Archive for December, 2015

Ray Pluck – Died 25th October 2015

A memorial service for the life of Ray Pluck was held at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford on 25th November 2015, a private cremation having taken place immediately beforehand. The service was conducted by Revd. Matthew Lawson, the organist was Ian McMillan and the solo Pie Jesu from the Faure Requiem was sung by John McCabe. Ray died at his home in Foxearth on 25th October at the age of 83.

In the first of two eulogies Peter Thorogood described Ray as a typical fun-loving Essex boy made good. From his early years Ray was a lively prankster; an adventurous spirit who loved motor cycling from which developed a life long interest in cars. Another passion in a very active life was a venture into greyhound racing. Peter reflected upon many lengthy, enjoyable, bucolic lunches in Ray’s company. When National Service beckoned Ray served in the Paras being posted to Korea and staying for an extra year to explore what he saw as possible commercial opportunities! Alas this didn’t really work out and Ray returned in 1953 absolutely broke -but a somewhat head strong lad had turned into a man of the world determined to be a success.

An address written by Ray’s widow, Pam , was read by Lyn Heyhow. This painted a very loving and  affectionate picture of a man of enormously varied interests and achievements. Ray became a baker once icing over 200 Christmas cakes when the master baker was taken ill. Then, with a churn and a bike he tried his hand as a milkman – but that didn’t last. Having an uncle  who was a Chief Police Inspector Ray applied to join the force so that he could drive a Panda car! However the realisation that a possibly less exciting stint of a year on the beat would be necessary first caused him to abandon this idea. His love of cars eventually took him into the motor trade where he rose to become salesman of the year for Renault winning a Renault Dauphine. Still keen to be his own boss he cleaned cars for a time for Bernie Ecclestone eventually acquiring his own dealership which he was very good at and loved.. The early1960s saw a return to Braintree where he bought  Braintree Motor Co; his reputation as an honourable dealer grew. Still with energy to spare he entered into a partnership in running The Barn in Braintree – the cabaret venue of its day – where he met and befriended many stars and singers.! In 1969 he bought The White Hart in Coggeshall – a huge gamble in view of its run-down state. Ray met this challenge by displaying amazing building ideas sketched on the back of cigar (he had long abandoned cigarettes!) packets. In 1972, when the hotel opened, Pam came on the scene as a vacation trainee and after a “baptism of fire” the college student fell in love with and married this “charismatic and volatile character”. In the years until the hotel was sold in 1988 Ray’s management of the place was legendary. he didn’t take prisoners but was the essence of kindness and generosity to his friends and never a gossip! But years of being mine host began to affect his health and in retirement he and Pam enthusiastically set about restoring their new home – Foxearth Hall. This included the conversion of the large barn as a wedding reception/social venue.

In an almost full church this service was an occasion which exuded warmth for a larger than life character who will be remembered for the impression he made on so many people. In a poem read at the service was the line “The true measure of a man is the legacy he leaves”; In Ray’s case his legacy is an enduring memory of a truly remarkable life lived to the full and of many individual and lasting friendships.


Ken Nice

Foxearth and Liston Parish Council – Notice of Casual Vacancy

Vacancy notice

Report of a meeting of the Parish Council – 21st November 2015

A meeting of the Parish Council for Foxearth and Liston took place on 21st November with Cllr Mrs Corinne Cox in the Chair. There were 12 members of the public present and the following principal matters were discussed:


Co-opted member: All documentation having now been completed the co-option of Mr Richard Morris (in his absence) was confirmed.

Liston: Thanks were expressed to Mr and Mrs Binks for providing a new notice board and to Mr Nick Barker for continued maintenance of the green.

Single occupancy: Because of concern at fraudulent access to the discounted Council Tax Braintree District Council need to be informed when occupancy changes.

Transport: Following a successful trial in Maldon ECC plan to run a pilot scheme of transport on demand. Individuals would be able to ask for specific transport (min. 2 hr notice). Charges would apply to non-bus pass holders. Further details later.

Police Stations in Halstead and Yeldham are planned to close with the service being based in Braintree. A voluntary scheme in association wih the Fire Service may be tried.

Street lighting: The ownership of land bearing a tree which obscures light and prevents maintenance of a street lamp in Claypits needs to be established; it is not owned by the housing association.

Hearing loop: This is now installed in the Village Hall but not yet operational.

Verge markers: A request for these to be installed along part of Huntsmans Lnae was discussed and rejected.

Highways: Cllr Tony Clayton reported that the request for Liston Lane to be designated a “quiet lane” had been approved in principle and awaited funding.

Flooding: The Chairman exlained that the recent CCTV survey by County had revealed blockages which made the insertion of a liner impossible. A scheme for a new drainage pipe was being prepared for possible implementation in 2015/16.

Complaint: The Chairman referred to a complaint by a resident about the status of a meeting held earlier this year and agreed to write to the complainant to correct what appeared to have been misunderstood.

Public Participation Session:  A resident referred to the provision of defibrillators in disused telephone boxes in other villages. Council will consider this for Foxearth.

The removal of trees along Huntsmans lane was noted and it had been understood that these would be replaced. Tree Warden Alan Fitch to follow up. Footpath concerns at Huntsmans and opposite Mill Cottage would be examined by Cllrs. Mark Posen and Keith Robson.

County Council Report: In the absence of C.Cllr. David Finch the Chairman announced that the Government wa consulting counties on further devolution of powers and invited submissions by January 2016.

District Council Report:  D.Cllr. Iona Parker explained that BDC was revising the local plan which now covered a period up to 2033. The building of an additional 845 houses in the district each year was envisaged. Large cuts in the budgets would impact upon services and probably the Council Tax. The Council was keen to promote the business loan scheme and to strive for the provision of  – and faster – Broadband.

Planning: No objections were expressed to work on various trees except for one in Foxearth which might have a possible memorial connection which would require further investigation. With regard to the Stafford park situation it was understood that a new consultation document would be issued.

Budget: On the basis of figures supplied by the Clerk the precept for 2016/17 was discussed and approved.

Tree Warden: In response to Mr Fitch’s request that his role include flora and fauna the Stour Valley Trust had suggested that “Volunteer Liaison Officer” would be an appropriate designation. This was agreed.

Renaming of private road in Foxearth: It was suggested and agreed that a board indicating that this lane led to named properties would avoid a convoluted name-approval process. The preparation of a board was in hand by Mr Fitch and siting permission had been given by Mr Douglas-Hughes.

Review of email and IT policy: Cllr Mark Posen explained terms of reference suggested by the sub-committee and these were accepted. Initial thoughts were that email provision was adequate at present but perhaps the Council should have its own web site.

Review of telecommunications and Broadband: Cllr. Mark Posen stated that terms of reference had been drawn up and it was proposed to co-opt a representative from each village onto the sub-committee.

Next meeting: 23rd January 2016 10.30am in Foxearth Village Hall


Ken Nice