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Mendip Times

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Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas

MARCH 2017

IN THIS ISSUE: MENDIP ON SCREEN • BUSINESS • FARMING • POINT-TO-POINT PREVIEW • HEALTH & FAMILY • COMMUNITY Local people, local history, local places, local events and local news

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Telephone: 01761 417654 Facsimile: 01761 417207 email:

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Unit D 1st Avenue Westfield Industrial Estate Midsomer Norton Radstock BA3 4BS

Offering the complete service for over 30 years



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SPREAD the word – there’s plenty to see and do in and around the Mendips and in Somerset as a whole. It’s a sentiment wholeheartedly endorsed by the Mendip Society and the organisers of Somerset Day, being held in May. We feature both this month. Over the last 12 years this is a drum we have been banging constantly and there’s plenty of evidence in our pages this month. From a trail marathon around the Chew Valley to cyclo-cross above Shipham, we also feature the Somerset Vintage and Classic Tractor Show and look ahead to local point-to-point meetings and the West of England Game Fair. Our Business and What’s On pages show how economically and culturally vibrant our area is. See if you can spot any of the locals appearing in the new film, Another Mother’s Son, which gets a charity preview at Wells Film Centre. We also have a wonderful spirit of community and join veterans at a breakfast club in Glastonbury and at celebrations in Hutton for the 40th anniversary of their village hall. As usual we have several pages devoted to local charities and community groups, thanks, as ever, to the great support of our advertisers. With all of our regular features and contributors, welcome to your guide to Mendip life both here and online. April 2017 deadline: Friday, 17th March 2017. Published: Tuesday, 28th March 2017. Editorial: Steve Egginton Mark Adler Advertising: Ann Quinn Rachael Abbott Publisher: Mendip Times Limited Coombe Lodge, Blagdon, Somerset BS40 7RG Contacts: For all enquiries, telephone:

01761 463888

or: email or: Design and origination by: Steve Henderson Printed by: Precision Colour Printing, Haldane, Halesfield 1, Telford, Shropshire TF7 4QQ Copyright of editorial content held by Mendip Times Ltd. and its contributors. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the express permission of the Publisher. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or its associates. Front cover: Filming of “Another Mother’s Son” in Cranmore. Photo by Mark Adler. See page 86.


Faithful friends – tractors that become part of the family




Bats about nature – surveyors win award


Hi-vis – Mendip Society raises its profile

Friends reunited – Norton rugby club’s chance to catch up

Plus all our regular features Environment ...................................6 Farming Mary James MBE ..........10 Internet and Crossword ..............14 Business.........................................16 Food & Drink ...............................22 Charities........................................30 Arts & Antiques ...........................34 Wildlife Chris Sperring MBE .......45 Walking Sue Gearing ....................46 Outdoors Les Davies MBE ..........48

Gardening Mary Payne MBE.......50 Caving Phil Hendy ........................55 Health Dr Phil Hammond .............56 Community ...................................63 Property ........................................68 Homes and Interiors ....................70 Riding Rachel Thompson MBE.....76 Sport ..............................................79 Music .............................................84 What’s On.....................................85 MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017 • PAGE 3

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Our Services Include: Commercial and Residential Property Wills and Probate Litigation and Personal Injury Criminal and Family Law Agricultural, Business and Commercial Employment Shepton Mallet: 57 High Street, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 5AQ. Tel: 01749 330330

Glastonbury: 11 Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 8DL. Tel: 01458 832510


Telephone: 01761 452171 Fax: 01761 453342

e times they are a-changing at our Cheddar office. After 10 years in our present premises in Church Street we will soon be moving to a new, purpose-built office adjoining the recently renovated Post Office in Bath Street, Cheddar. e new premises are modern and comfortable and located right in the centre of the village. ey can be accessed on foot directly from Bath Street but there is also a very large car park at the rear for the use of staff and visitors with wheelchair access into the building and modern facilities inside to make the premises more accessible for the elderly and the disabled. We are sure that our staff will enjoy working there and we look forward to welcoming clients and other visitors. Most importantly the premises are large enough to accommodate future expansion of staff numbers. We have not yet fixed a date for the move, but we are hoping to be in before Easter. Other news to report is that one of our directors, Dervla Nash, will very shortly be celebrating a “significant” birthday which we intend to help her celebrate, so watch out for pictures in next month’s issue. Castle Cary: Old Bank House, High Street, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7AW. Tel: 01963 350888

Cheddar: Roley House, Church Street, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3RA. Tel: 01934 745400


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(Photograph courtesy of David Titchener)


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Dementia campaign thanks


Town hall takeover

Guests and representatives of organisations backing the Wells Dementia Action Alliance in the Bishop’s Palace

MORE than 30 organisations who are backing the Dementia Friendly City campaign in Wells have been thanked for their support. Representatives were presented with certificates at a special event at the Bishop’s Palace by the Right Rev Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and thanked by Arnold Wills, chairman of the Wells Dementia Action Alliance. He said: “This evening is our way of recognising just what we together have achieved, but the work goes on.” Guest of honour was Wells MP James Heappey, who said: “The Wells Dementia Action Alliance is a huge success. They have created a snowball effect getting more and more businesses

Club rides to victory

involved. “More important is that the message has spread so we now have more awareness here than in most other places.” The reception was funded by local businesses Probusiness, Pilgrim Financial Planning, Chubb Bulleid, The Laundry, Harris & Harris, Waitrose and Gould & Swayne. Wells mayor Alison Gibson was amongst the guests. Bishop Peter, on crutches after a skiing accident, said: “It has been an absolute delight and privilege to welcome these people who have helped the Dementia Action Alliance and learn that almost 400 have been trained as Dementia Friends.”

WELLS Classic Motorcycle Club won the Best Club Stand award at the Bristol Classic Motorcycle show with their fine display of classic bikes which was supported by an impressive clubhouse theme which included a bar, showroom and workshop. The Wells club is well known for its annual Tortoise and Hare run which raises much-needed funds for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. This year’s event is on Sunday June 4th. New members are always welcome. Details:

The building was handed over to the council by Paul Harris of building contractors A. Hammond and Sons Ltd, who have been working under the supervision of NVB Architects. Paul is pictured centre with Sean and Meg

FROME’S new town hall will be opened officially in April after a threeyear project to bring the building back into use. The venue on Christchurch Street West will be home to several charities, local organisations, Frome Town Council and the Frome Information Centre. As well as a new council chamber, the town hall will offer other meeting spaces. Meg Mosley, town hall manager, said: “This is a big day for Frome Town Council. For me it’s such a wonderful opportunity to be able to bring the town hall back into Frome hands. This building is for the community to use and I’ll be delighted to welcome them from April.” Sean Powell, town hall steward, added: “It’s amazing to get the keys, this is an incredible building and my job is to welcome the public and support all the uses of this building for the community’s needs. Holding the keys makes it feel real now.” Frome Town Hall will host a launch night on Saturday, April 1st. All are welcome to attend and see the new building.


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The Mendip Ponds Project and the return of the great crested newt

THE Reptile and Amphibian Group for Somerset (RAGS) has recently secured a grant of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, together with smaller grants from the Mendip Hills AONB Unit, Wessex Water and ARG-UK, an umbrella organisation for county reptile and amphibian groups, towards the Mendip Ponds Project. The aim of the project is to restore a network of dilapidated ancient ponds on

the Mendip scarp and plateau to enable rare great crested newts to return to areas of the hills from which they have disappeared. The permeable geology of the Mendip hills means there is little standing water, so during the 18th and 19th centuries, as land on the Mendips was enclosed for the keeping of livestock, a large number of ponds were built to provide them with drinking water. These dew ponds also

It’s a messy job . . .

provided ideal conditions for newts. The ponds are exquisite structures reflecting the amount of care and hard work that went into their construction. They consist of deep clay–lined excavations, surrounded by retaining walls with sloping cobbled bases protecting the underlying clay from damage by wallowing cattle. Three designs occur: the first has one end sloping down between the retaining

Before and after pictures of one of the ponds cleaned

Details: contact RAGS at or johnh


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walls into the water, another slopes at either end, while a third design is simply a large saucer without any retaining walls, allowing access all round. Sadly, the widespread installation of water troughs has caused the loss of most of these ponds and the majority of those that are left are in an advanced state of deterioration. Walls have collapsed, cobbles have come adrift in the bases, and most are completely filled with silt and detritus allowing trees to root into them. They no longer provide a home for the crested newts that relied on them as breeding sites. RAGS, a group dedicated to the conservation of reptile and amphibian populations in the county, recognised this problem and undertook an intensive survey of crested newts across an area stretching from Cheddar Gorge to Priddy and south to the B371. The results of the survey confirmed that the crested newt population in the area is highly fragmented with newts found in small isolated pockets, long distances from one another, each centred around single ponds that are still of good enough quality to sustain them. This fragmentation of populations leaves them acutely vulnerable to local extinction.

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The survey also identified a number of dilapidated ponds that, once restored, can provide stepping stones between these isolated populations of newts, allowing them to spread out across the entire area and reconnect with one another, greatly increasing the chances for the species to thrive on Mendip. The funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund makes this aim achievable. RAGS has never attempted such an


. . . but well worth the effort

ambitious project before and it’s proving to be a steep learning curve! However, work is underway to clear all the detritus out of the ponds in readiness for contractors to move in during the summer to repair the crumbling stonework, restore them to their former condition and allow wildlife to return. If you enjoy a mud bath and would like to help with the project, we welcome volunteers. John Dickson

One of the ponds at Draycott or


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Crowdfunding for wildlife

The abbey pond

A £25,000 fundraising appeal to restore the pond at Glastonbuty Abbey was set to reach its target as Mendip Times went to press. The project aims to provide safer access to water and nature for visitors, as well as improving the pond’s biodiversity and increasing the learning opportunities available to schools, families, the local community and other visiting groups too. The abbey originally raised £20,000 towards the repair of the wildlife pond through donations from charitable trusts but needed to raise a further £5,000 so turned to Crowdfunder. Nic Phillips, who is co-ordinating the project at the abbey, said: “This money will enable us to restabilise the pond bank, allowing us to re-open the pathway that has been closed due to erosion, and allow for safer and closer access around the pond’s edge. “Using the money, additional habitats will also be created, allowing for the pond’s inhabitants to continue to thrive, and essential bridge repairs will take place at the same time to minimise disturbance to the pond’s eco-system.”

Sharing the green love

MEMBERS of Sustainable Wells were at the city’s market as part of a campaign to highlight climate change issues. The food and energy group handed out green hearts to shoppers as well promoting their ongoing environmental work. The campaign was (l:r) Laura Sorenesen, Wendy Croker and called Share the Joanna Davey from Sustainable Wells. Love, organised by The ceramic hearts were made by Laura the Climate Coalition. and Wendy PAGE 8 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017


Bat fans plan a Brue-up

POPULATIONS of bats in the Brue Valley area are to be surveyed in more detail after the Somerset Bat Group won a £500 Wessex Watermark Award for their work. The group hopes their research will feed into a bat distribution map for Somerset which could influence agricultural and environmental schemes in the future. Last August, 38 volunteers working in Gillian Smith, Wessex Water’s Education small groups mapped Advisor, presents the group with their out 11 transects of the award. Pictured with her receiving the cheque is group secretary Adel Avery Somerset Levels. along with (l:r) group chairman Paul They were based at Kennedy, Helen and Edward Wells, Simon the Avalon Marshes Clarke, from Natural England and David Centre at Westhay. Evans, from the Avalon Marshes Centre Adel Avery, secretary of the bat group said: “The Brue Valley around Glastonbury has been chosen as a focus area to find out how bats are using the low-lying wet pastures of the Somerset moors and levels. The rare greater horseshoe bats have been recorded using the steep-sided water channels as commuting routes throughout the landscape from their roosts to favoured feeding locations.” Adel added: “It is exciting that the data from this survey could be used to collect information for a bat distribution atlas for Somerset, and this in turn would support and direct agrienvironment schemes for conservation and sustainable farming. Many of our volunteers have never monitored bats before and knowing that they are also part of an important citizen science project gives their midnight perambulations quite a focus.” The Wessex Watermark Award will help fund the co-ordination of volunteers, risk assessments and producing maps. The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area. Now in its 23rd year, it has supported more than 900 environmental initiatives. Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by its president David Bellamy.

The bat group prepares to head out for their survey last August

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Showing children rural skills

LAST month it was sheep worrying. This month the concern is sheep rustling. This is a big issue – it was bad in the Wild West and it is bad here, all over the country. And it isn’t just confined to sheep. Only a few weeks ago 34 calves, ten – 15 months old of Friesian/Limousin/Angus With MARY breeds were stolen from land near Wells. JAMES MBE After many years of lobbying, the Avon and Somerset Police have come up with a plan. The police and the dedicated rural crime team have been working hard taking on the criminals that prey on local rural communities. The team has launched a new text number, 81819 to enable the public to pass on intelligence and information directly to the team. This is being trialled for three months. So, all you lovely people in the Mendip area we need you to keep your eyes open as you travel around especially now in the dark nights please. Look out for vehicles and trailers trying to load animals on the side of the road, or there may be lights in the middle of fields. Every little helps and a genuine farmer will not be annoyed if you stop and ask or send in licence numbers. Look out for people behaving suspiciously, potentially selling stolen goods or livestock being offered for sale, either to the public or at markets. No matter how small the piece of information is, it may be a vital piece of the jigsaw that helps the police fill the gaps and either prevent a crime or bring offenders to justice.

The number won’t be monitored 24/7 but the team will be looking at it when they are on duty. If it’s crime in action then dial 999. It does not look much like spring as I look out of the window but some snowdrops are out and that is a good omen. Hopefully on March 22nd it will be warmer, because that is the day over 1,000 children will descend on the Royal Bath and West Showground for the Field to Food event. It was a great success last year and many schools have been invited. This event, which is held under cover, aims to show children examples of farming activities such as sheep being shorn and cows being milked. There will be plenty of animals and machinery on show and the opportunity to talk to farmers. The Royal Bath and West Society was delighted with the response to last year’s event. These field days bring education and learning to the showground. As the world population increases and food production methods change, the next generation needs to understand how important good food is to their health. There were over 200 volunteers to man this event last year and plenty are needed this year, so do ring in if you can spare an hour or so. It is most rewarding. In July on Wednesday the 12th North Somerset Agricultural Society will be holding a Countryside Day on the Showground at Wraxall, with the same format as mentioned above, but it will be held outdoors and in marquees. Again this is a chance for schools all over the area to learn about food production and country skills.

Farmers fears over Brexit

The meeting at Trudoxhill


FARMERS from the Frome and Radstock areas met David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome to discuss issues affecting the local farming industry, including how farmers will be impacted by Britain’s exit from the EU. Hosted by farmer Paul Candy of Pylle Farm, Trudoxhill, the meeting was attended by a dozen members of the local farming community including NFU representatives.

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D. Berry, Holm Farm, Rectory Way, Lympsham, W-s-M BS24 0EN. Tel 01934 751063 or 07827 328874 MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017 • PAGE 11

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Tractors take centre stage By Mark Adler

VETERANS of fields and farmyards were given their chance to shine – many literally – at the annual Somerset Vintage and Classic Tractor Show at Shepton Mallet. Proud owners brought dozens of gleaming vehicles to the two-day event at the Royal Bath and West Showground which this year celebrated the centenary of Ford and Fordson tractors. Hundreds of others made tracks for the massive auction of spares and miscellania as well as many tractors in need of restoration. The show – organised by a team led by Nick and Pat Bryne of Sutton, near Ditcheat – raises thousands of pounds for local charities. The main ones to benefit from this year’s weekend were Dorothy House Hospice and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Next year’s show will celebrate another make of tractor familiar to farmers: John Deere.

Jacob Weeks, aged 21 months and who lives at Temple Cloud, enjoys trying out this model tractor

Need a spare part? Dealer Rob Isom, who lives near Midsomer Norton, could be your man

(l:r): Show organiser Nick Bryne, Graham Wheelen, from the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Steph Cox, from Dorothy House and show treasurer Margaret Mitchell. Dorothy House received £3,000 and the air ambulance received £4,000

Ford and Fordson tractors in the spotlight. The one nearest dates from 1917.The farmer from Devon who bought it from new decided he preferred horsepower and sold it to his neighbour for £10! It has stayed with the same farming family for 90 years

Prizewinning! Steve, Dan (with Yommy the dog) and Annette Thornell, of Coalpit Heath, won prizes for their three David Brown tractors


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Restoration man


Viewing before the auction gets underway

Paul, wife Chantal and daughter Lilly with Fiona the Fordson

Michael Alvis (left) of Redhill and Brian Hook, of Long Load, were amongst the judges

Martin Day, from Nunney Catch, with his Ford County which won the award for the best exhibit from 1980 onwards

FARM worker Paul Godden has used his engineering skills as a form of rehabilitation after suffering an horrific leg injury at work. Paul, of Aller, helped his friend Martin York, of Shepton Mallet, restore his 1956 Fordson Major, which had been kept unused in a barn for 18 years. And he has also been showing his own 1959 Fordson Major as he tries to regain the full use of his left leg. Paul, whose parents live in Doulting, said: “It’s been a sort of therapy. I worked on Martin’s tractor as and when I felt fit enough. I’m lucky to have survived the accident.”

Martin York with his restored tractor which he bought at a farm sale


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Some tips about pitfalls

THERE are a few pitfalls which it is very easy to fall into when using the internet, so I thought a recap might be in order. When you type in a web address, make sure you type in exactly what you see – a small mistake can make a huge difference. There are those faceless people who take advantage of mistakes such as typo errors (known as Typosquatting) – e.g. will not take you to But even when you start on the right address, there are often times when a link in that site takes you to another different site – usually they tell you that you are going to an external site, but it’s not always easy to read everything on a page. Sometimes, when you are buying from a firm you know, they are proving to be links to outside sites – sometimes in China, so look carefully before you leap! Searching with any search engine, such as Google, Ask, Yahoo etc is very easy as they offer lots of suggestions which gives you lots of possible pages to use. But you need to make sure you are going where you think you are going. This example shows a search to renewing driving licence at 70, and my example shows three possible pages to help. But only the third one is a government website. The top two will take you to a site where you pay for assistance. So let’s look at the results the blue underlined bit is the hyperlink, which will take you to that site. But the most important bit, I think, is the green line underneath that, which gives you the actual web address, and as you will see, the third one is the, which is the official government website, which in this case would be the one to use. The other one you pay for help. Not really a pitfall, but there are a few ways of using the internet which are worth a recap. This relates to shopping type research, but applies to various circumstances. If you find a page with the sort of thing you want to find, but want to compare other offers, then you can leave that page open and open a new tab – click on the + sign (usually top right of the web address) and start a new search, then you can flip between the tabs to compare offers. See top example for Windows. Or if you are on a page and there is a link and you want to see the current page and the linked page, then double-click on the link using a pc or tap-and-hold the link on a tablet to bring up a menu and select open in a new tab. Or cmd-click on a Mac, which opens a new tab for you, but you will stay on the current page, so you’ll need to look for the new tab next to it. Contact us at I.T. for the Terrified: 01934 741751 (usually goes to answer phone) Using Cheddar Village Hall, Church Street, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3RF Cheddar Village Hall (used to be Cheddar Church House) is next to St. Andrew’s church and almost opposite the road to Sainsbury’s (used to be Budgen’s). If you can spare two hours a week and have skills on any level (especially basics) that you would like to share with others, please get in touch. Registered Charity No. 1130308 : Company No. 06779600



The Mendip Mindbender

ACROSS 1 Accident on the ski slopes? (6,5) 7 Take 5 cards and fall asleep (3) 9 Ancient vehicles deliver processed meat (7) 10 Smooth and get older a long time ago (4,3) 11 Disappointing treat for Cockney's old lady? (5) 12 The sort of neatness I find totally lacking feeling (9) 13 All the runners keep their eye on the ball (5) 14 Connect with colleague (9) 17 The Spanish bend with space – needed to swing a cat ? (5-4) 19 As she comes between, finds the remains of the fire (5) 21 Alice pops out – the first woman bishop? (9) 24 Mends socks underground? Could be smelly (5) 25 Of Fanny Burney's three girls - the musical one? (7) 26 The quiet American and historian of Rome (7) 28 Buddy Holly's Peggy may go to court (3) 29 Pudding for a hot day near the north pole? (5,6)

DOWN 1 Approached by mouse (3) 2 No, no Miss Newman (7) 3 I am told to follow and make up (3,6) 4 Do abstain from inflicting pain (9) 5 So player takes his leave (5) 6 Kinswoman lacking aims is understood (5) 7 Returned again to find painter on the border (7) 8 Peers scored by having ancestor (11) 11 Fencer is fed up with no similarities (11) 15 Is coming back delayed and covered in dirt – or made to look that way (9) 16 She and I among two hundred meeting Chicago gangster of some antiquity (9) 18 With verve revolutionary made a little cake (7) 20 The way to tell it as a reporter (3,2,2) 22 Bracelet without art – one of only minor importance (5) 23 Bankrupt but goes out for a jape (5) 27 Research covers marine area (3)

Answers on page 89

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Tel: 0800 097 8611 | e-mail:


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New business in Banwell

INDEPENDENT monumental mason, Mendip Memorials, has opened a new office and showroom in Banwell. The company was launched last year by Gavin Woodward and Erika Toth, with the aim of providing a sympathetic, straightforward and affordable memorial design and placement service. All the memorials are made by professional craftsmen to the highest of standards, using the best quality natural stone materials sourced from all over the world to provide a wide choice to meet differing cemetery regulations and to reflect the person it is dedicated to. Gavin said: “From this location by junction 21, M5 we will be able to help clients in Bristol, North Somerset and South West regional area.” Details:

New role for Helen

THE managing director of Red Berry Recruitment, Helen Lacey, has been appointed the new vice chair of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, having been voted in by the board of directors at the chamber’s December board meeting. A successful local business woman, Helen has been a Somerset chamber director for the past two years. She founded Red Berry Recruitment in 2007, which now has offices in Shepton Mallet, Yeovil and Bridgwater, and she is also chair of the Somerset branch of the Institute of Directors. Newly appointed chair, Greg Saunders, said: “I was delighted when Helen put herself forward for the role of vice chair.”

Holiday specialists


IF you are looking for inspiration for your next holiday, Global Independent Travel Centre in Winscombe are holding a series of events where you can talk to the experts. Saga will join them for their first afternoon tea event on Wednesday March 29th, followed by a Viking River Cruise evening on Tuesday April 4th. The events are always popular, so call to book your free place or visit them in their Winscombe branch for your free tickets. They have more events planned, so sign up to their mailing list to be the first to know.

