East Coker Society



October 2004    Free Issue  No 116


Chair: John Sugg  863435

Newsletter Editor: Lesley Lindsay  862868

Secretary: Sarah Owen  862218

Treasurer: Keith Helliar  863700


East Coker Society News




The East Coker Society held an open meeting on 14 September to discuss how the village would like to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of VE & VJ Days over the weekend of 9/10 July 2005.  Many village clubs and organisations were represented and various ideas were considered.  Some suggestions were:

·                 1940s Dance with Supper and Live Band

·                 Afternoon Tea Dance with entertainment

·                 Street Parties

·                 Group Picnic

·                 Children’s Races and Fancy Dress

·                 Special Church Services

·                 Wine Tasting Competition

·                 Exhibition of 1940s Memorabilia

·                 Military Vehicle Show

·                 Flower Festival & Open Gardens


We welcome any further ideas, but we need groups to volunteer to organise and help run these events.  A further meeting will be held on Tuesday 2 November at 7:30pm in the Dampier Room to agree a programme of events and which organisations are prepared to organise them.  Please send a representative from your club/organisation.  Any individuals who would like to be involved are also very welcome to attend.





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 it with either cash or a cheque, made payable to East Coker Society, to Carol Blackmore, Pippins, Higher Burton, East Coker 862192, this will make certain your stall is reserved.




If in the 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 email address will be kept entirely private, with no cross-referencing of other people's emails.  We greatly appreciate delivery by e-mail as it saves money on our printing costs.





The East Coker Society has arranged a daffodil planting day on Sunday 7 November, meeting at the East Coker Hall car park at 11.00am.


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


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




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!



Village Clubs and Organisations




We need your help please??


The Committee will shortly be advertising for a Booking Clerk for the East Coker Hall, which attracts a small monthly payment.  If you live locally, enjoy life in the village and would be interested in helping to aid the running of our village hall, please contact any of the following for more details.


Andy Forrest  863976  Helen Styles  862447  Marilyn Smith  427846





The Club held a charity bowls competition on 11 September at the East Coker Hall.  This was for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit at Yeovil Hospital.  Sixteen teams took part in the competition and a draw was held with many prizes, including a 'BAR' shirt signed by Jenson Button.  Lunch was provided, and home made cakes and teas were served throughout the day.  A grand total of £930 was raised and presented to Mrs Stephanie Talbot MBE who runs the voluntary unit at the hospital.  Mrs Talbot also presented the trophies. The winners of the Shield were an Odcombe team, and the runners up were from Thornford.  The shield was donated by East Coker Properties Ltd.


Mr George Dudden, Captain of East Coker Short Mat Bowls Club, would like to thank all the teams who took part and all those who donated prizes for the draw and helped in any way.  £930 was a great result from a very good day.


M Robins (Secretary)  864174





Saturday August 21 was another superb day for the village.  The Flower Show and Wine Festival took place at the East Coker Hall and was a great success, enabling the Flower Show Committee to give a donation of £500 to the East Coker Pavilion Fund.


Exhibitors for the wine entries were up on last year but the remaining Classes were slightly down on 2003.  Let us hope for better things in 2005 as it's the 70th anniversary of the Flower Show - so an early reminder! The Show will take place on Saturday 20 August and, to encourage all you photographers out there, the subjects for the 6 Classes will be as follows: 71: Sunrise, 72: Springtime, 73: Congratulations, 74: An East Coker Building, 75: A Single Flower, 76: Sport.


Very many thanks to all who helped, all the exhibitors, and to all who came along and supported this wonderful village tradition.  Hopefully it will continue for another 70 years!


