East Coker Society Newsletter


January 2006    Free Issue No 121


Chair: John Sugg   863435

Newsletter Editor: Lesley Lindsay   862868

Secretary: Sarah Owen   862218

Treasurer: Keith Helliar   863700


Happy New Year!



East Coker Society News




This Newsletter marks the 30th anniversary of the first publication produced by Derek Lumley.  The Society and Newsletter have evolved over the years with members serving various periods on the committee.  We have none of the original members still serving but have a good nucleus of people working to improve and maintain standards in a village which we sometimes forget how fortunate we are to be part of.


The Society carries out various projects throughout the year including the Christmas Bazaar, historical exhibitions, and Jubilee & VE/VJ Day celebrations.  We also look after the Paddock in the heart of the village, supply and maintain the notice boards, assist other groups within the community but the main thing the Society is known for is the quarterly Newsletter.


In the Parish Plan the comments were mainly favourable towards the Society but nearly everyone had a good word for the Newsletter.  We are able to include in it any relevant articles, features, calendar dates etc.  Your input is greatly appreciated as an interesting publication is only as good as its content, so please if you think of something of interest e-mail Lesley, it's that easy.


Whilst talking 'technical' it would be a great saving if more households would receive their copy by e-mail all you have to do is let Lesley have your details which will remain confidential.


This anniversary gives an opportunity to show some appreciation for the villagers who make it happen.  Firstly Martin Wells and all his delivery people, Sally Jackson for her proof-reading skills and last but not least Lesley Lindsay who has produced the Newsletter and the website with enthusiasm flair and dedication.


If anyone feels that they would like to get involved with any part of the Society, please contact me or any Society member.


So here's to the next 30 years!


John Sugg, Chairman East Coker Society





In the very first Newsletter it is interesting to note the following:


'Gardening Club – It is proposed to form a gardening club, if there is sufficient support.  Names and addresses are needed by the end of February of those interested, then, if the response is good, a meeting will be arranged to discuss plans'.


The Gardening Club is going strong today!





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 if you change your e-mail address.  Thank you.





A big thank you to everyone who came to the Christmas Bazaar, we made £341, and this will help with the printing costs of the Newsletter.


A special thank you must go to Carol Blackmore, without whom the Bazaar would not take place.  A thank you must also go to Father Christmas, who stopped off in East Coker on his way to the North Pole.  Last but not least is a thank you to the helpers and tea-makers in the kitchen.





Just a reminder that the clocks go forward one hour.



Village Clubs and Organisations




The club celebrated 25 years of serving Christmas Charity lunches on the 11 December 2005.  The first was on Sunday 6 December 1981 when 102 meals were served at a cost of £2.25 each.  The current organiser is Mary Ashley and now over 200 meals are cooked by willing helpers in their homes and the committee and friends always donate the desserts, which are all home-made.  The turkeys have been carved since the first lunch by Gerry Smith who has been ably supported over the years, firstly by Brian Vaux and now by Cecil Turner.  The wine has been provided by David Pryor for many years, and the team of waiters and waitresses do an expert job.  Let's look forward to the next twenty-five years!


The club has raised many thousands of pounds for charitable causes and the last lunch raised £1,154.  It was heard that a generator was urgently needed for a small orphanage of twelve children in Romania so an amount was given specifically for that.  There is still some more money to be donated to good causes.


Keep Fit meets on a Tuesday at 6.00pm in the East Coker Hall and anyone is welcome to join.


Mary Ashley 862263





You may have thought that the Pavilion Committee had been resting on its laurels since the spectacular success of the 1940s Evening in June last year – but you would have been wrong!!


It is true that there were fewer high profile fund-raising events during the tail end of 2005.  This was because the Committee has been concentrating its efforts on investigating and securing funding for the Pavilion from numerous grant-making bodies.  We have submitted some applications to, and met with representatives of, some of these grant-making bodies, including South Somerset District Council and the Football Foundation, and all early indications are very positive and encouraging.


