East  Coker  Society



April  2004   Free Issue No 114


Chair: John Sugg  863435    

Secretary and Newsletter Editor: Lesley Lindsay  862868

Treasurer: Keith Helliar  863700



East Coker Society News


The AGM of the Society will be held on Tuesday 11 May 2004 in the Dampier Room, East Coker Hall, 7.30pm.  This is an open meeting.  All welcome


'Cream Teas on the Lawn'  Saturday 19 June 2004 at Little Foxholes, East Coker, 3 o'clock.  There will be various stalls including plants and produce, a raffle and cakes and cookies.


Look after your Frontage!


It has been noticeable in recent months that the amount of litter in the village has greatly increased.  It would be helpful if villagers could look after the verges in front and to the side of their property so that East Coker can become a 'litter-free zone'.


The daffodils that were planted around the village last November have been beautiful and have brightened up the village.  Thank you to all who planted so well.  Just a note well in advance - another planting will take place this year in the Autumn.


Village Clubs and Organisations




The Annual General Meeting will be held in the Dampier Room on Tuesday 25 May at 7.30pm.  All organizations wishing to have a representative on the committee must apply to the Secretary, Mrs N White, 32 Nash Lane, Yeovil BA20 2HY in writing before the meeting.


All residents of the East Coker Parish 18years and over are eligible to attend.





The Women’s Institute is well into its year and enjoying many varied and interesting speakers.  We meet at East Coker Hall on the last Thursday of each month at 7.30pm.  Anyone interested in joining is very welcome; just please come along.


We also run whist drives which are open to the general public on the 3rd Thursday of the month during the winter period.  The last one for this season will be held on 15 April at 7.30pm.





Cheese and Wine  30 April at East Coker Hall 7.30pm.  Tickets available at the door





Progress continues to be made in the quest for a new Pavilion at the Playing Fields in Longfurlong Lane.  The plans for the proposed new building have been put before the Parish Council, which has agreed that the plans can now proceed to the District Council stage of the process.


The recently acquired piece of land, which is situated on the opposite side of the pavilion from the existing football pitch, is sprouting a fine covering of grass.  In the not too distant future the football pitch will be relocated to the new piece of land to enable the cricket pitch to have a permanent residence on the “old” field.


Further fundraising success has been achieved with a thoroughly enjoyable Race Night on 20 March.  At the last count, this event had raised a staggering £2300!!  Thank you to all those who helped, sponsored races or came along and supported the Race Night.  This was another fabulous evening – so fabulous, in fact, that the Committee are considering making it an annual event.


Thanks and congratulations must also go to William, Leighanna, Sophie, Elinor and Charlotte who raised £85 from a sponsored trampoline bounce, which was all their own idea.  Your enthusiasm and initiative sets an example to us all!


The next fundraising event is a cycle ride, which will take place on Sunday 23 May.  There will be three routes, a family route which will amble along a largely flat course, a 25 mile ride for the enthusiasts and an intermediate route for those who fancy a lengthy stretch, but whose cycling skills are a little rusty!  The ride will be followed by a barbeque and refreshments.  The riders on the family route will set off at around 2.00pm, with the riders on the longer routes starting from 1 00pm.  Please contact John Sugg on 863435 for further information.


There is now a website for the East Coker Pavilion called, www.eastcokerpavilionfund.co.uk  - all updates and forthcoming events will be found on this site, so please have a browse.


The next committee meeting is on Thursday 22 April at 8.00pm.  If this project interests you, please feel free to come along to the next meeting at the Pavilion.





German Trip


The Wine Circle is arranging a 9-day trip to Boppard, Germany, from Saturday, 11 June, 2005.  As this is run as a non-profit making venture, it is important to fill the 49-seater luxury coach.  We have a few seats available for any friends who might like to join us.  The price of approximately £500 (this could fluctuate depending on the exchange rate) will include ferry, bed, breakfast and evening meals at a delightful hotel overlooking the River Rhein, visits to the beautiful capital city of the Rheinhessen (Mainz), Koblenz, Rudesheim and Heidleberg, a mediaeval castle, a river trip and possibly a picturesque train ride.  The price includes all entrance fees and cost of wine tastings.  A deposit of £50 will secure a place on a first come first served basis.  All inquiries to Joyce Pryor  862816


William Dampier Open Evening


In view of the immense interest in William Dampier and his association with the village, the Wine Circle has decided to invite non members to the meeting on Wednesday, 5 May starting at 8.00pm.  The talk on Dampier will be given by the County Archivist, Tom Maybury.


