ISC Chair Report (August 2014)

I apologise for the delay since my last report in March, but how time flies! We are still making good progress on the fundraising front and have had many good moments in the past few months – as you will see by reading on.

Currently we have £367,856 set aside towards our target of £714,000, so are more than half way there – which is another milestone achieved. We have had success in the past few months with appearances at the Patrick Stead fete, the Lions’ carnival, and the Heveningham Hall Country Fair, which have been well worthwhile in helping to raise both awareness of the project and donations towards our target.

Thanks are yet again due to Nikki Sawkins for the success of her annual cream teas event, which raised an excellent £938.28. We even had several people trying to break down the gates to get in before we officially opened for business! We are also extremely grateful to have also started receiving donations from parties and dinners held in private houses, including £251.50 from a 40th birthday party for “Justin” and £1,031.30 from a dinner party held by Sue Welby. These are remarkable achievements and thank you so much to both of you from everyone at HCNCF.

Another amazing success for us was the case of the mysterious microscope which was donated to Dee’s Den. Dee, as astute as ever, thought that the microscope – a Zeiss Jena from the 1880s – could be of some value, and dropped it into Metherell’s auction house, who advertised it online ahead of the auction. This resulted in two Germans travelling to the auction to bid on it, with the final sale making an incredible £3,800. Wow! Our thanks go to Dee for recognising the microscope as something of value, and to David Metherell for all his help and declining any fees for the resale. An even happier ending to the story came after we advertised for the donor to come forward and were contacted by Jonathan Strange, who told us the microscope belonged to his grandfather who trained as a dentist, and joined the navy during the Great War but was invalided out due to seasickness and returned to education to train as a doctor. After joining the Royal Medical Corp, he served in Mesopotamia and the Western Front, taking the microscope with him. After surviving the war, he subsequently trained as a surgeon. We were pleased to hear the lovely story which accompanied this valuable piece of antiquity and would like to thank Jonathan and his family for their very kind donation.

In the near future, we are looking forward Dr Richard Kell and his son Jon’s amazing adventure, cycling from St David’s in Pembrokeshire to Southwold, although I’m not sure to what extent they are looking forward to it! You can find out more or donate to their efforts by visiting Their projected arrival back in Halesworth on 19 September coincides with the week which we have booked at IChameleon in Halesworth Thoroughfare, and we are hoping they will receive a really big welcome home from a large crowd. They are fast approaching their target of £5,000, and we will do all we can to help them reach it. Good luck to both of them.

On 6 September, our “Music in the Garden” day takes place at Rydal Mount, Grays Lane, Wissett. Tickets are selling very well for this so please do get yours now. You can find out more by visiting I’m delighted to report that we are in the final four of the Lloyds Bank Local Community Fund awards for our region. The final award we receive will depend upon a public vote, so please keep an eye on our website for more details of how you can support us.

All in all, a remarkable amount of work done has been done by the trustees, committee members and volunteers. We owe a great debt of gratitude to them all for all their dedication, which is bringing the new Information and Support Centre ever closer.

This report can’t be closed without particular thanks to Richard and Jon Kell for their wonderful venture to cross the breadth of Great Britain, and to Barbara Kell for all the hard work which she is putting into the “Music in the Garden” event. It will be alright on the night Barb! Finally, as always, many thanks to Frances Lloyd for all of the hard work which she has put into fundraising – we have all learnt so much from you, Frances, and appreciate everything you have done for us.

Ted Edwards