Community spirit wins through

VILLAGERS from Stonham Parva rallied round in the aftermath of three armed raids which left them without a post office.Community spirit was rife as a team of residents mucked in to breathe new life into the village in an entirely different form.

By Amanda Cresswell

VILLAGERS from Stonham Parva are rallying round in the aftermath of three armed raids which left them without a post office.

Residents mucked-in to breathe new life into the village by planting new shrubs.

This week villagers are celebrating a Mid-Suffolk County Council grant which allows them to plant more than 100 of the shrubs.

With 14 volunteers including councillors, police and residents, the planting was done in just 40 minutes.

Parish councillor Denise Foster, who chipped in on the day, said: "We are putting back hedgerows pulled up over the last century.

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"We are planting a variety of English hedgerow to attract wildlife, such as birds and insects. It also encourages people to take an interest in the environment."

There are plans to do more planting later in the year.

The activity helped lift spirits in a community which lost its vital lifeline in the raids.

"We deeply regret what happened to the post office, a lot of people are feeling uncomfortable about what happened," said Mrs Foster.

"But this planting is something positive.

"It is about the community pulling together, although it obviously won't ever replace what we have lost."

Raiders struck three times in November last year causing the post office stores to shut up shop.

Postmistress Sarah Buttle was left shocked and living in fear, and her dad Colin vowed not to reopen unless she decided she could face working there again.

A Suffolk Police spokesman today confirmed that no culprits had been apprehended for the Stonham raids yet.

He said: "Enquiries into this case are continuing," adding that detectives who have studied Miss Buttle's descriptions of the offenders, are still not linking the offenders with recent raids in Ipswich.

n The Evening Star is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the robberies. If you can help, telephone police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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