East Coker Society Newsletter


July 2007  –  Free Issue No 127


Chair: John Sugg   863435   e-mail

Newsletter Editor: Lesley Lindsay   862868   e-mail

Secretary: Sarah Owen   862218

Treasurer: Keith Helliar   863700



East Coker Society News




The Scarecrow competition brought out many different ideas from Goose Slade's Farm Shop's construction – you must make the effort to visit as this exhibit it will not make it to the Fete! – to Ray Duley's skeleton.  As a judge I was not only amused and impressed at the twenty-six various themes, but also the amount of work let alone thought that had gone into every entry.


Our Workman up a pole turned into a desperate fellow hanging on for grim death, not quite the intention when I encouraged the Kids to create an entry on a rainy Sunday in June, but as it turned out it made a few people laugh and slowed the traffic down considerably. He survived till Sunday afternoon when he was kidnapped, but fortunately recovered when his captures realised the error of their ways.


The walk that was organised by Sarah & Peter was well supported even though the weather was closing in and the tea’s were a welcome refreshment on a wet afternoon.  I believe next years entries will be greater as a lot of people have commented on their different themes for the future.  Look out for the pole-dancer!!


My thanks go out to Sarah who had the initial idea, and Nigel, who helped with the judging.  To Sarah & Peter who made the whole thing happen and lastly everyone who entered.  I hope you had as much fun as we all did!


John Sugg, Chairman East Coker Society.





Overall, the competition was very close with all entries scoring very highly making the judges' decisions very difficult.  The top two scarecrows in the Children's Category were both in a pirate theme.  First place was taken by Sam and Clare Barnes-Thornton with their entry Pirates in the Park.  Only just behind was Long John Silver, by Hannah and Harriet Warman, securing a prize as Runners-up.


Competition was even fiercer in the Adult Category.  Two entries just emerged from a very highly ranked group to win Joint-first positions. These were Swingwatch by David and Angela McClure and At the Allotment by Helen Styles and Sarah Beckett.


First prize in the Clubs and Organisations Category was won by the monster entry Strawburt submitted by Liz and Phil Dunning.  Very close in score, as Runner-up, was Swampy – a joint effort from Sally Jackson and Friends of Ten Cottages, Coker Marsh.





The 2007 Diary is now at the East Coker Post Office, to the right of the door when entering the shop.  Please could village organisations put their forthcoming events in the Diary to avoid the doubling up of these events.  Thank you.



ADVANCE  NOTICE  CHRISTMAS  BAZAAR – Saturday 17 November 2007, East Coker Hall, 2.00pm – 4.00pm.  Booking forms will be in the October Newsletter





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.



Village Clubs and Organisations




Coffee Morning Saturday 22 September at 10.00am in the East Coker Hall.  All welcome


Poppy Time

Once again it's time to check that all collectors are able to do their round again this year.  I am so grateful to all of you who manage this and hope you will be available.  As you know the collection goes from strength to strength which is only good new for the Legion.  If you are unable to help, please ring me as soon as possible, please.  Thank you again, Sue Hounsell 01308 424702





Tennyson Evening – Tuesday 21 August 7.00pm at the Vicarage Garden, East Coker, with light refreshments.  We would like to stage a group photograph in the style of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.  We hope this will make for a fun memento of the Poetry Group in 2007 and therefore ask people to wear something a little decorative – hats, beads, scarves, shawls, boas, bow ties , evening suits etc.  Justin Orwin has kindly agreed to come and arrange the photography for us on the night, so please come prepared to dazzle!  Bring a folding seat if possible – though some seating will be available.


'Give me a Home among the Gum Trees' – Tuesday 25 September 7.30pm The Helyar Arms Skittle Alley.  Sue McKerracher presents poetry with an Australian Theme + Australian Poets Live.


Annual Poetry Writing Competition – The subject is 'Weather'.  Everyone is welcome to enter this competition but it must be an original poem.  The deadline for entries is 1 October.  For further information please contact David Cloke 862623





After the very successful visit to Cornwall in March, the Club stayed at home for the next three months. In April Terry Bracher, from Ashcott told the members all about Dahlias and their cultivation; in May Christabel King, a botanical artist connected with Kew, gave an account of her visits to Brazil, the work she was doing there and the people and plants she met; the June meeting was on 'Plants for Ponds and Wet Places' introduced by Julie Riley, from Bride Valley Nurseries.  The July meeting followed the recent custom of visiting a well-known local garden and this year, taking place about the time this Newsletter appears, is to Sally Gregory's Garden at Mill Cottage, Wookey.


