East Coker Society Newsletter


April 2006    Free Issue No 122


Chair: John Sugg   863435

Newsletter Editor: Lesley Lindsay   862868

Secretary: Sarah Owen   862218

Treasurer: Keith Helliar   863700



East Coker Society News


The AGM of the East Coker Society is being held on Wednesday 31 May 2006, 7.30pm, in the Dampier Room, East Coker Hall.  Everyone is welcome.




In the future if you would like to receive the Newsletter via e-mail, please e-mail Lesley Lindsay with your name and postal address so you can be removed from our delivery lists.  Your e-mail address will be kept entirely private, with no cross-referencing of other people's e-mails.  We greatly appreciate delivery by e-mail as it saves money on our printing costs.


For those already receiving the Newsletter by e-mail, please can you e-mail Lesley Lindsay if you change your e-mail address.  Thank you.



Village Clubs and Organisations




The Wine Circle continued its successful run at major wine festivals when it gained five trophies at the Somerset Association of Amateur Winemakers annual festival at Puriton in March.  Joyce Pryor won two; one for the best elderberry/blackberry sweet wine, and another for the best vegetable wine (carrot).  David Pryor gained the trophy for best white social wine (Sauterne style).  Vince Wolny won the trophy for the elderberry/blackberry dry class and Darren Shutler won a trophy for the best bitter ale.  Of the 360 entries in the festival the four Coker exhibitors gained 57 placings.


The theme party "Pink and Green" earlier in the year was also a great success and the variety of costume was quite ingenious and colourful.


The Circle continues to have interesting speakers on wine topics and non-wine related subjects as well as wine tastings.


New members are welcome and winemaking is not essential to membership.  The Circle meets at the East Coker Hall from 8.00pm on the first Wednesday each month unless otherwise stated.


Contact 862816





In this year's Flower Show the Photography classes will be:

            71 Smile Please                        72 Sunset

            73 Interior                                  74 Fun in the Sun

            75 Single Tree                           76 Four Seasons (4 photos mounted on card)


Would any one like to join the Flower Show Committee?  There are 3 meetings a year and a Christmas meal.  Apply to Sec. Sarah Rashley 428639 or e-mail rashley@darvole.wanadoo.co.uk.





The winners in the January draw were: £100 Mr & Mrs A T Kimpton; £50 Mrs C Leng; £40 Mr R Parris; £30 Mrs A Mead; £20 Mrs E Cowley; £15 Mr P Hobday; £10 Mrs E Horwood; £10 Sir Peter Leng.





We have already had some very interesting evenings this year.  Nostalgic memories were the order of the day when the President’s husband showed slides of East Coker events from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations and the efforts made by locals to raise money for the East Coker Hall, to the great snows of 1976.


New skills were learnt on how to make many different cards, and the work of Fern Animal Sanctuary was explained.  The whist drives are proving very popular especially in the school holidays when grandchildren have also shown their skills at card playing.  The next whist drive will be held on Thursday 20 April at East Coker Hall at 7.30pm.  All are welcome.


The Jumble Sale was a great success in February boosting our funds and we are looking forward to a great birthday outing in June to celebrate.


New members are always welcome.  We meet on the last Thursday of each month at East Coker Hall at 7.30pm.





Spring Food Fair – 10.00am – 2.00pm


On Saturday 29 April East Coker will be hosting a Spring Food Fair.  Local quality food producers and retailers will be bringing their delicious fare to sell and exhibit from market stalls situated amongst the daffodils in the Paddock, and also in the Car Park and garden of the Helyar Arms.  Why not come and visit the gorgeous stalls and enjoy the spring sunshine at the same time?


If the sights and aromas of all that food whet your appetite, brunch will be served by the Pavilion Committee including tea and coffee.  From noon onwards delicious lunches will be served in the Helyar Arms.  There will also be the chance to win some luxury food items in a Prize Draw.


All proceeds from this delightful event will go to the East Coker Parish Council Pavilion Fund.