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Perfect Pave set for further expansion PERFECT Pave, based in Cheddar, has built an enviable reputation over the last 16 years for the quality of its work installing block paving and other landscaping products. Now it’s expanding further, by offering its products to both the commercial and domestic trade. James Starmer, who is heading up the new service, is liaising with contractors, architects and builders on how Perfect Pave can help them. He said: “We can offer a much wider choice than builders’ merchants or garden centres and can offer much cheaper rates. The growth of the company shows how much our customers have appreciated us in the past, so we look forward to extending our service to trade customers.” Perfect Pave was started by Alex Howley, from Clewer, and Simon Bethell, from Mudgley and has grown year-on-year, moving into its new showroom on the Valley Line industrial estate in Cheddar three years ago. They have


increased their fleet of vehicles to cope with the extra trade demand and now employ nine people. Simon was named Businessman of the Year, 2016 by the Rotary Club of Mendip. The company now has contracts all over the South West and offers a wide range of products, including Indian sandstone, among other natural stones. Perfect Pave have always said their wide range of choice of materials, together with a professional and experienced design and installation team, means they are the perfect choice for your driveway or patio project. They can also create your perfect garden using the most attractive materials on the market, all of which can be seen in their showroom in Cheddar, where they are now showing new layouts including samples for patios, brick paving and resin samples, plus show walls of dry stone walling. James said: “Our installation team are still as busy as ever, as is our showroom, and we are excited to now be offering our expertise to trade customers.”

PERFECT PAVE Now supplying – as well as installing – landscaping products to the commercial and domestic trade Wider range and cheaper prices than builders’ merchants or garden centres Showroom open 8am-5pm • Mon-Fri 8am-12noon Sat


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P & C Logs Outdoor Clothing, Footwear and Accessories C a ll P h i l o n 0 7 7 3 4 0 9 8 3 2 3 , o r C o l l ee n o n 0 7 7 8 5 2 5 0 0 3 3 o r o n Ev e n i n g s 0 1 7 6 1 2 2 1 5 4 3

• Waterproof and Breathable Overtrousers

• Long Zippered Leg Opening

Friendly prompt service from Phil & Colleen at their farm in Charterhouse Quality seasoned beech and ash hardwood, chopped and split into a variety of load options (with free delivery).

• Packaway Bag Included

Was £40


Do you have a Christmas DEBT Hangover?


Bring this advert into the shop to claim this fantastic offer!

Broad Street • Congresbury (opposite Ship & Castle)

01934 877333 I CAN HELP YOU FIND THE RIGHT SOLUTION. I AM QUALIFIED, LICENSED AND INSURED TO GIVE DEBT ADVICE • If you are in debt • Have money worries • Can’t pay your suppliers/rent/HMRC/mortgage/payroll If you feel like you have nowhere to turn, call me, Samantha Hawkins on 01934 862877 or 07818 112824 for a free consultation to work through the 6 options you have available to find the right solution for you. I have 20 years experience in dealing with corporate and personal insolvency. I am perfectly placed to help you find the right solution for your situation. My team and I pride ourselves on helping people get back on their feet. Take a look at what our clients say about us on our website, and meet the team or alternatively, e-Mail us at

A Professional Company serving the South West

Samantha Hawkins is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to accept insolvency appointments. Her license number is 12770 and she is insured by Royal Sun Alliance. Trading address, No 5 The Old Parsonage, Redcroft, Redhill, Somerset, BS40 5SL. Complaints can be addressed at



NO MOLE NO FEE Telephone 01275 332966


Duvets & Bedspreads washed & dried Sheets and Duvet covers washed and pressed Professional efficient service Collection & delivery service in the Chew Valley

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Relax knowing your property is protected

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Spring into Lime



15, The Borough Mall, Wedmore, Somerset BS28 4EB

01934 710479

Pale Blue

Women’s clothing and other lovely things

1 The Borough, Wedmore, Somerset BS28 4EB Email:

Tel: 01934 713773


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Care, compassion and celebration

WELLS Funeral Services is taking a novel approach when it comes to the one certainty we all face – apart from taxes, that is – dying. Which is why Rod Major, who launched WFS last September, can be found every Wednesday running a stall at Wells market. Amidst the food and crafts Rod cuts an unusual figure, but he is convinced that the funeral “business” should be taking a higher profile. So much so that he is dedicated to offering people the best value he can, specialising in offering funeral plans which are tailored to meet the pockets of almost everyone – from simple and no-frills to bespoke and sophisticated. Prices start at £1,754. Rod works with a well-established funeral director – Ashley Edwards Funeral Services of Highbridge – to deliver the services but believes his open, friendly approach will appeal to people anxious about making the initial approach, let alone dealing with an unexpected death. He said: “We are reaching out to people who may be very scared to talk about either their own funeral plans or those of a loved one.” Composing a eulogy – Rod calls it a “timeline” – is just one of the services available. He added: “We pride ourselves on professionalism – we have a duty of care in all that we do – but offering a human touch. We believe in celebrating someone’s life.”

Rod on his weekly stall at Wells market

Balloon flights over the Chew Valley, Mendips and Somerset Levels


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Digital workshops underway A SERIES of free training sessions, workshops and dropin surgeries are being held across Mendip to help local businesses get the most out of the digital age. Grow with Digital is a new initiative set up in partnership with Enterprise Mendip and local participating chambers of commerce, to offer free support to local businesses on utilising their IT – from networks and storage to digital marketing. The initiative began in Shepton Mallet as Mendip Times was being published. Session in Wells begin on Monday, March 6th and in Glastonbury and Street from Monday, April 3rd. Each week will consist of a variety of free workshops and seminars run by local businesses on variety of topics from storage, networking,

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S h o w y o u r mo t h e r y o u l o v e h e r . . . IT is Mother’s Day on Sunday, March 26th. Speaking as a mother myself I’m not sure that one day a year is enough. However, let us be grateful. Ask me what I would like on my one special day and I will say (room service apart) something that someone else prepares With JUNE with love, that makes me feel great and that MACFARLANE I don’t have to wash up. Why does everyone think that all we want on Mother’s Day is cake? Mothering Sunday is a sell-out for restaurants and anyone who knows me will bet I’ll go for the ocean on a menu; a plump piece of hake, or halibut, or mussels. Make it sparkling fresh and keep the rest of it simple. If we’re at home with the family please let’s have a great roast chicken – I love the smell of roasting chicken, preferably a free range happy chicken. Let a zephyr of vegetables and herbs drift from the kitchen, tantalising my taste buds with anticipation as I twirl some fizz. And, instead of a predictable chocolate pud, could there be a zingy fruit dish, with colour and sweetness and attitude? And some really good local cheese to linger over while everyone is terribly nice to me? And may I not wake for a while from this impossible dream?

MUSSELS WITH CREAM AND FENNEL SEEDS Fat juicy mussels, cream because it’s special, and fennel seeds in anything are wonderful.

METHOD In a big pan reduce gently the garlic, shallot, leek, bay leaves, fennel seeds and 150ml wine until almost evaporated. Add mussels and remaining wine; cover, increase heat and cook until mussels open (discard any that don’t). Remove mussels to a warmed bowl. Add cream and butter to pan juices and reduce slightly. Add herbs, season and pour over mussels.

Ingredients (for two) 1 kg fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded 1 large clove garlic, chopped 1 echalion shallot, chopped 1 small leek, finely sliced 2 bay leaves 1 tsp fennel seeds 300ml dry white wine 100ml dbl cream 25g unsalted butter 2tbsp chopped tarragon and parsley



Roast chicken


This is the way I do roast chicken; I have passed on the method to my daughter and it is how she does it too. Chicken loves butter, tarragon and lemon, and a little garlic. The juices cook down to make a delicious sauce. Simple is best.

100g unsalted butter, soft 1.8kg free range chicken seasoning 1 lemon several stalks tarragon 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed


METHOD Preheat oven to 230°C. With your hands, cover chicken with butter. Put it in a roasting tin, season and squeeze over the juice of the lemon. Put the herbs and garlic in the cavity and push in the lemon halves. Roast for 10-15 mins, baste then turn down oven to 190°C. Roast for 30-45 mins, basting occasionally, until chicken is cooked, golden brown with crisp skin. Turn off oven and allow to rest for 15 mins with door ajar. Serve with roasting juices.


I’ll be having this for breakfast on Mother’s Day, with Greek yogurt, but it would be lovely with cream, or ice cream, or even custard. METHOD Preheat oven to 150°C. In a bowl mix everything together, pour into a roasting tin, cover loosely with foil and bake until rhubarb is tender, shaking gently halfway through. Allow to cool and serve with pan juices. INGREDIENTS

400g rhubarb, washed and chopped into 2” lengths 250ml fresh orange juice 2tbsp honey 2 star anise 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out big pinch salt

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What’s new from Myrtle Farm

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A round-up of events from Thatchers Cider in Sandford

Stan the cider crafter

Out and about with The Thatchers Foundation

STAN Thatcher was our second generation cidermaker here at Myrtle Farm and we’ve named our newly designed traditional cider range after him. Stan took over the Thatchers Cider business from his father William in 1937. Stan was someone who really enjoyed life – and liked nothing better than chatting with friends and customers while serving them cider at Myrtle Farm. We’d love to hear from you if you have any memories of Stan – email us at

THE Thatchers Foundation is a charitable trust, set up to help and support community and charitable activities, in particular in the parishes of Sandford, Winscombe and adjoining villages. Contributions to individuals or organisations may be through financial grants, or through the donation of time and physical help. This year the Trustees have been delighted to support Sandford Primary School with a donation that will enable the school crossing patrol to remain running for the next twelve months. They have also helped Avon & Somerset Search and Rescue in their fundraising for new VHF digital radios, essential equipment for their work supporting Avon and Somerset Police and other emergency services searching for missing individuals in difficult ground, including steep terrain and waterside. For more information about the Thatchers Foundation, visit

A guide to pairing cider with food

WE’VE been working with national drinks writer, author and TV broadcaster Susy Atkins to produce a new Guide to Pairing Cider with Food. In the Guide, Susy talks through the steps on how to recognise the characteristics in a cider that will make a perfect match with different food styles. She explains that perhaps the most important factor is a drink’s sweetness level. The important rule is always balance ‘like with like’ in this respect, she says. “So dry drinks must go with savoury food – they will taste harsh and too tart alongside sugary dishes. But sweet drinks work mainly with desserts and also with certain cheeses and rich patés. Sweet and medium sweet ciders, where the most luscious flavours of the juice of sweet apples really shine through, can dazzle here.” You can read the Guide at

New set lunch at The Railway Inn

THE Railway Inn has introduced a new set lunch menu that is available Monday to Friday, 12.00 to 2.30pm. Seasonal, regional produce is used by chef Matt Brooks to create his interesting and innovative dishes. £14 for two courses and £18 for three courses.

Cheers from us all at Myrtle Farm • Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Thatchers Cider, Myrtle Farm, Sandford, Somerset, BS25 5RA Tel: 01934 822862


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All change at The Two Brewers, Street

Read all about it – Two Brewers website launch

(online, that is)!

Read all about us on our new website! Download a copy of our menu! Enquire about a room!

But don’t worry – nothing else has changed:

★ Same owners for 23 years ★ Same quality home cooked food ★ Same fine ales ★ Same friendly service

THE TWO BREWERS A country pub in the town with rooms

Leigh Road, Street, Somerset BA16 0HB. Tel: 01458 442421 • e-mail:

Stop press – some of the menus down the years

ONE of the most popular aspects of The Two Brewers, Street, is that – apart from the always well-kept guest real ales and the delicious specials on the menu – hardly anything has changed in 23 years. But now owners Richard and Maggie Pearce have taken the plunge by redesigning their website and, for a pub which is proud to be determinedly music-free and fruit machine-free, that is front page news! Richard’s background is in marketing and his interest in the media shows in the way the menus are presented in a newspaper-style format, an idea the couple took with them from their first pub – also called The Two Brewers – in Shaftesbury. Now visitors to the website can download a copy of the menu to keep at home or by their office desk; The Two Brewers, in Leigh Road, is just a short walk from Clark’s Village whilst its three letting rooms are popular with people visiting Street for business or pleasure. Richard said: “Our menus on newsprint and in a newspaper style have always been a talking point. When we decided we should bring our website up-to-date we felt we should continue with the theme.”

Come in and enjoy Blagdon’s traditional little country pub. Enjoy Lunch or Dinner with us. Note 80% menu is Gluten-free. Booking highly recommended. In season: Trout • Pheasant • Venison GOOD FOOD, GOOD FRIENDS, GOOD TIMES • 01761 463926 PAGE 24 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

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Jon Thorner strikes gold at Smithfield PIE-MAKER Jon Thorner’s is celebrating record success at the Smithfield Awards with an outstanding 21 awards for their pies and pasties. The Smithfield Awards product evaluation is organised by the Butchers Q Guild, which represent Britain’s best butchers with 123 members nationwide. The Pylle-based food producer picked up 18 Golds, of which four received maximum marks from the judges. The winning flavours included Steak & Ale, Steak & Stilton, Chicken Balti Pie, Spicy Cumberland & Red Onion Pie and their Giant Steak Pasty. These awards have come at an exciting time for the business, with the unveiling of new packaging, a new brochure and the launch of new flavour pies – six of the Smithfield awardwinning entries were in fact from the new range of flavours. There was a record number of entries into the awards from the Q Guild’s eight regions. Each product entered is judged blind by a panel of international food and meat industry experts and shortlisted. Category winners were awarded at the ceremony in February at Ironmongers Hall, London, hosted and presented by Tom Parker Bowles. Managing director and founder, Jon Thorner said: “We are thrilled our range of products have received such accolades at the Smithfield Awards. We have always been confident in the quality of our pies and ingredients we use, so it is fantastic to have something as prestigious as a Smithfield Award to prove it!”


Jon Thorner’s has recently undergone a rebrand, launching a new logo, packaging design and advertising campaign. As the company will soon be approaching its 40th year of trading, it felt it was time to show how the business has developed and evolved. A selection of the Smithfield winning flavour pies were specifically developed for an award-winning restaurant chain with sites located across the country. Jon said: “This is a really exciting time for Jon Thorner’s Ltd. We have successfully taken our range of products to the retail market and seen significant growth in the last 12 months.”


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Wild flowers for Easter at Farringtons FOLLOWING in the footsteps of the hugely popular Spookley Pumpkin Festival, Farrington’s Farm Shop have announced their Go Wild – Grow Wild activities running throughout the Easter holidays. This new spring event combines traditional Easter

M A R C H D AT E S W e l l s E a c h W e d 9 a m – 2. 3 O p m A l l o t h e r m a r k e t s 9 a m - 1 p m un l e s s o t h e r w i s e m a r ke d *

SAT 4th Axbridge & Midsomer Norton SUN 5th SFM @ Frome Independent SAT 11th Frome (C&G Market Hall) and Keynsham SAT 18th Crewkerne SAT 25th Glastonbury* (9am-2pm) FRI 31st Burnham-on-Sea


activities, with outdoor educational play and seasonal home-made treats bringing families together for a great day out. In the potting shed barn, children can make an airdried clay plant pot to fill with soil and wild flower seeds donated by Kew Gardens, Grow Wild project. Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, Grow Wild is the UK’s biggest-ever wild flower campaign bringing people together to transform local spaces with native, pollinatorfriendly wild flowers and plants. Wild flower seeds donated by Kew Gardens will be planted by the Farrington’s team to create a new wild flower bank and pond area which visitors can enjoy for years to come.

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Swedish pear cake

I CAN'T say I've got a lot going on in my garden at the moment, so I thought I'd share with you a rather delicious recipe for Swedish pear cake that I've been enjoying making recently. It's perfect for using up the last of the stored pears from last year – alternatively With JAKE tinned or frozen cooked pears work well WHITSON too. First, start by thickly slicing two or three large pears (Comice are my favourite), discarding the core. Heat two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and add the pear slices, about four or five tablespoons of soft brown sugar, a handful of walnut pieces and a little vanilla if you have it. Cook gently for around five minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the pears are hot and swimming in a light brown sugar/pear sauce. Add the mixture to the bottom of a greased cake tin. For the cake batter, first beat together 100g of butter and 100g sugar. Then beat in two eggs, one at a time (I do all of this in a food processor), followed by two tablespoons of milk. Now fold in 100g of plain white flour and 50g of almond meal, and a teaspoon of baking powder, before spreading this mixture on top of the pears. Bake in an oven preheated to 200ºC for around 35 minutes; until a skewer stuck into the centre comes out clean. Serve, in Swedish fashion, with whipped cream and strong coffee, for a traditional Swedish fika (coffee break)!

Jacob is a former chef turned food writer, smallholder and mycologist. He divides his time between the Mendips and his nine-acre forest garden project in Pembrokeshire. Details:



A flowery race

IN a previous life I was keen on the study of plant phenology, which is basically when a plant appears, governed by seasonal/temperature variations. This is also used as an indicator in climate change studies. The first snowdrops I saw on Mendip With ADRIAN appeared on January 28th on a grassy bank BOOTS under the protecting cover of a hedgerow (by the way you can’t eat snowdrops so don’t even try!). I’m not involved in this type of study any more but for my own amusement I do keep a mental note when my favourite wild foods begin to appear. So, in a race to flower first this winter/spring, can you guess which plant is the winner, the aforementioned snowdrops perhaps? Drum roll please and the prize goes to... wait for it... chickweed! Luckily, I don’t have to worry so much about seasonal variations etc as my greenhouse completely messes with this plant’s cycle (sorry snowdrops, I know it’s not a fair race) so I always have a ready supply of fresh, crisp and tasty spring greens even in on the coldest of winter days. Chickweed (Stellaria media) is an annual weed, five to 40cm high with small white flower heads 3-10mm across. It looks like it has ten individual petals but in fact it has five petals deeply divided. The leaves are opposite in pairs, oval to spear-shaped and pointed. Abundant at this time of year it is often found on disturbed/cultivated land, pasture or more commonly (or should that be problematically?) in the garden. Chickweed gets its Latin name from “stella” meaning star. The less romantic common name came about as it was cultivated as a feed for people and poultry and local Somerset names include bird’s eye, mischievous Jack and the topical winter greens. Considered a pestilential weed by gardeners because it gets in the way of growing food but of course it is food so why not save the bother and just eat the chickweed instead? And what better way to eat it than in my cheesy chickweedy tart. Use couscous for the base rather than pastry then just follow a normal quiche recipe but with the addition of this tasty winter green. Simple! After spending all of about 30 minutes creating this culinary masterpiece you can finally enjoy this cheesy chickweedy tart satisfied in the knowledge that you have not only weeded the garden but eaten a plant world winner too! Adrian Boots is a Landscape Ecologist, Wild Food Forager and Adventure Activity provider. You can visit his website: to learn more about wild food foraging and activities you can do with him on the Mendip Hills.


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Time for tea

GUESTS from throughout the Chew Valley enjoyed a tea party put on for them by the Inner Wheel Club of Chelwood Bridge at Pensford village hall. It was its seventh Inner Wheel Day offering tea, sandwiches, cake, bingo, raffle and games. Club president, Mary Smith said: "Every year inner wheel clubs all over the world celebrate this day by doing different things. We at Chelwood Bridge like to do something within the community so we invited guests from around the Chew Valley to tea."

Some of the guests at the tea party (l to r) Annette Welch, Margaret Fackrell, Jill Kay, Joyce Trendle, Mary Fisher and Margaret Hucker


Club members (l to r) Marjorie Robinson, Heather Curtis, Di Farmer, club president Mary Smith, Kaye Atkinson, Val Coles and Alma Smith

Some of the guests (l to r) Elizabeth Parker, May Selway, Janet Tomkin, Joan Godfrey, Heather Pool, Marian Tucker and Doreen Perry.

Getting ready for summer

IT’S the ninth year that Mike and Dawn Corp have been running the Waggon and Horses and things are only getting better. They’ve already established themselves as a pub that provides fantastic traditional pub grub because they make everything on the menu themselves. Now they’re hoping to make further use of their facilities and organise a wide range of events. There’s a large conference room for hire and a gorgeous vaulted-ceiling skittle alley complete with mini-bar also for hire and currently used for skittles, karaoke, open mic nights and other parties. As the summer approaches, the garden will be used for BBQs and coffee mornings and provides a lovely setting for a wedding reception with a marquee and buffet. The caravan site has a new shower block and they also plan to use the field for bike rallies, summer fetes and other shows too so watch this space!

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Bradleys Juice – So Refreshingly Somerset The orchards may be dormant, but the team at Bradley’s Juice has certainly not been hibernating over the winter. Miles Bradley is still true to his belief that innovation begins at home and he and the team have been busy in the kitchen. They have been developing a new range of vegetable-based juices including a delicious-tasting beetroot and apple drink – not just for the health conscious – in addition to testing out other combinations; a raspberry and vanilla is looking good just in time for the summer to kick in. In fact, if you head to either Axbridge or Midsomer Norton farmers’ markets, you will be amongst the first to get a taste of the new range as they launch it in March. The team also spent time at the Source Trade Show in Exeter, networking and spreading the word further through the

South West about Bradley's. Although markets are still on the agenda, particularly as Miles is currently chairman of the Somerset Farmers’ Markets, there remains a focus on expanding into the domestic market. As well as continuing to find Bradley’s in delicatessens, farm shops, inns, restaurants and hotels across the country, you will also find them in various tourist hot spots like Bristol’s SS Great Britain. Also, if you fancy a trip away to Dorset’s beautiful Jurassic Coast, make sure you pop in to The Hive, a beach front cafe and one of the new venues stocking Bradley’s – the beach and Bradleys, a perfect combination. 2017 certainly hasn’t started slowly for the team at Box Bush Farm and it isn’t looking likely to slow down either!


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Fire and ice challenge for cancer unit

A WOMAN from Frome is determined to overcome her fears to join a fundraising challenge for the Forever Friends Appeal to build a new cancer centre at Bath’s Royal United Hospital. Rebecca Harrison, 30, is to take part in the appeal’s Fire and Ice Walk on Sunday, March 5th in memory of her late father Kevin. Rebecca will walk over 15 feet of crushed glass, followed by a path of embers smouldering at over 800 degrees Celsius, to thank oncology staff at the hospital for the “amazing care” her father received in 2005. Rebecca said: “The care given to both my dad and my family at the RUH was outstanding. We knew that he was dying and were at the hospital for several hours; during this time, the nurses made us drinks, gave us biscuits and looked after dad so we could all be there together when he died. I remember the hugs the nurses gave, they meant a lot.” Rebecca last supported the appeal in 2015, when she took part in the charity’s first Firewalk and raised more than £300 for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. The RUH Cancer Care Campaign has now raised £7.6 million towards its minimum £8.5 million target, which will contribute vital funds to the building of the pioneering new centre. ● The Fire and Ice Walk will be held at Bath Recreation Ground. The entry fee is £30 and all entrants are expected to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship towards the Cancer Care Campaign, or an RUH ward or department of their choice. For details, visit or call 01225 821535.