The programme for the next three months is set out below.  Subjects include 'Apples', the explanation of horticultural names and a description of setting up a stand at the Chelsea Flower Show.  A day trip is also being arranged to Hampshire when there should be some good autumn colouring.


Thursday 9 August: Jonathan Hoskyns from North Perrott Garden Centre on 'Apples'

Thursday 13 September: Staff from Brimsmore Garden Centre on 'What's in a Name'

Thursday 11 October: Nick Williams-Ellis, 'Taking Dorset to Chelsea'. NB: The venue for this meeting will be The Quick Silver Mail, Yeovil.

Saturday 13 October: Day trip to Harold Hillier's Garden in Romsey Hampshire


Unless otherwise stated meetings are held in the East Coker Hall at 7.30pm.


Further details are available from Catherine Denney on 862294 or Stan Shayler on 420291.





Advance notice for Photography Classes:

Harbour View                 Fire and/or Smoke                     Animals

Winter Scene                Bridge                                       Four different photos of Transport





The East Coker Branch of Action Medical Research will this year be celebrating 25 years of fundraising.  Over the last two decades we have done a variety of events from coffee mornings to balls and have raised over £60,000 for the charity.  There are still several of us involved who have been with the committee since the beginning and to celebrate this milestone we are holding a ‘Silver Jubilee Ball’ at The Digby Hall, Sherborne on Friday 28 September.  Tickets are £35 to include a three-course meal and dancing to ‘On The Level’.  These will be strictly limited and are already selling very fast.  For further information please contact Barb Raison on 862553.


Several of us recently attended a Ladies Lunch for the charity at the beautiful Tortworth Court Hotel, near Bristol, and were delighted when Barb Raison, from our committee, won the star prize of two flight tickets to New York, generously donated by Continental Airlines, especially when they were presented to her by the lovely Tony Hadley (lead singer of Spandau Ballet) who provided the after-lunch entertainment.  A great day was had by all.


On Friday 29 June we delivered just under 600 individual boxed cream teas to businesses in Yeovil, Sherborne and Crewkerne.  This is the third year we have done this and the numbers are growing each year.  We started packing the boxes at 8.00am and had them all delivered by lunchtime and raised £2,600 for our Touching Tiny Lives Appeal.  We started this idea and the charity is now taking this on board as a National Initiative again with the numbers taking part increasing every year.  It has been suggested that we do a delivery run in the village next year – watch this space!!


Another date for your diary - we are the chosen charity for The Helyar Arms coffee morning on 26 October 2007 and look forward to seeing you there.





Winners of the March/April draw: Mr P Clough £100; Mr D Mitchell £50; Mrs Todd £40; Mr J Bryan £30; Mrs J Best £20; Mrs J Best (Dr Best) £15; Mr T Clough £10; Mr P Pisani £10.


If anyone would like further information, or would like to join, they can contact me on 862572 or at Dairy Cottage, East Coker.


Mike Weston





The coming year is another milestone in the Wine Circle's successful existence.  Celebrating 30 years of growing popularity, the Circle intends to mark the anniversary by supporting two major local charities this year with special events.  The first of these will be a mixed open charity golf tournament at Halstock Golf Club on 23 September, when the price of £15 for Halstock Golf Club members and £25 for non-members will include, bacon rolls and coffee on arrival and a buffet to finish.  Stableford competition rules will apply.  Novices are welcome.  All enquiries to Clive Horsley 01935 471072 and Darren Shutler 01935 477365.


The proceeds from this and all other special events will be for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and the Yeovil Cardiac Unit.  It is also planned to produce a rather titillating and intriguing calendar which, hopefully, will be on sale from October.  It is hoped that as much support as possible is given to the Wine Circle this year, as these two charities are both very deserving causes.


The proceeds from the draw at the oriental theme party and dance in January – 'A Touch of Spice' – will also be donated to the two charities.  This is open to non-members and is a really fun evening.


A superb programme has been planned for the year and will include outings to the Octagon Theatre to see Pirates of Penzance (Thursday, 4 October), and Oklahoma (Friday, 14 March).  There will also be commercial wine-tastings, bread and cold pudding competitions, making a love potion for your Valentine, a 'Who Dunnit' evening with supper, and much more; including first class speakers.


