East Coker Society Newsletter


July 2008 – Free Issue No 131


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






21 – 22 June 2008




Congratulations to the 29 entrants in the second East Coker Scarecrow Competition, who demonstrated their impressive creative abilities and provided us with a great deal of entertainment as we walked, cycled and drove round the 'scarecrow' route during the week-end of 21 – 22 June.  We were anticipating many more entries this year, after the encouragement from so many of you who enjoyed the 2007 event and specifically asked us to repeat it again.  Although many of these failed to materialise, this was more than compensated by the supreme efforts of those who did participate.  You brightened up the village, and encouraged many people out and about!  We’ll look forward to seeing some of them at the Church Fκte.


The standard of the entries was so high that the judges had a very difficult job.  The first prize in the Children’s Category was won by the Backhouse Family with their Slam Dunk entry.  Rosie and Katy Palmer and Sam and Clare Barnes-Thornton were a very close runner up with Percy the Park Keeper.  In the Adult Category, Flavia Leng won first prize with Miss Flora Bunda.  The runner up was Ann Coyne with Maurice Morris.  Finally, the Clubs and Organisations Category was won by Treble’s Gone, entered by Don and Barbara Nicol and friends of Ten Cottages.  East Coker’s Christian Fellowship’s Cutting ‘Edge entered by Kevin Chapman was a close runner up.


Photographs of all the scarecrows will eventually be on the website www.eastcoker.com


Sarah Owen, Secretary East Coker Society





At the AGM of the East Coker Society held on the 10 June, the Executive Committee was re-elected en bloc.  It was disappointing that only one villager attended, as all villagers are automatically members of the Society.  We would welcome some new members to serve on the Executive Committee, so if you feel you could give your experience to the Society, please phone the Secretary 862218





The new East Coker Bag is a 'must-have' item if you live in East Coker!  The cotton shopper is available with either long or short handles, and has the East Coker Cockerel on one side.  Environmentally friendly, and good for the 'green' consumer!  Available from the East Coker P.O. & Store or Sarah Owen 862218





Saturday 29 November 2008; 2.00pm – 4.00pm at the East Coker Hall


Book early!  Tables for the Winter Fayre are available.  The price is £1. 50 a foot, for 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 foot tables.  Setting up of tables will be from 1.00pm onwards


Individuals or organisations who wish to reserve a table should please fill in the form below, and send it with either cash or a cheque, by 15 November at the latest, made payable to East Coker Society, to Carol Blackmore, Pippins, Higher Burton, East  Coker 862192.  This will make certain your stall is reserved.








Name of Organisation…………………………………………………………………………………………...….


Type of Stall………………………………………………………………………………………………………….


Contact Name and Telephone Number……………………………………………………………………………



Size of table at £1. 50 per foot…………..  I enclose £………..Signed………………...………......………….









We greatly appreciate delivery by e-mail as it saves money on our printing costs so if in future you would like to help by receiving 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





We are holding a ‘Woman’s World Evening’ at the East Coker Hall on Tuesday 7 October 2008.  This will be an evening of fashion and beauty.  


Tickets are £10 including wine and refreshments and are available from Angie Mead 862972 or Barb Raison 862553.


A reminder of our lunch with the Rt. Hon Ann Widdecombe MP on Thursday 27 November 2008 at the new Tithe Barn, Haselbury Mill, Nr Yeovil.  Tickets are £30 to include a two-course lunch with wine. 


There has been a lot of interest in this event and tickets are limited, please ring Jane Donnelly 478409 for tickets a.s.a.p.


Cream Teas – £2,300 was made from the 500 Cream Teas which were delivered in Yeovil, Sherborne & Crewkerne.  Thank you to all those in the village who supported us.





We start with the sad news that East Coker Post Office is to close.  We would like to say a big thank you to all who supported us and fought with us during the campaign to save the Post Office.  We are sorry that we were unsuccessful in our attempts and feel deeply saddened for the village at the loss of a service that a great many people will miss.  The date for the closure is set for 16 July 2008.


