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For Blandford and surrounding villages Issue No. 1

April 2012

Hospital cuts highlight travel woes THE threat of a reduced number of outpatient services at Blandford Community Hospital has highlighted a growing problem for those living in the North Dorset area without their own means of transport, or without the resources to sustain it faced with lower incomes and rising fuel prices. Shaftesbury Task Force, in association with the district and county councils and the DT11 forum community partnership, has launched a survey into the transport needs in the area. "We all know that transport could be better," they say. The new community transport organisation, which moved into town last summer to meet contracts for school transport, is considering the possibility of a town run-around service for those, particularly on estates, with no public transport facility.

WELCOME to Forum Focus, your new FREE community magazine which aims to publicise the activities of groups and organisations locally and keep you informed of local matters of interest. It is being produced entirely by volunteers and will be published monthly for distribution in Blandford and surrounding villages. We hope you enjoy our first edition and we welcome your comments and input. See page 2.

by Nicci Brown Charities such as the Lions have raised funds in support of volunteer-run transport schemes operating in the area. And in their 'vision' for the future of the hospital, the Friends of Blandford Community Hospital say: "The time and costs associated with travelling to a hospital at Dorchester or Poole, either as a patient or as a family member or friend, were often mentioned, together with complaints about the lack of public transport and parking problems. In particular rural communities experience far more problems in this respect than urban communities." One local councillor, serving on both the town council and district council, has highlighted the increasing demand which will fall on voluntary To page 4

PLACE OF SAFETY: Jack Hollowbread, left, and Miles Latham, both aged nine, prepare for their train journey as World War II evacuees during a school visit to Blandford Museum. Full story: page 10.

Lower speed limit plea for Shaftesbury Lane refused TOWN councillors have renewed their plea for a lower speed limit on Shaftesbury Lane in Blandford, where a request to Dorset County Council was refused last year. They argue that the amount of development off the road, which serves the Blandford Heights industrial estate, Badbury Heights housing estate and Damory Down estate, meant that a limit of less than 40mph was appropriate. They were told that a lower limit was not possible because there were not enough houses close to the road. Councillor Haydn White, who has argued for a reduction for many years, said: "How can that be when Tarrant Keyneston has a limit with no houses close to the road at all?�

FORUM FOCUS: Your FREE monthly community newspaper for Blandford Forum and villages


April 2012

Welcome to Forum Focus Blandford’s new free community newspaper THIS is the first edition of a new FREE community magazine which we hope will grow with your support. It will be YOUR opportunity to publicise the activities of your groups, organisations, charities and businesses amongst the wider community, and OUR opportunity to keep you informed of what is going on locally. All the contributors are volunteers and we need more clubs and societies to submit reports and details of their meetings to include in the columns. We also need volunteers to deliver the magazine in their individual streets or areas and above all local businesses to advertise in it and support the production of more pages at a sustainable cost.

This first edition has been sponsored by Colin's Community Club in Damory Street, with funding from advertisers and supporters, and we are grateful to Blandford Town Council for agreeing to give us a start-up grant of £1,000. To submit articles, reports and other editorial material, contact Nicci Brown on 01258 459346, email or drop written material in to the Community Club in Damory Street marked 'Forum Focus'. Contributors are asked to stick to a maximum of 250 words. Readers’ letters are also welcomed within the 250-word limit and the editor reserves the right to edit them. To advertise, contact John Stayt on 01258 456999 or email to ask for our rates and sizes. To volunteer for delivery in your area, call Jackie Stayt on 01258 456999 or email, with details of how many copies you can deliver and where. To help with production, contact Nicci on 01258 459346 or email The registered address for Forum Focus is 18 Tudor Gardens, Blandford DT11 7PL.

Blandford Forum Town Council Town Council Venue Hire

the year. Reports from organisations and the business community will follow and there will be an opportunity to meet members of other organisations, councillors and officers after the meeting when light refreshments will be available. If your organisation would like to give a presentation on their activities, or to submit specific questions or items for discussion by 20 April 2012, please contact the Town Clerk's Office using the details below.

The Town Council has frozen its hire charges for the Town Council venues, indoor market stalls, the Shambles and the sports clubs (bowling, cricket and football) for 2012/13. The cemetery charges are increased by 3.5% and rounded up to the nearest £1.00. Furthermore, the Town Council is now obliged to charge VAT on memorials as advised by HM Revenue & Customs VAT Directorate, which must come into effect on 1st April 2012.

Blandford Cemetery A planning application has been submitted to extend the cemetery into the field at the top of the cemetery due to the current capacity nearing full.

New Street Name The Town Council were asked to put forward suggestions to assign a street name for the new development off Wimborne Road. Councillors suggested Diamond Way, in honour of the Diamond Jubilee, which was approved by the developers and the district council.

Town Council Budget Although Blandford Forum Town Council's budget for 2012-2013 has been increased in line with inflation, there is no increase to residents' council tax due to the increase in the number of properties within the town. The Town Council will be identifying actions for

Town Council Grants its new Strategic Plan for 2012-2016. This includes the redevelopment of the Corn Exchange, for which a planning application has been submitted, and the expansion of the cemetery as it is nearing capacity. The £50,000 contribution to Blandford Leisure Centre will continue and £22,000 has been set aside for grants to local organisations. Throughout the year the Town Council will continue to manage its venues, facilities and services provided for the residents of Blandford Forum and visitors to the town.

