Brandon Town Magazine - Issue 98

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Best of Brandon Pages 6-11

TOWN MAGAZINE MARCH 2023 READ YOUR TOWN MAGAZINE ONLINE AT BRANDONSUFFOLK.COM 17 London Road, Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 0EL tel: 01842 815874 / 815202 free delivery on orders over £20 within a 3 mile radius of brandon. £3 charge up to 4½ miles and £1 per mile thereafter. last delivery order at 10pm. AFFILIATION OF MASTER CHEFS UK OPENING HOURS Mon to Thu: 5.30pm to 11.00pm • Fri to Sun: 5.00pm to 11.00pm party room for up to 30 people and outside catering available
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Welcome to Brandon

Welcome to our March edition and what an exciting time for our town.

Inside you will find details of this year’s Best of Brandon awards along with photos from the presentation evening.

Not only that but we can finally announce Brandon is an entrant in Britain in Bloom and word arrives that Liam’s playground appeal fund by Mark Skinner continues to grow and

currently stands at around £47,000.

All huge achievements but not one can afford to rest on their laurels, as others try to catch up with our fantastic community.

Keep on pushing Brandon, we are better and brighter than many!


Brandon Town Magazine

Deadline for April edition 17th March

Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information contained within this publication, the publishers take no responsibility for the accuracy of statements made by it’s contributors, in any advertisements or for any loss arising from non-publication of any advertisement. Reproduction of any part of this publication without permission is strictly forbidden. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher.


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Shoestring Theatre Co.

After many months of planning, rehearsing and behind the scenes creativity, Shoestring Theatre Co. put on their pantomime, Snow White, on 17th & 18th February to a full house at every performance. We would like to thank each and every one of our audience members for their support in attending our shows, without you we wouldn’t be able to do what we so love to do.

There was something for the whole family in the show from the love interest between Snow White and Prince Neville to the wicked Evil Queen and the comedy duo, Nik & Nak, and lots of great catchy tunes for the younger, and older, audience members to singing along to. And, of course the flamboyant Dame, Barbara Bonanza, with her many and varied costumes. Not forgetting Madge the Mirror either, who tried to outshine the principal characters with her sparkly mirror costume!

The story was an original take on the traditional Snow White story with the dwarves replaced by “The Seven” depicted by different genres of music. The script was written by our very own Leah Sanders, who directed the pantomime and which was expertly choreographed by Mia McDonald (aka The Evil Queen)

Shoestring Theatre Co. are currently planning their next shows, a Murder Mystery, in

conjunction with St Peter’s Church Brandon, and their summer show, which is still under wraps.

We welcome you to join our group in any capacity, whether treading the boards or in a backstage role helping with sound, lighting, scenery or costume making. Contact us at for more information.


Best of Brandon Awards

Groups and individuals who make a real difference to Brandon have been celebrated at the annual Best of Brandon awards.

These awards aim to highlight those who go above and beyond to help make our town a better place.

Following nominations and a short-listing process, the final three in each category were invited, along with members of the public, to the award presentation evening held at Breckland School on Friday 24th February.

The evening kicked off at 7pm with a short introduction and live music from Thomas Dulieu while those in attendance got settled. It was then straight onto presentation of the awards with those in group category being the first short-listers invited up onto the stage where Brandon in Bloom was announced as the first win of the evening.

Brandon in Bloom was chosen for their hard work around the town creating and maintaining the beautiful displays of colour with one member of the public who put them forward for the award saying it made them smile every time they came to the town.

Next up was the award for business which went to Lynx Fitness who were recognised for creating not just a gym, but a community hub which is now also home to several other businesses, as well as their ongoing apprenticeship programme.

It was then time for a break in proceedings while guests enjoyed the buffet and some more live music.

Following the short break it was into the award for young volunteer which went to Carl Conway for his work at Brandon Library where he helps out with fundraising, clubs and activities.

Mark Skinner was next up onto the stage for the presentation of the lifetime achievement award. As each nominee was called up to the stage, Mark took everyone through a slideshow of photos with a history of all the three nominees had done for Brandon throughout their years.

Although it was Bill Bishop was declared the

winner, smaller trophies were also awarded to John Maxim and Les Barber as the judges felt all three were well deserved of the award.