Anyway, time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and move forwards.  We are going to continue to run the store under the new name ‘East Coker Village Store’.  Due to the removal of the Post Office, we are going to re-arrange the interior space and displays to hopefully improve the Store.  Please bear with us, as it could take some time to get fully sorted.  Along with the changes, we are creating a website with details of stock offers and hopefully a stock list, though again this could take some time.  


You can check on progress at http://mysite.orange.co.uk/eastcokerstore.


We are fully aware of the importance of stock control and stock holding and will continue to work hard as we have done over the last 16 months to ensure availability of stock.  We are also open to suggestions of products and services that you would like us to supply or of any other ways in which we can improve on what we do.  If we get enough demand for a particular item then we will try to source it at a reasonable cost.


You can call into the store with any suggestions.  Alternatively we can be e-mailed at eastcokerstore@yahoo.co.uk.  We are always on the lookout for opportunities, as anyone who knows Paul will tell you.  


Some of the recent new additions to our stock portfolio are electronic items (TV with DVD and Freeview, USB portable Hard Drive, Satellite Navigation, Remote Control Tank and Helicopters and more), chemical toilet fluids for Campers and Caravanners, and DVD’s (including some new releases and a selection of other movies for all tastes).


We also have other ideas which we are investigating at present.


At the time of writing this piece, we are in communication with a company which, if things work out, will allow us to continue to offer some Bill Payment Services and would hopefully add the ability to provide electricity key charging amongst other services.  We have had to buy the rights from the Post Office to be able to continue to provide these services.  We will keep you informed on this.


Paul is also a qualified driving instructor and is looking to take on extra work.  More details on the driving school services will be available in store.


Ultimately, we are realistic enough to know that there is only so much that we can do to make the store a success.  In reality, it is our customers who make the store what it is.  We only hope that we can continue to serve our community to the best of our ability for a long time to come.


Paul, Vicky, Emmalia & Lillia Moorhouse





£100 Mr J Mornement; £50 Mr J Sharp; £40 Mr & Mrs T Kimpton; £30 Mr D Jenkins; £20 Mrs K Best; £15 Mrs A Mead; £10 Mr C Bingley; Mrs B Chatwin.


If anyone would like to join the 400 Club – £20 a year payable by quarterly payments of £5 by Bank Standing Order – please contact Mike Weston 862472, Gloria Mead 862384 or Mary Ashley 862263





This will be held at East Coker Hall on Saturday 16 August 2008.  Schedules are available from the East Coker Village Store.  Please try and have a go. 


Doors will be open to exhibitors between 8.30am and 11.00am (wine by 10.00am).  Doors open to the public at 2.00pm for everyone to see a wonderful display. 


Good Luck everyone!





Opening Celebration

The new Pavilion extension is complete and we are having an opening celebration with complimentary light refreshments on Sunday 20 July from 2.00pm to 5.00pm.  Everyone is welcome.  There will be plenty to entertain all ages including football and cricket.  Let’s make this a real Village gathering to mark a great achievement which has been very well supported by so many people.


On not quite such a positive note.  There has been some minor vandalism with the use of the new roof as a seating area, which has caused damage to the felt.  May we ask all parents to ensure that children realise the dangers and cost of these actions and actively to discourage anyone seen on the roof.


A note for your diary, we are having an Auction of Promises on Friday 10 October which we hope will raise enough funds to refurbish the old Pavilion.  We are looking for promises from cakes to holidays.  Our last auction raised over £8,000 and if we could achieve this again it would complete this very worthwhile project.  Please contact me on 863435 if you can help in anyway.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Warman Builders for delivering an excellent job on time and more importantly on budget and Robert Mead for all his efforts including project management.


Bridget Sugg  East Coker Pavilion Fund





Tuesday 29 July – Joyce Smith & Betty Davis

Tuesday 30 September – ‘Travel’, Caroline Mornement hosts an evening of travel poetry with a display of textiles from around the world to accompany the verse. Readers include Joyce Best and James Nash.