Exhibitors’ successes


Wine Circle members continued their success in outside competitions recently by winning a number of trophies at the annual wine festival held by the Somerset Association of Amateur Winemakers.  For the third year out of four the Circle won the coveted inter-circle trophy for four bottles of wine (red and white dry and red and white dessert), exhibited by David and Joyce Pryor.  Vince Wolny won the Ralph Carver trophy for the three bottle class, with David and Joyce Pryor runner up.  David and Joyce also gained the SAAW tankard for stout and the circle also won the inter-circle quiz trophy.  All five members who entered wines also won a host of second, third and fourth placing.





The New Year is long past and winter seems to be over; March has gone and the village and our gardens are a dazzle with flowers.  The daffodils, which were planted by the villagers last autumn, have put on a brave show – what a good idea that was!


The last two speakers gave us fascinating talks and the meetings were very well attended and our membership is flourishing, and we welcome visitors each month who often finish up becoming members.

As a reminder, the club meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month at East Coker Hall, 7.30pm.  Everyone welcome.


Charity Open Meeting

Our main concern at the moment is preparing for our Charity Open Evening on 13 May, when Anne Swithingbank will be giving a presentation – 'Plants, People & Places'.  Posters are up around the village.  There will be a plant stall, crammed with goodies to fill you garden.  Tea, coffee, wine and fruit juice will be served with 'nibbles'.  We hope the evening will be a huge success as all profits will be going to St. Margaret's Hospice to enhance their gardens.  Tickets at £5, can be obtained from any member and also from me, Rachel Blow.


Forthcoming Meetings

27 May Evening Meeting at S.S.D.C. Lufton Nursery         10 June 'Ponds' Gold Club Talk at Brimsmore Garden Centre


Rachel Blow  862849





The players are busy rehearsing for their spring show - 'Rhyme & Reason', an amusing evening of poetry, monologues and song followed by a one act play.


The show will be performed for one night only - Saturday 15 May 2004 at 7.30pm in the East Coker Hall.


Tickets £6 to include a light supper and a glass of wine.  Raffle proceeds in aid of St John Ambulance (Yeovil Division)


Available from Debbie Searle  863091





Saturday 21 August 2004  An early reminder for the annual Flower Show!


Please remember - there is a Class to suit everyone, every age!  Crafts and Homecraft, Flowers, Fruit and Vegetables, Wine and Photography, plus various Classes for Children up to the age of 15 years.


The subjects for the Photography Classes for 2004 are as follows:


In the Garden     Transport           Speed               Weather            Harbour View                 Thatched Building


Also Classes for Children's photography (any subject)


This year all proceeds will be added to the past few years' and donated to the fund to build a new Pavilion in East Coker, so let's make this a really good year for entries!


Watch out for the Schedules at the Post Office, due out in the Spring.


Marie Shephard  864514



Young People




Waste Paper Collections: Saturday 15 May


Spring Jumble Sale to be held at East Coker Hall, Saturday 17 April at 2.00pm.  All donations of jumble gratefully received.  REMEMBER WE WILL COLLECT.  Tel: Max Bugler  862186.  Thank you for your support.


Jackie Glover.




This Spring Term the children have explored many topics.  They had fun discovering different materials and their use; they have looked at the five senses, looked for signs of Spring and had a wonderful week learning about the Chinese New Year.  Due to our position at The Pavilion allowing safe outdoors activities, the children enjoyed the snow that fell and made a wonderful snowman.  For some children this was their first experience of snow.

East Coker Pre-School Playgroup is registered with Ofsted and the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and follows the Foundation Stage curriculum.  We provide a warm, friendly, stimulating and safe environment where children can blossom and grow learning and developing happily through play based activities.  There is funding available through the Early Years Grant when children become eligible.  Children are able to attend from 2½ up to 5 years old.  We are open Monday to Friday during term time from 9.15am to 12 noon.  At present we are able to offer lunch cover for children who’d like to bring a packed lunch and stay until 1.15pm for an extra fee.