If you have any queries regarding the Food Fair please contact any of the following Pavilion Committee Officers:


Chairman          Robert Mead                  862972

Vice-Chair         Bridget Sugg                 863435

Secretary          Paula Downes               862264




The acclaimed chef John Torode will be opening this exciting food fair.  John Torode is currently featured on BBC TV’s 'Masterchef'.


Village Quiz


The Inaugural Village Quiz, which took place on 11 March, was a runaway success, with twenty-one teams gathering in the East Coker Hall to compete for the prestigious Cockerel Trophy.  There was much intense competition and some probing questions.  The quizzers only paused to enjoy the delicious fish and chip supper.


The eventual winner of the Cockerel Trophy was the Gardening Club team, second was a team from the Poetry Group and the Crumplers team was third.


Thanks must go to Cherry Sowerbutt, Penny Marpole and Gill Bryan for organising such an interesting and enjoyable evening, during which over £800 was raised for the Pavilion Fund.


Emma Trickey





The Players present 'Confusions' by Alan Ayckbourn on 12/13 May at East Coker Hall, consisting of two one-act plays – 'Between Mouthfuls' and 'Gosforth's Fete'.


Tickets – £5.50 to include a ploughman's supper and a glass of wine.


BBQ at the Vicarage on 5 June.  All welcome.  Price £3.50 for adults & £3 for children.  Bring your own chair, plate, cutlery, drink and glasses.


3 July at East Coker Hall – read through and auditions for the Pantomime (Goldilocks and the Three Bears).  Show dates 1/2 December.  All welcome.  Help needed with costumes, backstage etc.


Contact Nora White  477897





The January issue of the Newsletter reproduced an announcement in the first Newsletter of 30 years ago about the formation of a gardening club and added that the club is still going strong today.  It is true that the club of today is flourishing, but, sadly, the first club of 30 years ago did not survive.  The present club was started by Muriel Pilton and Sue Hounsell in 1999 and the story was told in the April Newsletter of 2005.


The latest achievement of the Club was to come top in the Village Quiz on 11 March.  Congratulations to the winning team which consisted of: Paula Edwards, Chris and Sheila Holiday, Margaret O'Neill, Darren and Sarah Rashley, Kathryn Sturtridge and Chris Tervit.


Programme for May to July


Thursday 11 May: Open Charity Evening  (in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief).  Illustrated presentation of the garden at Highgrove by the Head Gardener, David Howard.  7.30pm at East Coker Hall.  Members £8.  Non-Members £10.  Tickets from Stan Shayler, 420291, or from the East Coker Post Office Stores.

Friday 12 May: Day Trip to Malvern Festival.

Tuesday 23 May – Thursday 25 May: Coach Trip to Gloucestershire.

Thursday 8 June: Nigel Hewish on 'Penstemons', 7.30pm at East Coker Hall.

Thursday 13 July: Visit to 'Popinjays', Little Norton, 3.00pm.


Enquiries to Rachel Blow, Programme Secretary 862849 or to Stan Shayler, Treasurer 420291





The programme for the poetry group is as follows:


Wednesday 26 April: 'Japanese Poetry'  Catherine Simmonds

Wednesday 25 May: Rachel Clyne – Poet from Glastonbury

Wednesday 21 June: Marjorie Sampson – Thomas Hardy Society


All are welcome; the meetings are in the Skittle Alley at the Helyar Arms, 7.30pm.


For more information, please contact Joyce Best 862317 or David Cloke 862623.





75 Years Celebration 29 April 2006


29 April 1931 was the founding day of the Royal British Legion in East Coker so it is very appropriate to hold our celebration on that day 75 years later.


An exhibition of WWI memorabilia will be held in the Dampier Room, East Coker Hall from 10.30am – 12.30pm and 2.00pm – 5.00pm.  There will also be a dedication of a pennant for the Standard by the Vicar, Roger Burt.


In the evening there is the Annual Cheese and Wine Party, 7.00pm for 7.30pm, at East Coker Hall.  Tickets are £5, to include food and a glass of wine, and are available at the door.





It is now 25 years since all the hard work raising money and organising its construction resulted in the East Coker Hall becoming available for all to use.  Our grateful thanks go to all those involved at the time and since, in ensuring the Hall is kept in good condition and freely available for hire.


