East Coker Society



January 2005    Free Issue  No 117


Chair: John Sugg  863435

Newsletter Editor: Lesley Lindsay  862868

Secretary: Sarah Owen  862218

Treasurer: Keith Helliar  863700



East Coker Society News





The East Coker Society would like to thank all the distributors of our Newsletter, who go out in all winds and weather to ensure that each household gets their Newsletter four times a year.  Thank you - we couldn't do it without you!  Thank you, too, to Martin Wells who organises the distribution and to Sally Jackson who proof-reads each edition to make sure there are no mistakes!





The planned events for the weekend are listed below; a more comprehensive programme will be in the April edition of the Newsletter.


·        Saturday am. – Dampier Room, East Coker Hall – Exhibition of World War II memorabilia by the Royal British Legion

·        Saturday am. – East Coker Hall – Home Made Wine Tasting organised by the Wine Circle

·        Saturday pm. – East Coker Hall – Tea Dance with entertainment, organised by the WI, Time to Share and the East Coker Players.

·        Saturday & Sunday – Flower Festival at St. Michael's Church

·        Sunday am. – Special Church Service at St. Michael's Church

·        Sunday pm. – The Recreation Field and the Pavilion – Children's Races, Fancy Dress and Stalls

·        Sunday pm – The Recreation Field and the Pavilion – Party/Picnic with entertainment, with Bar, Pimms/Cider and Food Stalls. 





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.



Christmas Bazaar


A very big thank you to everyone who helped and supported the Christmas Bazaar.  We made £350 which will help towards the printing of the Newsletter.



Village Clubs and Organisations




"Time to Share" still meets on alternate Mondays from 2.30pm – 4.00pm in the East Coker Hall, starting on 17 January with an afternoon of music given by The Warry Brothers.


This year the club (now with a membership of 60+) celebrates its 30th Birthday with a programme which, hopefully, promises to provide something for everyone to enjoy.  In addition to the talks and presentations, there will be outings and competitions, dances, visits to St. Michael's church to sing our favourite hymns and carols, not to mention bazaars and, of course, the Birthday and Christmas parties!


We are a happy, friendly crowd; visitors and new members can always be sure of a really warm welcome, so, if you would like find out more about "Time to Share", please contact either Alison Charles  863137 or Jean Bicknell  478733





Exercise to your favourite Latin tunes.  Have fun, get fit and tone up with Rachael.  Please bring a drink and wear comfortable clothing.  £3.00 per class.  9.45am – 10.30am on Fridays at East Coker Hall.


Many thanks, Rachael Cozens


The East Coker Committee of Action Medical Research will be holding a "Black Tie & Tiara" Ball on Saturday 2 July 2005 from 7.00pm – 2.00am.


This evening is being held at St. Antony's Leweston School, Leweston, near Sherborne.  This is always a very enjoyable and popular event, so put this date in your diary!  Further details will be in the next Newsletter but if you can't wait until then, contact Leigh Mead on 863466!





We start off the New Year with a bang in the form of a party/dance on Saturday 8 January.  At our first meeting of the year on Wednesday, 2 February at 8.00pm at the East Coker Hall, Warden John Marshman, will be telling us all about the management of Ham Hill.


The winemaker’s forum started in 2004 proves to be popular with the more serious winemakers of the Circle.


Due to further cancellations we again have two vacancies for the coach trip of nine days in June to the Rhein region of Germany.  There will be a full programme for the week but any members of the party who wish to ‘do their own thing’ anytime are quite welcome to do so.  This is a non profit making holiday and anyone who would be interested in joining us should contact Joyce Pryor  862816





The next Annual General Meeting of the Trust will be held on 18 May 2005.  The committee of the Trust is made up of elected, co-opted and representative members.  Any organisation that wishes to have a representative on the Committee must submit a written application to the Secretary, Mrs H Styles, 21 Mill Close, East Coker BA22 9LF, to arrive no later than 6pm Saturday, 30 April 2005.