East Coker Poetry Competition 2008 – deadline for entries 1 October 2008


The subject is 'Time'


Everyone is welcome to enter the competition.  Your poem can be short or long.  It can be in any form – sonnet; limerick; haiku.  It must be mainly in English.  It can be typed or hand-written.  For details of the rules please contact the telephone number below.  Entries should be sent to East Coker Poetry Group, Church Cottage, Burton Cross, East Coker, Yeovil BA22 9LYor email to info@eastcokerpoetry.org.uk


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





The year began with a jolly Hogmanay Hop, with musical accompaniment by the Misty Trio, plus a Bargain Bazaar to boost funds.


Then the change of venue which affected all those using the facilities of the East Coker Hall due to its closure whilst major repairs were undertaken.  We gratefully accepted the generous offer made by Kevin Chapman to transfer to his hall in Burton Lane, which members found to be very comfortable and cosy.  Our gratitude must also go to Mrs Dunning for parking facilities.


In February, a Poetry Please session was held, with members submitting their own poems appropriate for Valentine's Day.


Nigel and Alison entertained us with their slides and commentary of their second trip to Hungary – more of a holiday this time instead of a butterfly hunt.  This was followed by a somewhat smaller version of our Easter Fair and Easter Bonnet Parade, which Sue Hedges kindly came along to judge.


Bill Petheram projected some fascinating pictures of his diving exploits in the Far East and went on to judge our members contributions to the Photographic Competition on the theme of water, eg river; pond; sea etc.


A fun Sing-a-Long of old-time favourites had members waiting more desperately than usual for their refreshing cup of tea served at the end of each meeting – such were their efforts to sing with gusto the familiar lyrics!


In May, it was eyes-down for Card Bingo, and later in that month Bob Fox entertained us with his hilarious recollections from a life-time of being involved in the world of Old Time Music Hall Variety Theatre.


The late Joan Bulcraig would have been delighted to see how we enjoyed the day trip to Minehead she bequeathed the Club, including a Carvery meal at the Wellington Hotel.  It was one of those gloriously sunny days that rarely happen when trips are arranged in advance of weather forecasts being available.


The half-yearly programme finished with Songs of Praise at St Michael's Church on 23 June, and now it's back to East Coker Hall for future events, with its brand-new floor and shiny new windows.


Jean Cooksey


Forthcoming Events


7 July  Sing-a-Long – a celebration!                     21 July  Travels in Canada – Audrey Bartlett

4 August  Quiz-time – pit your wits!                     18 August  Birthday Tea Dance with the Misty Trio

1 September  AGM and Bring & Buy                   15 September  Whole Day Outing

29 September  Call my Bluff – Larry Skeats         13 October  History of the Swan Theatre – Stan Law

27 October  Craft Competition – Gill Holt


The Club meets in the East Coker Hall from 2.30pm every other Monday unless otherwise stated.





After meeting in various venues for the past few months, members of the Club were delighted to be back 'home' in the East Coker Hall for the June meeting.


Since the beginning of April, members had heard a helpful talk on 'Rock Gardens and Alpines' and had seen two splendid slide shows of photographs of 'Somerset Wildlife' by Den Bridel, and a 'Portrait of Exmoor' by John S. Stuart.


In early April, the Club’s spring holiday took a coach-load on a 3-day trip to South Wales, starting with St. Fagan’s Museum of Wales.  Excellent accommodation at St Mellons Country Club included a heated swimming pool.


On 11 June, a day trip went to The Chelsea Physic Garden in London which included an explanatory tour of the medicine plants grown there.


At the time of going to press, on 10 July the Club will be hearing about the work of The Barn Own Trust.


The Club took part in the East Coker Society’s Scarecrow Competition with 'How Does Your Garden Grow' displayed in Mill Close.  It is anticipated that members will put on a good showing at the Annual Flower Show on 16 August.  This year the Club will also be presenting a cup for one of the classes.


The programme for the rest of the summer is set out below.  The Club usually meets on the second Thursday in the month at 7.30pm in the East Coker Hall, unless otherwise announced.


14 August         Marie-Elaine Houghton from Hortus Nurseries on'Planting for Late Summer Interest'


11 September    Pam Lewis from Sticky Wicket on 'Gardening in Tune with Nature'


Saturday 27 September              Day trip to Malvern Autumn Show leaving East Coker at 8.00am.