Art for the heart

ARTISTS who raised £1,600 towards the cost of a defibrillator by selling pieces of work at a special exhibition have been thanked for their efforts. Mells Village Shop’s annual thank you party for volunteers gave a warm welcome recently to the group who raised the money in November’s Art for the Heart exhibition for the equipment to be located in the village. Community-run Mells Village Shop and Café has been raising funds to provide facilities for Mells and surrounding villages since its opening in 2009 as well as serving as a social hub for tourists, visitors and residents. ● The defibrillator is located in The Talbot Inn and training will be arranged shortly for all who are interested. PAGE 30 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

Bowlers aid charities

AT the end of another great year for the Mid-Somerset Floodlight Bowls Charity, the bowls clubs from Paulton, Norwest, Prattens, Purnell, Frome Selwood and Frome Park have raised money for local charities, Swallow and the Carers Centre at Radstock. Swallow is a user-led charity supporting people with learning disabilities, while the Carers Centre supports people who care for family and friends who need extra support day-to-day. This was the bowls charity’s tenth year during which over £27,000 has been raised for many local and national charities. This year’s total was helped by committee member Brian Holmes who walked around his Norwest Bowls Green 150 times, raising £400. Floodlight games are played at the end of the season when the outdoor season is coming to an end. The winners this year were Purnell's. Committee members Trevor Francis, Eric Obern and Bryn Hawkins are pictured visiting the Swallow Cafe at Radstock where they presented cheques of £1,200 each to Nicky Tew from Swallow and Janine Woodward from the Carers Centre.

Students support charity

THREE Frome College Enterprise Club students organised and ran a charity quiz for Young Minds, raising £500 for the charity. This was just after the national Time to Talk Day which encouraged people to talk about mental health problems, which can affect one in ten young people. Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people and empowering their parents and carers. The college also wants to support parents with children who have mental health difficulties. Young Minds has a free support helpline, telephone 0800 802 5544. The quiz was a huge success with all tables being sold out. The students say they were very grateful for the support of local businesses such as Frome Rugby Club who offered free use of their room and all the local businesses that supported them through raffle prize donations. The money raised will be added to a running total as Frome College also has other fundraising events coming up, culminating with Rose Hiron-Grimes, Enterprise Coordinator and subject leader for Business and Economics, running the London Marathon on April 23rd. Details:

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Marathon man – aged 75!

Charity dinner is just (ten) grand!


Dinner dance organisers Philip Welch, Kevin Newton, Bridget Harvey, Merv Colenutt and Mark Tobin

RETIREMENT might mean time to take it easy for some, but for one 75-year-old from Wrington it means battling to become the oldest British competitor ever to compete in one of the most gruelling tests of physical endurance known to man. David Exell has signed up for the tortuous Marathon des Sables, 250 kilometres over sand dunes in the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains in temperatures that can soar to 50C. If he succeeds, the semi-retired accountant will take the title of oldest ever British participant from Sir Ranulph Fiennes. David said: “Once you have arrived mentally and physically prepared, your only concerns are controlling the inevitable blisters and trying to avoid the pair of camels show bring up the rear. When they overtake you, you are immediately disqualified and sent home on the bus.” David will have to carry all of his own food and sleeping equipment during the seven-day ordeal, including an antivenom pen in case of snake bites. He’s had a lifetime of challenges, trekking in the Himalayas and Pyrenees, taking part in the Everest marathon and in 1987 he ran ten marathons worldwide for charity. But he said preparations this time were like starting from scratch: “At the beginning of August I could hardly put one foot in front of the other and I started with short half-hour jogs, increasing my efforts by half an hour a month. Walking and jogging up to the top of the Mendip Hills in foul weather becomes compulsory torture before descending across waterlogged fields back to the relative comfort of the office. “The toll on my mental and physical self is enormous.” He’s raising money for Mountain Rescue and the Bristol Area Stroke Foundation. The marathon starts on April 7th.

A DINNER dance at the Best Western Swan Hotel in Wells has helped to raise £10,000 for the city’s Heads Up charity. Hotel manager Mark Tobin was about to announce that £9,740 had been raised for the mental health charity when the hotel’s owner Kevin Newton pledged more cash to bring the total to £10,000. The money was raised through ticket sales, an auction and raffle on the night and the Heads Up, Pants Down calendar that went on sale in November. Guest speaker Dr Ulrike Naumann, a GP at the Oakhill practice and chair of the trustees at the Lawrence Centre mental health charity in Wells, praised the work of the Wells Dementia Action Alliance to raise awareness of the disease. Other speakers included Wells MP James Heappey and John Ratcliff, the former manager of the Norwegian chart-toppers a-ha.

Crafts aid ambulance

A GROUP of women in Farmborough, who enjoy meeting and making and selling crafts, have raised £2,000 for the Great Western Air Ambulance and are pictured at its headquarters in Filton.

Details: to follow


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Carers’ Centre gets lottery support THE Bath and North East Somerset Carers’ Centre has received funding from the Big Lottery for a range of projects to support carers locally. It will help make organisations, health services, employers and the public more aware of carers, making it easier for them to access help and support. It will also support a range of activities at the Carers’ Centre and in local communities, such as peer support groups, counselling and befriending. Chief executive, Sonia Hutchison, said: “It can be really hard as a carer, looking after an ill or disabled relative 24/7, to get involved in your community and build those support networks. We hope to raise awareness with the public so they can be flexible, understanding and welcoming to carers in their local areas to their groups and clubs.” The Carers’ Centre works with over 4,000 people locally who are looking after someone, including children and

Walking for charity

MEN and boys over the age of 12 are being invited to join the inaugural Mendip Men’s Walk on March 18th, in aid of St Margaret’s Hospice in Yeovil. The event will begin at Wells Cathedral, follow the Monarchs Way long distance path and minor roads, and end at Tor Rugby Club, where participants can enjoy a pasty and pint while watching England play Ireland in the Six Nations match on the big screen in the clubhouse. The event is the brainchild of Candlelight Care CEO Peter Lugg, who noticed that whilst there are many fundraising events for women there is nothing specifically for men in the Mendip area. Registration will take place on Wells Cathedral Green at 12.30pm, with walkers setting off at 1pm. It’s estimated the walk will take less than three hours to complete. It costs £25 to enter, with all profits going to the hospice. Sponsorship forms will also be available, enabling participants to raise further funds for the hospice or a registered charity of their choice.


young people. The charity works to provide advice, respite, practical and emotional support to carers and families. One carer said of the support they had received: “You responded to my call for help very quickly as I was feeling quite alone and in a dark space. It is wonderful to know that you are there for all carers.” The funding has also enabled the


Radstock-based charity to refurbish their Bath Centre with new carpets, paintwork and a remodelled kitchen with further works planned in the outdoor space in the spring. The Bath Centre, purchased in 2015 with a social investment loan, provides a permanent place for carers to enjoy respite in the lounge or garden, or take part in a range of activities focused on wellbeing.

Charity plans Mad March fundraiser

FROME-based cancer charity, We Hear You, is planning a Mad March campaign to raise funds for counselling sessions. It hopes to raise £30,800 to provide 700 counselling sessions, or nearly two months’ counselling free of charge to anyone who needs their support. It’s suggesting various ways to raise money – host a coffee morning, a cake sale at work or a fancy dress night out. They are also seeking prizes for their hugely popular Mad March Auction. Melissa Hillier, director, said: “We Hear You has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of referrals to its service with the demand increasing by a phenomenal 60%. Although we have increased the number of weekly sessions we offer to the local community our waiting list has never been higher. “Our supporters have been amazing helping us to raise funds by running marathons, jumping out of planes and baking, but in order to meet the current demand for our service Mad March has never been so vital a campaign for us. “It’s such a great way to do something fun and enjoyable knowing that you are helping to support hundreds of families who have been affected by cancer and who call our service a lifeline.” We hear You provides emotional support to anyone affected by cancer or other life threatening conditions and works across Wiltshire, Somerset and B&NES. The charity supports children, young people and adults, supporting patients as well as their family and friends to deal with the emotional effects of cancer. Details: Gemma Wilkes 01373 455255 or go to or

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Stand at ease! Supermarket dash is part of the training


Charity comes of age

The Jessie May team launch the 21st anniversary year

Warrant Officer Jase Barton completes his run on the treadmill supported by Rifles colleagues (l:r) Charlie Densriserikul, Max Waters and Patrick Golledge and TiP trustee Louise Coate

SUPPORTERS of the charity Time is Precious took to a treadmill to raise funds ahead of their efforts in the Bath Half Marathon. Running in a relay for 12 hours, they took turns on the machine at the Asda store in Frome for up to an hour at a time. They included personnel from 6th Battalion The Rifles, based in Bristol. Time is Precious was set up by the parents of youngster Ben Halford, of Coleford. It raises money to provide support for families and their children who are being treated in local hospitals. Meanwhile, a colleague of a singer from Frome who died last year has set his sights on running the London Marathon in his memory. Tony Pickett, who lived in Frome, was a member of both the Bath Male Choir and the mixed-voice Bath Chorus. He died, aged 60, after suffering a massive heart attack whilst out cycling. Simon Kale, 48, of Bath, sings in both choirs and will be running in the marathon in April to raise money for the TiP trustee Louise Coate prepares to start British Heart her run on the treadmill watched by Foundation. Warrant Officer Jase Barton The Bath Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, March 12th. To support the Time is Precious team visit:

THE Jessie May charity, which cares for terminally ill children within their own homes, is celebrating its 21st anniversary year. Founded in 1996 by the parents of Jessica May Purrington, who died of a genetic condition spinal muscular atrophy when she was four and a half months old, Jessie May supports families in Bristol, Bath, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and is planning a special year of activity to celebrate reaching the milestone. Included in the line-up of events and celebrations is an evening fundraiser with some special names from the world of sport, an exhilarating skydive, the return of the People’s Grand Prix, a big community summer party and much more. Jessie May head of fundraising, Julian Withers, said: “We really wanted to mark the occasion with a series of special activities throughout the year, to remind people why we do what we do and encourage them to get involved. “In 2017 Jessie May has the biggest caseload of children we’ve ever had. Jessie May nurses now support over 120 children, plus 40 more bereaved families in the local area. In the past 21 years, over 310 families have benefitted from the support of a Jessie May nurse. “We’re really looking forward to a great year with our supporters with all the fantastic events and campaigns we’ve got planned, as well as hopefully encouraging more support from the public to be able to continue our work caring for the families who need us.” Jessie May cares for children with terminal illness within their own homes. It costs around £1,200,000 to provide this care yearly and as the charity is almost entirely dependent on public support fundraisers like this are essential. Details:

Making a stand against prostate cancer

MEMBERS of Glastonbury and Street Rotary Club have presented a cheque for £250 to Prostate Cancer UK. The money was raised as part of the club’s annual golf day by Richard Bullock and Jon Dyke, from Bridgwater College, who made sponsors’ stands. ● The club hosts speaker meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 7.30pm at the Pipers Inn, Ashcott. For details visit or call 01458 210249.


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Craftspeople share their secrets

A linocut workshop being led by Jonathan Blackmore


THINGS are astir this March at the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen in Wells. Not only are the finest of local Somerset crafts on display and for sale, but visitors can also see craftspeople at work or perhaps have a go themselves. Under the banner “Traditional Techniques, Tomorrow's Antiques” guild members will display their craft or run workshops. They include: • Linocut prints: many “had a go” at this at school. Jonathan Blackmore takes the craft to a whole new level with his exquisite reduction print images of Wells Cathedral. • Rachel Reilly makes unique copper wired jewellery. Striking and wonderful to wear. • Papermaking... but not as we know it. Clare Colby demonstrates her artistic and thought-provoking craft. • And John Candler will deliver a stone mason's workshop... a chance to take a chip off the old block! Paddy O'Hagan, the recently elected Master of the Guild of Craftsmen, said: “The skills we have on offer through our guild members are extraordinary. It is very exciting to be able to show them off here in Wells.” If the courses are a success, more could be held in A stunning piece of jewellery by Rachel the future. Reilly The guild prides itself on excellence in craftsmanship, being made by hand and keeping local. In the gallery at 23a Broad Street, Wells (through the archway next to Pickwicks coffee shop) a vast range of work may be seen. The guild is an important part of Wells; the more it is seen and used, the more it will give back to the community.

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King George VI’s jacket to be sold at Clevedon Salerooms

CLEVEDON Salerooms forthcoming Quarterly Specialist Sale, to be held on March 9th, will include a jacket that belonged to King George VI. The World War II field marshal’s khaki service dress jacket was gifted to Maurice Codner R.P., the society portrait artist, who was commissioned by Captain R. Corfield to paint a portrait of King George as a gift to the Honourable Artillery Company. The full-length work shows him as Captain General of the H.A.C., in field marshal’s uniform with Garter robes. It was intended to hang as a companion picture to a portrait of King George V in the historic Long Room at Armoury House, the company’s London headquarters. His Majesty had taken it along to the sittings with a wardrobe of uniforms. The jacket, which was gifted to the artist as a memento of appreciation, bears the label of Royal and Military tailors C.F. Johns & Pegg of 2 Clifford Street, London. Inscribed in ink ‘H.M. The King, Feb. 1940’ the jacket comes by direct descent from the family and will carry a pre-sale estimate of £4,000 – £6,000. For further information and to view the entire sale catalogue visit


Hats off to market traders

Stylish – some of the stallholders with a head for a good idea

THEY say that if you want to get ahead, get a hat so stallholders at the community-run Glastonbury Country Market put their heads together and decided that would be a good way to promote their wares. Crafts – including hat-making – feature prominently at the market, held on Tuesday mornings in Glastonbury Town Hall. Janet Pipes, a hat-maker, said: “We’re not really a Valentine’s Day sort of market, so we put our heads together and came up with this head-turning idea.” For details about the market, find Glastonbury Country Market on Facebook

Every lot in every sale, illustrated and sold live online Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre Vase £1,500 - £2,500

Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers

FREE ANTIQUE VALUATION DAYS 13 14 15 & 27 28 29 March 9.30am–1pm and 2pm–5pm Held at the salerooms – no appointment necessary

Heuer Autavia GMT £4,000 - £6,000

Antiques, Interiors, Collectables & Jewellery 23rd March

Sale starts at 10am On view day before 10am – 7.30pm. Sale day from 9am

Tel: 01934 830111 or 0117 325 6789

The Auction Centre, Kenn Road, Kenn, Clevedon, Bristol BS21 6TT

Pocket Globe £1,000 - £1,500

Original Schultz story board for Peanuts £4,000 - £6,000

Quarterly Specialist Sale Thursday 9th March at 10.30am

Viewing Days Tues 7th March 2pm – 5.30pm and Wed 8th March 10am – 6.30pm Fully illustrated on-line catalogue available now MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017 • PAGE 35

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Strong online presence at antiques auction

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KILLENS had a brilliant sale of Antiques, Fine Art and Collectables on Saturday February 11th at Mendip Auction Rooms with nearly 650 lots. The auctioneers found that it was a particularly popular day for people to be bidding for items online, with nearly half of the items being sold this way. There was a great selection of items at the auction including a large quantity of Chinese mother of pearl gaming counters, which achieved a high selling price of £1,100. The counters which were made around 1900 were rare and in an excellent condition. Meanwhile there were two signs advertising Blackstone & Co, the engineering company in Lincolnshire. One of which showed the oil engines that they produced, with the second one promoting the “hay harvesting machines” they built. They sold for £720.



The auction rooms have had more cars and motorbikes entered in to the Classic Car & Cycles sale which will take place on Saturday March 25th. The latest entries include a 1957 MG Magnette ZB (guide £2,500 – £3,000) and a 1988 TVR Tasmin 350i Convertible (guide £5,500 – £6,000). Killens have also had two Triumphs entered, one is a 1981 Triumph TR7 DHC in a lovely Persian Aqua colour, and the other is a Triumph Trident Sprint 900 motorbike. Mendip Auction Rooms will be holding another antiques sale on Saturday March 11th as well as a sale of Victorian & Latter Effects items on Tuesday March 21st. The team of valuers from Killens are able to provide free valuations of items every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday or are happy to undertake a home visit. The auction rooms can be contacted on 01749 840770 or by email at

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Welcome to your new home

CHILDREN at Priddy School have been busy during Forest School working with the Rotary Club of Mendip. They made four nest boxes and four bug hotels to put up in the school grounds. The children are now looking forward to seeing who moves in!

Mendip launches its own lottery

Go straight to jail


A CHARITY lockin at Shepton Mallet’s famous prison will be held again in May and entries are open for people to nominate an inmate. SOS Africa’s 24-hour lock-in was first organised by the Shepton Mallet charity in Rachel Metcalfe, Miss UK, will join October 2015. A other inmates at the event in May total of 120 inmates were sentenced to each spend 24 hours at the nowempty prison and raised an incredible £35,000 for the education of the children supported by the charity in South Africa. Prison developers City & Country have now granted SOS Africa one last opportunity to re-run the event during the weekends of the 21st/22nd and 27th/28th May. To successfully nominate an inmate each nominator must raise £240 prior to their incarceration. SOS Africa director, Matt Crowcombe, said: “From the moment the new inmates are first placed in irons and marched down Shepton Mallet High Street, they will participate in an authentic prison experience and face new challenges, which are sure to put their nerves to the test.”

MENDIP District Council will be one of the first local authorities in the country to run a lottery. The Shape Mendip Lottery gives players the chance to scoop a £25,000 jackpot prize while also helping community organisations to raise funds themselves. The lottery will be online and draws will take place weekly. For each £1 ticket bought, 60% of the ticket price will go to support community groups throughout the district, though there will also be an option for players to support a specific organisation, and 20% will go to prizes. No money will go to the council. The first weekly draw will take place at 8pm on Saturday March 25th. Players can buy tickets online by visiting the Shape Mendip lottery website. Community groups and organisations who would like to benefit can also find details there.

Half term fun

FROME Rotary Club has celebrated the 90th birthday of one of their oldest members, Alan Sandall. The retired newspaper editor and author was presented with a cake in the form of two books, celebrating his lifetime with the pen. After the Second World War, Allan went into journalism rising to become editor of the Reading Times and he was amongst the first in the country to produce colour photographs in newspapers. He then edited the Somerset Standard for 20 years.

THE local hall at Pensford was filled with children, mums and dads, for some half term fun provided by local entertainer Nutty Noah. Lisa Cains, who organised the event for Pensford Primary School PTA, said: “It was a fantastic afternoon. The hall was filled with laughter from all the children and the grown ups!”


Newsman makes his own headlines

To nominate an inmate to spend 24 hours in HMP Cornhill, visit, email or drop into the charity shop on Shepton Mallet High Street.

Alan with his birthday cake


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Grandmother’s wartime memories By Mark Adler

SORTING through the belongings of a loved one who has passed away is sometimes traumatic; it is never easy. Occasionally they reveal some surprising and fascinating insights into the person’s history. Lynn Ware, of Street, knew her mother, Barbara Carpenter – and her mother, Ethel Moody – were collectors of family history. What Lynn and husband Len discovered in Barbara’s home in Horningsham, near Frome, was a remarkable glimpse into life as a domestic servant during the First World War. Not only that, the couple uncovered some extraordinary documents relating to the history of one of Britain’s most famous stately homes: Longleat House. Ethel had worked at the house between 1916 and 1920 when it served as a relief hospital for injured servicemen; her family had lived on the estate for generations. Ethel kept a small autograph book with her when she was at work and asked many of the injured men to write something inside. The entries – there are more than 30 – range from simple signatures to jokes and poems; a few would be too politically incorrect to repeat today. Staff as well as

Patients on the steps of the house


patients contributed. Lynn said: “We have no idea why she carried the book with her or why she had access to the hospital but guess she must have chatted to the men and tried to cheer them up.” Barbara was the oldest resident in Horningsham until her death in May 2015, aged 87. In 2012 she was asked to plant a tree near the Bath Arms to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Like her mother, Barbara used to look after the

Len and Lynn at home in Street

beautiful Congregational Church in Horningsham; it was one of Ethel’s dying wishes that Barbara should continue the family tradition of caring for the building. Len is a keen historian and has written several books about aspects of Shepton Mallet, but admitted even he was taken aback by the amount of photographs and documents that Barbara and Ethel had gathered over the years. Len said: “I took a week off to help Lynn go through everything and it took us

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This contribution came from a convalescing Australian airman

The front page of the Longleat Lyre, dated December 1916. The pamphlet contained news and stories contributed by the staff and patients

six weeks. We still have some suitcases of photos to look at.” Some of the family’s documents and letters relating to the estate were in a very fragile condition and the couple have given them to the Wiltshire Records Office in Chippenham for safe keeping. Lynn added: “Barbara was the family’s last link to Horningsham and it’s wonderful to know we have this part of the history.”

A military joke

A tribute from Private J Hutchinson to the care he received at Longleat after being wounded at the Somme The chapel at Horningsham was very much a part of village life

The tree planted by Barbara in 2012 MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017 • PAGE 39

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The name is Maxwell . . . Lois Maxwell

Guests outside 121 Broadway where the plaque has been placed

ACTRESS Lois Maxwell would have laughed and raised her glass of whisky – her name had finally made it on Broadway; Broadway in Frome, that is. Dozens of people gathered at the Royal Oak (a pub she used to enjoy visiting), on the corner of Oakfield Road and Broadway for the official

The plaque celebrating Lois’s time in Frome PAGE 40 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

unveiling of a blue plaque on the house where she lived between 1994 and 2001. The Canadian-born actress found fame as the highly-efficient secretary to M in the first Bond film, Dr. No, in 1962 starring Sean Connery – Lois went on to appear in 14 of the films, but cinemagoers were never to find out if her character’s relationship with 007 went any further. Lois had been offered the chance to play either Miss Moneypenny or Bond’s girlfriend in Dr. No but chose the former after baulking at the thought of appearing in scenes wearing only Bond’s shirt. Her final appearance as the character was in A View to a Kill, with Sir Roger Moore. Sir Roger, who later succeeded Connery as Bond – he and Lois were at drama school together – suggested in later years that Lois would have made an ideal M. According to her family, Lois

Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny

loved her retirement in Frome where she was well-known in her local community and in places such as Sainsbury’s. But she became ill – diagnosed with bowel cancer – and moved to Australia to be with her son and his family and died in 2007. The unveiling of the plaque on February 14th marked what would have been her 90th birthday. Lois became the 14th person with strong links to Frome to be marked with a plaque by the Frome Society for Local Study and Frome and District Civic Society. Her daughter Melinda, who lives in

(Photograph courtesy of FSLS/F&DCS)

Family, neighbours and well-wishers gathered on a residential street in Frome to celebrate the life of a cinematic icon from the 1960s to the 1980s – Miss Moneypenny of James Bond fame. Mark Adler reports.

