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FORUM FOCUS For Blandford and surrounding villages Issue No. 29

August 2014

Roadshow expert launches Abbey appeal: Page 15

Poppies in bloom a century on A YOUNG contributor to Blandford's poppy fields displays her handiwork. She was among hundreds of people who have helped create fields of poppies in the Corn Exchange as the town commemorates the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. Forum Focus will be recognising the role of Blandford and surrounding villages with accounts of events month by month, starting with a special four-page feature in this issue. For more pictures of the poppy wall, visit our website at where a War Remembrance Gallery is now open. See Page 8.

Crown Meadows reprieved CAMPAIGNERS against development on the Crown Meadows and Bryanston Deer Park were last month celebrating a U-turn by North Dorset District Council planners, who have recommended the withdrawal of the proposal from the new Local Plan. The council's planning policy panel was told at its meeting on 10th July that English Heritage had serious concerns about the impact development would have on the Blandford, Blandford St Mary and Bryanston Conservation Area, suggesting that development in this area would be likely to result in 'substantial harm' to the Conservation Area. English Heritage noted the number of other designated and non-designated heritage assets that could be affected and urged the council to also consider the 'scale of impact' development may have on these assets. The report to the panel also highlighted the

Campaigners celebrate homes plan U-turn opposition of local people, evidenced by the petition signed by over 6,000 against the proposal. It recommended, and the panel agreed, a further round of public consultation into whether the site at St Mary's Hill in Blandford St Mary, for which proposals were submitted in April, should be included as an alternative to the Crown Meadows site. The recommendation was due to be considered by the council's Cabinet on 21st July and again by full council on 25th July. John Cook, chairman of Bryanston Park Preservation Group, said: "All of us at BPPG are delighted that NDDC has at last agreed to listen to the town. "We have consistently commented upon the

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historic importance of the Meadows and of the iconic visual setting they give the town. Our arguments have now been supported by English Heritage whose added weight has proved decisive." The advice from English Heritage gave greater weight to the conservation of historic assets and their setting, and the district council undertook new assessments of the potential impacts, working closely with English Heritage. The proposed local plan revision will include consideration of the potential Charlton Marshall bypass off the A354, the provision of a safe route across the bypass as a continuation of the North Dorset Trailway, biodiversity To Page 2


August 2014




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CONTRIBUTING If you have pictures or reports you would like to share with us, our readers and our website visitors, please send them by email to or by hand or post to 18 Tudor Gardens, Blandford DT11 7PL. Please keep reports to a maximum of 200 words.

Diary events are updated regularly on our website, where they continue forward into the new year. You can also find additional pictures and information, online at Registered office: 18 Tudor Gardens, Blandford DT11 7PL

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Planners’ U-turn over Crown Meadows homes From Page 1 enhancement and good design to mitigate the impact on the surrounding landscape and heritage assets, particularly in Lower Blandford St Mary. It will also mean increasing the total number of new homes to be

built in the Blandford area over the next ten years or more from 960 to 1,110 because of the higher capacity of the alternative location, recognising its natural and historic environment, and safeguarding the route of the Spetisbury Charlton Marshall bypass. An environmental impact assessment has now been submitted for

fields next to the St Mary's Hill development site to become a solar park. Blandford St Mary Parish Council has declared its intention to oppose any firm proposals for development west of the village settlement area of 60 homes between Dorchester Hill and Fairmile Road for which an environmental impact assessment

was submitted by Charles Church in May. They raise issues of compatibility with the neighbouring Bryanston Hills development, inadequate vehicular and pedestrian access, destruction of natural habitats and the open-ended nature of the proposal which allows for further development to the west.

Phoenix House closure is confirmed BLANDFORD'S specialist care home, Phoenix House in Heddington Drive, will close in a few months' time despite a petition signed by over 1,000 people against the Dorset County Council proposal. The council's cabinet on 2nd July accepted that alternative arrangements should be made for the limited number of people using the respite beds and long-term care facility, which costs £1m a year to run, and which cost around £4m to build and equip for its opening only two years ago. The petition with 1,177 signatures was presented to the council's cabinet member for adult social care,

Jill Haynes, by care assistant Eleanor Parker on the morning of the cabinet meeting. But local councillor Barrie Cooper was one of only a few councillors to argue against the closure, stressing the value of Phoenix House to those using it. Councillor Haynes said they needed to separate a building that wasn't working from the good service which would continue to be provided. Head of specialist adult services Glen Gocoul said that since the decision to build Phoenix House was made in 2009, the national and local approach towards care provision had changed.


