East Coker Society Newsletter


April 2008 – Free Issue No 130


Chair: John Sugg   863435

Newsletter Editor: Lesley Lindsay   862868

Secretary: Sarah Owen   862218

Treasurer: Keith Helliar   863700


East Coker Society News





21 – 22 June 2008






By popular demand, we are giving you an opportunity to show off your creativity in the 2nd East Coker Society Scarecrow Competition.  It is open to all residents and ages, clubs and organisations of the parish.  We hope to put on an impressive display, which will form the basis of a mapped walk over the week-end of Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 June 2008.  Prizes will be awarded in 3 classes:


1.  Children        2.  Adult            3.  Clubs and Organisations


Please ensure your entry form is submitted by Monday 9 June 2008 (further details below).


Maps outlining all entries will be available from the Helyar Arms and the Post Office from Friday 20 June 2008.  Refreshments can also be obtained from the Helyar Arms throughout the week-end.


Scarecrows will need to be displayed by 9.00am on Saturday 21 June 2008 for judging.  Prizes will be awarded at the Church & Village Fκte on Saturday 5 July 2008.


Please complete the entry form below and put it in an envelope with your entry fee of £2 and drop it off in the Scarecrow Competition collection box at the Post Office or send to East Coker Society, c/o Sarah Owen, Paddock Cottage, East Coker, Yeovil, BA22 9JP, tel 862218.





Name ……………………………………………………..….  Contact tel no …………………………….……


Club/Organisation (if applicable) ………………………..……………………………...……………….……


Address & post code ……………………………………………………..……………………………………….




Scarecrow name …………………………………………………. Entry class ……………………………….


Entry fee £2 enclosed ……………………...






The Annual General Meeting of the East Coker Society will be held in the Dampier Room, East Coker Hall, on Tuesday 10 June 2008 at 7.30pm.  All villagers welcome.




We greatly appreciate delivery by e-mail as it saves money on our printing costs so if in future 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.


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





The new East Coker Bag is a 'must-have' item if you live in East Coker!  The cotton shopper is available with either long or short handles, and has the East Coker Cockerel on one side.  Environmentally friendly, and good for the 'green' consumer!  Available from the East Coker P.O. & Store or Lesley Lindsay 862868


Village Clubs and Organisations





Come and enjoy a full English breakfast – bring all your family and friends.  Sunday 15 June from 9.30am – 12 noon in the East Coker Hall.  The proceeds will be donated to St. Margaret's Hospice and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.


Tickets will be available from 1 May from East Coker P.O. & Store.


Penny Marpole 863055 or Cherry Sowerbutts 863313





Following the interest shown in the formation of a croquet club mentioned in February’s Newsletter, taster-sessions are being organised in the village as soon as the weather improves.  Those who have already contacted Pauline Gubbins will be notified.  Anyone else wishing to join in should contact John Sharpe and Kathryn on 862362





The fete will be held on Saturday 5 July at 2.00pm in the Vicarage grounds.  Many stalls and the usual cream teas.





The Circle continues to attract excellent attendance despite the fact that it has had to hold its meetings at different locations, due to the temporary closure of the East Coker Hall.  The Circle met at Odcombe in March, and in April and May members will have travelled to Halstock.  The Circle has been unable to find accommodation on its normal meeting night and as a result has had to move to Tuesday and Thursday respectively.  The Circle hopes to be back 'home' for its Annual General Meeting and commercial wine tasting in June.


The committee is currently planning an exciting programme for the new year, with the usual Summer event being held in East Coker, on Sunday 13 July.  Anyone interested in joining the Circle should contact the Secretary, Mary Horsley 471072





John Bryan £100; Mr P Moore £50; Miss S Hedges £40; Mr C Bingley £30; Mr P Hobday £20; Mr A Leng £15; Mrs A Charles £10; Mr P Pritchard £10.


If anyone would like to join the 400 Club – £20 a year payable quarterly by Bank Standing Order – please contact Mike Weston 862472, Gloria Mead 862384 or Mary Ashley 862263





Cream Teas – We have for the last three years delivered Cream Teas to businesses in Yeovil, Crewkerne and Sherborne.  This event is growing each year and several people have asked if we could deliver to homes in East Coker.  Our delivery date for this year is Friday 27 June.  The Cream Teas cost £5 each and are delivered in individual boxes consisting of scones, jam, clotted cream and strawberries.  If you would like to receive one please order by Friday 13 June from Angie Mead 862972 or Barb Raison 862553.