Annual Town Assembly The Chairman of Council and Town Mayor, Cllr Esme Butler, will be holding the Annual Town Assembly in the Corn Exchange at 7pm on Wednesday 25 April 2012. All residents, local organisations and the business community are invited to attend the Town Assembly where Cllr Butler will give a report on the Council's activities throughout

The Town Council makes grants annually to charitable and voluntary organisations. The organisation must benefit the Blandford Forum community and priority will be given to applications that improve the quality of life for Blandford Forum residents, support the viability of small Blandford Forum based groups, clearly demonstrate financial need, and for projects that increase the economic viability of Blandford Forum. The deadline to receive applications is 18 May 2012 and applicants will be advised of the outcome after the June Town Council meeting. Grants application forms will also be available at the Annual Town Assembly. Town Clerk's Office, Church Lane, Blandford Forum, DT11 7AD Tel: 01258 454500 Fax: 01258 454432 Email:


April 2012

Film launch features local director’s pioneer work A PROGRAMME of special events to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year in Blandford began with a screening by Blandford Film Society of 'Moulin Rouge', the story of artist Toulouse-Lautrec. Made in 1952, the year of the Queen's accession, the film is one of the early works of the society's president, cinematographer Ossie Morris, now 96 and living in Fontmell Magna. Mr Morris was unable to be at the screening, attended by more than 100 members, but was said to be very honoured that his film, directed by John Huston and the first of eight in which he worked with the leading director, was being made a feature of the Jubilee programme. In it he pioneered the use of Technicolor at the start of a career which was later to see him win an Academy Award for the cinematography in 'Fiddler on the Roof' in 1971 and nominations for 'Oliver!' (1968) and 'The Wiz' (1978). A bomber pilot with the RAF during the war, he won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Cross and in 1998 became an OBE. In 2006 he published his memoirs, 'Huston: We Have a Problem'. The screening at the Blandford School was preceded by newsreel footage of the 1950s, including the death of the King and the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, as well as some advertisements of the day which proved amusing. Blandford Film Society has now ended its 2011/12 season and will be starting again at the Blandford School in September, but Durweston village hall will be screening The Iron Lady on 7th April and War Horse on 27th April. Moviola has no venues in the DT11 area this year but will be showing The Iron Lady at Fontmell Magna on 11th April.

Marilyn’s final fling THE end of an era came to the Tuesday night quiz at Nelson's wine bar with the retirement of Marilyn Gibbons, who has been quizmaster for more than 11 years. During that time, she has compiled more than 500 quizzes for the teams which gather regularly to pit their wits against each other, and in April last year, her 500th was celebrated with a special presentation. It was followed by another at the end of February when the former WRAC member presented her final quiz in the week of her retirement from more recent work for the Civil Service at Blandford Camp. Mrs Gibbons has also, for several years, compiled the Poppy Appeal quiz for the Blandford Royal British Legion, and it was at the Legion club in Church Lane, Blandford, that her retirement party was held, attended by large numbers of family from across the country, friends, Legion members and regular quizzers.

Quizzers at the Nelson's Ale House quiz night toasting Marilyn Gibbons with a massive bouquet in recognition of her 11 years as quizmaster.


April 2012

Patients’ travel woe From Page 1 services such as that provided by the Friends by a team of only 40 volunteer drivers. Tony Harrocks has also highlighted an issue raised at the recent health service consultation meeting to discuss the changes at the hospital by a volunteer driver who found herself unable to afford the rising cost of insurance cover for her role. "No attempt has been made to establish how many patients will not be able to reclaim the cost of transport and may need help to access services," he said. He has called for a full assessment of the impact and says the only answer could be a community bus service between Blandford and Dorchester and appointments timed to coincide with its schedule. Town councillors, who in February welcomed in principle the town community bus service proposal, agreed that they should draw up a detailed response to the health service proposals.

Town divided by store wars A DECISION by North Dorset District Council to approve the extension plans for the Tesco supermarket at Blandford St Mary, without waiting for an application from Asda for a new development on the other side of Blandford, enraged many people. The Asda application had been supported by a petition signed by hundreds of people, many of whom believed the two supermarkets’ applications should have been considered side by side.

by Nicci Brown And the inclusion in the proposed conditions and legal agreements of contributions to further 'enhancement' of the town centre has also angered town councillors, who were concerned that neither they nor the local district councillors had been consulted on the suggestion.

But the Asda application had been submitted more than a year after the Tesco one, which had already been the subject of extensive consultation, and proposals had already been drawn up to mitigate its impact on the town.

They also complained at the way the public had been excluded from discussion on the reasons why their representatives' proposal was withdrawn. Councillor Mike Owen, a magistrate, said at a town council meeting following the decision that in a court of law the clerk would have had to report publicly on the advice that had been given in camera.

The application was approved by seven votes to three, following rejection of a request by town members Joe Hickish and Esme Butler for deferral.

Time will now tell whether Asda pursue their application, which is likely to take several months to come to committee, in the light of the Tesco approval.

Scooter charity in plea for premises A SMALL North Dorset charity which supplies mobility scooters and aids to the disabled at low cost is looking for premises where it can store and maintain the equipment. A small workshop unit or large garage with power and water supply is all that is needed,

but because most of the volunteers offering their time to the Disability Action Group (North Dorset) live in Blandford, it needs to be in the Blandford area. If anyone can help, please contact 01258 453694.

Double blow for DT11 partnership HOPES of establishing an environmental centre in the former Milldown Primary School seem to have been dashed following Dorset County Council's decision to demolish the building and level the site. County Councillor Barrie Cooper told Blandford Town Council that the site was due to be cleared this spring or summer. He said plans could come forward in the autumn for use of the site but nothing has yet been received from the education authority about suggested housing development on the playing field. The DT11 Forum community partnership had hoped to use part of the old school as a centre focusing on the nearby North Dorset Trailway and is now considering other options. The Forum has also hit a stumbling block over its plans to open a 'community hub' at the former Three Choughs pub in West Street. A number of grant applications have been rejected, and funding is proving difficult. Chairman Scott Norman said that after two years of working towards achieving the project and negotiating a lease with Hall & Woodhouse, he hoped they would not have to give up on the idea at this late stage.


April 2012

Mixed messages for hall scheme A ÂŁ4m to ÂŁ5m refurbishment plan for Blandford Corn Exchange has received a mixed response from the public. An application has now been submitted to North Dorset District Council for planning permission to remodel the listed building. The works include installing a staircase and lift to the Town Hall on the first floor and extending the council offices and community room at the rear. Illustrative drawings were exhibited in the building at a community showcase in February, when project officer Nikki Ginn said she was 'heartened' by the response to the proposals, which have been the subject of negotiation for several years. The town council already has half a million pounds set aside towards the project but will need to raise the bulk of the remainder through grant applications.

