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FORUM FOCUS For Blandford and surrounding villages Issue No. 11

Full steam ahead for Spetisbury station project: Pages 6-7

February 2013

Crunch time for Asda plan by Nicci Brown SUPPORTERS of a bid to bring a second out-of-town supermarket to Blandford are urging district planners to be more imaginative in addressing the perceived impact it will have on the town centre. An application on behalf of Asda for a new store on land off Shaftesbury Lane is now close to being determined by North Dorset District Council, whose development management committee met on 29th January and meets again on 26th February. A spokesman for the district council said it was unlikely to be considered at the January meeting and was likely to be on the agenda for February but, as Forum Focus went to press, could not say what the officers' recommendation would be. An assessment sought by the district council into the retail impact of the proposed store, around the same size as the existing Tesco at Stour Park, has been widely circulated. It concludes that retail-related improvements in the town centre, in addition to those suggested in relation to the extension of Tesco, approved in December, will not be capable of mitigating the cumulative impact of both schemes. Consultants MWA of Quedgeley, Gloucester, who also reported on the Tesco scheme, say the impact of the opening of the Asda store "will strike at the heart" of grocery (convenience) sales in the town and have additional impact on turnover for those selling other 'comparison' goods, such as clothing and electrical appliances. "We do not believe that a package of further improvements would be capable of mitigating the likely impact." MWA said that the opening of the Asda store would lead in particular

Focus on new superstore’s town centre impact to Morrisons trading well below company averages, and the impact would be significantly greater if the level of clawback from stores outside the area was less than predicted. Price competition between the two stores would also impact across all shops in the catchment area. "It would in our opinion lead to a

significant over-provision of out-ofcentre retail floorspace which would lead to further reductions in particular to the turnover of the Morrisons store and the Co-op at Langton Road." But they say that the benefits of increasing choice and competition and the creation of jobs are material considerations, along with the

potential to generate linked shopping trips, to introduce new retailers to the town, provided none of the town centre supermarkets closed, and to reduce the need to travel further afield. Town councillors at their planning meeting in January restated their support for the Asda application. To Page 3

Friends Molly and Lucy Fowler, of Damory Street, and Kaylee and Nicolle Lake, of Westbury Way, took a toboggan ride into town on the snowy Friday when their school, Blandford St Mary Primary, was closed. More snow pictures: Page 4-5.

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February 2013


CONTACTS Editorial: Nicci Brown T: 01258 459346 E: Advertising: John Stayt T: 01258 454427 E: Distribution: Jackie Stayt T: 01258 456999 E: Design: David Eidlestein T: 01258 450989 E:

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HELPING We are always on the lookout for volunteers willing to deliver copies of the newspaper. If you would like to help, please contact Jackie Stayt (details left).

OUR ADVERTISERS DEADLINES Adverts: Monday 11th February Editorial: Tuesday 12th February

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ON THE WEBSITE Diary events are updated regularly on our website so it is always worth logging on to stay up to date with what’s happening in the area. The website also carries additional pictures of local events and background information to stories. DROP POINTS Main drop points for Forum Focus in Blandford and Blandford St Mary are at Jeans and the Corn Exchange in the Market Place, Homebase, the Co-ops in Langton Road and Salisbury Road, One Stop in Salisbury Road, Blandford Leisure Centre and the Heddington Drive Nisa shop. In the villages they are at the Charlton Marshall Church Rooms and Charlton pub, Woodpecker pub at Spetisbury, True Lovers Knot and Langton Arms in the Tarrant Valley, Pimperne shop, White Horse Inn at Stourpaine, Iwerne Minster post office and Shillingstone garage.

Bus drivers’ strike threat DRIVERS with Wilts and Dorset, part of the giant Go-Ahead Group southern buses division which operates through Blandford, are voting on whether to take strike action. Their union, the RMT, was due to begin balloting on 23rd January against shift and working condition changes, and the threat of withdrawal of routes if staff do not accept them. RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: "RMT will not sit back while the profitable Wilts and Dorset buses outfit, which is also benefiting from a whole range of taxpayer-funded subsidies, launches an all-out attack on terms and conditions while bullying staff with a threat to pull the service if they don't bend the knee. "The last accounts for the company show that pre-tax profits increased by 44% to £9.447m." The ballot closes on 7th February.

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Services in the firing line as council seeks budget cuts BUDGET cuts are being considered by North Dorset District Council in a bid to make savings in the next financial year of about £362,000 required by its financial strategy that was approved in October. Councillors and other stakeholders at a budget workshop considered and prioritised a number of options which could save around £237,000. A report on the outcome was considered at a joint meeting of the policy and service review committees in January for further comment, which will be reported to Cabinet before the setting of the final budget this month. Services which scored highly at the workshop in terms of their contribution to corporate objectives included the contribution to Blandford Leisure Centre, the £11.2k for Artsreach, £5k for publicity of council activities in the

Blackmore Vale Magazine, and £4k for treatment to control the Blandford Fly, for which the council's Cabinet agreed last month to give extra funding for one year only. There was slightly less support for the £20k spent on street cleansing by the Dorset Waste Partnership, up to £136K support in the form of grant funding to other organisations, and the £16k provision of pre-9.30am concessionary bus fares, which Cabinet agreed the following week should be dropped. Low scoring, and therefore most likely to be put into effect, were the suggestion of a £2k saving by reducing to a two-monthly cycle of council meetings, ceasing or reducing the payment of corporate membership fees attracting professional support, passing on credit card charges to customers (£5k), and reducing members' training (up to £11k).

Tougher locks for loos AN improved locking mechanism costing nearly £2,500 per unit is to be installed on public toilets in Blandford in a bid to cut down on repairs which have cost a total £1,855 since March 2010. Operation of the facility in the Marsh and Ham car park has been at a net cost to the council of nearly £4,000 a year, with income of £4,500 offsetting £7,000 for cleaning and over £3,000 for rates, electricity, water and maintenance. CCTV coverage is now in place to overlook the toilet block and will, it is hoped, lead to a decrease in vandalism, but removing the coin-operated mechanisms and making the toilets free of charge would mean the loss of £4,500 per annum in income. Town councillors have agreed to replace the mechanism with a more up-to-date and vandal-proof system at a cost of £2,450 per unit.

Homes access concern CONCERNS have been raised by residents and Blandford and District Civic Society about the pedestrian access being constructed for the new homes between Black Lane and Wimborne Road. At the time of the original planning application, it was reported that it was impossible to construct a footpath on land in third party ownership. The Civic Society has approached the developers and planning authority about the dangers of the footpath emerging onto Black Lane on a fast stretch of road with no pavement, and asked again for a pavement to be constructed on

the same side of Black Lane. Society project officer Alan Dymond said: "Now we see the proposed pedestrian access almost in place, it has added to the belief that this access is at a very dangerous spot, emerging as it does onto Black Lane at a point where the speed limit has only just dropped from 40mph to 30mph." The county councillor for the town, Barrie Cooper, reported to the town council that developers Charles Church were in discussion with Dorset County Council and North Dorset District Council about submitting an alternative plan.


February 2013

Crunch time for Asda plan From Page 1 Councillor Haydn White said: "I genuinely question NDDC that mitigation measures can only be in relation to retail. In Mildenhall a million pounds was secured for matters which were nothing to do with retail, and when Safeway came into Wimborne they paid for improvements to the river Allen. "It is down to negotiation between the district council and the applicant, and we should push for something more imaginative and robust." Councillor Sylvia Hixson Andrews said that a scheme to improve disabled access to a lot of the shops would be a very real way in which they could attract money into the town centre.

Public to be asked: do you have enough councillors HARD on the heels of a review of constituency boundaries which will see North Dorset split in two, with the southern half merging with Wimborne in the new Mid Dorset constituency, comes a review of district electoral arrangements on which the public are being invited to comment. The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people how many councillors they think should represent North Dorset District Council and whether there should continue to be 33 or more or fewer in the future. A total of 14 councillors, six of them in Blandford and Blandford St Mary, currently represent the DT11 area. The six-week public consultation, ending 18th February, is the first part of an electoral review which will also consider changes to the number, names and boundaries of the council's wards. Max Caller, chair of the Commission, said: "This is your chance to shape your council for the future. We want people to tell us if they agree that 33 councillors is still the right number to represent North Dorset or whether they favour an alternative and why. "Once we have taken a view on

the number of councillors for North Dorset, we will re-draw ward boundaries to accommodate that number and will be asking local people to have their say during that process as well." Further information about the review is available online at Residents can have their say at, write to The Review Officer (North Dorset), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, Layden House, 76-86 Turnmill Street, London EC1M 5LG, or email to find out more and follow the Commission on Twitter @LGBCE. The Commission's proposal on the total number of councillors will be published in March, and final recommendations will be drawn up by January 2014 to come into effect for the council elections in 2015. The Commission has accepted a suggestion from North Dorset that, to maintain local ties, the Bulbarrow and Hill Forts wards of the district, all parishes within the DT11 postcode, should be included in the Mid Dorset constituency, rather than the Warminster and Shaftesbury constituency.

