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April 2022 report

After another of our very pleasant coffee and cake gatherings at the Bluebell Tea Rooms, our next “In” meeting was appropriately entitled “Staying Fit and Healthy”! Our two guest speakers were Tom Leith, our popular local Physiotherapist, and Pilates Instructor Jill Sharp, who runs courses in Capel and Bentley. They were responding to questions from members and giving advice on health topics.

Tom talked about aspects which influence our overall well-being and mobility: good breathing, digestion and hydration, posture and exercise all play an important part. There were several questions asked, which led to much open discussion.

Pilates Instructor Jill Sharp, Physio Tom Leith & Brian Taylor from the Blossom Appeal

Jill gave us an outline of Joseph Pilates, and the fact that he’d developed his exercise regime as a result of his own sickly state, (he suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever), to improve his own health, strength and resilience. Its main focus is on exercising the body from the diaphragm to the pelvis.

During the evening we launched our charity fundraiser for breast cancer, to help the Blossom Appeal, and their spokesman Brian Taylor was there to report on the progress of the new Breast Cancer Treatment Centre at Ipswich Hospital. Building has just started, with completion scheduled for October. They are about half a million pounds away from their £6.2 million target, but with several pledges in place.

To boost funds for this very worthwhile cause we had a “PINK ITEMS” Bring and Buy Stall, and this, together with a donation from Capel Ladies Club, raised £100.00!

We also had a few guests, including some from East Bergholt, all in all it was a very successful evening. What we need now are a few more new members!

Our next meeting is for tea and cakes at The Outlook at Fox’s Marina, near Bourne Bridge, on 17th March, and our trip to the New Wolsey Theatre to see “The Birds and The Bees” is on April 7th! Come and join us!

March 2022 report

‘Musical of Dreams’ performed by The Orchard Players

Who needs Britain’s Got Talent when there’s plenty locally – as shown by The Orchard Players in their most recent show, “Musical of Dreams.” It was a cleverly written piece which tells how a young teenage boy finds the courage to stand up to school bullies and then the confidence to audition in a musical show at his school. The plot leads conveniently from musical to musical, picking out the appropriate songs on the way. Many of the cast were youngsters from around the Capel area, and they showed just what talented performers they are, singing, dancing and acting out the storyline.  It was a really heart-warming tale full of well-known songs, and presented with skill and poise, and our group of Capel Ladies who saw it went home singing some of the tunes in their heads! A real tonic for a dark, January evening!

Club members enjoying the ‘Backwards Raffle’

Our AGM this year was held online and the accounts, Chairlady’s report and voting in of the new committee were emailed out to members who had the chance to reply or comment in the same way. Mary Butters asked at our ‘In’ Meeting whether there were any queries about any aspect to do with these items, and there were none.

Our first regular meeting of the year was a social get-together with a chance to catch up with other members and then join in the Backwards Raffle. Thanks to Di Barker who organised the prizes for this, although unfortunately she could not be there herself. This was a fun activity which caused much laughter and regular swapping of prizes!

We finished the evening with cake and coffee, and now look forward to an afternoon tea meet-up at the Bluebell Café on Thursday 17th February.  “Staying Fit and Healthy” is the subject of our next meeting on Thursday 3rd March. Local Physio Tom Leith and Pilates instructor Jill Sharp will be there, and we hope to launch our charity fund-raiser for this year – The Blossom Appeal – with a speaker who will update us on the progress of the new cancer treatment centre at Ipswich Hospital. We will also be having a stall selling Pink Items to raise money for this during the evening. Promises to be a busy night! On 17th March we are off to The Outlook Restaurant, at Fox’s Marina, for lunch or possibly afternoon tea, to be confirmed! Our first April meeting (on 7th April) will be a theatre trip to the Wolsey to see “The Birds and the Bees!” Plenty of variety in the new programme then! Hopefully, some of you non-members reading this will maybe think about joining our ranks! You’re all very welcome!

February 2022 report

Our Christmas Social was very enjoyable, and had all the right ingredients to make it a success. I’d like to pay tribute to those ladies who made significant contributions. The festive table decorations were created by Pat and Shirley. The seasonal and colourful raffle was assembled by Audrey and Irene, with 22 chances to win something!  Sue Woolgar had devised a “musicals” quiz, featuring familiar songs from well-known shows, which we had to identify. We ALL knew the tunes, as was evident from the general humming, but naming their origins wasn’t always easy. The winners, with a fantastic 22 correct answers out of 25, were Irene and Audrey!