We will be holding a ‘Woman's World’ evening on Tuesday 7 October at the East Coker Hall.   More details in the next Newsletter.


Another date for your diary! 

We are delighted that the Rt. Hon. Ann Widdecombe MP has kindly agreed to come and speak to us about her life.  This will be at a lunch on Thursday 27 November 2008 at the new Tithe Barn at Haselbury Mill.  Tickets will be £30 including a two-course lunch and coffee, with wine before and during the meal.  We have already had a lot of interest in this event.  If you would like further information or would like to reserve a ticket, please contact Jane Donnelly 478409.





Due to the East Coker Hall renovations, the May Production had to be postponed.


We hope to be holding a fund-raising event in early July, and a December Social Evening with members and guests 'being the entertainment'!


Put your thinking caps on now.  How would you like to entertain your fellow members?  Try a monologue or poem, get together with someone else and sing a duet, play your musical instrument or tell a few jokes! Each act to be approximately four minutes.


Proposals for a Pantomime in February/March 2009 have been put forward – watch this space for further updates.


For further details contact Hazel Love, Secretary 429163 or Nora White, Treasurer 477897





Our 90th year is proving to be ‘the year of the challenge’.  With the East Coker Hall being out of action for so long we had to reschedule the Jumble Sale, our monthly meetings and the Whist Drives.  The 'Open Evening' programmed for March with the broadcaster and naturalist, Chris Sperring, who was to speak about ‘The Birds of Prey’, will now be held at the East Coker Hall on Thursday, 28 August at 8.00pm  Visitors are welcome.


Until the East Coker Hall reopens, all monthly meetings will be held at the Christian Fellowship Hall at the end of Burton Lane, at 7.30pm.  The next Whist Drive on Thursday 17 April, at 7.30pm will be held, by the kind permission of John and Ann Cordwell, at their home, Tithe Barn, East Coker (just beyond the Helyar Arms).


The postponed Jumble Sale scheduled for April will now be held on Saturday, 12 July at 2.00pm at the East Coker Hall.


The birthday celebration dinner which is booked at the East Coker Hall on Friday, 20 June at 7.00pm will hopefully go ahead as planned.  Any former members of the W.I. who would like to join us would be very welcome.  The price of the ticket will be £5.  Please let our secretary, Linda Morgan, tel. 863694 know by Friday, 16 May.


Dates for diary

17 April              Whist Drive                                Tithe Barn, East Coker               7.30pm

24 April             'Blue Vinny Cheese'                   Christian Fellowship Hall 7.30pm

29 May             ‘No Knickers’                             Christian Fellowship Hall 7.30pm

20 June             90th Celebration Meal                  East Coker Hall                         7.00pm

8 July                W.I. Outing                                Windsor Castle

12 July              Jumble Sale                              East Coker Hall                         2.00pm


As this is a special year for us, we are compiling a 2008 scrap book of, not only our Institute, but also a snap shot of the village and what is happening in this year.  If you have a birth, marriage or death in East Coker in this year and would like the event to be recorded in our scrap book please let me know on either 862816 or e-mail da.jo@virgin.net


Joyce Pryor





The building work is progressing well, and the electric poles have been relocated at a much reduced price thanks to Tim Dyer & Western Power.  The roof is hoped to be on in early April.


The Annual Village Quiz was, again, a great success with 19 teams competing for the 'Cockerel'.  The result was a close-run thing, with the Gardening Club being the victors.  Unfortunately, we were unable to hold the event in the East Coker Hall, but the venue in Odcombe turned out to be a cosy alternative.  A grand total of £812 was added to the fund. 


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who assisted and competed in making the Quiz such a great village event.


Our next large fund raising event will be an 'Auction of Promises' later in the year.


Bridget Sugg





The Photography classes are:     Stones              Single flower                              Insect

Spring (Novice class - not to have won a 1st)        A barn


One photograph each (6in x4in max) of four generations (on one mount not exceeding 15in x 12in).


