April 2023 Meeting (AGM & Talk)

We met on Wednesday 12 April 2023 at our usual venue, The Granary in Quay Lane.

It was our AGM, and we began with reports, and elections of officers and committee members. The new committee is here .

Information about future meetings and outings was distributed.

After the formal business, local farmer, historian, and author Ashley Cooper, gave a fascinating talk.

Ashley returned to give us another brilliant talk on local heroes and villains. It was overshadowed by the very sad news that Andrew Phillips died recently. Ashley had rewritten his talk to honour both Andrew, who he called a motivator and a facilitator, and our late Chairman Barry Wall with references to their remarkable contributions to local history.

Both Andrew Phillips and Barry Wall are local heroes. Ashley pointed out the many initiatives Andrew Phillips had started in Sudbury: the Sudbury Society, the Ephemera Archive, Sudbury on Show, to name a few also giving his time to innumerable charities. He started the History talks at the Quay and managed to raise over £30,000 for the Quay theatre over the years.

Also, Barry Wall’s role in the History of Sudbury cannot be understated. He has given the town so much and never ceased to share his research and information. One of his early books was “Sudbury through the Ages”. Barry helped Ashley appreciate the double hammerbeam roof in Gestingthorpe church. The carpenter was Thomas Loveday who also worked in Lavenham and on St John’s College in Cambridge.

Andrew Phillips was a champion of the underdog and particularly admired the non-conformist movement in East Anglia. John Winthrop from Groton led the wave of over 1,000 local people to America in 1630 to found the “City on the Hill”, a New Jerusalem, and became the first governor of Massachusetts. Local villains included William Jennings, the richest commoner in England, also known as the miser from Acton, who died in 1798 leaving £2 million. Ashley reminded us of the conclusion of his talk a year ago: was Simon of Sudbury a Hero or a Villain ? He was a local hero but a national villain.

Ashley concluded with a reference to one of our greatest local heroes: Sue Ryder who founded a network of care homes in Britain, Poland and India and he hopes Sudbury will try to commemorate her and keep her memory alive.
An excellent talk and we hope Ashley will return again for Part 3 of Local Heroes and Villains.

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