More for hire but fees rise A NUMBER of items of equipment could be made available for hire by Blandford Town Council, whose recreation and amenities committee considered the idea at its January meeting. Safety beacons and high visibility jackets could be added to the list, which currently includes only tables, chairs, a projector, screen, flipchart stand and PA system. Councillors were also asked to approve a revised scale of charges which increased the hire cost and deposit for larger tables and cushioned chairs, in some cases by nearly 100 per cent. Photocopying was recommended to remain at the same rate of 3p for charities, and 7p for companies, rising to 20p or 23p for A3 colour sheets.

YELLOW ALERT: A welcome sign that, despite the wintry blasts of recent weeks, spring is not so very far away. A host of golden daffodils brought a splash of New Year colour to the grassy bank near the entrance to Blandford's Lamperd's Field allotments.

Car club in funding request AN application for funding for a proposed Blandford Car Club as part of the Dorset FlexiCars scheme was made to the Sowing Seeds regeneration fund on 17th January. The object is to make a car available to members for hire on a short-term basis so they can dispense with the costs of ownership. The cost of the scheme, including car purchase, installation of hardware in the vehicle and operation of a booking system is estimated to be almost ÂŁ10,000, and Sowing Seeds were asked for nearly 98 per cent of that figure.


February 2013

Salsa Cascara dance company seeks votes for national award A LOCAL dance company is in line for a top award in the Latin UK Awards for the second year running in the Salsa School of the Year category. Salsa Cascara, which offers salsa classes in Sturminster Newton and Dorchester, came third in the awards last year. For the latest awards, first-round voting took place online over December and January and saw them chosen as one of the five finalists. To win, they need the most votes by 17th February. The company was established in July 2008 and holds classes every Monday at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton, every Tuesday at the Trinity Club in Dorchester. It is owned by UKAqualified salsa instructors Mal Cox and Bev Stiling. Find Salsa Cascara in the awards

Instructors Bev Stiling and Mal Cox run Salsa Cascara. for outstanding contribution to community section under Salsa School of the Year at For more information, contact Salsa Cascara on 07870 520340 or go to

Florist Annie floors the opposition A FLORISTRY student from Blandford was a winner in the national finals of the WorldSkills UK Floristry Competition. Annie Blackman, 22, who studies level three floristry at Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester, beat five other finalists in the intermediate category to take the award. The competition is run in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service.

Warm clothing, a sledge and a slope - the best ingredients for a snowy Friday.

Snowfall brings first winter wonderland of the year HEAVY snow in the early morning of Friday 18th January closed nearly all schools in the Blandford area and most school transport services. Gritters went out on major routes overnight but slow going was reported on the A354 between the Sixpenny Handley roundabout and Blandford and many roads and residential streets were passable only with great care. Rubbish and recycling collections by the Dorset Waste Partnership

in North Dorset were cancelled and household recycling centres were closed. A number of shops and businesses in the town centre were unable to open. Grit bins provided by Blandford Town Council came into their own as residents cleared routes on snowbound roads to attempt to get their cars out, and for schoolchildren relieved of their classes it was the opportunity for endless fun with sledges, which had been brought by Father Christmas, as well as making snowballs and building snowmen.

Pupils at Knighton House School at Durweston enjoyed making a snow bear (above) and a snow dog (above, left) to keep it company.

Mr and Mrs Snowman greet passers-by in Charlton Marshall


February 2013

Primary schools win praise for KS2 success

Members of the Barber family from Cobham Road and the Barbers and Whartons of Preetz Way line up for a sledging session on Larksmead recreation ground.

CHURCH schools in the Blandford area have scored success in this year's primary school league tables, with Milldown CE Primary and Durweston CE VA Primary School coming joint top in the Key Stage 2 tables for Dorset. Ranked by value added, which reflects progress in pupils’ performance between Years 2 and 6 (ages 7 to 11), the top 10 schools in the county also included Blandford St Mary CE Primary. Director of Education Chris Shepperd congratulated and praised all staff, governors, helpers, parents and pupils.

Operators give up transport licences THREE local operators have surrendered their passenger transport licences following a public inquiry. Maureen Frampton, Alan Frampton and Richard Adams were called before the Traffic Commissioner following investigations by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (Vosa), which included probes into vehicle maintenance and safety standards. The Deputy Traffic Commissioner for the West of England, Fiona Harrington, agreed requests to bring their licences to an end and granted an application by Riverside Travel (Dorset) to take over the operations and operate five vehicles from Bryanston Bodyworks, Forum View, Blandford.

Blandford Market Place, almost deserted at midday on the Friday of the heavy snowfall.

Have sledge - and courage - so here we go!


February 2013

New local charity club welcomes members A WELCOME meeting in Blandford on Tuesday 13th February offers a chance find out more and help share a new club for the area. The meeting, from 2pm to 4pm at the Parish Centre, is hosted by registered charity Brendoncare, whose social clubs aim to help people remain in the community and stay active and independent for as long as possible. Members are offered the opportunity to enjoy a varied programme ranging from guest speakers and entertainers to club outings. Head of Clubs Edwin Ingleton says: "We know from experience that people live happier and more fulfilled lives if they are able to enjoy the companionship of likeminded people, stay mentally and physically active and mix with friends. "Our clubs are friendly and usually relatively small, which enables us to offer a personal touch.

Members can take part in activities including arts and crafts, music and exercise sessions. The clubs also teach new skills and provide information on important issues such as security, welfare and healthy eating." Benefits include: * Time away from home in a safe, congenial environment * A chance to meet new people for friendship, fun and regular relaxation * A service built around members' needs and interests with activities chosen by them. “The special ingredient which makes Brendoncare clubs so successful is the unstinting support of the volunteers who give their time and share their energy to help enrich the lives of members,” said Mr Ingleton. To help or find out more, call Edwin on 01962 857477 or go to or go along on the day.

Volunteers’ hard work reveals traces

Clearing more undergrowth during the December working party to open up views across the Stour valley.

The up platform booking office fireplace was discovered and, among the rubble, the fireplace surround was still intact.

Interesting remains of Victorian brickwork and foundations have been revealed.


February 2013

of landmark’s Victorian origins

Full steam ahead for the Spetisbury station project

The view from the ladies’ waiting room across the Stour valley.

Work in progress clearing rubble from the up platform building last July.

Measuring up the ladies' waiting room on the down platform in January. line. The New Somerset & Dorset Railway Group was formed in March 2009 and promptly had an offer to purchase Midford Station. In 2012, a licence was granted to restore the Dorset County Council-owned Spetisbury station and the first working party made a start on the massive job of clearance last May. Mr Cockwell said: "The aim is to restore the platforms and station building to as close as possible to how they previously appeared. Once built, we want to open them up as an information point for trailway users and railway enthusiasts. We also want to open a kiosk to enable us to provide hot and cold drinks and light snacks." Much of the work to date has involved clearance of a huge amount of undergrowth on either side of the actual trackbed, which now forms part of the North Dorset Trailway. The remains of the second station building on the upline were soon unearthed and it was with great excitement that the group of volunteers uncovered the foundations of the original station building on the downline. Kevin Mitchell, of Parkstone, who has been recording the progress on camera since the project started, said: "We have now fully uncovered the floor of the original 1860 ladies' waiting room on the 'down' platform. "Subject to planning permission we hope to erect a small temporary refreshment room and information point on this concrete floor and, with a bit more pruning, there will be great views over the Stour Valley from here with access from the North Dorset Trailway up the adjacent platform ramp for all users of the trailway."

Pictures: Kevin Mitchell

WHILE work continues on the North Dorset Trailway by the Countryside Rangers, a new project is underway to restore the old station at Spetisbury. It is one of five sites along the old Bath to Bournemouth route being actively restored. The New Somerset and Dorset Railway (NSDR) is also at work at Midford, and Midsomer Norton, the Gartell Light Railway at Templecombe and Shillingstone are separate projects. Dean Cockwell is a founder member of the NSDR and is the Spetisbury station project manager. He was brought up near the former Wimborne railway station and was keen to get involved in a project near the town. He said: "When I suggested Spetisbury, where the station was completely overgrown, I was appointed project manager and a group of us now meet regularly." Their most recent working group session was on Sunday 13th January when volunteers made more good progress and brought much closer the prospect of rebuilding work being able to start. The original Spetisbury station, and one at Sturminster Marshall, were built when the Dorset Central Railway line was opened between Wimborne and Blandford St Mary. The line was extended to join up with the one being built by the Somerset Central Railway, with which the Dorset Central merged to become the Somerset and Dorset (known as the S&D). Up to the late 1890s it was mostly single track. By 1900 more sections had become double tracked, including Spetisbury, where an additional platform and station building were built. In 1934 it was downgraded to 'halt' status and became unmanned, and in 1966 it closed, along with the rest of the S&D

One of the first work parties in action in May last year.