There will also be fruit and vegetable classes, flowers, Floral Art, home-craft, craft classes and children's classes.  All are welcome to join in or visit the wonderful displays on the day.





After the end of January, the Club, like so many other local groups, could not use the East Coker Hall while it was undergoing major repairs.  A variety of venues were used for the rest of the Spring quarter's meetings.  In February, Brimsmore Garden Centre hosted an enthralling evening when members heard of the adventures in the designing and setting up of a demonstration garden at the Hampton Court Flower show.  In March, the Club met at The Castle Inn, West Coker, when a cheque for £320 was presented to the Free Wheelers (hospital dispatch riders), before the talk on Fruit and Vegetables by a member of staff from John Rowsell's small-holding at Barrington, who brought some unusual samples for display.  The April meeting on 'Rock Gardens and Alpines' was held in Holy Trinity Church, Lysander Road.  In May the meeting will be held at The Quicksilver Mail, and by June it is hoped the East Coker Hall will be re-opened.


From 7-9 April a group of members went on a three-day coach trip to South Wales, visiting gardens near Cardiff and one in North Somerset on the way home.


On 8 March, Club members proved to be the 'brains of East Coker' when the team came first in the Village Quiz in aid of the Pavilion Fund.


Early Summer Programme

Thursday 8 May – Den Bridel 'Somerset Wildlife' 7.30pm The Quicksilver Mail

Wednesday 11 June – Visit to Chelsea Physic Garden, leaving East Coker at 8.15am

Thursday 12 June – John S Stuart 'A Portrait of Exmoor' 7.30pm East Coker Hall

Thursday 10 July – 'The Barn Owl Trust' 7.30pm East Coker Hall


Further details from the Secretary, Catherine Denney 862294 or the Treasurer, Stan Shayler 42029





As I am sure most people are only too aware, the East Coker Hall has been closed since late January.  At that point the wooden block floor had been forced up at several points making it unusable.  Investigations showed that this had been caused by water leaking from the heating pipes which are laid under the concrete floor.  The extent of the damage indicates that this must have been occurring for many months.  It was almost certainly the very wet weather in January, and the consequent rise in water table levels around the Hall, that caused the water to escape by rising through the floor rather than escaping by other routes.


The Management Committee had decided, before this problem arose, to use two recent legacies to replace the radiators and also the windows and doors with double-glazed units.  The intention here is to improve heating efficiency, save on heating oil costs, cut down on heat loss through windows and doors, improve security and reduce the noise levels escaping from the building.  We have, also, now decided to cut off all under-floor pipe-work and to re-route it above ground.  This is the third time that underground leakages have caused significant problems and this approach will prevent any repetition.


The work to take up the old floor, and to begin the preparations for the laying of the new one, started on 18 March.  The heating contractor started work on 25 March.  The work schedule we have agreed should see all the heating work completed within three weeks.  The heating system will then be run 24 hours a day to help with the drying out of the saturated concrete floor.  As soon as it has dried sufficiently, the next stage of the work to lay the new floor membrane will begin.  The double-glazing contractor is aiming to start replacing the existing doors and windows on 21 April.  This work should take about a week.  Once this has been completed the final stage of relaying the wooden floor will begin.  If all goes to plan, we hope to be able to re-open the Hall in June.


However, it is impossible to give any firm guarantee at the moment.  Everything hinges on how long it will take the concrete floor base to dry out before the necessary repairs and preparation work can begin.  It is very wet indeed.  Also, because of the damage to the concrete base, it may be necessary to undertake more repair and preparation work, prior to the laying of the new wooden block floor, than was originally envisaged.


Nevertheless, we are confident that, once we are able to re-open, the community will find it has the use of a beautifully refurbished facility and that the major problems that have occurred with the floor and the heating system will be a thing of the past.  The Management Committee would like to thank all users of the Hall for their patience and understanding throughout this very frustrating period for us all and would assure you that we are working hard to ensure high quality repair and improvement work and a re-opening as soon as possible.


John Hollis, Chairman – East Coker Village Hall Management Committee.





