East Coker Society



July 2003   Free Issue 111






The East Coker Society Fair takes place in East Coker Hall, Saturday 13 September 2003, from 10.00am - 6.00pm, with a display covering 1,000 years of parish history, archaeological artefacts, parish documents, old photographs, censuses, maps and memorabilia.


Anyone with items they would like to loan to the exhibition (all of which will be carefully looked after on the day) please contact Abigail Shepherd c/o Po Box 2305, Bath BA1 5XY (or leave a message on the East Coker Society website)





Due to popular demand we have printed another 100 tea towels.  Price is £3 each.  To purchase, please contact Pauline 863700



Young People




This term the playgroup is on a Rainforest adventure, and very soon the Pavilion will be covered in butterflies, wild animals and exotic trees, everything is growing and that is not just the children.  The Rainforest is just one of the topics this year explored by the children through play, investigation, talking and most of all FUN at East Coker Playgroup.  Our playgroup is open Monday to Friday during term time from 9.15am to 12 noon for children aged 2½ up to 5 years.  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 £1.00 per child.  We are registered with Ofsted and the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and follow the Foundation Stage curriculum.  There is funding available through the Early Years Grant when children become eligible.


This summer, subject to demand, there will be Holiday Sessions available from the 24 July 2003 to

23 August 2003.  Sessions start at 9.15am and finish at 12 noon and cost £4.00.  Sessions are open to children aged 3 to their 6th birthday.


For a Holiday Session booking form and/or to secure a place on the waiting list for your children please contact Kay Strode on 872126 after 6.00pm.  Get your child's name down early for both Holiday Sessions and Waiting List, places are limited.


Thank you to all of you who came to our May Fayre, the weather was kind and we raised £940.  This will go towards replacing play equipment that has been well loved over the years and to purchase new toys for more fun and learning.


Looking a long way ahead, we will be running the Craft Fair in East Coker Hall on the 9th November, l0am - 4pm.  Stalls are available now; book your stall by 30 July for £14.  All craft types welcome.  The playgroup committee offers refreshments and a cake stall, a photographer will be there and a raffle is also held.


Contact E. Dudden for details on 862357





Fantastic news, this year's Summer Fair made a record-breaking profit of £3,100!  The weather was perfect - what a contrast to last year.  The marquee and gazebos went up with the cry "we need more shade" - I was dreaming of hearing that shout as opposed to "we need more umbrellas".  The atmosphere was tremendous especially as we managed to get most of the stalls on the field.


The hog roast, BBQ, quiches and salads were devoured with great enthusiasm.  The marquee was constantly full of people trying to make the difficult decision between the delicious pavlovas, banoffie pies and strawberries & cream, not to mention the stream of people trying to drink the bar dry - well it was very hot!


The queue for ice creams only stopped when the school's country dancers rhythmically weaved their way around the maypole so beautifully.  A truly wonderful country village scene enjoyed by all.  Our thanks to everyone in the community who supported us from East and West Coker Scout Group, The Helyar Arms, The Village Shop and all those who came along on the evening.  If you missed it this year, make sure you don't next year, everyone is welcome.


Christine Mowbray - Chair East Coker School PTFA




Village Clubs and Organisations




I am pleased to report that, since the last Newsletter, progress has now been made in moving matters forward with regard to providing a new pavilion at Long Furlong Lane.  Thank you to all those people who took the time to come along to the public meeting on 4 June - your input was very useful and much appreciated.  Now the land has been purchased by the Parish Council - plans were on display at that meeting for inspection and discussion - and, overall, opinions were favourable. 


Linda Bagley, the Senior Sports & Recreation Officer from South Somerset District Council also attended the meeting and will be helping to put together a Feasibility Study for the project.  She has vast experience in dealing with such projects and we are very lucky to have her on board. 


I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Carol Merry to the committee as our Grants Co-ordinator.  Carol will be responsible for dealing with applications for grants and funding from various organisations and will therefore be the mainstay of our project so thank you very much Carol for stepping forward. 


We also plan to hold an Auction of Promises, date to be advised, and would be grateful if anyone who has a service/promise they could offer, could contact me on 862264 for further information.  Examples of the sort of


thing we are looking for would be:-One evening's baby-sitting; whole lamb for the freezer; three-course dinner party for eight in own home.  Use your imagination - the list is endless! 


Paula Downes, Secretary





Butterfly Ball

The East Coker Committee would like to thank everyone who supported our Butterfly Ball at St Antony's Leweston School. It was a very enjoyable evening and we raised the fantastic amount of £2,800 for our charity.


Michaelmas Fair

Once again we will be holding our very popular and successful Michaelmas Fair on Tuesday 23 September at East Coker Hall.