To secure a place on the waiting list for your children please contact Kay Strode on 872126 after 6.00pm.  It is best to get your child’s name down early on the waiting list, places are limited.

During the Easter Holidays, sessions will be available to children up to their 6th birthday (subject to demand).  Please contact Kay Strode on the number above if you would like further information.

Our next fundraising event will be our Summer Fair held at The Pavilion on Saturday 15 May in the afternoon. There will a variety of stalls, refreshments, a Raffle, and East Coker School Country Dancers will be performing, plus a Bouncy Castle and many other things to do.  We look forward to seeing you there.

This year will be the tenth annual Craft Fair the Playgroup has held.  It will be on Sunday 14 November 2004 at East Coker Village Hall, from 10.30am to 4.00pm.  Stalls are available for the Craft Fair please contact Eve Dudden on  862357 for details.





Summer Fair - This will be held at the School on the evening of Friday 18 June from 6.30pm to 8.30 pm.  Lots of stalls, cakes, games, Country Dancing displays from the children & much, much more.  BBQ, bar, pavlovas & puddings!  All villagers welcome. This is our main fundraising event of the year.  Please come along & support us if you can.





On Saturday 29 May, Hardington Pre-School will be holding its annual May Fayre at the village hall in Hardington Mandeville.  The proceeds of the event will go to support Hardington Pre-School, which takes children from East Coker, East Chinnock, Odcombe, Pendomer and other neighbouring villages.  There will be craft and cake stalls, refreshments, bouncy castle, maypole dancing, pony rides and face painting, from 12 noon to 3.30pm.  More information from Sarah Quinton  07792 513122.


Hardington Pre-School has produced a new prospectus for parents with young children in Hardington Mandeville and neighbouring villages.  With pre-school places at a premium, Hardington provides an additional resource for East Coker residents and there are still some places available.  For a copy of the new prospectus, ring Sarah Quinton on  07792 513122


Poetry: Although we have the T S Eliot connection, there isn't a regular poetry event in the village.  Lots of us enjoy reading and sharing favourite poems, so we have decided to get together once a month, with the first meeting planned for Tuesday May 18 from 7.30pm - 8.30pm in the Apple Loft of the Helyar Arms.  For this first event, Doreen Bates has volunteered to be the subject of a new version of Desert Island Discs - Desert Island Poems.  She is choosing 10 of her favourite verses, which she will introduce with stories from her rich and varied life!  For more information, contact Sue McKerracher  863633.



The Churches





Holy Communion  8.00am  1662 Prayer Book

Family Service – first Sunday alternate months, next 2 May 10.00am – otherwise Sung Eucharist.

Evensong  6.00pm  1662 Prayer Book

Sunday  16 May 2004  Rogation Sunday – Procession around the village

Sunday  30 May 2004  Pentecost 10.00am  Sung Matins  1662 Prayer Book

Sunday  13 June 2004  Children's Festival  Wells Cathedral  for children aged 5 – 11 years.  Leaving East Coker at 10.00am and home by 4.00pm.  Please contact Doreen Bates 862706


St. Michael's Bookstall Plant Sale– Bubspool House – 15 May 2004 - 10.30am - 12.30pm


We are hoping for the usual marvellous support in the growing of plants etc for this year's event.  Many thanks John Darling


Village Fete Saturday 3 July 2004 at Coker House 2.00pm followed by BBQ and Disco





Family Service  It was good to see so many families and children at the Christmas Eve Christmas Service.  My apologies that there was hardly enough room for everybody and some had to use the bell ringers balcony.


There are two special services at Easter. One on Good Friday 9 April at 10.00am will last about 30 minutes and although it is not like the usual service it would be- suitable for children.   Our main Easter Service will be on Easter Day 11 April at 10.00am.  Again the service will last about 30 minutes.  There will be hymns the children know and I hope Prayers will be led by the children and afterwards there will be an Easter Egg Hunt, with special clues to make certain every child gets an egg, with  coffee for the adults.


The May family service will be on 16 May at 10.00am.  This is the Sunday when we celebrate Rogation and ask God's blessing on the crops, in our gardens and fields and the animals.  Hopefully it will be a fine day so that we can walk in the cul de sac where the church is so that it will be a safe and short walk.


