East Coker Society


October 2003    Free Issue No 112


Chair:  John Sugg  863435

Secretary and Newsletter Editor:  Lesley Lindsay  862868

Treasurer:  Keith Helliar  863700


East Coker Society News




Another successful village history exhibition was enjoyed by the steady flow of visitors to the East Coker Hall on Saturday 13 September.  We were entertained with a fascinating display of historical photographs, documents, maps, slide shows, archaeological artefacts, tools, a 19th century bier and numerous other exhibits.  These were provided by many individuals, village groups and societies including the East Coker Society, Scouts, Brownies, WI, Churches, etc.


Particular thanks must go to Abigail Shepherd, who worked so hard to make it a success and to Gerry Smith and Martin Salzer for the photograph and slides displays, and again, thank you to all the contributors and helpers who worked so hard to make this such an interesting event.




Book early!  Tables for the Christmas Bazaar are available.  The prices are £1 a foot, for 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 foot tables.  Individuals or organisations who wish to reserve a table should please fill in the form below, and send with either cash or a cheque, made payable to the (East Coker Society), to Carol Blackmore, Pippins, Higher Burton, East Coker 862192, this will make certain your stall is reserved.


Don’t forget! Make a date in your diary for the Christmas Bazaar.  Many stalls; raffle; tea, coffee and mince pies, and of course Father Christmas will be making an extra early visit to East Coker, on his way to the North Pole, to ask the children what they want for Christmas!




At the Christmas Bazaar, 29 November, East Coker Hall.  If you have any books, videos, CD’s, DVD’s, tapes, we would welcome them for our stall.  We can collect or you can leave them at Springfield Cottage, Coker Marsh, or bring them to our stall on the day.


Sally Jackson 862879






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


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


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


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




In the future if you would like to receive the Newsletter via e-mail, please could you e-mail Lesley Lindsay with your name and postal address so you can be removed from our delivery lists.  Your email address will be kept entirely private, with no cross-referencing of other people's emails.  Delivering by e-mail is greatly appreciated as it saves money on our printing costs.



Village Clubs and Organisations




The Pantomime this year is 'Babes in the Wood'.  We have a new director, Darrell McCarthy, with new faces and old in the cast.  The dates of the show are Friday 5 and Saturday 6 December, in the East Coker Hall. 


This year we will be having two performances on Saturday.  A matinee at 2.30pm and an evening show at 7.30 pm, as on Friday evening.  Prices for children are £3.50 and adults £4.50. 


Tickets from Debbie Searle  863091





First of all I would like to apologise for the errors, in the last edition of the Newsletter, in Future Meetings and Events.  Mary Pring's talk on the Herb Garden happened in September and for October we have Lyn Spencer-Mills speaking on 'A Garden for Retirement'. 


Members who visited the 'Scented Garden' at Little Bredy in July had a lovely afternoon, appreciating the wonderful scents to the full in the warm sunshine.  This visit will be followed up by a talk early next year by Chris Yates, who owns the garden with his wife Sally.  In August, Sally Gregson gave a comprehensive talk about 'Making the Most of Sunny Spots' – most appropriate – ranging from very dry areas to boggy spots.  She also brought some very unusual plants which members could purchase.  Mary Pring's talk in September covered a wide range of herbs that look good in the garden, have a lovely smell and are useful around the house as well as in the kitchen.  We were also able to buy plants from her too.


We look forward to seeing you at all our forthcoming events which I will list – correctly, I hope – below on the 2nd Thursday of each month at East Coker Hall, 7.30pm, unless otherwise mentioned.  New members always welcome.


13 November  AGM at The Forrester's, Holywell, with refreshments and skittles                             

27 November  Gold Club Christmas Evening at Brimsmore.

11 December  House Plants – Beverley Benham, Golden Acres Nursery.


Rachel Blow  862849





Next Waste Paper Collections:  Saturday 6 December - 8.30am – 11.15am


Autumn Jumble Sale  This will be held at East Coker Hall, Saturday 18 October at 2.30pm.  All donations of jumble gratefully received.  Remember WE  WILL  COLLECT.  Tel Max Bugler  862186





Action research has changed its name to Action Medical Research.  By keeping elements of the old name, but adding the word 'Medical' it will be clearer to people exactly what the Charity does.  Our goal however remains the same: to improve the health and quality of life for everyone through medical research.