August 2014

Sports cash lost as cricket club opts to stay put A CHANCE of significant funding for a new sports and community centre has been lost because Blandford Cricket Club has pulled out of a project to share facilities with Blandford Football Club on Park Road recreation ground. The scheme costing around half a million pounds involved a jointuse building next to the play area, but the cricket club say they want to remain on the site of their existing pavilion at the far side of the ground, where it faces west, taking the sun in the evening, and looking down on the pitch. Club secretary Tom Snape said: "Last year the cricket club committee reluctantly agreed to discuss the joint proposal for the community club. "However, as the footprint of the proposed new pavilion became clear, the president and some vice-presidents became vociferous in their opposition, as did members. "In a meeting early this year, we agreed that we would like to replace the current clubhouse and will pursue a three- to fiveyear plan to raise the money which we estimate will be approximately £250,000." He said their proposal would include a brick building and path around the boundary to provide disabled access. The recreation ground is managed by Blandford Town Council on behalf of a trust, and the council agreed in May last year to appoint an architect to draw up plans on behalf of Blandford United FC and the cricket club.

Councillors were told last month of the cricket club's decision, and agreed instead to offer the £90,000 they were prepared to put into the joint scheme to be shared between the two clubs, provided they put forward separate plans by May next year. The committee was told the site of the existing cricket club pavilion was not suitable for the joint project because of the need to provide disabled access and servicing all year round. Councillor Roger Carter understood the cricket club's point of view, saying: "It is an iconic building and part of Old England. But the club has got to move with the times. £45,000 is barely a sticking plaster and if they want to rebuild they need to think of a joint venture." John Wakefield of Blandford FC said the football club was happy with the shared use proposals, which would have provided facilities for both clubs, together with community use. He said if the football club had to go it alone, once they had provided the public toilets required by their league status and carried out other necessary work, their £45,000 share of the town council's funding would be used up, and further funding would be more difficult to attract simply for the provision of changing rooms. Committee chairman Lynn Lindsay said: "We have already spent £1,500 in architects' fees, and are very, very disappointed as a council that we cannot take the project forward."

Rings festival returns THE Music and Merriment Festival returns to Spetisbury Rings this month in support of the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust. Everyone who performs at or works on the festival does so for free, allowing every penny of support to go to the charity. It starts at 7pm on Friday 15th August with the tent-based launch party, followed by the main event from midday until midnight on Saturday 16th August. The event first ran in 2009, organised by Tim Wood, who grew up near Spetisbury Rings and realised his dream of holding a charity festival there after his mother Teresa died from cancer in 2006. Twelve hours of music are promised, together with a kids' zone, real ale and cider bar, locally sourced food, hot air balloon display and Edwardian tearooms. Tickets are available at and The Woodpecker pub in Spetisbury.

Beavers try the mayoral chair THE Blandford Beavers, youngest members of the scouting movement, were among the groups invited to the poppy painting event in the Corn Exchange, and their visit included a tour of the Town Hall and Council Chamber. They also had a chance to view the town's silver maces and Mayoral chains with the guidance of town mace bearer David Jardine and the Mayor of Blandford Steve Hitchings, who allowed them to sit in the Mayoral chair.

War drama auditions AUDITIONS are being held this month for the forthcoming production by Forum Drama, which is one of the series of events being co-ordinated by Blandford Town Council under the banner of 'Blandford Forum Commemorates'. 'Dreams of Home', scheduled for three nights from 30th October, consists of three one-act plays about the First World War, with the common theme being the letters exchanged by soldiers at the front and their loved ones back home. The first play is by Miles Malleson (1888-1969); the second play is by J M Barrie, best remembered as the creator of Peter Pan; and the final play has been written by one of Forum Drama's own members, Pat Harrison, and is an 'Upstairs, Downstairs' story of a Lord and Lady, who have a son in the Army, as do their cook and her husband. But their experiences could not be more different. Women and particularly younger men are invited to attend the auditions which will be held on Thursday 14th August and Tuesday 19th August in The Parish Centre, Blandford, starting 7pm.


August 2014

Fly bite victim’s anger over cuts to funding A BLANDFORD woman who has been recovering from the effect of two very painful bites from the Blandford Fly is astonished at the reported withdrawal of funding for treatment of the River Stour to control its emergence in the spring. Claire Hossell, who was bitten while out running through Bryanston woods, said: "When I went down to the doctor with two very sore bites, he told me the funding for the treatment had ceased. "I'm astounded that the funding is being withdrawn. The bites made me feel pretty poorly, a bit like having the flu, and I'm a strong and healthy person. If a child was bitten like this, or an elderly person, it could affect them pretty badly." North Dorset District Council, which has been responsible in recent years for carrying out the treatment on behalf of other contributing authorities, was advised last October by the Health and Safety Executive that the licence for the treatment was being withdrawn. The manufacturers of the spray used, which has been developed to impact only on the fly and not on other insects in the river, have applied for its use under new EU Biocidal Products Regulations, but in April this year could give no date for when it would be given. Meanwhile the district council has indicated that it