For details about the society’s work, visit:

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Society’s mission to celebrate town

From Russia with love: Rev. Clive Fairclough, the new priest in charge of the Mells group of parishes, who attended the unveiling. Not only is he an ardent Bond fan – hence the car registration plate – but he has come to the area from a posting at the British Embassy in Moscow

Castle Cary, said: “She would have loved to have seen everyone here and to know that she finally had her name on Broadway. She’ll be raising a glass of Scotch to today.” Melinda added: “My mother was a wonderful storyteller and was always happy to talk to people about her life.”


THE Frome Society for Local Study was founded in 1958 by a number of people who realised there was a need to make the history of the town and the district better known and to preserve its historic buildings and records. In recent years, that has extended to putting up plaques on buildings around the town The plaque in Milk Street to which have strong links to Fred Knee, socialist campaigner people – often world-famous for workers’ housing in London – in their fields of expertise; some not-so-well known by the public. Previous recipients include the Duke of Monmouth and poet Christina Rossetti to Charles Oatley – the father of the scanning electron microscope – and teacher and education reformer Clara Grant. There is even one plaque celebrating the contribution made to the town by a wooden train shed designed by Brunel’s assistant T.R. Hannaford, whilst another marks the birthplace in Frome of Sir Benjamin Baker, the designer of the Forth Rail Bridge, opened in March 1890. Members of the society – which is associated to the town’s civic society – are now working on at least two further tributes to people with local connections. FSLS is now chaired by Julian Watson who told guests at the unveiling of Lois Maxwell’s plaque: “We have celebrated the achievements of a civil engineer, a chemist and a This plaque to Professor Sir poet – and now we have an Charles Oatley is on a wall at Badcox actor.” For details about the society’s work – which includes regular talks and visits as well as more than 80 publications so far of local historical interest – visit:

Remembering Lois: (l:r) granddaughter Isabel Dewey, daughter Melinda Dewey and husband Charlie, grandson Fabian and Lady Dewey, mother-in-law to Melinda

POLDARK star Aidan Turner – seen here filming scenes for the hit BBC drama in Wells – is one of the actors tipped to become the next James Bond. Sun Bets have him at 3/1, alongside James Norton and Tom Hardy, if fans fancy a flutter.

Aidan Turner attracted crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of Poldark action in Wells Market Square

(Photograph courtesy of Jason Bryant)

The next Bond?


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A new season starts

Ready, steady, wax

To sign up, go to Facebook and find Angel-Oh! Holistic Therapies. Men can also turn up on the day – with £50. Shorts are recommended. To find out more about Eady, visit

Library proposals in Midsomer Norton

MEMBER of the public are being invited to help Bath and North East Somerset Council write the next chapter for Midsomer Norton’s proposed new library. The authority wants to relocate the existing facility to a combined location across the road in The Hollies, combining library, council and partner services. It says a similar project in Keynsham has been a big success. Residents can share their feedback with the council on what services they would most like to see and help shape how the new modern Midsomer Norton library will look. All existing services will be maintained. People can view the example design and also give their feedback by visiting: Copies of the feedback forms will also be available at the Midsomer Norton Library and One Stop Shop in the Hollies. PAGE 42 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

THE first morning market of the year, held in aid of All Saints’ Church in Publow, was a big success, raising £225 for church funds. The monthly market is held on the first Saturday of each month, from 10am until 11.30am at Pensford Church Rooms. Pictured (l to r) are Gillian Wookey, Jean McMahon and Janet Smith selling new season marmalade and home baking.

Honour for Helen

A MARKET trader in Shepton Mallet has been praised by the Government for her efforts to breathe new life into the weekly event. Helen Reader was also the main instigator of a new Sunday market which launched last November. It is planned to hold them on the third Sunday of every month. Helen with the letter of recognition Helen has received “special recognition” in the Great British High Street awards, chaired by Andrew Percy MP, Minister for Local Growth in the Department for Communities and Local Government. She developed the idea of introducing suitcase traders to the Friday market in Shepton Mallet. There are now around 25 of them. In a letter to Helen, the minister said: “It is fantastic to hear how you not only pioneered the concept but also worked hard to source new traders and promote the idea, including through a dedicated Facebook page.” Helen also persuaded Mendip District Council to introduce free parking close to the town centre on Fridays. The letter continued: “Your achievement in turning the market around is inspirational.” Helen said: “I was absolutely delighted to receive the letter.”

(Photo courtesy of Garfield Kennedy)

MALE volunteers are needed for a charity leg wax to help raise funds to enable a young girl from Cranmore to benefit from potentially lifechanging therapy. Eady, who will be six years All smiles – Charly relaxes with Eady old in May, has limited brain function – comparable to that of a five-month-old baby. Her parents Matt Body and Charly Mitchard want to provide her with a neuro-rehabilitation programme to give her the best possible chance of walking, talking and living completely independently. Currently Eady can sit on her own but has no way of moving herself, she has no hand use, is still in nappies and is nonverbal. She needs care around-the-clock. However, she attends school three mornings a week and loves being with her classmates, family and friends. Matt and Charly have the chance to join an American-run programme run by The Family Hope Center. The four-year programme is home-based, but requires bi-annual assessments which cost £4,000 a time. Family friend Victoria Marcangelo-Lyons, an holistic therapist from Wells, is hoping to raise £4,000 from the leg-wax session on Saturday, March 4th at Cranmore Memorial Hall. So far, almost 50 men have been sponsored at £50 a time – but Victoria’s aim is to raise £4,000 in one day. The event runs from 9am to 6pm.


The next Sunday market will be held on March 19th from 10am-3pm. For details visit:

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Young chefs

Jessica's winning creation

SCHOOL children from North Somerset had their chance to take a slice of the pizzeria action when they visited a local restaurant to design and create their own pizzas, with the winning dish taking pride of place on the specials menu. Six children from Yatton Junior School and Court de Wyck Primary School were invited to create their own dishes as part of National Pizza Day. The winning pizza, made by Jessica Fuller, a Year 4 pupil at Court de Wyck, was topped with a delicious combination of sausage, pepperoni, red onion and mushrooms and is available now for customers to try. Some more alternative toppings chosen by the children included chips, broccoli and egg yolk.

Churchill celebrates


CHURCHILL Academy and Sixth Form celebrated the start of its 60th year on January 14th, the date of the first entry in the “school register”. It has a series of events planned to mark its diamond jubilee, including charity events and activities planned within lessons. These will culminate in a gala dinner in September, celebrating Churchill through the ages, to mark the anniversary of the school’s official opening ceremony. Head teacher, Chris Hildrew, said: “This outstanding school has always had a reputation for great education. Thousands of students have passed through the doors since the school first opened, and Churchill will be asking alumni to get in touch to help celebrate during this landmark year.” The school has undergone some structural changes over the 60 years, including the addition of the performing arts block when the school was awarded Performing Arts status. More recently, the refurbishment of the hall and gym after the school gained academy status, and the new business and IT block that is currently under construction. Stephanie Franklin, the school’s commercial and marketing manager, said: “The academy has had a huge response from alumni who have been in touch to share memories and photographs of their time at Churchill. It’s a nostalgic and feel-good project to be part of.” If you have memories, photos or stories of Churchill and are happy to share them, get in touch.

New library opens

PENSFORD Primary School children are delighted with their new school library, which has had its official opening, thanks to generous support from local donors. Head teacher, Warrick Barton, said: “Representatives of the PTA, the Pensford Welfare Centre and the Miners' Coffee Shop attended and this was a good chance to thank them again for their generosity. “The library is used regularly every Tuesday and Thursday lunchtime and the books aimed at each class are refreshed each term. Well over 150 have been borrowed since we introduced our system at the start of November.” Pictured are (l to r) Abigail, Jess and Ronnie, with Lucas and Oscar seated.


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M e n d i p S o c i e t y l o o ks t o t h e f u t u re After more than 50 years the Mendip Society has a new lease of life. With increasing membership and a strong programme of events and activities, it looks forward to expanding its work preserving and promoting what’s best about the Mendip Hills. Judith Tranter and chairman, Richard Frost, report.

BACK in 1965 a group of like-minded people, calling themselves Mendip Preservation Society got together to oppose a planning application to extend a quarry at Bleadon Hill at a time when rampant quarrying was eating into our hills leaving scars and pollution. People of all ages and from all walks of life were deeply concerned for the historical, archaeological and natural features of this unique area. It lead to the formation of the Mendip Society, registered charity No 262867. Our motto is "Caring for the Mendip Hills"; this we aim to live up to with a programme of recreation and education backed up with walks, talks and visits. Cooperation with the Mendip Hills AONB and the Council for the Protection of Rural England, plus others, helps to encourage responsible use of the countryside. Our Heritage Fund helps to maintain important sites such as Smitham’s Chimney, the Charterhouse Flues and the sheep hurdle stack on Priddy Green together with our two nature reserves at Slader’s Leigh, Winscombe and Tania’s Wood, Ubley. Our representatives sit on the Strawberry Line management committee and help oversee local planning matters that may seriously affect the working and community lives of a great many local residents and families. Our policy of conservation attempts to balance the existence of ancient historical and archaeological features against the needs and pressures coming from modern living. We all require housing, transport and social amenities – and we all benefit from local industry, farming and tourism and it is one of our aims to work with others to ensure that we can have some sort of harmonious development where all this can be achieved. When we are not being too serious, we arrange a mixed programme of social events to reflect our aims and aspirations. We cater for both indoor and outdoor activities for all ages and our regular Saturday walking programme is very successful and always well supported. We are delighted that this year we will be a major sponsor of The Mendip Rocks Festival which is to be held throughout October. This popular local event has been growing steadily over the past few years, and so this year’s programme is now anticipated with enthusiasm within the society.


Hedge laying group with Tina Bath at Tania’s Wood

As a charitable society, we are also charged with looking after the fabric of the countryside and to this end members who are able to, offer their time and effort where practical tasks are called for, not only in our own nature reserves but on land belonging to other organisations, most usually where the public have access. We offer training in the countryside skills in which every country worker was once proficient – hedge laying, coppicing, dry stone and lime mortared walling, and more recently, charcoal burning. Thus we are able to do the necessary work ourselves but we are also keeping alive, by passing on, the countryside skills and traditions which have made the Mendip Hills its own unique place. Just this month our trainee hedging group made a start on the boundary hedge of Tania’s Wood, the lovely piece of land in Ubley which was gifted to us by Glyn England, a late president of the society. Little did they know- until they started work on it – that this particular stretch of hedge has been growing there for over 800 years and was once the boundary to a medieval deer park. In future issues of Mendip Times we hope to share with you the Mendip Society’s view on the life of the Mendip Hills through our commitments, participation, activities and events. Every society has an AGM to pull all the threads together and report goings-on to the members and ours is no exception. Our AGM will be on Friday March 31st in the Wells and Mendip Museum at 7pm. Then at 8.30pm we will be welcoming Prof. Danielle Schreve of Royal Holloway University, London as our speaker. Together with a small group of colleagues and students she is leading a current dig high up in Ebbor gorge near the top of a gully running down from the Mendip plateau. They have been excavating there for two weeks every summer for ten years and have uncovered what is likely to be the most complete fossil record in Britain, showing how fauna responded to abrupt climate change at the end of the last ice age and into the early part of the current warm stage (interglacial), roughly from 15,000 to 8,000 years ago. Last summer the society was invited to visit the dig site and we found it most fascinating; Prof Schreve’s talk to us will bring us up-to-date with this exciting project. Non-members who would like to hear Prof. Schreve are invited to join us for the evening.

Details: pick up a programme from the local library, call 08454 092951, email or go to


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A y ea r i n t he l i f e o f th e t a w ny o w l BACK in December I challenged Mendip Times readers to listen out for the haunting call of the tawny owl, and to report their findings. I was interested to hear what people found, and although we didn't get enough responses to call it a definitive survey, what we did get By CHRIS was real quality. Some respondents talked SPERRING about not hearing any owls recently, but the MBE overwhelming response was that tawny owls were present and very vocal. This is positive news as there is evidence to suggest that this species has declined in recent times. I am often asked why tawny owls are more vocal at certain times of the year and quieter at others, and the answer is that calling is simply to do with breeding cycles. This is a highly territorial bird, so as well as attracting a mate and communicating between a pair, the tawny owl’s “song” is also used to inform other owls that this area has an owner and that any attempted invasion is not a good idea. For anyone who's wondering when to head out listening for tawny owls, here is a rough guide to their monthly activity: ● January: calling mostly between pairs, as territories should be well-established by now in preparation for the nesting season. Pairs are bonding and males will be feeding the females in order to prove their worth as potential fathers and also to help the females gain weight and build condition in preparation for egg production. ● February: pair bonding continues and nest site selection will take place. Calling is subdued now, apart from single owls which will continue to try to attract a mate. ● March: this A tawny owlet – their voices “break” during is the main August as they mature egg-laying month. Females incubate two-four eggs (normally two), whilst the male provides her with food. At this time amphibians can make up a lot of the diet as they begin moving back to water. Calling occasionally, but again non-breeding birds will be quite vocal. ● April: after around 30 days the eggs hatch and the owlets are brooded by the female for a further ten days or so. She then joins the male in hunting duties. Again, calling is infrequent. ● May: as the owlets grow they become more and more vocal. At around four-five weeks of age they climb out of the nest chamber. At this stage they cannot fly and are still covered in thick downy feathers. They climb and jump around in the trees and have to be extremely vocal in order to let their parents know where they are.


Call of the wild – a tawny owl

This stage in an owlet’s life is known as “branching” and owlets often fall from the trees and get picked up by well-meaning people who assume they are abandoned or have fallen out of their nest. If grounded during daylight their instinct is to keep still and not attempt to climb to safety, which is what leads to them being spotted by walkers and/or dogs. The general advice if you do find a tawny owlet is to lift them to a safe height in a tree or bush and their parents will encourage them to do the rest once it gets dark. ● June: the owlets are starting to fly now, and their loud “titcheou” calls echo through the darkened woods from dusk until dawn. The adults continue to feed them and their prey range expands from being largely small mammals (including brown rats, moles and even grey squirrel) to include fledgling birds, along with earthworms and other invertebrates. ● July: the owlets continue to be fed by the parents and start to learn to hunt for themselves. The adults will be moulting now and very quiet. ● August: during this month the owlets begin to lose their baby call as their voices break. When this happens their parents no longer see them as something to be taken care of and instead view them as a threat to their territory and, more importantly, their food supply. Now the adult owls start chasing their young away and they are on their own. Calling begins to increase as young owls are told “where to go”. ● September to November: this is the tawny owl’s most vocal time as young owls produced in the spring are buffeted around from one occupied territory to the next trying to find a space to call their own. As winter approaches food begins to dwindle and territorial battles become more and more fierce and the owls become more and more vocal. Owls will now be both warding off intruders and, for singletons, trying to attract a mate. This is by far the best time to listen for tawny owls as they will be calling throughout the night. ● December: now things start to settle down as most owls have either found a territory or died trying. Most calling now is between pairs, and the pair bonding process starts in preparation for next year. The tawny owl is a woodland species, but can be found in parks, gardens and farmland, as it is quite adaptable in terms of the prey it needs to thrive. They will take to man-made nesting boxes, although not as readily as other owl species.

Please contact me for more information, or to book on to one of our many Autumn “Owl Prowls” Chris Sperring is Conservation Officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust. Contact him on 07799 413 918 or via Please visit for more information


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Abbey circle is full of surprises

THIS quiet, ideal end-of-winter walk starts at impressive Downside Abbey at Stratton-on-the-Fosse and winds its way around with great vistas. It uses part of an old railway path, follows the River Somer and also visits an Iron Age hill fort. To finish, we follow a quiet lane which allows good views across country. This whole area was once a bustling centre of coal mining, but now it is a tranquil and green landscape great for a walk and probably an area you may not have explored before. I’ve designed this circle so that

With Sue Gearing PAGE 46 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

walking is mainly on dry tracks and lanes with several stiles (but these are ok for dogs). There are no major hills. You can go to the welcoming visitor centre at the abbey to start or finish and have a coffee or tea but there are no pubs en-route. The King’s Arms Stratton-on-the-Fosse is only open for lunch on the weekend. However, the Holcombe Inn is only a short drive away.

PARK: Thanks to Downside Abbey we can park there. The entrance is on the A367 in the centre of Stratton-on-theFosse. Go up the Abbey drive passing buildings and come to the bookshop and visitor centre on the right. You can park anywhere up here. If full go on and turn up right into the coach turning area. The centre will give information about the abbey and is also well stocked with religious and spiritual books. The small cafe there offers tea, coffee and cakes (donations only, so please be generous).

START: It is well worth going into the magnificent main abbey church (the entrance is at the end of the building). As one of only four minor basilicas in England, it is an English Heritage Grade I listed building. The nave, the gate to the Lady Chapel and woodwork of the quire are just some of the highlights to see. The abbey church is at the heart of Downside which is a large monastic community and home to a leading Catholic school and sixth form. Walk back down the drive and before

you get to the road, at a house, Mogg Hill, turn up left on the marked public footpath through a wooden kissing gate which goes along the side of the abbey and grounds. This hard surfaced path gives great view of the abbey and views across Somerset to the right. Follow it on for about half a mile, through a small piece of woodland and then a more open park-like area and on. 1. SCHOOL Pass Chilcompton primary school at the end. Cross the road and follow the footpath ahead over a low stone stile. This leads to another road and turn right. On your left pass Fry’s Well, an early source of water for the village.

2. RAILWAY At the railway bridge go up onto the old line, once part of the Somerset and Dorset Railway serving the coal fields of this area and closed altogether in 1966. The former Chilcompton station is currently overgrown but the line between here and Midsomer Norton South two miles away is being rebuilt by the Somerset and Dorset Heritage Railway as part of several projects to reopen most of the line. Turn right and go along the old embankment. When you reach a bit of a cutting with a bank and hedge on each side go left on the well marked footpath through a wooden kissing gate, part of the Mendip Ring, round Mendip path. Go down the field, cross a footbridge and head diagonally across the small

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recreation field to the bottom left corner and out.

3. RIVER Cross the River Somer over a small stone bridge and go left along the road. The Somer rises at Chilcompton and flows to Midsomer Norton where it joins the Wellow Brook, and on into the River Avon finally near Dundas Aqueduct. Shortly, go up Britannia Close on the right, past houses, curve left and cross a stile by a gate to follow the track on which parallels the River Somer. Pass alongside an old quarry area, cross a stile and simply maintain direction on the track. Reach a wooden gate leading to a house. Go ahead to the side of the gate and on past the house (ignore a footpath on the left just before the gate). Further on, look down left to what were probably watercress beds. Continue on up all the way to join a lane. Turn up left and follow this to the main road. 4. ROAD Cross and take the stile opposite. Go up the field bearing over to the right to an old stone stile and wooden stile by a wooden telegraph pole. After crossing, continue in the same direction up across the next field aiming for a large metal gate by a tree. At the side of this cross a stile and then turn left along the hedge line. Just before the end, cross left over a stile and then right along the other side of the hedge.

5. COALPIT LANE Go through a kissing gate onto Coalpit Lane and turn left. Gradually climb up onto Blacker’s Hill on this very quiet thoroughfare. At the top, go right on the drive to Blacker’s Hill Farm. Cross a cattle grid and continue on with the bank

Shepton Mallet & Mendip Hills East 142, grid ref: 655 508 About 5 miles, 2.5 hours walking.

of the ancient hillfort on your left. Just as you get sight of the farmhouse ahead, go left through an opening in the bank and on over a stile/gate and come into Blacker’s Hill Fort from the north side.

6. HILLFORT This Iron Age hill fort of 15 acres is roughly rectangular and is a promentary type. Originally it had two ramparts and two ditches, but on the west and south sides it was defended by the steep drop. In some places the ramparts survive to a considerable height but on the north east side the inner rampart and ditch have been destroyed. Go straight across to a hedge which cuts across the centre of the fort. After going over the stile, turn left along the hedge. Exit the fort through a gate and

turn right immediately going along between two outer banks. At the end, turn left round the end of the bank and come into a field. Follow the edge ahead with woodland on your right heading towards houses. There is a stile on the right but the path through the woodland is unclear, steep and overgrown, so it is best to continue along the field edge to a large metal gate on the right. Go through and down the grassy track. Then turn left on another grass track leading on down to a marked gate onto the lane, Green Lane. 7. GREEN LANE Turn left to follow this quiet lane up, ignoring side turns. Cross a road and continue along Green Lane for another three quarters of a mile with good open views. Pass the playing fields of Downside Abbey. Bend right and reach the main A367.

8. STRATTON-ON-THE-FOSSE Turn left into Stratton-on-The Fosse and along the main road to the drive to Downside. The King’s Arms which you pass only opens for lunch Saturday and Sunday, with a carvery Sunday. Downside Abbey Visitor Centre, 01761 235174 Kings Arms, Stratton on the Fosse, 01761 233544 Holcombe Inn 01761 232478


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West Countryman’s Diary


MARCH is upon us and the turn from winter to spring takes a step nearer each day. I hope that by now I have played my part in preparing for the year ahead. I have Wassailed, I have pruned, I have planted and I have recited the “Farmer’s Prayer” on many occasions to remind those who have listened about the importance of our land, our landscape and those who work to

provide our food. Our vulnerability was brought to the forefront recently by a news article that told of potential vegetable shortages in our shops caused by cold weather conditions on the Continent. There was even talk of rationing to maintain supply. This is what happens when we become too dependent on imported food and this is why we need a strong agricultural economy to provide for home consumption. It is not the complete answer, but it will go some way to helping. Way back in the lanes of my memory are the fields at Hales Farm in Tickenham, where winter vegetables were grown. It began with the war years and a need for food security that saw virtually every piece of land that could be cultivated turned over to food production. Field-scale vegetable production continued on the farm through the post-war years and into the 60s and 70s until the farm was sold in the early 1980s. As a teenager working at weekends, the winter vegetables were one of the less attractive jobs. Labour intensive and backbreaking, let alone cold and wet, are my memories of this enterprise. Brussel sprouts were picked by hand and put into wooden boxes. Rainwater would be caught in the upturned leaf of the plant which, if not frozen, would cascade down your trousers and into your boots. Full waterproof trousers were the order of the day and to pick the sprouts you backed over the plant using your back side to push the top down. Dead leaves were taken off and those sprouts big enough were removed from the stem by pushing down with the thumb and back of your palm. No gloves were worn and it was very, very cold. Savoy cabbage was another crop. This was cut and trimmed with a large knife, usually a “retired” kitchen knife that also served to trim turnips and swedes. Cuts were few, but the potential for them was high – this speaks volumes for developing basic survival skills with sharp-edged tools. Although it has to be said that with fingers so numbed by cold, anything apart from traumatic amputation may not have been felt. I still grow a lot of my own vegetables, because I can. The bottom part of my garden is given over to food production and I don't foresee a time, whilst I am still fit and able, that it will not be so. I don't grow main crop potatoes any more, but I must have earlies. Onions and shallots are essential but greens are difficult because the caterpillars tend to make them look like net curtains. Maybe this year I will try harder and give the winter vegetables another go. Sprouts are like Marmite, you love them or hate them but for me, when cooked just right, they are the food of the gods. They stand alongside roast potatoes (hot or cold) pickled onions, fried onions, tomatoes… I could go on and on!