9 October          Clem Pryor on 'Roses and Castles


For further information contact the Hon-Secretary, Catherine Denny on 862294, or the Hon-Treasurer, Stan Shaylor on 420291.



Young People




Coffee Morning  Saturday 19 July – by kind invitation of Tim & Jackie Glover at ‘The Old School House’ Closworth (next to the Church) 10 00am – 12noon.  Entry £2.00 to include coffee and homemade cakes; bric-a-brac stall and raffle.  


Proceeds to help fund the Scout Group's forthcoming visit to the Irish Jamboree. 


Waste Paper Collections:        Saturday 26 July            30 August         27 September


Autumn Jumble Sale Saturday 18 October, East Coker Hall from 2.00pm.


REMEMBER WE WILL COLLECT.  Contact Max Bugler 862186. Thank you for your support.





Thank you to everyone who supported the playgroup's Annual Summer Fair.  The weather was beautiful, ice-cream nearly sold out, and the event raised an amazing £1000.


Our topic this term is Pirates, so beware you land lubbers!  As usual, the staff and children need little encouragement for the ideas to roll in (sorry).  So far the outlook is calm, maybe a little ‘hoppy’ around Sports Day, fair to nice for the leaver’s visits to East Coker School and hopefully not stormy for the group's trip to Monkey World!  At the end of term, the group waves goodbye to the children going to school in September, and we look forward to saying hello to the returning children.


During the summer holidays, the group plans to open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, subject to demand, from 9.00am to 12 noon.  This will be for 5 weeks starting the 22 July to 21 August.  Please contact Kay Strode on the number below for further information and a booking form.


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


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





The Parish Council has been exploring the possibility of forming a Youth Parish Council.  If a Youth Parish Council were to be established it would obviously need youngsters to come forward to form it.  However, it is also clear that adult support would be essential for a project like this to succeed.  The Parish Council is keen to know if there are any community minded adults willing to take a leading role in, and be the focal point for, the establishment of a Youth Parish Council.


If you are interested and require more information please contact:  Barrie Hartley 862060


The Churches





Sunday 31 August Sung Matins – 10.00am

Other church services as usual during July and August

Sunday 7 September – Pet Service – 10.00am

Sunday 28 St Michael & all Angel's Service – 10.00am

Sunday 5 October Harvest Festival Eucharist – 10.00am.  Older school children are encouraged to give a presentation of 'Eco-friendly' living for our future world


Saturday 13 September – 10.00am.  Sponsored bicycle ride; horse ride; walk or run in aid of Somerset Churches and Chapels


Wednesday 1 October  Harvest Supper – 7.00pm for 7.30pm at East Coker Hall.  For details, please phone Penny Marpole 863055


Future Dates

Sunday 19 October 6.00pm – One World Week – a special themed Evening Service

Sunday 26 October 6.00pm – (when the clocks change) – 'Cool Sunday' – no heating in the church.  Wear extra coats, vests, etc and know you will be helping to save £50+ in fuel costs which will be sent to 'Tearfund' to support communities which are already suffering from the effects of global warming – climate change causing floods, droughts, failed harvests etc.


Fairtrade – St Michael's is moving towards becoming a Fairtrade Church – wherever possible, refreshments supplied will be of Fairtrade origin.


Service for those we love but no longer see


This year the service will be on 2 November at St Michael's Church at 6.00pm.  The Preacher will be the Rev Rose Hoskins, who is a vicar in the Vale Parishes, and is also Archdeaconry Warden of Readers.  Rose was a Reader at Hardington before her ordination and has preached a number of times here at East Coker.


It would be helpful if people could let me have the names of their loved ones they would like to have read out by 26 October. 


Many thanks, Monica  862834





Open Sunday with Cream Tea – On Sunday 14 September we shall be serving Cream Teas in the Hall at the end of Burton Lane between 3.30pm and 5.30pm. There will be no charge for the cream teas but all donations will be given to St. Margaret’s Hospice, Yeovil.  All welcome.


Coffee Stop – The Hall is open every Wednesday from 11.00am until 1.00pm for coffee and tea.  All are welcome to come along and it is simply meant to be a place where friends can get together for a chat.  There is no charge for the refreshments.