The final award of the evening was for volunteer of the year which went to Mia McDonald. Mia was nominated for her dedication to Shoestring Theatre Co. where she has been a member since the age of 9.

Mia’s nomination went on to read how she works hard to help put on the theatre group’s shows, choreograph dances, putting together music along with helping the younger members to gain confidence.

Terry Hawkins, one of the event’s organisers, said: “We’d like to thank all those who came along on the evening to support those who really do make such a difference to our town.

“A huge congratulations to everyone who took home an award and all our nominees.

“Thanks must also go to our sponsors Chilterns, Mortgage Republic, Lignacite, Brandon Royal British legion and Mark Skinner Funeral Service along with councillors Victor Lukaniuk and Phil Wittam who gave additional funding from their West Suffolk Council locality budgets.

“Nominations for the 2024 awards will open later this year and we’d encourage everyone to put their favourites forward.”

The organisers would also like to thank Little Luna Melts, Bunches and Bows, High Lodge, Burton’s Bakes, Homes Bakery for their donation of raffle prizes.

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Breckland Cats Protection

The cost of living crisis impacts on all of us and cost was the top reason why cat owners gave for not visiting the vet as much as they would like. Other people maybe worried about calling their vet and may look for other information sources when concerned about their cat’s health.

Cats are very good at hiding symptoms of pain and disease. Therefore when a cat is presenting with subtle symptoms such as eating less, resting more or not being quite right, a veterinary check is always advisable. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you get the best plan and be cheaper in the long run.

You could always give your cat a health check at home and these are some of the things to look out for in a healthy cat. Bright eyes and a clear nose, a glossy coat with no lumps or bumps, healthy claw length, and no sores or swelling of the foot pads. However some things might signify a chat with the vet. Abnormal behaviour for your cat, weight changes, changes in mobility, walking running, jumping and climbing stairs, especially in older cats. Cats are prone to stress-related disease,

Brandon Library

Join us for a special theatre production of the much-loved children’s story, The Velveteen Rabbit! East-Anglian based theatre company Spinning Wheel Theatre will be performing this beautiful story for all ages.

Booking is required. Tickets are £5 each, price includes one child and accompanying adult. Contact the library on 01842 773390 to get your ticket or book your place online at www.

When the Velveteen Rabbit is unwrapped on Christmas morning, he quickly becomes just another thing gathering dust in the toy box. Shunned by the other playthings, who are

including cystitis and some infections, upset tummies, over grooming and pain. Make sure they have all the resources they need, plenty of opportunity to play, hide and scratch. Avoid obesity – a Cats Protection report in 2022 found that a third of owners and vets recognised their cats were overweight.

Flea and worm treatment is also important, as fleas can transmit illness such as tapeworm and cat scratch disease and flea allergies resulting in skin sores, and hair loss. Dental disease is one of the most common ailments in cats and can be avoided by regular tooth brushing with cat-safe toothpaste.

Claw trimming may also be necessary especially in older cats. Try to avoid the pink area with blood vessels and nerves. Vet nurse clinics are often provided with tutorial help so that you can continue this safely at home.

For help or advice, or if you need assistance with the cost of neutering please call us on 01842 810018.

braver, more glamorous and have expensive motors and flashing lights, he fears he’ll never be played with. But a chance encounter makes him the favourite toy, and with a little magic and a lot of love, he might even become real!

This spring, Spinning Wheel Theatre brings this beautiful tale life on stage by two actors, inventive puppetry and original songs. A joyful and uplifting tale of magic, friendship and hope, this is a show for all the family to enjoy!

Suitable for ages 3+ and includes Makaton. This event is financed and supported by the Friends of Brandon Library.

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The busy season is back! Your ‘to-do’ list is going to start getting longer and longer, and I don’t know about you but I cannot wait to get stuck in. However, It can be a challenging and frustrating month too, with unpredictable wind and frosts. So act with caution and keep those tender plants wrapped up warm for a bit longer!