I can’t help but notice how tired and dirty the countryside looks at this time of year. The roadside verge used to have a value all of its own. We have degraded that character by using it as a linear rubbish dump, by digging trenches across it to alleviate the problems of road water and by driving all over it in an attempt to keep moving against on-coming vehicles, instead of waiting. Add to this the “road dirt” that is washed over it by what seems like more rainfall each year and it makes for a sorry looking mess. Road verges act as a haven for many plants that could not gain a foothold elsewhere. On a steep stony bank they could perhaps escape the devastation of the flail mower and grow with little interference. Such a steep stony bank exists alongside the crossroads at King Down Farm near Charterhouse, where the wild orchids provide a wonderful display in the growing season. The road verge is also a refuge for all sorts of creatures. It’s a buffer zone before they make that mad dash across the Tarmac. The term “mad dash” however is relative to the size of the creature that makes it. A roe deer certainly does it without any regard for traffic, whilst the humble caterpillar tends to take a little longer. I was once asked what I considered to be the most endangered habitat on Mendip, this came with the express proviso “don't tell me limestone grassland”. I didn’t – my reply was the road verge. Every once in a while something comes along to take me out of my comfort zone. As regular readers of this column will know, I am not the most travelled person in the world. I am a creature of the tilled field, the upland down and moor of Mendip, with the occasional excursion into Wales. I recently did an interview for Radio Bristol about the apple tree Wassail that went out on Emma Britton’s morning show. The interview was conducted by a young Spanish lady called Blanca for whom the concept of our West Country tradition was most strange. It appears to have gone down well and was followed by a phone call from Radio 2 in London, asking if I would do a Wassail live on the Jeremy Vine show. Pig in the city had nothing on me in London, but I met so many West Country ex-pats who soon slipped back into their comfortable West Country accents. The upshot was arguably the biggest Wassail ever, with several million listeners. Thank you Tom Bigwood and Amol Rajan for allowing me to bring a little bit of the West Country to so many people. I also left a copy of Mendip Times to cultivate further cultural awareness! Finally this month’s picture is one of promise and hope. Snowdrops tentatively poke above the ground in search of spring… it’s coming.

You can always contact me through my website:


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The season for seeds

MARCH is a very busy month for seed sowing in a glasshouse, or on a window sill. The days are getting longer and the light With MARY levels improving PAYNE MBE slightly, so it is time to sow half hardy annual flowers and tender vegetables to get earlier crops that will be ready to plant out in late May after the risk of frost has passed. Seeds of flowers and vegetables are usually either open pollinated or labelled as F1. Which should you choose? Plants grown from F1 seeds will show considerable uniformity in height, cropping time and colour, while those grown from traditional seeds may vary slightly. The F1 seeds are more expensive because considerable manual work has been involved, but the results can be well worth it. If you wish to pick, say Brussel sprouts, over a prolonged season, then F1 varieties may not be a good choice, but if you wish to grow very uniform cabbages then F1 seeds are a good choice. Whatever you choose to grow, it is important to find out what conditions are required for optimum germination. Most half hardy annuals will benefit from a little warmth to speed up germination, but care must be taken not to overheat seeds of lettuce and primulas. Temperatures much above 20C can easily cause the seeds to go dormant. It is important to use clean containers for seed sowing and preferably use a compost formulated for seeds because excess nutrients may cause problems for young germinating seedlings, especially antirrhinums. Most seeds need light to germinate, so a light covering of horticultural vermiculite is recommended. This product holds water, so keeps the seeds moist, but it also allows light through and is now used universally by commercial growers. Very small seeds, such as lobelia and begonia should not be covered at all. I like to write all the labels beforehand while my hands are still clean and dry. Then I prepare all the pots or trays and stand them in a PAGE 50 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

shallow tray of water, allowing the compost to absorb adequate water without over wetting it. Seed can be sown in either pots or trays depending on the number of plants required. It is important to sow all seeds thinly, as overcrowded seedlings are prone to damping off disease. Very small seeds can be mixed with a small amount of dry sand to make it easier to see where the seeds land and aids even distribution. After sowing, watering and if necessary covering with vermiculite, I like to wrap the pot/tray in cling film. This ensures that the compost does not dry out during germination and keeps out unwanted fungi or moss spores. The containers of seeds are then placed in an appropriate temperature for germination. An alternative method (useful for larger seeds that can easily be handled) is to use a plastic container with damp kitchen paper in the bottom. Add the seeds and seal with a lid or cling film. The moist atmosphere will allow the seed to absorb water and swell. As soon as the tiny root can be seen the seeds can be potted individually. This is an excellent method for French beans which are prone to absorbing water too fast in wet compost. This method can be further adapted for drilling in the open ground. Make up some fungicide free wallpaper paste (the sort that schools use for papier mâché). Once the tiny root has emerged add the seed to the paste, mix gently and pour into a plastic bag. Prepare a seed drill in the open ground, cut a corner off the bag and squeeze the paste/seed mix into the drill and cover with soil. The pre-germinated seed has a supply of moisture in the

starch based paste. This method can be useful for parsnips and carrots and is great fun for children. As soon as seeds germinate and the tiny green seed leaves appear the cling film must be removed. It is vital to give them as much light as possible to prevent them elongating. This is quite difficult on a windowsill, but turning the trays or pots daily can help. Once the seedlings are big enough to be handled they can be “pricked out” into larger containers to be grown on. A good quality multi-purpose compost is ideal for this stage. Handle the seedlings by one of their usually two seed leaves, rather than by the stalk. If all this seems too much trouble, then buying ready grown plug plants is the solution. The only disadvantage of these is that you will have a restricted range of varieties to choose from. Packages of plug plants that arrive through the post should be opened immediately and given water and light before planting into appropriate containers. A golden rule is never to put a small plant into too large a pot. Always move the plant on in stages allowing the root system to use the compost. Do not be tempted to sow seeds too early. March or even April is quite early enough, and later sown seeds often catch up with their earlier sown siblings, when light levels and temperatures are better. I should probably have grown out of the fascination of watching seeds germinate after so many years in horticulture, but I haven’t. Watching a miniscule speck of “dust like” seed grow into a complete flower, fruit or vegetable is one of Nature’s wonders.

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● It’s time to sow Ageratum, Alyssum, Antirrhinum, Asters, Begonias, Marigolds, Pansies, Petunias, Stocks and many other flowers in a cold frame or greenhouse. ● Apply a general fertiliser to all beds and borders. ● Time to get planting new herbaceous perennial plants. Astrantia, Anemone, Campanula, Echinacea, hardy Geranium, Rudbeckia and Verbenas. ● Prune most roses now, (climbing, rambling and shrub roses are best pruned in summer after the main flush of flower). Cut back to 6-8 from the ground and cut just above a bud, prune out any branches that are crossing to leave an open centre. ● Lift crowded snowdrops, as they finish flowering and carefully divide and replant. Avoid breaking their delicate roots if possible. ● Remove flower heads from daffodils as they finish flowering. A liquid feed with a liquid tomato fertiliser helps next year’s flowers to form now. ● Early varieties of seed potatoes can be planted out in sheltered spots now but delay planting maincrop varieties until the end of the month. ● Protect early flowers on peaches, nectarines and apricots from frost. A curtain of polythene may be all that is needed. Hand pollinate blooms with a very soft brush. ● Apply mulch around newly planted trees but keep a gap around the trunk. Fruit bushes and canes will benefit too. Courtesy Cleeve Nursery

Rare collection on show

GARDEN ReLeaf day this year is March 17th, St Patrick’s Day, and Cleeve Nursery has a very special event this year. Alan Down’s private collection and stock plant collection of Hellebores will be on view to a limited few! The collection will be on view in Alan and Felicity’s garden at the nursery between 10am and 4pm. Numbers will be limited to just 12 people every 15 minutes throughout the day. Tickets cost £4 and all proceeds will go to the Greenfingers charity to build more gardens in children’s hospices throughout Britain. Details: for advance tickets ring 01934 832134 or contact

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Fairfield offers so much

FAIRFIELD has an informal garden of great variety, surrounding the house which dates from the 12th century, but was largely rebuilt in Elizabethan times. The 18th century park has fine trees and views of the Quantock Hills and the sea. The woodland garden is particularly interesting in spring, with many naturalised and unusual bulbs including snowdrops, crocuses, cyclamen, daffodils, fritillaries, wood anemones and bluebells among flowering shrubs and trees. The walled former kitchen garden now includes interesting small trees, shrubs and grass, with a rose garden and herbaceous border. Children and adults can enjoy the small paved replica of the original maze. There are many kinds of apple in the traditional orchard with daffodils planted in the grass, leading on to more woodland and pleasant walks. Fairfield has much to enjoy whether exploring or relaxing. NGS opening details: Sunday April 2nd, 2pm – 5pm. Admission: £4 children free. Address and postcode: Stogursey, Bridgwater TA5 1PU.

Other Gardens Open for the NGS To see more gardens open for the NGS, see The Yellow Book, or Local County Leaflet, available from local Garden Centres. Or go to: PAGE 52 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

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Not just green fingers GREENTHUMB Somerset North East, Weston-super-Mare and Yeovil are a family-run business which has been providing their customers with lawn treatments, advice and support since 2009. David Sargent has over 24 years’ experience in the horticulture industry and in 2000 was awarded the Basis Certificate of Amenity Horticulture and added to the Basis register of professionals. Basis is an independent standards setting and auditing organisation for the pesticide, fertiliser and allied industries. David and Claire’s first GreenThumb was Somerset North East with a customer base of 110; in August 2011 Weston-super-Mare, their second franchise, was added with a further 300 customers and lastly in October 2015 Yeovil with a further customer

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base of 1400. They now treat over 4,000 lawns mainly due to recommendations from their existing customers. The team of eight fully-trained and licensed lawn operatives are supported in the office by office manager Wendy and office administrator Mary with over 60 years of customer service experience.


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Suburban underground

AN open grassy field in the middle of Bristol suburbia is not one of the obvious places where one would look for a cave, but Pen Park Hole is located just there, in Southmead. Of course, when the cave was first discovered in 1669 the area would have With PHILIP been much more rural. Quarrymen opened a HENDY hole in the ground, and later that year Captain Samuel Sturmy, a seafaring merchant, explored the cave and wrote a description. The main features are a large Main Chamber, an inclined rift some 68 metres high, 30 metres long and 15 metres wide; the floor is a deep lake. This is notable for the widely fluctuating water level, which can be up to 20 metres. The variation was once thought to be linked to tidal differences in the River Avon, approximately at the same level, but nearly two miles away. This has now been disproved. At normal water level, the lake is almost 15 metres deep; it has not been properly surveyed, but a 12 metre passage is known to exist at the bottom. The cave was examined several times by miners, but no ore was found. There are four side passages, reached by exposed traverses; the longest, East Passage, is 50 metres long. There was a fatality in 1775, when an early explorer, the Rev. Thomas Newnam fell whilst trying to plumb the depth of the lake. There were at one time two shaft entrances, and because of this, and the proximity to the growing urban development, the cave has generally been sealed. It was first closed by the landowner in 1879, and remained so until 1957. Southmead was expanding after the War, and the city planners wanted to know the extent of the underground cavities. The cave was re-opened by members of the University of Bristol Speleological Society and Wessex Cave Club, and surveyed before being closed again in 1967. The cave is of great interest to cavers and geologists, not only because it is far from any other known caves (apart from the relatively short caves in the Avon Gorge) but because of the way it was formed. Most limestone caves are developed when mildly acidic rainwater seeps underground, to slowly dissolve the rock. On the Mendips, many stream sinks have been investigated, and found to lead to extensive cave systems. Large resurgences can also lead to caves. Pen Park Hole is different, in that it is thought to be geothermal in origin. This phenomenon occurs when water seeps deep underground to be heated by the Earth’s natural heat. The water then rises back to the surface as a hot spring. This is the case at Bath, and there were also hot water risings at Hotwells (the clue is in the name), at the Bristol end of the Avon Gorge. Here, the hot water mysteriously stopped flowing when efforts were made to improve the flow! Geothermal caves need no input from surface water, and indeed, the only known entrances to Pen Park Hole are man-made. Because the cave lies in the vicinity of houses, and the field is used by children, Bristol City Council was keen to keep it closed, although cavers always wished to regain access. Eventually, in 1992, the council, after prolonged negotiations with the UBSS agreed that the cave could be opened again,


Pen Park Hole Chamber

provided that the entrance was secure and that there was a strict leader system in place. Leaders were appointed from the University, Wessex and Bristol Exploration Club. The system worked well, until in 2007 plans were put forward for a mobile phone mast the be erected on the site. Residents and cavers thought that this was too close to the cave, and action by the University and the British Geological Survey (represented by Andy Farrant, a caver and past student at Bristol) resulted in the mast being sited elserwhere. The threat to the cave was not over, however, as in 2012 developers planned to build houses and a supermarket on the site of what used to be the Wayfarer public House, and in the field over the Main Chamber. The concerned objectors swung into action again, and enlisted the help of Natural England. Investigations were made, and reports submitted. Amongst these was a biological survey, which found that the lake and nearby pools were home to unique populations of cave-dwelling invertebrates, including thriving colonies of a small crustacean, Niphargus kochianus. This small shrimp-like creature is normally found above ground in springs and seepages; Pen Park Hole is the only known subterranean colony. Eventually, the reports convinced the authorities that the cave should be given special protection, and the developer’s plans were amended to take construction away from the cave. A secure gate was fitted to the steep entrance shaft, and an information board placed nearby. Pen Park Hole now has Special Site of Scientific Interest (S.S.S.I.) status, and is one of the few S.S.S.I.s where part of the scheduling is for biological reasons. The other sites are bat roosts, but this cave for reasons of its invertebrate fauna.

Phil has been caving for more than 50 years and is a member of the Wessex Cave Club. He has been involved in producing several caving publications and until his retirement was a caving instructor at Cheddar. His main interest is digging for new caves.


(Photograph by Steve Sharp)

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Babysitting and longevity

ONE of the joys of later life is apparently babysitting your grandchildren. I say apparently, because I haven’t By Dr PHIL quite got there yet HAMMOND but grandparents I know often say they wish they spent more, rather than less, time with their grandchildren. “It keeps me young” and “it reminds me of my legacy” were two comments from my grand-friends, although one admitted to finding it absolutely knackering. So what’s the scientific evidence behind grand-parenting? “Grandparents who babysit their grandchildren live longer than those who don't” was the tabloid interpretation of German research, looking at 500 adults aged 70 or older living in the former West Berlin. Grandparent babysitters had a 37% lower death risk than adults of the same age with no caring responsibilities. The study was not sponsored by the desperate parent industry, but it does come with caveats. Existing research on grandparenting mirrors common sense – it can be good for your health, provided you can escape. Interacting with your grandchildren can give you great joy and purpose, and even improve your cognitive function, but it wears you

out if you spend every day wiping poo off the fridge magnets. The Berlin study was also a memory test, asking people to accurately recall a) if they had grandchildren and b) how often they looked after them. Interestingly, those who “instrumentally helped” their children’s children had a 57% lower risk of death than those who didn’t. These seemingly impressive risk reductions are relative – if your chance of death is low anyway, then you may decide on a selfish dotage. Also, observational studies cannot prove cause-and-effect and German baby-sitting techniques may be better for your health than British ones. And we don’t know which elements of baby-sitting are best for you. Is it the power of loving your gene pool or the physical benefits of crawling around carpet doing free donkey rides? My guess is both. And there is growing evidence that caring for others is good for your health provided you have time to relax and recover. Alas, too many carers are working round the clock with no respite, and the NHS and social care would collapse like a soufflé without them. Whether you think the current crisis in health and social care is “humanitarian” or “merely human”, we all need to pull together to stop services sinking. So if you haven’t got anyone to care for, care for a carer.

Dr Phil’s Health Revolution tour is at Bath Komedia om March 9th PAGE 56 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

Plop the Raindrop

SOMEONE asked me the other day how old I am. I honestly don’t know. Apparently a whole load of us water droplets arrived on earth from outer space and decided to stay here for a while. That’s why there’s so much water everywhere. That was probably a few billion years ago. I stopped counting birthdays after the first couple of million years. Most people stop when they are 40. Can you imagine being so old? The world has changed a lot in that time. Once there were volcanoes and earthquakes everywhere flinging tiny water droplets like me half-way round the world. Then animals started to appear and I can’t tell you how many times I ended up in dinosaur pee. Once I got stuck in a glacier for ages until the earth warmed up and I melted into the ocean. The problem is if we all get into the oceans they will get deeper and there will be less land for people to live on. I’ve been in snow on the top of Everest and to the deepest parts of the Pacific and had a lot of fun. Sometimes I’m water in the river; sometimes steam from your kettle; sometimes frozen in ice; sometimes a bubble in your bath. I’m totally indestructible. But I can’t control where I go or how I look. So I’ve never had to bother with “product” for my hair or wear clothes. I’m a tiny fat drop of water and proud of it. Some of the changes over the years haven’t been brilliant. Sometimes these days I get stuck in pipes bringing water to your house. Even worse I sometimes get trapped in the toilet! Can you imagine how smelly that is? And what happens when you flush the toilet? We get washed away down big drainpipes, not knowing where we will end up. But we are finite. Do you know what that means? It means there’s only a certain amount of water on the planet, which is constantly recycled – cloud to rain; river to sea; ice to steam. It also means that whatever goes down the loo today, you might be drinking in the future. Yuk! See you soon for another adventure. I still haven’t found a mammoth. MENDIP GRANDAD

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Court House celebrates 30 years

COURT House Retirement Home in Cheddar has been a family-run business for 30 years, offering residents a true “home from home”. It was started by Pearl and Brian Dando and is now managed by their sons Chris and James and other members of the family. It’s flourished over the years and now has 26 rooms, all en-suite, with television and phone, as well as elegant lounge and dining rooms. The Georgian house is in the heart of

Cheddar village, a short walking distance of the library, village hall and other facilities, which residents are encouraged to use. The family’s aim has been to make the place as “homely” as possible, so residents can install their own furniture in their rooms, there are no staff uniforms or notice boards and they offer small treats, like a sherry before lunch. There’s a range of activities, visits, entertainment, quizzes, afternoon teas and themed suppers, which residents can choose to attend, and newsletters telling them what’s happening around the village. Chris said: “Some people may feel they have everything they want in their rooms, so they can pick and choose what they want to do. We want them to feel it’s their home, but we are there as a safety net if needed.” Meal times are special, with fresh local produce – and a glass of wine, if required – followed by coffee and



chocolates. Tracy, who has been the cook for 22 years, is famous for her home-made cakes served with afternoon tea. The 30 staff are all local. Chris said: “We are probably quite different to other places, in that we have customers who are still active, but specifically seek something like this, where they can have company and help if needed, but can have their independence too.”


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New wing for dementia care

Hair and beauty in a rural setting

(l:r): Len Sweales (Wells town crier), Hilary Doxford, Bill McClelland (Fletcher House manager), Chris Davies (chairman of the Somerset Care Group) and John North (deputy mayor of Wells)

FLETCHER HOUSE in Wells has opened the doors of its new specialist dementia wing called the Avalon Suite. The home is run by Somerset Care, which provides residential and nursing care for older people in 30 care homes in Somerset and on the Isle of Wight and which also manages a facility for adults with physical disabilities in Taunton. The unit was opened by Hilary Doxford who lives with earlyonset Alzheimer’s disease and was diagnosed at the age of 53. Hilary is a member of the World Dementia Council and an Alzheimer’s Society ambassador. The suite has been supported by Tincknells, B&J’s Haulage and Mendip Shooting Ground.

Suzy (centre) with Ellie and Heidi

IT was a bold move when hairdresser Suzy Brodrick decided to open her first salon in a tranquil village setting. But that was three years ago and now Hair by Suzanne Elizabeth is very much a part of life in Faulkland and the surrounding area. Suzy said: “Clients enjoy the rural atmosphere and travel from quite a distance. They can park outside very easily.” Those clients come from as far away as Wells and Devizes but Suzy has also generated strong local support. Suzy has a permanent stylist Heidi Walters and has recruited Ellie James to work on Saturdays. New treatments on offer include Olaplex which works to repair hair bonds damaged by some other applications. The salon’s third anniversary falls on Wednesday, March 15th and Suzy is still finalising plans to mark the day. Whatever happens, she hopes to raise money for two local charities – Macmillan Cancer Support and the Meningitis Research Foundation. Suzy said: “I really want to say thank you to my team and to everyone who has supported me.”

Hair By

Suzanne Elizabeth • bridal hair • extensions • unisex/children • colouring T: 01373 834671 High Street Faulkland Radstock BA3 5UX PAGE 58 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

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‘Providing Quality of Life Through Quality Care’

Now in our 76th year, we are the provider of choice for 4 x Local Authorities having recently been awarded the ‘Support to Live @home’ Contract for North Somerset Council. As we are growing we have a variety of jobs available leading to great career opportunities across our organisation. Contact us now if you would like more information.

To start your career with Brunelcare call now on 0117 914 4200 or email




Staying fit and healthy

MOST people think about exercise to stay fit, improve their core strength and to tone. However, what most overlook is that after the age of 30 muscle mass drops by up to 8% a year if left unchecked. So retaining, as well as gaining muscle in middle age is important if you are going to lead a healthy life into old age. No one wants to be prematurely struggling to get up from a chair, or out of a bath and no one needs to. All it takes to avoid this is some form of weight bearing exercise at least twice a week. This is not about bodybuilding – it is a lifestyle choice to do regular exercise in order to burn more calories, by maintaining muscle mass. Balance Fitness are trainers in postural analysis and corrective exercise (P.A.C.E) which builds awareness of mobility and muscle range. The corrective exercises prescribed will improve the balance of the whole body. Qualified in GP referral, they have the ability to look after you if you have limitations due to a health condition. With doctor’s consent, exercise will get you back on track. At Balance they provide fun, small group classes and personal training. They have a variety of classes. It is never too late to start and they cater for all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of fitness.

Providing quality of life through quality care

BRUNELCARE has over 75 years of experience in helping to care for and support adults in their own homes, providing day care and support services across the South West. They have been at the forefront of developing ways for people to stay as independent as possible, creating great communities to live and work in. They say they are thrilled to be celebrating the news of being made the sole home care provider for the area by one local authority. They say this means that they are now expanding their teams and continuing to provide some great job opportunities.