can no longer afford to fund the treatment and said that the local health authority, which also threatened to withdraw its funding two years ago, should be responsible. The chair of the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group in March replied to a letter from the district council's spokesman on health, Councillor Gary Jefferson, that the management of environment risks to human health sat with national agencies such as DEFRA and Public Health England rather than with the NHS. A report to the district's overview and scrutiny committee meeting in July announced proposals for a full review of the issue, and a request to the director of the Public Health England Wessex Centre to lead the process as the authority which could bring in other authorities with a key role. The Director of Public Health in Dorset, Dr David Phillips, has supported the idea that the best way forward is to carry out a full review so that a new policy could be adopted by a group of authorities and agencies. That review would include costs and benefits of control measures to date, current evidence on how the issue could be managed, impact on public health and local ecology, and costs and benefits of differing courses of future action.

Hats off to care home fun AN afternoon tea party at Castleman House in Fairfield Bungalows celebrated national care home open day, and was organised to bring the care home together with the community. Cakes made by local Rotarians and others were served, the Stour Valley Band played on the front terrace, and there was a grand raffle, with invited guests including the Mayor of Blandford Steve Hitchings, Dorset County Council representatives, GPs and nurses. Hats were the order of the day, and the staff dressed in mop caps and aprons to add to the atmosphere. More than ÂŁ1,000 was raised, and organiser Tammy Andrews said: "Our special thanks go to the Stour Rotary Club for their donation of cakes, to the Stour Valley Band for their amazing music, to the local shops and local community for all the sandwiches, scones and cakes and prizes and to Sue Leyland for photography." Manager Julie Thorne said: "We hope we can have more events like this at which we can invite members of the community to join us and see what a lovely home it is."


August 2014

Vandals desecrate cemetery memorials BLANDFORD Cemetery was again the target of vandalism over the first weekend in July when memorials were broken and laid flat, only weeks after the reopening of the cemetery chapel following an arson attack last summer. At least ten graves were discovered by town council groundsmen to have been damaged. Blandford Town Council vice-chairman Bob Brannigan, who was Mayor when the chapel was rededicated in May, said: "It is with great sadness that the Town Council has to report yet more damage and desecration in Blandford cemetery. "Several graves had damage done to memorial headstones and the emotional effect on families is incalculable. " Town Council staff are saddened by this vandalism as they pride themselves on maintaining the cemetery to a very high standard befitting the reverence and importance of the place." He said various additional security measures had been implemented immediately to deter further vandalism and crime at the cemetery. "Police are treating this as a very serious incident and the town council is offering a reward for any information leading to a conviction." The attack follows two occasions in recent weeks on which the cemetery wall has been knocked down by vehicles in Shaftesbury Lane.

Cupola restoration will take it back to its glorious past WORK to restore the cupola on Blandford's Grade I listed parish church of St Peter and St Paul will take it back to how it looked 265 years ago. When the landmark domed structure was first installed on the tower in 1749 it was clad in sturdy weatherboarding with elegant curlicues on the corner vanes and decorative gilding on the weather-vane at the top. Successive repairs over the years, some as recently as the 1960s following a lightning strike, were mostly done with poor materials. These included marine plywood, which specialists will replace with solid oak and a coating of paint that will only require re-painting every 10 years. As the £3m Cupola Project, partfunded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, for the restoration of the entire church moves ahead with the submission of phase one plans for approval by the diocese, a challenge has been laid down to the people of Blandford. Chair of the project Sara Loch is asking for their support in raising the £5,000 needed for the reinstatement and re-gilding of the weather vane. "It's a sum that we can work together towards raising," she says, "and then we will all be able to see and appreciate the results - on the top of the cupola,

visible for miles around." Miss Loch, 64, a town councillor and twice mayor of Blandford, is offering to play a major part in fund-raising for the entire project. "I'll abseil from the top of the tower if I can be sure it will raise £3,000," she says. "The Bishop of Sherborne says he'll join me, and I'd like to get some of the youth club involved, too. "I know the youth club used to abseil as a fund-raiser until about 20 years ago but the tower became too unsafe. By the time it is safe enough for us, next summer, I'll be 65, so the prospect of an abseiling pensioner should attract plenty of sponsors." Scaffolding is expected to go up next spring for work to start on the first phase of the restoration. The cupola and the tower on which it stands have priority as they are the most at risk, and in the same phase improvements will be made beside the west door to give wheelchair access. All the plans and background information will be displayed in a Cupola Project exhibition in the church from Thursday 7th August until Sunday 17th August. Ideas for raising money towards the Cupola £5k will be welcomed by the project team at or via the Cupola Project Facebook page or to Sara Loch on 01258 450278.

The flattened and broken memorials in Blandford Cemetery.

The cupola: an iconic landmark on Blandford’s parish church.


August 2014

Sculpture brings club a windfall

The Bortone sculpture which stood in the hall of Blandford Constitutional Club.

