Boules, botanics and bikes
Bank holiday fundraising at the Wheatsheaf – 27 to 29 August 2022
The August Bank Holiday weekend saw another fundraising push by the regulars at the Wheatsheaf Beer House to increase the donations to our chosen charity, Suffolk Mind.
Mind your Boules
The weekend kicked off on the Saturday with a Petanque tournament sponsored by local business Moore Electrical. The competition attracted good support from the Wheatsheaf’s own players but there were just as many high-quality teams joining us from across East Suffolk. We also welcomed a Petanque England selector as a spectator.
Seventeen teams had paid their entry fees although a vehicle breakdown enroute meant only sixteen were competing on the day. In the morning session each team of three players played three 20 minute games against three other teams. Over lunch, when Anna’s excellent BBQ selection was a sell out, the morning’s results were analysed and the teams ranked on their performance. The top eight teams went on to play in the quarter finals of the main competition for the Wheatsheaf Shield while the remaining eight played in a Plate competition.
Photo 1 – match in progress by Paul
After some very close games, the Shield was eventually won by a team from the Eels Foot Inn at Eastbridge. They were awarded their prize by Simon Fletcher, president of the Suffolk Coastal Petanque Alliance. The prize included ‘golden’ boules holders specially manufactured for the tournament by the Wheatsheaf’s very own David Jenkins.
Photo 2 – winners by Airavata
All three winners were players from the premier division of the Suffolk Coastal League (the Wheatsheaf team played in division three this summer) and one was an England Youth player back from competing in the World Championships. In the face of such competition, congratulations go to the two Wheatsheaf teams of Alan, Guy and Simon and of Adrian, John and Paul who made it through to the quarter finals of the Shield.
Photo 3 – Simon and Guy by Airavata
The Plate competition was won by Foxy, Pete and Kate from the Hare & Hounds at East Bergholt who had all the local support behind them in their final.
Photo 4 – plate winners by Airavata
The day was a great success both in terms of the money raised for Suffolk Mind (£500 from entry fees, raffle, BBQ and donations) and the enjoyment of all involved, spectators and players alike.
Mind your Sunflower
Throughout the summer pub customers and Tattingstone residents have been encouraged to raise and plant out Sunflowers in the Wheatsheaf field alongside the A137. Entrants paid a fee for each Sunflower planted and seeds of the variety Vanilla Ice were freely available in the pub. Alternatively, entrants could select their own varieties but in either case they were invited to grow the tallest and the most floriferous plants. Aside from the implicit support for the Ukranian people, this display was intended to raise awareness of the charitable events at the Wheatsheaf and, not least, to bring a smile to the face of all passing motorists.
Although we hoped the gardening activities would improve the well-being of all taking part, the weather had other ideas. A free-draining, nutrient poor soil was demanding for the horticultural skills of all trying to grow a Sunflower as well as for the plants themselves. The extra challenge of such a hot dry season was too much in some cases and wilting plants demanded lugging a watering can across the field almost daily. By the end of August it had become survival of the fittest but over 90 plants were still growing raising over £100 for Suffolk Mind.
On Sunday 28th August the plants were judged by local horticulturalists, Marianne and Bob Mundy. Straight away there was controversy when the winning plant in the ‘Tallest Sunflower of any variety’ category was disqualified after a drugs test. Tim Hamstead, the grower of this monster plant, was overheard the night before when he admitted when feeding a ‘white powder’ to his entry. Overnight a plant of less than 50cm height sprouted to a 2.5 m colossus! In truth, his last-minute transplant was looking rather wilted by the time of judging.
Photo 5 – Tim & sunflower by Marianne
Following this disqualification, the prize for tallest Sunflower was awarded to Liz Girling. All prizes were sponsored by local business Arachne Gardening Services and presented by owner Paul Lee.
Photo 6 – Liz and Paul by Marianne
The category for tallest sunflower of the Vanilla Ice variety was won by Hallie Layton the youngest entrant at 16 months old.