We are particularly fortunate in having a hall of such size, quality and flexibility and one which is the envy of many villages.


Inevitably committee members have come and gone, and we are now at a point where fresh blood and ideas are needed to further improve the hall and ensure that villagers, and importantly our children, can use it in the years ahead.


Our committee now needs new members and in particular a Treasurer and Chairman URGENTLY.  Don’t believe all you hear – this can be enjoyable and rewarding whilst giving a little back to the village which we all enjoy.  The time commitment is small and we can give support during the initial stages.  You don’t need to be computer literate – being able to use pen and paper is quite good enough.


If you think you can help or would simply like an informal chat please call  863976


We shall be pleased to hear from you.





There is an error in the telephone directory listing.  The telephone number of East Coker Hall Bookings should be 01935 862087.  The listings in Yellow Pages and Thomson's Directories are correct.  Please make a note of the correct number in your personal directory.  The number 863786 is no longer available.


R Allwood



Young People




Newspaper Collections: Saturday 29 April;        Saturday 27 May;          Saturday 24 June


Spring Jumble Sale

To be held at East Coker Hall, Saturday 22 April from 2.00pm.  All donations of jumble gratefully received.  REMEMBER WE WILL COLLECT.  Contact Max Bugler 862186


Thank you for your support, Jackie Glover





I visited the Playgroup last week and was enthusiastically shown a wooden aeroplane made by one of the children – yes, two pieces of real wood held together by two real nails.  The child was so proud of the aeroplane it had made and it was lovely to see.  This is just one of the opportunities regularly provided to the children by the playgroup.  The children have been looking at the natural world, which has included discovery about wood, clay, metal, sand, wool and water (glad I missed that one!).  Previous to that topic the children looked at the Five Senses, which they have subsequently been using to find out about the Natural world..


A big thank you to everyone who supported our Pancake Race Day – we raised £377 in very cold conditions, the running and flipping of pancakes helped us to keep warm; well, that and the wonderful pancakes and hot drinks that were available.


The playgroup will be hosting an ICT Open Day on the 24 May – look out for information and our Annual Summer Fair is the 20 May at The Pavilion, Long Furlong Lane.  The Summer Fair starts at 2.00pm and includes a mixture of events and stalls: East Coker Country Dancers, Skittles, Bouncy Castle, Beat the Goalie, Cake Stall, Lucky Dip, Plants, Invited Stall-holders, Hook a Duck, Face and Nail Painting, Raffle to name a few.


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 Nursery Education Funding when children become eligible.  Children are able to attend from 2½ years up to 5 years old.  We are open Monday to Friday during term time from 9.15am to 12 noon. On a Tuesday and Wednesday we run afternoon sessions from 1.00pm to 3.15pm.  At present we are able to offer lunch cover at an extra fee, between 12 noon and 1.15pm, for children who’d like to bring a packed lunch.


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


During the Summer 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.


Looking towards the end of the year, on Sunday 12 November at East Coker Hall the playgroup will be holding its twelfth Craft Fair from 10.30am to 4.00pm.  Stalls are available for the Craft Fair; please contact Liz Barnes on 864405 for details.





East Coker Cockerels F.C. welcomes all boys and girls aged seven in September 2006 to an Under 8s Football Taster Training Session.


We are holding two sessions, on Wednesday 12 April and Wednesday 19 April.  Both sessions will run from 6.00pm to 7.00pm and will be held at East Coker School.  These sessions are designed to introduce children to football in a friendly and fun atmosphere.


If your child is interested in attending either of these sessions, please contact the Club Secretary Emma Trickey, on 864410 or the Club Treasurer Sandra Kearvell on 413979 to reserve a place.


We are also looking for a couple of keen and eager parents to help coach this age group.  Full support and training will be provided.



The Churches




Plant Sale – Saturday 20 May

This year the Plant Sale will be held at the Vicarage from 10.00am – 12.30pm.  Please help by planting seeds now and bringing cuttings on the day.  There will be a cake stall and refreshments served.  Enquiries to Roger Burt.