We will, however, be back on the social scene again this year.  Events already planned include a Food Fair on the Paddock on 29 April, quizzes and the third annual cycle ride.  We also have calendars for sale at the reduced price of £2.50.


Progress is steadily being made and the East Coker Pavilion Committee look forward to enjoying your continued support during 2006.





Could you and your friends be the Brains of East Coker?


Some keen quizzers have laid down a challenge to all the clubs and societies in the village to prove themselves in the Inaugural East Coker Quiz.  This event will take place on Saturday 11 March at East Coker Hall; doors open at 7.00pm and the quiz will start at 7.30pm.  Teams will consist of eight people, and the prize will be a trophy.  We are hoping that this could become an annual event.


We are also hoping that each club or society in the village will enter a team, but groups of friends or colleagues are equally welcome to enter a team too.


Tickets are £7.50 per person, which will include a fish and chip supper.  There will be a licensed bar, and tea and coffee will also be available.


For tickets and information please call 863435.





The winners in the October draw were £100 Miss K Best, £50 Mrs D Dibben, £40 Mrs T Dunningham, £30 Mr J Sharp, £20 Mrs G Mead, £15 Mr D Jenkins, £10 Mr R Prichard, £10 Mr R Mainprize





We meet every last Thursday of the month at the East Coker Hall at 7.30pm.  January sees the start of our year.  We continue to have interesting speakers and demonstrators and in the coming year we will have a ‘hands on’ craft demonstration as well as talks, on women’s health, the history of the radio and the Fern Animal Sanctuary.  Slides of East Coker through the years, and illustrated talks on Lyme Regis and seaside piers also feature.


Later in the year we will hold a fun Open Evening which will be advertised nearer the time.  We have also scheduled a jumble sale at the East Coker Hall on Saturday 11 February, admission 20p, and run whist drives, open to all, at the Hall on the third Thursday of the month.  Please see diary events.  All new members very welcome.


Joyce Pryor





By the time this Newsletter goes to print the East Coker Wine Circle's traditional theme party will be been held, so we must look ahead to the remainder of the group's programme.  This should prove to be of considerable interest to members, whether or not they make wine.


Among the subjects will be 'It seemed like a good idea at the time' by Roy Jones, a former police officer (February); 'Twenty -two years on the road with Sooty' by Connie Creighton; BEM, which promises to be quite humorous (April); and 'Corkscrew, a thing of beauty' by J Ericson (May).  The March meeting will see the return of the very popular 'Call my wine bluff' (blind tasting) with an American supper.  June will see the end of the current year with the annual meeting followed by a commercial wine tasting, hopefully by Marks & Spencer.  9 July is a date for the diary – the Circle's annual BBQ lunch.  Further details nearer the date, but this event is open to friends and acquaintances of Wine Circle members.


David Pryor





There is an error in the telephone directory listing the telephone number of East Coker Hall Bookings it 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





The winner of the 2005 East Coker Poetry Competition was Ros Treloar who lives in Australia and entered a strong and vivid poem called 'Love Sears Cultural Memory'.  She visited and lived in the village several years ago and has some deep memories of that time.  Other poems submitted were read by those who had written them, and as usual it was a relaxed and friendly evening.


By the time you read this we shall have had a Christmas Poetry Party, with wine and mince pies, hosted by Amelia Bennett and Catherine Simmons.


Programme for 2006


Tuesday 24 January: Gaie Vickers from Batcombe will read some of her work 'Pictures from an Exhibition' – which will include some slides.


Tuesday 21 February: the two Johns – Darling and Burgess will entertain us with 'An Evening of Humorous Verse'.


All are welcome; the meetings are in the Apple Loft of the Helyar Arms, 7.30pm.


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





Programme for Spring 2006


All meetings take place on the second Thursday in the month in the East Coker Hall at 7.30pm.