Once again a really big thank you to everyone who came to our Michaelmas Fair.  Yet again it proved to be a very enjoyable day and we raised the marvellous sum of £2,700.





I am pleased to report that, since the last Newsletter, progress is now being made in moving matters forward with regard to providing a new Pavilion at Long Furlong Lane.  The new land purchased by the Parish Council, with the help of a kind donation, will become the football pitch and has now been fenced and seeded and will hopefully be ready for next season.


Now that all interested parties have had a chance to have their say and to put their ideas forward at various Committee Meetings, the Committee have now made a firm decision with regard to how to proceed with the new building.  It was agreed by all concerned that the project had become a little over ambitious and we were all losing sight of what was really important to the village as a whole; facilities for the playgroup, changing rooms for the sports teams and a meeting place for the Parish Council.  With this in mind it has been decided to scale down the building and thus, scale down the overall costs involved.


Having said this, we still need to raise a considerable sum of money to get the project off the ground.  All support is very welcome and we would like to stress our commitment as a Committee to seeing this project through to its fruition.


Fundraising is ticking along nicely in the background but if anyone has any new fundraising ideas we would be very grateful to hear them.  The most recent fundraising event was a Champagne Luncheon hosted by Paul and Val Hillard in August.  It was a great success and raised £750.00 towards the Pavilion Fund.  Everyone who went had a super day so, once again, many thanks to Paul and Val for making it possible.


Some of you may remember an East Coker Cookbook which helped to raise a considerable amount of money for the Village Hall a few years ago.  Well, we intend to revive this idea so, if anyone has any recipes that they feel they would like to share, please hand them in, either to the Village Post Office and Stores or direct to Mrs Christine Cooper at Herne Cottage.


Two further fundraising ideas for the future are a cookery demonstration/Christmas evening and a concert with the 'Wurzels'.  Neither of these are finalised at the present time, so please watch this space for more information.


Bridget Sugg  863435





The East Coker Branch is holding its annual Coffee Morning at East Coker Hall on Saturday 25 October 2003, from 10.30am.  Everyone is very welcome to pop in for coffee, browse the stalls and by doing so make a very welcome contribution to Legion funds.


Don't forget the next time you see us will be the Poppy Appeal at the end of October.





16 August 2003 saw yet another successful Show.  Lots of 'new' names were among the exhibitors and prize winners, which I hope will bode well for many years to come.  We raised £281.00 which will be rolled over to next year enabling us to make a donation to the Pavilion Fund.  Very many thanks to all who helped, to all who exhibited, and to all who supported on the day.  It is certainly one village tradition we would not like to see disappear.


Cup Winners

Maudsley Cup                Sarah Rashley              Archie Neville Memorial Cup                    Arthur Rees

League of Friends Cup   Sarah Rashley              Pittard Rose Cup                                   Mandy Dowdell

Mrs Newman Cup            Tony Burnett                 Jane Harvey Salver                                Don White

Molly Kettlewell Cup       Wendy Mitchell             Miss Keefe Cup                                     Hazel Love

Drake Memorial Silver Cup   Gloria Mead             Eileen Doye Memorial Cup                      Gloria Mead

Christine Mead Cup        Helen Clifton                 Society Photographic Trophy                   Brian Docking

Gloria Mead Cup             Thomas Holliday           Miss E. B. Drake Silver Challenge Cup    Annabel Rashley


Well done everyone!!!!!!!!!!



HELP!  Desperate women seek the help of 3 or 4 strong men to set up the Flower Show tables on the Friday prior to the Show, which, as you all know, is ALWAYS the third Saturday in August. If you can help, PLEASE ring Marie on  864514. Thank you.



Young People




We are back from the summer holidays ready for the new year, to a beautifully redecorated pavilion.  After tearfully waving goodbye to the children going to school this September, we now wave hello to the children starting playgroup and welcome back the ‘old hands’ (who seem to have grown?).


East Coker Pre-School Playgroup is registered with Ofsted and the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and follows the Foundation Stage curriculum.  There is funding available through the Early Years Grant when children become eligible.  Children are able to attend from 2½ up to 5 years old.  We are open Monday to Friday during term time from 9.15am to 12 noon.  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 per child.


To secure a place on the waiting list for your children, please contact Kay Strode on  872126 after 6pm.  It is best to get your child’s name down early on the waiting list, as places are limited.