They can also count on support from sums collected from developers of new housing in the area as part of their contributions to local infrastructure. But Mrs Ginn admitted that some had been concerned at the cost of the venture and others had raised concerns about specific features in the proposal. "There were also a lot of people who were very supportive," she said. One objection has already been made by the newly formed Blandford Amateur Dramatic Society, whose chairman Lee Harris said they were very much opposed to the planned removal of the stage and proscenium arch which they have become accustomed to using in their productions. The intention is to replace it with a moveable stage area similar to that in the Blandford School, and retractable raked seating.

Safety team out and about on the beat BLANDFORD's PACT panel and Safer Neighbourhood Team have revised their operation and suspended the panel meetings held bimonthly at which issues were raised. Instead the SNT holds regular drop-in sessions in local shops, details of which can be found at the police station, town and district council offices. At the final public meeting, Sgt Matt Chutter outlined steps which had been taken to address the problem of rough sleepers in the town churchyard and elsewhere. He said that individuals had been excluded from

the town and interventions by other partners had helped them address accommodation and lifestyle issues. The general feeling of the meeting was that the number of incidents had been much reduced. His report was confirmed at last month's town council meeting when a presentation was given by a representative of the Exeter Drugs Project which operates in the town to help those abusing drugs and alcohol. It was reported that a number of the rough sleepers had accepted help to address their problems.


April 2012

Superfast cash boost A BID for funding towards Superfast Broadband on behalf of local authorities in Dorset has been successful. It will result in £9.44m coming to the county, supported by match-funding by the county and district councils. Negotiations will be taking place to secure a commercial provider who will match-fund the total, making a potential £38m available to invest in infrastructure for the service. North Dorset District Council has budgeted £740,000 to the project, which will help 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Dorset (7,231 properties in North Dorset) get access to a superfast connection and everyone in Dorset to have at least two megabits per second. The DT11 Forum community partnership is leading a district-wide project to achieve even better results for the rural areas of North Dorset.

Cautious welcome for new bus routes THE possibility of a bus service two days a week to parts of two well-populated Blandford housing estates which currently have no public transport has been welcomed in principle by the Town Council. Not-for-profit transport company ECT (Ealing Community Transport), which carries out school contract work for Dorset County Council, has drawn up a circular route of Damory Down and Badbury Heights to link them with the town centre and hospital on Tuesdays and Fridays. The council had been advised by the company at a previous meeting that it was looking for routes to fill down-time during the day,

between school runs, and it was reported that there were currently issues in that drivers had nowhere to park their vehicles during the day. But town councillors queried the timetable and route they proposed, to run half-hourly between 9.40am and 2pm with an optional service just after 4pm, and include Albert Street and Alfred Street. They said it would be impossible to achieve, particularly when it was a market day and could take 20 minutes to get through the town centre. They commented that a flat fare of £1.20 would be welcome, although Councillor Steve Hitchings, declaring his interest as a taxi driver, said it would impact on other transport providers in the

town such as himself and could drive them out of business. The service could start in East Street and include Whitecliff Mill Street, Milldown Road, Jubilee Way to the top and return. It would then go via Heddington Drive to Holland Way, Shaftesbury Lane, Cobham Road, Sandbourne and Shottesford Avenues, and back along Salisbury Road through to Damory Court Street, Langton, Riverside and Stour Roads and back to the town centre. It was agreed to welcome the proposal in principle, but to ask the company to look again at the route and timings.


April 2012

Doddlers help to fund the Trailway breakthrough A ÂŁ1,000 donation from running group the Dorset Doddlers has boosted the hopes of the North Dorset Trailway Network of a significant step forward for the route along the former Somerset & Dorset railway line.

horse riders, cyclists and the disabled, and benefits both local residents and tourists to Dorset.

The line is gradually being opened up for use as a safe, accessible route for walkers,

Doddler Graham Smith said: "The Trailway is very important to the Doddlers, as it

It currently links Sturminster Newton with Stourpaine, and south-west of Blandford a stretch between Charlton Marshall and Spetisbury.

MAKING TRACKS: Graham Smith of Dorset Doddlers, hands a cheque to Lesley Gasson, chair of the Trailway Network, with trustees Scott Norman, James Martin and treasurer Keith Yarwood. enables them to train and use it to complete their big offroad race, which draws more than 400 runners from all over the country. "We also hope that the money will help benefit young people who head ranger Giles Nicholson is hoping to train as rangers."

ANNIVERSARY CAKE: Thelma White (second from right) and her helpers Norah Trevitt, Sarah Heaney, Joyce Hobbs, Vera Ovey, Betty Soper and (right) Judy Fitzpatrick.

Methodist milestone A BLANDFORD lunch club celebrated its 20th anniversary with thanks to the Dorset Probation Trust's Community Payback Unit, which has provided its 'workforce'. The first meal was cooked in January 1992 for the Methodist Lunch Club in Blandford Methodist Church Hall, which is run by a team of helpers led by Thelma White, a helper from the start who is now in her 90s. It was cooked and served by offenders serving on a Community Punishment Order, a tradition continuing today for those subject to an Unpaid Work Requirement. Supervised by the Unpaid Work Unit, the offenders help decide the menu, prepare, cook, serve and clear up for elderly people in the Blandford area two days a week. Mrs White said: "We just could not continue to provide this essential service without their help and I know that the people who cook and serve up the food to us get a great deal of satisfaction and purpose from the work. The hall has also been repainted by offenders - they really do a fantastic job." Community Payback Unit Manager Mel Crawford said: "This is an ideal Community Payback project. The offenders get a great deal out of this project, interacting with the elderly and seeing how their efforts really do benefit the community. "It helps to reduce the fear of crime among the elderly and is a fantastic achievement."