The Annual General Meeting of the Trust will be held on Monday 28 April 2008 in the Dampier Room, East Coker Hall, Halves Lane, commencing at 7.30pm. 


Any organisation wishing to have a representative on the Committee must apply to the Secretary, Mrs H Styles, 21 Mill Close, East Coker BA22 9LF, in writing before the meeting.


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





Tuesday 29 April  'We have heard Ravens' Catherine Simmonds and Gini Astley present original poetry and music inspired by the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth.


Tuesday 27 May  'Italian Evening' – Hosted by Sue Hedges with art by John Carter


Tuesday 24 June  Jane Williams – prize-winning poet Jane Williams from Wells presents an evening of her poetry


All meetings are at The Helyar Arms, East Coker, 7.30pm.  Everyone welcome.  Contact details - David Cloke 862623 or Joyce Best 862317



Young People




Scout Jumble Sales  Due to repairs to the East Coker Hall we have cancelled our Spring Jumble Sale, however, our Autumn Jumble Sale will proceed as normal on Saturday 18 October at the East Coker Hall at 2.00pm. 


Please save your jumble for this event.  Remember we will collect.  Contact Max Bugler 862186


Waste Paper Collections:        Saturday 26 April           Saturday 31 May           Saturday 28 June





A Barn Dance, featuring 'The Yetties', will be held on 27 June, 7.30pm – 11.30pm at the East Coker Hall.


Tickets £8, to include a 'ploughman's' (cheese or pate).  Contact Nora White 477897. 


Proceeds will go St Margaret's Hospice, Yeovil.





The Brownies have, unfortunately, been suspended until further notice, due to the change of times and workload of the leaders.  If anyone would like to know more details about other units in Yeovil, please contact Anna Shutler, Yeovil Division Commissioner 848768


Yeovil Division Guides (Bright Sparks) are performing at The Octagon Theatre, Yeovil, 20 - 22 November 2008.


Fund-raising events

3 May   Jumble Sale, St Peter's Hall, Coronation Avenue, Yeovil, from 1.45pm.

11 May  Dog Show and Fayre, Davis Hall, West Camel, 12 noon.  Contact Verity Smith for entry forms.        t 850965

7 June   Yeovil Town Band at Holy Trinity Community Church, 7.30pm - 10.00pm.  Tickets £5, from Anna Shutler, 848768





There is great excitement at the Pavilion.  The children are thrilled to be at first-hand to see the new building literally rising from out of the ground.  The clever planning has meant that the disruption is minimal to the group and the playgroup plays on.  The group is always eager to utilise the wonderful outside facilities and this is true, as the building work is carefully fenced off.  In fact, it is even more exciting going outdoors as there is something new to see each day, and we all know how much children love construction and all associated with it.


The wealth of experience of our fully qualified staff offers quality childcare and education through play, exploring the wider environment and local community with project-based activities.  Ofsted have consistently given the group excellent reports and commended us for the interaction and encouragements between staff and children, partnership with parents, teaching, management and the emphasis on fun.


Children can join us from the age of 2½, and Nursery Education Funding is available from the term after the third birthday.  We are open during term time every weekday morning, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and offer optional lunch cover for children who like to bring a packed lunch.  The playgroup offers extended opening hours (a breakfast club and ‘after-school’ club for pre-schoolers) – please contact Kay Strode if you would like more information of this exciting opportunity on your doorstep.  For more information and to put your child/children on the waiting list, please contact Kay Strode on 07798 812540 or after 6.00pm on 872126.


Please keep your eyes open for information on a fundraising 'Messy Morning' (postponed due to work at the East Coker Hall), and for information on the Playgroup Annual Fair to be held on the playing fields.  The playgroup will be open, subject to demand, over the two-week school holiday on 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 April.  Please contact the number above for a Booking Form.



The Churches





Sunday 20 April – Celebrate Saint George.  10.00am – bring your friends to sing a 'surprise' of well-loved hymns with descants and a fanfare to salute H.M. The Queen's birthday.

Sunday 27 April – Rogation Procession.  10.00am – ending at the Vicarage for refreshments.

Thursday 1 May – Ascension Day.  6.30pm – Eucharist

Sunday 4 May – Family Service.  10.00am – visiting speakers Peter and Margaret Long on Children of Fiji.