This year, we will have 35 stalls at our fair with a few favourites returning but the majority of the stalls will be new.

So please put this date in your diary, as you will not want to miss this event!


Leigh Mead





The 12 June has come and gone and after much planning and preparation so has the club's Grand Open Evening, in aid of the Air Ambulance Service.  We welcomed about 90 people, most of our club members and many friends and visitors.


Katherine Crouch, BBC Gardener of the Year 1999, gave a most entertaining talk, full of anecdotes and insights into television, filming as well as demonstrating an extensive knowledge of plants and a flair for gardening design.  As well as the presentation, we had a huge number of plants for sale and many raffle prizes, thanks to the members of the Gardening Club.


Altogether we have raised just over £500 for the Air Ambulance Service, which was much appreciated by their representative, Sir Bernard Knight.  Incidentally, £500 is the average cost of one call out. 


The club meets on the second Thursday each month at the East Coker Hall, 7.30pm.  Visitors and new members are always welcome.


Future Meetings and events:


14 August – Plants for Problem Places – speaker Sally Gregson

9 October – The Herb Garden – speaker Mary Pring

13 November A G M


Rachel Blow





At the first attempt for many years, the Institute gained first prize in this year’s Bath and West Show competition for Clubs.  The theme celebrating their 85th anniversary was used in the category Feasts and Festivals. 


Now, half way through the 2003 programme, the members are visiting the Swannery at Abbotsbury for a guided tour and meal for the Birthday Outing in June.  A special celebratory meal is planned for July with home produced food and entertainment provided by the members. 


The Institute meets on the last Thursday of the month at 7.30pm in the East Coker Hall.  Any one interested in joining or attending as a guest would be most welcome.





Rising star of East Coker Wine Circle, Vince Wolny, who had already established a comfortable lead in the league table of monthly wine making competitions over the past year, romped home 23 points clear of his nearest rivals after the final competitions at the annual meeting in June to claim the Winemaker of the Year shield.  In the five classes he gained three first places, a second and a third.  His red dry table wine also gained the award as judge’s favourite.

Another highlight of the competitions was the efforts of novice winemaker, Darren Shutler, who managed joint runner up with Mike Bayliss, an established country winemaker, each with 16 points. Darren also won the novice trophy.

Barrie Hartley, reviewing the past year, said a great deal had been achieved during the 25th anniversary year, including the successful support of the Somerset Legion House and the R.A.F.A. (South West) Band.  The vineyard trip had been so popular that two separate evenings had to be arranged.  The highlight of the year has been the celebration dinner with Trevor Peacock as guest speaker.

Incoming chairman, Doreen Bates, said there was something for everyone in the forthcoming programme.  The possibility of a trip to Germany was being looked into and the theme for the party was to be ‘Musicals’.  Anyone interested in Circle membership please contact Joyce Pryor 862816





Next Waste Paper Collections: Saturday 9 August & 11 October.

Autumn Jumble Sale to be held at East Coker Hall, Saturday 18 October, 2.00pm.  Please start saving your jumble now!  Remember – We will collect

Tel. Max Bugler 862186

The East Coker Scout Group has spaces available in each section and would very much welcome new members both boys and leaders.

Beavers  6-8 years meet Wednesdays 6.15pm - 7.30pm

Cubs  8-10½ years meet Tuesdays 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Contact number 863430





East Coker Flower Show & Wine Festival

Yes, it's that time of year again, so to all newcomers and villagers alike, the schedules are out, call in at the Post Office and collect one.  There are classes to suit everyone, so let's have a bumper year.


I have now retired as secretary and the post has been filled by Marie Shepherd who will take over next year. Many thanks for filling the spot. Sue Hounsell Tel 863287





This is a gentle reminder that the Poppy Appeal is always looking for new volunteers to do a small collection round in the East Coker area.


We have now incorporated East Chinnock, Hardington and West Coker so we need lots of 'feet' to help.  Please ring me if you are interested.  I do hope that all existing collectors will be available this year.  Many thanks in advance.


Sue Hounsell Tel 863287



The Churches





A warm welcome awaits you at our chapel, situated at the end of Burton Lane.  There is ample parking space at the rear.  In general the services follow this pattern:


Each Sunday (except the 2nd Sunday in each month) 


10.00am Sunday Club                11.30am The Lord's Supper                     6.30pm Prayer and Bible Study


2nd Sunday  10.30am  Family Services                 Other services as announced.


Phone Sunday Club 422594 or 862428                 General Information 863735 or 422594


COME                          COME                          COME






A warm welcome awaits you at St. Michael's Church.  We hold a Family service on the first Sunday of each month, when the children help with the service.  This service begins at 10 00am and lasts about an hour. It is followed by refreshments and the opportunity to talk to others.  There are plenty of toys for the little ones to help pass the time for them.