The Circle is also hoping for a bumper entry at this year's Open Wine Festival, held in conjunction with the East Coker Flower Show on Saturday, 18 August at East Coker Hall.


The Circle meets at 8.00pm, at the East Coker Hall on the first Wednesday of each month, unless otherwise publicised. All inquiries to 01935 471072





Just a quick note to keep you all appraised of progress with regard to the new Pavilion.


As I reported in the last Newsletter, unfortunately, due to problems with obtaining grants, we have had to scale down the project which will now involve improving the existing facilities and adding on a purpose-built extension which, although not ideal, will vastly improve the state of the present building.


Work is now in progress to obtain a number of quotes for this building and, provided Planning Consent can be obtained, work could conceivably begin in the not too distant future.


We currently have around £60,000.00 in the Fund which, although probably not enough to see the project to fruition will hopefully not be too far short of our target so, with a little more concerted effort, the building could soon become a reality.


Whilst on the subject of fundraising, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Committee, to thank the East Coker Playgroup, and in particular, Alex Bowring, for organising a Pamper Evening at the village hall recently.  The evening was a tremendous success and raised just over £600.00.


As always, anyone who has any views and/or suggestions to offer is more than welcome to come along to our meetings.  For meeting dates, please contact me Bridget Sugg on 863435 or Paula Downes 862264





East Coker Players would like to celebrate the 30th anniversary with a Christmas Variety Show on 30 November/1 December 2007 at the East Coker Hall.


For this occasion we’d like to involve as many people who have been connected with ‘Players’ in the past, as well as encouraging new members.


Do you have any memories of ‘Players’ productions you’d like to share?  Would you be willing to reprise an original hit?  Do you have any newspaper cuttings/early minutes or programmes which would help us fill in some holes in our history?  Let us know by 4 August or ring Anne (below).  We’d love to hear from you!


We’re having a social get-together on 4 August 2007 at 7.30pm at The Royal Oak, Hardington Mandeville.  Buffet and skittles – £5.50 adults, £3.00 under 16 yrs.  Can you come?  If you can let Anne Hartley 862060 know by 28 July 2007.


It would be great to kick start a revival of ‘Players’ and with your help we could do it!





Having just enjoyed a very sociable birthday outing to Poole, for a trip by boat to Wareham and back and completing the day with a hearty W.I. Tea at Bere Regis, we now look forward to our next meeting with a speaker about Traidcraft, which deals with the issue of fair trade.


The following months are filled with an explanation of acupuncture and the mysteries of the Turin Shroud.  Our Annual General Meeting is 25 October.  Next year we celebrate our 90th birthday and are planning a gourmet meal as well as many interesting and amusing speakers.


On Saturday 21 July we are organising a ‘Bring and Buy’ and Coffee Morning at The Poplars 10.00am – 12 noon.  This is in aid of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and we hope as many people as possible will join us.


The winter whist drives, held on the third Thursday of the month, will recommence on 20 September.  Anyone wishing further information about the Women’s Institute should contact the Secretary, Linda Morgan 863694



Young People




Our half term topic is 'Mini-beasts', which for some members of staff is a little bit scary.  You know, getting close to those tiny multi legged creatures you usually ignore.  A gentle introduction was required.  Armed with plastic bowls (with deep rims), magnifying glasses (with long poles, just kidding), children and staff ventured out into the Playing fields.  What could be seen as daunting was really quite fun!  The excitement of the children is infectious.  The playgroup setting really lends itself to this topic and we made the most of our wonderful outdoors facilities.  I’m sure you can imagine the numerous mini-beasts we found.  As a follow up to our safari, a beautiful display of creepy crawlies adorns the Pavilion wall. The children’s outside experience enabling them to re-create what they found, using all types of materials available.


After enthusiastically painting a creation, one child made me smile.  Red paint was both on hands, and inside the long arms of the apron that had been worn and on discovering the red paint went most of the way up the arms, the child commented with some delight, “I look like a ladybird!”


Summer term ends in a flourish of activities.  The children who go to school have a trip to look forward to.  A Sports Day is planned, come rain or shine.  Our leavers have school visits and in turn our September starters have visits to the playgroup.


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, dentist, clergy, musicians and local artists.  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.