Sunday 11 May – Pentecost.  10.00am Sung Eucharist, 6.00pm Evensong.

Sunday 18 May – Trinity.  8.00am Holy Communion, 10.00am Family Eucharist.

Sunday 1 June – Family Service.  10.00am – Afterwards a Summer Picnic in the Vicarage Grounds


Church AGM – Tuesday 29 April, 7.30pm, St Michael's Church.


Annual Plant Sale. – Saturday 17 May, 10.00am – 12.30pm at the Vicarage



Tuesday 3 June, 8.30am a coach of parishioners to visit Special Church Silver Exhibition at the Goldsmith's Company, London.  £25 to include lunch.  Bookings, please phone 862125 or write to the Vicarage as soon as possible.


Church and Village Fete

Saturday 5 July 2.00pm in the Vicarage grounds.





Until June we will be holding our meetings at the East Coker Christian Fellowship Hall, Burton Lane, (in June we hope to return to the East Coker Hall).


The dates for the next meetings and speaker are on Ezra are:

Wednesday 16 April 7.00pm Edward Armistead – Ezra 6

Wednesday 21 May 7.00pm Ed Moll (St George's, Wembdon) – Ezra 7

Wednesday 18 June 7.00pm James Dudley-Smith (St John's, Yeovil) – Ezra 9 and 10


Do join us and bring your friends with you.  Refreshments are served after each meeting


For further details contact Roy Hodder 862519 or Edward Armistead 862785





Weekly Meetings

1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays 11.00am – Worship Service.  On the first Sunday of each month this service incorporates Communion.  Please note, approximately once a month we have a joint meeting with the Mill Church alternating between the Chapel and the School.  2nd Sunday 11.00am – Family Service.  2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sunday evenings at 6.30pm – Communion.  Tuesdays 7.45pm – Prayer Meeting and discussion time.  We are currently basing our discussion around a DVD and book by Philip Yancey entitled 'What's so amazing about Grace?'  Wednesdays – Bible Study in a home.  Other services as announced. 


Kevin Chapman is available in the village each Wednesday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.  He can be contacted on 0781 2726853 or e-mail ec.cf@hotmail.co.uk  Please do feel free to contact him if you have any queries about the Christian faith, or if you would like someone to pray with you. 


Coffee Stop

As from Wednesday 2 April the Hall will be open for coffee and tea from 11.15am until 3.15pm each Wednesday.  All are welcome to come along and it is simply meant to be a place where friends can get together for a chat.  There will be no charge for refreshments.


Walking Group

We are looking to form a walking group (or two) in the Village.  We have in mind one group as a conventional walking group who get together at regular intervals to tramp across the countryside and use the Hall as a base for meeting and starting out from, and a place for coffee and banter after each walk.  The second group would be what we can only describe as a 'pushchair friendly walking group', primarily for young mums and dads (and their children) – we suspect somewhat shorter walks, probably via swings and slides, and again ending up at the Hall for coffee and banter.  If anyone is interested please contact Kevin Chapman either on the above mobile or e-mail or on his home telephone number of 422594.


Marriage Course

On 1 May we are commencing another Marriage Course.  It will run on a Thursday for seven evenings until 3 July (as you will gather they are not consecutive evenings). Each evening lasts from about 7.00pm until 9.45pm and includes a meal.  Many people think that Marriage Courses are only for marriages which are ‘in trouble’ – that’s not the case.  They are intended as a sort of MOT for marriages.  Again, if anyone wants further details, please telephone Kevin Chapman as above.





Closworth Family Services

On 20 April at 10.0am at the Family Service, I shall be talking about the events after the Resurrection.

Trinity Sunday 18 May, I shall be talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit

Sunday 15 June, the speaker will be Roderick Baker, a Reader from St. John's, Yeovil, who I have known for many years


Monica 862834





Churchwardens: Mrs Carol Blackmore 862192 and Anthony Dening 47294


There are no services in April whilst the Vicar is away.