On 7 September 2003 we are holding a Pets Service in the Churchyard at 10 00am and this usually attracts a large number of creatures great and small.


If you would like more details please ring Doreen Bates 862706/Roger Burt 862125


Service For Those We Have Loved But No Longer See


The Service this year will be on Sunday 2 November 2003.  The preacher will be Rev. Graham Roblin, who served with Roger in the Army.  I will be writing to all those in the parish who have lost loved ones this year to ask if they would like their loved one to be included.  Please let me know by 26 October.


We do not limit names to people who have lived in this parish, so please feel free to give me a ring if you would like anybody included.


Monica 862834





Despite uncertain weather on the day, the Bookstall Committee are pleased to report that the event raised £1090.  This was entirely due to the hard work of everyone who grew plants, sold plants and cakes and, of course, who bought so generously. The money raised will go towards the urgent restoration of the Altar Tombs in St Michael's Churchyard which should start this summer.


The Committee's thanks to everyone involved.





Once again Kay Biggin of The Anchorage, Coker Marsh is opening her lovely garden in support of All Saints' Church for coffee from 10.00am – 12 noon.


Plant and cake stalls, raffle etc.


All welcome.



Village News


GOOSE SLADE FARM SHOP - Pincushion Corner.


We have recently opened our Farm Shop and have been delighted with the response.  We stock a wide range of local produce including fresh and frozen meat, fruit and vegetables.  The frozen fruit and vegetables work on a self-serve basis allowing you to take as little or as much as you wish, very popular.  A wide selection of local cheeses, apple juice, delicious creamy ice cream from Pitney and Minehead, eggs, honey, milk, cream and much more.  Fresh free-range oven-ready geese will be available from Michaelmas to Christmas.  Soon to be added: local cider and wine.  If you haven't already done so then please feel free to call in for a 'gander'!


For further information please call Phil & Liz Dunning on 863735




A village street that's clean and neat

A corner to be proud of

So many thanks to both who worked

So hard to make it happen


(this above refers to the lay-by next to the P.O.)



LIFEBOAT  WEEK  16 – 23 JUNE 2003


The door-to-door collection in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution demonstrated again the support in East Coker for this purely voluntary service.  The collectors, Sarah and Peter, would like to thank on behalf of the RNLI all those in East Coker who contributed to the total of £275 raised in the village.  The total raised in Yeovil and surrounding villages this year was £2,656.


As we know, the lifeboat crews are called out at all hours.  They've had to put to sea in terrifying conditions and they're prepared to risk their lives for others.  Yet they're ready to do it time and time again - and they would never, ever expect to be paid.  Volunteer lifeboat crews, like this one, willingly give their time and risk their lives to save people in danger - the donations from East Coker help us to thank them by making sure that they have the boats, training and equipment they need to do it safely.


Peter Burrows  (for Yeovil Branch RNLI)





But only with your help!


If you haven't already done so, please sign up on the BT web site - www.bt.com/broadband


Even if you don't intend to use broadband immediately, BT say they will only enable the West Coker exchange if 250 people say they are interested.


If you find the BT web site difficult to access, try www.westcoker.wewantbroadband.co.uk


Please let everyone else know - they can even sign up if they have no current internet access - I have forms, leaflets and posters if you are interested.


I am not sure, but enabling the West Coker exchange should mean that most people in East Coker, Hardington Mandeville and East Chinnock should get broadband access as well.  (Eventually it will be down to a BT survey if and when you order but usually they say within about 5 miles of the exchange).


If you have no idea what I am talking about, please e-mail me or go to either of the above web sites and learn!


Tony Reese  west@coker.net





Four councillors did not seek re-election at the May Elections.  They were Paul Hillard, Barrie Hartley, Carol Blackmore and Jean Kelly.  All have been excellent councillors - Paul in the capacity of Chairman for the past four years, Barry who did so much work to get the 'Lengthsman' scheme in operation amongst other things and Carol and Jean for their devotion to the network of footpaths.  We do sincerely thank them for all the time and effort they put in whilst serving the parish.


We have two new councillors - Mrs. Sarah Rashley, from Darvole, for East Coker and Mrs. Linnette Osment, from Beaconfield Road, for the Wraxhill Ward.  The P.C. advertised for two more people to be co-opted on to the council and they are Mrs. Hazel Clarke and Mr. Michael Mead, both of East Coker.  We look forward to welcoming them at the July meeting.  The new Chairman is Mr. Stan Turner and Mr. Roy Hodder is Vice-Chairman.