The officers of the club are as follows:  Chairman  Mr Mervyn Westlake;  Treasurer  Mr Alan Jones;  Club Captain  Mr George Dudden;  Secretary  Mrs Margaret Robins  864174





The last few months again produced interesting speakers.  In October we had a return visit from Keith Mayes, who as usual gave a fascinating talk on potatoes, also producing some unusual specimens.  We also managed a coach trip to the Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens, for the illuminations.  The weather was kind and everyone agreed it had been a good addition to the Autumn programme.


Our AGM was in November, and we had a good attendance by members, who enjoyed Supper and Skittles after the meeting.  The new Committee are, Chair: Olga Clifford; Secretary: Vivienne Ford; Treasurer: Catherine Denney; and the committee members, Diana Dunn, Don White and Sarah Rashley, who is now producing our Newsletter 'Snippets'.


December closed the year with a light-hearted talk by Bob Fox reminiscing of his time spent working with many well known music-hall artists and comedians.


2005 starts with a talk by Mark Stainer, Head Gardener at East Lambrook Manor.  February's speaker is Louise Reilly from Carimore Environmental Trust.  March brings another visit by Sally Gregson, this time talking about 'Hellebores'.  Also, in March, we have a three-day trip to Cornwall, visiting four gardens.  In April the speaker, Sue Applegate, from Kelways Nursery, will talk about 'Irises and Peonies'.





East Coker Pavilion Committee would like to thank everyone for their generous support during 2004.  We had some great fundraising events, ranging from the amazing Auction of Promises in January, through to the Race Night in March and the cycle ride in May and the “Storm” event in October.


Fundraising events also included the calendar depicting prominent houses in East Coker (there are still a few available at the Village Shop), the cook book of East Coker recipes and the sponsored slim.  Special thanks for their efforts in these projects must go to Graham Trott, Chris and John Cooper and Steve Oliver.  The Fund was fortunate to have been boosted by some generous donations from local groups for which we are incredibly grateful.  We were especially delighted to hear, just before Christmas, that Mrs T S Eliot had made a wonderful donation of £5,000.  We thank her for her generosity, and also Rev Roger Burt for being our ambassador!


We have some equally adventurous events planned for 2005.  The first is a 50/50 Auction, which will be held on Saturday 26 February.  There will be viewings from 11.00am until 4.00pm, during which time light lunches and refreshments will be served.  The auction will then take place in the evening.  Further details will be provided in a leaflet which will shortly be distributed throughout the households in the village.


An “Evening of Taste” with Lesley Water, an acclaimed chef who regularly appears on television, will take place on Friday 18 March.  Lesley will be demonstrating recipes using high quality local produce, much of which will be supplied by Goose Slade Farm.  There will also be wine tasting, organised by “Kindness with Wine”.  Tickets for this event cost £20 and are limited, so if you are interested, please contact Bridget Sugg on 863435.


Our main event this year is the 1940s VE day celebration which will take place on 11 June 2005.  This will be a musical extravaganza featuring Bertie's Big Band.  For the evening we will step back in time to 1945 with music, authentic vehicles, searchlights and period attire.  It should be a truly atmospheric event, and we suggest you put the date in your diaries now!


On the building side of things, we are hopefully in the final stages of red tape.  Hopefully by December 2005 we should be well on our way to seeing the new pavilion constructed.


2006 Calendar


The committee have decided that they would like the 2006 calendar to be of views of East Coker.  If anyone has a photo that they would like to submit for consideration, please would they send it to either Bridget Sugg, Little Foxholes, East Coker  863435 or Robert Mead, Townsend Villa, East Coker  862972 by the 28 February 2005.  Please put your name and address on the back so that they can be returned to the owner.





The Royal British Legion will be holding an exhibition of memorabilia on the morning of Saturday 9 July in the Dampier Room, East Coker Hall to coincide with the VE/VJ village celebrations.  If anyone has some memorabilia they would be happy to lend, please would they contact John Field  862649


Poppy Appeal

It has once again proved to be a record year for the East Coker Poppy Appeal, topping last year’s total by £139.37.  Many thanks to all collectors and all who gave so generously.  I know next year is a long way off but I will be looking for a collector for the Tellis Cross area in East Coker.  Anyone interested in this small round should give me a ring.  Once again many thanks.