A 100-year-old sculpture which has stood in the hallway of what is now Blandford Constitutional Club for 40 years has been revealed to be the work of a leading 19th century Italian sculptor and sold for over £31,000. The 86-inch-high marble sculpture at the double-front Georgian Dale House in Salisbury Street was installed 40 years ago when it was the home of the late W. H. Wilson, a solicitor and former Blandford Town Clerk. The Wilson family gifted the house to the town when they moved away and it became the home of the Constitutional Club, where the sculpture, too big to move, remained in the hallway. It was identified by Amy Brenan, valuer at Duke's Auctioneers in Dorchester, when she was invited to the house to look at some paintings in need of restoration. "I couldn't help but notice this wonderful white marble sculpture of a girl and a lamb gracing the entrance," she said. "Considering the sculpture had not moved for over 40 years and was adjacent to the bar, it was in remarkable condition."

On further inspection she found it was signed by Professor Antonio Bortone (1847-1938), whose most famous sculpture Fanfulla Da Lodi was widely celebrated at the Paris Expo in 1887. "The Constitutional Club and the Wilson family had no idea of the importance of the sculpture. Very few sculptures by Bortone appear at auction so it was difficult to anticipate quite how well it would do but it was a great surprise when we were able to tell them how much it was potentially worth," said Amy. The sculpture was estimated at £10,000 to £20,000 but after much admiration prior to the auction, it was clear that the high level of interest would translate into good bidding on the day.

"We had several clients from Italy bidding on the phone in addition to commission bids and several clients who had travelled to Dorchester in person just to bid on this piece," said Amy. "To find such an important work in a tiny town such as Blandford is fantastic." The piece was sold for £26,000 (£31,720 including buyer's premium) to an anonymous UK bidder. Stuart Laws, chairman of the Constitutional Club, said: "The statue was always the property of the Wilson family, but we had to insure it at our cost. The family generously offered to share some of the proceeds with us, and any monies will be used in the club as we do have an ongoing building repair need."

Steve Cole (left), chairman elect of the Friends of Blandford Hospital, Gordon Adam OBE (centre), organiser of 18 auctions, and Richard Kay from Lawrences of Crewkerne who kindly gave his time as auctioneer.

End of era for Friends THE end of an era came to the Friends of Blandford Hospital on 21st June when a packed village hall in Child Okeford hosted the 18th and final auction organised by Gordon Adam. Mr Adam has had to step down from this important fundraising activity for the charity for health reasons, but his final event was again a great success, raising over £7,000 through the sale of lots donated during the year to the hospital charity shops and making a total of £100,000 over the years. Mr Adam has been a leading figure in all the Friends' fundraising activities which during his time have raised £2 million and started the first Blandford Hospital charity shop in the town in 1993. He is not retiring from his role with the fundraising team, and the Friends thanked him and his 'right-hand woman' Mary Clacy from Sturminster Newton and their team of volunteers for putting together such a successful event. The Friends held their AGM on 6th July, when Steve Cole, a former hospital manager who has filled many roles with a succession of health authorities, was appointed chairman to succeed the late Peter Fale. Work is nearing completion on the redevelopment of the ground floor of the hospital to which the Friends have donated £750,000. For further information on the Friends' activities, please call their office at the hospital on 01258 450095 or visit the website,


August 2014

A vintage season in the garden BLANDFORD & District Horticultural Society celebrated one of the best seasons in recent years at their annual sweet pea and rose show at the Anne Biddlecombe Hall, Tarrant Keynston. Chairman Alan Newman said a mild winter and lots of early rain in the spring followed by the recent sunshine had resulted in one of the best entries in many years. The quality and number of sweetsmelling petals and blooms which permeated the hall was recognised by judges Ben Bulstrode, Jim McDonald Broughton, Mary McDonald and Ron Benfield, who selected a trio of vases of nine stem and three cultivars from Peter and Yo Beech as winners of the sweet pea Blackmore Vale Championship. One of the vases was judged best vase overall to win an MSPS Medal. Cyril Hovard won the Muriel


Judge Mary McDonald and steward Rachel Eveleigh inspect the sweet peas. Davis Cup and Marcia Miles the Peter Early Shield, with other sweet pea classes won by Dave Manston, Phil Williams and Sylvia Bannister. Tony Ashford of Downton was winner for the second year running of the Joyce Potter Rose Bowl and also exhibited the best

vase in the rose classes, where other winners were Mandy Eveleigh, Alan Newman, Dave Eastment, Helen Sinnett and Barbara Hilton. Members remembered one of their stalwart supporters and exhibitors Chris Hill, who had passed away since the last show.