February 2013

Going self-employed Churches focus on unity or starting up your own business? By Julian Selwyn - Chartered Accountant IN periods of rising unemployment more people find themselves wanting to or having to start their own business or work on a self-employed basis. Remember that proper administration is one of the cornerstones of any enterprise. You must register with HMRC within three months of starting your self-employment. Some people say they don't need to do that as they don't earn enough to pay tax, but this is simply not correct. There is a requirement to register and subsequently to submit a tax return irrespective of how much money your business makes. The tax and NI you owe remains to be determined. If you have not registered within the three months it is still better to do so before HMRC come looking for you. Remember to keep records of all your earnings and retain all receipts for business expenses. Keep mileage records when you

use your vehicle on any business-related journeys. You will also need details of incomes from all other sources - pension, interest and so on. If you set up your business in the form of a limited company there are sometimes some advantages but there are additional obligations. For advice on business start-ups and assistance on all accounting and tax matters consult a professionally qualified accountant.

THE churches of Blandford gathered in Blandford Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul on Sunday 20th January in the annual celebration service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Members of the congregations of the six churches in the town held a celebration service focusing on their desire for unity in the church as well as reflecting on the events of the past year, including the launch of Blandford food bank. The collection from the service went towards the ongoing costs of the food bank. The Rev Tim Storey, Rector of Blandford Forum and Langton Long, said: "It is one thing to talk about unity and it is another to actually do things which show it.

Reach out to help the community MANY different volunteering opportunities are available locally through Gill Muhl, Volunteer Centre Outreach for North Dorset, who holds drop-in sessions at the DT11 Forum office in Nightingale Court, Blandford, every Thursday from 2pm to 4pm. She said: "There are many ways to help the community where you live, and one of them is to volunteer some of your time. It can be a fun way of learning new skills, putting some of your existing skills to good use, finding new challenges and meeting people. "Volunteering can also be a good way of getting back into work if you are currently unemployed - it is a definite bonus to put on your CV." Contact Gill on 07918639011, email or see the website at

"By worshipping and praying together, we wanted to show that there is actually only one church in the town, with different branches all over it."

Letter to the editor I WOULD like to thank those readers who responded to my appeal in Forum Focus for information on the Royal Observer Corps in Blandford during WWII. These were: Mr Warren who, as a small boy, met many of those who served in the two Blandford ROC posts and provided me with a long list of those men he remembered. Mr and Mrs Newman for their memories of Alfred Winsor, a WWI veteran, who went on to serve in the ROC post war. Mr Alan Riggs and his uncle, Mr Aitken, for their memories of Mr Riggs's father, Alfred Riggs. Mr Riggs also presented me with a treasure-trove of WWII booklets covering Civil Defence, the Home Guard and the ROC, also some pre-war Blandford guides. For these unique mementos, my grateful thanks. Tony Harrocks, Mortain Close, Blandford.


February 2013

Emporium and tearoom take over in style NEW life has been breathed into one of Blandford oldest and most distinctive buildings with the arrival of Minsturs in the former Traills solicitors building of Greyhound House in the Market Place. The Grade II listed Georgian building has been vacant since Traills pulled out in September 2010, and its future became the subject of speculation. But now the ground floor has been transformed into what is described as an 'emporium', a miniature department store, by the proprietors of Minsturs, who already have three outlets in Sturminster Newton, and have brought into Blandford a selection from each, with extras. Interior designer Christopher Davies with his partner Neil Furlong and their team run the domestic interiors and tea room in the Georgian Sturminster House, a former auctioneer's property, as well as a children's shop and shoe shop. "We looked at Greyhound House five years ago, but it wasn't available when we were searching for premises of a style to match the goods we offer," Christopher said. "But now here we are in another splendid Georgian residence, which has been largely unchanged over the years and still has many original features." Minsturs opened in December, coinciding with the Yuletide Festival, when they admit people were more interested in what was going on outside than inside the building. But in it there is a treasure trove of ladies' and men's fashions, perfumes, gifts and collectables, as well as the stylishly decorated tearoom at the rear. They hope, subject to planning permission, to extend into the other half of the building on the ground floor in due course, and are a welcome addition to the Market Place.

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Tania’s voluntary work for SSAFA is honoured with a visit to No 10 A BLANDFORD woman was recently a guest at a reception at No 10 hosted by Samantha Cameron because of the work she does for SSAFA Forces Help. Tania Fensom, of Downside Close, is one of more than 7,000 volunteers working for SSAFA, of whom about 80 representatives were invited by the wife of the Prime Minster. She also runs the Blandford Military Wives Choir which was invited to sing at the Blandford Yuletide Festival in December, and is chair of the fundraising committee for Downlands Primary School on the camp. Tania is helping Sylvia Hixson Andrews and Mike Lofthouse of the Blandford Museum with their new oral history project, which has been funded by the Forces Community Covenant Grant. During her six years as a volunteer with SSAFA, she has been a community volunteer, a coordinator, a caseworker and is currently chair of the in-service committee supported by John Barrett, North Dorset divisional secretary. Tania said: "John offers invaluable information and advice on fundraising, raising awareness, grant applications and individual case grants, and I in turn attend all Dorset branch executive meetings so information can be shared by cascading it back down to in-service volunteers and caseworkers alike. "All volunteers can sign up to the Dorset Friends of SSAFA newsletter which informs people about all forthcoming events and how they can help." In-service volunteers are encouraged to attend branch and divisional training days in April and November. A branch training day held in the Blandford Mess gave those in full-time employment more flexibility to attend for at least part of the training. Ever-increasing numbers of serving personnel and their families are having to draw on the support of both in-service volunteers and branch case workers, and the two support each other in working with an individual service user or client. Prospective volunteers are encouraged to train in either or

Arrest after vehicle break-in A MAN was arrested in Salisbury Road, Blandford, by police investigating a vehicle break-in. A police spokesman said the 25-year-old Blandford man was charged and would appear in court.

Tania Fensom has volunteered with SSAFA Forces Help for six years. both roles, allowing the opportunity to offer ever-important seamless support. Volunteers are valued highly and are actively involved, whether they staff the shop, are friends of SSAFA, in-service volunteers or caseworkers. Last year for the first time the SSAFA charity shop was invited to participate in the annual Blandford In-service Fashion Show and was supported by shop

volunteers, in-service volunteers and case workers in raising over £1,500 as well as the profile of the shop and attracting new customers. Friends of SSAFA organised an open garden tea party, supported by case workers from Purbeck and North Dorset and in-service volunteers, which raised more than £1,400 to be shared between the participating groups. The Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show and Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival saw caseworkers and in-service volunteers working side-by-side to raise awareness, and a number of events for the Big Brew raised over £1,000. A social afternoon last September, organized by Sally Cadec, the Dorset chairman, brought together volunteers from across the county to learn more about their individual roles. "The biggest challenge we have to face is change, but the world we live in today is ever-changing and we must move with it and to the future as one united SSAFA family," said Tania.

New chairman for Georgian Fayre AT a well-attended meeting of the Georgian Fayre committee in January, Colin Stevens was elected chairman to succeed founder-president Janice Driscoll. Phil Brazier was elected vice-chairman in addition to his role as treasurer. Mrs Driscoll said that following the 'crisis meeting' held in November, when an appeal was made for more people to help with the organisation of the event, the committee had met and decided not to accept an offer of involvement by the town's two Rotary clubs. They were confident that the future was secure in the knowledge that new members, whom she welcomed, had come on board. A new secretary / minutes secretary was elected on the understanding that help would be needed, and retiring secretary Rachael Harding said she would be happy to assist.


