Dear Dina 

I am writing to you as the Recorder Secretary, on behalf of the Suffolk Local History Council and would like to elicit your help to find a new Recorder for Debenham as the role is now vacant.  

The SLHC is an umbrella group for all things historical in the county - our members are individuals, local history & family history societies, museums etc.  We have been in existence since 1953 and the Recorders Scheme began shortly afterwards.  Geoff, (my husband) & I became the joint Secretary for the Recorders Scheme almost five years ago.  

The principle aim is to collect, observe and record what is happening today in each parish as that will become tomorrow’s history.   It is not an onerous job with back-up and advice supplied, if required. 

I should emphasise that being a Recorder does NOT involve research into the history of the parish or to do other people's family history, it is merely to collect and record the history of the parish today, for tomorrow.

Basically we ask for the collection of any parish magazine, leaflets of what's on, list the organisations in the village, cut out relevant newspaper cuttings and note any changes such as closure/opening of shops, new buildings etc. and for these items to be deposited into the Suffolk Record Office.   In 2012, for instance, the Jubilee celebrations featured heavily – what happened in your parish?  Memories fade very quickly.

We ask only two things, that the Recorders are on-line to aid communication (or have an e-mail buddy) and that they submit a short report each year.  This can just be two sides (or more) of A4 summarising the activities in the village, and be sent to us electronically - or by post.  The reports are then deposited in the Suffolk Record Office.  Over a period of time the reports make extremely interesting reading enabling a researcher to see the changes to a village.  Several parishes have had the same recorder in excess of 40 years, so you can imagine the value of their annual reports for what are minor villages.  Anything collected such as parish magazines, leaflets, scrap books should also be deposited into the SRO.   The Recorder does not need to have lived in the parish for years or be a historian.  In fact we have a number of recorders that are new to their parish. 

We also ask them to do an Initial Report to describe the parish and so set the scene.  Is your parish based around a village green or is it a ribbon development, a rural, coastal or industrial parish? What is the population?  What facilities are there: church, school, shops, business, village hall? What activities take place: brownies, zumba, bowls, British Legion?  What type of housing is there: thatched, brick built, estate?  These are just a few suggestions.

In return the Recorder would receive the SLHC Newsletter free of charge.  They do not need to join our organisation but we would encourage them to do so.  We also organise an annual conference specifically for the Recorders, which is free to attend and gives the opportunity to meet other recorders and hear relevant lectures.  It is always a good day and Recorders go home buzzing with ideas.  The next one will probably be on 28th April 2018.

The latest version of our Starter's Pack is available on the SLHC website -, click on ‘Recorders’ and then click ‘Recorder’s Pack’ within the text on the left hand side.  This is a guide only - we DO NOT expect them to carry out everything suggested - it is an attempt to answer all the questions we are asked.  No two parishes are the same and therefore the amount of work varies but would easily fit in with life's commitments.  

I am also attaching an advert which you may care to display on your village noticeboard(s)/website or you may be able to arrange for it to be inserted in a local newsletter/magazine.  Sometimes people need to see the advert several times before they begin to consider offering their services and the best result is when it is in consecutively.  Please feel free to pass this message onto anyone or any organisation in your parish you think may be able to help.

I hope that after reading this long e-mail and understanding the importance of the role that you can bring this to the attention of the Parish Council and help me find someone to take on the role.  

I will advise you as soon as we have a volunteer, so if don't hear from me - the role is still vacant.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Ed Note: I am the Village Recorder for Occold - see