BLANDFORD's DT11 Transport Action Group is continuing to keep up the pressure for improved bus services in the area, by calling for timetable revisions to provide better connections to Wimborne and campaigning to keep the early morning and late afternoon Sturminster Newton link on the X8 route. The extension of the X8 to include Gurkha Road and the Blandford Heights development has been welcomed, and transport champions are being sought in the villages to help promote existing services and research the need for new ones.

COMMUNITY weekly 5km runs in Blandford for runners of all ages and abilities started on the 26th July. They are organised by volunteers led by Mark Way of Blandford with the support of Active Dorset and Blandford Town Council. Starting from the Jubilee Way bridge over the North Dorset Trailway at 9am every Saturday morning, the 5km runs follow the Trailway towards Stourpaine and turn at France Oaks Coppice to return on the same route to the finish and coffee at Blandford Leisure Centre. ***** AN election will be held on Thursday 2nd October to fill the vacancy on Blandford Town Council left by the death of Councillor Andrew Pemberton, who represented Old Town ward. ***** POWER tools and ÂŁ300 in cash were stolen in a burglary from premises at Glenmore Business Park off Shaftesbury Lane in the early hours of Saturday 5th July. Police have appealed for witnesses who saw any suspicious activity in the area or are offered tools for sale to call Dorset Police on 101 and quoting incident number 7:57.


August 2014

Poppies bloom on the Corn Exchange walls HUNDREDS of people, adults and children, have played their part in creating fields of poppies after being invited by Blandford's 14-18 group to paint their own poppy as a backdrop to the town's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. The flower became the symbol of the commemoration movement after poppies grew on the disturbed soil of the trenches after the war, which was declared in August 1914 and lasted, in Europe, until November 1918. Individuals, school classes and youth groups visited the Corn Exchange to cover boards pre-painted with green fields with a plethora of poppies which will be displayed at the open-air civic service to be held on Sunday 3rd August, starting at 3pm in the Market Place.

The service is being held at the start of Blandford's commemoration events, and coincides with the official opening of an exhibition in Blandford Museum and another in the Parish Church. Both will be open from Saturday 2nd August, the one in the Museum open for the season featuring World War One-related exhibits, and that in the church on display for just one week showing the work of the BFPC Friday Quilt Club. There will also be flower arrangements made by the church flower group and on Saturday morning an organ recital. The civic service is first in a series of events organised by the 14-18 group, which is also carrying out extensive genealogical research with the assistance of the descendants of those who fought in the war.

Road closures when The Bell comes to town MORE details have emerged of road closures in connection with the major arts production, The Bell, which will virtually pedestrianise the Market Place for parts of two days in September. Partial road closures on Wednesday 17th September will include the reversal of Sheep Market Hill from 3pm to 10.30pm, but Salisbury Street will remain open.

There will be another partial closure on Thursday 18th September from 3pm to 7pm, and from 9.45pm to 10.30pm. The full closure for the performance that day reverses Sheep Market Hill and also closes Salisbury Street but does not come into effect until 7pm for just under three hours. Pedestrians will still be able to access their properties and all

businesses in the Market Place during the road closures. At other times traffic will be able to use the roads, although some car parking spaces will be lost to accommodate the work compound for the production. But preparations for the event as part of the 'Blandford Forum Commemorates' series will take up the whole Market Place car park area which will be fenced off, keeping the pavement around the perimeter free for access. The market which normally takes place on a Thursday is being moved to an alternative location on this date. Inside Out are recruiting 15-20 volunteer performers from the

Blandford community to take part. They will spend a day working with the professional performers Periplum learning performance skills, before rehearsing and performing in The Bell. They are also recruiting volunteer event stewards who will also work directly with the company as well as stewards and festival assistants. Other opportunities are planned to include banner making and singing workshops whose participants will contribute to the performance itself. For further information and full details, see their website, email justine@activateperformingarts.or or call 01305 260954.

A COLLECTION at Tesco in Blandford raised more than ÂŁ1,000 for Diabetes UK Big Collection as part of a nationwide initiative across 328 Tesco stores marking the end of Diabetes Week. Volunteers collected donations and helped raise awareness of diabetes, a condition that affects one in seven people. Team leader Tony Ives said: "Tesco made the team of Lions and their supporters very welcome over the three days of the collection. I would like to thank the shoppers of Blandford for their continued support and to all my team for giving up their time to help."


August 2014

Hidden gardens prove a crowd-pulling attraction A BEAUTIFUL day brought out record numbers of visitors and sold a record 291 tickets for the seventh Blandford Hidden Gardens on Sunday 22nd June. Nearly two dozen gardens were open, including six which had not been opened before, ranging from tiny courtyards to extensive lawns and flowerbeds, some of which revealed surprising secrets and a wealth of flora and sometimes fauna. More than ÂŁ2,000 was raised for a number of charities and local fundraising appeals. David Rose, on behalf of Blandford Stour Rotary which organised the event, thanked all those who had taken part by preparing and opening their gardens, giving their time, selling tickets, plants and refreshments.