Results of Evensong Survey

A survey was held regarding the change of time of Evensong during the winter months (ie GMT).  It was taken over five weeks in February and March.  The results were as follows: of 26 replies; 14 people opted for 4.00pm, Winter only, not 4.00pm all year round.  6 people opted for the time to remain at 6.00pm, no change.  6 people opted for 5.00pm, (3 wanted 5.00pm all year and 3 during the Winter months only) – this was a time not suggested at all!  So from the change of clocks in October through the Winter months to the change of clocks back to BST in March, Evensong will be held at 4.00pm.



Rogation Sunday, 2 May 10.00am, Meet in the church and if fine will walk around East Coker.  Refreshments afterwards at the Vicarage.

Ascension Day, Thursday 25 May 6.00pm Eucharist.

Pentecost Sunday 4 June 8.00am Holy Communion, 10.00am Sung Eucharist, 6.00pm Evensong.

Trinity Sunday 11 June 8.00am Holy Communion, 10.00am Family Eucharist.

Sunday 18 June 8.00am Holy Communion, 10.00am Sung Eucharist, 6.00pm Evensong.

Sunday 25 June 8.00am Holy Communion, 10.00am Sung Eucharist, 6.00pm Evensong.

Sunday 2 July 8.00am Holy Communion, 10.00am Family Service, 6.00pm Evensong.


St Michael's Village Fete


This year the Fete will take place at Coker House on Saturday 8 July, at 2.30pm.  We will be relying on our dedicated supporters to bake cakes, serve teas, make jams, grow plants, bring their special cars, man stalls and of course to erect tents.


If you can help in any of these, please contact John Darling 862229, or Hazel Clark 863381.  Thank you very much.





Good Friday 14 April – There will be a Family Service at 10.00am suitable for all ages, hopefully understandable to the children, who will be taking part, and with a message for the adults as well.  There will be coffee and Cross Buns but I don't think we can manage them Hot!


Easter Sunday 16 April – There will be a family service at 10.00am, with hopefully, a message for both adults and children.  There will be coffee and an Easter Egg Hunt after the service.


Rogation Sunday 21 May – Instead of our usual Family Service we shall have a special Rogation Service when we go out from the church and ask God's blessing on the crops in our gardens and fields.  We shall also be praying for the people of Africa who are suffering a dreadful drought.  Could the children who are coming to that service bring a bucket and a small bottle of water to go in it.  Buckets are not vital but the more we have the better!  If it's wet the service will be in the church.


For further details of family services at Closworth, please contact Monica 862834





These meetings are held once a month at East Coker Hall.  The emphasis is placed on preaching and teaching the Bible.  AII meetings start at 7.00pm and last for 1 hour followed by refreshments and plenty of time to chat.


Our series of sermons from April to July will be on the book of Jonah


'Painful lessons from a gracious God'


Wednesday 19 April Jonah 1 (Edward Armitstead)

Wednesday 7 May Jonah 2 (Alan Hogarth – St Stephen's Basildon, Reading)

Thursday 22 June Jonah 3 (Ian Lewis – St Bartholomew's Bath)

Wednesday 19 July Jonah 4 (Alasdair Paine – Christ Church, Westbourne Bournemouth)


Please feel free to join us.  For further details please ring: 862519 or 862785.


Roy Hodder





Sunday Services; Holy Communion:

7 May, 9.00am; 21 May, 11.30am; 4 June, 9.00am; 18 June, 11.30am; 2 July, 9.00am; 16 July, 11.30am.


Churchwardens: Heather Snook 474138,  Anthony Denning 474294





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

Sundays – The Lord's Supper 11.00am.  Prayer and Bible Study 6.30pm.

Monthly Family Service on the 2nd Sunday at 11.00am when The Lord's Supper takes place at 6.30pm instead of the Bible Study.  Other events announced weekly.


Contact us on 422594 or 863735



Village News




Books and Magazines; Cassettes and CD's; DVD's and Videos are all welcome at the bookstall at St Michael's Fete on 8 July at Coker House.


Contributions can be left at Springfield Cottage, Coker Marsh, or brought on the day to the stall.