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Replace your missing teeth with dental implants Eat, talk, laugh and smile with confidence

Main Dental Partners Limited, registered office: 12b George Street Bath BA1 2EH Registered in England & Wales registered number 08192098

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No uncomfortable or loose dentures No need to involve adjacent healthy teeth Facial profile and gum vitality maintained

Single tooth

‘People say “I wouldn’t know that you have dental implants”’ Nic had severe gum disease that affected her front teeth. When she went to see her dentist, Dr James Main, he advised her to have four teeth removed. Dr Main informed her that she could replace her missing teeth with either a conventional bridge or an implant-supported bridge. “I chose to have dental implants because I wanted my front ‘teeth’ to look as natural as possible,” explains Nic. There were several stages to Nic’s dental implant treatment. Gum disease had eroded the bone in her upper jaw. However, the lack of bone wasn’t an issue for Dr Main. James built up the bone in her upper jaw so that her dental implants would have a secure ‘foundation’.

Several teeth

Complete set

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Dr James Main


Dr James Main has extensive experience in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has been treating implant patients for more than 10 years and has placed over 800 implants.

Nic wore a temporary bridge for seven months whilst her mouth healed, so that she did not have a gap. Dr Main then placed two dental implants. Four months later James fitted the permanent bridge.

Are tooth implants

Nic says, “The dental implants looked and felt completely natural as soon as they were put in. It was the best investment I have ever made – they are totally worth it.” She continues, “I had never really been happy with my front teeth as they were slightly crooked. Now I don’t worry about smiling and showing my teeth. I feel more confident. People say to me, ‘I wouldn’t know that you have dental implants’.”

Find out more at our next dental implant discovery evening

right for me? Thursday 23 March 6.30 – 7.30pm or 7.30 – 8.30pm

FREE initial consultations BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT



High quality private patient care • Implants to replace missing teeth • Teeth whitening and cosmetic treatments • Natural-coloured fillings to replace ugly metal • Crowns, bridges and veneers • Oral health and hygiene service • Four-year guarantee on recommended treatments (providing you attend for regular maintenance care)

 01458 831883 The James Main Dental Partnership 3 Lambrook Street, Glastonbury BA6 8BY


01458 831883

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Refeshing treatments

FOOT Faerie Podiatry Practice at Rookery Farm will be hosting a special open day in March to celebrate the beginning of spring. Practitioners Sue Boothroyd, Simon Crutchley and Fiona Lindsay will be there to talk through all the treatments that they offer, with a number of refreshing and relaxing tasters. Massage therapist Fiona has a special offer on neck, shoulder and back massages as well as free ten-minute taster shoulder and neck massages. Sue, podiatrist and owner will be offering a range of taster of treatments, including medical pedicures. Simon, also a podiatrist, will be offering gentle, effective treatments to aid rehabilitation and to encourage comfortable movement.

Single and looking for a social life . . . then join SPA

An enthusiasc and friendly group of single people who enjoy organised events For more informaon go to email: Or contact Anne – 01934 743139 Jane – 01458 835799


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Show your passion on Somerset Day BUSINESS and community leaders are uniting behind a campaign to encourage people to celebrate all that is best about Somerset. The focus is on May 11th which has been named officially as Somerset Day – but the aim is to promote the county all-year round. Nearly 100 representatives gathered for a business-led Summit for Somerset. The conference was held at Wyke Farm Cheese’s renewable energy centre near Bruton. Supporters of the campaign include Thatchers Cider, Pardoes Solicitors, Visit Somerset and Glastonbury Festivals. The campaign is aimed at all communities within the former county boundary. It is organised by Passion for Somerset, a not-for-profit organisation which wants communities and businesses to unite to organise celebratory events and build on Somerset Day, launched in 2015. It says that industries ranging from farming to aerospace and tourism are predicted to generate £11 billion for the county’s economy by 2021, yet it is still one of the best kept secrets in the UK, despite the popularity of Cheddar Gorge, Bath Abbey and Wells Cathedral – and the Glastonbury Festival. Festival organiser Michael Eavis told the conference that it was Somerset’s natural “non-conformity” which had

Michael Eavis was among the speakers at the Summit for Somerset

The Somerset Day logo

Some of the Passion for Somerset board members (l:r) John Turner (chief executive, Visit Somerset), Kit Chapman (chairman of Arts Taunton and proprietor of the Castle Hotel, Taunton), Nigel Muers-Raby (chairman of Passion for Somerset, Jonathan Langdon (chairman and partner, Milsted Langdon) and Richard Clothier (managing director, Wyke Farms)

allowed the event to thrive: “Somerset is full of non-conformists and original thinkers, it’s very anti-establishment. It has been since my family moved here over 150 years ago, has been for hundreds of years before that. There is nowhere else I could have created The Glastonbury Festival.” Passion for Somerset chairman Nigel Muers-Raby, from Pardoes, added: “Whilst those of us who live, work and play here already know how special the county is we need to tell the world what Somerset has to offer and invite broader communities to share in the celebrations with us. Somerset Day is just one annual day in a much bigger journey of promotion and celebration of what the county has to offer.”

Social media will play a large part in the Somerset Day campaign

A new website has been launched – – or follow the hashtag on social media: #LoveSomerset. For more information email


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Forces, friendships and fry-ups By Mark Adler

MENTION breakfast meetings to many professional people and their eyes are likely to fill with horror at memories of slightly anxious, over-eager sales patter or the need to promote their skills to a roomful of sceptics more interested in the substance of the food than the content of their talk. The banter over the bacon butties, full English breakfasts and mugs of tea on one Wednesday morning at Mary’s Café on a trading estate in Glastonbury was possibly more muted than usual because of my presence but there wasn’t a salesman in sight, nor a middle-aged former businessman forced by circumstance to reinvent himself as an aspiring entrepreneur. Instead, this networking group was all about that – forging friendships over a fryup and swapping stories, some to be taken with a healthy pinch of salt on the eggs and bacon. Everyone who attends the weekly meetings is ex-forces, for this is a meeting of the Glastonbury Veterans’ Breakfast Club where the main aim is to recapture a little of the comradeship that might be lacking on civvy street. The logo of the There are now Armed Forces and hundreds of similar Veterans Breakfast Club clubs all over the

Remembering Rorke’s Drift: this breakfast meeting in Glastonbury paid tribute to the heroes of the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879, close to the anniversary in January. Pictured are (l:r) Geoff Dickson, Haydn Davies and Paul Westlake

country, offering a couple of hours of NAAFI-style R&R for ex-service personnel – men and women – of all ages and backgrounds. The movement began in Lincolnshire when a couple of veterans met by chance. Glastonbury is the only one on Mendip to date. To say the meetings are informal is an understatement; rank counts for nothing, nor does whether the person is Army, Royal Air Force or the senior service – although their background can provide a little ammunition for the jokes and gentle joshing. Attendance is free – just pay for the food and drink. Nigel Gifford, of Wells, a former captain in the Royal Army Service Corps (he refers to it as the ‘21st Light Pastry’), said: “We’re not here to sell our businesses to each other; it’s just a chance to spend an

“On parade”: Members of the Glastonbury Veterans Breakfast Club including Jack Paul (front)

hour in each other’s company. “If someone comes here who needs some advice or a helping hand, then we will see what we can do. Nor do we ask people to share their stories. It’s entirely up to them if they want to talk about some of their experiences.” The oldest veteran is Jack Paul, aged 95, of Coxley Wick near Wells. A couple of the other breakfast regulars call in to see Jack for a cup of tea most afternoons and now bring him along to the meetings. The meetings may go some way to counteracting the decline of some Royal British Legion clubs, although there is no intention to offer the kind of welfare services the legion offers. There is talk, however, of organising other events, including a coach trip to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in May. Geoff Dickson, one of the regulars, said: “It’s about having a chat and having something in common. Some people who weren’t in the services might not appreciate how important that is when military life is all the life you’ve known.” And at that point, one of the others begins a story involving an incoming mortar shell and a terrified worker in a canteen on a military base… ● The Glastonbury Veteran’s Breakfast Club welcomes any ex-forces people to join them at 9am on Wednesday mornings at Mary’s Café (Miller’s Morsels) at Unit 19, Thomas Way, Glastonbury. For details call Geoff on 01749 676048 or Nigel on 07768 977191 or find them on Facebook.

For details about the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club, visit:


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Rangers on target

AS well as training volunteer rangers to carry out tasks on the Mendip Hills, the AONB Unit also organises a two-year programme for young people. They participate in a number of activities that are recreational as well as environmental. Recently two groups enjoyed a day of learning archery at Wells City Archery Club with the club’s senior coach Derek Rigler.


Church joins the party

PEASEDOWN’S popular Party in the Park festival has named its first sponsor for this year’s event, the local St John’s Church. Michael Auton, the festival’s fundraising manager, said: “We are thrilled to have the support of St John’s Church for our ninth festival. With our vision of making Party in the Park bigger and better every year, this year’s party will cost almost £7,000 to host.” Businesses and organisations who want to support Party in the Park can sign up to a number of sponsorship packages. Church leader, the Rev Matthew Street, said: “Here at St John’s we have a heart for reaching out into the community and supporting people when and wherever we can. “Bringing people together and encouraging one another is a key part of the Christian faith, and so it’s with great delight that we are sponsoring Party in the Park this year. “Over the last eight years, the team has worked exceptionally hard to organise, co-ordinate and host an event that has positive recognition far beyond the boundaries of Peasedown St John. “I’m told this summer’s festival is to be the best yet, so St John’s is very excited to be a part of it.” Last year almost 2,500 people attended Party in the Park – making it one of the most popular and well-attended community events in Bath and North East Somerset. It will be held in Beacon Field on Saturday June 10th, from 12noon. Details:

Getting mobile

Details: anyone interested in becoming a young ranger should contact the ANOB office at

Multi-coloured beach race

RNLI volunteers in Burnham-onSea are bringing back their popular Rainbow Run for a second year. Entries are now open for the event on May 28th; last year’s run attracted more than 300 people. Organisers would welcome more sponsors. Race organiser Lesley-Ruth

For details contact Lesley-Ruth Hart on 07854 087742 or find the event on

A NEW initiative to support older and disabled people has been launched in Peasedown St John. The residents’ association has introduced the village’s first mobility scooter scheme. The scheme enables users to pay £5 a day, with a £20 returnable deposit, for a full day’s scooter use. Richard Clarke, vice chair of the association (pictured) said: “So often you hear about older people, and those with disabilities, being stuck at home because they can’t get out and about. We want to help ensure that people have their mobility and independence.” Details: Mandy Clarke 01761 300057 or Rose Timperley 07902 266384 or email


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Hutton celebrates 40th anniversary of its village hall THE village of Hutton has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of its village hall. In 1976 the old wooden Royal British Legion hut in the centre of the village was removed, after 57 years’ continual use. Many villagers were sad to see the old hut go, especially Bill Palmer who had built the hut in 1919 with his father, William Samuel Palmer. The hut was originally part of an army barracks canteen used in the 1914-18 war and was bought by local village squire, Thomas Bisdee, who lived at Hutton Court. As the village grew it became necessary for larger premises to be built and in the late 1960s a parish council sub-committee was set up to investigate suitable locations. The first stone of the hall was laid by Bernard Spillane on February 21st, 1976. It was an ambitious project, with its main hall some 32ft x 55ft and able to take 290 people. It also has a smaller hall and a committee room, known as the Legion Room that now doubles as the bar. The first management committee was chaired by Bernard Spillane, a driving force in helping to raise £15,000 from the village towards the cost of the new hall, the remaining 75% being met by grants from the Department of Education and

40th birthday celebrations PAGE 66 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

80th Birthday Party

Science, Avon County Council and Woodspring District Council. One of the fund-raising ideas was the “Buy a Brick” scheme and many of the bricks in the interior walls have their donors name on the reverse side. The hall has today become a focal point for many village activities and is one of the best facilities available in the area. It recently staged the village pantomime and is used by short mat bowls, Hutton Drama Group, Fair Trade coffee mornings, lace making, line dancing, over 50s keep fit, badminton,

Hutton Ladies, Hutton Friendship Circle, Hutton, Oldmixon and Locking Royal British Legion, yoga, Hutton Parish Council, Hutton Horticultural Society, quiz nights, Hutton/Dabaso Twinning Association and for whist. Its multiple facilities can be hired by clubs, societies and individuals from within or outside the parish and it’s popular for wedding receptions, birthday parties, meetings, dances, quizzes, concerts and all sorts of social functions. The village organised a 40th anniversary party to celebrate.

Details: 01934 814409 or villageh

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1976 – Bernard Spillane laying foundation stone


June 1977 – Double wedding reception – Chris & Sally and Julie and Patrick

The cast of this year's pantomime Hutton Village Hall

Hutton Parish clerk and village hall chairman Steve Cope

Over-50s keep fit

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Making themselves a name

ONE of the newest and most innovative property companies on Mendip has given a highly positive response to its first six months in business. Lodestone Property offices won’t be found on any high street after managing partners Sue Macey and Cathy MorrisAdams decided on a refreshing approach to sales and lettings and invest in extensive local knowledge, contacts, reputation and social media to spread the word, vindicated by the number of Lodestone signs around the area, mostly in central and south Somerset. Sue and Cathy have recruited a new member to the team: Francoise Jackson is a negotiator with a wealth of experience and excellent local knowledge, having lived in Somerset for more than 30 years. Sue said: “Networking and connecting with the community has proved to be a successful approach. The number of properties we have to sell and let are testament to that. All our rentals have been successfully let within a couple of days. Demand exceeds supply so we are keen to take on more, whilst forming working relationships with Somerset digital platforms have proved to be a very successful method of connecting with the local community. “The new business model of working in a flexible and modern way means we are not tied to the office waiting for the phone to ring. This not only enables us to provide a high quality, responsive and bespoke service for our clients but it also very often results in selling and letting our houses before they reach the market.”

Buy-to-let market in decline

SHORTAGES of supply in South West lettings and sales continue to present a huge challenge for the market, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It says new landlord instructions in the letting market failed to improve for a third consecutive quarter across the South West, with respondents in the region predicting that this issue could worsen over the medium term as they expect landlords to decrease the size of their portfolios over the next three years. Changes to Stamp Duty in April alongside scheduled cuts to mortgage interest tax relief, were both seen as important factors diminishing the attractiveness of buy-to-let as an investment as 28% more respondents felt that landlords were likely to decrease (rather than increase) the size of their portfolio over the next 12 months in the UK. But on the sales side it says there was a rise in new buyer enquiries in January, with 29% of surveyors reporting an increase in demand. New instructions, reportedly increased in the region as 22% more chartered surveyors saw a rise in January (rather than a decrease). Even so, average stock levels on agent’s books are still close to historic lows. At the same time, sales were increasingly higher with 42% more chartered surveyors seeing a pick-up in sales over the month, up from 16%. RICS says sales in the South West are looking promising in the near-term with 29% more respondents expecting a rise rather than fall over the next three months in the region. What’s more the balance of respondents predicting that sales will increase over the year to come reached a one year high (+44% net balance).

Sales: 01749 605099 Lettings: 01749 605088

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Land and property auction followed by grass keep auction

DAVID James and Partners (DJ&P) first of five planned auctions during 2017 will be held on Tuesday March 28th and promises some interesting lots. The auction will be held at Mendip Springs Golf Club starting promptly at 7pm. Immediately following the property auction there will be an annual grass keep sale of 79.05 acres located at Banwell, Hewish, Congresbury, Nailsea, Chew Stoke, Hinton Blewitt, Chewton Mendip, Redhill and Failand. Among the properties for auction is The Perries, a former horticultural nursery on the edge of Banwell. The 1950s three-bedroomed house has been part modernised and there are also some useful outbuildings and 6.81 acres of land. It is surrounded by the beautiful Mendip countryside and

offers a range of amenities within walking distance of the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare only five miles away. Lower Farm is a smallholding which has been in the same family for 90 years. The property was originally built for returning First World War veterans and was purchased by the current owners in 1995. This three-bedroomed detached property is located on Lower Strode Road on the outskirts of Clevedon, leading to Kingston Seymour, convenient for the M5 and equestrian access. Finally, there is an opportunity to purchase land at Meeting House Lane, Cleeve, next to the cricket club and close to the nearby A370. This land is available as a whole or in lots.

The Perries




Nr Clevedon



Guide Price £400,000

AUCTION 28th MARCH 2017 A smallholding with detached three bedroom house, 4.62 acres, substan(al brick outbuildings with huge poten(al in rural lane loca(on on the outskirts of Clevedon. A 1920’s detached house requiring some modernisa(on, with good kitchen and bathroom, two recep(ons, modern kitchen, scullery and u(lity space. Minimum of 1800 sq  outbuildings around concrete yard, various other buildngs. South facing country views. EPC: F. Ref: 25300

Guide Price £399,950

Redhill North Somerset GENEROUS FAMILY HOUSE WITH 1.19 ACRES 1700 sq  of family accom in this generously propor(oned semidetached house; Three recep(on rooms, 4/5 bedrooms, large modern kitchen, en suite bathroom to master, cloaks/shower room, family bathroom. Parking to front, garden and paddock to rear with separate access. EPC: D Ref: 25297.


Guide Price £475,000

Locking Weston-super-Mare AUCTION 28th MARCH 2017 Small holding with 6.81 acres. A detached 3 bedroom house with 2 recep(on rooms, modern kitchen and bathroom, conservatory, cloaks and u(lity. Garage and outbuildings. To be sold by Auc(on, as a whole or in two lots. House, outbuildings and 3.19 acres £400,000. 3.62 acres adjoining £75,000. AOC applies: EPC: E. Ref: 23279/3.

Guide Price £499,950

Felton Chew Valley A BEAUTIFULLY PRESENTED LARGE FOUR BEDROOM HOUSE Recently refurbished and redesigned offering a sleek contemporary interior on corner cul-de-sac posi(on. Four double bedrooms, en suite shower to master, family bathroom. Superb si*ng and dining rooms, open plan kitchen, u(lity and cloaks. Study and substan(al cellarage. Detached large double garage, garden with south facing aspect, plenty of parking. EPC: C Ref: 25303

Guide Price £250,000

Knightcott Banwell DEVELOPMENT SITE FOR FOUR UNITS – AUCTION 28th MARCH 2017 Four former agricultural barns for conversion and extension to create four new dwellings in courtyard se*ng. Two detached and two semi detached totalling 4003 sq. . Ref: 23434/5

Guide Price £650,000

Banwell North Somerset DETACHED COTTAGE SMALL HOLDING WITH 7.18 ACRES Co)age with substan(al adjoining stone and (le outbuildings, agricultural building, polytunnel and caravan club lis(ng for 5, set in over 7 acres of good pasture with lovely views over the surrounding countryside in good catchment for holiday business if required. EPC: E Ref: 25040

Wrington 01934 864300 MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017 • PAGE 69

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Firenza open days

FIRENZA Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms are holding two open days on Friday March 10th and Saturday March 11th when they will be joined by award-winning local chef Bini Ludlow. She will be creating mouth-watering culinary delights live in the kitchen showroom using the latest range of NEFF appliances such as the Pyrolytic Slide & Hide Oven and the 5 Zone FlexInduction Hob. Morning sessions will include coffee, cake and omelette tastings. Opt for a lunchtime/evening session for a fantastic range of sumptuous Indian cuisine, or perhaps join them for delicious afternoon tea on Saturday. They invite you to browse around their stunning kitchen and bathroom showroom and meet their team of friendly designers. Check out their website for full details of timings and the food discount on NEFF re which will be available to sample. fo be d re de or es nc ia appl The first ten people to book a 31 March 2017 on place at one of their free Premium production of Seat demos, will also receive a our advert NEFF goodie bag.


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Why West is best

LEN and Mary grew up in a Reading that was far removed from today’s frenetic Silicon Valley lookalike. Back in the days before the M4 set its sights on the West Country, Reading and its surrounding villages were still thought of as “countryside”. How times have changed! Mary said: “It’s very different now. When we were kids in the 50s and 60s, people seemed to have more time for each other. As soon as the motorway opened the whole character of the town and its people changed. And not for the better.” Len Wilcox married Mary Downe in 1975. They had many interests in common, but their particular passion was for their dogs. In the early years of their marriage, their bungalow in Reading provided all that was needed for their pets – a comfortable, safe environment and plenty of wide, open spaces for exercising. But by the turn of the century Reading was little more than a suburb of London.

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It was time to move and they decided on Dorset. They found the place they wanted in Maiden Newton, but, at the last minute, the “chain” was broken and Len found himself dealing with a less than proactive estate agent. He said: “After waiting for calls to be returned that never were, we decided to look elsewhere. On January 10th 2015 we saw a place we loved in Burnham-on-Sea and by February 18th we had moved in.” What really impressed Len and Mary at the time was the way people in Burnham always tried to be helpful and friendly. Neighbours welcomed them and their estate agent, Wendy at Greenslade Taylor Hunt arranged for plumbers, electricians and so on as part of the service. This was a real contrast to their experience with the agents in Dorset. Wendy also introduced Len and Mary to the family firm of Kingfisher. Windows and doors needed replacement and Wendy recommended them. Mary recalls: “We did get some alternative


quotes, but we were put off by the aggressive sales techniques employed. Kingfisher do it differently. They give you advice and genuine help and never pressure you into anything.” Last year Len and Mary attended Kingfisher’s 30th anniversary party and fell in love with a conservatory they saw there. Before long foundations were being dug and the whole project completed in time for Christmas. Again Len and Mary are full of praise for Kingfisher and the way they will always go that extra mile. Their verdict: “They’re very special people.”

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Steam tribute

Joyce and local resident and Sentinel lorry owner Vince Goold (far right) with members of the Sentinel Drivers Club at Midsomer Norton Station

MEMBERS of the Sentinel Drivers Club met at the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust site in Midsomer Norton for their annual meeting. The owners of the iconic, mostly steam-powered lorries were met at Midsomer Norton South railway station where they saw the trust’s own Sentinel railway locomotive – called Joyce – in action. Joyce’s owner driver Andy Chapman said: “Sentinel drivers are mostly steam lorry drivers so riding behind 7109 'Joyce' was very favourably received.”