February 2013

Recycling changes on the way - so time to act RESIDENTS have until the end of February to let the Dorset Waste Partnership know if they think the new 'recycle for Dorset' service to be launched in June will cause them problems. The DWP has written to more than 40,000 households in North Dorset about significant changes to their recycling and rubbish collections, which will be rolled out across the area from Monday 10th June. The letter and leaflet introduce the new service and people are advised to read them carefully to discover if they need to take action. The new containers should be suitable for most people, but those who think they are not should contact the DWP by Thursday 28th February. They should also contact the DWP before the end of February if they do not currently have a recycling box, needed for the new glass collection. Cllr Hilary Cox, chair of the DWP Joint Committee, said: "The new service, which is already being well used by residents in Christchurch and parts of East Dorset, is clean, easy to use and enables people to recycle more at home." The standard service will consist of a weekly

collection of food, a fortnightly collection of recyclable materials and a fortnightly collection of general rubbish, requiring a total of two wheelie bins and three other containers. People can also choose to pay for a fortnightly garden waste collection, also starting in June, in a further wheelie bin or bag. DWP Director Steve Burdis said: "The garden waste collection reduces the need for bonfires and trips to the recycling centre and has proved very popular." The new service replaces the 12 different collection schemes previously operated in the county by the seven councils making up the DWP, and aims to save ÂŁ2m a year, reduce waste sent to landfill and increase Dorset's recycling rate to more than 65 per cent. A series of local public roadshows started in Sturminster Newton Exchange on 30th January. Blandford's is in the Corn Exchange on Saturday 9th February from 10am to 1pm, and there are others in Shaftesbury Town Hall on Monday 18th February, 5pm to 8pm, and Dikes Supermarket, Stalbridge, on Friday 22nd February, 10am to 1pm. For more information, go to or

Concern over road snarl-up URGENT enquiries were made of Dorset County Council last month by Blandford Town Council to establish what measures would be taken to avoid the congestion caused in December by the works being carried out by Scottish and Southern Electric. The return of the contractors to the Market Place in the first week of January followed similar concerns in the lead-up to the Yuletide Festival, with the result that the workmen were asked to work overnight to ensure the pavements were clear for the late-night opening in midDecember. At the town council planning meeting on 15th January, members said that nothing appeared to have been put in place to cater for the relocation of the East Street bus stops while work was in progress. Councillor Steve Hitchings said: "We should have been told what was happening." Councillor Sylvia Hixson Andrew repeated the suggestion made the previous month that the bus stops should be relocated beyond the Market Place in West Street so as not to block the whole road when they stopped to put down and pick up passengers.


February 2013

Cutbacks spell end of the road for morning bus passes ELDERLY and disabled people who have been able to use their bus passes to travel free before 9.30am in North Dorset will no longer be able to do so. Instead they may be able to get help from a £5,000 fund being established by North Dorset District Council to support those using community transport services to get to medical and hospital appointments. Members of North Dorset District Council's Cabinet decided in January that they could no longer afford to pay extra - a sum of £20,000 a year for the whole district - to maintain early-morning and late-night concessionary fares which are not covered by the national or Dorset County Council scheme. Nearly 4,600 journeys a year (88 a week) are estimated to be made district-wide by pass-holders before 9.30am, the majority on the Blandford to Poole and Salisbury to Weymouth routes. David Toze, of Blandford Age Concern, one of the key respondents to a consultation which took

place with interested organisations in December, was invited to address the Cabinet meeting and told councillors that he could produce no figures, but anecdotal evidence indicated that people would be "hit hard" by the withdrawal of funding. "We have talked to people in queues and travelled on the buses, and it is clear to us how difficult it is going to be for many of the older and disabled people right across North Dorset, people in isolated villages for whom it is a question of quality of life," he said. People who hold concessionary bus passes will still be entitled to free transport anywhere in the country between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and all day on weekends and bank holidays. The County Council will continue to fund registered blind residents to travel free all day (no time restrictions) and free concessionary travel to all holders on routes where there is a bus before 9.30am and no other bus before 10.25am.

Rethink over shop signs A WORKING group of Blandford Town Council has been set up to reconsider its long-held policy of blanket opposition to internally lit shop signs in the Georgian town centre. The decision has been prompted by recent applications by Prezzo and by the barber's shop on the corner of Sheep Market Hill to which members of the planning committee had no real objection. Councillor Haydn White said the policy had been in existence for more than 50 years and suggested it was time to look at it again and have a policy which was more relevant, since methods of internal illumination had changed. "It's difficult to get retailers to move into town without bringing their brands with them," he said.

White lights or coloured? CHRISTMAS may be long gone but the Blandford Yuletide Festival team are asking people to cast their minds back and give their opinions on the colour scheme of the lights decorating the town. Fundraising for the festival over the last three years has resulted in a surplus which the team want to give to building up the festive lighting scheme. Chairman Tim Storey said: "At their last meeting the BYF organising group agreed to give £1,000

to Blandford Town Council towards the Christmas trees and lights in the town. “But one question was raised which may be a strange one to ask in January - whether the lights on the trees along the walls of East Street, West Street and Salisbury Street should be coloured, as at present, or white, as has been the tradition for Christmas lights in the past." Let BYF know what you think by emailing or


February 2013

Appeal lodged over tyre depot homes

Honest Dick (Daniel Miles) selling his wares in the Spetisbury Occasional Dramatic Society’s panto production of Cinderella. See Page 16.

AN appeal has been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate against refusal of permission for the redevelopment of the former tyre depot in Damory Court Street, Blandford. Revised proposals from B&D Developments have again been attacked by town councillors on the grounds that they fail to address a severe shortage of street parking in the area around the site. A scheme to build four homes was rejected by North Dorset District Council's development management committee. Town councillors acknowledged the improvement in outside amenity space provided in the revised proposal for three houses. Architect John Turnbull said there was no objection to the scheme from the Highway Authority and argued that time would be spent more profitably in getting the district council to bring back free parking in the Station Court car park. Local district councillor John Tanner has already challenged the decision to charge for the nearby car park, driving motorists to park on the street, and reported in October that it had earned the dis-

trict council only £45 a week since the installation of parking meters costing £3,000. Town councillors have also objected to the proposed redevelopment nearby of the former county council waste depot site off Wimborne Road because of the lack of affordable housing provision and its proposed access off Damory Court Street.

‘Grandiose’ plan back on agenda PLANS to add another three storeys on top of Blandford's council offices in Church Lane have gone back onto the town council's agenda at the request of its planning chairman Mike Owen. Councillor Owen told planning committee members in January: "Lots of people have been asking me why we are planning such a grandiose building, and I know an architect who queries the report saying that the foundations of the existing building do not need work on them."


February 2013

Emergency repairs to hall ceiling EMERGENCY repairs have been carried out after the ceiling at the side of the stage in Blandford Corn Exchange collapsed. Loose plaster was removed by town council staff and a contractor brought in to complete repairs, which will include work to the mouldings at the entrance end of the hall. Surveys on the urns and flagpole have highlighted faults in the roof to be repaired as part of the refurbishment plan, but town councillors have been warned that it will need attention if the renovations are delayed. New Union and St George’s Cross flags have been purchased for the front of the building, and the toilets and rear hall have been redecorated as part of ongoing maintenance.

Tree work AN application by Spectrum Signpost to carry out work on a number of trees at Station Court overhanging Oakfield Street has been welcomed by Blandford town councillors. The committee also noted that an application for work on trees at Hardy's Cottage in East Street had been inaccurately described as affecting an ash tree and should have referred to sycamores and a lime.

Visiting teachers and educationalists with pupils, staff, head teacher Alison Tremewan (back, centre) and next to her the Mayor of Blandford, Sara Loch, at Knighton House School in Durweston.

Mayor visits school to meet Euro-project planners TEACHERS and educationalists from seven European countries met at Knighton House School in Durweston, with the Mayor of Blandford, Sara Loch, as a special guest. Their aim was to plan a project that creates educational partnerships and greater cultural awareness between European countries for the benefit of students and teachers. The British Council's Comenius Group project means that over the next two years, girls from Knighton will be able to link up with students from Poland, France, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Germany and Croatia to share their learning experiences and

Travel matters to go under the spotlight TRAVEL across the DT11 area will be the focus of the next DT11 Partners group meeting in the Parish Centre at Blandford, on Tuesday 12th February at 7pm. Hugh de Iongh from North Dorset District Council will present the findings of the recent North Dorset Travel Study, and the community partnership is hoping to form a Blandford/DT11 Travel Study Group.

Cash stolen from cabs CASH was stolen from two Blandford taxis when they were broken into in separate incidents over a period of six days. Blandford Neighbourhood Inspector Shawn Whitley said: "With two incidents in quick succession, I want to take the opportunity to remind motorists to be vigilant and take precautions to keep their vehicles and possessions safe.

collaborate on study projects. Speaking both as mayor and as a school governor, Cllr Loch said: "When I was at school, not far from here, we rarely looked beyond our own country or even our own locality, but education today is much broader." She welcomed the fact that the programme of events for the visiting group involved the wider community, allowing them to share experiences of their different national sports and traditions. As well as planning the educational projects with teachers at Knighton House School, the European guests visited some local Dorset landmarks during their five-day trip.

“Always remove valuables from your vehicle and keep doors and windows locked, and if possible park in well-lit areas and always use the vehicle alarm if there is one." He asked anyone with information about the incidents or seeing anything suspicious to call Dorset Police in confidence on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Roads to be closed A ROAD closure is planned in Dorchester Hill, Blandford St Mary, between 8am and 5pm on the three days from Tuesday 5th February to Thursday 7th, and will be followed by closures for three days in New Road, Bryanston, from Thursday 7th February and four days in Fairmile (Blandford to Winterborne Stickland) from Monday 11th February for road re-surfacing.