For further details of any of these services please phone me Monica  862834





Lists of Services for 2004 are available in the Church.  All are welcome to our services:

1st Sunday of the month – 9.00am Communion

3rd Sunday of the month - 11.30am Communion

Services on all Festival Days


Events for 2004Summer – Guided Reservoir Walk, followed by Ploughman's Lunch at the church – date to be decided.  Saturday 4 September Coffee Morning at the The Anchorage.

Heather Snook  474138





A warm welcome awaits you at the end of Burton Lane.  Services as follows:

Sundays:- Sunday Club for 4 - 12 year olds 10.00am except 2nd Sunday in the month which is Family Service 10.30am  The Lord's Supper 11.30am   Bible Study 6.30pm.  Other events announced weekly.


Contact us on Tel  422594/862980 or 863735





The meetings are held in the East Coker Hall at 7.00pm on the following dates:

Wednesday 19 May                   Wednesday 16 June

Wednesday 21 July                    Wednesday 18 August (Barbecue details later)


These meetings are arranged by St Michaels Church and East Coker Christian Fellowship


For further information please contact, Edward Armistead  862785 or Roy Hodder  862519


Village News




A DIARY has been set up in the village Post Office to record any suspicious or criminal incidents which may affect villagers.  Please use this register as a part of the community Village Watch scheme, as a warning to others and to recognise any worrying trends that may be apparent.  Even if you do not report a suspected crime to the police, this diary can be used in follow-up discussions with them.


The use of fireworks outside the usual 5 November period has been under discussion.  Whilst there is no law at present to prevent it, there were some distressing incidents of anti-social use of fireworks well into the New Year.  Please remember that pets and farm animals are vulnerable to sudden loud noises, and neighbours do not appreciate fireworks late at night.


The Somerset and Avon Police Authority have received a complaint regarding the blocking up of a badger sett in the Cemetery at East Coker and they have informed the Parish Council that this practice is against the law.  Anyone found interfering or blocking -up a badger sett Is liable to a summons.


East Coker has been entered in the Calor Gas Village of the Year Competition, 2004. Sarah Rashley 428639 is compiling a village report for this entry.


The new Play Area was officially opened by Mr Nigel Mermagen, chairman of South Somerset District Council, on Tuesday, 30 March, with villagers and Parish Councillors present.  The PreSchool Playgroup were also involved in the ceremony and were given 'goody bags' by Wicksteed Leisure who provided the play equipment.


The Parish Council was pleased to be informed by the South Somerset District Council that £5000 had been identified in the Area South Reserve for the Coker Division Parish Lengthsman Scheme and £13000 in the Capital Programme for the Long Furlong Lane Recreational Group Project.  This ensures the continuation of the Parish Lengthsman scheme in our village for another year, and support for the play area refurbishment.


Parish Councillors and many others have worked very hard to set up both of these schemes and plan for the New Pavilion.  It is very disheartening to find that a few minutes of total stupidity can spoil newly laid turf around the play area as soon as it has been laid.  Voluntary helpers are not prepared to give their time, mostly for the benefit of the younger members of the village, only to find this time wasted by the vandalism of a minority of that young element that spoils everyone else's enjoyment.  The success of the Play Area and the New Pavilion will depend upon the respectful treatment and use of the Long Furlong Lane site by all members of the village.




East Coker has a very well maintained network of footpaths thanks to the work of previous councillors.  We would like to keep these routes in good order.  Please notify Roy Hodder  862519 Sarah Rashley  428639 or Heather Snook  474138 if you find any footpaths in the parish which have problems e.g. Way-markers not in place; stiles broken; impassable places. Please also take secateurs with you on your walks to help keep undergrowth under control.







Over the past year, a group of volunteers and I have been working hard to raise funding to purchase and then install new play equipment to replace the slide and climbing frame at the Playing Fields, Longfurlong Lane which were condemned last year.  The new play area was opened officially on Tuesday 30 March, so on Saturday 27 March we gave up our time to spruce up and tidy the area in preparation for the opening.


Imagine our horror, anger and disappointment, therefore, when we arrived on Saturday morning to find that the play park had been vandalised.  The turf, which had been laid carefully only a short while before,  had been dug up and slung over the swings, roundabout and climbing frame.