"Visitors from around Dorset saw what Blandford has to offer, reinforcing the findings of the recent Town Team survey which found that 88 per cent of residents rated the town as a 'good to excellent' place to live," he said. Mr Rose also thanked the family of the late Andrew Pemberton, who died two weeks before the event, for opening his garden in accordance with one of his last wishes. "He and I discussed the initial idea for this event in 2007 as a means to raise awareness of the Clean Up Blandford Campaign, although Rotary are now running it. He had over the years re-planted the garden, knew every plant and spent many happy hours there. He was so proud of his roses." More pictures on our website at

Stourpaine reveals its secrets THE good gardeners of Stourpaine could hardly have wished for better weather for their two-day Secret Gardens weekend. A total of 21 gardens were open to the public, who flocked to the village to pay ÂŁ5 each for the chance to look around some truly magnificent gardens. From the largest and most elaborate to the more modest, every one of them had plenty to enthral or fascinate visitors. And thanks to Stourpaine's location, almost every open garden was further embellished by a splendid backdrop of North Dorset's finest landscape. The event, which included a plant sale, was held in aid of the Air Ambulance charity. More pictures on our website

Jean’s big birthday BLANDFORD's town crier Jean Wells, who is now in her 33rd year in the role after first being appointed deputy to Jim Langridge in 1982, celebrated her 80th birthday on Thursday 10th July. She was without her ceremonial dress but a miniskirt, making a collection on behalf of Age UK in whose Market Place shop she volunteers on a regular basis.

Above: Luke Ballard, front centre, with visitors to his garden in Salisbury Road during Blandford Hidden Gardens. Below: One of the gardens open during the Stourpaine Secret Gardens event held over the same weekend.


August 2014

Death of the workers’ friend

Food bank can help

OBITUARY THE funeral of Ernie Amey, described as "a devoted friend to the working man", was held at Ham Down Woodland Burial Ground, Bere Marsh Farm, Shillingstone, on 2nd July. He died on 14th June at the age of 90, having spent the last few years of his life in Castleman House nursing home in Blandford after living in retirement in Shaw Close. Born in Cashmoor, he left school at 14 to work full-time on a local farm and spent the war years working on the land and as a member of the Home Guard training in Rushmore Park. At 20 he joined the National Union of Agricultural Workers, became secretary of the local branch, and by the time he was 50 he was running 30 such branches across three counties and fighting with insurance companies to win compensation claims on behalf of his members injured at work. He was also for many years secretary of the Blandford and District Trades Council. A book, 'The Million Pound Man', telling his life story and how he had secured more than that amount for his members, was published in 2011. Secretary of Unite Len McCluskey paid tribute, saying: "Ernie Amey was the embodiment of rural trade unionism in Britain. For


Farmworkers' hero Ernie Amey, (right) with Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, in 2011 when his life story was published.

years - no, generations - he was the backbone of our union in Dorset. He was a tireless activist. Thousands of people benefited from his efforts to secure a decent and secure living for rural workers. We will all miss his energy, devotion to the union and commitment to socialist principles."

BLANDFORD Food Bank has now been open for 18 months, and we all - steering group, donors, volunteers and manager - feel it a great privilege to be trusted with the means to help people who are in crisis. For the people who have received help, it is probably fair to say that it is not just the practical help which means so much to them, but the thought that people who don't even know them personally care enough to make gifts of food so that they and their families should not go hungry. We do, however, have one concern. We see more people aged 49-59 than young families or pensioners. It is possible that older workers are more at risk of redundancy and prolonged unemployment than younger workers. But we do wonder whether young families sometimes don't ask for help because they are worried that their children's friends may find out, and tease them. In fact, all help is absolutely confidential and there will be nothing anywhere to show that these families have received help. As the school holidays are approaching, and parents face the extra costs of keeping children occupied, please let them know that there is no shame in asking for help when it is needed. We would also like to say to pensioners that we are just as willing to offer confidential help to them if and when they need it. If anyone wants to find out how it could work for them, please ring 01258 456093 between 10am and noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or e-mail Jenny Galuschka Blandford Food Bank Steering Group

August 2014

Blandford remembers This special feature is the first in a regular Forum Focus series marking the centenary of the First World War and its impact locally

Accounts of life in Blandford nearly 100 years ago researched by members of Blandford's 14-18 group