Craft Fair


Our next fundraising event will be on Sunday 9 November.  This is held in the East Coker Hall from 10.30am to 4.00pm.  Stalls are £15 and all craft types are welcome.  The playgroup committee offer refreshments all day and there will be a 'naughty, but nice' cake stall.  A photographer will be there to take family photos (just in time for Christmas), and there will be a raffle, drawn on the day.  Come and browse for presents, stop for a while to refresh and chat.  We look forward to seeing you.


For Craft Fair details, contact E. Dudden on  862357



The Churches




Service of Thanksgiving for those we have loved but see no longer 


The Service this year is on Sunday 2 November at 6.00pm.  The preacher will be Rev. Graham Roblin.  If you would like the names of loved your ones to be included in the list of names read out during the service, please could you let me know by 31 October.


Monica  862834


Christmas Services


Sunday 7 December, 10.00am  Christingle Service for Children


Thursday 18 December, 2.00pm  East Coker School Christmas Service


Sunday 21 December, 6.00pm  Carol Service


Christmas Eve, 11.00pm  Midnight Mass


Christmas Day, 8.00am  Holy Communion.  10.00am  Family Service





The Adult Carol Service will be held on Sunday 14 December, 6.30pm.

Christmas Day, 9.00am  Family Service.


On 24 December we will be repeating our Family Service at 4.00pm.  Last year we had a real baby Jesus and the children came dressed as angels, kings, shepherds and even a baby lamb.  As I suspect some of the angel dresses may now be a little small, I wondered if any of the children might like to come dressed as children from other lands.  If the dresses still fit, come as you did last year.  The service lasts for about 30 to 40 minutes and is quite informal. 


Any questions, please phone Monica  862834





Two delightful fund-raising events took place during the summer.  On Saturday 28 June there was a rare opportunity to see the fascinating garden created by Michael and Sheila Scott-Underdown at Sutton Bingham Manor.  The church was specially decorated and, over the road, at Wyndham House, the home of Patrick and Mary Pisani, cream teas were served in their garden.  It was a perfect summer day with a gentle breeze.


The sun also shone on the Coffee Morning held in Kay Biggin's garden at The Anchorage, Coker Marsh on Saturday 6 September.  The garden was in full, late summer splendour.  Refreshments were served on the lawn by the pond and there were stalls for bric-a-brac, cakes, Christmas cards & wrapping, and plants.  This and the previous event together raised over £1300 for the church.


The church was also beautifully decorated for the Harvest Festival Evensong on Sunday 28 September.  The next special event, though in the normal calendar of services, will be a Celebration of All Saints Day at the communion service on Sunday 2 November at 9.00pm.



On Tuesday 16 December at 7 00p.m there will be the usual Candle-lit Carol Service when the church will be decorated for Christmas.  After the service seasonal refreshments will be served.  The Christmas Day Communion Service will be at 11.30am.  If anyone would like to help with the decoration of the church, please contact either of the churchwardens, Carol Blackmore 862192 or Heather Snook 47413


A new revised church Guide is now available.  With added historical information and enlivened with colour it is on sale in the church at £2.


A Sad Loss


After all these celebrations it is sad to report the death in August of Pauline, wife of Brian Rousell, former churchwarden and Chairman of the Friends of All Saints Church.  She was a gifted artist and her delightful drawing of the church has featured on Christmas cards, notelets and leaflets.  She excelled in decorating the church for special occasions.  For many years she taught at East Coker School, and 'old hands' of the Ladies' Keep Fit will remember her and her sister Molly as regular participants.  She was easily recognisable on the road in her cherished 'vintage' Morris Traveller car.



Village News


SAVE  EAST  COKER  -  Global Online Petition!


Please ask all your friends and family wherever they may be in the world to sign the petition for the preservation of our lovely village and its environment. 


If they are at university or college ask them to get the fellow students and teachers to sign up as well.


Contact them and give them the following web-site address www.petitiononline.com/TSECoker/petition.html





Plant a Daffodil Day

East Coker Parish Council has arranged a daffodil planting day on Saturday 1 November, meeting at the East Coker Hall car park at 10.00am.


We would like some donations of daffodils please, and people to bring along their own spades, forks and trowels and some suggestions of where to plant them.


Any further details and daffodil donations please contact or deliver to Bridget Sugg, Little Foxholes,  863435



A great turnout of 83% for the referendum - we now await the District Council's response.


Council members have successfully applied for a grant of £12,500 from the District Council for the purchase of a new multiplay unit, to meet the EU regulations, for the children's play area.