This was a calculated and deliberate act of vandalism.  It could not have been done accidentally.  Some person or people had consciously set about undoing all the hard work that had been put into making the play area attractive and safe.


Although it may seem to some that the play facilities, plants, bins and other such facilities magically appear in our community, the truth of the matter is that a lot of time, work and effort go into providing these amenities.  It is such a shame that some mean-spirited individuals exist who think they have the right to destroy something that has been provided for the benefit of everyone.


I was further disheartened by the fact that, on my journey to the play area, I encountered a trail of discarded McDonalds wrappings that had been scattered along the Yeovil Road.  I stopped to clear it up, but I do wonder at the mentality of the people who consider it acceptable to just throw their rubbish out of a car window.


If anybody has any information about this vandalism, I would be very interested in hearing from them.


Bridget Sugg





Thank you once again to everyone who saved their Christmas stamps for C.L.I.C.  What an excellent response there was!  However, stamps are not just for Christmas, so please continue to save them throughout the year.  As usual, there is a collection jar in the Village Shop or you can bring them to me at Holly Cottage nearby.  Thank you.


Micky Hall





This first article should have been printed in January's Newsletter but somehow got lost in the 'ether'.  Apologies to all who missed it.


New Year's Day 2004


The long hot summer of 2003 is now a pleasant memory.  A change took place, exactly on cue, as the Autumnal Equinox arrived on September 23rd when a more typical spell of autumn weather began.  But the effects of the summer gave us a splendid show of colours as the leaves began to wither.  The village was suffused with a striking golden Turner sunset on October 8th a herald of the colours to come.  A rosy dawn on October 22nd predicted a rainy day, the rain starting at noon and giving a very wet afternoon.  Village weather records for 2003 give some interesting figures.


Rainfall for the year was 717.8mm (28.26ins) compared with 1197.4mm (47.14ins.) for 2002 and 837.7mm (32.98ins.) for 2001.  Rain fell on 127 days, 60 in the first half of the year and 67 in the second half. The wettest period was the night of January 18th/19thwhen 27.4mm (1.05ins.) rain fell.  The coldest day was January 12th at minus 6.2C (20.8F).  Aug 5th was the hottest day at 29.6C (85.3F).  There were 37 days of frost, 19 in January, February & March, 18 in October November & December. On Oct.30th the barometer fell to a year's low of 966mb compared to a high of 1.040mb on March 16th.  A gust of 56 mph was recorded on April 29th


The long hot dry spell at midsummer stopped the grass growing for several weeks.  Only a weed, Yarrow, continued to grow strongly along the verges.  I learned from a correspondent that a close relative of the Yarrow produces a most potent anti-malarial compound which is now being exploited commercially.  Pale green ivy flowers, beloved of late flying insects appeared several weeks early.  A few of the black ivy fruits are still to be seen.  In the garden, my resident birds, blackbirds, dunnocks, wood pigeons, collared doves and robins deserted the plot for the whole of the summer, evidently finding tastier food in the countryside.  Only at the very end of the year did they start to drift back.  The last butterflies, a Small White and a Tortoiseshell flew on October 18th but a Comma appeared indoors as late as November 7th evidently looking for an over-wintering spot.


I recently heard, following my mention of the village's Post Boxes, that an original octagonal box of c.1853 is still in use at Barnes Cross, Holwell, near Sherborne.  It may be the oldest Pillar Box in the country.  This box is still in use.


An American correspondent told me that he had stocked up with "cords" of wood for his winter fuel. I wondered what a cord of wood contained.  My Agricultural Handbook of 1962 defined it as a stack of wood 4ft x 4ft x 8ft.  How nice to see an older unit still in use.  While I was looking for the definition I came across another measure of wood which I had never seen before.  It was the "hoppus foot" or "hoppus measure".  This old forestry term gives an estimate of the timber yield from a tree trunk.  I wonder if it is still used in the village farms or is there a metric equivalent?


Alas, the total eclipse of the moon in November was obscured by clouds. Orion is the most prominent constellation in the southern night sky at present. The heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, making up Gemini, are to be seen to the north east of Orion.  Saturn is becoming visible in the south at bedtime and Jupiter will soon begin to rise in the east at the same time.  Mars, which was brilliant in late August and September is fading away to the west.