During the Summer Term the playgroup have piloted extended opening hours – please contact Kay Strode if you would like more information on this exciting new opportunity on your doorstep.  We are also offering sessions for 5 weeks during the summer school holidays on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9.00am to 12 noon; again contact Kay Strode for information.


By the time this goes to press the Beauty Night at East Coker Hall will have been held.  This event is being held to raise money for the Pavilion Fund.  I’m sure it will have been a brilliant success.


Looking ahead, the Craft Fair in November has stalls available.


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.





Newspaper Collection Dates:

Saturday 28 July            Saturday 25 August       Saturday 29 September


Scout Autumn Jumble Sale

Saturday 20 October.  To be held at East Coker Hall from 2.00pm.  Remember we will collect.  Contact Max Bugler 862186


Congratulations to our scouts Jack Baker, Johnny Holliday, Zac Tredger, John Fernley and Ashley Glover who recently won the Yeovil & District Boy Scouts Senior 'Fox Trophy' Hiking competition.  The trophy was last won by the East Coker Seniors in 1966!  Can anyone out there remember taking part?  The same patrol with Jack Rashley was also winners of the District Jamboree Camp Competition.  Well done, boys!


Jackie Glover



The Churches





Sunday 29 July Sung Matins – 10.00am

Other Sunday services as usual during July and August

Sunday 2 September – Pet Service – 10.00am

Sunday 30 September – St Michael & All Angel's Service – Patronal Festival – 10.00am

Wednesday 3 October – Harvest Supper – 7.00pm for 7.30pm at East Coker Hall

Sunday 7 October: Harvest Festival – 10.00am


Service for Those We Have Loved But See No Longer

The service this year will be on 4 November at 6.00pm.  The preacher will be Rev. Peter Kerton Johnson.  Peter was at St Margaret's Hospice in Yeovil, where I got to know him well.  One of the things he did at St Margaret's was to start a regular service there.  Previously he worked with the Hospice movement in South Africa.


I will be writing to those who were bereaved in East Coker during the last year to invite them to the Service and to see if they would like the names of their loved ones read out in the Service.  We also welcome the names of any other people, they need not have lived in the village.  Please let me have the names by 28 October


Monica 862834


Bell Tower Open Day – Saturday 8 September – from 11.00am

We are very short of bell-ringers at our Church and in order to discover hidden talents we are opening the Bell Tower so that you can come and see the bells being rung and have a go.  The view from the top of the tower is amazing!


On this day, why not come and explore the mysteries of bell-ringing and have a look round our beautiful Church.  Do you know how the organ works?  What about the stained glass windows?  What do they tell us and how were they made?


Please come and join us.  If it is a fine day, bring a picnic and enjoy the wonderful view from the Churchyard.


To become a bell-ringer, it is NOT necessary to be a churchgoer.  It may, however be an opportunity to meet new people and take on a new interest and who knows where that may lead……!  The commitment is not great – half an hour on a Sunday and some weddings.  The more ringers, the less requirement.


We look forward to seeing you.  Any enquiries ring Penny Marpole on 863055


Spring Plant Sale at Bubspool House

As a result of an enormous effort by growers, sellers, buyers and helpers – you know who you are – the sum of £936 was raised in three hours on a sunny morning.  This total will be shared between St Michael's Church and CLIC Sargent to help children with cancer or leukaemia.  £460 will fund a CLIC/Sargent support worker for a whole week.


Our thanks to everyone who was involved in any way


John Darling





Sunday 9 September Harvest Festival – 6.30pm.  It will also be celebrated at the Family Service on 16 September at 10.00am.  As usual we shall be involving the children in the Service which will last no longer than 30 minutes and be fairly informal.  If you are not a regular member of the Church, why not come and join us for this Family Service which is relaxed and child friendly.  (it seems odd writing about Harvest when all we have had is monsoon!)


Monica 862834





Coffee Morning

Carol and Antony would like to thank everyone who contributed in anyway to the success of the Coffee Morning held at the home of Mrs Kay Biggin on Saturday 30 June.  £423.50 was raised for All Saints' Church Funds.



Sunday 5 August 9.00am           Sunday 19 August 11.30am

Sunday 2 September 9.00am      Sunday 16 September 11.30am – this will also be Harvest Festival

Sunday 7 October 9.00am


We look forward to welcoming you to Sutton Bingham in 2007.