Individuals, organisations and companies involved in travel will be particularly welcome. Partnership worker Sarah Nicholson said: "We in Blandford had the largest response to the North Dorset Travel Study, so it is evident that residents are passionate about giving their views, and we are hoping to form an action group that actually makes a difference."


Up the Garden Path

Allotments: growing your own in Blandford An occasional series of articles with a gardening theme DID you know that Blandford residents have benefited from the availability of local allotments since 1897 and the original site at Blandford Heights industrial estate was given to the town by Lord Portman? These allotments became statutory by law and when the land became profitable for development new plots had to be found. Hence the site at Lamperd's Field at the top of the town, started in 2001 and leased from the Davis family on a peppercorn rent. A second site at Philip Road was created in 1945 as part of the council estate for the use of local people. This site, although well used, doesn't enjoy the same range of amenities as the larger one - some of the many facilities include a large shed with individual lock-ups for tools, a kitchen, toilets and a well-stocked gardening shop. Throughout there are numerous watering troughs and manure is readily available to purchase in the winter months. There is also good parking, so all mod-cons. As growing your own food is so popular, there is a waiting list to rent plots to residents of the Blandford town parish. At Philip Road there are 19 at a size of approximately 200 square metres and at Lamperd's Field 63 at approximately 250 square metres. Here plots for new allotmenteers are leased at half and quarter size due to ever-increasing demand. The current cost is £30 for a full plot plus £10 levy for maintenance to Blandford Town Council, and most folk feel that is big enough to manage. Many people tend to grow a standard range of productive crops on the open, sunny site but how about lentils, pickling cucumbers or aubergines to ring the changes and share around? You don't have to be an experienced gardener to get started and if you are interested there is an informative website with useful tips, photos and regular competitions at or phone Dick Good 01258 452278.

February 2013

Plea for patience over superfast broadband bid A MEETING was held in Blandford in January to review the DT11 application for Defra funding under the Rural Community Broadband scheme and clarify the position of the broadband upgrade in Dorset as a whole and North Dorset in particular. Hosted by the DT11 community partnership and chaired by Niels Kraunsoe, it was attended by representatives of Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Broadband Delivery UK, Dorset County Council, North Dorset District Council and North Dorset Broadband Ltd. Mr Kraunsoe is the newly appointed chairman of North Dorset Broadband Ltd, the company promoting the scheme to bring superfast broadband to villages along the former Somerset and Dorset railway line, and brings a wealth of experience to the role. The proposal, which took months

to prepare and was submitted in December by Steve Adamson and his team, was well received by Defra, but needs several areas of clarification by DT11 before hopefully going through the final stage of approval. Scott Norman, chairman of DT11, asks for patience during this final phase. "Applications of this size and nature involving cross-department involvement always take longer than one would hope," he said. "The company is now registered, an Enterprise Investment Scheme Rural Broadband Fund has been launched to raise finance, and we are reviewing staff appointments. Hopefully once we have a letter of offer we will be in the position to hit the ground running." For further information see the North Dorset Broadband website or contact DT11 Forum on 01258 489998.

Focus on street shots BLANDFORD Camera Club in January enjoyed a presentation on street photography by member Brian Winkle, who has been a street photography enthusiast for many years. The genre was at the peak of its popularity during the years when black and white photography was the norm and Brian's interest is still rooted in the production of monochrome prints. Although he has embraced the digital age, his use of digital projected imagery is restricted to showing the structure and content of an image to a large number of viewers at the same time.

He started by describing the nature of street photography and his approach to the subject, then touched upon the legal aspects which have assumed greater significance in recent times. He then devoted the bulk of the time to showing his images and giving an informative commentary on each. His photographs, many of which were captured using film, of course, were fascinating and reminded everyone of the magic of mono. For more information on the club, contact Alf Tompkins on 01258 454450 or visit the website at for details.

Music of note from Nordic lands THIS term's music appreciation course run by the Dorset Rural Music School is called 'Northern Lights' and offers an exploration of music by composers from Scandinavia and the Nordic lands. "Sibelius and Grieg are but the tip of this very interesting iceberg," says Dr Richard Hall, who is leading the classes. The six-week course is being held at DRMS (opposite the Methodist Church) on Thursday afternoons from 2.15pm, beginning on 30th January. The cost is £40 for the whole course or £7.50 for an individual session. New members are welcome at any stage. To book a place or for further details contact DRMS on 01258 452511.

February 2013



Clean-up events on the diary BLANDFORD Stour Rotary and the Clean Up Blandford Campaign are organising a number of clean-up events this year, starting with a Rotary town and village litter pick as part of Climate Week on Saturday 9th March and Sunday 10th March. A Big Blandford Clean Up will take place on Saturday 11th May as part of the 'Big Tidy Up' which follows last year's successful event in which various community groups collected more than 50 bags of rubbish. All helpers are welcome for two hours' light exercise, and for Blandford should meet at the Mortain bridge next to the Marsh and Ham car park at 9.50am. For more information go to Future-Events.php The Stour Rotary club has also announced that this year's Blandford Hidden Gardens will be held on Sunday 16th June, and has contacted past garden openers to ask if they would like to open again this year to help raise money for charity. Last year's event raised around £1,500 which was donated to a total of 14 groups and charities. Anyone who has not already expressed interest is invited to get in touch with the organisers.

February 2013

FOCUS on events

Above: Punters young and old gather on the bridge over the Tarrant to watch the New Year's Eve charity duck race at Tarrant Rushton. Right: Keeping warm by the fire!

Ducks race for New Year honours VILLAGERS from the Tarrant Valley gathered on the banks of the River Tarrant in 'lovely weather for ducks' for their annual New Year's Eve charity duck race. The bad weather deterred many of the usual punters, but there were plenty of hardy supporters prepared to buy ducks and bet on them in the three races staged in the gardens of Tarrant Rushton

House, home of David Panter. A total of £505 was raised, of which £105 will go to Naomi House children's hospice and £200 each to Spetisbury Primary School and the Dorset Expeditionary Society. Spokesman Caroline Tory said: "Last year we weren't sure if the race would go ahead since the river was so low, but we had no such fears this year."

Players' panto promises fun galore THE Milborne Players are presenting their traditional annual pantomime in Milborne St Andrew village hall from Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th February. This year's offering is 'Sleeping Beauty', by Tina Webster and Toby Bradford. Fairies Lilac, Lavender and Lupin are definitely good, but of mixed ability, while Fairy Deadly Nightshade and her henchman, Snivel, are emphatically evil. Their efforts to aid or ensnare Princess Rose, who becomes Sleeping Beauty, are the usual

conflict between good and evil, and additional diversions are created by King Basil and Queen Camellia, Dame Winnie Slaptickle and Happy Harry the Jester, who are all trying to protect the Princess. Prince William (Bill), who is described as quite adorable and loved at first sight by the Princess Rose, has, in traditional fashion, a series of very uncomfortable adventures before planting the kiss to awaken his true love. About 20 local youngsters are taking part in the production, each with a character part, and music is under the supervision of Sam Ryall. The director is seasoned pantomimer Jon Riddle. Performances are at 7.30pm with

a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday. Tickets from the box office on 01258 837030 or the Royal Oak in Milborne St Andrew.

Cinderella has a ball at Spetisbury THE tale of Cinderella, by Peter Bond, is villager Innes Harrison's debut as director for Spetisbury Occasional Dramatic Society (SODS), offering the traditional panto ingredients with good, hopefully, overcoming evil with the help of the fairy godmother. It is on at Spetisbury village hall Friday 1st February and Saturday 2nd at 7.30pm. Tickets from The Woodpecker, Spetisbury, or phone 01258 858964 or 450422.

Make a date for bingo THE first event of the fundraising year for the Friends of Blandford Hospital is a winter bingo evening in the hospital dining room on Thursday 7th February starting at 7.30pm. Further sessions are planned on Thursdays 21st March, 13th June, 3rd October and 5th December. Other important dates to note for Friends' activities include the annual auction at Child Okeford village hall on Saturday 22nd June, stalls at the Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival on the weekend of 14th and 15th September, the autumn fair in Blandford Corn Exchange on Saturday 19th October and an indoor market stall, again in the Corn Exchange, on Thursday 7th November.