Walking Group – A walking group uses the Hall as a base every Tuesday morning at 10.30am.  The walks are generally from about 2 – 4 hours long.  We have now walked many of the footpaths around the village and a few of those around Hardington.  If anyone is interested in joining us, please contact Kevin Chapman on either of the telephone numbers (or the email address) provided at the end of this entry – or simply turn up, we’ll be pleased to see you.


Bible Study – We hold a Bible Study in a home on Wednesday mornings and another in a different home on Wednesday afternoons.  If anyone would like to join us or form another study or discussion group please contact Kevin Chapman.


Weekly Meetings – 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays 11.00 am – Worship Service (incorporating Communion). 2nd Sunday 11.00am – Family Service.  Tuesdays 7.45pm – Prayer Meeting and discussion time.  Other services as announced. 


Kevin Chapman is available in the village each Tuesday and Wednesday. He can be contacted on 0781 2726853 or 01935 422594 or email ec.cf@hotmail.co.uk  Please do feel free to contact him if you have any queries about the Christian faith or if you would like someone to pray with you or simply to talk to.





Closworth Family Service


We hold this on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 10.00am.  It is a short informal service with the children taking part.  All ages welcome


Sunday 14 September – 6.30pm – Harvest Evensong

Sunday 21 September will be a special Harvest Celebration Service so please come and join us


For further details please phone me, Monica 862834





The Coffee Morning held on 14 June at the home of Mrs Kay Biggin raised £397 towards the Church Roof Fund.  The final total was £689, the residue being made up by kind donations.  Anthony and Carol would like to thank everyone who supported and contributed in any way.



1st Sunday in the month – 9.00am           3rd Sunday in the month – 11.30am


Work starts on the porch roof on 7 July.  Access may be a little restricted during the two weeks' work.





Wednesday 16 July 7.00pm – speaker Brian Ruff

Wednesday 20 August 7.00pm – speaker Charlie Ward

Wednesday 17 September 7.00pm – speaker Edward Armistead

Wednesday 15 October 7.00pm – speaker Nigel Wilson-Brown


These meetings take place in the East Coker Hall.  Do join us and bring your friends.  Refreshments are served after each meeting.


For further details contact Roy Hodder 862519 or Edward Armistead 862785


Village News




Thankfully, relatively few of us will ever need to be rescued by the emergency services.  However, just watching one real-life event on 'Seaside Rescue' convinces us of the bravery and dedication of the people who perform these lifesaving duties. 


The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is totally supported by voluntary donations.  Not only does it provide the well-known lifeboat service, it is also a significant provider to the increasingly familiar Beach Rescue activity. 


Environmental and economic conditions are encouraging more people to holiday at home, and more lives are being saved by the yellow-vested team each year.


Please give generously during Lifeboat Week.  Also, if you are able to help collecting near your home, please call Peter Burrows on 862218.





We are holding another Open Evening from 6.00pm onwards.  Join us for refreshments, meet some of our suppliers and sample their products.  A warm welcome for customers old and new. 


A big than you to all our customers, we appreciate and value your support


Our regular opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am – 6.00pm


Phil, Liz, Joe and Lindsey Dunning  863735





St Michael's Social Responsibility Group wish to draw to the attention of villagers, the real danger of the Post Office Closure having a secondary effect on the viability of the Village Stores, which is a very important asset at the centre of the community as well as a life-line for non-drivers, the elderly and the disabled. 


If everyone buying a newspaper were to make a purchase at the same time, they would be contributing to making the Village Stores financially viable.  Remember – USE IT OR LOSE IT!





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


East Coker

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

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


Sutton Bingham           Bower Farm                   13.25pm – 13.45pm


Dates:                          10 July              31 July              21 August





The plant sale at Weavers Lodge, East Coker in May went exceptionally well.  At last we had good weather for our sale and the large number of people made the proceeds swell to £350 for charity this year.


If there was something particular you liked this year, please let me know and I'll try to grow them for next year.  A firm favourite this year was the Salvia, Wild Sage, in red, pink and red/white, with sage fragrant leaves.


Thank you all again for coming.  Hope to see you next year.


Glenn and Christine Seymour.