Wednesday 15 August at 7.00pm – Brian Ruff

Wednesday 19 September at 7.00pm – Jeremy White – St Peter & Paul, Uplyme

Wednesday 17 October at 7.00pm – Nigel Wilson-Brown – King's School, Bruton


Do join us and bring your friends with you.  Refreshments are served after each meeting.  Roy Hodder 862519





As many readers will be aware the chapel at the end of Burton Lane is in course of being re-furbished. By the time of publication we are hopeful that redecoration works on the interior will have been completed. Most of the old pews have been spoken for but there may be one or two still available for sale at £20 each. Anyone interested please contact Philip Dunning on 863735 as he is storing the pews.


A new sound system is being installed and we believe that the work on that will be completed shortly.

We are holding a Family Service on 8 July at the Hall with the Mill Fellowship.  This will be followed by a barbecue.  All are welcome.


When all of the works are completed we intend holding an 'Open Afternoon' one Sunday, serving Cream Teas. Details will be made known around the village when finalised.


We would be delighted to meet with you and share our faith. We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our risen Saviour and that He is interested in each and every person.  We, therefore, have a desire to meet together to praise and worship Him and to share the Good News of God's salvation.


Our weekly meetings are as follows; 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays 11.00am – Worship Service.  On the first Sunday of each month this incorporates Communion.

2nd Sunday 11.00am – Family Service

2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sunday evenings – 6.30pm Communion

Tuesdays 7.30pm – Prayer and Bible Study


Other services as announced.  We are hoping to commence a day time Bible Study in September.  This may change to become two distinct meetings:


  1. We are wanting to provide some form of 'talking shop' for those who are interested in finding out something about the Christian faith;
  2. We would like to provide somewhere for Christians to meet and follow a Bible Study Course, particularly those who have difficulty in getting out to meetings in the evening.  For anyone interested in either perhaps they would contact Kevin Chapman on 01935 422594.


During the months of July and September (and part of August) Kevin Chapman will be available in the village each Wednesday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.  He can be contacted on 0781 2726853. Please feel free to talk to him about the Christian faith or if you would like someone to pray with you.





There is a service held at 10.30am each Sunday at East Coker County Primary School.  Our worship tends to be informal in style.  You are very welcome to join us.


'Little Wheelers' is a well established Parent and Toddler Group that runs each Tuesday morning in term time at East Coker Hall, commencing at 10.30am.  It is a chance for parents to relax and socialise, while their children play.  We run 'Little Wheelers' with help from other churches.


'Bridges' is a midweek group for teenagers.  It is an opportunity for food, friendship and exploring together the good news of Christianity.  There is also a sailing club for young people, called 'Broadreach'.


We have other groups and activities for adults and for young people.  Up to date information on all of these events can be found on our website www.millchurch.org.uk – which includes a weekly news-sheet – or you can telephone the church office in West Coker on 864136.



Village News




A date for your diary, from 5.00pm onwards.  Sorry we missed last year!  Join us for refreshment, meet some of our suppliers and enjoy sampling their products.  A warm welcome for customers old and new.


Normal opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am – 6.00pm.Phil, Liz, Joe and Lindsey Dunning  863735





Charity Coffee Mornings are held at the Helyar Arms on the last Friday of each month from 10.30am  All welcome.  The dates are as follows:


Friday 27 July – WAWA – Peruvian 4 Child – come and meet the llamas

Friday 31 August – The Tabitha Project

Friday 28 September – Sutton Bingham Church

Friday 26 October – Action Medical Research





Anne Bingley at North Hall is hoping to find some of the old gilt-banded cups and saucers decorated with the name of the Hall which were used when the building was the Village Hall.


Can anyone help please?  Her telephone number is 863036





We would like to draw the attention of anyone delivering leaflets to the potential problems should they be attacked by a dog.


In simple terms, legally you have very little protection when doing this type of delivery – YOU ENTER THE PROPERTY UNINVITED.  Postmen, paper-boys etc are deemed as contractual.


Dog Wardens, police etc operate via the 'Dangerous Dog Act' and can only help should a person be attacked in a public area.


We would certainly suggest that children should be very closely supervised if helping with this type of delivery and instructed not to enter any property that has a dog.