The new section of the playing field at the back of the Pavilion is being fenced, reseeded and developed for a football pitch.  The existing pitch will be used for cricket next year.


Pauline Gubbins, Parish Clerk  862062



BROADBAND  IS  COMING!       But only with your help!


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


Please sign up 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, so sign up to help other people who want to use it!


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.  Only 56 more names needed!


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  864055





Dare I mention Christmas already!  If so, it will only be to ask you to save all your postage stamps for C.L.I.C. 


As usual there is a collection jar in the Village Shop, or you can bring them to me at Holly Cottage, nearby.  Please start saving now.  Thank you.


Micky Hall





The seat dedicated to Gerald Down on the Mill Close Green has now had the name of Tina, his wife, added to it.  Many Thanks.





Although the summer began with cloudy days in early June the weather soon changed.  The second half of June was fine and warm but a thundery spell on the 22nd gave 26mm (1.03ins.) of rain.  July continued to give mainly fine warm dry days.  The 13th was a day of cloudless skies from dawn to dusk followed by a day when the temperature climbed to 27.02C (84.25F).  In contrast the 26th was a miserably dull, wet day when


41.4mm (1.63ins) of rain fell throughout the day.  Long fine hot August days followed with a maximum temperature of 29.6C ( 85.3F)  on the 5th.  By the end of the month the cold water temperature in the mains had risen to 22C (71.6F).  Only 14.2mm (0.56ins) of rain fell in the month compared with 77mm (3.03ins) in July and 45.5mm (1.79ins) in June.  Total rainfall for the first six months of the year was 291mm (11.46ins).


The hot dry summer reduced the amount of mowing but also gave a short flowering season to the wild flowers.  East Coker's Valerians gave an excellent show on cottage walls, with a splendid range of colours from pale pink to deep crimson.  Teasels grew well in the heat.  A correspondent wonders if these plants are mildly insectivorous.  The leaves form a cup around the main stem in which water gathers.  Insects fall in and are drowned.  In a neighbour's garden a splendid show of Boletus fungi developed on the partly exposed roots of a silver birch.  A few puff balls appeared in mid August.


Bird song was missing in the early summer.  The usual chorus from blackbirds and song-thrushes did not appear.  Only the rather plaintive song of the robin and the monotonous cooing of the collared doves made up for the lack of song.  An unwelcome visitor to the garden pond was a heron.  I have not seen a fish in the pond since his visit, despite protective netting.  My correspondent at the Long Furlong outstation reports a solitary and aggressive gull haunting the Triangle in the summer months.


Butterflies were not as numerous as expected in the sunny weather.  The most frequent were the Small Whites.  Occasional visitors included a Silver-washed Fritillary, a Painted Lady and a Grayling together with the more common Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Commas.  A Red Admiral appeared to show territorial behaviour as it harassed Small Whites which flew close by.  .A correspondent deduced that the weather this summer was likely to produce a good show of Adonis Blue butterflies.  A short drive gave a sighting of over 30 in a local colony.  This butterfly has a curious relationship with ants. The larval and pupal stages develop in association with ants in their nests.


Our parish post boxes span over 100 years of reigns.  The oldest is the box at Nash, which bears the VR cipher of Queen Victoria.  George V's cipher is on the box near the Helyar Arms, while George VI is on the box opposite Tellis Cross.  Boxes at the Post Office, Burton Cross and Holywell are more recent with E II R on them.  I wonder when the original village post box was removed.


Mars has been brilliant in the South East at bedtime.  The rest of the planets are not well placed for viewing but Venus will become an evening sight at the end of the year in the West just after sunset.  Saturn and Jupiter will then be in the early morning sky before sunrise.


Francis Cloke  862496



A  SHORT  STORY  -  'Parturition'


I was in a very confined space, but felt strangely comforted by its snugness.  It was warm, dark and fluid filled, there was a tune playing, like a muffled bass drum, constant, repetitive, but soothing.  My enclosure was smooth sided, nothing chafed, and it gave just enough when I moved.  All of my needs were met; I wanted nothing more; I wanted nothing.


There was no hunger, no hot, no cold, no pain, no risk, not even any need to breathe; it was perfect, the best home I’ve ever had.  Though at the time I didn’t know it.