Owing to the rising price of diesel, Barry and I will not be delivering the poppy boxes to individual collectors this year.  A system similar to that of West Coker, Hardington, East Chinnock and Barwick will be in place which means I will deliver the poppies en bloc to a Committee Member who will distribute them through the village.  This should, I hope, make no difference to any collector.


Once again I thank you all in advance for all your help.


Sue Hounsell  01308 424702





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


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


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







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


Address (in case we need to contact you)





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







Charity Coffee Mornings – 10.00am - 12 noon

Friday 25 July       Almshouses Charity

Friday 29 August   All Saints' Church, Sutton Bingham

Friday 26 September – Lufton MENCAP College


Quiz Night

Held on the last Sunday of every month.  Four persons per team at £5 per team.  Good fun for everyone





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


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


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





Twenty-six year-old local athlete Sam Weale has qualified for the Olympic Games in Beijing in Modern Pentathlon on 21 August.  Sam trains at the Centre of Excellence at Bath University now but his home is in Broadacres, East Coker.  He attended East Coker playgroup along with twin brother Chris and then went on to East Coker School followed by Westfield Secondary School and then Yeovil college.  I have fond memories of his first competitive race in the sponsored bike ride at the playgroup.  It wasn’t meant to be a race but they were so competitive that they tore around the field on the little trikes!


Modern Pentathlon comprises shooting, swimming, running, horse riding and fencing which are all done on the one day of competition, so it is a gruelling event requiring many different skills and strengths.  Sam is currently ranked 28th in the world which was enough to qualify him for his place.  It has been especially hard for Sam as he has had to overcome many injuries along the way.  As he couldn’t compete much last year, he has had to do all of the international qualifying competitions since January this year.


Sam started in the sport at a very early age.  When he was eight he and his twin brother Chris and sister Becky used to do biathlons.  They learned to swim at Yeovil swimming club and I coached them in the running.  They all joined Yeovil Olympiads athletic club and Sam still runs occasionally for the club now. The family then joined Pegasus modern pentathlon club and they all learned to shoot.  Chris and Becky were not so good at shooting so eventually moved on to other things, but Sam took to it very well and won the national triathlon (running, swimming, shooting) when he was 12.  It was then that he decided that he was going to compete for his country.  He took up fencing at 14 and by the time he was 15 he had his first GB vest for tetrathlon (swimming, running, shooting, fencing).  Lastly came the riding.  He learnt the early stages of riding at Brymsmore Riding Centre and when he went to Bath University he was trained further in this discipline.


When he was a first year junior pentathlete he came 3rd in the Junior European Championships. Unfortunately, injuries over the years held Sam back and he failed to qualify for the last Olympics.  He even gave up for 18 months because he was so despondent.  After several operations on both his feet it took him quite a while to get back on top form again, but he showed his true potential in April this year when he won bronze at the World Cup at Millfield School.  All the top-ranked athletes in the world were there that day, including the Olympic champion, so he did very well to get on the podium.


I hope the village will support Sam by wishing him well, as it is a great honour to represent your country at the Olympic Games, and it has taken Sam many years of hard work to achieve this goal.  Watch the action on BBC digital interactive 301 or 302 channels on 21 August.  Unfortunately, because of the time difference, we will all be up in the night watching it but I am sure you can catch up on the action the next day.


Anyone who wishes to sponsor Sam can contact him on samweale@googlemail.com or write c/o Mr and Mrs D. Weale 12 Broadacres East Coker BA22 9LW.


Annette Weale (very proud mum)





Parents – it’s almost that time again!  That time when you need to find enough activities to occupy your kids for 6 whole weeks, oh yes, the summer holidays are almost upon us!  But don’t break down into a cold sweat just yet, because Stanchester Sports Centre is here to make the planning easy!  Join us from 24 July – 29 August for our biggest programme yet!


Brand new for 2008 is 'Active Kidz' the new play-scheme concept and it’s perfect for any working parents as well as those children who want to stay with us and enjoy the fun all day! 