Fruit, Vegetable etc. Classes

Maudsley Challenge Cup for most points In Show - Mike Bayliss

Archie Neville Memorial Cup for most Points in Fruit & Vegetable section - Mike Bayliss

League of Friends Cup for most Points in Flower section - Don White

Ralph Eacott Plaque for best Vase of Dahlias - Don White

Pittard Rose Cup for 5 Roses - Gloria Mead

Mrs Newman Cup for Gladioli - Tony Burnett

Jane Harvey Salver for pot plant - Bridget Sugg

Molly Kettlewell Herb Cup - Wendy Mitchell

Miss Keefe Cup for most points: In Floral Art - Christine Mead

Drake Memorial Cup for most Points in Homecraft - Hebe Bowes

Eileen Doye Memorial! Cup for Best Jam - Hebe Bowes

Christine Mead Cup for most Points in Craft section - Helen Clifton

Society Photographic Trophy - Lois Crisp

John Whittock Memorial Challenge Cup for best photo - David Pryor


Children's Classes

East Coker Garden C1ub Cup for 5 years and under - Ella Sugg

Gloria Mead Cup for 6 - 10 years - Ashley Glover

Miss E B Drake Challenge Cup for 11 - 15 years - Charlotte Bayliss


Wine Festival Results

East Coker Wine Circle Cup for most points in Wine Festival - David Pryor

Standring Memorial Cup for most points by a Circle member - David Pryor

East Coker Wine Circle Trophy for best wine in Show - Vince Wolny

Dick Rolph Cup for best wine exhibited by a Circle member - Vince Wolny

East Coker Wine Circle Novice Points Trophy – Wendy Evans


Well Done Everyone!  Hope we see you all again in 2005


Marie Shepherd  864514





German Trip


Due to a cancellation there are two vacancies for the Wine Circle’s nine-day trip to Germany from 11 June next year.  These will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Membership of the wine circle is not necessary. The trip, organised on a non-profit basis, is likely to cost around £480 or less, depending on the exchange rate for the Euro.  The price includes coach, ferry, hotel accommodation, breakfast and evening meal, sightseeing trips and wine/sekt/brandy tasting.  The group will be based at a hotel at Boppard, overlooking the Rhein, and the itinerary will include visits to Rudesheim, Mainz, Heidelberg, Marksburg Castle, Koblenz and Nierstein.  A river cruise to Bacharach is also planned.  A luxury Executive air-conditioned coach has been booked.  A group travel insurance at an excellent rate is also available.  Anyone interested in further details of the trip should contact Joyce Pryor, chairman of the Wine Circle (01935 862816) as soon as possible.


The Wine Circle recorded increased entries for its annual wine festival recently and attracted favourable comments about the quality of the wines from the national wine judges.  Members also visited Gale’s Brewery at Horndean, near Portsmouth in early October for a tour of the brewery and a tasting of the company’s wide selection of country wines and liqueurs.  The trip also included lunch nearby and a stop at Ringwood in the New Forest.


The monthly meetings continue to be well attended and the standard of speakers so far this year has been outstanding. 


Anyone interested in joining the wine circle should contact the Secretary, Gill Bryan  864118





The gardening club has made good use of the summer months in spite of the fickle weather.  The visit to Hampton Court Flower Show went forward as planned.  There was an amazing amount to see, both inside and outside – beautiful plants and gardens, though some were rather strange, and far too much to see in one day.


This was followed later in July by a pleasant evening in a garden at Hinton St. George.  In August, our speaker was Christabel King, a botanical artist at Kew Gardens.  She came with slides of botanical drawings of scientific artists through the ages, all of which she had been able to photograph from books and folios in the library at Kew.  Christabel does extremely fine work herself and has been associated with Kew for many years, passing on her expertise to students around the world.  Our latest speaker in September is a member of our club, Margaret O' Neill, and a bee-keeper of long standing.  She gave an absorbing insight into bees and bee-keeping and the great value of these creatures to the welfare of plants in our gardens.  In October, as well as a speaker, a trip has been arranged to see the Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens' illuminations, and looking further ahead, (a new venture for us) a three day trip to Cornwall in March.  A reminder that we shall be holding our AGM in November at the Quicksilver Mail, where the meeting will be followed by supper and skittles.  Finally, our meetings are held on the second Thursday in the East Coker Hall at 7.30pm.


Forthcoming events:                 14 October  Potatoes  Speaker Keith Mayes

                                              21 October  Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens

                                              11 November  AGM  Quicksilver Mail

                                              Tuesday 23 November  Discount Shopping Evening at Brimsmore

                                              16 December  What a Funny Way to Earn a Living  Speaker Bob Fox





The project to replace the old pavilion at Longfurlong Lane is continuing to gather momentum.  We have had several very successful fundraising events to boost the coffers, and the focus will now turn towards targeting the large grant-providing organisations which we hope will provide the majority of the funding.