After Brenda Eyers’ impressive demonstration showing us how to create a special floral centrepiece for the table, the draw for the Members’ Christmas Hamper was made: this was another masterpiece assembled by Wendy, of which I was the incredibly lucky winner!  I should also mention that Margaret, whose ticket was the first drawn in the Christmas raffle, chose Brenda’s exquisite table decoration as her prize.

Wendy provided Christmassy tablecloths for the buffet table, and we nibbled, drank and chatted away… and before we knew it, it was past 10 pm! As they say, ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’!!

If all goes well, the Orchard Players’ production ‘Musical of Dreams’ will go ahead after Christmas, and we’ll take our seats for the evening performance on Thursday 13th January at 7.30pm.

We now look forward to a more normal year of Capel Ladies Club activities, if at all possible. We start with our first meeting on Thursday 3rd February, when we will have some fun with a Backwards Raffle, and welcome our new committee for 2022, which we hope will be a happy and healthy year for us all!

Report by Mary Butters (Chairlady)

December 2021 report

In order to keep the momentum going, as it were, Capel Ladies members had the chance to visit Alder Carr Farm, Needham Market, in mid-October for delicious tea and cakes in The Barn Café. There were also a few outlets such as a farm shop with a wide range of fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, delicatessen, bakery items and Christmas goodies for sale, plus craft and antique shops and a small nursery, so plenty to look at and lots of tempting things to buy! A pleasant drive in the autumn sunshine, too!

Our November In-meeting was one of a spooky nature! Robert Halliday gave us an illustrated talk entitled “Suffolk Ghosts and Hauntings”, which included several first-hand accounts of his own experiences! There were no headless horsemen or grey ladies involved, but also a number of sightings and unexplained occurrences which had happened to quite ordinary people, and which had been verified by others who had witnessed similar things. Altogether very credible narratives which left many of us with open minds as to whether or not we believe in the supernatural! After the talk there was time for questions and shared experiences, and a chance to buy one of Robert’s several books about Suffolk and its intriguing past.

In addition to our Speaker we welcomed back Lynne McConnachie selling her home-made greetings cards for the Brain Tumour charity, and Mel Smith who brought along some of her creative art including coasters, jewellery and decorative Christmas items for sale too.

We are now looking forward to our Christmas Lunch at The Brook at Washbrook in early December, and our Christmas Social on December 16th in the Vine Lounge at Capel Community Centre, and in the New Year we hope to be in the audience at the Orchard Players’ production entitled “Musical of Dreams”. Lots to look forward to, and – in spite of everything – lots to look back on, too, in this strange year! Wishing all members and readers of this article a very Happy and Healthy Christmas, and all the very best for the New Year!

November 2021 report

Now that Autumn has arrived, we are properly into our Autumn programme, and we now have something a bit more meaty to report on!

Brian Faulkner & Chairlady
Mary Butters

After our entertaining Jazz Galore Social we had a second gathering in September for our Open Evening. It was a very successful night with the craft and cards stalls as well as Kristy Barbouti’s Zova Chic clothing outlet for visitors and members to browse. There was a raffle which included some floral table arrangements made by Linda Evans, and coffee and cakes were served. At least two new members signed up and there were a few more interested ladies who promised to come to our next meeting. This was, of course, the talk by Brian Faulkner, the charismatic vet, entitled “Oh, the Life of a Vet…!” on 7th October.

Brian was born into a Northern Ireland farming family, the eldest of three children. His family had a mixed farm with cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens, and they also grew vegetables, largely potatoes. It was generally expected of Brian that, as the oldest boy, he would take over the family farm when he grew up, but instead he went off to Edinburgh University to train as a vet. Although his training involved all types of animals, he preferred the smaller creatures and domestic pets, and after working in Lincolnshire for a while he eventually married a Suffolk-born girl and his current practice is in Aldeburgh, not far from where he lives. Being very interested in animal and human behaviour he also gained a degree in psychology, and has lectured on this in different parts of the world.

He gave us a very interesting and amusing talk, relating some of his funny experiences with different animals, and he told us that a lot of the time the problems animals have can be aggravated by the way they are kept and treated. Their owners sometimes need to be educated in how to look after them properly with careful attention to their diet, exercise and surroundings. Much like humans really! Capel Ladies had one or two questions for him, and we even learnt some interesting facts about the sex life of the ferret! A very entertaining evening – and so nice to be back at a normal scheduled meeting!

Here are the details of our Programme leading up until Christmas, which we hope will go ahead without any further Covid restrictions! As a rule, we meet on the first Thursday of each month in Capel Library, with the meeting starting at 7.45pm., although it’s best to arrive by 7.30pm to find a seat. On the 3rd Thursday of the month we usually have an outing of some kind. We hope to see as many of you as possible who would like to join us at these events!