February 2013

FOCUS on events

New fashion book gives space to museum collection T

HE profile of Blandford's unique museum of fashion has been raised thanks to references to it in a recently published book. Dorling Kindersley's 'Fashion: The Ultimate Book of Costume and Style' devotes several pages to items in the collection of The Blandford Fashion Museum, including some which formed part of the original collection of Betty Penny's Cavalcade of Costume. Curator Isabel Gilpin said: "A team from Dorling Kindersley approached us first in August 2011, and their photographer, literary editor and art editor spent a full 11 days with us about a year ago, photographing and taking details of the costumes. "They were particularly interested in our collection because none of it has appeared in any other publication, so the photographs remain unique to Dorling Kindersley. "There are a number of detailed descriptions, and I think we provided all the hats and quite a lot of the shoes featured in the publication, which is designed as an education resource. We were able to recommend two of our historians to contribute to it." The book, published in September, retails at ÂŁ30. A limited number of copies are available from the museum, where volunteers are currently working on the new

Above: Curator Isobel Gilpin with the book in which the Blandford Fashion Museum collection is featured. Above right: The 'Passion for Pattern' exhibit under construction. special exhibitions which will open at the start of school half-term on 18th February. They include an exhibit in the ground-floor ballroom entitled 'Passion for Pattern' detailing the development of patterns through the centuries, and one on the first floor called 'Party Time', featuring an Edwardian tea party, a children's birthday party in the 1930s, and a

cocktail party in the 1950s. Preparations include not only the design and creation by the team of women volunteers of the special exhibitions and maintenance of those on permanent display, but also the redecoration by the men, John Gilpin, trustee David Strong, administrator Gordon Boutelle and others, of a number of rooms, including the popular tea room.

Make a date for the great big May Day Hamdinger! REMEMBER last June when hundreds of us gathered on the Marsh and Ham to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a bit of free, home-grown entertainment? The Blandford Celebrations Group, formed from the Jubilee Celebration Group and now a working group attached to Blandford Town Council, is planning a repeat performance which this year, in the absence of the Georgian Fayre, will be in celebration of May Day. The May Day Hamdinger will be held on the Marsh and Ham on the May Bank Holiday, Monday 6th May, and will take roughly the same format as the Jubilee party, including a showcase of the skills and talents of local organisations

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and groups, a repeat of the grand flotilla on the leet, and entertainment with a distinctly English traditional feel including Morris and maypole dancing. Cllr Sara Loch, the town mayor and a member of the Celebrations Group chaired by Esme Butler, said: "The atmosphere at the Jubilee Party was so amazing, it would be lovely to be able to repeat it. I loved seeing all the talent on display on the stage, and it would be wonderful to get even more this year. "I am going to concentrate more on my boat building - I'm not certain that a washing up bowl was the best option! " As last year there will be free refreshments, as well as those on sale, and lots of games and activities for all ages. So if you are a member of an organisation which can offer something for the programme, a dab hand at baking cakes, or willing to rise to the challenge of making a boat out of recycled material which will float from one

side of the Ham to the other, get thinking now of how you can contribute something to the day, even if it is only as a volunteer to help with the staging and organisation, manning the games and stalls, or bringing along your friends and family. To offer anything at all, call 01258 480756.


February 2013

FOCUS on charities

Backing from Betty and friends

Wendy Edwards, of Salsa Amigos, who organised a charity salsa event at the Bryanston Club which raised £100 for Cancer Research UK. Wendy thanked all the supporters, including those who gave raffle prizes. Salsa Amigos holds fun classes for beginners and improvers every Tuesday at 7.45pm at the Bryanston Club. Contact 01258 450149 for information.

WHEN Betty Soper told friends at the Blandford Lunch Club that she wanted to raise money for Help for Heroes, they offered immediate support. Their donations of wool and cash and requests for Christmas gifts, such as hats and small toys, were overwhelming. Later, friends from Age Concern, Blandford Horticultural Society, Blandford U3A, the United Reformed Church Ladies Guild and Arthur Bush holidays joined in. Demand was so great that by the time Betty decided to stop to enable her to prepare for a house-move to Verwood, she had raised £355. That sum, plus £20 raised by a supporter on one of Arthur's holidays, has been sent to the local organiser of Help for Heroes, with due credit given to Betty's many friends. Now settled in Verwood, Betty has resumed knitting again for charity.

Rotary president Nic Nicol greets two of the guests at the Christmas Day lunch.

Rotary serves up a seasonal treat for guests FIFTY-TWO Blandford residents who would otherwise have spent Christmas Day alone enjoyed a fabulous Christmas lunch with all the trimmings as guests of Blandford Rotary Club. On arrival at the Sealy Suite in the Crown Hotel they were offered a welcoming drink and then served with a full roast turkey lunch with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding and wine. Rotarian Nigel Wright, who organised the day, said afterwards: "We believe this was the biggest attendance yet at this annual Christmas Day event that Blandford Rotary puts on every year. "All our guests seemed to have a great time. In fact, the three ladies I drove home afterwards said they wanted to book their places for next year! We are very grateful to the Crown Hotel for

providing the Sealy Suite and background facilities completely free of charge." All the food and drink was provided by Rotarians and an anonymous donor. The meals and drinks were served by a team of volunteers including several nonRotarians and, as happens every year, Rotarian Yogesh Patel and his extended family provided much of the staffing needed to ensure everything ran smoothly. Nic Nicol, the president of Blandford Rotary, thanked everyone who contributed to the day's success. He said: "The Christmas Day lunch is one of many ways we support the local community, but club members are especially proud of this event that brings so much pleasure and joy to people who would otherwise be on their own. The atmosphere in the room was marvellous. It was fantastic to share Christmas Day with these wonderful people."

Free advice about wills SPACES are still available for another Wills and Power of Attorney surgery at the Age Concern Blandford office on Thursday 14th February, when Jerome Dodge from Blanchards Bailey will give advice free of charge. Contact the Age Concern Blandford office at 4 Nightingale Court, DT11 7ED, or phone 01258 458250 for an appointment. About 50 Age Concern Pop-In members and volunteers attended their post-Christmas lunch at the Parish Centre on 9th January and enjoyed a three-course meal, part funded by Age UK and by donations. They were entertained over coffee by volunteer Dot Palin, who sang a selection of well-known songs. More volunteers and new members are still being sought for PopIn, to which transport is available at a small cost to those wishing to attend. For details contact the office on 01258 458250.


February 2013

FOCUS on charities

Five good reasons for Job Club to celebrate BLANDFORD Job Club has marked the New Year by helping four local people into new jobs and a fifth person on to a basic skills course. Pauline Allen has secured a cleaning post at Blandford Police Station, Shane Masterman is beginning his new career as a volunteer with the Dorset Countryside Rangers locally, Daniel Hilliard is working at Spar in Blandford and Lyndsey Jones has landed a janitorial job in the town. Tina Ali is joining a basic skills training course to help improve her prospects of gaining a job in the near future. Cllr David Walsh, who set up the Blandford Job Club in October after launching a similar club in Gillingham which has to date placed 75 people, said: "What a terrific way for the Job Club to start the New Year! "We were pursuing some of these jobs late last year but we only had confirmation about the successes in the first two weeks of January. I'm so pleased for the individuals

Job seekers at the Blandford Job Club Adrian Cuss, Paul West (second and third left), with advisors (from left) Barry Ling, David Walsh, Anna Thorn, Tony Harrocks and Christine Stone. involved and for those people at the club who helped them achieve their goal. Putting local people into local jobs not only provides an income for those individuals but also helps their families and supports the local economy."

Disability group wins grant to fund new project BLANDFORD-based charity DAG - the Disability Action Group (North Dorset) - is celebrating the award of a grant of nearly £7,000 in support of its project to open a unit from where it can develop its affordable loan service to the disabled. Backed by Dorset Partners for Older People's Project, the unit was opened last September in Nightingale Court, Blandford, where DAG volunteers have been able to maintain, service and hire out the mobility scooters, power chairs and other equipment to new and existing members. Chairman Colin Young said: "The grant from the Dorset Community Foundation will help us pay the rent and other expenses over the next two years, ensuring continuity of the service which has been offered since 2001 in North Dorset, but has never before had a permanent base." The charity has also received a grant of £600 from Community LINks (Local Involvement Network) towards the purchase of new batteries for the scooters, which can cost up to £255 per machine. It is also supported by North Dorset District Council, which has made the unit in Nightingale Court available at a modest rent for the first 12 months. DAG is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm, phone 01258 268309. Enquiries are welcome from those in need of mobility assistance, as well as offers of help in fundraising, scooter maintenance or as unit and administrative assistants. An open pool knockout tournament will be staged at Colin's Community Club in Damory Street on Friday February 8th in support of DAG. For details and to register call 01258 453694.