Vernal Equinox 20 March


The year began with a mild but dull fortnight.  January's wettest day was Thursday 8th when 33.5mm (1.32ins) of rain fell in the early hours.  Rain fell on 18 days, giving a January monthly total of 138. 7mm (5.46ins). A little snow fell on the 29th.  A windy few days ended the month with a gust of 58mph on the 31st.


February started with a balmy few days when the temperature on the 4th soared to 13.9C (57F) in the afternoon, but that promise of an early spring soon gave away to a bitterly cold spell with northerly winds.  Hard frosts in the last week of February gave a minimum temperature on the 27th of minus 3.3C (26F).  Snow fell on the 26th and lay for two days.  Rainfall was only 65mm (2.56ins), falling on 11 days.  There were 10 days of frost.  In the middle of the month there was a very quiet spell with very light winds.  On Friday 13th the air over the village remained stagnant for the whole day.  March continued the cold spell with a minimum temperature of minus 5.7C (21.7F) on the 2nd.  A cold cloudy week gradually gave way to warm south. westerlies by the middle of the month.  Tuesday 16th was almost a summer's day with bright sunshine and a temperature of 14.3C (57.7F).  But on the first day of official Spring the weather was wet and windy.  In all, a curious and changeable start to the year.


A family of long tailed tits was an unusual sight on the bird feeder.  The usual greenfinches were joined occasionally by linnets, siskins and goldfinches.  Robins rapidly learned to wait under the nut holder for the crumbs falling from above. While robins are mainly solitary birds fiercely territorial.  I recall nine robins all feeding together on the same small piece of ground, ignoring each other in a hard winter.  The first bird song, apart from a few tentative notes from a blackbird in early January, came from the great tits on January 16th with their incessant "teacher-teacher" call.  In the coldest week of the year a gang of delinquent jackdaws shredded plastic refuse sacks to get at the contents.  The first butterflies, a pair of Brimstones, appeared on March 16th but small winter moths flew throughout the coldest days.


Saturn is a prominent feature of the night sky in March.  Jupiter will be in the Southern sky at bedtime for some time to come.  A total eclipse of the moon will take place on May 4th but will not be well placed for viewing from the village.


Francis Cloke  862496





Join Alison for fun and exercise on Wednesday mornings from 9.45am.  A whole new program has been devised to suit almost everyone.  For more details phone Alison on  01460 74546 or 0775 3533727





Would people please take notice that the above mentioned parking bay is for the tenants of Maudslay Field ONLY!  Thank you.


D Chorley on behalf of all the Tenants





The Parish Council has submitted an application for funding from the Countryside Agency to undertake a Parish Plan and Associated Village Design Statement.  We now know that we will receive a grant towards this and so can initiate work on it. 


The point of the Plan is to gather everyone's - young and old – opinion about life in the parish; the services – or lack of them – that exist and how people think that things could or should be improved.  This can      include any aspect at all – housing, bus and utility services, council services, policing, education, youth facilities, environmental and wildlife matters, etc, etc.


We are expecting to do this initial survey through a questionnaire.  However, questionnaires can never cover everything that people want, so there will be at least two 'Open Days' in The East Coker Hall, where people can talk to those organising it.


All comments will be welcome.  Young people will be invited to take photographs to illustrate their views and then to talk about them.


This is not a wish list exercise, as we must also formulate action plans to try to achieve results and improve things.  Some will be outside our direct control, but if we can demonstrate that we have a real and quantifiable need, we stand more chance of the S.S.D.C. or its agencies taking note and budgeting for it.


Once we have all the questionnaires and comments in, they will be analysed and initial findings presented at an 'Open Day' where further comments can be received.  After that it will be refined and published.


Alongside this we would like to produce a Village Design Statement, which would highlight the things we like and want to conserve about the buildings in the parish, and things which we think could detract.  We also want to analyse what makes the 'character' of the village and what would destroy it. 


If we produce this it will have some influence on future planning applications in and around the village, so that unsympathetic work is kept to a minimum.


To qualify for the grant, people, other than those on the parish council, must be involved with the organisation, collating and analysing of the information.  We have a small steering group already in place, but it will take a lot of work.  We would like willing helpers especially anyone who has a particular interest in any aspect of the parish to contact one of the following:


John Sharpe  862362                              Stan Turner  862474                               Margaret O'Neill  471890