Events in October include a car boot sale on 3 October, and a night with the popular local band Storm and the Big O disco on 9 October, which may have taken place by the time this newsletter hits your doormat!


Looking forward to next year, the committee have produced a superb 2005 calendar.  The pictures, which have been kindly taken by Graham Trott, depict several of the distinctive houses in East Coker.  The calendars are very attractive, and we hope that, when thinking about buying calendars for yourself or for Christmas presents, you will choose ours at the bargain price of £5, and help our fundraising in the process.


The cookbook of local recipes will also be available very shortly, and this would also make a superb Christmas present for any of your friends or family – or perhaps you could just treat yourself!  The calendars and cookbooks will be available from 1 November.


Planned events for the New Year include a 50/50 auction on 5 February; a gourmet food and drink evening with Lesley Walters, the local celebrity chef, on 18 March and a VE day themed outdoor concert with a 1940s swing band on 11 June.


For any further details, or if you have any enquiries please contact our Chairman, Robert Mead  862972, our Vice Chair Bridget Sugg  863435 or our secretary Paula Downes on  862264.  Alternatively, take a look at our website, www.eastcokerpavilionfund.co.uk





Next year’s programme will have something of interest for everyone both in talks and demonstrations and hands on experiences.  The next meeting in October will be our AGM, which is followed by an American Supper.  In November Jack Sweet, a local historian, will be talking about Yeovil as it was and how it has evolved to it’s present situation.  Meetings are held in the East Coker Hall at 7.30pm, the last Thursday of each month.  Whist Drives are being held on the third Thursday of each month, the next one being 21 October at 7.30pm, East Coker Hall.  All welcome.  Anyone interested in joining is welcome to just come along or contact the secretary, Jean Caunter  86332





The players will this year be performing 'Little Red Riding Hood' at East Coker hall.  Full of great characters with faces old and new this pantomime promises to be a pre-Christmas treat for all the family.  Reserve your tickets early as this is one not to be missed!


Performances Friday 26 November at 7.30pm and Saturday 27 November at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.  Tickets £4.50 adults and £3.50 children.  Call Debbie Searle on 863091 or Nora White on 477897.





Knights of Passion    An evening of verse designed to charm, woo and conquer


Tuesday 5 October, 7.30pm – 8.30pm The Apple Loft, The Helyar Arms.  John Burgess and John Darling, two of the most debonair gentlemen in East Coker, have agreed to reveal the poems they would use to sweep a woman off her feet.  Their challenge is to perform the verse, not over a candlelit dinner for two, but in front of an audience of hardened females.  Will they win our hearts?  Come along on the night to find out.  And for our other male participants, it’s a useful opportunity to swap notes!  The style of the group is informal, entertaining and sociable.  It is open to all and attendance is free.


With special thanks to Wendy and Hilary for lending us their husbands for the evening.


National Poetry Day turns into a Week


We are delighted to announce that East Coker has been chosen as one of Britain's three poetry hot spots for the Poetry Society's National Poetry Day.  The Poetry Society has arranged for the acclaimed Welsh poet Gillian Clarke to be poet-in-residence in the village from Monday 4 - Thursday 7 October, staying at the Helyar Arms.  Gillian will be hosting workshops for pupils at local schools - and secondary school students are especially pleased to be able to quiz a poet who features on their GCSE syllabus.


There will also be a Poetry Society book called "Poetry on a Plate", and recipes from the Helyar Arms will feature alongside those from Prue Leith, Anton Edelmann, Frances Bissell, Delia Smith and Mary Berry.


