Telling Our Story
“Working Horses, Working Lives: sharing our stories of the Suffolk Punch”
Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £9,800
The Suffolk Horse Society is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant, it was announced today.
This exciting East Anglian project “Working Horses, Working Lives: sharing our stories of the Suffolk Punch”, led by members of the Suffolk Horse Society, has been given £9,800 to collect the stories and reminiscences of the men and women who looked after and worked with Suffolk Punch horses while they were still the main power source in agriculture and transport.
All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.
The popular series presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.
The programme and HLF All Our Stories has proved a real hit and now “Working Horses, Working Lives: sharing our stories of the Suffolk Punch” is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant. The Suffolk Horse Society is the breed society for the Suffolk Horse, popularly known as the Suffolk Punch. (We are not a society for all the horses in Suffolk).
The Suffolk Punch is principally an agricultural horse, well suited to the heavy clay lands of much of East Anglia. In the late 1940s and 1950s it was superseded by the tractor and it is now recognised by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust as being a critically endangered breed, rarer than the Giant Panda, with only about 480 left in the UK.
Even more endangered than the horse itself is the group of horsemen and other specialists who worked and looked after the Suffolk Punch. We still have skilled and knowledgeable people handling our horses but the number of genuine horsemen who earned their living with the horses is rapidly diminishing. It was customary for horsemen to guard their knowledge and folklore to protect their jobs and ensure their senior position in the agricultural and social scene.
Our project is an urgent one as we must identify, interview and record as many experienced working horsemen as possible while they are still with us.
The completed recordings will add to the educational resource that the Suffolk Horse Society already provides for informing both adults and children about the economic and social importance of the horses and the people associated with them.
TV presenter and historian Michael Wood, said: “We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is really tremendous that the people of East Anglia have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past. It’s brilliant that so many people are being given the chance to get involved through the All Our Stories grants. Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and enrich every community’s connection with the national narrative.”
Commenting on the award, the leader of the project, Jeff Hallett, said “This new type of grant from the HLF has come at an ideal time when we want to explain the heritage and continuing importance of the Suffolk Punch breed of heavy horse to the public and especially children, so that our increasing success with breeding the horses is matched by the demand we need to find from new people keen to own and look after them. We are very grateful to Cambridge Community Heritage for advising on our application to the HLF and for continuing support throughout our project.”
Robin Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of storytellers and we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the Suffolk Horse Society as they embark on a real journey of discovery.”
All Our Stories
All Our Stories is a new, simple funding programme for 2012 with grants available ranging from £3,000 - £10,000 developed so everyone can get involved in their heritage. From researching local historic landmarks, learning more about customs and traditions to delving into archives and finding out the origins of street and place names All Our Stories will give everyone the chance to explore their heritage and share what they learn with others. This programme is now closed to new applications and decisions were made in October 2012.
Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, lean from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9 billion across the UK. Website www.hlf.org.uk
Cambridge Community Heritage is a University of Cambridge team which brings university researchers together with people and groups beyond the university who are interested in setting up and running their own heritage projects which explore, investigate and enjoy any aspect of the past. Cambridge Community Heritage involves researchers and community groups with a wide range of interests, specialisms and passions encompassing sites, monuments, buildings, places, spaces and landscapes of all dates along with social, local, family and oral histories of all periods and sectors of society. Cambridge Community Heritage is run by Dr Carenza Lewis, archaeologist and landscape historian well-known from Channel 4's Time Team. In 2013, the Cambridge Community Heritage team will be supporting more than 20 community groups in running their All Our Stories projects. "We are very much looking forward to working with a wonderfully wide range of projects which will be giving so many people the chance to enjoy making exciting new discoveries and unique records about the heritage all around them".
BBC Learning plays a central part in meeting the BBC’s purpose of promoting education and learning. Utilising the power of the BBC’s big brands and key talent, the department puts learning right at the heart of the BBC and provides a variety of resources and learning opportunities for children, teachers, parents and adult learners. Working with partners and in local communities, BBC learning aims to stimulate interests and encourage engagement through a variety of campaigns across all BBC genres and platforms.
Suffolk Horse Magazine
Keep your eyes peeled for your Suffolk Horse magazine popping through your letterbox soon, if you are an SHS Member.
You will find 2 books of raffle tickets enclosed for our Spring Draw, with the chance to win £300. There are some great articles inside, including the 2020 Stallion Listing, and news and photographs from many of last year's shows.
If you haven't received your magazine, or would like extra raffle tickets, please call the office on 01394 380643.
Suffolk Horse Spectacular
13th September 2020
Now you have your 2020 calendars, its time to mark the date for this year's Suffolk Horse Spectucular!
It will be taking place at Marks Hall in Coggeshall, Essex again, as last year was such a success, and we hope to repeat that this year!
We will be having the usual wonderful display of Suffolks in various disciplines, as well as other attractions such as dog agility, farriery demonstrations, timber snigging, and archery. Put Sunday 13th September in your diary now.
IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO ENTER!! You still have a few days in January to complete your challenge, so sign up today. Email email@example.com or call the office on 01394 460621 to sign up. It's only £12.99 to enter and you will win a medal if you reach your target.
This week, Nigel Oakley was the guest on Lesley Dolphin's sofa, on BBC Radio Suffolk, talking about the work he does with Suffolk Horses.
Listen to the interview here
The results from all shows affiliated with the Suffolk Horse Society are now available to download as a PDF booklet.
If you would like to be sent a hard copy of the Show Results, please send an A4 sized stamped addressed envelope to Suffolk Horse Soceity, Suite 8, Britannia House, Base Business Park, Rendlesham Suffolk IP12 2UT.