John and Eileen Horwood





The Wellbeing of Yeovil Community Association was founded in 1980 by local businessmen to support worthy causes, which benefit those living in Yeovil and surrounding communities.  Over £300,000 of grants have been awarded towards projects, large and small, in recent years.  Grants, normally of up to £1,000 are contributed towards the capital element of projects, such as building costs or equipment.


As a matter of policy, the Association does not normally contribute to the running costs (revenue expenditure) of projects.


A committee chaired by Tim Chappell MBE meets in January, March, June and September each year to consider applications for grants. In the last couple of years the Wellbeing has made over 30 grants including contributions to projects at West Coker School, East Coker Pavilion, Sutton Bingham Canoe Club, Nether Compton Village Hall, Ilchester Skate Park, and to Yeovil Hospital Flying Colours Appeal.


If you have a worthy project or cause from which the local community will benefit, and for which you need support then consider applying to Tim Chappell 812922 or Richard Timmis 862516 for help from the Yeovil Association.  Alternatively, if you could like to make a donation and become a member of the Association, Tim or Richard would be very pleased to hear from you.





I have, sadly, after 16 years decided to stop collecting used Postage Stamps for CLIC/Sargent.  As my late friend, Eileen Doye started this in East Coker, I felt that I should continue, as all the income obtained by selling them is used to finance the research into Cancer and Leukaemia in children.  Recently the Sargent Fund have lent their support.  Used stamps may now be left at the East Coker P O & Stores or at the CLIC/Sargent Charity Shop in Princes Street, Yeovil or at the Pen Hill Pharmacy , South Street, Yeovil.


Micky Hall





Midsummer's Day – 24 June 2007


What topsy-turvy weather we have had recently.  April was warm and dry with a three week dry spell.  The temperature on 14 April went up to a summery 21.8ΊC (71.2ΊF).  Alas, May and June so far have been cooler, cloudy and rather wet.  Whit Sunday was one of the wettest days this year with 15.2 mm of rain (0.60 ins.).  But that rainfall was exceeded on 13 May when we had 23.6mm of rain (0.93ins), most falling in a torrential downpour in the morning.  So far this year rainfall has totalled 395mm. (15.57ins).


The early summer has been disappointing but a few warmer days in mid June, up to 21.7ΊC (71.0ΊF) on the 19 June were welcome.  Nevertheless, Glastonbury Festival had the usual heavy showers during the event.


The warm days of April brought out a goodly show of Holly Blue butterflies.  The first Brimstone flew on 26 March, followed by a Peacock on 4 April and the first Orange-Tips on 6 April.   A Small Copper on 3 May was an unusual sighting.


A seven-spot Ladybird appeared on 28 March.  I have noticed that there has been a much larger number of small money spiders about recently; so many that they have been almost at plague proportions.


Housemartins appeared in early May, rather more than last year, flying over the village recently.  A group of three buzzards circled high in the sky in mid-May and a solitary heron flew over later in the month.


A splendid show of dark red valerian has appeared on the village's stone walls.  In her book, 'Cottage Garden Flowers', Margery Fish, who famously gardened at nearby East Lambrook, refers to valerian as Kiss-me-Quick or Pretty Betsy.  She particularly mentions a glowing crimson valerian growing on a cottage wall.


My small garden pool has been visited by a couple of frogs, a common newt, several water skaters, water boatmen and a profusion of small water beetles living happily under the water.  Many tiny water creatures have appeared and, as usual, a lot of active tadpoles.  These appear to feed on the algal growth on the sides of the pond.  I wondered if they would prefer other foods, so as an experiment I hung a range of foods in the pond.  To my surprise, tadpoles seem to prefer a protein diet.  Raw and cooked sausage, roast chicken and black puddings were eagerly eaten as were roast potatoes.  Fish fingers were not popular, neither were boiled potatoes.  Boiled parsnip and cabbage were ignored. Pure fat such as lard was not popular but eaten with reluctance.  My overfed tadpoles move at a surprising speed. The largest seem to swim at about half a mile an hour but the average speed is about half that figure.  But despite their turn of speed, many have not evaded the beak of a blackbird that has learned to peck up tadpoles from my pond's edge!


Venus has been a brilliant object in the western sky at twilight.  This planet will now move to the west, to reappear as an early morning object in the autumn, but before it disappears from our night sky it will approach Saturn low in the west in early July.  This conjunction will be worth watching, provided that we have the clear evening skies of April.  Jupiter will soon be low in the southern sky at bedtime.