Sue Hounsell. Tel: 01308 424702





We start our new year’s programme on Thursday 27 January with Alison Charles giving us an illustrated guide to her fascination with butterflies worldwide.  We meet on the last Thursday of each month at the East Coker Hall at 7.30pm.  New members are always welcome.


Our next whist drive, which is open to all who enjoy this card game, is on Thursday 20 January 7.30pm at East Coker Hall.

Jumble Sale Saturday 19 February at 2.00pm East Coker Hall.



East Coker Players would like to thank everyone who supported them at their May evening of food and entertainment and their November pantomime.


Without more local support the players will not be able to continue to function properly (backstage help, make-up, music, dressmaking as well as performers are needed).  Luckily outside entertainers were recruited for the last production or else this would have been cancelled.


East Coker Players meet on the 1st Monday every month in the Dampier Room from 7.30pm – 9.30pm (depending on the programme for productions).  Membership is £3 adults, £1 children (over 8 years and accompanied by an adult for the 1st three meetings).  For more details please contact Nora White  477897


Darren Shutler (Chairperson for 2004)




Forthcoming Events – Burns Supper, The Apple Loft, The Helyar Arms, 26 January 2005 at 7.00pm

An evening of poetry with a Scottish flavour with a three-course traditional supper prepares by the pub's award-winning chefs @ £25 per head.  Reservations through Sue McKerracher 863633 or by post to Tellis Farm, East Coker, BA22 9JP.  We are limited to 36 in the Apple Loft, so please register your interest as soon as possible.  Special vegetarian meal available.


Sunday 27 February at 7.30pm

Catherine Simmonds, winner of our 2004 poetry writing competition, presents an audio piece about the working life of Karl Edwards, horse logger and farrier, together with some of her own poetry.


T S Eliot Donation

A very pleasant surprise just before Christmas – a cheque from Old Possum's Practical Trust of £200 for the East Coker Poetry Group.  This will cover the cost of running a poetry writing competition in 2005.



Young People




East Coker Rangers U10 Football Club is a club for children from East Coker and the surrounding area aged ten and under.  Established in its current format in 2003, the club initially had only one team.  At the beginning of the 2004/2005 season an Under 8 Squad was introduced.  Next season the club intends to expand to four teams in the U11, U10, U9 and U8 age groups.


The Club is delighted to announce that it has recently been awarded the Football Association’s Charter Standard Award.  This is a quality mark award recognising the club’s commitment to comply with the FA’s coaching standards and best practice in club administration, child protection and first aid.


Matches are currently played at East Coker School and the club would like to thank the school for all its support.  Training sessions are held in Yeovil and at Stanchester School for the different age groups.


East Coker Rangers U10 FC is self-funding and in view of the number of teams we hope to run next season, any offers of sponsorship from local businesses would be gratefully received!  For information please contact the Club Secretary, Emma Trickey on 864410




If your daughter is 7 years of age and wants to be a Brownie, we currently have spaces and meet on a Thursday evening from 5.00pm – 6.15pm at East Coker School.
For more information please call Jo Lock  412030 or Tracey Carter  434890





Waste Paper Collections

As we have been unable to collect sufficient waste paper to fill our regular skip we will only be collecting NEWSPAPERS in future (daily, weekly e.g. Daily Express, Western Gazette etc.)  We will continue to have our usual collection point opposite the school; however this will now be from 9.00am – 10.30am on the last Saturday of each month.  If possible please flat pack your newspapers & tie into bundles.  Arrangements for Nash Lane & Helena Road will be co-ordinated separately by Ray Smith.


If you like recycling why not put out your magazines etc. for the council collections but keep your newsprint for the village Scouts.  It has long been an important source of income for the Scout Group.  With queries regarding waste paper please contact Max Bugler  862186


Scout Jumble Sale dates for 2005

Spring – Saturday 16 April.       Autumn – Saturday 1 October.  Both to be held at East Coker Hall from 2.00pm.  Please start saving your jumble now.  Remember we will collect.  Contact Max Bugler  862186

Thank you for your continued support. Jackie Glover.