This is a great opportunity for a paper-back exchange.  Bring us the ones you have read and collect some more for holiday reading!


Contact Sally Jackson 862879, Jenny Lumley 477979, or Daphne Ross 474999.





The Cancer & Leukaemia in Childhood Organisation has now combined with the Malcolm Sargent Fund for Children to finance research work.  The used postage stamps that you give us help pay for this work, so please continue to save them and take them to the East Coker P O & Stores, or to me at Holly Cottage nearby.


Thank you, Micky Hall





Vernal Equinox – 20 March 2006


The New Year opened with a few mild weeks.  18 January was particularly mild at 11.7ºC (53ºF) but winter returned a few days later.  3 February was a thoroughly miserable day, dull and grey with the temperature staying below freezing point all day.  Apart from a few warmer days, a persistent cold Easterly wind has made this Spring a late one.  We have had 14 days of frost so far this year with a minimum of minus 5.9ºC (22.8ºF) on 10 February.  Rainfall this year has been about half that for the same period last year. Fortunately our village did not have the snow of other parts of the realm.  The sun is getting higher in the sky.  Out of the wind it is now quite warm, but we are well below last year's temperatures.  In mid-March 2005 the daytime temperatures climbed to over 15ºC or the mid 60sF.  Despite the cold, Hazel catkins opened in profusion and were a brave sight along Bunford Hill and Hollow in late January.  A few Celandines opened in the coldest spell but other signs of Spring are still to be seen.  Hedges remain in their winter brown with little sign of greening so far.


In the garden I have had visits from Coal Tits, a flock of Long-tailed Tits and a Green Woodpecker.  A wader, possibly a Jack Snipe, paid a brief visit.  I have had a report of a flock of Siskins, accompanied by a Redpoll, in the village.  Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons descend every morning to have their share of bird food.


Birds feed in very different ways.  Blackbirds seem to spend more time in chasing each other than feeding whereas Starlings descend in a crowd onto the scraps, ignoring each other and getting on with the important job of eating.  Robins and Dunnocks emerge from cover, peck a few times and then retire to the safety of a hedge.  My Robins are more wary of humans than Blackbirds.  A Blackbird came to feed from my hand last year.  The temptation was cheese.


The first lot of frogspawn appeared in my small pool on 18 February.  Some very cold weather froze the frogspawn but on 20 March frogs appeared in the pool and replaced the first frozen mass.  I was astonished at the number of frogs that had found their way to an enclosed pool.


Slugs and snails are not most people's favourites.  A few years ago I marked some wintering snails with a dab of paint to follow their progress in the garden.  Later in the year I was surprised to see that some had moved about fifty yards from their winter quarters.  Some large slugs have quite beautiful markings, especially those that live in damp houses.  I had a family of such creatures living under the kitchen sink of a damp cottage.  At night they would emerge, sail across the kitchen floor and drink from the cat's milk bowl.  They were a pale fawn in colour with dark brown and pale green specked markings, quite attractive and harmless.


In a January gale a large Elder branch was blown down.  I wondered if it had a low water content, as the sap had not risen.  By weighing pieces of the branch over several weeks I found that it had water content of 50%, a surprisingly high figure for winter wood.


Saturn is still a prominent feature of the sky at night, in the south at bedtime.  It will steadily move west to be replaced by Jupiter over the next few months.  Mars and Saturn will come together in the South-Western sky in early June.  The sun is climbing to a June summer high of 62º compared with 16º in December and 38º at the Spring Equinox.


Francis Cloke  862496





A year ago when the Post Box was rather peremptorily removed from the wall near Wyvern Close, local 'Parishioners' had a lively exchange with the Bristol Office before a pole-mounted replacement was sited on the grass area just opposite.  Last collection is now scheduled at 16.00hrs (4 00pm) but the box is also regularly cleared at 12 noon. Saturday is also 12 noon.


Alan Cornelius





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in July 2006.  Copy, please, to Lesley Lindsay, Little Meadow, Coker Marsh, East Coker or by e-mail to the East Coker Post Office & Stores by Tuesday 27 June 2006.



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