FOR the people of Blandford, as with the rest of the country, the war was utterly unexpected. It had been a hot summer and many were still enjoying the usual country pursuits. But two days after that hot bank holiday weekend, Britain declared war on Germany. In the issue of the East Dorset Herald, dated August 6th 1914, the first editorial of that paper since the declaration of war on August 4th, was headed 'WAR!'. The editorial took up about seven inches. Beside it is a column of about the same length devoted to condemning cruelty to dogs and a report of the public's susceptibility to alarm concerning cancer, and the Cancer Research Fund Committee's belief that there was nothing suggesting the disease was related to particular houses or districts. For those who studied the news, the desperate negotiations headed by Britain's Foreign Secretary Edward Grey, to avoid conflict between the leading nations of Europe and Russia over that last weekend, were set out in the same day's issue of the Dorset Country Chronicle and Somersetshire Gazette. But the editorial was firm: Britain had done its utmost to negotiate a peace, but the Kaiser and

his generals were determined to have a war of conquest. Quoting from The Times, it said: "And now, we have but one duty before us. We must strike with the full force of the Empire for the small nation (Belgium) which has asked for our protection, for the French friends who have been assailed without a declaration of war." Not all the residents of Blandford reacted in that spirit of patriotism. In the following week it would appear that all the grocery shops in Blandford substantially increased the prices of all basic foodstuffs. This had a very unfortunate effect on the poor of Blandford, who could hardly afford such prices. In that same week, Lord Portman announced that to help the poor of Blandford, he had instructed his gamekeepers to shoot, snare or ferret as many rabbits as possible and sell them very cheaply to the market at a price everyone could afford, and he had urged his fellow landowners to do the same. A very creditable effort, since rabbit meat is low in fat and of high quality. A N Harrocks

How the news of the outbreak of war was broken: left, the East Dorset Herald and right, the Dorset County Chronicle.

PEOPLE had to rely mostly on newspapers and hearsay for the news and even two days after the war was declared there was much confusion and uncertainty. That same issue of the Dorset County Chronicle and Somerset Gazette of August 6th 1914 reported: "The Dorset people's peaceful state of mind has been rudely disturbed this week by wars and rumours of war on the continent. While there has been very little actual alarm, a general feeling of unsettlement and uncertainty has prevailed, mingled with no little excitement as the news from the great centres of Europe became more and more serious. People have not unnaturally exercised their minds as to how the war would affect them individually, and what measures they should take to provide against the temporary straits in money and materials supplies which [war] must inevitably bring." Once war was confirmed, though, the people of Blandford began to take precautions. The news of the outbreak of war was met with 'calmness' among the people of Blandford, although suddenly people were interested in the news with nearly all other engagements cancelled. The Red Cross, anticipating many wounded from the early days of the war and like many other similar towns, made provisions for 300 hospital beds in the town, in the Corn Exchange and the Union Workhouse at the top of

Salisbury Road. As rumours of war and shortages spread in early August 1914, locals began to hoard foodstuffs. While many locals in 1914 grew their own vegetables, and perhaps kept chickens, those on the lowest incomes were hit hardest. The cost of a whole rabbit in Dorchester market was between a shilling and one shilling and eight pence (the equivalent of ÂŁ4.88 at today's prices). R. Carter

August 2014

Four Blandford brothers killed by Peter Reder THE war memorial outside Blandford Corn Exchange names 11 pairs of brothers who fell in the Great War, but an even greater tragedy was borne by the Lane family, who lost four sons. The parents lived in 4 Lawrence Yard (within the site of what is now Ryan Court) in White Cliff Mill Street, and the father, Frederick, had died in 1898, leaving Annie to care for five sons of the marriage and another son from a previous relationship, who eventually moved to Wales. Reginald was the youngest of the brothers and enlisted with the 5th Dorsets in August 1914, exaggerating his age to "19 years and 245 days". He was posted to the Balkans in July 1915, suffering gunshot wounds six weeks later which required hospital treatment in the UK. He rejoined his battalion in France in September 1916, only to be killed on the Somme during the attack from Beaucourt on 11th January 1917, aged 21. The eldest son, Henry, joined the 1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment, probably before the outbreak of the war, and was posted to France in September 1914. He died of wounds sustained near Happlincourt on the Somme on 31st August 1918, just 10 weeks before the Armistice, aged 33. He had married May Smith in 1917 and they lived at Brown's Yard, East

Street (now Kohima Court and previously at times Albert House Yard or Albert Row). Their son, Eric, was only about three months old when Henry died. Frederick was the second eldest and also joined the 1st Dorsets. He was posted to France in May 1915 and survived a gunshot wound in March 1916. He was killed during the battalion's advance from Authuille Wood on the Somme on 1st July 1916 at the age of 28. He had married Amy Dyer in 1911 in Blandford and they had two children, Gladys, born in December 1911 and Frederick, born in September 1913. The fourth son, Albert, was posted to France in December 1915 with the 6th Dorsets. He was killed in action at Montauban on the Somme on the same day as Frederick at the age of 23. In September 1914, he had married Margaret Chown. Their first child, Frederick, was born about October 1914 but only survived for a year; their second child, Albert, was given his dead father's name when he was born in about February 1917. The middle brother, William, enlisted with the 3rd Dorsets in December 1915, transferring to the Hampshire Regiment and then the Tank Corps. Although wounded in France, he survived the war, being demobilised in 1919. His service record contains a medical certificate dated 22nd July 1916 three weeks after the deaths of Frederick

and Albert - summoning him home because his mother, Annie, was dangerously ill. It is doubtful whether this was a 'Saving Private Ryan' gesture, because she died a year later, in August 1917. Dr Peter Reder is a retired Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. He lives in London and Tarrant Keyneston.