East Coker Pre-School Playgroup is registered with Ofsted and the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and follows the Foundation Stage curriculum.  We meet at The Pavilion and 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 mornings from 9.15am to 12 noon and on a Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon from 1.00pm to 3.30pm during term time.  At present we are able to offer lunch cover for children who would like to bring a packed lunch and stay until 1.15pm for a small fee.  To secure a place on the waiting list for your child/children, please contact Kay Strode on 872126 after 6pm. It is best to get your child's name down early on the waiting list, as places are limited.  Many thanks for your continued support.  Eve Dudden  Administrator



The Churches




Thank you to all who took part in the Christmas Nativity Play on Christmas Eve.  There will be the usual informal Family Service on Sunday 20 February, and the next one will be on Sunday 27 March to coincide with Easter Day.








Ash Wednesday       9 February  6.00pm Holy Communion

Mothering Sunday    6 March  8.00am Holy Communion; 10.00am Family Service; 6.00pm Evensong

Passion Sunday       13 March  8.00am Holy Communion; 10.00am Eucharist; 6.00pm Evensong

Palm Sunday                          20 March 8.00am Holy Communion; 10.00am Family Communion; 6.00pm Evensong

Maundy Thursday     24 March  6.00pm Holy Communion followed by 'The Watch'

Good Friday                            25 March  10.00am Stations of the Cross

Easter Saturday                      26 March  6.00pm Service of Light & New Fire

Easter Sunday                        27 March  8.00am Holy Communion; 10.00am Sung Eucharist; 6.00pm Evensong


St Michael's Bookstall Plant Sale – Bubspool House – 14 May 2005 - 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





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 has a Family Service 10.30am  The Lord's Supper 11.30am  Bible Study 6.30pm.  Other events announced weekly.


Contact us on  422594/862980 or 863735





These meetings are held once a month at East Coker Hall.  The emphasis is placed on preaching and teaching the Bible.  The dates of the next meetings are -


Fri 25 February at 7.00pm;  Wed 16 March at 7.00pm;  Wed 20 April at 7.00pm;  Wed 18 May at 7.00pm





Many of our activities in and around the village have begun again after the Christmas break.  A warm invitation goes out to anyone who would like to join us.  Over the coming year we will endeavour to highlight in the East Coker Newsletter some of the things that we are currently doing.


Sunday's  10.30am – 12 noon  East Coker School.

Monday evenings  (alternate) 7.45pm – 9.30pm 'House to House' – an informal evening for eating together and prayer.

Tuesday's  10.30am – 12 noon  East Coker Hall  'Little Wheelers' – our Parent and Toddler group.

Tuesday's  7.00pm – 9.00pm  East Coker School  'Bridges' – an evening for young people.  This is usually crowded and fun.

Thursday's  (alternate)  '9HPT' – our after school Sunday school including tea.

There is much more going on, both at home and abroad.  Do contact us on 863262 if you would like any more details.  Happy New Year!



Village News




Would anyone be willing to knit small hats for babies and young children suffering from hypothermia?  Any colour, any pattern and various sizes.  For further information, or to send the finished hats, please contact Sue Copley  862738




New Year's Day 2005


The past year, 2004, was a disappointing time for weather watchers.  It did not live up to the excellence of 2003.  Nevertheless we had a pleasant spell of warm weather in the early summer and even a short snowfall on Christmas Day.  Then, in a few minutes, East Coker was transformed into a Christmas card scene but the snow soon melted into the light of common day.


Rain in the year fell on 158 days.  In the first six months we had 73 rain days and in the last six months we had 85, giving a total for the year of 158 rain days.  Total rainfall was 910.93mm (35.51ins).  Over 25.4mm (1.0 ins) fell on five separate days in the year.


The year was a cool one, with 25 days of frost, 17 in the first three months and 8 in the last three months.  The year's lowest temperature of minus 5.7C occurred on 8 February.  On the hottest day, 2 August, the temperature rose to 26C (78.8F).


Although there were no great weather events during the year, a correspondent noted that on 17 December the barometric pressure rose remarkably steeply, with a rise of 7mb in an hour between 10.00am and 11.00am.  This compares with a normal rise of 2-3mb after a low.  Surprisingly the steep rise did not give the expected severe gales, although the day was marked by blustery showers.