  • 4th November – ‘Suffolk Ghosts and Hauntings’ – Robert Halliday.
  • 18th November – Trip to Corncraft, Monks Eleigh for Christmas Shopping (own transport).
  • 2nd December – Christmas Meal at The Brook, Washbrook (details coming soon).
  • 16th December – Christmas Social, with table decoration demo by Brenda Eyers.

We look forward to welcoming anyone who would like to join us! For more details please see elsewhere on the website, or ring our Chairlady Mary Butters on 01473 310859.

October 2021 report

Our delayed Summer Social in September was jazzed up a bit this year by a lively band of musicians in the shape of Jazz Galore, when they entertained Capel Ladies in the Vine Lounge.

The turnout from members was rather disappointing, but then some were still away on holiday, (including myself), or unable to be there on the night. However, there were also a few guests and prospective new members, and those who were there enjoyed the evening as it was also a chance to see people and catch up over the cold buffet with everyone bringing a plate of food to share.

Jazz Galore played a number of well-known tunes and there was plenty of foot-tapping in accompaniment around the room. Their members come from all over Suffolk and are quite used to travelling across the county to different gigs. Look out for a chance to see them again as they may have other local bookings too! I, personally, was sorry to miss them!

At the time of writing, our Open Evening on the 16th September is all set to go ahead. Fingers crossed it is a successful evening and we will have attracted some new potential members!

Brian Faulkner, the charismatic vet, will be our speaker for October, definitely not one to miss!

Meanwhile, check out our website, or pop along on the first Thursday of the month at 7.45pm to Capel Library. Everyone welcome!

May 2021 report

Well – although it’s a glorious sunny day as I write this and all the lovely spring flowers are out, it’s PERISHING cold outside, and there was ice on the bird bath this morning! Anyway, that doesn’t stop Capel Ladies Club members from doing their own thing – and during Lockdowns several of them have been busy re-discovering old hobbies and crafts, while others have taken up something new!

Activities include bird-watching, jigsaws, cooking, gardening, reading and even painting – both the D.I.Y. kind as well as the more artistic sort.

One member, Penny Thompson, has been quite prolific in producing watercolours, and indeed one of her efforts even ended up being framed and sold in a Hadleigh art shop, which came as quite a surprise to her when she spotted it!

Her interest in painting began around five years ago when she joined the “Art for Fun” club, which (in normal times) meets weekly on Monday mornings in St Mary’s Church Hall, and it’s something she has missed very much over this last year. Hopefully it will run again once things are back on an even keel. (Two of Penny’s watercolours are shown here.)

Another Lockdown activity for some members has been walking, especially in and around the village, and on the many local footpaths, some of which combine to make circular walks in the Capel area.

For those of you who haven’t been on any of these recognised walks, three leaflets are available from the Parish Council office or the Drayton Insurance office free of charge. Now that May is here with the warmer weather, these walks are ideal for families to get out and explore the area and enjoy the countryside! (Don’t forget to take a plastic carrier bag with you to bring your litter home – and maybe to pick up any cans, packets or bottles which others have thoughtlessly discarded. This may mean you need some disposable gloves as well, but it’s a good lesson for children to learn too!)

C.L.C. have now got a WhatsApp group going strong, which involved some members being introduced to texting for the first time! It works really well and often does the trick when it comes to cheering someone up with a ‘funny’ or just passing the time of day! We hope it won’t be TOO long before we can hold a proper meeting face-to-face.

Sue Woolgar

5th Mar | My Tutu Went AWOL – Iestyn Edwards

Our March meeting encapsulated both a visit to the ballet AND the opera, with some comedy thrown in – so it was an all-round experience! This was thanks to an extraordinary performance by Iestyn (pronounced Yes-tin) Edwards, a stage and TV writer/performer, and also a published poet and journalist. He has found fame as the character Madame Galina, Prima Ballerina, and he has even entertained troops in Iraq and Afghanistan!

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Quite a career – and an evening with a difference for Capel Ladies! Adorned in a white tutu, tights and pink satin ballet shoes, Iestyn made his entrance with a graceful ballet display ending in a pirouette and graceful curtsy, to the sound of enthusiastic applause!

He astonished us further by singing two or three songs, a couple to some recorded piano accompaniment and then one totally unaccompanied – in an operatic style. We were amazed by the power and depth of his singing voice, but of course he is Guildhall trained and he knows his stuff!

He says he enjoys entertaining others although he gets very nervous before performing, even though he has been doing it for nearly 50 years! His father was a country and western singer who used to take Iestyn on stage with him when Iestyn was only four. Later, Iestyn was a member of Southwark Cathedral choir and eventually attended the Guildhall School of Music.