Poetry group events for your diary:  On Tuesday 5 October, as previously advertised, John Burgess and John Darling will be hosting the next meeting of the poetry group with a session entitled "Knights of Passion" (see above).  We hope you can make it for what promises to be a seductive evening.  On Thursday 7 October, Gillian Clarke and the judges will be presenting prizes to the winners of our village poetry competition, at a reception at the Helyar Arms, from 7.30pm – 8.30pm.  Further ahead in November, date to be confirmed, Clive Bingley has kindly agreed to give us an entertaining talk on appreciating poetry, with readings by a very special guest.  On Tuesday 7 December, from 7.30pm - 8.30pm in the Apple Loft restaurant, the Helyar Arms, local poet Mark Greenstock and Judith Anthony will be reading poems from her book, 'An Anthony Anthology'.  Copies of the book will be sale on the night, raising funds for local charities.  For further information about any of the above items, please call Sue McKerracher  863633  www.eastcokerpoetry.org.uk



Young People




40th Anniversary Barn Dance on Saturday 13 November at 7.30pm East Coker Hall

Tickets are now on sale for our Anniversary Barn Dance. Adults £5, Children £2.50, includes supper but please bring your own drinks.  Children's drinks will be on sale during the evening.  Contact Max Bugler  862186 and Pat Switzer  863764.  Tickets available until Wednesday 10 November.


The Scout Group look forward to meeting up with 'old' scouts and acquaintances from the past.  The evening will also include an exhibition.  If anyone has any interesting items/old photos etc. that could be exhibited, please contact us.  These would of course be returned afterwards.


Waste Paper Collections       2 October and 4 December.


Autumn Jumble Sale to be held on Saturday 9 October, at East Coker Hall, at 2.00pm.  All donations of jumble gratefully received.  Remember we will collect.  Tel. Max Bugler  862186.





We are back for the Autumn Term after the Summer holidays, all set for a busy term.  A big welcome is extended to all returning children and to those children who join us for the first time.


East Coker Pre-School Playgroup is registered with Ofsted and the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and follows the Foundation Stage curriculum.  We provide a warm, friendly, stimulating and safe environment where children can blossom and grow, learning and developing happily through play based activities.  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 mornings from 9.15am to 12 noon and on a Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon from 1.00pm to 3.30pm during term time.  At present we are able to offer lunch cover for children who'd like to bring a packed lunch and stay until 1.15pm, for a small fee.  To secure a place on the waiting list for your child/children, please contact Kay Strode on 872126 after 6.00pm.  It is best to get your child's name down early on the waiting list, as places are limited.


On Sunday 14 November we will be holding our 10th annual Craft Fair at East Coker Hall. There are many craft stalls booked ranging from Jewellery, Handmade Cards, Paintings, Slogan Sweatshirts, Needlecraft and Ceramics, to name a few.  Doors open at 10.30am and close at 4.00pm. There will also be a Raffle with a 1st prize of a Luxury Hamper, plus many other exciting prizes.  The playgroup will be running a Homemade Cake stall, stacked with delicious treats and refreshments will be available with light meals, snacks and drinks served all day.  We look forward to seeing you there, come along and (dare I say it) make a start on the Christmas shopping.  Thank you for your continued support.  Eve Dudden on behalf of East Coker Playgroup.



The Churches




For the past few years it has become customary for Kay Biggin to open her lovely garden at The Anchorage, Coker Marsh towards the end of August or the beginning of September in aid of All Saints' Church.  This year the date was Saturday, 4 September for a Coffee Morning.  Plans were made and posters put up all over the village urging people not to miss this special event.  By a wry trick of Fate, Kay herself could not be there.  Ten days earlier she had a fall which resulted in broken bones in her right foot and landed her in hospital. Typically she was determined that nothing should be changed, and the coffee morning went ahead.


Naturally her absence was very noticeable, nevertheless it proved as happy and successful an occasion as its predecessors, and raised a substantial sum - a total of over £665 - for the church. Special thanks come from the Churchwardens and P. C. C. to all those who worked so hard to achieve this amount: the stall-holders and coffee servers; and to those who grew the plants, collected the bric-a-brac and raffle prizes, baked the cakes and made the delicious-biscuits served with the coffee.  And perhaps a word should be added to acknowledge the contribution of those - the neighbours and Dennis, Kay's gardener - who kept the garden tidy and looking its best in her absence.


The Harvest Festival Evensong was held on Sunday 26 September, and on 31 October the Patronal Festival of All Saints is to be celebrated at the Holy Communion Service at 11.30am.


Christmas celebrations start at All Saints' with the Candlelit Carol Service at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday 21 December.  On this occasion the service is usually followed by typical seasonal refreshments.  The Christmas Day Holy Communion Service will be at the usual time of 11.30am.  In January 2005 the normal pattern of services will resume, Holy Communion at 9 00am on the first Sunday and at 11.30am on the third Sunday of each month.