Francis Cloke  862496





We couldn't have picked a worse day for the annual plant sale at Weavers Lodge on Sunday 13 May.  The skies emptied just as we opened.  It was held from 10.00am to 4.00pm and we were glad that despite the weather the turn-out was very good. 


We raised £300 for St. Margaret's Hospice and I would like to thank everyone that attended, those who couldn't attend but donated and also for the very popular raffle.  The winner of the fruit basket was Catherine Denney.


This is the third year it has been held at our home and I hope we will be doing this as an annual event.  We have already started sorting through seed catalogues for the plants next year, and I hope next year will also prove very popular.  Any spare seeds trays etc. will always be welcome.


Christine and Glenn Seymour





It was very sad to say goodbye to Steve and Lisha Oliver when they left the village shop in March.  After a somewhat gloomy period it had been a delight to go into the shop and hear laughter, and then to have one's leg gently pulled by Steve, with smiling Lisha always helpful.  So I was very downcast when I heard they were leaving.  With a heavy heart I wished them good luck, and was pleased they were to remain in the area.


However, I was totally reassured when I met Paul and Vicky.  Here was another enterprising young couple, prepared to take on a village shop in the face of official indifference and supermarket power.  They seemed to slot into their new roles as shopkeepers quite effortlessly and in no time at all seemed to know everybody's name.  A further delight is the appearance of little Lilia who creeps into the shop with her favourite toy to see what's going on, and then has to be bundled out by an anxious parent.  This is all part of village life, and keeping the shop going is a vital service to the local community.  Thus I would urge every resident of the village – permanent or week-ender – to make use of what the shop can offer, (I know lots of people already do), and so ensure that we do not lose a precious asset to village life.


I cannot end without paying a heartfelt tribute to Leigh, who, with her cheerful efficiency, must be an invaluable support to Paul and Vicky.  She has maintained continuity through the ups and downs of recent years.  It is difficult to think of the shop without her.


Sally Jackson



Music for a Summer Evening

John Clarke & Guests


"A Night at the Opera"

Forde Abbey nr Chard



Come and enjoy some of the most beautiful classical music in the stunning surroundings that are Forde Abbey.  Soak up the atmosphere of the 850 year old Great Hall as you listen to award winning baritone John Clarke, supported by pianist Antony Saunders & soprano Pippa Goss.  In the interval, retire to the Cloisters for a glass of wine or stroll at leisure through the gardens.

This recital, supporting the Mayor of Yeovil's charity CLIC Sargent will take place on Sunday 16 September at 7.00pm.  Tickets are now available priced £15.00 to include a glass of wine.  It is advisable to book early as .seating is limited.

I do hope you will take advantage of this opportunity and be a part of what promises to be an evening of musical excellence.

Yours sincerely

Deborah Stokes (Mrs)

Millbrook House, 3 Drakes Meadow, Halves Lane, East Coker, Somerset BA22 9EX




Please make cheques payable to "Charity Concert Account"

Please forward me…………Ticket/s @ £15.00 each.  I enclose remittance for………………………………...…….
(Please also enclose a stamped addressed envelope)


Address ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Postcode……………………………………………Tel No…………………………………………………....................

I regret I am unable to attend but enclose a donation of…………………………………………………………….......





























The above booklet has been written by Robert Allwood, who is an authority on the early history of the flax industry.  It contains an interesting account of the flax industry of the Cokers as well as many photographs and drawings.  It is available in the East Coker PO as well as many shops around the area.  It can also be obtained directly from Mr R Allwood, Highbanks, Longlands Lane, East Coker BA22 9HN Tel 862118 at £3.50 incl. P&P





Following the local elections in May the Parish Council met and welcomed two new councillors: Barry Hartley, a former councillor for East Coker ward and Colin Rose, who will represent the Wraxall ward.  We were sorry to lose the services of Sarah Rashley and Lynette Osmund who have both been such hardworking and invaluable members of the council.  There are two new South Somerset District councillors who will represent the Coker wards: Lesley Boucher and Helen Lefeuvre.


During Election Day, several comments were made by electors that they did not know which candidates to vote for, because they did not know anything about them!  To get to know your existing parish councillors, everyone is welcome to come along to any Parish Council meeting (second Wednesday of each month at the Pavilion at 7.00pm) to see and hear your councillors in action.  The Parish Council is non-political and has the best interests of the parish of East Coker at the top of its agenda.