In May, the usual garden birds deserted the garden. Evidently there was more food to their liking in the countryside.  Even when the colder weather returned in the autumn there was a marked reluctance of the few returning birds to feed from the bird table and nut feeders.  Only a solitary Robin remained throughout the summer.  But at the end of the year several correspondents reported flocks of over 600 high- flying seagulls returning to their roosts as the light faded.  I received welcome reports of a flock of over 30 Redwings in the village at the end of December and a sighting of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker feeding on a lawn on Christmas Day.


The generally cooler cloudy summer reduced the sightings of butterflies.  But a correspondent noted a group of large Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillars on an evening primrose shrub.  The usual food for these striking caterpillars is rose-bay willow herb.  Although butterflies were scarce in the summer the usual clouds of small winter moths appeared in the evenings of the coldest weeks of the year. All are small and very difficult to identify.


In the hedges there were many summer plants still flowering in early December, including white dead-nettle and charlock.  Holly bushes, which abound in parts of the village, carried a heavy crop of berries this autumn, as did other berried shrubs.  It was once thought that this warned of a hard winter to come but is more a function of suitable weather at the time of flowering.  While plants are unlikely to forecast the future there are reports of animals behaving strangely just before severe earthquakes, perhaps sensing weak tremors before the later severe shocks.


In 2005 there will be two partial eclipses of the sun, of which only one, on 3 October, will be observable from East Coker, at 09.00hrs.  Neither of the two lunar eclipses will be visible here.  Saturn will be prominent in the southern sky at bedtime during January to March.  Jupiter will be low in the eastern sky at that time.  Mercury, Venus and Mars will be very low in the eastern sky, as morning objects, but too near the rising sun for easy observation.


Francis Cloke  862496



The Parish Council meets the second Wednesday of every month at The Pavilion, the Recreation Field at 7.00pm.  The public can be at all meetings, unless there is a very delicate matter when they will be asked to recess, and there is also a ten minute 'open session' at the beginning of each meeting where the public can bring up any matter.





"Most people believe the local pub is far more important to their community than the church, says a survey Just 14.6% of those questioned said the church contributed most to their community, just ahead of the post office (11%) and behind the local shop (16.4%)"


This extract from, a recent weekly newspaper does not specify to what kind of community the 1,300 adults polled belonged, and residents of East Coker may have other priorities.  What is certain is that they are lucky to have a shop.


A Depressing Alternative

This was brought home to me when revisiting the Yorkshire village where my niece lives.  They lost their shop for nearly two years and the effect was depressingly dead - in spite of the pub down the road!  There was nobody walking along the pavement to collect pensions, papers or other goods; people needing the post office had to drive or take the bus to the nearest town, several miles away; no mothers with prams after leaving the older children at school; nowhere for bewildered drivers to call in and ask for directions; there was just the traffic roaring by on the busy trunk road.  When a gallant young couple reopened the shop, determined to work hard, to be open on Sunday mornings as well as at normal times, ready to provide what people needed, the village took on a new lease of life, and humanity began to reappear on the street.


What Our Shop Offers.

So, we are lucky.  What we don't realise, perhaps, is how much the shop offers us.  Beside a good range of basic groceries, vegetables and household goods there is a daily supply of fresh bread, pies and cakes from the Halstock Bakery, a joint of cooked ham to be sliced as required, and a selection of quality wines and other drinks at supermarket prices.  At the post office, as well as the usual postal services, foreign currency can be obtained and changed and there is a little known "flowers by post" service.  For those with bank accounts at Barclays, Lloyds, the Cooperative Bank and Alliance and Leicester it is possible to withdraw cash and pay in cheques.


This is not all.  Previously the shop closed every day for lunch and on Tuesday afternoons.  Now it remains open from 7.30am – 6.00pm on Mondays to Fridays, on Saturdays until 1.00pm and on Sundays from 8.00am – 12 noon.  (See next page for full details).


