Badwell Ash: Village to use past as a sign

Village feature on Badwell Ash.   The summer school group inside the Primary school.
Village feature on Badwell Ash. The summer school group inside the Primary school.

Badwell Ash could soon have its past incorporated into a design for its first village sign.

Despite having many amenities, including a pub, church, shop/post office, primary school and fish and chip shop, Badwell Ash appears never to have had a village sign.

Village feature on Badwell Ash.   Village hall committee by the phone box - Sylvia Baalham, Angela Smith, John Hines, Chiara Jenkins and Helen Flack.

Village feature on Badwell Ash. Village hall committee by the phone box - Sylvia Baalham, Angela Smith, John Hines, Chiara Jenkins and Helen Flack.

As a member of the local history group, Julie Evans is among villagers working to establish one.

She hopes to launch a competition in September calling on school children and residents to submit possible designs.

“Now I’m involved in historical research, I can see that the village has a lot going for it and not having a village sign is almost like not having a face,” she said, adding that a sign creates the impression of a well-looked after village.

Ideas for a sign include a coat of arms incorporating images of the village’s former post mill, its gravel pits, Suffolk Punch horses - once used to farm its land - and toads.

Village feature on Badwell Ash.    Villagers outside the village hall.

Village feature on Badwell Ash. Villagers outside the village hall.

There is a large toad population in the village, with volunteers called on during the breeding season to help them cross busy roads. Ironically, there are many toad patrol signs in Badwell Ash.

In June, residents celebrated the success of a passionate campaign to save the village school from potential closure.

“We had to put up a fight for that but it’s what we’ve got to do to preserve our village life,” said parish councillor John Hines.

Now, focus has returned to fund-raising efforts to refurbish and upgrade facilities at the village hall.

Village feature on Badwell Ash.   Villagers outside the village hall.

Village feature on Badwell Ash. Villagers outside the village hall.

Built by the community in around the mid 1970s, the outdated hall remains a well-used community resource.

Cllr Hines said only around £15,000 of the £160,000 needed had been raised so far but that grant applications would soon be made to appeal for more. “We’re getting there,” he said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Karl Hortt, chairman of the parish council, said another project being considered was the possibility of adopting the village telephone box and changing its use. Ideas for this include a small library, museum or defibrillator station.

What residents say about the village:

Karl Hortt: “Whenever I go and buy a newspaper 150 yards away, it takes me 15 minutes or so because everyone stops and has a chat.”

John Hines: “Living here’s like being on a permanent holiday.”

Julie Evans: ”When we first came to Badwell Ash as a family of three, it was only meant to be our temporary home. We soon felt very welcome and quickly became part of the village. Six years on, we’re here to stay.”