We said our goodbyes and thank-yous to Alan Cornelius (retiring District Councillor) at our April meeting.  Alan has served the parish for well over 50 years and we wish him a happy retirement.


If grass areas that are normally strimmed are not as tidy as before it may be because there is dogs’ mess which has not been cleaned up by dog owners.  Our lengthsman cannot be expected to strim areas that are fouled by dogs!  Use the special bins provided around the village to dispose of your dog’s mess and please do not throw your bags into hedges etc.


Parking at the school continues to go from bad to worse and many of the culprits may not read this message because they do not live in the parish…….but…….parking in the area of the tree triangle has become a real hazard, as the zone for pedestrians along the Devonshire Cottage wall is constantly being used by parents’ cars, thus leaving children and their parents, who do walk to school, more vulnerable than ever.


If you see cars parked unsafely and blocking pedestrian access take the number of the vehicle and, if you do not want to confront the driver, let our PCSO Richard Oaten have the details.  His number and email address are included in his Newsletter and he is our new police contact – he is regularly seen around the area and will deal with any problems which arise.  Please do not hesitate to contact him if you have any cause for concern.


PCSO 9861 Richard Oaten Crewkerne Police Station


I am Police Community Support Officer 9861 Richard Oaten and I am currently based in Crewkerne.  I have worked for the Avon and Somerset Constabulary for 12 years.  I worked in a previous role in Yeovil for 10 years and became a PCSO a little over 2 years ago.  At present I work within the Parrett and Coker Wards which is quite a large area.  It's a brilliant job because I get to meet some really nice people in the Communities and I am able to help them when they have problems or issues that affect their quality of life.


My Beat Manager, P C Mark Egington is also based at Crewkerne and I liaise with him daily on issues that might need his attention.  My main aim is to provide reassurance by visible patrols, Beat Surgeries and visits with the Police Community Contact Vehicle.  If you have any problems or issues that I can help with, you can contact me on 0845 456 7000, please leave a message and contact number with the operator and the message will be passed to me.  You can also contact me on the Avon and Somerset website at www.avonandsomersetpolice.uk



Dear Readers,  Lighter evenings make us all feel better now as the summer approaches.  There s something about the smell of freshly cut grass on a newly mown lawn.


As I travel around the area I see more people out and about, but more importantly there are others also travelling around.  These people can be driving around in a vehicle or walking down the street.  Their aim is to deprive you of your possessions.  Lighter evenings and warmer weather will see more windows and doors being left open.  Doors to Garages and Outbuildings left open and on view are Quad bikes, lawn mowers, mountain bikes, fridges, freezers, tools and so on.  A shed is basically a wooden box, so please if you keep expensive items in it make sure you have a decent lock to keep it secure, and if possible block out the window so people cannot see what's inside, or better still keep them in a more suitable place.  Please be aware the opportunist thieves in our society are very clever in what they do and sometimes you won't even notice what is missing until it's too late.  But there are a few simple measures you can take to help protect yourself and your property.


1. Join a local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.  This can be very effective because you are all watching out for each other. Crime cannot flourish in a Community that cares.


2. Mark all your property with a postcode. Even the solar lights in your garden.


3. Telephone the Police if you see or hear anything suspicious.  It's always handy if you write down the registration number of a suspicious car/van/pickup and/or the description of a person/s who you think are strangers in your area and acting in a suspicious manner.  This information can be vital and very helpful to the Police


4. If planning a holiday cancel the milk and newspapers.  Let friends and relatives know, this can prevent your telephone ringing unanswered for long periods of time.  Perhaps a relative or friend could call in and gather up the post.  Timer switches are effective because you can set lights and radios to go on and off at suitable times.  Lock away all tools and ladders.


5. When at home keep the windows open to a minimum, especially on the ground floor, If possible keep your doors locked and above all keep a general awareness around your home.  You can contact myself or the Police by Telephoning 0845 456 7000 and you can also visit the Avon and Somerset website on www.avonandsomersetpolice.uk


Thank you,





Does anyone have the recipe for Apple Pladder which was made in East Coker?  It used to be served at the local inns.  If you are prepared to share your recipe please can you ring 862868 or email Lesley Lindsay.  Thank you.





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in October 2007.  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 Monday 24 September 2007.




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