A new clerk has been appointed as from 1 July 2003.  She is Mrs. Pauline Gubbins of 1 Holywell Hollow, East Coker (BA22 9NG) Tel: 862062.  As out going clerk I wish Pauline all .the very best for the future.


The council recently received a letter, together with a petition, from residents who live in Sandhurst Road regarding the high speeds some people drive along this road.  There is a speed limit of 30mph which ends near The Cattery, Yeovil Road, East Coker.  This matter has been brought to the attention of the Police, Somerset County Council and Yeovil Town Council and we would therefore urge all drivers to observe the 30 mph speed limit when using this road.


The P.C. would again ask that residents do not put out refuse too far in advance of collection in order to avoid resulting litter when a bag gets broken by animals etc.


Catherine Denney, for East Coker Parish Council





March went out like a lamb after a dry and quiet second half.  Eight frosty mornings were followed by mild dry days.  On the 27th the afternoon temperature reached 17C (62F).  Rainfall in the month was 1.38" (35mm) all falling in the first week, after which there was a continuous dry spell of 23 rainless days.


April started with a little rain but a long dry spell from the 3rd to 24th gave drought conditions in the garden.  Many seeds failed to germinate.  Frost was recorded on five mornings.  Southerly winds in the middle of the month gave a maximum shade temperature of 23.6C (74.5F) on the 16th.  Despite the long dry spell in the month the rainfall for April and March was the same at 35mm (1.38") each month


May was changeable.  Seventeen days with rain gave a total of 62mm (2.44") with a warm end to the month.  A very warm day on 30 May gave a maximum shade temperature of 24C (75.2F).  There were no days with frost.


Flaming June has not lived up to its name.  As I write, the month has been disappointingly cool and cloudy. 

Despite the long dry spell earlier in the spring, the Mill Stream through East Coker continued to flow.  A very rough estimate of the volume of water flowing per day is about a million gallons, a surprisingly large figure.  But estimating the flow of streams is not easy.


A correspondent, at the Observatory's out-station on Long Furlong Lane, reported that she had recorded a flight of 600 gulls at dusk on two occasions in early April.  These amazing flights were at dusk as the birds flew to their roosts in a south-westerly direction.  I assumed that they were making for Sutton Bingham reservoir but a quick trip there showed no arriving flocks.  Another correspondent suggested that the gulls perhaps roosted on the coast.  Here is a mystery to be solved.  My out-station correspondent has seen a report that gulls are moving inland at an increasing rate and a study shows that every house in Britain will have a colony by 2020.


In previous years the summer sky over East Coker has been rich with house martins and swallows.  But this year I have seen very few.  A green woodpecker spent 30 minutes on my lawn recently digging into the grass and investigating a rockery.  Other arrivals included a chiff-chaff on 5 April and a pair of fly-catchers on 5 June.


The warm spell in April brought out the hover flies and the interesting solitary Andrena bees which burrow into light soil making miniature "volcanoes" each with a central hole.  The first Orange-tip butterfly flew on April 8th.


Spring flowers came out early in March.  Along Lodge Hill there was an excellent showing of primroses, violets, celandines and stitchwort in the hedges.  Although primroses have two forms, pin-eyed and thrum-eyed, all those I examined along a 25 yard stretch of hedge were all the same pin-eyed form.  The clumps of spring flowers on the sunny side of the lane were showing signs of distress in the dry conditions.  A rarity in among the primroses was an unusual deep lilac wood anemone.  Later in the spring the pastures were delightfully yellow with buttercups.

                                                               ………."and I know

                                                                         How the May fields all golden show,

                                                                        and when the day is young and sweet,

                                                                        Gild gloriously the bare feet

                                                                        That run to bathe"


The planets are not well placed for observation.  Venus is too near the sun to be seen.  Jupiter is still in the western sky at bedtime.  The planet Mars will be at it's nearest to the Earth on the 27 August, an event which occurs every 15 years or so.  Look out for it in the Southern sky after sunset.  Mars should then be brighter than the brightest star Sirius, about 20deg above the horizon.  Later in the year there will be a total eclipse of the moon on 9 November at 01.00am., totality lasting for about 20 minutes.


Francis Cloke  862496




VILLAGE  EVENTS  January 2003  –  April 2003


Thurs 14 August                    Gardening Club – Plants for Problem Places 7.30pm


Sat 16 August                        East Coker Flower Show & Wine Festival


Sat 6 September                  All Saints' Coffee Morning, The Anchorage, 10.00am – 12 noon


Sat 13 September                Local History Fair, East Coker Hall, 10.00am – 6.00pm


Tues 23 September              Michaelmas Fair, East Coker Hall


Thurs 9 October                    Gardening Club – The Herb Garden 7.30pm



If your event is written into the Village Diary (kept in the Post Office) we will include it in this section of the Newsletter.