It is noticeable to those who attend the church regularly that it is always beautifully decorated with flowers, or plants.  If any visitors to the church feel they would like to help with this, and perhaps for the first time, try their hand at "church flowers" they would be most welcome to approach the churchwardens - especially at times when the church needs special decorations.

Churchwardens  Heather Snook  474138 and Anthony Denning 474294





Christmas Services

We plan to repeat the family Carol Service at Closworth on Christmas Eve at 4.00pm.  Last year the story of Christ's birth was told through the eyes of a shepherd, this year it will be slightly different.  I am hoping we shall have a live baby Jesus again but we need the children to come dressed as angels, shepherds and kings (it does not actually say there were only three in the Bible, so no restrictions)  If those are difficult I suggest that the children come as 'Children from Other Lands' or animals.  If you have young children and are not certain whether they will be quiet – don't worry.  There was quite a lot of noise last year but everybody enjoyed the service which will last about forty minutes.


Can I please say no flash photography during the service or movement in the aisle, as the children will be coming up at various stages of the service.  Any questions, please phone me – all are welcome.


Christmas Day  9.00am Family Service


Monica  862834





Sunday 3 October  Harvest Festival Service in church at l0.00am when children are encouraged to bring along any vegetables, fruit, or preserved goods for presentation, so that we may pass them onto the Women's Refuge, or Sheltered Homes in Yeovil.


Sunday 14 November  Service of Remembrance at 10. 50am when all uniformed groups are very welcome to parade with their banners and flags, as an act of thanksgiving for those who died in the past two major conflicts of 1914-18, and 1939-45.


Sunday 5 December  a Nativity Tableau with Readings for Advent, Looking at the Birth of the Christ Child. Children or Young People who would like to take part are most welcome, and should please contact me or Mrs Doreen Bates 862706 for details.


Thursday 16 December  2.00pm  East Coker School Christmas Service


Sunday 19 December  Annual Carol Service 6.00pm  Readers and singers are very welcome to be there.


Monday 20 December  Carol singing around the village, starting at 7.00pm at Burton


Christmas Eve  11.00pm Midnight Mass


Christmas Day  8.00am Holy Communion.  10.00am Family Service


Sunday 26 December  10.00am Eucharist


Sunday 2 January 2005  Epiphany  10.00am Family Service


Please do contact me, or either of the Churchwardens, for further information.  You would be very welcome at all the above events.


Roger Burt  862125


Service for those we have loved but see no longer

Our annual service in which we remember those who are no longer with us will be on 31 October – the Sunday of All Souls.  The service will begin at 6.00pm and the preacher this year is Rev. E Bangay who is Chairman of Cruse and was Chaplain of Yeovil Hospital.  During the service we read out the names of those who have passed away.  I will be writing to those whose loved ones died this year but please let me have the names of anybody else you would like included by 24 October as the list usually contains some 100+ names.  We prefer to use only one Christian name.


Monica Whipp  862834


Church Village Fete

Despite an early shower the 2004 Fete was an astounding success.  Very many thanks from the Committee to all those who gave so generously of their time to make it successful.


The total profit for the Fete and the Barbecue exceeded £3500, which will be shared between the Church and the New Pavilion Fund.


We would like to thank the Helyar Arms and Goose Slade Farm for their generous sponsorship of the skittles


John Darling





A warm welcome awaits you at the end of Burton Lane.  Services as follows:

Sundays:- Sunday Club for 4 – 12 year olds 10.00am except 2nd Sunday in the month which has a Family Service 10.30am  The Lord's Supper 11.30am  Bible Study 6.30pm.  Other events announced weekly.


Contact us on  422594/862980 or 863735





These meetings are held once a month at East Coker Hall.  The emphasis is placed on preaching and teaching the Bible.  All meetings start at 7.00pm and last for one hour followed by refreshments and plenty of time to chat.  The dates of the next meetings are -

Wednesday 27 October                           Wednesday 17 November         Wednesday 9 December (Carol Service)


Please feel free to join us for further details please ring  862519 or 862785


Roy Hodder





We would like to thank everyone who came and supported the Michaelmas Fayre on 21 September and also a big thank you to everyone who helped.  A magnificent £2000 was made for the charity.