This month I’m concentrating on ‘Pruning Group 7 – pruning for stems and foliage’. The RHS Pruning groups help group woody plants by broad pruning principles and in total there are 13 pruning groups. There are many shrubs that when pruned hard to almost ground level regrow vigorously producing new colourful stems that brighten up a winter garden. There are others that when hard pruned create a large-leaved effect. This type of pruning is referred to as stooling for shrubs, or coppicing/ pollarding for trees.

These plants are hard pruned for the following effects;

Coloured stems: dogwood (Cornus), willow (Salix), ornamental bramble (Rubus)

Large leaves: Indian bean tree (Catalpa), Cercis, Cotinus, Eucalyptus, Paulownia, elder (Sambucus)

Late winter before the leaves begin to appear on the stems is traditionally the best time


•Plant up spring flowering bulbs

•Sow hardier seeds and half-hardy annuals under glass

Sprinkle general purpose fertiliser in borders around shrubs and perennials

to prune. However, you’ll want to have the maximum amount of time possible to enjoy those colourful stems so timing is crucial. Plant roots and shoots are in balance and after hard pruning the plants will regrow rapidly to re-establish this balance. Its important to prune when dormant as the plant resources are largely in the plant roots at this time and will then be used for the vigorous healthy new stems. If the pruning occurs later in the season the plant resources will be predominately found in the leaves and if removed the regrowth will be less strong, which isn’t what you are aiming to achieve with plants grown specifically for their colourful stems.

As for the pruning method, young plants will need to establish for a couple of years before you start to hard prune (to get the balance of roots) After that you can prune as follows. For pollards cut back 2-3ft (60 – 90cm) from the ground. For Stooled shrubs 2 – 3inches from the ground. In subsequent years cut back annually to the previous stubs. After pruning apply a balanced granular fertiliser to aid the new growth. In dry summers, keep these plants well-watered to ensure good growth else your winter display will be affected.

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Brandon Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre opens this year, on April 1st, with an exciting new display.

Titled ‘ Edge of Somewhere’, many of you , if you are Facebook users, will be familiar with the wonderful local wildlife photos taken by Alan Rodwell.

Alan has very kindly provided us with many of his stunning images which will be on display commencing Saturday 1st April.

This year’s opening times are Saturday 10am - 4pm, Sunday 11am - 4pm, Thursday 10am - 1pm.

We haven’t forgotten Easter this year.

We will have our regular Easter Craft Fair on Saturday 25th March from 10am - 4pm.

We have our Easter craft packs available that come with a straw boater to decorate . These packs always prove popular so come early so you don’t miss out.

If you tried Steve’s amazing cup cakes at Christmas he will be there with some Easter edible treats along with affordable gift ideas.

The Heritage Centre shop will be open. Perfect place to buy gifts or just to treat yourself. Is there anywhere else in Brandon where you can buy dog socks?

Dora is lucky she had hers. Here she is modelling one of them after a little mishap.

Alan will be at the Heritage Centre on Saturday 1st from 11am - 2pm and Sunday 2nd from 1pm -2.30pm to chat to you and answer any questions about his time spent photographing the ‘Edge of Somewhere’.

We will also have for sale his photos as greetings cards so you can take away a piece of the local countryside.

The display will run until the end of May. Please come along and see us.

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Useful Telephone Numbers

Brandon Town Council (Town Clerk) 01842 811844 West Suffolk Council (Customer Services) 01284 763233 Suffolk County Council (Public Enquiries) 0845 606 6067
Services Doctor - Brandon Medical Practice (High Street) 01842 810388 Doctor - Forest Group Practice (Bury Road) 01842 810206 Dentist - Apex Dental Care (Bury Road) 01842 812276 Dentist - The Dental Surgery (High Street) 01842 812381 Hospital - West Suffolk (Bury St Edmunds) 01284 713000 NHS 111 - Medical Help (Less urgent than 999) 111 Help & Advice Citizens Advice Bureau (Brandon Office) 0300 330 1151 Social Care Services (Customer First) 0808 800 4005 Suffolk Constabulary (Non Emergency) 101 Utility Companies Electricity - UK Power Networks (Fault Line) 08007 838 838 Gas - Cadent (Emergency Number) 0800 111 999 Water - Anglian Water (24 Hour Leakline) 0800 771 881

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