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A Mendip steeple chase on Shanks’s pony

I AM point-to-pointing – literally. True to the 18th Century origins of steeple chasing I am crossing country in a moreor-less direct line from Shepton Mallet to Priddy from the church of St Mary (Croscombe), to the church of St Laurence (Priddy). With RACHEL Despite having to saddle up Shanks’s THOMPSON mare (my own two feet) I am racing solo so MBE I’m bound to win if I don’t take a tumble over any obstacles. I’m hoping for accessible and obvious gates and stiles instead of traditional wall, hedge and ditch jumps. My journey is prompted firstly by a vague New Year’s resolution to “park” the car and secondly an invitation to Chilcote Shoot’s ladies day. A thoroughly invigorating, fun and typical Mendip day involving (happy) country folk, sausages (and alcohol), (wet) fields, (soggy) dogs, (splendid) feast at the Mendip Golf Club. Thank you all for a wonderful time. Today I am homeward bound. Enthusiastic, adventurous East Mendip riders could, with a slight detour or two and, I suggest, slightly drier conditions, emulate my journey with the added bonus of a visit to one of Priddy’s fine Inns! From Shepton I have to use the A371 pavement into Croscombe, heedless human traffic on one side, the tumbling moss walled River Sheppey complete with dipper seeking breakfast on the other. Up Church Street, St Mary’s spire (a rarity in Somerset) gold cockerel on top, my starting “point” leads to steep West Lane – a Narnia–like portal into a quieter world. Tarmac fades into old stone and earth imprinted with hoof, boot and bicycle wheel made by Mendip travellers like me. Hop over old stone stiles along the East Mendip Way (riders continue on and left back down Crapnell Lane), the solar farm an alien sea glimmering in the early morning sun. Quiet lanes through Chilcote, the Keen family’s cows

Looking ahead to spring – a horserider on Durston Drove


Mark, Mark and Pieboy at Pen Hill

placidly awaiting milking, breathing air silage sweet, Manor House tower clock stuck on 19 to 6, a door bell pull shaped like a cow. East Horrington, red telephone box piled with books, Bertie’s yard (who was Bertie?), a huge iron ring in the wall (for bulls or dinosaurs?), sudden glimpse of St Thomas’s church spire, my second point and beyond, Glastonbury Tor floating above the moor. Over the Bath road into West Horrington, up past the old village pump, another telephone box for keen readers, then my hand on an old gate latch, into Biddlecombe bridleway. Pause for breakfast on the Showering’s family Jubilee bench, oat biscuits, an orange, Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar, generous gift from my cheesemaker friends as I passed their house. A long jump over the stream by the Buddle House where ore was once washed and a longer climb up onto Mendip top. “Busy road” warns Somerset County Council as I cross carefully into the Pen Hill bridleway. The mast towering on my left, hoof prints aplenty, thank you Tudway Quilter family for this lovely route on the edge of the estate. Just cows and pheasants my companions today, not the three jolly Wells lads pedalling their metal steeds, encountered outward bound. Across the old Bristol road, hoof and wheel may turn right to the Hunters’ Lodge Inn or head straight along Durston Drove and right for the Queen Victoria Inn. I take a direct path across plough and ancient grassland over the plateau home, bubbling birdsong I don’t recognise, a brown hare scampering away, scattered traditional stone cottages built for miners ahead, sheep grazing below the bronze age barrows ranged along the horizon – long dead inhabitants the silent witnesses to my lonely travel. Then suddenly, my last point – Priddy Church – typical Somerset stone perpendicular tower and turrets stark against a metal sky. After three hours my race is done – I’m home to Tamora whickering reproachfully by the paddock gate. “I will take you another day”, I say. “In the spring, when it’s dry!”

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Horses for courses as point-to-points near FINAL preparations are underway for the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale and Mendip Farmers’ point-to-point meetings in March. The annual fixtures are always popular with horseracing enthusiasts but are also very much a social occasion. The BSV meeting takes places at Charlton Horethorne, near Wincanton, on Sunday, March 12th with the Mendip Farmers’ raceday on Sunday, March 26th. This year the BSV meeting will have an added incentive for novice jockeys – a dedicated race being dubbed the Novice Riders’ National with a top

prize of £350, almost double the usual money for first place. The race will be held over the slightly longer than usual distance of three miles and two furlongs. Fixture secretary Caroline Hinks said: “This is an exciting opportunity to support novice riders and to offer them a race where they’re up against their peers. “We hope it will offer a stepping stone for jockeys starting to make their way through the ranks to successful careers.” Organisers of the Mendip Farmer’s meeting at Ston Easton are also doing their bit for innovation. They’re embracing etechnology to offer advance discount tickets online – £8 instead of £10 on the gate – through a new website, their Facebook page and via the Pointing Wessex portal, the official website of the Wessex Point-to-Point Association. Secretary George Pullen said: “A couple of other meetings are experimenting with the concept and we’re keen to give it a go.” Both fixtures will boast a big screen showing each race live, offering racegoers the opportunity to catch all the action across the afternoon, along with pony races to end the day. Catch all the racing action in March at the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale meeting or at the Mendip Farmers’ fixture

SUNDAY MARCH 12th 12.30pm


Ston Easton, (off A37, 8m N of Shepton Mallet, BA3 4DH

Advance discount tickets now on sale via • •



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Steph’s award

Twenty years of dedicated service

FROME College student, Steph Smith, has been presented with a British Eventing award at a celebratory lunch held at Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire. Steph, a Year 13 student, was honoured for her dedication to the sport. She has volunteered for the British Eventing sport governing body for over ten years, firstly as amazing support for her mother, Jennie, in recruiting and managing volunteers through the South West and then in her own right as fence judge, scorer, steward and team support at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials. Last September, Steph had to drop everything and step in as team leader to over 100 volunteers when the member of cover staff was taken ill at short notice. Event director Mandy Hervieu said: “We know Steph is highly organised and efficient as she did her previous work experience with us in the palace office, but to take on a team manager role of such a big and complicated team, at the drop of a hat would have intimidated most people three times her age. “Steph took it all in her stride and did a marvellous job. She is an absolute credit to her parents, Frome College, and her teachers. I had no hesitation in putting her forward for this special award.” Steph is pictured receiving her award from British Eventing board chairman Paul Hodgson. Telephone 01749 830666 24 hour emergency pager 07659 159162

1997 – 2017 Celebrating 20 years of dedicated service

Providing 24/7 365 days a year service for routine and emergency visits by our 100% dedicated equine vets. We offer a friendly, personal service and will treat every horse, owner and case as an individual. Our experienced vets are committed exclusively to treating equines of all shapes and sizes and are contactable directly to discuss ongoing cases or to simply ask for advice. Offering vets on the road and in-house services with an array of modern diagnostic equipment. Stables Equine Practice, Conkerfield, Pennybatch Lane, Wookey, Wells BA5 1NH Tel: 01749 830666 • website:



The official opening of the Conkerfield practice

STABLES Equine Practice is starting to make plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the specialist centre. Nicko Robertson, Tim Randle and the team are regular sights at Chepstow and Bath racecourses and the Mendip Farmers’ Pointto-Point – last year Tim was in Rio for the Olympics – but are equally at home in a paddock on Mendip or at their state-of-the-art centre on the edge of Wells. Horse welfare is first and foremost at the practice which prides itself on offering a professional, up-to-date service at a fair price. July will see the actual anniversary of the practice founded by Mendip-raised Nicko, although the team moved into Conkerfield at Burcott in 2014. Conkerfield offers unrivalled facilities and the practice hosts regular advice and information events, but the team is equally at home on the road with mobile diagnostics. SEP began at Nicko’s home in Oakhill. He said: “The practice started off in a corner of our dining room in Oakhill, then when we moved to The Stables in Stoney Stratton, the office had its very own room which it finally outgrew as the annex became habitable! We left our ‘temporary’ Nicko Robertson – launched home of nine years on the Bath Stables Equine Practice in 1997 and West Showground in 2014.” In February, the practice hosted an evening of farriery and lower leg dissection. It was a huge success and raised more than £500 for the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance. Nicko added: “Big thanks are due to Master Farriers Paul Horner and Jason Sommerville who covered the farriery aspects of the evening.” For details about the forthcoming celebrations and other events, visit:

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Cat and mouse cyclo-cross

MENDIPS Raceway near Shipham, normally home to stock car racing, provided an unusual setting for the penultimate round of CYCLING the cyclo-cross with EDMUND winter series in the LODITE Western League. Cyclo-cross is a lap event, but what sets it apart from other cycling disciplines is the added difficulty of dealing with the different surfaces that are encountered. This makes good circuits hard to come by; however the Raceway, with its track and surroundings, is known as one of the more distinctive venues in the cyclocross calendar. Event organiser Steven Green from Bristol South Cycling Club designed a challenging circuit that made use of both the man-made features and surrounding natural terrain. Using the gateways along the fence the course went in and out of the Raceway switching between grass, gravel tracks and Tarmac track. Obstructions from pedestrian concrete steps and short steep climbs up grassy banks forced riders to dismount and run with their bikes. The curved sloping banks at each end of the Raceway, normally occupied by spectators, were used for a different purpose and proved a good test of traversing and turning skills for the riders. Besides being physically demanding this was a course requiring a lot of concentration! Riders going up the obstacle steps

Unlike road racing where sheltering in the pack is critical, drafting out of the wind is less important in cyclo-cross. There is nothing to be gained by staying in a group – a good strategy is to race the course when it is the hardest on everyone. The first lap is where the most can be gained from an explosive attack of energy, to break away. Once in the clear, there is less risk from the actions of other riders and you can set your own pace and catch your breath! After 12 laps of the circuit, and in just over 56 minutes, Ben Anstie was the first to finish and win the men’s category. Although behind the leading pair by a few seconds in the first two laps, Ben saw an opportunity and launched an intense attack. Once ahead, Anstie kept building on his lead with each successive lap of the circuit to finish two minutes ahead.

SPORT Riders heading along the grass banks

After the race he said: “Because of the headwind neither of them wanted to take the wind on their front, so they were playing cat and mouse. I thought I’m just going to use my power to try and make a bit of a gap. It was a bit early on in the race and I was thinking is it the right thing to do and it turned out to be fine.” Kelly Hillyer and Sam Smith won their races to maintain their top of the league spot in the Women’s and Youth league categories respectively, and Benoit Davies won the Veterans’ race. After the race markings had been removed only the tyre tracks along the grass banks remained as evidence of the day’s event. This was the one day in the year, at the Raceway, where the sound of roaring engines and crashing cars had been replaced by determined cyclists in a steeplechase over its course.

Ben Anstie, winner of the men's race MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017 • PAGE 79

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Croquet for beginners

STARTING in April, the Camerton and Peasedown Croquet Club are offering a beginners’ course for anyone wishing to take up the sport. The club is always looking to introduce croquet to more people across the area. The course will run over five Sunday afternoons from April 2nd to May 7th (excluding Easter), for just £25 per person. At the end of the course, you have the option of joining the club to learn even more at a cost of less than most gyms as well as having the opportunity to take part in competitions throughout the region. One person who took up this offer last year, Andy Loaks, said: "The beginners' course is excellently tutored by highly qualified and experienced players. You learn the ins-and-outs of this intriguing game in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. If the course was on TripAdvisor it would get five stars!" Details: Brian Wilson 01225 708540 or Mo Boys 07929733640 or go to

Referees’ awards

THE annual referees’ awards for the Mid-Somerset league have been presented by Sara Box, widow of the late Mark Box, who was a very popular referee in the league. She’s pictured with chairman Bryn Hawkins and Brian Bishop (above left) who won at level 5 and new referee James Callow (above right), who picked up the level 7 award. The awards are determined by the marks given by teams to the official on the day of the game. PAGE 80 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

Annual reunion on the menu

An improved performance from Norton at home against Thornbury but another defeat, this time 5-36

MIDSOMER Norton Rugby Club will be hosting its annual end-of-season reunion in April for anyone connected to the club. The 1st XV are due to take on Newent after the lunch on Saturday, April 22nd, although the side’s reversal of fortunes from last season’s finale could not be more pronounced. Norton have struggled in the Tribute South West 1 West league after winning promotion last season; the challenge of competing at a higher level too great along with an “unprecedented series of major injuries”, said club president Nigel Rowles. Relegation is almost a certainty. However, Nigel added: “I can also tell you the chaps are unbowed and continue to fulfil the fixtures with great determination. Matthew Denning continues his captaincy with Tom Lovell in charge of the coaching team.” ● The buffet lunch takes place at the rugby club from 12.30pm. Anyone interested in attending should contact Nigel at:

Norton have suffered a series of injuries this season

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Club has new sponsors

Girls are in the final

FROME College U-16s girls’ soccer team are through to the final of the English Schools’ Football Association’s Premier League schools cup final. Chloe Gilroy They won a nail-biting semifinal against Stoke Newington on penalties, after the game ended 4-4 after extra time. Details of the final are yet to be published – 226 schools entered the competition. The Frome College team are Betty Restorick, Josey Taylor, Enna Christmas, Macy Ford, Gabbie Bird, Ellie Strippel, Chloe Gilroy, Katie Minty, Maya Seviour, Martha Peet, Chloe Hill, Chloe Tanner, Rachel Pullen and Izzy Book.

Bringing home the medals

Gold medal winner Monty Pratt


WINSCOMBE Football Club, a FA Charter Standard Community Development Club, has seen its under-12 team grow extensively in recent years. This has resulted in the creation of two teams of equal ability: Winscombe Colts U12 and Winscombe U12. The Winscombe Colts U12 team recently won the Woodspring Junior Wye League in December 2016, playing and winning all five matches. Now the club hopes that sponsorship from Harleys, a creative agency in Clevedon, will take the teams to the next level. Currently training on Tuesday evenings for their nine-a-side matches on Saturday mornings, the 26 boys soon aim to compete in 11-a-side matches in junior adult leagues. The teams’ managers, Richard Jeavons and Keith Sinclair, hope this will advance the boys’ personal and professional development, reinforcing the value of teamwork and fair play. The funding also enables them to train together, in the same kit and with quality equipment to enhance performance.

GEMINI Tae-Kwon-Do Club, from Cheddar, came away with a clutch of medals after the South West Championships held in Weston-SuperMare. The Cheddar winners were: Finn Fishlock, Sparring (bronze); Robert Lambert, Patterns (bronze); Jonathan Pratt, Patterns (silver) and Sparring (bronze); Monty Pratt, Patterns (gold) and Sparring (bronze); Caitlin Teagle, Sparring (silver) and Kerry Teagle, Sparring (bronze). Senior club instructor Jane Lambert said: “There were over 400 students taking part in lots of different categories, we had entered eight students in patterns and sparring competitions. I was very pleased with how our students all performed.” ● Gemini Tae-Kwon-Do trains every Wednesday and Friday at Kings Fitness and Leisure. Men, women and children of all abilities are welcome.

Kerry Teagle, who won Sparring Bronze


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Chew Valley’s marathon effort pays off

AFTER two days of rain and strong winds making the ground very wet and soft underfoot, a sunny but frosty morning greeted the arrival of the third Rok the Stones Trail Marathon on Saturday February 4th at Stanton Drew. The event is the brainchild of Simon Whittle and his wife Judith, both avid runners, who were keen to devise a challenging marathon set in the beautiful Chew Valley. After the first and very successful event in 2015, the limited places available have been keenly sought, so much so that they sold out within 24 hours of going online. There were 97 solo runners and 11 relay teams of three runners this year. The BANES Clutton Ward Councillor Karen Warrington gave starter’s orders to the first runners at 8.30am and to a second wave of elite runners at 9.30am. The route remained as in previous years – three different loops from Stanton Drew Race HQ covering six parishes and 27.1 miles. The route captures some of the best views in the Chew Valley including the Stanton Stones, River Chew, Pensford Viaduct, Folly Farm and Knowle Hill overlooking the Chew Valley Lake before finally returning to Stanton Drew Village Hall again. The sun shone all day but the race

Pre-race high spirits!

photographs showed happy if somewhat muddy runners! The bells of All Saints’ Church, Publow rang out in support of fellow ringer and marathon participant Dawn Wells who was running to raise funds for repairs to the church bells. The fastest male runner James Donald (Team Bath) completed the course in three hours and 50 minutes and fastest female competitor Natasha Breen (Town and Country Harriers) took four hours and 53 minutes. Both winners improved on the 2016 finishing times. The relay was won by Bristol and West Ladies in four hours and 28 minutes. The team prize went to Team Bath AC with a cumulative time for their fastest three runners of 12 hours and 54 minutes. Most entrants came from within a 20 mile radius of the Chew Valley.

Selina Jervis and Neal Stayner of Langport Runners with Paul Masters of Chard Road Runners at Compton Dando. PAGE 82 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

There was an increased number of local runners this year, including Martyn Jones, Ed Maxwell, Fiona Lewis, Lu Willson, Michelle Gordon, Ivan Batchelor, Mark Finn, Jane Reed, Simon Whittle and Stefan Zurakowski all of Stanton Drew and Dawn Wells of Compton Dando. The local communities volunteered for all aspects of the event organisation from marshalling, time keeping, manning the water stations, car parking to the post race clean up. The WI provided a wonderful selection of cakes with a constant supply of hot drinks. Volunteers in the kitchen provided very welcome bacon rolls for those early bird helpers along with a delicious home made vegetable chilli for everyone during the day. Simon and Judith will donate the

Natasha Breen of Town and Country Harriers followed approaching East Dundry Lane, the highest point of th

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SPORT Hayley Corr of Nailsea RC on her way around the Stanton Drew Stones.

Clutton Ward Councillor Karen Warrington waiting to start the marathon.

Wayne Lee of Nailsea RC underneath the arches of Pensford Viaduct.

lowed by Clive Attwood of Westbury Harriers t of the race. Natasha was the fastest female runner.

Pawel Baranowski of Emmersons Green RC approaching Maes Knowl with Bristol spread out behind him.

(Photography courtesy of Izzy Hayward)

surplus funds of around £1,400 from the marathon to the Pensford, Publow and the Stantons Community Trust (PPSCT) which makes grants to local community projects. If you would like to know more about the Trust please visit The organising committee said they would like to thank everyone involved in supporting the event especially the landowners, kitchen helpers, marshals, members of Stanton Drew WI and the village hall committee without whom the event could not take place.

Runners doing some pre-race route checking. MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017 • PAGE 83

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Young musicians

EIGHT Churchill Academy students performed for the coveted title of Churchill Music!’s Young Musician of the Year, entertaining the audience with song, piano, guitar, violin and cello solos. Anna Lalande from Year 13 won the overall prize for her vocal performances; George Skeen, Year 11, won the junior trophy; the audience voted for Joe Richardson, Year 12; Molly Sprouting, Year 11, won the Raymond Hayter Song prize. Following the performance, all the students have been invited to play at the Young Artists’ Showcase at St George’s, Bristol. Jan Murray, from Churchill Music! said: “The concert was so much more than a show of young talent. It is a testament to the atmosphere of Churchill, where music is at the heart of education. Something we feel passionately about at Churchill Music!”

Choirs plan joint concert

Spring concert


NAILSEA'S prestigious choral society, now in its 91st year of music making, will perform Mozart's staggering masterpiece, the 'Great' Mass in C minor at its spring concert on March 11th with the choir's conductor of five years, Tom Williams. No stranger to tackling large-scale works, Tom can be found for most of the working week at St Martin-in-the-Fields where he is the assistant director of music and conducts the majority of the church's liturgies. Despite his London base, Tom, aged 31, maintains a close link with the West Country having been educated at the University of Bristol. He is the Artistic Director of the Clifton International Festival of Music, which plays host to some of classical music's biggest names and in 2012 he founded The Erebus Ensemble, a specialist early music group that appears frequently on BBC radio and Classic FM and performs at festivals across the UK and Europe in a busy calendar of events. Erebus still performs at least one concert a year in the West Country. With a stellar line up of soloists and orchestra and Nailsea Choral Society's musical and nuanced approach, the Mozart concert promises to be something special. It will be held at the Methodist Church, Nailsea on Saturday March 11th, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12, under-18s £5.

Mendip players

Cheddar Male Choir at Draycott Hall

CHEDDAR Male Choir and Taunton Deane Male Voice Choir are singing a joint concert at the Victoria Methodist Church, Weston-super-Mare, on Saturday March 11th at 7.30pm, raising funds for the Prostate Cancer Care Appeal. Cheddar Male Choir perform around 12 fundraising concerts a year for charities and good causes and have raised well over £145,000 in their 22 years of existence. Tickets are £8 on the door or from choir members. The choir is always on the lookout for men and holds practice sessions every Tuesday at Draycott Memorial Hall, 7.30pm9pm. Details: or go to


THE Mendip Players, directed by Allie White, performed Dick Whittington at Draycott and Rodney Stoke Memorial Hall. Pictured (l to r) are Dick Whittington, Nathan Tabberer, Sarah the cook, Keith Batten and Alice Fitzwarren, Hennasey Faye Millard.

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Railway has it all mapped out


RAIL enthusiasts in Midsomer Norton have completed the restoration of one of the very few working leveroperated signal boxes in the country. The signal box Electrician Mike Bridges (right) showing volat Midsomer unteers Simon and Phil the new illuminated Norton South diagram station is an exact replica of the one used by the original Somerset and Dorset Railway. The line is run by the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust. A final touch was achieved by Signalman Alan Price and his team of qualified electricians and signal men when the illuminated diagram of the signals was installed. He said: “We now have an illuminated signal box diagram reflecting the complexity of the final signalling scheme for Midsomer Norton.” The signals will be in use again for the station’s next event, the Somerset and Dorset gala weekend on Saturday, March 4th and Sunday, March 5th. For details visit:


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Spot the locals as new film hits the big screen

WELLS Film Centre is to host a charity pre-release screening of a new film shot largely around Mendip and which includes some local residents as extras. Another Mother’s Son tells the story of one family’s dilemma during the German occupation of Jersey in the Second World War. It is based on the true story of Louisa Gould, a largely unsung heroine of the war. The Channel Islanders were the first to experience life under the Third Reich. Jersey became something of a prison island, where captured Prisoners of War (particularly from Russia) were brought and forced to build an Atlantic Wall, a huge concrete fortification to defend the islands from British counter attack. British citizens who were not born on the island were sent to Germany. Scenes for the film – a Bill Kenwright production – were shot in Wells, Bath and also at Cranmore near Shepton Mallet. It stars Jenny Seagrove as Louisa who harbours a Russian POW and also features John Hannah, Ronan Keating, Susan Hampshire and Peter Wright. The film’s general release is on Friday, March 24th, but the film centre will stage the charity screening on Thursday, March 23rd. The night will raise money for The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. ● Tickets are £10 each and include a glass of wine or soft drink. Doors/reception from 6.30pm with the film beginning at 7.30pm.

Filming inside Cranmore church

Princes Road, Wells, BA5 1TD

Starts Friday 24th February Starts Friday 3rd March Starts Friday 10th March Starts Friday 17th March Starts Friday 24th March


Extras on location at the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore

Croscombe pantomime

Croscombe and Dinder Frolics put on the panto Dick Whittington and his Cat in the village hall.