20200305_202257Prior to this he worked for a year as front of house at London’s Covent Garden Opera House, and it was there where he saw his first ballet, Swan Lake. He befriended the lady who ran the bookstall in the foyer of the Opera House, who happened to be an ex-ballerina herself, and she would teach him some of the moves and routines from Swan Lake in the foyer during performances! Thus he added the ballet moves to his repertoire, and the tutu followed!

He loves to tell anecdotes about his colourful career… he has entertained the Queen on board HMS Victory at a special dinner for the Battle of Trafalgar, and this got him noticed by the armed forces. He imagined that he would be giving shows to the Combined Services Entertainment gigs for the officers’ mess at the Hilton, Park Lane, but was shocked to find that he had agreed to go out to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the troops there!

His act became very popular and he has since written a book about his experiences, some of which we heard about at our meeting. Sufficient to say he gave us a very entertaining evening with lots of laughter and amusement as well as admiration for his singing and graceful pirouetting!

Iestyn’s grand finale was ably assisted by his glamorous assistant Mary Butters!

6th Feb | Talk on Oxygen Therapy Treatment

Our February meeting began, unusually, with a deferred AGM, due to poor attendance at the official AGM in January where not enough members were present for a quorum, so we could not vote on any official business.

However, even after a heartfelt appeal from our chairlady, Rose Chiverton, no-one volunteered to be on the new committee or to take on any of the main jobs. This resulted in the sad decision to close the club after this year’s final meeting in December. The whole of the 2020 Programme has already been arranged and the present committee said they will oversee the running of the club for its final months to see this out, but as from January 2021 Capel Ladies Club will no longer exist!

This momentous decision, although agreed on by all those present, comes after another successful year in 2019 and a celebratory 50th birthday in 2018! Maybe it’s still not too late, if a whole clutch of new members was to join us… so watch this space!

Now to our Speakers for the evening…. Audrey Sparling and Victoria Barber had come to talk to us about a charity which provides the little-known treatment of Oxygen Therapy to people suffering a wide variety of conditions.

Audrey Sparling and Victoria Barber of the Suffolk Oxygen Therapy Centre accept a cheque for £50 from Capel Ladies’ Club. The Centre is the Club’s chosen charity for 2020.

Oxygen Therapy involves breathing pure, medical grade oxygen for one hour at a time whilst sitting in a pressurised chamber. The idea was founded 36 years ago by a Dundee deep-sea diver and Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who, when recovering from “the bends” in his pressure chamber, found that it helped relieve symptoms of his M.S.

For more than thirty-five years this charity has been providing Oxygen Therapy at their centre near Ipswich, (one of 65 such centres in the country), treating conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, some forms of cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s, Arthritis and many more. In addition they offer post-operative therapy, and also treat professional sportspeople, footballers, motorcyclists and marathon runners who are keen to speed up injury recovery times. This technology is well-established and has a long history, and while it does not claim to cure any condition it has been found to be of great benefit to many of them.

The centre began as one chamber on the back of a lorry in Ipswich Docks, first as a Multiple Sclerosis therapy centre, but expanded as it was found other conditions needed help too, and it moved to an industrial estate in Great Blakenham.

On site they have three spacious, purpose-built chambers in portacabins, which can provide therapy for up to 16 people at a time, and the centre is staffed by fully-trained operators and supported by a team of willing volunteers. A doctor’s referral is not necessary by they do ask that you notify your GP if you wish to undergo some Oxygen Therapy. One of the Speakers, Victoria Barber, is a Lupus sufferer, and has found the treatment has helped relieve many of her symptoms

They are currently engaged in a programme of improvements to upgrade their premises, and their eventual aim is to have a permanent brick-built centre, although this could take up to ten years! The organisation is funded entirely by donations from their members and supporters, and through fund-raising events – they receive no state funding whatsoever.

This good cause has been adopted by Capel Ladies as our charity for 2020, and after a most interesting talk a cheque for £50 was presented to Audrey and Victoria on our behalf. If you are interested to find out more about Oxygen Therapy please visit the charity’s website at www.SuffolkOxygenTherapy.co.uk or give them a call on 01473 830359.

16th Jan | A.G.M.

Unfortunately, the attendance was rather poor at our scheduled A.G.M. and there were only 14 people present, not enough for a quorum. We decided that we would do all the A.G.M. business at our next meeting, starting 15 minutes earlier than usual.

In spite of this we had an enjoyable evening with a “Raucous Raffle” game followed by refreshments with home-made cakes and special biscuits provided by the outgoing committee members.

Fingers crossed we will have sufficient numbers at our February meeting to form a new committee and keep the club running!