A bid is being made to the Sowing Seeds regeneration fund for resources to train the young unemployed to be taken on with quality training at Kingston Maurward. It is hoped that the whole section from Sturminster Newton to Spetisbury could be open by the end of the year.


April 2012

FOCUS on charities

Pre-school seeking a new treasurer BLANDFORD Opportunity Group is seeking the services of a new treasurer to succeed the present incumbent who is planning to retire. The pre-school for children with special needs has been established for 20 years and

operates out of the William Williams Hall in Whitecliff Gardens, Blandford, catering for children from across North and East Dorset, and is run by a committee made up of local people, parents and staff. It facilitates the provision of specialist therapy services for children with severe and complex medical needs and profound disabilities, and costs about ÂŁ63,000 a year to run, with only a fraction of support from statutory funders. Chairman Colin Stevens said: "Currently we have a very experienced treasurer who is a local accountant, but he is looking to retire so we are seeking a new treasurer. The current treasurer will help the new person settle into the role. "We are always looking to gain new committee members and friends who can help us with fundraising and other projects. "We have recently lost a considerable amount of funding from the government and to be able to continue to operate we will need to raise large sums of money, for which we need help." Anyone interested in helping out in any way can contact the group on 01258 456187, or contact the chairman Colin Stevens on 01258 453955.

Co-founders Dave Sullivan and Sue Diffey, with Mayor of Blandford Esme Butler and her husband Dave at the official opening of the Youth Aid project.

New youth group denied town cash A NEW and independent youth service launched by a former project co-ordinator with Blandford's young people's advice centre Treads has been refused grant funding by Blandford Town Council. Sue Diffey, who has also worked at Blandford Youth Centre and at Blandford Camp, and fellow youth worker Dave Sullivan, are founder members of Youth Aid, a nonprofit organisation housed in premises in the Anchor Gateway between Salisbury Street and Church Lane. There it plans to offer a coffee bar 'drop-in' service with extended opening where young people will be able to access the internet for job hunting, use the television, try DJ mixing, source information and research topics, training and learning opportunities, as well as interacting with their peers. A launch evening in March was well attended and indicated huge support. The project is now open from 10am to 3pm on Monday and Wednesday, from noon to 6pm on Tuesday and Friday, and from 4pm to 8pm on Thursday, with a wide range of provisions for young people planned, including CV building workshops, homework clubs, drug and alcohol awareness sessions and volunteering opportunities.

Ms Diffey said the project would welcome offers of voluntary support or donations. Town council members were recommended not to support an application for start-up funds for Youth Aid, which will be the fourth service for young people in the town in addition to the youth centre, the Blandford Youth Trust, which funds counselling work at the Blandford School, and Treads. The reason for rejection was said to be fears for the project's sustainability. Treads, meanwhile, with the support of the William Williams charity, has relocated from premises in Salisbury Street to a new venue off the Market Place in Bere's Yard, behind the Weldmar charity shop, where it will continue to offer advice and information to help young people in an informal setting. Treads is now part of a new DCC Advice Information and Guidance pilot project called Continuum together with five other centres, including Toby's in Shaftesbury, The Rendezvous in Sherborne, The Mill in Bridport and Routes in Dorchester. Anyone between 11 and 19 is invited to visit them and take advantage of the new facilities between 3.45pm and 6.15pm Monday to Friday, try their new 'Advisor Online' service, or call 01258 455448.


April 2012

30 years and still crying . . . TOWN crier Jean Wells is celebrating her 30th year in the role and her 22nd as Blandford's holder of the honorary title. Mrs Wells was appointed deputy crier to Jim Langridge in May 1982 after being 'head-hunted' by the former Mayor of Shaftesbury, Stanley Mansbridge. In 1987 she became town crier to Charlton Marshall where she had first lived when she and her family moved from Devon, having been evacuated from London to Cornwall during the war. She succeeded Mr Langridge in the post in Blandford when he retired in 1989 and at the age of 77 is now heading into her fourth decade of ringing her cherished bell. She was presented with a bouquet by the Mayor, Councillor Esme Butler, when she was invited to cry at a family birthday party at the Crown Hotel two days after the anniversary of her appointment as Blandford crier.

. . . 100 years and still enjoying the bridge club AUDREY Cumming of East Street, Blandford, celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family at a gathering in the Crown Hotel. Mrs Cumming, who has lived for the last ten years at Chestnut Court, comes originally from Penarch in South Wales, where her father, John F. Blundell, was a ship builder. She married her husband James, who was a dental surgeon, and they had three children. Her husband served as a medic during the war, when

she endured the Blitz in Bristol. After the war they moved to Abbots Leigh just outside Bristol, and she moved to Blandford when she was 89 to be near daughter Jackie Budd, who lives in Blandford St Mary. She said: "My mum was still playing golf when she was nearly 90, and is still playing bridge." Mrs Cumming had always been an avid golfer and was a member of the Bristol & Clifton Golf Club for many years, serving as ladies’ captain. At 99 she joined the Blandford Bridge Club, and in 2010 she joined the Blandford Royal British Legion. She's a regular attender at the Tuesday and Thursday Methodist Hall lunch club.

At the 100th birthday celebration at the Crown, she was toasted with champagne by her family and the Mayor Esme Butler, who presented her with a bouquet. But one of her favourite presents was a Audrey Cumming celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family and was presented signed picture of the Welsh Rugby with a bouquet by Mayor of Blandford Esme team. Butler.

Town crier Jean Wells (left) was left speechless - almost! - when Mayor Esme Butler surprised her with a bouquet to mark 30 years of crying.

Next deputy mayor chosen BOB Brannigan, chairman of the Blandford Royal British Legion branch and garrison staff officer at Blandford Camp, has been chosen as successor to Blandford Town Council's deputy mayor Sara Loch, who is expected to become mayor in May when Esme Butler ends her term of office. Members voted 9-4 to appoint Mr Brannigan, a town councillor since December 2009, after a secret ballot when his opponent was Councillor Jackie Stayt.


