The Establishment (Part 6)

soddenham-est-7It is advisable that new visitors to this website should read the preceding parts before continuing. This building, known locally as ‘The Establishment’ has been on the periphery of the village for over 80 years. Silently operating behind a stand of trees and accessed by a circuitous route via a cinder track beyond Setchell’s Copse, no-one was seen entering or leaving, and there was no contact in the village by those who worked there.

Our last visit found that others had been inside the building; graffiti and litter suggested local youths were the likely suspects, which was further inflamed when three village teenagers were discovered later that day, each in separate locations, snivelling and mumbling incomprehensively. A doctor was called from neighbouring Saham Toney (it has been almost 14 years since Soddenham last had a resident doctor, following the unfortunate demise of ‘Old Doc’Carter, more of which another time)

Carl Vigrass, Nathan Swanpole and Daniel Wendle

It was Dr. Miriam Auker of the Saham Mere Medical Practice who attended each of the youths. Whilst she could not give us any personal details about any individual, she was able to confirm that they were all displaying the same symptoms, and that physically there was nothing wrong with them that she could ascertain from her examinations, but she or her colleague Dr. Houchen-Willock would be calling to check on them for the next few days. They have been confined to their homes until further notice.

Since then the village grapevine has been well used and there are numerous stories that have been circulating, some of which have been very distressing for the families concerned. I therefore visited each family and asked if they wanted to scotch the rumours and put the record straight. Carl’s grandfather Derek Vigrass and Daniel Wendle’s mother Janet were both willing to talk to me for the record, whilst Mr and Mrs. Swanpole declined to comment.

Grandfather Derek Vigrass

Mr. Vigrass said that he thought that his son had got some sort of virus from that place (the Establishment) and that we ought to be careful going back there. When I asked him if it was true that Carl had been there, he told me that he had overheard him and ‘that Swanpole boy’ talking about it recently and was quite sure that was where they had been. He confirmed that Carl was indeed physically fine, but “ee wuz ever blarin’ about something, although I’m a dudder if I knows what!”

Janet Wendle
Janet Wendle

Mrs. Wendle was unaware of any link to the Establishment and was more concerned about his proximity to Candlesmoke Bridge; “what is it about that place that attracts kids anyhow?” Again she confirmed that Daniel was physically well but distressed about something that he was unable to communicate. The Wendles have since called upon a Dr. Sam Pinnocks of King’s Lynn, a psychologist specialising in post-traumatic stress.

No definitive answers yet, but we all wish the boys recover quickly and that the gossip may stop. We at the SHSACC are obviously very keen to learn if their condition is linked to the Establishment and what exactly caused their sudden distress.

It is probably worth mentioning that these boys have earned themselves a bit of a reputation around the village; in bygone days they would have been described as ‘lively,’ ‘boisterous,’ or ‘headstrong,’ and I am told that some of the other youths are a quite afraid of them, especially when they are all together. As many of you recall, these three were behind the ‘sticky fingers’ incident last year, after finally admitting to coating every shop door handle with sticky glue. They are no strangers to mischief for sure, but they are still sons of Soddenham and we must find out what happened to these lads before anyone else gets affected.

We will let you know as and when we know.


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