Holy Communion Services – May to July

Sunday 4 May 9.00am               Sunday 18 May 11.30am

Sunday I June 9.00am                Sunday 15 June 11.30am

Sunday 6 July 9.00am                Sunday 20 July 11.30am


According to the architect's Quinquennial Report, the church porch should be repaired as soon as possible due to the fact of the damage to the roof and the theft of the lead flashing.  A Coffee Morning will be held at The Helyar Arms on the 29 August to help raise funds.



Village News




As you will know, the Post Office is threatened with closure, but East Coker has risen to the challenge.  All the Societies have written letters of protest, the petition in The Shop is doing well, and many individuals have written and e-mailed with their objections.  Even children have joined in with drawings and messages.


The consultation period ends on 9 April, so you still have time to play your part.  It is important that we feel we did our best.


Write to   Network Development Manager

               Post Office Ltd

               c/o National Consultation Team

               FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM or e-mail consultations@postoffice.co.uk    PLEASE


However, our campaign does not end there.  As you know, many villages have also lost their shop when the Post Office closed.  We are lucky to have Paul and Vicki who have transformed the shop in the short time they have been there.  Their two daughters are happily settled in the school and playgroup.  We know they will do their best to keep the shop going, but we all need to support them and use the shop as much as possible.


A village without a shop is a village without a heart.  It's a lifeline to the elderly, the vulnerable and the non-drivers.


What will we do if we can't walk to the shop every day for our newspapers and necessities, for our laughs and chats and updates on village life?  That is what keeps us all so hale and hearty!


So, please, let's all pull together and save our happy way of life.


Diana Bugler





The mobile library visits on a Thursday – the times and dates for the stops in 2008 are:


East Coker

Helyar Arms                  11.45am – 12 noon        North Coker Bus Shelter 12.05pm – 12 25pm

Meadow View                12.30pm – 12.50pm       Maudesley Fields                       12.55pm – 13.15pm


Sutton Bingham           Bower Farm                   13.25pm – 13.45pm


Dates: 17 April              8 May               29 May             19 June             10 July              31 July              21 August





The Helyar Arms has kindly arranged to hold a Coffee Morning on 27 June 2008 in aid of this marvellous charity.


Membership of this library is by individual recommendation but one doesn't have to be blind or visually impaired to be recommended.  It is a free service of books, on cassettes or MP3, on a wide range of subjects – modern and classic novels, thrillers, westerns, romance, fantasy, history, travel, biography, etc.  The books are expertly read and unabridged, therefore opening the world of literature to those whose disability, whether visual or physical, makes reading impossible.


This service has been of great benefit to me over the last three years and I am delighted to have this opportunity of expressing my appreciation.  I look forward to seeing all my friends and others at The Helyar Arms on 27 June


Sally Jackson





Sunday 18 May 2008 – Weavers Lodge, East Coker  10.00am – 4.00pm


We will be holding our 4th plant sale in aid of St. Margaret's Hospice on Sunday 18 May 2008.  We are hoping for much better weather than in recent years!


Plants on sale will be geraniums – many different species:  Salvias, marigolds, tagetes, mesembryanthemums, mimulus, gaillardia, nasturtiums, lobelia, cosmos, gazanias, osteospermum, rudbeckia, antirrhinum, salpiglossis, verbena and more.


We are situated up the lane adjacent to Cross Cottages.  Parking is extremely limited and we would ask people to park on the road by the school.  There will be signs directing you to the sale.  I have a willing husband with a wheelbarrow to carry your plants to your car!


Looking forward to seeing you.


Christine and Glenn Seymour 863961





I wonder if the average inhabitant of East Coker knows how much we owe to the generosity of Betty and Francis Drake, who over the years have donated a great deal to the welfare of this village.  The family owned the webbing mill that was replaced by the housing estate known as Drake's Meadow.


In their lifetime they gave the village the land on which East Coker Hall was built.  Their gift ensured that it was to be run by a charity managed by villagers.  Then a few years later they increased this gift by donating half the field to the west of the Hall to this charity.  A by-product of this gift was that the Hall charity was able to benefit when the present estate was built on the site of their factory.


In their wills they also bequeathed a high proportion from their estates to the Hall and the Church.  The Church was able to repaint the chancel and repair the roof and the Hall will be able to update its heating and to double-glaze most of its windows.