The shop has long had a tradition of a free delivery service once a week, on Thursdays, a godsend for those without a car, which makes it possible for them to do a "big shop" without having to lug it all home.

Since Steve and Lisha Oliver have been here the shop has had a face lift, reducing the counter space and enabling the crowded shelves to be more visible.  They have brought the shop up to date with a machine to take credit/debit cards, and mobile phones can be topped up, too.  The shop has long been an agency for dry cleaners and the present arrangement is with Gibbs of Yeovil.  Another service is the supply of drinks for parties on sale or return, and the hire of glasses.  The shop has also become a newsagent, with a rack of magazines and papers on display.  There is also a selection of greetings cards for all occasions; and, of course, the usual basic stationery.


The Social Side

Any local shop provides more than tangible goods.  There is the social aspect: a source of information and directions for lost drivers; chance meetings of friends from other parts of the village: and last but not least, social contact for lonely people (Ivy, who died a few months ago was a case in point, as she often popped over from Maudslay Fields on some or other pretext, but almost certainly because she wanted some company).  What is particularly nice about the present set-up is the laughter one often hears as one goes into the shop.


I have often heard it said about any village shop - including our own - that everything costs more.  This is often just an assumption.  Some things, perhaps, do, but for a lot of things the prices are similar to those in a supermarket.  There are often special offers, among the wines, for instance, with a special price for two or three bottles.  "Buy one, get one free" is also available sometimes.  It is a matter of minutes to pop round to the shop by car or on foot, using the minimum of petrol.


Some people are put off by the limited parking space, but there is often ample room round the comer in Mill Close, no further than the outer reaches at Tesco, Safeway or Asda.


A previous owner of the shop once said to me: "If everyone in the village came into the shop, just once a week to buy something - they needn't spend much - it would make a lot of difference."


It is a great asset to East Coker to have such a hardworking, positive and cheerful young couple running the shop, with their lively helpers, Leigh who knows everybody, and Vicky.  Let us make sure we keep them!


Opening Hours


SHOP                                                                                                  POST OFFICE

Monday to Friday 7.30am – 6.00pm                                        Monday 8.00am – 5.30 pm

Saturday 7.30am – 1.00pm                                                    Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 8.00am – 1.00pm

Sunday 8.00am – 12 noon                                                      Thursday 8.00am – 1.30 pm

                                                                                                           Saturday & Sunday Closed


Sally Jackson





For people with restricted mobility visiting our churches or attending services may have been a problem in the past but it need no longer be so.


St. Michael's has for some time had a ramp which can easily be placed over the steps at the entrance.  Access to All Saints', Sutton Bingham has been much more difficult until recently.  Now the previously uneven steps at the little gate have been replaced, a firm handrail installed on one side and a stay put in to secure the gate on the other, thus making the steps easier to manage.  Also a ramp can be arranged for wheelchair access, including the supply of a wheelchair, if needed.  All that is necessary is to contact one of the churchwardens beforehand.


Access to All Saints', Closworth has never been such a problem as the path and church entrance are all on the level.


For Christian Fellowship services in the Chapel, Burton Lane there is no problem as there is a side entrance which can be used by a wheel chair.


Nor is there any problem, for the Mill Fellowship, which meets on Sundays in the East Coker School.


St. Michael's and All Saints', Sutton Bingham are always open in daylight hours.  Both attract many visitors – the former for its connection with T.S. Eliot, and the latter for its mediaeval wall paintings and beautiful chancel arch.  In each case contributions from appreciative visitors are a welcome addition to church finances.  St. Michael's also has its bookstall where booklets and greetings cards may be purchased, and a small lending library of relevant books.


All Saints', Closworth, which is not on a "tourist route", is kept locked when there are no services.


Telephone numbers for more information: St. Michael's – Doreen Bates, 862706 or Bernard Booth, 862610; Closworth – Louise Owen, 872374 or Roger Barber, 872831; Sutton Bingham – Heather Snook 474138 or Anthony Dening 474294





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in April 2005.  Copy, please, to Lesley Lindsay, Little Meadow, Coker Marsh, East Coker or e-mail Lesley Lindsay or to the East Coker Post Office & Stores by Thursday 24 March 2005.