9 February Frances Jones talks about 'Arboriculture'

9 March Chris Hunter discusses 'Growing your own Vegetables'

13 April Talk by a member of staff of Brimsmore Garden Centre on 'Pests and Diseases'


Advance Notice

11 May Open Evening.  The speaker will be David Howard, Head Gardener for the Prince of Wales, Highgrove, talking on 'Highgrove, the Garden'.  Further details from Rachel Blow 862849


Chair: Olga Clifford 862665,  Programme Secretary: Rachel Blow 862849, Treasurer:  Stan Shayler 420291





We are looking for new members.  Either new or experienced bowlers of any age would be made very welcome at our friendly club.  We meet on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 – 10 00pm and Friday afternoons from 2.30pm – 4.30pm at the East Coker Hall.


In March / April we will be holding an Open Day and if you would like to give bowling a try please come and join us.


Look out for our posters!


Contact Mr G Dudden 864222





Once upon a time a young Brownie in our village wanted to gain her Hostess Badge.  She had an idea!  'Let's invite all the local villagers to a tea party in our garden, a grand get-together sort of thing', and so with this in mind she set about the task of making it happen.


With a band of willing helpers, especially her mother who was crucial to the whole exercise, she toured the village from end to end issuing invitations.  On the morning of the great day, with some trepidation and prayers for favourable weather, sandwiches were cut, cream teas arranged and tables and chairs set up. A near military operation.  It deserved to be a success and it was; so much so that like Oliver – 'more was wanted, please'.


And so it was that 'Time to Share' was born.  What was intended as a one-off event continues today some 30 years on.  The venue has changed from a landscaped garden to a village hall in Halves Lane, but the format remains very much the same; encouraging community spirit and friendship.


Of course, after so many years as one would expect, very few of the original party-goers are still with us, but Flora Duley, the founder-member and President, Joyce Griffin and Gladys Russell continue to attend the fortnightly meetings whenever they can.


Every year a new and varied programme of events is planned and orchestrated by the Chairman Alison Charles, assisted by a strong and supportive committee.


Meetings in the East Coker Hall include invited speakers, slide shows, bring & buy sales, bazaars, handicraft competitions and displays, and once a year a birthday party, Christmas party and the occasional Tea Dance.  In addition there are trips to the sea, the countryside, the canal and the theatre, with carol singing at St Michael's Church to finish off the year.


Within the main group a Singing and Drama Group was formed, which in the past had 'trod the boards' at the Octagon Theatre and Westlands' Social Club as well as our own stage at the East Coker Hall, and it continues to sing at venues in and around Yeovil, with Alison on the keyboard and Jean Bicknell keeping the choir in tune.


Membership, to date is strong and anyone is welcome to visit and hopefully become a future member,  Give Alison a ring on 863137, come alone or with a friend, and you are assured of a warm welcome and help with transport if required; not forgetting the tea and cakes.  Who knows you might get a chance to trip down memory lane with an old neighbour or colleague you've lost contact with over the years.  It does happen.


How true that 'big oaks from little acorns grow' – when Time to Share can grow from a Brownie Hostess Badge!


That number to ring again is 863137!





The East Coker Branch was founded 75 years ago and will be celebrating this event during 2006.  Details to follow later.


Any enquiries, please contact Marilyn Smith 427846



The Churches




1 March Ash Wednesday 6.00pm – Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes

Saturday 11 March Lent Lunch at The Vicarage 12 noon – 2.00pm, soup, bread & cheese.  Donations towards Children's Fiji Project

