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Who will make Santa's nice list from SuffolkNews stories this year including people in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Thetford and Haverhill?





It’s almost that time. As we approach the end of 2022, Santa has some big decisions to make.

From Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket, to Thetford, Haverhill and more – there are some people this year who surely evade the naughty list and have earned a spot on the nice list.

Let's take a look at people overcoming huge difficulties and achieving their dreams, to amazing sporting feats and true acts of kindness.

There have been a host of people who surely have earned a spot on Santa's nice list this year (61449970)
There have been a host of people who surely have earned a spot on Santa's nice list this year (61449970)

January

Kicking off the list, we have community champions, well known figures and some remarkable people across Suffolk who were recognised for their achievements in the New Year Honours.

Jordan Catchpole, of Beccles, who won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics, said it was ‘incredible’ after he was awarded an MBE, and Krystal Vittles, of Mendlesham, ‘couldn’t comprehend’ receiving a BEM for her work as head of service delivery at Suffolk Libraries.

These two were not alone as many others celebrated the honour at the start of 2022 and surely Santa will recognise their hard work and dedication this Christmas.

Krystal Vittles from Mendlesham received a British Empire Medal as part of her role as Head of Service Delivery at Suffolk Libraries. Picture: Richard Marsham
Krystal Vittles from Mendlesham received a British Empire Medal as part of her role as Head of Service Delivery at Suffolk Libraries. Picture: Richard Marsham

Also in January, a West Suffolk nursing assistant began preparing for Brain Tumour Research’s 10,000 Steps a Day, inspired by her daughter who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer while pregnant with twins

Barbara Hollands, of Thetford, went through an emotional rollercoaster with her youngest daughter Kylie Weatherby, and found the strength to support her daughter as best she could.

Ms Hollands said: “By doing this challenge I could help fund a breakthrough that could stop this disease from taking her away from me.”

Kylie Weatherby with her mum Barbara Hollands. Picture: Brain Tumour Research
Kylie Weatherby with her mum Barbara Hollands. Picture: Brain Tumour Research

February

A father-daughter duo went on a mission to clear up the streets of Bury St Edmunds.

Karl Foley and his six-year-old daughter Mckenna-Rae, started their litter-picking operation after walking past 'thousands' of plastic containers lining a walkway on the Howard Estate.

"Everyone has been saying such kind things,” Mr Foley said following an encouraging response from the community. Hopefully, Santa will reward the pair with a spot on the nice list as well.

Mckenna-Rae (six) and dad, Karl Foley cleaned up thousands of plastic pots that lined a pathway on the Howard Estate. Picture: Mecha Morton
Mckenna-Rae (six) and dad, Karl Foley cleaned up thousands of plastic pots that lined a pathway on the Howard Estate. Picture: Mecha Morton

Two very brave Suffolk woman who both battled cancer shared their stories on February 4, on World Cancer Day.

Sally Spicer, who lives in Hessett, was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2019, and after having a mastectomy and chemotherapy, she said she felt quite ‘abandoned’ and turned to cancer care charity Macmillan for support.

Bury St Edmunds resident Katy Stephenson, fought cancer in 2021 and was faced with a tough decision in her journey. She felt the importance of World Cancer Day was overlooked and has now dedicated a lot of her time to the cause.

Katy Stephenson receiving treatment
Katy Stephenson receiving treatment

March

It’s a general consensus that dogs are amazing. Bella, a five-year-old collie, took this to a whole new level in March.

While walking Bella, Sabrina Storrie, 22, was grabbed by a man who tried to force her into his car in Newmarket.

The man might have succeeded had it not been for Bella, who barked and then attacked the man forcing him to let go, get back in his car, and drive off.

Bella saved her owner in Green Road in Newmarket. Picture: Google Maps
Bella saved her owner in Green Road in Newmarket. Picture: Google Maps

Continuing slightly on a dog theme, a woman took it upon herself to correct the mistakes of others after she was left in despair at scores of dog waste bags.

Community litter picker Jemma Noakes walked her dog in the woods near the Mildenhall Road estate and Marham Park and found used bags hanging from trees, left in hedges and on the ground.

With the help of her dad, she spent two days clearing over 150 bags while armed with a litter pick and her Marigold gloves, and created 12 signs asking the culprits to stop.

One of the signs pinned to a tree. Picture: Paul Derrick
One of the signs pinned to a tree. Picture: Paul Derrick

April

A Mildenhall woman was delighted after she lost seven-and-a-half stone over the course of the pandemic.

Stacey Lambert, 30, joined Slimming World in March 2020 – just days before the first lockdown and underwent an incredible transformation.

She said: “During Covid, everyone was talking about how much more it affected those who were overweight. I thought ‘this could be me in a hospital bed’ and I knew I needed to get the weight off.”

Stacey Lambert was delighted with her progress
Stacey Lambert was delighted with her progress

Aged only 18, a talented cake maker from Bury St Edmunds made a huge step into the world of wedding cakes.

