Of Diaries and the Perennial Diarist of Waldringfield

By Gareth Thomas

[This article is about A Perennial Diary kept by the Reverend Thomas Henry Waller, Rector of Waldringfield for 43 years from 1862 to 1905.   Please note that where entries are quoted verbatim the text is italicised.]

Readers who belong to The Arts Society will have had the opportunity recently to hear Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum, pronouncing on the immense value of diaries and describing a collection of 11,000 such pieces which he oversees at the Bishopsgate Institute, opposite Liverpool Street Station. 

Finkel, a real enthusiast in the preservation of diaries, describes the simplest, most humble diaries as ‘magical’, because they are concerned with the life of real people who have written ‘the truth as they see it, without manipulation.’ He makes a particular point that none of the 11,000 diaries in question were kept by politicians. Continue reading

RDA Journal Update

The latest River Deben Association Journal article is now available to read:

The next Journal article will be published on 25 June 2021. It won’t be available until then. It is usually published around 5pm on the day.

  • tbc

Previous articles can be found here.

To receive automatic notifications for News or Journal articles please either enter your email in the ‘subscribe to posts’ form or click the ‘Follow us‘ button at the end of individual articles.

Who’s that boat? Or, Venice comes to town

by Nan McElroy

If you’re a devotee of Woodbridge boatyard and the River Deben, you may have spotted Eric and Maxine Reynolds manoeuvring a particularly unfamiliar, curious-looking traditional craft towards the end of 2020. It’s wood, of course, but awfully skinny, and perhaps ten metres long with minimal draft. It’s outfitted with long, flat wooden oars, but no rigging. What is it, exactly? Where’d it come from? When will we see it again? And how, exactly, does it work?

Continue reading

The Deben in Pastels

by Leigh Belcham 

It all started with a barbecue on the beach at Ramsholt.

The year was 1996 and Waldringfield Sailing Club was celebrating its 75th anniversary. My wife Jill and I were living in Coventry at the time, but friends had invited us to join them for the weekend of fun and nostalgia. After racing on the Saturday afternoon, we had a gentle sail downriver on their yacht, and watched the sun set over Hemley church while enjoying our sausages and a glass of wine.

The following year I came across a photo I’d taken that evening. Memories came flooding back, not just of our barbecue but of the years I’d spent on the river as a teenager, mainly at Waldringfield. Grabbing some of my son’s pastels, I set to work trying to recreate the scene. I hadn’t drawn or painted anything since my schooldays, so was pleasantly surprised at the result. A year later, when we were back in the area, a walk along the river wall at Felixstowe Ferry inspired me to have another go. Continue reading

AGM – 28 April 21

Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 28th April 2021 6.30 p.m.
By Zoom


  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 18th November 2020 (see here)
  3. Matters arising
  4. Treasurer’s Report for the year ended 31st December 2020 (see here)
  5. Appointment of Examiner for the 2021 accounts
  6. Election of officers and members of the Committee:
    • Officers:
        o Honorary President – Robert Simper
        o Chair – Vacant
        o Vice-Chairs – Jane Haviland and Sarah Zins
        o Treasurer – Vacant
        o Secretary – Caroline Matthews
    • There are no committee members standing for re-election.
    • Co-opted members standing for election:
        o Sue Orme
  7. Vice Chair’s report (see Spring edition of “The Deben” magazine)


The AGM will be followed by a presentation on “Sketching the Deben” by Mary-Anne Bartlett from Art Safari and local artist Claudia Myatt.

Registration for Zoom AGM Because of the continuing Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings, the 2021 AGM will be held via Zoom.

If you wish to attend the virtual event, please send your name and the email address to which the Zoom joining meeting instructions are to be sent to: membership@riverdeben.org.

The instructions will be sent out by e-mail the day before the event. Please note that:

  • any person who wishes to participate in the voting of the AGM must have their own PC, tablet or smartphone. If joint or household members are sharing a device, only one of them will be able to vote in the meeting.
  • If you would like to ‘attend’ the meeting but do not have an email address, we hope that there will be an email address and internet point among your family and friends from where you could join the meeting.
Posted in AGM

Happy Memories Sailing a Cornish Shrimper

by Robin Whittle

Gillie and I retired from 505 dinghy sailing in 1995 and bought our Shrimper 19, ‘Bumble Chugger’ (124) in 1996.  The Shrimper is one of the most popular of small yachts built by Cornish Crabbers Ltd.  ‘Bumble Chugger’ has provided us with some wonderful adventures exploring the local estuaries and distant shores.  She has also enabled us to continue racing which has been of more interest to me, but Gillie has taken part with great skill, even if not with my enthusiasm!

Continue reading

Protecting wildlife when canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding on the Deben

We are very fortunate that the river Deben is designated as being of international importance for wintering birds and has national protection for both breeding and wintering birds. We have brent geese, redshanks, curlews, avocets and lapwings, to name but a few.

In order to protect our wonderful estuarine environment and its wildlife, please look at the attached maps to see which are the most sensitive w ildlife areas to avoid – areas to avoid.