26 March Mothering Sunday – 10.00am Family Service

9 April Palm Sunday, Procession of Palms, with choir, from Vicarage from 9.50am

13 April Maundy Thursday – 6.30pm Eucharist – Last Supper, The Watch

14 April Good Friday – 10.00am Stations of the Cross

15 April Easter Saturday – 6.30pm Service of Light and New Fire

16 April Easter Day – 8.00am Holy Communion, 10.00am Family Service


19 April Parish Church AGM 7.30pm East Coker Hall





5 February 9.00am Holy Communion  19 February 11.30am Holy Communion

5 March 9.00am Holy Communion  19 March 11.30am Holy Communion

2 April 9.00am Holy Communion

14 April Good Friday 11.30am Litany

16 April Easter Day 11.30am Holy Communion


Churchwardens: Mrs Heather Snook  474138        Mr Anthony Denning  474294





26 March Mothering Sunday – 10.00am Family Service followed by Buns and Coffee

14 April Good Friday – 9.00am Litany and Prayers, 10.00 Family Service

16 April Easter Day – 9.00am Holy Communion, 10.00 am Family Service followed by an Easter Egg Hunt





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



Young People




Newspaper Collections


The collection point is opposite the School on the last Saturday of each month from 9.00am – 10.30am.  If possible please flat-pack your newspapers and tie into bundles.  We are now only able to collect newsprint, sorry, no magazines.  Arrangements for Nash Lane and Helena Road are co-ordinated separately by Ray Smith.


Scout Jumble Sales for 2006


Spring – Saturday 22 April;  Autumn – Saturday 14 October.

Both to be held at East Coker Hall from 2.00pm.

Remember we will collect.  Contact Max Bugler 862186.


Thank you for your continued support. Jackie Glover.





The Playgroup would like to extend an enormous thank you to everyone who supported the playgroup’s Craft Fair in November.  The annual event raised over £1000, which will be used to upgrade ICT equipment for the benefit of the children.


Christmas is an especially exciting time when you are little, and the children at our village playgroup spent the last half term enjoying the run-up to Christmas.  The children worked hard making surprises for the family, making decorations, decorating the Christmas tree and playroom and practicing a show, which they performed beautifully to their parents, family and carers.  Then, Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa made a flying visit to the playgroup at the end of term party and spent time chatting to the children.


East Coker Playgroup is situated at the Pavilion, Long Furlong Lane, in an outstanding and safe location, with parking on site.  From the Pavilion direct access to the playing fields allows the group every opportunity to take the curriculum outside and enjoy physical and outdoor exploration.


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.  These include trips out and visitors, such as the fire brigade, police, vet, doctor, nurses, dentist, clergy, musicians and local artists.  Ofsted have consistently given the group excellent reports and commended us for the interaction and encouragement 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 Grant funding is available from 3.  We are open during term time every weekday morning, some afternoons and offer optional lunch cover for children who bring a packed lunch; we also offer sessions during some school holidays.


The group frequently holds 'hands-on' open sessions to explore Science, Technology, Language and Literacy, Maths, ‘Messy’ Play, and Music through play-based activities.  In 2006 events planned include an ICT Open Day, a visiting Digital Artist and Special Days for dads and other male carers to join in our activities.


For more information and to secure a place on the waiting list for your child/children please contact Kay Strode on 07798 812540 or after 6.00pm 862357.



Village News


EAST  COKER  BRANCH  WEA – Courses for adults in Somerset.


A course of five meetings begins on Tuesday 28 February at the East Coker Hall, 2.30pm – 4.00pm.



Tutor Janet Patterson


A look at how to use Tudor and Stuart portraits as evidence of costume, status and lifestyle, identifying and analysing the symbolism of the portraits and developing skills used to investigate portraits of any period.  There will be a meeting at Montacute House on 11 April


Fee £23 – reduced with proof of means tested benefit £5.  Financial support may be available for those on low household income.


If you require other kinds of support to attend or participate in one of our classes, please get in touch well in advance of the course start date.


For information or to pre-enrol, please contact Sarah Smith 862466





John and Eileen Horwood would like to thank friends, neighbours, family and all who visited John's Exhibition on the weekend of 22/23 October 2005.  Your support and encouragement ensured the smooth running of the event and made it such a pleasurable occasion.


The weekend proved to be an enormous success.  Over 200 people viewed the exhibition and £3500 was raised for charity.  This is to be divided between Prostate Research and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.


A magnificent result and thank you all so much.