April 2012

FOCUS on schools

Pupils discover the wartime spirit PUPILS at a North Dorset primary school had the opportunity to exhibit their work on the Second World War in a reallife museum. Sycamore class at Spetisbury Primary had been working with volunteers at Blandford Museum as part of a Heritage Lottery-supported project in which their studies were recorded for posterity. They had chosen their own activities as part of the oral history project, for which they had danced in 1940s style through a PT lesson, interviewed elderly relatives who had lived through the war years, visited the Nothe Fort in Weymouth on a journey in which they carried teddy bears they had made in the style of those made for evacuee children away from home, and prepared food using ration book recipes.

They also visited Blandford Museum and walked around Blandford to see WW2 defences, film interviews with evacuees and look at museum artefacts. They attended the evening premiere of their history film with their parents and guests, who entered into the spirit of the event wearing 1940s dress. They met museum chairman Geoff Barnett and were joined by those who had taken part in their studies. Deputy head teacher Sam Kelly said: "We sent invites in telegram style to parents and veterans for the museum 1940s night and our cooking club made cakes and biscuits for the event. "It was great for the children to see their work on display in a real museum, and we had lots to display."

A Spetisbury School pupil studies the models made as part of their World War II project. The project was one of a number involving oral history which has been funded through a grant of ÂŁ23,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The museum is keen to do similar projects with local schools on a variety of topics and would like to hear from

young people wanting to take part in another oral history event at the Corn Exchange on 5th and 7th April. Contact Sylvia Hixson Andrews on 01258 458911 or blandfordtownmuseum@

Cash payback for eco savvy children PUPILS at Archbishop Wake primary school in Blandford gave a presentation to their peers at a special assembly when they were presented with the ÂŁ100 cheque they had won for their school. They had designed a poster to raise awareness of climate change and taken part in a Bushcraft Day organised by the Crown Estate to help them understand the importance of trees and woodlands. The challenge to design an innovative eco-poster was set to four local schools by the Crown Estate as part of the bushcraft day on the Bryanston Estate late last year. It was organised as part of the Crown Estate's celebration of National Tree Week and the International Year of Forestry. Andrew Wells, head of coun-

tryside management for the Crown Estate, said: "It is clear from the winning poster that all the pupils involved have fully taken these issues to heart. It is great for us to be able to get young people excited about issues that we are so passionate about ourselves." Jo Hicks, head teacher at Archbishop Wake said: "We chose eight children who we knew would get a lot from the experience and would enjoy it and they certainly came back full of excitement with lots to share with their classmates. "They worked together to create their poster and were absolutely thrilled when we told them they had won. They will be asked for their ideas for how we spend the prize money to further our outdoor learning in school." See picture (right)


April 2012

FOCUS on schools

Shae is the district’s best young chef BLANDFORD girl Shae Hardy (left) has been judged the winner of the district final of the Rotary Young Chef competition. Shae, 13, from The Blandford School, was the second youngest contestant against 15 finalists from across Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Channel Islands. The judges, led by Chewton Glen executive chef Luke Matthews, were wowed by her starter of smoked haddock,

spring onion and beetroot tartlets with chicory salad, and main course of ballotine of pheasant with bubble and squeak and mushroom sauce. The dishes were followed by a rhubarb and almond sweet. Shae was joined at the regional finals in Bridgwater, one step from the national final in London, by runner-up and fellow 13-year-old Isobel Pinckston from Talbot Heath School. but neither won. They

had both in the district finals been awarded certificates and received Amazon vouchers worth £50 and £30 respectively. The competition is organised and run annually by the Rotary Club of Great Britain and Ireland and is open to all of secondary school age. Contestants are asked to produce and present, within two hours, a three-course meal from main ingredients costing no more than £15.

Young musicians in top form BLANDFORD Rotary Club held their fourth annual Young Musicians competition at Bryanston School. It was open to all local schools and more than 30 children showed their expertise with vocals and instruments. Blandford Rotary were helped by their sister club, Blandford Stour, and the three judges said the standard was excellent.

Stacey Newlin

Senior winner of the John Edwards Cup, Stacey Newlin, and senior vocalist winner of the Blandford Stour Cup, Rosie Luther, both qualified for the district final in Winchester but Stacey was unable to attend and Rosie failed to qualify for the regional competition.

Pupils with their winning poster and cheque in the Crown Estate climate change competition at the special assembly at Archbishop Wake Primary School.

Winners: Junior winner and piano: Abi Morgan (12); junior runner-up and woodwind: Bertie Ellison-Wright (11), junior strings: Alice McCormick (9); junior brass: Miranda Green (10); senior winner, piano and woodwind: Stacey Newlin (15); senior vocalist: Rosie Luther (13); senior runner-up: Harry EllisonWright (13); senior brass: Henry Fairfield (15); senior strings: Edward Bragg (18).

Rosie Luther


April 2012

FOCUS on clubs

Museum garden preserves good old Victorian values HAVE you visited the Victorian garden at Blandford Museum? For the last four years a small group of volunteers, the Blandford Museum Victorian Garden Club, have been cultivating a piece of land behind the museum, turning an overgrown plot into a productive 'model' garden. The idea was to complement the Victorian scullery in the museum while providing an educational focus for schools and the community. Heritage varieties, mostly pre-1900, of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers are selected to grow for demonstration and display, with produce available for sale. A wildlife area has been developed, including a pond and bog garden with many British native species, and last spring two organically run beehives, looked after by a local apiarist, were introduced.

Carol Jefferson behind the stall of preserves from the Blandford Museum Victorian garden.