From time to time there were sensations of movement and suggestions of another world beyond the confines of my own.  Strange noises, different music, footsteps, passing traffic and other sounds, all muffled, but this was all I knew, of life, of volume, of universe.  Clarity was alien to me; it was irrelevant.


In the last two months I seemed to grow in size at an exponential rate, either that or my surroundings were shrinking.


Then came the fateful day, the one that changed my life; the end, the start, the end of the start and the start of the end.  I was being evicted.  As a tenant, I was no longer wanted.  What had I done to warrant this sudden expulsion?  Whatever the nature of the indiscretion it was clear that I had outstayed my welcome.  There would be no second chance, no explanation. 


The drum beat faster and louder, I was being crushed, it seemed like a cruel punishment for crimes unknown.  It would subside for a while, but at ever diminishing intervals, the torture began again.  I was horrified to find myself being pushed toward an opening that was clearly too small for me to pass through. My enclosure was breached and the fluid drained away to reveal another enclosure beyond my own.  I understood immediately; if the tenant won’t leave, make it uncomfortable for him to stay.


For what seemed to be an eternity, my head was stuck in a tube, being crushed in a vicelike grip.  Aghast, I found my body was being pushed along the passage where my head didn’t fit.  I tried to find a foothold, but there was no traction to be found, it was slippery in there, and the walls were smooth.


The muffled bass of the drumbeat was reaching crescendo, and with one almighty push my head was free of its confines.  The drumming stopped, and my torso, then feet, slid out too.  Everything was really loud, I was starting to feel cold and I could barely open my eyes, unaccustomed as they were to any kind of light, let alone that level of brightness.  Unbelievable as it may seem, I was then hoisted up by my ankles and my backside was slapped hard.  Until this point in time my ordeal was met with tacit disapproval, but with stinging butt-cheeks now, on top of all the other punishment I’d endured, I decided to protest.


'Unhand me, you cad!'  At least that’s what I thought I said, but my words sounded like the scream of a baby.


I looked down to see from whence I came, and to my horror found that I’d been living inside a large breasted fat woman (whose kind would turn out to be the bane of my life from there on).  Things could only get better…or so I thought.


Pete Down




VILLAGE  DIARY  October 2003  –  January 2004


Sat 18 Oct      Scout Jumble Sale    East Coker Hall         2.30pm


Sat 25 Oct      British Legion Coffee Morning        from 10.30am


Sun 26 Oct     Antiques Fair             East Coker Hall         10.00am - 4.00pm


Sat 1 Nov       Plant a Daffodil Day              10.00am


Sat 8 Nov       Save the Children Xmas Fair          2.00pm - 4.00pm


Sun 9 Nov      Preschool Playgroup Craft Fair       10.30am - 4.00pm


Thurs 13 Nov Gardening Club – AGM        7.30pm


Thurs 27 Nov Gardening Club – Brimsmore         7.30pm


Sat 29 Nov     Christmas Bazaar     East Coker Hall         2.00pm - 4.00pm


Fri 5 Dec        Pantomime    East Coker Hall         7.30pm


Sat 6 Dec       Pantomime    East Coker Hall         2.30pm & 7.30pm


Sat 6 Dec       Waste Paper Collection       Opposite the school              9.00am - 11.00am


Sun 7 Dec      Christingle Service, St Michael's Church               10.00am


Thurs 11 Dec Gardening Club – House-plants      7.30pm


Sun 14 Dec    Adult Carol Service, Closworth Church      6.30pm


Tues 16 Dec  Candlelit Carols, All Saints', Sutton Bingham        7.00pm


Sun 21 Dec    Carol Service, St Michael's Church            6.00pm


Wed 24 Dec  Family Carol Service, Closworth Church               4.00pm





Christmas is coming to East Coker's village shop on Tuesday 12 November 2003 with lots of Christmas lines.


We now sell mobile phone top-ups and accept most major debit and credit cards and offer a full supply of Newspapers and Magazines.





Saturday 8 November 2003, East Coker Hall, 2.00pm – 4.00pm.  Gifts and Goodies Galore.  Bring and Buy stalls – Homemade Produce – Bric-a-Brac – Toys – Planted Baskets – Grand Raffle – Refreshments - Save the Children Christmas Cards and Gifts.


Hilary Darling  862229





We are hoping to update our website.  If anyone is interested in helping with this, or writing articles or submitting local photographs to be shown on the website, please would they contact Lesley Lindsay or John Sugg.





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in January 2004.  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 Tuesday 6 January 2004.