New Year's Day 2006


The long warm Indian summer of 2005 lasted well into November.  Leaves stayed on the trees and it seemed as if summer would never end.  But, abruptly, a change to very cold weather began on 12 November giving us a couple of weeks of cold and frosty weather to start the winter.  This unexpected cold was a big change from the warm days of late October and early November when we had days as warm as 16ºC or the mid 60ºsF.  Despite a milder spell in early December the year ended in a cold snap with hard frosts.  The coldest night of the year was on 28/29 December when the thermometer fell to minus 6.3ºC (20.7ºF).  Some correspondents have reported even lower figures.  Next day a mild westerly wind raised the temperature to 11.1ºC (52ºF).


Although there were several quite cold days in 2005 (minus 3.7ºC on 7 March; minus 4.8ºC on 21 November) and the lowest of the year, minus 6.3ºC on 29 December, we had a very warm maximum of 27.1ºC (80.8ºF) on 11 July 2005.


Rainfall for the year was 791.9mm (31.18in).  A deep low of 961mb on 1 December gave the year's heaviest rainfall in one day when 40.1mm (1.58 in) fell overnight.  A week later, a high of 1043 mb covered the village on 10 December.  The driest period in the past year was from 7 to 23 July when no rain fell.  Frost occurred on 36 days and a sprinkling of snow fell on three days.  We were treated to some spectacular dawns in early December when the village was suffused in a glorious golden light at sunrise.


In early November a family of six blackbirds returned to my garden, having deserted me in the late spring.  A few days later several skeins of geese flew rapidly to the south, honking loudly as they passed overhead.  A visitor to my small garden pond in the coldest weeks has been the Grey Wagtail, the largest of our three British Wagtails, still with traces of summer yellow.  Although the year was a poor one for butterflies a brave Red Admiral flew on 23 October.  I received a report of butterflies still flying near the coast in mid November.  Warm and humid autumn days gave us an excellent crop of fungi of many species on lawns and on rotting wood.  Moles were active even in the coldest weather.


We were fortunate in not having the heavy snow which disrupted traffic in Devon and Cornwall at the end of November.  Places a few miles to the west and north of the village had several inches of snow at that time.  Exmoor was covered.  From a high vantage point on Exmoor I saw many snow covered small fields showing dozens of animal tracks.  As there was no sign of farm or domestic animals I concluded that the tracks were from a very high population of foxes, badgers and other wild animals.  Some fields looked as if a large cobweb of tracks had been laid down.  All vanished in the thaw.


Venus has been a bright object low in the south west after sunset, while Mars is still a prominent object in the southern sky.  Both will move westwards, Venus appearing as an early morning planet just before sunrise in April.  Saturn will appear as a bright body in the south-eastern sky in the coming month.  A friend drew my attention to a very large and beautiful halo around the almost full moon on 13 December.

                                    'If the moon rises haloed round,

                                    Soon you'll tread on deluged ground'


Francis Cloke 862496





Registered Charity No.200719

Where older people find Care in Housing

101 West Hendford Yeovil BA 20 1XN


Ideal for the older person not wishing to live alone, but wanting to retain their

independence and enjoy the company of others.


Most rooms ensuite.  Very reasonable rates as we have charity status.

No nursing care, but Resident Manager on hand.


Telephone Mr. Joe Waite, House Manager, 01935 475768

Visitors are always welcome to come and look around.






The Parish Council is pleased to confirm that, through the generosity of the Heneage family, it has been given the opportunity to purchase The Paddock in East Coker at a cost of £10,000.  The Parish Council will maintain this local landmark for the present community and for future generations.  A covenant is in place to prevent any building on this land.


Dog fouling of the pitches and area around the Pavilion has become a major problem.  With increased use of football and cricket pitches, the health hazards of dogs cannot be over emphasised.  Do you need to use this area to walk your dog?  Do you always clean up after your dog and use the dog litter bins?  Please think hard before allowing your dog onto the Pavilion area.  We have keen football and cricket teams who expect clean pitches for their matches.  Please respect their needs.  Sports pitches and their surrounds should not be dogs’ toilets.