Photo 7 – Sesa’s garden by Jan
A special prize was awarded to Sesa Ishaya for her landscaped sunflower garden complete with a characteristic American white picket fence.
Photo 8 – Denise with prize by Marianne
Denise Hawes won the final category with her Vanilla Ice sunflower sprouting the greatest number of flower heads.
Sunday afternoon was an opportunity for Wheatsheaf regulars to play petanque amongst themselves. The format gave everyone, whatever their experience, a chance of winning. Everyone who wanted to play was asked to make a donation to Suffolk Mind and eighteen players signed up. Everyone played three games in a randomly selected team and, following some rapid arithmetic, individual scores were summed at the end.
The top player of the afternoon was Del. He was on the winning team in all three of the games he played. The only other player to get three wins was Duncan Brown but his points difference was only +8 and Del had scored 13 points more than were scored against him. Third place went to Anne Lear to her great surprise. Anne lost one of her games but still achieved a points difference of +13, more than anyone else who achieved two out of three wins. The session was great fun for all who took part and will certainly be repeated in future.
Mind your Bike
The annual Bank Holiday Monday bike ride, a much-anticipated tour of local hostelries to raise money from their customers, was planned by Guy and Fliss Law this year although they were unable to be there on the day. Even so, more riders turned out than had been expected. Seventeen riders gathered at the Wheatsheaf in fine conditions to be briefed by John Pipe on the route and on rider safety. We started off at 11.00 with a gentle ride along Church Road and out past Tattingstone Wonder. The route then followed Bentley Lane into Stutton and through the village without any deciding to wait at the Kings Head for the tour’s return. After a brief stop at Alton Water all mounted up for the second leg and headed off for the Freston Boot. The route took us through the Royal Hospital School with a free-wheeling run down to Holbrook Mill. Here was where the only accident of the day occurred. Riding along at the back of the pack, Paul took the corner too fast and had to use a hedge rather than his brakes to come to a halt. Adrian got an opportunity to play a key role in his support vehicle, holding up the traffic while rider and bike were extracted from the vegetation and were set on their way again. We now climbed through Holbrook passing The (sadly closed down) Compasses, a regular stopping point in previous years, and out to Freston Water Tower looking forward to a refreshing drink at the Boot. It was therefore a major disappointment when we got there to find that management had decided to close the Freston Boot for the Bank Holiday! No drink and no fundraising either!
Photo 9 – Marianne’s photo from Freston Boot
Following a photo opportunity, we rode on to the Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill, some now eager for their first pint of the day. A splinter group took a safer cross-country route through the fields but even those braving the Main Road arrived safely at the busy pub. (Paul decided it would be judicious to apply the brakes rather than freewheel down this hill as he was not ready for an early bath in the Orwell.) The Butt and Oyster was the first opportunity for some serious fundraising and Richard got stuck in straight away. He was waving the collection bucket at drinkers and diners before many of the other riders had even arrived.
After the rest and welcome refreshment, we were back on the road and climbing the hill up to Chelmondiston. We soon turned off the Main Road and took a quieter route along Bylams Lane to get back to Holbrook. The Swan was only just opening when we arrived so the opportunities for fund raising were limited. We took the opportunity to sample the liquid refreshment and I can attest to the quality of the gin cocktail, but only one of the locals had turned up before we left. Fully reinvigorated we hit the road again heading for the Kings Head in Stutton. This hostelry was heaving and the customers were generous with their donations, or maybe they were just happy to pay up to get the crazy cyclists out of the way. The final stop was the White Horse in Tattingstone where Adrian made use of his local networking skills to extract more cash from the drinkers. Finally, we headed back to the Wheatsheaf for Anna’s excellent BBQ while Kev kept the exhausted riders supplied with drink. Further cash was extracted from those present to push the collection total towards the £300 mark and even those not there in person were contacted for donations as Jan Burton will attest.
Congratulations to everyone taking part for completing the 21 mile long circuit and especially to Harriet for her performance on a slightly too large bike. Mum had bought and collected the bike in the hour before the ride started so it was Harriet’s first experience of riding it and Martin was still adjusting it as we went round the route.