Blandford Job Club meets every Friday between 10am and 1pm at the Treads building through the arch to Blandford Museum in the Market Place. People are supported back into work or to find their first job by being given help with their applications and CVs as well as interview training, signposting to other training, education and benefits advice along with seeking sources of funding and advice. Employers and other organisations can also be helped by advertising vacancies and ensuring opportunities are seen by suitable applicants. Local employers are actively encouraged to let the Job Club know of any vacancies they may have, and anyone looking for employment in the Blandford area is invited to drop in any Friday morning or call the club on 07594 052439. Volunteers are needed to help with a number of tasks ranging from dealing with prospective employers to basic admin duties. Call if you might be able to help, or visit the website

Race night support for transport group COMMUNITY transport organisation Bus2Go is inviting everyone to join them for an evening of fun and excitement at the races at the Royal Oak in Milborne St Andrew on Saturday 23rd February. Eight races will be shown on two screens at the pub, one in the sports bar and the other in the skittle alley. Spokesman Margo Kirk urges supporters to arrive by 7pm when there will be an explanation of how a race night works. Food will be served from 7.30pm. She added: "We have many fabulous prizes for the winners, which have been donated by local businesses and visitor venues. "We shall be under starter's orders at 8pm, and everyone is welcome at this fun family event." Tickets at £6 each are available from the Royal Oak or from Margo on 01258 837749 or by email on


February 2013

FOCUS on groups

French twinners seek more members - language skills optional BLANDFORD-Mortain Twinning Association would love to hear from anyone who enjoys speaking French or would like to get to know French people. The group is always actively seeking new members to encourage new friendships between the two towns and especially among young people, whether or not they speak the language. Mortain is a small market town, surrounded by

stunning scenery, at the lower end of the Cherbourg peninsula where it is roughly on a level with Mont St. Michel. It is only one-anda-half-hour's pleasant drive from Cherbourg. Blandford has been twinned with Mortain for nearly 30 years and many long-lasting and close friendships have been formed. The association's aims are to foster historical and social links between the towns, encouraging friendships and strengthen bonds between

individuals, families and local councils, and to encourage visits and links between civic and business groups, schools and sporting clubs. The next exchange visit, which will be accompanied by the whole of the Stour Valley Band, is over the weekend of 30th May to 2nd June, when they will be hosted in Mortain. To learn more, contact either the secretary Martin Brickell on 01258 453693 or membership secretary Andy Grant on 01258 863550.

Women take up RBL leading roles

Runner-up Shae Hardy receives her Rotary Young Chef award from assistant district governor Maurice Turner (right) and Steve Lee, manager of Waitrose, sponsors of the event.

Shae is beaten by the clock AFTER triumphing in the first round of Rotary's Young Chef competition, Shae Hardy (14), of The Blandford School, was chosen as runner-up by cooking a brilliant three-course dinner for two at the group final at Poole Grammar School. The winner was Charlotte Woodland (15) from Wimborne, who qualifies for the Rotary district final at Ferndown this month, to which it is hoped that Shae, as a runner-up, will also progress. Blandford Rotary President Nic Nicol said: "Shae is a remarkably consistent competitor. Last year she won not only the group final but the district final, too. We understand that this time she lost a couple of crucial points by slightly over-running the two hours allowed for preparing and cooking the meal. If she is successful in getting to the district final, we are confident she will do extremely well." The Young Chef competition is one of several annual events organised by Rotary Clubs throughout the UK to enable young people to develop their skills. These include the Youth Speaks public speaking and Young Musician of the Year competitions.

A FEMININE touch has come to the top of the Blandford Royal British Legion following the annual meetings of both the Blandford and District Branch and the RBL club committees. Women now hold the honour, or even unique position, of chairing both committees, with Veronica Jenkins, former branch secretary, now its chair, and Marilyn Gibbons the new chair of the club committee. Changes have also taken place in the membership of the two committees and both are looking forward to joint working and opportunities for 2013. On the branch committee a new member is the youngest ever to serve. Sophie Pope-Jenkins, who celebrated her 18th birthday last June, has joined under her own membership, notwithstanding her family connections. It is no longer a requirement to have former military service to be a member of the branch or club, which holds many functions throughout the year and has specific groups such as the Silver Threads for the more mature, and the Women's section. Sophie said: "I am really looking forward to working with the Royal British Legion. It is a fantastic organisation. Since my family have been involved I have come

An extra hour in bed before worship A SUNDAY morning lie-in has been allowed for with the later start-time of Blandford Parish Church's morning worship in the Parish Centre at The Tabernacle. Since the beginning of January, worshippers have been gathering an hour later than usual, at 10.30am, for an informal service of music, video, readings and thoughts that aim to encourage people to think about God and how He might have a role to play in their lives. The meetings at the centre began on a

monthly basis when it was opened nearly three years ago, but a year ago became weekly. “We know how much people like to have a Sunday lie-in,” said the Rector, the Rev Tim Storey, “and we hope this will give a chance for more families to attend. There are activities for all ages, including children and young people.” For more information contact Jill Cuss on 01258 456260 or e-mail

Branch chairman Veronica Jenkins, youngest ever committee member Sophie Pope-Jenkins, and club chairman Marilyn Gibbons at the Blandford Royal British Legion. to realise it works tirelessly all year round for both our serving military personnel and those who have now left the services."

Community orchard AN orchard at The Blandford School is being developed as a community orchard for local people, with the permission of the school, by the Blandford Forum Transition Group. The small orchard contains a wide variety of mature trees, with possible room for further planting, and the group, which holds weekend working mornings once a month, is making good progress in clearing the ivy. The next task will be identifying and pruning the trees and mending protective fences. More people are welcome to join in the work, share the produce and make it a real community project. To take part contact Ann Taylor 01258 857336 or Paul Macintosh


February 2013

FOCUS on groups

Talk on otters and water voles OTTERS are present in all Dorset's river catchments but that hasn't always been the case. In the 1970s, before otter hunting and the use of lethal pesticides was banned, only one per cent of sites showed evidence of otters. Now, with improved water quality and bank-side management, otters are regularly spotted, and particularly at Blandford. Conversely, water voles are less often seen, but can be found in a number of areas in Dorset. An illustrated talk about otters and water voles, organised by North Dorset Group of Dorset Wildlife Trust, will be given on 20th February by Rachel Janes, DWT rivers and wetlands conservation officer, at 7.30pm in Fontmell Magna village hall. Admission is ÂŁ2 (free for children).

Pride of Lions after 40 years BLANDFORD & District Lions Club is to celebrate its 40th Charter on Saturday 23rd February at the Crown Hotel's Sealy Suite with a dinner and dance. Forty years’ service to the community is a matter of pride for members past and present, but to continue this service the club needs to attract new members who will be willing to give a little of their time to community service. Anyone interested may contact club secretary Lion Tony Ives on 01929 472336 or visit Lions International website.

Members of Blandford's Lodge of Honour and Friendship, with the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Dorset, Nigel Leonard (doing all the hard work!).

Never mind the weather, say brave Masons TO commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the 49 Masonic Lodges in Dorset have between them planted nearly 100 forest trees, as well as more than 8,000 snowdrop bulbs, in prominent positions across the county. Some of the Lodges elected to install fixed, outdoor benches at a further six public locations. The Lodge of Honour and Friendship, which holds its meetings at Blandford, planted three substantial oak trees at Gains Farm, Shillingstone, on New Year's Eve. The site is high on a steep hillside next to a bridleway and very prominent from Gains Cross and the surrounding countryside, including the Iron Age earthworks of Hod Hill and Hambledon Hill. Undeterred by the atrocious weather, members of the Lodge,

WI aims to alter image A RELAUNCH of a branch of the Blandford Women's Institute, postponed from 18th January because of snow, will take place on Friday 8th February at the Knees Up studio in Common Lane, Blandford. The opening night will be attended by the Blandford Town Mayor, Councillor Sara Loch and representatives of the county WI. Further meetings will be held on the second Friday of the month, and guest speakers organised for the coming years include those from the Trussell Trust, Blandford Complementary Group, the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Blandford Camera Club and the DT11 Forum. Organiser Simone Walls-MacDonald said: "I know the WI can have an image of old ladies singing Jerusalem and selling jam, but my aim is to shatter this caricature and present this WI in a more realistic light. "The WI has today and has had in the past a strong and positive campaigning ability, and all women, regardless of age or background, can get involved to make a positive difference to their world."

accompanied by the Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Dorset, Nigel Leonard, and all sporting wellington boots, rain-

coats and umbrellas, braved the gale force winds and driving rain to complete this Jubilee Year's commemorative events.


February 2013

FOCUS on schools Old boy returns with words of encouragement

Aim high, fashion chief tells school THE chairman of the fashion giant Fat Face was the guest speaker at The Blandford School's annual presentation evening on 19th December. Alan Giles is a former pupil of the school and at the evening, which was very much a celebration of student achievement and talent, he commended the school on its recent Ofsted report which judged it 'good' with the capacity to become an outstanding school. He encouraged the students to work hard, be confident and aspirational, and to value team work. Deputy headteacher Andrew Mead, in his address, spoke of the highly successful year that The Blandford School enjoyed in 2012, with outstanding performances in competitive sport, the best GCSE results in the school's history and excellent A-level results which placed the school in the top 25% in the country, based on value-added. The event showcased some of

the talent in the school, with the 400-strong audience wowed by the musicianship of Joseph Empson on piano, Emily DentonSmith and Natalie Hawkins in a musical duet, Zoe Hickson with a vocal item, Frankie Yeatman and Emily Thomas in a vocal duet, and the virtuosity of Becky Tun Pe in dance and Rory Shafford with devil sticks. The top awards for academic achievement at GCSE went to Abigale Pace and Elias Mead, and at A-level to Seb Ash and Emma Burroughs. Other special awards went to Emily Sym (The Elliot Edwards Award for contribution to the life of the school), John-Paul Flavell (Commander's Prize for Science and Maths), John McGuiness (Nora Dakin Award for most improved mathematician) and Jake McCarthy (The Blandford School Sports Club Award for Outstanding Sporting Achievement).