The garden provides the community and visitors with a free, attractive and peace-

ful place to sit. It is self-financing with a wide range of plants propagated and grown for sale. Preserves and crafts made by club members are sold in the museum shop. The garden club hosted a Potato Day at Pimperne village hall in March when visitors could buy seed potatoes and other plants from a commercial supplier and garden club members. Club chairman Nessa Hickish said: "We had 184 visitors, not including children, and there was an amazing array of varieties, together with shallots, onions, flowers, salad and vegetable seeds, herbs and fruit bushes from Pennards. The garden club raised nearly £500 and visitors enjoyed home-made cakes and soups.� A tree identification quiz was provided by Mark Hensley, and Liz Reeve kept children and adults busy with potato printing. To find out more about the garden club, contact the museum on 01258 450388 or visit

Club news and events noticeboard Transition Town group formed A Transition Town Blandford Forum Group has been formed and is looking to increase its membership. Transition Town groups are being formed throughout the world and there are already several in Dorset. Members are inspired by shared concern about shrinking supplies of cheap energy, climate change, economic downturn and a recognition that our massive environmental impact cannot go on indefinitely. They believe action to start rebuilding the resilience of communities is needed now . Projects already started round the country include community supported agriculture, shared transport, seed swaps, tool libraries, energy saving clubs, community orchards, re-skilling classes and even local currencies to spend on local goods.

An evening on producing and consuming local food in the Parish Centre last month included extracts from 'Food Inc', a film exploring where the food in shops comes from. There were also stalls and tastings including honey, chutney and preserves, cider, and community produce, farm shop, talks and tips on keeping bees, cider-making and starting a community produce scheme, and discussion on potential projects for producing food in the Blandford area. The next steps will be starting small related initiatives and further events highlighting other aspects such as energy and transport. Together with other groups it is hoped these small-scale responses will make up something much bigger, and help show the way forward for governments, business and other communities. For more information visit the website or Facebook page sitionblandford, or call Paul McIntosh on 01305 213721 (

U3A marks 10th birthday Blandford & District U3A is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The University of the Third Age is a popular national self-help organisation for people no longer in full-time employment who would like to use their spare time experiencing something new or sharing their favourite hobby with others. In Blandford they draw on the knowledge, enthusiasm and skills of more than 250 members to provide a wide range of interest groups, from languages and computing to walking, singing and history. They also enjoy open meetings every couple of months with speakers on a variety of

subjects, coffee mornings twice a month and social events throughout the year. Check out the website for more information or contact Gill Jackson, membership secretary, on 01258 453376.

Guild gatherings Blandford Forum Afternoon Townswomen's Guild meets every fourth Wednesday of the month at the United Reformed Church Hall, Blandford. With speakers each month and other activities, including music, Scrabble and skittles, new members are always welcome. The AGM was held on 28th March when members enjoyed a 'spud and pud' lunch and the next meeting on Wednesday 25th April will be their birthday party. For more information contact Edna Moore on 01258 454169.


April 2012

Public urged to back vision for hospital PLANS to withdraw some services from Blandford Community Hospital have been high on the public agenda as a result of a consultation being carried out by NHS Dorset, the commissioning arm for health services in the town. The consultation included two public engagement events in the Crown Hotel's Sealy Suite, attended by more than 100 residents concerned at changes in services first suggested last summer. Health chiefs were adamant that the changes proposed were not an attempt to cut costs but to redistribute funding which has been diverted away from acute services to primary care. But the result is the potential withdrawal of acute hospital services to community hospitals, impacting most heavily on some 360 appointments a year which will now be made in Dorchester or other venues instead of Blandford.

Blandford Community Hospital serves both Blandford and Sturminster Newton, and the hospital Friends have launched their 'vision' for health services in the area which maintain the Milldown Road facility as its base. Friends' chairman Peter Fale said: "We are hoping that our paper will give insight to those who are making decisions as to what patients and staff feel are the needs at the hospital. We want the hospital to become a high-class medical centre which would integrate all medical care as a hub." He urged the community to keep up with the struggle to maintain vital services at Blandford Community Hospital, and read the Friends' Action Group's Vision Paper on their website For those people who were not able to attend the meetings, a presentation and a summary for each of the hospitals concerned is available via the NHS Dorset website.

Council tax held down THIS year's council tax demand containing only a slight increase, and in some cases a reduction, has been pegged in a large part by government intervention. The district council, county council, police and fire authorities have all kept to last year's figures, making a total of £1,513.46, of which the lion's share of £1,168.29 goes to Dorset County Council. The district council had hoped to increase its historically low share by imposing a penny-aday increase of £3.65p a year in the Band D rate, the maxi-

mum central government allowed without seeking a public referendum for approval. But the plan was dropped after a warning that it could result in less central government funding next year. In Blandford, the total payable includes a share of Blandford Town Council's precept for 2012/13 set at £565,489 and representing a total of £150.34 per Band D property New houses built in the town mean the town council can share its budget between more properties, so an

Leisure centre busier USAGE figures for Blandford Leisure Centre since it was taken over by Everyone Active are up by 45.39 per cent. Price increases in the region of 20p a session were introduced earlier this year and town councillor Lynn Lindsay said the number of attendances did not reflect the amount of income from members. The centre is continuing to ask for subsidy from Dorset County Council, which has agreed £30,000 for the next three years, towards a total of £129,000. Town councillors said it would be reasonable to ask for more information on turnover since they have agreed to contribute a further £50,000 in the coming year.

increase of 1.16 per cent in overall budget equates to a nil increase to all residents, but Blandford remains the most expensive place in the district to live. Band D taxpayers in Blandford St Mary will pay £34.74 for parish services, a decrease of 10p, and Spetisbury sees a reduction of 30p, whereas Pimperne, Charlton Marshall, Durweston and Stourpaine all see a slight increase, but never to a total of more than £60.