Grace Giffin channelled her love of baking into her new business, Grace’s Baking Box in 2020, despite still being at school.

To other young people she offered this advice: "If you do have a goal and a dream, follow it. Dream big - I know that's cliché but don't just dream about it, take action on it.”

Grace Giffin from Bury St Edmunds started her business, Grace's Baking Box, during the pandemic. Picture: Mark Westley
Grace Giffin from Bury St Edmunds started her business, Grace's Baking Box, during the pandemic. Picture: Mark Westley

May

Thurlow Primary School, near Haverhill, received help in its quest to restore its swimming pool to a usable condition from an internet sensation who has more than 13 million followers on social media.

Thep00lguy, real name Miles Laflin, stepped in to offer his time and services for free to help get its pool back into service after two years of disuse because of the pandemic.

Needing the pool, which goes back to the 1960s, back in use for the summer, Thurlow Primary School teacher Katrina Feakes reached out to thep00lguy by email. For such a selfless act, Mr Laflin is sure to get some points from Father Christmas this year.

Miles Laflin, aka @the p00lguy, reopens the rejuvenated swimming pool at Thurlow Primary School. Picture: Mark Westley
Miles Laflin, aka @the p00lguy, reopens the rejuvenated swimming pool at Thurlow Primary School. Picture: Mark Westley

As shown by an Ixworth mum who opened a new multi-featured play centre called World of Play in Ixworth High Street - dreams do come true.

Louise Mason wanted to create somewhere for children to stimulate their imaginations and support their development. The centre was designed for children aged up to seven and featured a range of facilities for children of all abilities.

Parents were allowed to stay and have refreshments too while their kids played, as sessions were also offered to children with special needs once a month.

Louise Mason opened the play centre in Ixworth in May
Louise Mason opened the play centre in Ixworth in May

June

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust had more than 200 volunteers who helped out every day in June, and to mark Volunteers' Week, it highlighted the efforts of seven people – and one dog.

Volunteers' Week is about celebrating those who give their time and energy every week to help patients.

Keith Foss, Mick Mellon, Eileen Collins, Richard Courtnell, Florence Bevan, Topsy Nichol, Jackie and Hattie the dog, all shared their stories.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating its volunteers. Picture: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is celebrating its volunteers. Picture: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

A 24/7 charity challenge called ‘1,000 miles in 1,000 hours’ that took six weeks to complete, was undertaken in memory of Neil Mustoe, a Haverhill man who died in April, aged 52.

Dave Greenham, a friend of Mr Mustoe set up the challenge, which took place day and night from a base station set up at Haverhill Rugby Club.

It raised money for a research project by King’s College Hospital to try and find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease, which is what Mr Mustoe had died from. Mr Greenham said: “This is for the charity and for Neil.” A very worthy act for a spot on the nice list.

Dave Greenham, third from right, and supporters of the 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours that he initiated to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and money for a research project to find a cure. With Dave at Haverhill Rugby Club is, from left: Neil's son Louis Mustoe, his parents Jan and Colin, partner Helen George and sister Rachel Martin. Picture: Mark Westley
Dave Greenham, third from right, and supporters of the 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours that he initiated to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and money for a research project to find a cure. With Dave at Haverhill Rugby Club is, from left: Neil's son Louis Mustoe, his parents Jan and Colin, partner Helen George and sister Rachel Martin. Picture: Mark Westley

July

A Bury St Edmunds PCSO was praised as an ‘angel’ after coming to the rescue of a pensioner badly injured in a fall who faced a wait for an ambulance of up to 20 hours.

Sue Petts, a resident at Montana Care Home, in Great Barton, fell outside EE in Buttermarket.

Mark Ellis, was driving his van down Buttermarket, when he was hailed down by members of the public and was then able to take Ms Petts to A&E.

Police Community Support Officer Mark Ellis took the pensioner to A&E in his van
Police Community Support Officer Mark Ellis took the pensioner to A&E in his van

Thanks to the ingenuity of its owner, a llama which had lost the use of its legs could still get around.

Olivia Boland, who runs Tostock Animal Parks, and her team built the world’s first ever llama walking frame for five-year-old Imogene, who was unable to walk.

Despite the team’s best efforts, Imogene died later in 2022 but Santa will surely recognise the team’s efforts for what they did for her.

Staff at Tostock Animal Parks built possibly the first ever llama walking frame. Picture: Mark Westley
Staff at Tostock Animal Parks built possibly the first ever llama walking frame. Picture: Mark Westley

August

After an incredibly hot summer, firefighters were pushed to their limit as Suffolk fire service general manager, Wil Tel, made a heartfelt appeal to the public.

It followed scenes where 90 firefighters from 31 appliances across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire were called to tackle a forest fire in Brandon Forest.

In a heartfelt Twitter post, Mr Tel explained what had happened and for people to follow the safety advice and stay safe.

Two nurses who work in Lancashire saved the life of a Suffolk man who collapsed at Stafford South Services.