The second edition of Abigail Shepherd's book 'East Coker - A Village Album', with its anecdotes of village life and over 190 photographs, is being reprinted, price £12.50.


Advance orders are now being taken.  If you wish to reserve a copy, please fill in the form below, enclosing £12.50 per copy ordered, and leave it at the East Coker P.O. & Store, or to Lesley Lindsay at Little Meadow, Coker Marsh, by 30 April 2008.  You will be notified when the books are printed and delivered to East Coker for collection.  The print run is due to take place during May.


If you wish to have the book posted either within the UK or overseas, please e-mail cokerbooks@live.co.uk for postage and packing costs, and to make the necessary arrangements.  Payment can still be made using the form below, but please add a note that the book is to be posted.






Name ……………………………………………….  Contact Tel No …………………………………….


Address (in case we need to contact you)





Number of copies @ £12.50each …………..….…...       Payment enclosed………………………







I am cycling from London to Paris in aid of St. Margaret's Hospice this September.  The 300 mile journey is spread over four days!!!


The journey in stages goes from London to Calais (91 Miles) – Calais to Abbeville (78 miles) – Abbeville to Beauvais (69 miles) and the final day finishing at the Eiffel Tower (60 Miles).


Your support would be welcomed not only when I am training, but in helping me raise as much sponsorship as I can for a very worthwhile local cause.  You can contact me at 5 Broadacres, East Coker, 862826 or e-mail AMcdoug105@aol.com


Andrew McDougall





Charity Coffee Mornings – 10.00am - 12 noon


Friday 25 April       Hope & Homes for Children

Friday 30 May       F.A.C.E

Friday 27 June      Calibre Audio Library

Friday 25 July       Almshouses Charity

Friday 29 August   All Saints' Church, Sutton Bingham





It’s exciting times over at Stanchester Sports Centre – and we’d like to shout about it!  Our already top-class gym facilities have just gained the GP referral accreditation, another crown on our steadily growing list of accolades.


Being a GP referral Centre means that we now have staff and facilities at a high enough level to accept members of the public with a number of differing medical conditions, from diabetes, to osteoporosis, and high blood pressure.  Our specially trained staff will take you through the gym process, giving you a full induction to ensure you are confident with using the equipment, and write you a programme tailored to your specific needs. 


Our top of the range fitness room ensures that you are never on your own.  Your personal ID number, given to you during your induction, means that each piece of equipment knows who you are as soon as you enter your ID into it.  Each bit of kit will bring up your programme, and guarantees that you are completing the exercise with the correct form and tempo.  It evens records exactly what you are doing during your workout, so both you and your instructor can work from a true set of results. 


Your highly qualified instructor will review your programme and send you regular messages about your progress and any changes you may need to your programme.  It means one-to-one contact with your instructor is always at your fingertips.


Fitlinxx and our gym facilities are open to the general public as well as GP referral clients, for more information contact Stanchester Sports Centre on 825261, or visit www.fitlinxx.com to find out about the amazing potential to meet your exercise goals.  Contact your local GP to find out more about the GP referral programme and how you can start to enjoy exercise today.  





Further to our Appeal in the January edition of the Newsletter, we are more than pleased to report an encouraging response and that initial donations, loans and promises has resulted in over a quarter of our target of £40,000 having been raised.


We are now seriously looking to begin the conversion this Summer, but we do, of course, urgently need your help in raising further substantial sums of money.  Any donations or loans, however small, will be greatly appreciated.


An early date for your diary is a Coffee Morning to be held at the Helyar Arms on Friday 25 July.  Arthur Rees, 862828  Roger Burt, 862125 (Trustees).





Vernal Equinox – 20 March 2008


The old saying about March, that it "comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" or vice versa, was not true this year.  We had the lion's roar in the middle of the month with severe storms along the south coast on the 10 March.  Strangely, the severest gusts in the village were not on the forecast day but a day later.  After a changeable January and a sunnier February, which brought forth a spell of frosty weather, March has been disappointing, but the sun is getting noticeably stronger.