ACTIVE KIDZ (Mon 18 – Fri 22 August)

q       Early Risers: 8.30am – 10.00am

q       Active Kidz session 1: 10.00am – 1.00pm

q       Active Kidz session 2: 1.00pm – 4.00pm

q       Afternoon Chillout: 4.00pm – 5.30pm


Each day will have a different theme including water days, boot camp, circus day, a Gladiators day and our very own Stanchester Olympics.  Simply pick the days and the sessions that fit in with your week or book for the whole day for just £16.00 per child!


Of course as well as this we have our usual exciting summer activity programme including badminton, football, tennis, fencing, archery, water games, bouncy castles, street dancing, tae kwondo, the return of the Shooting Stars Circus Company, and much more…


Brochures will be coming to you via your child’s school, but to make sure you get your copy ASAP why not drop in an SAE to be posted a copy, or send an e-mail to the address below to be sent an electronic copy of the leaflet.


And, as its summer, it means we have daytime badminton, squash and outdoor tennis courts, all available for casual hire.  We can take bookings up to 7 days in advance as well as bookings on the day; so think of us if you’re trying to find time-fillers to keep yourselves occupied during the holidays.


See you over the summer – we can’t wait!


Stanchester Sports Centre  01935 825261  stanchestersportscentre@somerset.gov.uk





The extension to the Pavilion is nearing completion thanks to Robert Mead and his team.  The Parish Council would like to say a big thank you to all involved in reaching the final stages, and we hope that everyone will find the extra space a useful addition to parish facilities.  The last push to raise funds for furnishing etc. will be announced and hopefully there will be a big turnout for these events.


Problems with DOGS’ MESS on footpaths that are being strimmed has come to a head and Richard, our lengthsman, really has had enough!!  A face-full of strimmed dog excrement is the final straw for those who work so hard to keep your paths clear.  PLEASE, PLEASE remove dogs’ mess immediately, bag it and place it in a Dog Bin or take it home to your own bin.  Leaving the bag on the verge to be hit by a strimmer is even worse, and such a Health & Safety risk that soon no paths will be tidy and all that we have worked towards to keep our footpaths accessible will be in vain.


Sadly, but inevitably, East Coker Post Office was among the announced closures that have devastated rural parishes.  The owners hope to be able to carry on as a community shop and your support for their enterprise will be very much appreciated in the future.


Repairs to the Chapel Roof in the Cemetery have been delayed until further funds are available, following the completion of the Pavilion extension.


The Parish Council is still pursuing the plan for a Youth Parish Council, but there has to be a commitment from a small team of adults to be involved with this project.  Any parents or other adults who would like offer their time to help should contact the Parish Clerk, so that our younger parishioners can have their own committee working with the Parish Council.


A second mini-football pitch is being added to the cricket outfield.


An application for a 30mph speed limit seems to have stalled yet again; the speed of traffic in the village is discussed at every Parish Council meeting, but East Coker is still deemed to be a low priority area in the Local Transport Plan.  Please help by reporting excessive speed or dangerous driving, as this may prevent a future accident and slow down traffic.


Fly-tipping is on the increase – a load of garden waste was dumped in the middle of Sleights Lane recently.  Please report to the council at Brympton Way – they have a special team of collectors who are very efficient.  For smaller litter issues, please help by collecting as you walk or let the Parish Clerk know, and she will pass this on to the lengthsman.


Footpaths are becoming overgrown with greenery at this time of year and not all of them are strimmed or trimmed by the council or the lengthsman.  To help, please take secateurs with you if you are out and about – stinging nettles are especially invasive and are easy to trim, and this will benefit all users of our rights of ways.


If you would like to raise any matters with your local Member of Parliament, David Laws MP will be holding a surgery on Thursday 31 July, near the Post Office, at the entrance to Long Furlong Lane.  Notices to follow.





Summer Solstice – 20 June 2008


Today is officially the start of summer, yet it feels like autumn with a cool wind, a cloudy sky and rain in the afternoon.


Last night, the village had a very red sky, just after sunset, which promised a fine day for the solstice but, alas, it was not to be.  Mid-June has not lived up to its 'Flaming June' reputation, which is a disappointment after some long dry warm days at the beginning of the month.