As the mother and daughter left the services they noticed a crowd gathering by parked cars and saw a man was unresponsive on the floor.

Jenny and Clare Hey did not manage to get his name after trying to reunite with him but there’s no doubt Father Christmas has acknowledged their potentially life-saving deed.

Jenny (left) and Clare (right) who are searching for the Suffolk man they saved. Picture: Clare Hey
Jenny (left) and Clare (right) who are searching for the Suffolk man they saved. Picture: Clare Hey

September

The internet fell in love with a two-year-old from Suffolk who went viral on TikTok after she was filmed telling-off her mum.

Lily Casey confronted her mother, Tracy, after finding one of her drawings in the recycling bin as she said: "It's very rude to put my paper in the bin.”

The video has been viewed over 600,000 times and the two-year-old potentially deserves a spot on the nice list for sorting her mother out, who maybe should put on the naughty list…

Lily Casey went viral on TikTok. Picture: SWNS
Lily Casey went viral on TikTok. Picture: SWNS

Despite a foot injury and the wishes of his wife, a former Suffolk GP planned to run his fifth London Marathon at the age of 75.

Retired Thetford GP Dr Giles Smith, admitted his wife was right when she called him crazy especially as he had already done the London Marathon four times before.

However, as he was raising money and awareness for Against Breast Cancer, and Give a Kidney, Santa will no doubt give him a place on the nice list.

Dr Smith with two medals from his previous London Marathons. Picture: Mark Westley
Dr Smith with two medals from his previous London Marathons. Picture: Mark Westley

October

Needham Market knocked out higher-league Maidstone United 1-0 to secure a spot in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history.

Luke Ingram’s ninth-minute goal in a historic match was a crucial moment in a massive game for the Marketmen.

After he was found at the back post, Ingram contested in the air for the ball with his marker, before it then fell in front of him to slot past the keeper.

Needham Market players celebrate reaching the FA Cup first round Picture: Ben Pooley
Needham Market players celebrate reaching the FA Cup first round Picture: Ben Pooley

A Bury St Edmunds husband and wife cooked up a fresh venture in the form of a town centre restaurant which celebrates local ingredients from the region.

James and Sophia Carn, are behind the business and will turn the former Flower Hut shop on Angel Hill into Lark restaurant.

The couple, both 32, are passionate about serving up local produce and focused on producing small plates to be shared with the whole table.

Bury St Edmunds couple, Sophia and James Carn, are hoping to launch Lark restaurant at the beginning of December. Picture: Mark Westley
Bury St Edmunds couple, Sophia and James Carn, are hoping to launch Lark restaurant at the beginning of December. Picture: Mark Westley

November

No kind act is too small and this was proven when officers helped out an elderly lady in Bury St Edmunds after she fell into the road.

In November, police assisted the woman in Angel Hill with four members of the special constabulary.

Little things like that go a long way and Santa will definitely be taking notes.

Officers helped an elderly lad in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Police
Officers helped an elderly lad in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Police

Bury St Edmunds-based charity Gatehouse were very busy in November as staff worked to broaden their services in a bid to help more in the community.

The charity supports those in need with food parcels and other essentials, but in order to access many of their services a family has to be referred by another organisation.

They then announced that 100 residents will be helped over Christmas thanks to this year’s Bury Free Press festive foodbank appeal.

Charity CEO Amanda Bloomfield said there were a number of plans in the works to increase the offering at the Dettingen Way site. Picture: Mark Westley
Charity CEO Amanda Bloomfield said there were a number of plans in the works to increase the offering at the Dettingen Way site. Picture: Mark Westley

December

Rounding off the year, The Last Leg host Adam Hills helped craft a bench for a six-year-old from Mildenhall who wanted a place to sit and eat his snacks.

The news came after the TV comedian hosted an impromptu surgery in the town to listen to residents' concerns while MP Matt Hancock was in the I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Jungle.

He said: “For comedy reasons, I wanted to do something little for the people of Mildenhall that's still more than Matt Hancock had done. But for genuine reasons my ancestors come from this town so I really like the idea of coming back here and doing something that would stay behind."

Adam Hills and Hector Ciantar-Haynes on the bench. Picture: Paul Derrick
Adam Hills and Hector Ciantar-Haynes on the bench. Picture: Paul Derrick

Finally, two 100-year-old’s have hopefully caught Santa’s attention and surely earned a place on his nice list this year.

After turning 100 in October, Nelson Swinney has been hailed as an inspiration at Tristel, his place of work, where he handles filing, invoices, financing and other administrative roles at the company.

Described as a ‘legend’ by her colleagues, Lou Hovell has volunteered in the British Heart Foundation store in Bury St Edmunds for 27 years and a day before she turned 100, had a party in the shop to celebrate reaching the milestone.

Mr Swinney handles filing, invoices, financing and other administrative roles. Picture: Paul Swinney
Mr Swinney handles filing, invoices, financing and other administrative roles. Picture: Paul Swinney

Out of all the stories in this list, what was your favourite?