Spotlight on rural transport NORTH Dorset area is mostly a great place to live but getting anywhere if you don't have a car can be difficult. There are buses between the main villages and towns, there are Dial-a Ride services and some volunteer car schemes but we all know that transport could be better. Shaftesbury District Task Force is leading a travel project, along with the district and county councils. The first part is to understand better how people use transport and where the gaps and duplications may be, which is through a survey. It’s available online at ZZYBZNM or copies are available from and can be returned to the DT11 Office, 5 Nightingale Court, Blandford. Closing date is 20th April. With so little public funding available for transport, there won't be any 'magic bullet' answers, but there will be improvements which can be made within limited resources. To learn more about what community transport is available locally, see the updated directory, including 10 schemes run in the North Dorset area, at /media.jsp?mediaid=169881&filetype=pdf


FOCUS on sport

LAWN bowls is a great sport for everyone of all ages and all abilities. If you've never tried it, your opportunity will come on Saturday 5th May at Blandford Bowling Club's Open Day (the Recreation Ground next to Blandford Hospital). This is your chance to find out about the playing and social aspects of the club. No special equipment is needed and there will be coaches on hand to show you the ropes. The best bowlers tend to be young, but bowls is certainly ideal for mature people because most physically able people can compete at their own level. The game also provides exercise, and the club has a social dimension which includes winter indoor activities at low cost. Get a flavour of your local bowls club by visiting the website If you would like to 'give it a go' contact Tony Ives for further details: 01929 472336 or email

April 2012

Pitch fees pegged but cricket club seeks help ORGANISATIONS using Blandford Town Council facilities such as sports pitches and meeting rooms will face no increase in charges, following a decision to freeze the rents for the coming year. Members of the recreation and amenities committee were originally asked to increase the fees for sports pitches by 3.5 percent. But they argued that sports clubs were facing just as difficult times as clubs and societies using the Corn Exchange and Woodhouse Pavilion for meetings, for which no increase was recommended.

It was agreed to meet with officers of Blandford Cricket Club who had asked for a reduction in the amount they pay for the use of the pitch at Park Road recreation ground. Secretary Tom Snape in his letter to the council said the club had made an overall loss of nearly £4,000 last year on top of an even larger loss the year before. The club currently pays £5,200 a year in fees, charges for maintenance of the cricket square by town council staff, and towards the chain link fence to stop cricket balls going over on to the bowling green.

An Olympic legacy cheque for £50,000 is handed over by MP Bob Walter (centre) to Shillingstone sports pavilion representatives (from left): Jason Lyons, Sport England senior grants manager, chairman of Shillingstone Parish Council Bob Yorath, cricket club president Alan 'Knocker' Loveridge, Chris Whitfeld of Shillingstone Tennis Club and Margaret Shackel, cricket club secretary.

Olympic legacy cash for village sports hub NORTH Dorset MP Bob Walter presented an Inspired Facilities award cheque for £50,000 to Shillingstone sports pavilion. The money has come from a fund supported by the Lottery which aims to bring the inspiration of the 2012 London Olympic Games to every community in England. Shillingstone's pavilion, built in 1934, is the sports hub of the village, used by, among others, the football club and tennis club. On behalf of Sport England, Mr Walter handed over the Olympic legacy cheque to chairman of the parish council Bob Yorath, president of Shillingstone Cricket Club, Alan 'Knocker' Loveridge, and cricket club chairman Hugh Shackel. The money will enable much-needed improvements to be made to the pavilion, such as a new floor and extra changing facilities. Mr Walter said: "As well as having great fun welcoming the Olympic torch relay to North Dorset on 12th July, I think it's really important for local people to see the concrete benefits coming to their communities from this year's Games."


April 2012

Olympic torch secret

Cost snag in school plans

CLUES have been revealed about the confidential plans for the route of the Olympic torch through North Dorset in July.

REDUCING the cost of replacing Pimperne CE VC Primary School was on the agenda at a meeting of Dorset County Council Cabinet.

There was also a suggestion that as things are expected to happen after the torch comes through, the closure may need to be for three hours.

The village is awaiting word on the next step in the longdelayed project which has made it the last of the schools in the area to see extension or replacement following the expansion from first school status. The county's Cabinet had conditionally approved a budget of £7.28m last December, subject to the approval of the Modernising Schools Programme Board. In January the board requested that savings be identified. A revised proposal for £6.6m was presented to the Cabinet in March which, in addition to reducing the budgeted amount for risk factors, removed a proposed biomass boiler and cut the budget for external finishes.

Site investigations had rejected possible savings in relation to a number of issues, including the cost of building on a sloping greenfield site and within the area of outstanding natural beauty, and of more stringent building regulations or amendment to the structural frame or landscaping. Also rejected was the omission of the sprinkler system, which would have been contrary to county policy. It was agreed that if the required savings could not be achieved, a bid could be made for funding from reserves, and that a contractor, when appointed, would be invited to identify other potential savings. Pimperne will be holding its inaugural annual fun dog show on Easter Monday, 9th April. More information from The annual parish meeting will be on Wednesday 25th April at 7pm in the Village Hall.

Church services at Easter CHURCH services over the Easter festival in Blandford include: Maundy Thursday - Thursday 5th April: 7.30am at the Blandford Parish Centre - A Christian Passover Meal. Tickets (£5) are available from the Parish Office - details on website Good Friday - Friday 6th April: 10.30am from The Corn Exchange - A Walk of Witness. The first Good Friday was an ordinary market day as the people of Jerusalem prepared for the Passover feast that was in full swing. Today Good Friday may be a Bank Holiday, but the commercial life of 21st century Britain sometimes seems unaffected. The churches of Blandford Forum come together each year to recall the sacrifice made by Jesus on the Cross and to carry a cross around the town as an act of witness. 3.00pm at Blandford Forum Parish Church - An Hour at the Cross Easter Sunday - Sunday 8th April: 9.30am at Blandford Forum Parish Church Holy Communion (BCP) 9.30am at Blandford Parish Centre, Worship for All Ages (includes Communion) 11am at Langton Long church, All Age Communion. Blandford Evangelical Church plan to repeat their free Easter Egg giveaway in the town centre on Saturday morning, 7th April. On Easter Sunday morning 8th April at 10am their special Easter guest service is entitled 'The day that changed history and can change yours too'.

The route, which includes Blandford on the morning of Thursday 12th July, was announced on 19th March but, the week before, town councillors were told they may need to organise a street closure between East Street and the Market Place.