This year we have had 10 frosty mornings, only one in January, but eight in February and, so far, one in March.  Rainfall this year has totalled 211mm (8.33ins).  The barometer fell rapidly during the night before the storms of March, from 990mb to a very low figure of 960mb.


I received a report that the March new moon, a bright thin crescent, just before the storms, had a visible old moon held in the crescent.  This beautiful sky feature has always been regarded as an omen of stormy weather and so it came to pass this time.  There is a reference to this visible old moon being a warning of storms in a 14th Century poem 'Sir Patrick Spens' when Sir Patrick wishes to put to sea, to the alarm of his crew, one of whom says:


                                  "late, late yestreen I saw the new moone

                                    Wi' the auld moone in hir arm

                                    And I feir, I feir, my deir master

                                    That we will come to harm"


They put to sea and all were lost in a storm.  Another precursor of bad weather appeared in the afternoon sky on 30 January.  The sun had a large halo around it. The following day was dull, wet and windy.


Some very mild days in January gave a splendid early show of daffodils down Bunford Hill.  As they were in full bloom from the turn of the year I rang the Council to congratulate them on the display and learned that the variety was Early Sensation.  By the middle of January many daisies had appeared on the lawn and I saw the first Bumble Bee flying on 2 February, when the day was sunny but cool at 6.7C (44F).  A correspondent reported the first butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell, flying on 9 February.  Another correspondent saw a pair of juvenile Barn Owls in the garden, a very welcome sighting.


Less welcome was a pair of bullfinches rapidly stripping my ornamental cherry of most of the flower buds.  Evidently gray squirrels dislike Magpies, for I watched a squirrel chasing a large Magpie along the branches of several trees as if the bird were a threat, perhaps to some young squirrels.  Magpies seem to be increasing in numbers, for a lot have been visiting the garden in March.  Goldfinches were active feeders on the seeds of over wintering Evening Primroses.  Celandines gave a bright, brave show in late January, while this year's show of Forsythia in front gardens has been particularly good.  Less so has been the number of frogs in my garden pond.  Two years ago I had over 20 frogs, last year there were ten but only a solitary frog has appeared this year.  I wonder if this is due to the reported fungal disease of frogs, now a world-wide threat to the species.


Saturn has been a prominent sight in the southern night sky.  Mars is far to the west of Saturn and will soon move out of sight.  In the next couple of months Saturn will move to the west to be replaced by Jupiter, low in the south-eastern sky at night.  A total eclipse of the moon on 21 February was at the inconvenient time of 3.25 am and doubtless seen only by dedicated moon-watchers.  But the whole eclipse was visible from this village.


Francis Cloke





The Spring concert features music from the classical period, a Te Deum  by Franz Josef Haydn, which is Haydn at his most cheerful, and, if you like that, you will almost certainly enjoy the Mass in Bb by one of his pupils, Johann Hummel, and Handel’s Organ Concerto 13 in F Major,  'The Cuckoo and the Nightingale’.


The programme also premieres a new work by the Musical Director, Richard Barrell.  Written in memory of Graeme Scriven, 'Wings of the Morning' is also melodic and cheerful.  We are pleased to welcome soprano, Mary Morgan, and the organist of Lichfield Cathedral, Graeme’s brother Philip, as our organ soloist.  All in all, a concert not to be missed!


Programme as follows:

St. Mary’s Church, Chard at 7.30pm, Thursday, 24 April 2008

The Church of St Peter and St Paul, South Petherton, at 7.30pm Friday, 25 April 2008.


Tickets cost £10.00, (£5.00) for students.  Telephone bookings and information 850483 or 01460 30305. Tickets are also available from: Emery Newsagent (Chard); Minster Pharmacy (Ilminster); Tyrie’s (Crewkerne); N & D News Ltd (South Petherton) and members of the Choral Society.





The Wessex Morris Men will be dancing in the village on two occasions this Summer. 


Monday 9 June, 8.15pm – The Forester's Arms, Holywell, East Coker.

Monday 14 July, 7.30pm – Outside The Helyar Arms, East Coker





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in July 2008.  Copy, please, to Lesley Lindsay, Little Meadow, Coker Marsh, East Coker or e-mail Lesley Lindsay or to the East Coker Post Office & Store by Monday 23 June 2008.