetings during the summer and early autumn will be out of doors, but plans are already being made for speakers for the winter and spring season ahead. If there are any other things you would like the Gardening Club to be doing, again let Debbie know.


23 people attended the February meeting of the Gardening Club where the speaker, John Effemy, a local expert on fruit trees, gave a talk on pruning and also answered many questions on trees and plants. Thanks go to him and to Peter and Viv Barry for holding the meeting in The Piggeries, and for providing refreshments.  John Effemy said that pruning was a “hands on” thing and, to this end, he will come to Ashwellthorpe on Saturday 1 and Saturday 8 March 2014 to go along to gardens to demonstrate and teach you the art of pruning your trees/shrubs. He will be at the Church Car Park from 9.30 a.m. but please let Debbie deSpon know in advance if you are interested in taking part so numbers can be gauged – [email protected] If there is awful weather, it will be rescheduled.

Nick deSpon collected the annual subscription of £12  from each of the 23 people present and a bank account will be opened with the keeping of proper accounts – there will be sufficient funding for a speaker at the April meeting followed by more outdoor activities during the summer months. Names of possible speakers at future meetings are being gathered together by various members and there will be a bluebell walk in Ashwellthorpe Wood when the season arrives.

The next meeting of the Ashwellthorpe Gardening Club will be on Thursday 10 April at The Piggeries from 7.30 p.m. The Piggeries are located close to All Saints Church; turn into the drive immediately adjacent to Ashwellthorpe Village Sign, and drive past Home Farm down to The Piggeries.


Ashwellthorpe sent a team to the Alternative Village Games held at the Sportspark, University of East Anglia, last Sunday 12 January 2014. Its team of 9 contained the smallest number of competitors, with many of the other 24 teams entering 40+ people and it was the smallest village to enter. Other village/town teams included North and South Lopham, Downham Market, Sporle, North Walsham, Diss and the Walpoles. The competition events were volleyball, dodgeball, rush hockey, handball and ultimate frisbee and the Ashwellthorpe teams competed in two events – Ladies’ Handball and Men’s Dodgeball.

The Ashwellthorpe team comprised Andy Day, Andrew Gibbons, Laura Gibbons, Gillian Silver, Raf Silver, Julie Ann Stevens and  Lisa Vincent with its Women’s Handball team coming 3rd (out of 3 teams) and the Men’s Dodgeball team finishing 6th (out of 6 teams). So you might say last in both events but I say well done for entering such an innovative competition and for participating in sports which many of us will not yet have heard of. But we have now, and who knows……………there may be more interested competitors from Ashwellthorpe to join in next year.

Meanwhile, it’s only five months until the first South Norfolk heats are held for the Norfolk-wide Village Games on 8 June 2014; so why not think about entering into Ashwellthorpe’s team for that event which has many different sports to choose from.  Last year Ashwellthorpe and its team were a part of the 16,000 people from 181 villages which competed. Why not join in this year?


The new Gardening Club in Ashwellthorpe is now set up and will meet bi-monthly – Nick de Spon will be the Treasurer and Debbie de Spon the Secretary for the first year (of The Parsonage, The Street), with the post of Chairman still vacant. An annual membership fee of £12 or £2 per meeting was agreed. Subs will pay for teas and coffees and members may bring their own refreshments of course. The next gathering will be on Wednesday 19 February 2014 and then in April, June, August etc. This is not a Village Hall-based club and, as it is difficult to arrange a regular evening slot at the Hall because of existing regular bookings, the meeting will take place at The Piggeries, Church Farm House, 105 The Street, Ashwellthorpe, courtesy of Peter and Viv Barry. Initially, the weekday for holding each bi-monthly meeting will rotate to enable as many people to attend in different months because of other conflicting regular commitments.

At this meeting, Sue and Graham Conway from New Road, provided a box of crocus, daffodil and tulip bulbs from Notcutts which were “past their sell-by date” but which were still totally growable. Members were able to take their pick in exchange for a donation to Village Hall funds.

Suggestions from those present for future speakers were: Peter Beales Roses; Will Giles; Alpine Nursery of Wymondham; Leonie Wallhouse of Wymondham; Barry Watkins in his capacity as the Ashwellthorpe Wood Warden; and John Effany the arborealist and fruit tree specialist. And, of course, members are encouraged to feed back to the Club any other suggestions or topics for speakers.

Gardening questions already posed or other useful and interesting information/suggestions given by the members: opportunity to swap plants and seeds; visit public gardens such as Cambridge University Botanic Garden, East Ruston Old Vicarage garden and Houghton Hall; information on soil types and structures for growing particular plants; vegetable gardening; seasonal gardening tips; comparison of wild plants which were growing in the vicinity some 40 years ago to what exists now.

Sue Conway will keep the Club posted on events at Notcutts of Norwich and also make enquiries about Sage discount membership for gardening clubs.

So that’s it in a large nutshell. All gardeners, expert and novice, in-betweeners and potterers, are very welcome. So please come along to the next meeting on Wednesday 19 February at The Piggeries.

How to get there – take the entrance to the Drive immediately next to the village sign past All Saints Church green in Ashwellthorpe which leads down to Hall farm house. Drive past the farm house and the Piggeries are at the end; there is plenty of parking.






There were sixteen gardens open to the public over these two days from one end of the village to the other, and in the middle as well! The weather could have been better but could have been a lot worse. Predominantly dry and windy with a little drizzle on the Saturday, with slightly less wind and only one brief shower on the Sunday but not much sunshine. Visitors to the gardens were very appreciative and spoke highly of the variety and amount of imagination which had gone into the design and planting and the hard work in getting all of them to look so good in their different ways, with the Spring and early Summer being so disappointing.

Ticket sales amounted to 290 adults attending and there were many children under 12 years old who were free of charge. Together with refreshments sold at the Village Hall, the amount raised for Village Hall funds was £1156 – Charity Number 303891. There is enthusiasm at present for a future Open Gardens Event in 2015.