Cheddar Stage Society

Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk (15) Trainspotting 2 (18)

Logan (cert tbc) • Viceroy's House (12A) The Founder (12A) Kong Skull Island (cert tbc) 3D/2D

Beauty & The Beast (cert tbc) 3D/2D Another Mother's Son (cert tbc)

● Book in person ● Online 24/7 ● Over the ’phone: 01749 673195


Cheddar Stage Society put on a Back to the Eighties show at Fairlands Middle School in Cheddar

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Fayre set fair after 2016 wash out

Battle stations for this year’s medieval fayre

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THE Glastonbury Medieval Fayre is to be held at Glastonbury Abbey this Easter despite last year’s stormy weather which

threatened its future. The bad weather meant visitor figures plummeted and organiser Paul Lawrence had to fund the event from his own pocket. Since then, Paul and staff at the abbey have been working together to reduce the overheads to ensure the event can go ahead. This year’s event will feature jousting, a battle, archery and children’s activities. Tickets are now on sale. Paul said: “It was touch and go whether we’d be able to continue with the Fayre but we now have a robust plan in place to ensure we don’t have to remove it from Glastonbury’s calendar. I have been really encouraged by the messages of support I’ve received and we have 11 weeks to sell as many tickets as we can.” James Stone, the abbey’s events manager, said: “The Medieval Fayre is a key event for our calendar and we were really pleased to be able to work with Paul to ensure it goes ahead in 2017.” ● The event will take place on Saturday, April 15th and Sunday, April 16th. Tickets cost £10 per adult, £5 for a child (five to 15)/abbey members, £27.50 for a family (two adults and two children) and can be bought at

Take mum for a spin

MUMS love cars too – it’s official! Do you want something different to buy your mum for Mother’s Day? Are you fed-up with buying flowers and chocolate? How about an exclusive chance to drive an iconic car? Haynes International Motor Museum is offering you the chance to choose from a selection of cars, including supercars and luxury marques. This is a present that your mum will talk about for years to come. Don’t worry, there’s plenty for dad and kids to do too; why not visit the museum or enjoy a pit stop in Café 750? Details:


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M e n d i p

Please send entries for these listings as a single paragraph of approximately 25 words. We’re happy to list entries for charities and voluntary groups free of charge – but please submit them in the format below. Commercial entries cost £25.

Tuesday February 21st NADFAS illustrated lectures Imperial Purple to Denim Blue, Caryford Hall, Castle Cary, BA7 7JJ, 11am, free parking, £6. Details: 01963 350132. Midsomer Norton Townswomen’s Guild, St John’s church hall, BA3 4HX, 2pm, Oh I do like to be beside the seaside with John Penny. Details: Glen Hepworth 01761 413528. Thursday February 23rd The Strawberry Line Society agm, 7.30pm, at the Recreation Ground, Winscombe, with speaker Jeff Vinter on Life after Beeching, all welcome. West Mendip Walkers easy circular walk 7mi/11km from Mark Church, OS Map Ex140 ST381478, start 12.30pm, park Mark Church car park. Details: Ken Masters 01749 670349/07784 941439 or Legs, Wings & Carnivorous Things lesser known life of the New Forest, talk by Bryan Pinchen, 7.30pm, St. Catherine’s Church Hall, Park Road, Frome, BA11 1EU (ST774478), adults £2.50, children and students £1. Details: Mick Ridgard or 01373 463875. Avon Wildlife Trust What are humans doing in nature? An illustrated talk by Ian Roderick, director of the Schumacher Institute, Chew Magna Millennium Hall, 7.45pm, £2.50, season tickets available. Friday February 24th Winscombe Folk Night – Reg Meuross singer, songwriter and storyteller, St James’ Church Hall, 52, Woodborough Road, Winscombe, BS25 1BA, doors open 7.30pm, in aid of Winscombe Branch of the RNLI, cash bar. Details: tickets, £12, available in advance from James Barattini 07703 538861 All Saints’ Church, Weston-super-Mare combined concert with choirs from Churchill Academy, Bristol Cathedral Choir School, Trinity Singers and Bristol Cathedral Choir School Choral Society, plus orchestra of school musicians and professional players, JS Bach’s Magnificat and Chichester Psalms, by Leonard Bernstein, 7pm. Details: Saturday February 25th Redhill Club Quiz Night, 8pm, suitable for teams (6 max.) or individuals, £1 entry per person and winning team takes the prize money, bar and refreshments available, all welcome, Church Road, BS40 5SG. Details: 01934 862619. Congresbury Book Sale 9am-1pm at War Memorial Hall, good quality books, jigsaw puzzles, dvds, cds and talking books. Taize’ and Teas at Stoke St Michael Church, 4pm, you are invited to come and join in singing chants from Taize’ with us or just come, listen and enjoy our wonderful church, free entry but donations to church funds always welcome, refreshments available afterwards. Details: Janet 01749 840409. Mendip Society walk around Henton, meet 1.30pm at Henton Village Hall (BA5 1PD), moderate fivemile walk over Yarley Hill, Wookey long ford and Knowle Hill with good views. Details: Brian 01749 672 457. Frome Society for Local Study and Frome Civic Society, Restoring the West End of Wells Cathedral, Jerry Sampson, Assembly Rooms, 2.30pm. Cam Valley Arts Trail Group, art and craft workshops, Conygre Hall, Timsbury. Details: Spring Market, Wookey Church Hall, Wookey BA5 PAGE 88 • MENDIP TIMES • MARCH 2017

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1JS, 9.30am-12.30pm. Details: S. Watts 01749 677381. Somerset Plant Heritage, Edington Village Hall TA7 9HA, off A39, members’ plant sale, 2.30pm, talk on tulips by Rob Evans, national collection holder of gladioli, visitors welcome, £4. Details: 01278 451631. Sunday February 26th Growing Frome Potato Day and seed swap, 10am3pm, Cheese and Grain, £2 donation, food, workshops, talks and children’s activities. Monday February 27th – Friday April 28th Bishop’s Palace, Wells Know Your Place historical exhibition. Details: 01749 988111 or Monday February 27th The Green Gardeners welcome James Cross, head gardener at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells to talk about the history and development of the gardens, 7.30pm, the Parish Rooms, Somerton, visitors welcome, £2. Congresbury Memorial Hall Club Friendship evening with a game of bingo, non-members welcome, 8pm at Congresbury War Memorial Hall. Tuesday February 28th Congresbury Over-60s Club Friendship Hour, tea, biscuits and chat with friends! Congresbury War Memorial Hall, 2.30-4pm. Details: 01934 832004. St James’ Church, Winscombe pancake races in the field at the Community Centre, 3.30, with tea afterwards at St. James Church Hall. Wednesday March 1st Backwell and Nailsea Support Group for carers and ex-carers (Crossroads Alliance), Backwell WI Hall, BS48 3QW, 2pm-3.30pm, a talk on card making, also a quiz, raffle, and tea and home-made cakes, fee entry, new carers always welcome. Thursday March 2nd West Mendip Walkers moderate circular walk from Roadwater 10mi/16km, start 10am, park near church. Details: Tony Strange 01934733783 07976 902706 or Friday March 3rd Cheddar Library rhyme time for babies session, on the first Friday of each month, 2.30-3pm, it’s free and there’s no need to book! Details: Amanda Kelly or 0300 123 2224. Redhill Village Club Open Mic Night from 8pm, hosted by Jerry Blythe. Join us and unwind with an evening of live music, acoustic singer-songwriters at their very best. Details: Jerry 07900 587646. Saturday March 4th Mendip Society walk at Ebbor Gorge and Wookey Hole, meet 1.30pm in car park half way up Deer Leap, near BA5 1AY), hard walk with 1000 ft. of ascents. Details: Jo 01749 870813. Craft Market, organised by Midsomer Norton Community Trust. Runs alongside the Midsomer Norton Farmers’ Market. 9am-1pm, The Hollies Garden, Midsomer Norton. Ffi: or call 01761 419133 Tuesday March 7th Mendip Decorative and Fine Arts Society, James Russell will talk about Eric Ravilious, Designer: Wood engravings, Ceramics and Lithography, Bath & West Bar & Restaurant, B & W Show Ground, Shepton Mallet BA4 6QN, 11am, guests welcome. Details: 01934 862435. Wednesday March 8th Bristol Cathedral combined concert with choirs from Churchill Academy, Bristol Cathedral Choir School, Trinity Singers and Bristol Cathedral Choir School Choral Society, plus orchestra of school musicians and professional players, JS Bach’s Magnificat and Chichester Psalms, by Leonard

W h a t ’ s

Bernstein, 7pm. Details: Wells Civic Society Sacred Geometry – Tom Bree explores geometric patterns in art, philosophy and more, Wells and Mendip Museum, 7.30pm. Wrington and Burrington Hedging Society match, Freemans Farm, Barrow Gurney. Wednesday March 8th Nailsea Horticultural Society talk from Chris and Judy Yates “Confessions of a Plantaholic”, Nailsea United Reformed Church Hall, 7.30pm, £2 for members, £3 for non-members includes free refreshments, all welcome. Thursday March 9th West Mendip Walkers leisurely circular walk from Stanton Prior 6.5mi/10.4km, start 12.30pm, park near church. Details: Masters 01749 670349 07784 941439 or Saturday March 11th Mendip Society walk Paulton to High Littleton, meet at 1.30pm in High Street car park opposite Red Lion (BS39 7NW), moderate five to six miles passing a disused railway, canal, brook, wood and waterfall. Details: Kathy 01761 479110. Frome Society for Local Study and Frome Civic Society, Beyond Where Wiltshire Meets Somerset, Roger Jones, Assembly Rooms, 2.30pm. Nailsea Choral Society spring concert, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor with soloists from the Erebus Ensemble, Methodist Church, Nailsea 7.30pm, tickets £12, U-18s £5. Cheddar Male Voice choir joint concert with Taunton Deane Male Voice Choir in aid of the Prostate Cancer Care Appeal, Victoria Methodist Church, Weston-super-Mare, 7.30pm, tickets on the door or from choir members. Details: Seedy Saturday, Timsbury Conygre Hall, 10am to 2pm. Details: Sunday March 12th Mendip Society "The Priddy Walk" led by Sue Gearing and Les Davies, authors of Miles More Mendip, meet at 10am in car park (half way up Deer Leap near to BA5 1AY), moderate 6.8 mile diverse circular walk of about four hours, taking in Priddy, ancient barrows, field systems, mining and caving, level with no hills, several stiles and fine views. Details: Sue 01934 862279. Chapel Farm Rehabilitation Centre, Pensford, Bristol, BS39 4NE, doggie swimathon in memory of Jenny Reakes, proceeds to Marie Curie Cancer Research, £16 per 20 minute slot. Details: 01761 490 944. Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Love Actually wedding fair, 11am-3pm. Details: 01749 988111. Wednesday March 15th Henton and District Gardening Club, Henton Village Hall, BA5 1PD, illustrated talk by Derry Watkins renowned plantswoman, author and plant hunter on “Derelict Hill Farm to Garden – In a Year or Two or Twenty”, 7.30pm, tickets £5, including coffee. Details: 01749 672084. Thursday March 16th West Mendip Walkers moderate circular walk in Abbot’s Leigh area 10mi/16km, start 10am, park in lay-by off A369 Pill Road. Details: Vi Howley 07711 662993 or Friday March 17th Guitar Concert Barton St David Village Hall, TA11 6BS, 7.30pm, adults £12, students £9, in aid of the village hall. Details: or 01458 850052. Cleeve Nursery Garden Re-Leaf day showing Alan Down’s private collection and stock plant collection

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of Hellebores, 10am-4pm, numbers will be limited to just 12 people every 15 minutes throughout the day, £4, all proceeds to the Greenfingers charity to build more gardens in children’s hospices. Details: 01934 832134 or contact Mendip Society visit to Fernhill Farm with optional walk afterwards. Details: Judith Tranter 01275 874284. Saturday March 18th Mendip Society easy/moderate walk "Along the Sheppey to Fenny Castle", meet at 1.30pm at Wells Sports Centre, Charter Way, Wells (BA5 2FB), easy/moderate five-mile walk linking a Norman castle with a WW2 pillbox. Details: Roger 01179 620541. Wells Cathedral special “Reformation Tours” 11.30am-1pm and 2-3.30pm to support the series of Lent Reformation seminars, led by the Cathedral’s librarian and archivist, include a look at Reformation books and documents in cathedral archives, £10pp. Details: No under 16s and limited access due to stairs. Wessex Stationary Engine Club vintage sale at East Somerset Railway, West Cranmore, Shepton Mallet BA4 4QP, 8am onwards. Details: 01225 754374. Charity concert by Caerphilly Male Voice Choir. St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells. Hosted by Wells Lions Club. 7.30pm. Tickets £10 or £15 (reserved seating). Call 01458 210926 or email Proceeds to Wells-based charities dealing with dementia sufferers and their families. Sunday March 19th Bishop’s Palace, Wells Rare Plant Fair, 10am-4pm, over 20 stalls from nurseries throughout the South West, entrance £5, including entrance to palace and gardens. Details: 01749 988111. Glastonbury Seed Swap, 12-5pm at The Red Brick Building and Community Garden. Family event. Ffi: Facebook - SeedySundaySeedSwap Monday March 20th Timsbury NATS Mya-Rose Craig talk on Antarctica, Conygre Hall, Timsbury BA2 0JQ, 7pm, £3. Details: Rodney Bruce 01761 433013. Tuesday March 21st NADFAS lecture Bhutan – the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, Caryford Hall, Castle Cary, BA7 7JJ, 11am, free parking. £6. Details: 01963 350132. Midsomer Norton Townswomen's Guild, St John's Church Hall. BA3 2HX, 2pm AGM/speaker Sarah George B&NES Waste Management Campaigns Manager. Thursday March 23rd West Mendip Walkers moderate circular walk from Cothelstone Hill 6.75mi/10.8km, start 12.30pm, park in car park. Details: Roger Mead 01934 743088 or Avon Wildlife Trust – Chew Valley Group: Moths – Hidden Beauty of the Night, an illustrated talk by Ray Barnett, entomologist, who works at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery as the Head of Collections & Archives, Chew Magna Millennium Hall, 7.45pm, admission £2.50; season ticket available. Saturday March 25th Mendip Society walk from Mells to Great Elm, meet at 1.30pm by the Talbot Inn, Selwood St. (BA11 3PN), easy four-mile walk on the Mells WW1 trail along Wadbury Valley to Great Elm. Details: Gill 01934 742508. St. John’s, Churchill, Carducci String Quartet, 7.30pm – 10pm (approx.), Champions of Churchill Music! £12, non champions £16, under 18s, £4. Details: Ursula Dornton – please send an SAE to Dove Cottage, Upper Langford, Somerset BS40 5DH.

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Wells Cathedral special “Reformation Tours” 11.30am-1pm and 2-3.30pm to support the series of Lent Reformation seminars, led by the Cathedral’s librarian and archivist, include a look at Reformation books and documents in cathedral archives, £10pp. Details: No under 16s and limited access due to stairs. Frome Society for Local Study and Frome Civic Society, agm 2pm, followed by John Joliffe on Bishop Ken, Assembly Rooms, 2.30pm. Somerset Plant Heritage, Edington Village Hall TA7 9HA, 1.30pm members’ plant sale, 2.30pm “Tulips” by Rob Evans, national collection holder of Gladiolus, visitors welcome £4. Details: 01278 451631. Sunday March 26th Chew Valley Lifeboats evening of sea shanties with High and Dry, Chew Stoke Village Hall, 7pm, cash bar, nibbles, tickets £5. Details: Keith Williams 01275 332221 Monday March 27th Wessex Stationary Engine Club, "Power of the Gods", history and building of the Bristol Aero Engine with Chris Bigg at the Old Down Inn, Emborough, BS3 4SA, all welcome, free entry. Details: 01225 754374. The Green Gardeners are having a Powerpoint presentation of their own garden projects and makeovers, 7.30pm in the Parish Rooms, Somerton, refreshments available and visitors very welcome (£2). Tuesday March 28th Bishop’s Palace, Wells needle felting workshop, 10am-3pm. Details: 01749 988111. Wednesday March 29th Backwell and Nailsea Macular Support OrCam Technologies will be demonstrating their low vision aids at Backwell W.I. Hall, Station Road, Backwell, BS48 3QW from 1.30pm, all are welcome; there are no commitments! Details: Sheila 01275 462107. Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Wells Cathedral School String Ensemble, 1pm. Details: 01749 988111. Thursday March 30th West Mendip Walkers leisurely circular walk from North Curry 9.5mi/15.2km, start 10am, park Queen’s Square. Details: Tony Strange 01934 733783 07976 902706 or Friday March 31st Mendip Society AGM Wells and Mendip Museum, 7pm, speaker Prof. Danielle Schreve of Royal Holloway University of London, leader of the current cave dig in Ebbor Gorge which promises to be the most complete fossil record in Britain. Details: 01275 874284, non-members welcome. Saturday April 1st Spectra Musica, St. Luke and St. Teresa’s Church, Wincanton All Fools’ Day concert, with musical director Peter Leech, covering a huge range of musical genres, tickets £12, starting 7.30pm. Details: 01963 350160 or on the door. Mendip Society Walk around Banwell, meet 2pm in


2 0 1 7

free car park opposite school, a moderate five-mile walk to Banwell Hill and through Christon Wood with great views, plans are for St Andrew’s Church to be open and provide refreshments, and weather permitting the tower may also be open. Details: Pauline 01934 820745. Spring Fair at the Memorial Hall, Leigh on Mendip BA3 5QH.11am-4pm for Friends of Leigh Church. Craft stalls, tombola, lunches and refreshments available. Ffi: Caroline Harris or 01373 812889 Concert by Martin Harley & Sam Lewis. Meadway Hall, Compton Dundon, 8pm, Doors 7.30pm, £10. Money raised goes towards the upkeep of the Village Hall. Ffi: Alan Riley 01458 447223 or email Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society Concert. Wells Cathedral. Belshazzar's Feast – Walton. Neal Davies (bass-baritone) & the Southern Sinfonia. Matthew Owens – conductor. 7pm. Tickets: £10-£25 Tel: 01749 672773 or on the door. Congresbury Singers perform the hugely popular Faure's Requiem and Cantique to Jean Racine, 7.30pm, St Andrew’s Church, Congresbury, light refreshments afterwards, tickets £8 from the village Post Office or on the door. Sunday April 2nd Vintage Sort-Out, organised by the Sedgemoor Vintage Club. ROF 37 Club, between Puriton and Woolavington, TA7 8AD. Ffi: Paul Baker 07785 765826. Monday April 3rd Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Nature Ninjas a days of family nature sessions in the gardens. Details: 01749 988111. Wednesday April 4th Mendip Decorative and Fine Arts Society, Exeter Cathedral: A portrait in Decorative Gothic, talk by Mark Cottle, Royal Bath & West Bar & Restaurant, B & W Show Ground, Shepton Mallet BA4 6QN, 11am, guests welcome. Details 01934 862435. Friday April 7th Bishop’s Palace, Wells Family Fun Friday, Baskets and Bonnets. Details: 01749 988111. Castle Cary Choir Spring Concert. Raising funds for Christian Aid. 7.30pm. Castle Cary Methodist Church, North Street, Castle Cary. Tickets £8 in advance (£10 on the door) inc. refreshments. Available from the Market House Information Point, Bailey Hill Books, or from David Osborne on 01963 351275 Open Mic Night from 8pm, hosted by Jerry Blythe. Join us and unwind with an evening of live music, acoustic singer-songwriters at their very best. Details: Jerry 07900 587646.

MENDIP MINDBENDER ANSWERS FOR JANUARY Across: 1 Winter break, 7 Nap, 9 Bangers, 10 Iron Age, 11 Dutch, 12 Insensate, 13 Field, 14 Associate, 17 Elbow-room, 19 Ashes, 21 Episcopal, 24 Sewer, 25 Cecilia, 26 Tacitus, 28 Sue, 29 Baked alaska. Down: 1 Web, 2 Nanette, 3 Eye shadow, 4 Bastinado, 5 Exits, 6 Known, 7 Niagara, 8 Predecessor, 11 Differences, 15 Simulated, 16 Classical, 18 Brioche, 20 How it is, 22 Celeb, 23 Prank, 27 Sea.

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Fly casting at its best! WORLD and European fly casting champion Hywel Morgan will impart his passion, enthusiasm and knowledge at this year’s West of England Game Fair. The event, taking place at the Royal Bath and West Showground on Saturday, March 18th and Sunday, March 19th, will provide visitors with the opportunity to see Hywel, one of the most popular demonstrators on the show scene, in action. His indoor demonstration in the Sedgemoor Hall will show everyone that fly fishing is for young and old alike and is very easy to pick up. Hywel will put people on the fast track of becoming good anglers, showing the do's and don’ts of fly casting and demonstrate some of the common faults. With his outdoor demonstration – the Fly Casting Masterclass – Hywel will take the audience on a journey from beginner to advanced caster demonstrating both single and double handed rods as well as explaining some tricky casts to catch those trickiest of trout. Hywel has amassed many titles in his career,


including World Games Accuracy Casting Champion, European Distance Casting Champion, European Silver Medallist (Accuracy) and is the world record holder for multiple casting (66 rods cast simultaneously), to name but a few. The fly fishing section of the show has continued to develop and there will be a variety of companies and associations in this area including: The Salmon and Trout Association, Hilditch Wood Designs, Steve the Creel Vintage Rods, Alan Riddell Custom Rods, Balfour Fly Dressing, DG Fishing, Ian Moran Fishing Tackle, Fly Dresser’s Guild, Chevron Hackles and more. The show’s other features include an on-site clay shoot with Bristol Clay Shooting, British Association for Shooting

Hywel Morgan in action at last year’s show

and Conservation (BASC) shotgun coaching, air rifle coaching, BASC gundog scurries, terrier and lurcher shows, archery, racing ferrets, vintage tractors and machinery and the Westcountry Smallholders area.


LAST month we offered you the chance to win three pairs of tickets to the West of England Game Fair. The first correct entries drawn were from Mrs R. Penny, Midsomer Norton, Mr C. Hussey, Banwell and Neil Tucker from Clevedon. Congratulations – enjoy the show.

A “poignant and utterly charming play”

AWARD-WINNING company Street Theatre have been delivering quality drama to the Strode Theatre stage for over 20 years, presenting a diverse mix of productions to create a strong, loyal following at a professional theatre. Their March production of Dancing at Lughnasa, directed by Lois Harbinson, is no exception and is sure to delight audiences. It is widely regarded as author Brian Friel’s masterpiece and winner of no less than three Tony Awards. Set in a fictional Irish village in County Donegal in August 1936 at the time of the traditional harvest Festival of Lughnasa, the story is told through the memory of Michael Evans as he remembers the five women who raised him: his mother and her four older sisters. It’s a beautiful play of much laughter and poignant tears. Go and see it. You will not be disappointed.

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Issue 10 - Volume 12 - Mendip Times  

Celebrating life on the Mendips and surrounding areas

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