Emily Sym, who received the award for contribution to the life of the school, with guest speaker Alan Giles.

Above: The Blandford School head of English Simon Gillett and high achiever Seb Ash, who was awarded four A*s at A-level. Above: Andrew Mead, deputy headteacher of The Blandford School.

Left: Rory Shafford entertains on the Devil Sticks at The Blandford School presentation evening.


February 2013

FOCUS on sport

The combined Ringsiders and Riversiders teams at the start of the Spetisbury rounders match.

Rounders match greets the year RESIDENTS from either side of the A350 in Spetisbury met up on the village primary school playing field for their annual New Year's Day game of rounders. A slight discrepancy in numbers between the Ringsiders and Riversiders was diplomatically redressed by one team 'borrowing' players from the other, and the game was played in the usual spirit of New Year camaraderie. Both sides played with Olympian inspiration, demonstrating plenty of muddy sliding and

energetic fielding in dazzling sunshine. Emily Sim ably captained the Riversiders, but in the end Ringsiders captain Mick Fowler felled the opposition with some nifty first base work. Referee/bowler/organiser and Riversider Mark Cheesley showed laudable impartiality by making a couple of fine catches, and the final score was Ringsiders 8, Riversiders 2. The Ringsiders' memorable victory won them back possession of the Challengers' Cup.

Cricketers appeal NIGHT DRIVE: Ashley Wood Golf Club's new captains Mike Lane and Sheila Davidge, pictured before the traditional new captains' drive-in just after midnight on New Year's Day.

TOWN councillors have agreed to make a grant of ÂŁ1,000 to Blandford Cricket Club to fund the certification of coaches for the players. But they have rejected an application for funding from Life Education Wessex, which offers health education to school children, on the grounds of the charity's current funding status which indicated that it was adequately financed without the town council's help.

AN increase in rodent activity in the Blandford Cricket Pavilion at the Park Road recreation ground prompted a survey in December which revealed a decaying rat under the floor and source of a smell which rendered the building unusable. Work was carried out, including baiting which is continuing, to rectify the situation, which will continue to be monitored.


February 2013

Pete Dear sets off in the snow on his sponsored Crawlathon.

Snow progress A CRAWLATHON around the one-way system in Blandford on Saturday 19th January was a fundraising event for Youth Aid which also aimed to raise the profile of the group. Youth Aid member Pete Dear donned a turtle costume to make his way from Bath Travel to Whitecliff Mill Street, down Damory Street to East Street and along the main road to the Market Place and back up Salisbury Street to Youth Aid in the Anchor Gateway. He was accompanied by five escorts and a firstaider, and members promoting the organisation with leaflets and flyers. Sponsorship has so far raised over £700, to which proceeds of a bingo evening on 25th January will be added.

Forum Focus - forthcoming meetings & events REGULAR EVENTS (for more regular events see our website BLANDFORD WOMEN'S INSITUTE: meets the second Friday of the month at the Knees Up studio behind M&Co in East Street, Blandford LINE DANCING every Monday 7 to 8.30pm at Tarrant Keynston Hall and Thursday 7.30 to 9pm at Witchampton Hall. Details contact Karen Hill 01258 840519 DORSET VOLUNTEER BUREAU OUTREACH WORKER Gill Muhl is in the DT11 Office in Nightingale Court every Thursday, 2 to 4pm. Details 07918639011 SALSA DANCING at the Bryanston Club, Blandford Forum DT11 0PR with Salsa Amigos, every Tuesday, doors open 7.45 FEBRUARY Friday 1st February: Durweston Film Night, Anna Karenina, village hall, 7.30pm Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd, Friday 8th and Saturday 9th February: Spetisbury Occasional Dramatic Society (SODS) presents 'Cinderella', Spetisbury village hall, 7.30pm. Tickets 01258 858964 or 450422, by email on or direct from the Woodpecker Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd February: Collection for Cancer Research UK, Tesco, Blandford

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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 This page is available and regularly updated on our website at

650213 Wednesday 20th February: Dorset Wildlife Trust - North Dorset Group Otters and Water Voles - an illustrated talk by Dr Rachel Janes, DWT Rivers & Wetlands Conservation Officer, at 7.30pm, Fontmell Magna Village Hall (postcode SP7 0JU). Nonmembers welcome. Entrance £2 (includes tea/coffee & biscuits), no charge for children.

St Mary Sunday 3rd February: South Dorset Point to Point, Milborne St Andrew, first race 12 noon

7pm. Charity event for Naomi House Children's Hospice. Tickets £25 per person. Booking essential, call 01258 456626

Monday 4th February: Blandford Floral Group meets in the United Reformed Church Hall, 2.15pm for demonstration by Katie Baxter Divine Inspiration. Annual membership £15. First-time visitors free this month. Raffle of arrangements. Details Jean on 01258 452889.

Monday 11th February: Child Okeford Centre for Care and Learning, Rev Peter Smith (former colonial District Officer) and his wife Mary present ‘Out of Africa’ (or ‘A Snake in the Sitting Room’). To book and for more details 01258 860767

Wednesday 6th February: Blandford Art Society ‘The Victorian Villa’, an illustrated talk on the Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth. Parish Centre, Blandford, 6.50pm

Tuesday 12th February: DT11 Partners group meeting, Blandford Parish Centre, 7pm focusing on travel in North Dorset

Thursday 21st February: Northern Harmony, Milborne St Andrew village hall, an Artsreach promotion, details 01258 837371

Wednesday 13th February: Open meeting to establish Brendoncare social club, Parish Centre, Blandford, 2-4pm

Friday 22nd February: Durweston Film Night presents Gambit, village hall, 7.30pm

Thursday 7th February: Friends of Blandford Hospital bingo, hospital dining room, doors open 6.45pm, eyes down 7.30pm. Great prizes on offer. Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th February: Milborne Players present Sleeping Beauty, Milborne St Andrew village hall, tickets £6 from the Royal Oak or box office on 1258 837030 Friday 8th February: Charity Pool Singles Knockout, Colin's Community Club, Damory Street, Blandford, call 01258 453694 to register Saturday 9th February: Blandford Art Society practical art workshop, United Reformed Church hall, 9.30am Saturday 9th February: Dorset Waste Partnership roadshow promoting the new 'Recycle for Dorset' waste collection service, 10am to 1pm, Corn Exchange, Blandford Saturday 9th February: Lovers' Ball, Crown Hotel Sealy Suite

Wednesday 13th February: Blandford Forum Film Society presents Wuthering Heights (2011, Cert 15), The Blandford School, 7.30pm Thursday 14th February: Wills and Power of Attorney surgery with Jerome Dodge, Age Concern, Blandford, for appointment call 01258 458250 Saturday 16th February: Blandford Parish Church Cupola Project Open Day, 10am to 4pm Monday 18th February: Blandford Fashion Museum, The Plocks, new exhibitions open, 10am to 4pm daily excluding Sunday Wednesday 20th February: Angel Heart Theatre present 'Mazymeg and the Honeybees', Durweston village hall, 10.30am and Sturminster Marshall village hall, 4.30pm, an Artsreach programme, details Durweston 01258 488883, S Marshall 01202

Thursday 21st February: Blandford Museum Solly Lecture, Parish Centre, Blandford 7pm 'Dorset and the Domesday Book'; by Dr Karen Mew

Friday 22nd February: Jonty Fisher's Flyright Trio, Tarrant Gunville village hall, 7.30pm, an Artsreach promotion, details 01258 830361 Saturday 23rd February: Blandford Lions 40th anniversary charter dinner/dance, Crown Hotel, Blandford Saturday 23rd February: Race Night for Bus2Go, Royal Oak, Milborne St Andrew, 7 for 7.30pm Saturday 23rd February: Jonty Fisher's Flyright Trio, Winterborne Stickland village hall, 7.30pm, an Artsreach promotion, details 01258 880920 Sunday 24th February: Countryside Alliance Club (Wessex) Point to Point, Badbury Rings, first race 12 noon Wednesday 27th February: Blandford Forum Film Society presents Mademoiselle Chambon (France 2009) (Cert 12a), The Blandford School, 7.30pm

February 2013 Forum Focus  
February 2013 Forum Focus  

The free monthly community newspaper for Blandford Forum and villages