Village News




At the Christmas Bazaar, 4 December, 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





Just a reminder, now that Autumn is here and there are gardens to clear and leaves to burn, please think of your neighbours before lighting a bonfire.  The best time for this is late afternoon and not over a weekend if possible.  Thank you.





This is being held in the East Coker Hall from 10.00am – 12 noon.  Bring and Buy; Tombola; Cakes and Produce; Toys and Books, Bric-a-brac; Charity Christmas Cards for sale.  Gifts and goodies galore.  Coffee and tea will be available.  Please call in and see us.  Hilary Darling




The Helyar Arms, East Coker, has reached the shortlist for not one, but three prestigious national pub awards.


This traditional English country inn, only three miles from the centre of Yeovil, is one of four finalists in both the Newcomer of the Year and Best British Food categories of the annual awards run by The Publican, the leading pub trade newspaper and Punch Taverns has awarded it the Shine Award for the best food experience in the South West at a ceremony held on 22 September, at the Devon Hotel, Exeter.


Landlord Ian McKerracher, who took over the Helyar Arms less than 18 months ago, said, "It's fantastic to receive this recognition.  It would be great to win an award, but reaching the finals feels like a real achievement, when you think of the thousands of pubs there are in the UK."


He puts the pub's success in these awards down to its focus on local produce, "The only thing on the menu that is bought in frozen is the ice cream; the rest is fresh food, from local suppliers, prepared and cooked on the premises by our own team of chefs."


Bread is baked by an artisan baker in the nearby village of Halstock; beef and lamb comes from animals reared on neighbouring farms; cheese is Dorset Blue Vinny, Somerset Brie or Montgomery's Cheddar and fish is brought up daily from the South coast ports.


This passion for local produce is shared by head chef Mathieu Eke, who grew up in Yeovil and now lives in Hardington Mandeville.  He explained, "You can tell the difference when you buy the best local produce, which hasn't been frozen or travelled for days before it arrives in the kitchen.  The yolks of the eggs are bright yellow, fruit and vegetables smell fresher and haven't lost their flavour and the meat from well-fed livestock that has been properly hung is second-to-none."


The Helyar Arms has made its mark as one of South Somerset's best food pubs and, with the recent re-opening of the Apple Loft, a separate dining and function room, is set to become one of the area's premier food destinations.





NOTES  FROM  THE  OBSERVATORY    Autumn Equinox 22 September


The promise of another long hot summer was not fulfilled despite some pleasant days at the start of the season.  June began with a warm week when there were five days with shade temperatures over 21C (70F).  The warmest day was the 7th at 25.4C (77.7F).  Although rain fell on 8 days, the month's total was only 53.8mm (2.12ins) – most falling around Midsummer's Day, with gales and 32mm (1.28ins) of rain on the 23rd.  A cool cloudy spell ended Flaming June.


July was disappointing with cool cloudy days for much of the month.  There were ten days of rain, giving a month's total of 51.1mm (2.01ins).  The rainiest day was the 7th when 16.5mm (0.65ins) fell.  A pleasant warm spell ended the month with a maximum temperature of 23.6C (74.5F) on the 31st.


This warm and sunny weather continued into August.  While the rest of the country had much rain further north, East Coker had eight hot days to start the month.  Daytime temperatures stayed well above 21C (70F) for eight consecutive days, with a maximum of 26C (78.8F) on the 2nd.  Despite this promising start, the month had 20 days of rain, with a total of 123mm (4.84ins).  On the day of the Boscastle floods we had only 7.4mm (0.29ins) of rain but heavy showers the following week washed a lot of soil off the fields onto the roads at Burton and down through the village.  After a pleasant warm and sunny start the September weather changed abruptly to Autumn on the 10th.


This very mixed summer has reduced wildlife sightings.  Few butterflies have been abroad except for the usual Cabbage Whites.  Even the Small Tortoishells and Red Admirals have been few and far between.  But a correspondent has reported many Small Blues and Commas.  A neighbour, following my remarks on the scarcity of Housemartins, pointed out a large Housemartin's nest under his eaves, so large that it appeared to be semi-detached with two chambers.  Records show that even the common house sparrow is declining in numbers.  I have only a single pair in my garden, yet a neighbour reports seeing 25 sparrows in her garden on 11 September and a group of 15 a week later, all possibly from a hatching earlier this year.