Local people involved in preparations for the Olympic torch visit have been sworn to secrecy about the event until the information is made public. More details next month.

Job club help needed A CALL has gone out for volunteer advisers and others with business experience to help set up a job club in Blandford. Working with a group of residents, District Councillor David Walsh, who started a successful job club in Gillingham, says finding experienced volunteers is the most important first step. "We're looking for anyone with experience in business," he says, "particularly in writing CVs or with an understanding of HR, recruiting and IT." Advisers need to be good listeners, friendly and approachable, able to deal with a wide variety of job seekers and work backgrounds. Training will be given. Anyone with this kind of experience who can give a few hours each Friday morning should contact Cllr Walsh on 01747 825161 or by email at


April 2012

FOCUS on events

Woodland setting for Trust celebrations IT was all happening at Angus Wood in St Leonard's Avenue, Blandford, when Blandford Environmental Trust and Blandford Rotary members were joined by EDP drugs and alcohol abuse personnel for a work day to maintain this popular community woodland and celebrate World Rotary Day.

pany dedicated to promoting environmental and recreational projects for the benefit of the community. It is a partnership between The Blandford School, Blandford Museum and Blandford Rotary. Joy Wallis, of the Dorset Wildlife Trust, recently joined as a director and sees it as an exemplar community group.

The Dorset Wildlife Trust chipped in with the tools needed to clear the dogwood and prepare the ground for planting three beech trees.

Heritage Lottery Fund personnel visited the site as part of their programme to see the work of the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

The Blandford Environmental Trust is a not-for-profit com-

Gary Stevens, of the Blandford EDP office, stressed the benefits of work-

The Blandford Environmental Trust team at work in Angus Wood ing with the Blandford Environmental Trust and how much they enjoy the opportunity to give something back to society. Angus Wood will host a

Community Fun Day for all the family on Sunday 6th May, which will include a detective game for children, woodland crafts stalls and participation by the Blandford Scouts.

A regal line-up of events to mark the Jubilee MAYOR of Blandford, Councillor Esme Butler, is chairman of the group which has drawn up a full programme of Jubilee anniversary events during the year. She said: "Last month we crowned the town's Jubilee Queen and this month there will be a children's 'regal' workshop in the Corn Exchange on Friday 13th April and a Royal Overseas League concert in the parish church

on the Queen's birthday on Saturday 21st April. “On Sunday 29th April there will be a 'royal walkabout' visiting places in the town with royal connections, and there are a number of events in association with Blandford Museum. “A riverside party is planned for the Jubilee weekend Sunday on the Marsh and Ham, for which people and groups

are being asked to make bunting and model boats to take part in a mini-flotilla on the river Stour, and there will be beacon lighting on the Bank Holiday Monday in June." The full programme of events, including the passing of the Olympic torch through Blandford, is available through the TIC, town council offices and other outlets in the town.

Forum Focus - forthcoming meetings & events Wednesday 4th April: Dorset Driver Courses, Blandford Parish Centre, 2pm, details DCC road safety team 01305 224558 Friday 6th to Monday 9th April: Easter and Bank Holiday. Friday 6th April: Durweston Film Night Special 'The Prince and the Showgirl' with Marilyn Monroe which inspired the film 'My Week with Marilyn', Durweston village hall 7.30pm Thursday 5th and Saturday 7th April: Museum Project, Corn Exchange, Blandford, 9am to 4pm 'Talking through Time': bring photos and memorabilia to share about Blandford and Royal celebrations. Saturday 7th April: Durweston Jubilee Queen and Attendants selection night & disco, village hall Wednesday 11th April: Children's Gymkhana, Manor Farm, Tarrant Monkton, starts 10am, proceeds to Naomi House and Jack's Place,

schedules and enquiries 830240

Entries in this diary are free of charge. If you have an event you would like included, please send details to Nicci Brown, 01258 459346 or email

Friday 13th April: Children's Regal Workshop - craft activities including helping to decorate the Mayoral Chair as a royal throne, Corn Exchange, Blandford, free entry, 10am to 3pm Friday 13th April: Wessex Acoustic Folk Club at Royal British Legion, Church Lane, Blandford DT11 7AD. Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, 8.15pm Info and tickets via the website or by phoning Kathy on 01202 732239 Saturday 14th April: Age UK Wedding event, Parish Centre, 9am to 4pm Sunday 15th April: Okeford Fitzpaine Village Market, village hall Monday 16th April: Collegium Regale. The choral scholars of

King's College Cambridge in concert in aid of St Mary's Church, Winterborne Whitechurch, Milton Abbey, 7.30pm

Tuesday 17th April: DT11 Forum community partnership AGM, Parish Centre, Blandford, 7pm.

01258 268578 Sunday 22nd April: Scouts St George's Day parade, Market Place and Parish Church Wednesday 25th April: Town Assembly, Corn Exchange, Blandford, 7pm Friday 27th April: Durweston Film Night, The Iron Lady, Durweston village hall, 7 for 7.30pm

Saturday 21st April: Royal Overseas League, Bournemouth & District branch concert musicians from the Commonwealth celebrate HM The Queen's 86th birthday. Proceeds shared between the Parish Church Cupola Project and Royal Overseas League's Namibia Project. Blandford Parish Church, 7pm £12; Concessions: £10 To include wine & canapés

Sunday 29th April: A Royal Walkabout. Meet at the Kings Arms Hotel, Blandford for a beverage at 3.30pm followed by a 'fun' walk visiting areas of the town with royal connections

Sunday 22nd April: Charity fashion show, Langton Arms. For Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Breast Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis, tickets £15 from

Sunday 29th April: Hilton Sings an afternoon of relaxed and informal singing in Hilton Parish Church to raise church funds, 2.30 to 5.30pm

Saturday 28th April: Stroke Awareness Day: free blood pressure checks at the Corn Exchange, organised by Blandford Rotary, 9.30am to 1pm.

April 2012 Forum Focus