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Page updated - 19 August 2005


Sylvia Byham

Sylvia Byham was born on The Croft in Sudbury; she is one of six children. She moved with her husband to Gt. Cornard in 1950 where two sons were born and brought up. The couple bought No.5 Church Road and in 1958 Melford Rural District Council granted permission for change of use of the property and The Byhams opened a shop that included the sale of greengrocery, the first in Cornard. A few years later two travelling shops extended the business that was to continue until Stannard Way was opened cutting off passing trade. Mr Byham then created Byham School of Motoring and Sylvia opened a ‘Good as New’ business. Both flourished for many years, the shop attracted newcomers to the village and became known locally as the 'Local Citizens Advice Bureau’.


Mrs Byham was elected to the Parish Council in 1967 and was involved with Shawlands GLC development. Following the arrival of the new tenants majorette troupes were formed and several football teams organised. Mrs Byham became President of the Mauve Thorn Majorettes and Vice President of Cornard Dynamos, she remains an officer and supports the Dynamos still.


Bingo became a social event in the Church Hall (now Baptist Fellowship) every Saturday evening raising money for various charities. These were the days when bricks were sold for 25p each every Friday to help build the Community Centre, now renamed The Stevenson Centre. St Andrews Church needed £3000 to repair the spire, plus £800 for curtains and floorboards for the Church Hall. Each of these projects was successful and Mrs Byham feels these events created a feeling of community spirit within the village.


Throughout her long service of public work she has been a Governor of both Gt. Cornard Middle and Upper Schools, Chairman of Schofield Trust and President of Cornard Anglers to name but a few. Her voluntary and community service have been rewarded by two visits to Buckingham Palace. Mrs Byham was elected to Sudbury Town Council in 1984 and had the honour of being Mayor of Sudbury in 1990. She has seen great changes in the village and feels our Sports Centre, at present undergoing a massive make over, plus the Prospect Theatre are jewels in the crown and facilities we should be proud of. She has travelled extensively and shares her many experiences with various groups in the area, frequently giving humorous talks about her life.


Mrs Byham’s main charity is The Sudbury Breast Cancer Appeal that she launched in 2001 after being diagnosed with breast cancer herself. Ipswich Hospital benefits from the appeal and a new piece of equipment has just been installed. This machine is called a Gating Device that measures radiation with inbuilt safety devices.   It is the first of its kind in the county and is a great achievement.


There is no doubt Mrs Byham has served the residents of Great Cornard with great dedication for many years and one of her greatest pleasures is that there is no longer the feeling of 'Us’ and ‘Them’. It is to be hoped she will have many more years in which to serve the community she loves.


Interview by Doris Rowland (Cornard News) – 20 July 2005