Signs of Autumn appeared in August.  The first yellowing leaves appeared on 10 August.  The evening of 28 August was remarkable for a display of long parallel rolls of clouds over the village.  The words of Keats in his 'Ode to Autumn' came to mind.....

"While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue."


We are fortunate in having a pollution-free environment in East Coker.  This is evident from the many lichens that adorn our streets and houses.  Lichens will flourish only in a clean atmosphere.  We seem to have several species, each growing in their special niches.  Some squamous pale grey forms appear on the pavements; other bright orange growths favour roof-tiles.  Many frondose lichens grow on trees and wooden garden furniture.  These interesting structures are very difficult to identify but add to the pleasure of country living.


Later in the year, the sky will show Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn as early morning objects.  Orion will appear in the night sky as one of the great winter constellations.


Francis Cloke, 86 2496





For emergencies:

Where there is a danger to life or a risk of injury

Where a crime is in progress

Where an offender is still at the scene or has just left it Dial 999


For all other calls dial 01275 818181, the force switchboard which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. 

Calls are graded as:

Prompt - not an emergency, but officers should attend as soon as possible.

Routine - where an urgent response is not required and an appointment can be made for a local officer to attend

Recorded - where police attendance is not required and the caller is referred to another, more appropriate agency, or information needs only to be recorded and passed on.

Local rate - dial 01935 415291, will also connect you to the force switchboard.

Crimestoppers – 0800 555111  If you wish to give information, (calls can be made anonymously).

Website: www.avonandsomerset.police.uk


Your local Beat Manager is PC lain Stamper and the Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) is Ian Ross.

PC Stamper has a number to ring if he is needed on the Avon and Somerset Police Voice-mail System  01935 402268 – at the PROMPT dial 73175 and then you will be able to leave a message.


The Community Contact Vehicle visits East Coker each month, the date is on a notice in the window at the East Coker Post Office.  There is also a book at the Post Office in which crimes can be recorded.





Two of Francis Cloke's notes from the Observatory in the last Newsletter particularly interested me.  The first was the weather rhyme which implies quite the opposite of the one I was brought up with in Derbyshire, where we used to chant:

The Oak before the Ash and we shall have a splash.

The Ash before the 0ak and we shall have a soak.


The other concerns the sea-sand on stone floors. Whenever I have read about sanded floors I have unconsciously translated "sand" as "sawdust", I don't remember this custom in Derbyshire, but as we were about as far from the sea as you can get in this country, that is not surprising.


The floor coverings I do remember in cottages and back-to-back terrace houses were the rag rugs made by poking strips of worn-out men's suiting into a hessian backing, usually an old sack.  The predominant colouring was black, navy and brown, brightened by the occasional red from a flannel petticoat.  To a child from a comfortable middle-class background they did not seem very cosy, but they did cover the stone, lino or wooden floorboards and cost virtually nothing to make.




East Coker is fortunate to be served by two bus routes: the 56 and the 212.  The former comes from West Coker through Holywell, Higher Burton and Burton to go on to the A30 via Lower Wraxhill and Wraxhill Roads and then down Forest Hill, calling at B&Q. on its way to Yeovil Borough and the Bus Station.  Sometimes it does funny things as, for instance, turning the wrong way on the A30 to go down Bunford Lane to the Council Offices, and then making a foray into the hinterland of Laburnham Way before rejoining Lysander Road and its normal stop at B.&Q.  On its way back it calls at Tesco to pick up the occasional customer.


The 212 covers the other end of East Coker, coming from Dorchester via Pincushion Corner and going on to Yeovil by the North Coker "Tree".  It runs in each direction four times a day, and, like the 56, starts early enough for people to get to work and students to Yeovil College for their morning session.


I can't speak too highly of the kindness and courtesy of the drivers.  When Annie, and Ken, lived in the Almshouses the bus would often wait for one or other of them at the bottom of Church Lane in order to save them struggling across the Paddock with their shopping trolleys to the official stop opposite the Helyar Arms.  On their return from Yeovil the bus would drive across the road at that dangerous comer so that they could get off in safety.  One or two of the drivers now know exactly where I live and make a point of dropping me off at my gate in Coker Marsh.  It is a friendly bus and often there is cheerful banter between "regulars" and the driver.