Copies of the Parish Plan 2005 have been delivered to every house in the Parish.  The Parish Council has discussed what action it is able to take in respect of issues arising.  Most of the action boxes in the Plan are self explanatory.


School Traffic:  This is regularly considered at Parish Council meetings, but even with police help, parent-parking for school set-down/pick-up continues to be chaotic, twice a day.  Parents are asked to consider other road users’ needs and the safety of their children when parking near the school.  Please use the East Coker Hall car park for safer collection.


Rights of Ways:  A grant for £350 has been received from the Community Access Fund for South Somerset to reproduce an accurate digital East Coker Parish Map with all Rights of Ways well marked.  Copies will be delivered free to all houses in the early spring.  There will also be two larger laminated maps at the Paddock and (probably) the East Coker Hall.  Leaflets will also be printed with suggested scenic round-trip routes for locals and visitors to enjoy.


We are part of the Parish Paths Stewardship Scheme which aims to continue the improvements of our public rights of ways network.  Our footpaths are generally well maintained.  There is no barbed wire on designated routes, and electric fences whilst being used to fence stock, should not restrict access.  Please contact any of the Parish Council if you have problems negotiating paths.  All should be clearly signed - if there is no sign there is no right of way.  Parklands in the village are private farmland.  Three footpaths are clearly marked in Coker Court Parks and there are no designated footpaths in North Coker Parks.  Please stay on the correct route and do not trespass on private land.  Dogs must be kept under control at all times, and please be aware of farm stock in fields.  Please consider taking secateurs/shears with you to trim brambles or greenery, and so keep the network in good order.


Speeding Traffic:  This is also a regular topic for discussion at Council meetings, and with the County Council, to try to find a solution to reduce speed.  Both speeding through the village and in Sandhurst Road are a problem and a Speedwatch programme may be instigated to monitor vehicles.  This will involve volunteers.


Neighbourhood Watch:  Most areas of the village have a Neighbourhood Watch network that works efficiently when activated.  If you are unsure who the contact in your area is, please ask the Parish Clerk.


The Parish Council meets at the Pavilion on the second Wednesday of each month at 7.00pm.  Anyone is welcome to attend Parish Council meetings and contribute during the ten minute “public open session” at the beginning of each meeting for questions and comments from non-councillors.  The Parish Council does not have all the answers, nor the power to make everything happen, but it does act as a conduit for local views and opinions, which is essential at district and county level.  The minutes of Parish Council Meetings are posted on the Notice Board at the Bus Shelter.  If you would like an e-mailed copy to be sent to you please contact the Parish Clerk: Pauline Gubbins: 862062 or clerk@eastcokerpc1.wanadoo.co.uk





Higher & Higher!


Once again your generosity has exceeded all bounds and given us a collection total of £5308.65.  Many thanks to all who collected, including new 'feet', and to all who gave so generously, including those who just 'threw the pennies in the bag'.  If anyone is interested, I will need a collector for Sandhurst Road for 2006, please ring if you can help.


Thanks once again.  Sue Hounsell 01308 424702





Mobile Library


According to findings in the Parish Plan, few people currently use the mobile library when it visits East Coker.  The following information is for those who wished to have details of the service and its calling times.


There are six mobile libraries that cover rural parts of the county.  Ours is based at Wincanton and provides a selection of books including large-print books and books for children.  These are exchanged at regular intervals with those from other libraries.  There are plans to introduce talking books and videos.  Access to the Internet is also available on mobile libraries; their staff will provide help with this if needed.  Wheelchair access is available on all six vehicles.


If you already have a Somerset library card, this should be produced when borrowing from the library van, otherwise you will be asked by the staff to complete a membership form for a library card and show proof of your name and current address, such as a recent utility bill or driving licence.


Up to 16 items may be borrowed at a time; they are issued for six weeks and can be renewed by calling 01823 334344.  If a book is not on the mobile library, a request can be made for it.  A fee is charged for this service.


The mobile library visits East Coker every three weeks, on a Thursday.