The shade temperature on 9 June reached 23.5C (74.3F) in the middle of a warm spell that promised much but soon ended.  It was almost as warm in early May when the mercury touched 22.8C (73.2F).  Despite a warm first-half of May, the month had a wet end.  True to form, the late Spring Bank Holiday was a total washout with heavy rain all day.  Rainfall for May was 108mm (4.27ins).  There were three days of frost in April with a sprinkling of snow on 6 April, a surprise as the end of March had been warm and pleasant.  Rainfall so far this year has totalled 429mm (16.91ins)


Last year's record rainfall has seriously affected butterfly numbers.  Very few have been flying in June.  The first Brimstone appeared on 2 April as did a Small Tortoiseshell.  The most numerous of the early butterflies were Orange Tips that appeared in early May with quite a few Common Blues and sparse Speckled Woods.  But all have now vanished with none of the usual summer butterflies yet to be seen.


The lack of House Martins has been commented on.  They used to be such a feature of the village but modern plastics used to trim eaves are not suitable for nest building.  Yet, I later received a report of many Martins circling, perhaps looking for nesting sites.  In mid May a low-flying Buzzard was hawked at by a smaller bird and driven away, thought to be a sign of impending doom as the old man in Macbeth puts it...


                                      'A falcon, towering in her pride of place

                                       Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd'


Buzzards frequently circle lazily over the village; high in a bright summer sky.  Another strange sight was a dead grey squirrel on my lawn with not a mark on the body.  These creatures seem to have a charmed life high in the trees.


Queen Anne's Lace has not been such a bright sight along our hedges this year.  As perennials I thought that they would be immune from the weather.  I was delighted to see a large white Valerian growing among all the red Valerians in the wall along Burton Lane.  


The germination of some vegetable seeds this year has been a disappointment.  Many varieties have been reluctant or tardy to germinate.  The principal offenders have been tomatoes, courgettes and runner beans.  I wonder if this has been the experience of others.


The June full moon just before the summer solstice was very low in the night sky at transit.  It looked much larger than usual, near the horizon, a feature that has been remarked on for centuries.  Yet the apparent enlarging of the low moon is an optical illusion.  A low moon's photographs look no larger than usual.  There will be a partial eclipse of the moon on 16 August partly visible to us at 21.09 GMT.  


A total eclipse of the sun will occur on 1 August again only partially seen here at 09.10.GMT.  Jupiter will be fairly low in the southern night sky and will move westwards in the summer months. 


Summer night skies are not as interesting as Winter skies but summer viewing is more comfortable.


Francis Cloke. 86 2496





Looking through the photographs of East Coker on your village website has brought back floods of happy childhood memories.


In the 1950s, my grandparents lived at Orchard Cottage opposite the Helyar Arms, and after my grandfather's death my grandmother moved to the almshouses.  As a family of three daughters plus our two parents we would squeeze into number six Church Terrace, all the womenfolk upstairs in the single bedroom and father on a camp bed in the living room.


The magical quality of the village has stayed with us all throughout our lives.  The heady fragrance of the orchards when full of apples pervaded the village and mingled with the strong smell of cow manure.  There was a sign saying 'Beware of forty cows' which always tickled us in its precision.  Stepping over the stream on the flat stone slab was exciting as was balancing on the low wall beside the road, watching the water run along, the valerian and other little wallflowers a signature to this part of the world.  Local characters, now long dead, remain alive in our memories: Mr and Mrs Sainsbury, Eric and Molly Stevens (and their son Terry); Mr Foot who took us up the church tower to look at the view, and many others.


Your website pictures have allowed me to amble through the village as well as my own childhood.  It looks just the same although I'm sure there are changes out of shot, and perhaps few of the original families remain in this ever changing world.  My husband and I called at the pub two or three years ago for lunch but the barmaid hadn't heard of any of the names I knew, so I guess I must leave the past in its own place and hope that those of you who are fortunate enough to live there now can feel its wonderful magic.  Your website certainly suggests a great love of the place.


Yours sincerely, Ann Gilman





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in October 2008.  Copy, please, to Lesley Lindsay, Little Meadow, Coker Marsh, East Coker or e-mail Lesley Lindsay or to the East Coker Post Office & Store by Monday 22 September 2008.



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