Marjorie Day’s first memories of the Hut are in 1944 when, at the age of 16, she began attending the weekly dances. Dancing was to Mrs Punchard’s Band - the cost to go to the dance was one shilling (5p). There were no refreshments, alcoholic or otherwise served, but a great time was had by all who attended, including army personnel who were based nearby. At this time a popular billiard table was situated in an extension where the toilets are now (were) In 1951 when Marjorie moved to the village her children attended parties in the Hut including those organised by the Sunday School. Marjorie also attended the ‘Huntingfield, Heveningham & Walpole WI’ which held its monthly meetings in the Hut until the 1960s. The Primrose Club, for the over 60s was held weekly and had people from other villages and even from Halesworth attending. This was popular until the late 1970s and gave members the opportunity for tea and chatting.
Now from Audrey Hanslip who says ‘Thanks for the Memories’. Audrey’s memories are from 1985 when she moved to Huntingfield, but she also has anecdotal information from those living in the village during the 60s, 70s and early 80s. This was a period of much varied activity in the Hut, from wedding receptions, christening parties, 21st ‘do’s’ to funeral wakes.
Mel and Allan Pike have great stories of a German student, Elmer, staying with them in the 60s and falling in love with this area. He returned frequently in that era and they, together with Louise and David Pratt, still have exchange visits. Elmer brought his Oom-pa-pa band and dancers, in traditional dress, to perform in the Hut and they even slept on the floor there during their stay - they must have been keen! Also Elmer brought his boys’ choir on exchange visits with Halesworth & District Boys’ Choir, again the Hut was the venue. During this period through to the present day Louise ran a very successful drama club each week in the Hut which would be teeming with enthusiastic youngsters. Mel has a DVD of one of these sessions, perhaps it could be shown in the Hub at some time.
Also at this time a colourful can-can group which included Roz Basey-Fisher (Edwards) used the Hut to give exciting performances. Liz Fairs invited me to join the Community Council which organised events. The first of these was a Harvest Supper, which had been an annual event for many years. The Hut looked so inviting, decked out with holly and ivy, red gingham table cloths and red and white candles. The buffet table was laden with wonderful food. Daphne Blackmore had cooked a gammon, the Fairs provided turkey, Bill Orford (Sue Brown’s dad) gave baked potatoes and was mortified when one year he put them in the oven but forgot to turn it on! The rest of us gave salads of all kinds, sausage rolls etc. and a yummy collection of desserts. Everyone was instructed to bring their own cutlery and plates as washing up facilities were almost nil! The overall organisation of tables etc. was done by Allan Pike’s lovely mum and dad, who were sadly killed in a road accident near Benhall in 1989. Another annual event was gathering at the Hut to go carol singing round the village, riding on Allan Fairs’ tractor trailer sitting on straw bales, then back to their farm for mince pies and mulled wine. This ended owing to health and safety matters but was replaced with singing round the tree and enjoying refreshments in the Hut. In the 80s and early 90s Mike and Clare Strong started a Carpet Bowls Club followed by fish & chips from the pub. This was most enjoyable but sadly faded away when they left the village. From ’86 or ’87 I held a Craft Exhibition and Sale for many years. It was very successful and enjoyable, all the many exhibitors were local and excellent. Refreshments were served by Chris and Dave Cooper together with Maureen Ellerby, Julie Collett, Sue Tyler and anyone else who was available. This ended when the Heveningham Hall Fair began and I started the Art Show in St. Mary’s Church, which went on for 14 years, thanks to much help from so many in the area. That’s about it, so you can see how fulfilling my years were in the village. I was therefore delighted with the send-off you all contributed to at the Carol Service. Thanks - and my plants are thriving!
The original 'Hut'