When I still had a car I was vaguely aware of our buses but I now realise what a valuable service they give our community, especially since discovering that some villages have only one bus a week!  A local timetable is available from East Coker Post Office.


The time-table booklet available from the Travel Office at the Bus Station shows what a wide range there is of places accessible from Yeovil, both near and far, including both railway stations and, of course, London on the excellent Berry's coach - so much cheaper than the train!


Sally Jackson





Saturday 30 October 2004, in the Dampier Room at the Village Hall.  Doors open 10.00am – 12 noon.


Please come and support the birds!  Buy your Christmas cards and gifts from a very good selection.  There will be a cake stall, bring and buy stall, plants, etc.


All donations, especially cakes, will be very welcome.


Lorna Doyle





Now that the days are growing shorter there is less daylight to cut the grass, strim the ditch or trim the hedge.  If the day is sunny, do think that your neighbour might be sitting in the garden enjoying the peace and quiet of the last of the Autumn's sun, so if possible try to do these jobs at a time when they won't be disturbed.





Some time ago, in an archaeological journal, a puzzle picture appeared of this 'sheep dip' asking what it was.  I recognised it and replied that it was known locally as a sheep dip but that I suspected that it was something to do with the Sailcloth Industry of the village in the mid 1800s.


From the very early days flax was retted in water to obtain the fibres.  I have now been able to prove to my satisfaction that in the mid 1700s it was constructed here when the leat was dug, to ret the flax in running water when the use of retting in pits for this purpose was forbidden because of the smell they created.  (There are traces of three nearby).


The construction seems to have been used for this until the second half of the 1800s when the village lost the sailcloth trade.  From then on the farmers used it for washing the sheep before shearing.  It is the only one that I know of that is still in pristine condition.  The history of this leat to Pavyott's Mill was very much tied up with the development of the East Coker Sail Cloth Industry in the 1800s, which I have found interesting to study.


Robert Allwood





The Parish Plan's Questionnaire has now been printed and is being distributed.  If you have not received one, please contact 471890 or 862362 and leave a message.


Please give a little time and fill in the questionnaire as much as possible, as it will help us to find out what is important to the people of the parish.  If you have any difficult with it there are telephone numbers inside the front cover that you can call for help or information.


There are separate 'Youth Questionnaires' for ages 7years to 17years.  If you need one of these, please ring one of the numbers mentioned above.


We are also holding an Open Day on 23 October, from 10.00am – 5.30pm in the East Coker Hall.  Please come along – you can ask questions, discuss problems in the parish, make suggestions and bring up anything that you think was not covered by the questionnaire.


We would like anyone who interested in a particular topic to contact us, as we need more people who are willing to help produce the final plan.


Anything you have been complaining about, or if you have ever said, "Why don't they……..", NOW is the time to try to do something about it!!


The Parish Plan is being funded by the Countryside Agency with help from the Community Council for Somerset and South Somerset District Council.





East Coker did not succeed this year – but will try harder next year.  Out thanks must go to Sarah Rashley, who put so much effort in collating the information needed for this competition.  Our congratulations to Berrow who did win.





All households should now have received their Parish Plan questionnaires.  Please return them in the stamped envelopes as soon as possible so that comments and information can be considered in the discussions about the future of your village.


The Parish Council has been informed of the future use of wheeled-bins instead of dustbins, which will gradually be introduced to the area.  Information will be sent out to households when this is due to happen, but the Nash area of the village will probably be the first to trial the new bins.  It is accepted that some properties will not have storage for these bins.


Mr David Hubbard, Planning Officer/South Somerset, addressed the September meeting of the Parish Council over procedure for considering planning applications.  Several issues were clarified and councillors were able to ask questions, including concerns over the advertising of planning application notices.





The next issue of the Newsletter will be in January 2005.  Copy, please, to Lesley Lindsay, Little Meadow, Coker Marsh, East Coker or by e-mail or to the East Coker Post Office & Stores by Thursday 6 January 2005.


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