Dates for the first half of 2006 are:


26 January, 16 February, 9 March, 30 March, 20 April, 11 May, 1 June, 22 June, and 13 July.


Stopping places and times


Helyar Arms                              1.25pm – 1.40pm

North Coker Bus Shelter 1.45pm – 2.00pm

Meadow View                            2.05pm – 2.25pm

Maudsley Field                          2.40pm – 2.55pm


For further information about the service, contact Libraries Direct on 0845 3459177


Help at Hand


Another point made by responders to the Parish Plan questionnaire concerned the difficulty elderly people have in getting someone to undertake small jobs around the house.  South Somerset District Council has someone who is available to fix problems for the elderly and vulnerable that they would normally find hard to tackle themselves, such as changing a fuse or hanging a curtain rail.  A small charge is made for the work.  If you are elderly or know someone who is elderly on low income who would like to make use of this service, call 01935 462727 for more information.


The e-mail address in the Parish Plan for items for the Newsletter is incorrect and should be L.Lindsay@eastcoker.com


Kathryn Sturtridge



A  BELATED  GOODBYE! – from Keith & Marie Shephard & dogs


We left East Coker in October 2005 and did not manage to say goodbye to all the people we had met locally over the past three years.


Without exception we were overwhelmed by the friendliness of the villagers and were soon made to feel part of the community – mainly due to joining several activities and clubs.  It was with very mixed feelings that we left the area, but we have settled well back home – we do, of course have many happy memories of East Coker.


Best wishes to the friends we left in Somerset – we will not forget you!


Keith & Marie, Rutland





For those of us who have come to live in East Coker in recent years it is fascinating to learn more about the history of the village.  We all soon hear about William Dampier and T.S. Eliot, but how many of us realise the area was once an important contributor to the ship-building industry with its sail cloth?


It was a revelation for me to attend a day organised by the South Somerset Museum in Yeovil on 'Flax.& Hemp and Rope & Sail', on 30 November.  Such was the response to the initial announcement that the event took place in the Octagon Theatre dance studio instead of in the more limited space of the Museum.  The walls were lined with maps, diagrams, drawings and photographs to illustrate the talks on various related subjects.


The highlight for East Coker was the talk by Robert Allwood on the 'Early Flax Industry in the Landscape', with particular reference to this village.  He gave as an example a pool in the stream between North Coker and Pavyotts Mill, latterly used as a sheep dip, but once a leat for the retting of flax.


Abigail Shepherd, who produced the lovely Village Album, 'East Coker', with its reminiscences of life in the recent past, was also there with her own display.  She gave me a copy of her notes on the sailcloth-makers of the village, which reveal how most of the inhabitants were occupied with one or other aspect of the industry in the 18th and early 19th centuries.  When the fields were covered with flax what a beautiful sight it must have been when the blue flowers were in bloom!


As steam took the place of sail the industry died out.  Its last remaining vestige disappeared when the Drakes' webbing factory closed in 1982 and the buildings demolished five years  later.


Anybody who would like to pursue this topic further is recommended to get in touch with, South Somerset Museum & Heritage Service, .Community Heritage Access Centre, 7 Artillery Road, Lufton, Yeovil, BA22 8RP  01935 462855.


Website: www.southsomersetmuseums.org.uk


Sally Jackson





The times of the last collections from post boxes are:


                                                Mon – Fri             Saturday           Sunday

Helyar Arms                                 12 noon                9:45 am                  -

Higher Burton                               12 noon              11:00 am                   -

Nash Barton                                 12 noon              11:00 am                   -

Post Office, Burton                         5 00pm             11.15 am            9:45 am

Yeovil Road, Tellis Cross               12 noon              11:00 am                   -


Please check times for bank holidays etc. as times may change.





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in April 2006.  Copy, please, to Lesley Lindsay, Little Meadow, Coker Marsh, East Coker or e-mail Lesley or to the East Coker Post Office & Stores by Friday 24 March 2006.



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