Harsh regime as Camp returns to a wartime role IT was not until November of 1918 that Blandford Camp, which had been largely returned to agriculture since the closure of the signal station after the end of the Napoleonic wars and was used mainly as a training ground for the Yeomanry, was brought back into service as home to the newly formed Royal Naval Division. But it required a massive construction programme to house the thousands of servicemen who arrived on the site where only bell tents had provided accommodation, as this photograph (right) taken in 1913 demonstrates. The editorial in the County Chronicle of November 12th 1914 expressed concern about the fall-off in recruiting for the Armed Forces, half a million having originally responded. But the second half million demanded by Lord Kitchener did not materialise. It was suggested that compulsory service (conscription) may have to be introduced. "We can see the operation of the bad influences which are keeping back recruits in our own county. No-one can go through one of the many camps in Dorset without realising how patriotism is being stifled and national enthusiasm damped down in more senses than one in the unspeakably miserable conditions in which thousands of young men from the north and midlands have spent the last few weeks." Then the editor attempts to be slightly conciliatory in tone. He continues: "The authorities on the spot have not been blind to the facts. They appreciate in full the mischief that has been done by the deplorable lack of foresight and organisation

Bell tents provided the accommodation prior to the outbreak of war. that have made several of the camps centres of misery and revolt." The lack of foresight was the billeting of thousands of keen young men in bell tents, well into what turned out to be an exceptionally wet and cold autumn and winter. This lack of foresight extended into the time when the hastily erected wooden huts replaced

those bell tents on the Blandford camp, late in November. The official allocation of bedding for each man of the Royal Naval Division that winter was just two blankets. December in Blandford, turned out to be both exceptionally wet (12.87 inches of rain fell that month) and cold. The average temperature for December

throughout the 24-hour period was 38 degrees F. Accounts written at the time by members of the RND state that the other ranks largely slept fully clothed in order to survive in those under-heated huts. It is little wonder that the rate of recruiting into what was still an all-volunteer army fell off drastically that winter.

August 2014

Why we remember

Blandford soldier’s grave restored THE grave of a Blandford soldier who died during the First World War has been restored by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at a cemetery in Poland. Private Frederick William Foot, of the Royal Light Infantry, was among those who died in a German prisoner-of-war camp at Geuksberg in northern Poland, then a part of Germany. He was buried in the nearby Lidzbark Warminki Cemetery with other British and Russian prisoners who died of malnutrition, overwork and diseases that swept through the camp. The site deteriorated during the 1960s and the men were commemorated at the Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery 75 miles away. Lidzbark has now been reinstated by the CWGC. Peter Francis of the CWGC said: "During the 1960s the cemetery deteriorated at Lidzbark and access to the site

became very difficult, so we took the decision to commemorate the men at Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery. In recent years, that situation has completely turned around and so we have been able to get back into the cemetery and we sent a team from our operations in Belgium to Poland. "It has not been possible to identify the individual grave locations, but we know the area where they are buried. This has been levelled with 39 new headstones installed and something the CWGC calls a Duhallow Bock, giving their families somewhere to go and pay their respects, which is very important. "You can physically go and touch the past and pay your respects and honour those men and women who died in a conflict 100 years ago." The men were held alongside thousands of Russians at the Heilsberg prisoner-of-war camp and died between August and December 1918.

Steam fair to honour the heroic Pup THE Great Dorset Steam Fair, opening at Tarrant Hinton on 27th August for five days, is this year commemorating the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War with its own tribute display featuring a sample of steam and historic vehicles and ancillary equipment which participated in the war years. Petrol and steam engines which were used in the trenches will be featured, along with cavalry horses and heavy horses, whose role was highlighted so powerfully in Michael Morpurgo's book War Horse, transformed for stage and film, pulling cannon, water carts and general service wagons. On the home front, engines were used in the production of vital food supplies and in cutting sleepers for

railway lines. The special display will also include as a static exhibit a genuine WWI Sopwith Pup biplane from the Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire, which is an official partner of GDSF in the World War One commemorative display. The Pup design was one of classic simplicity using a fabric-covered wooden structure to achieve light weight. It was considered to be under-powered but, despite this,

proved highly manoeuvrable with an excellent rate of climb at all levels up to 15,000 feet. It also achieved the reputation of having the most delightful flying qualities, and it certainly commanded respect from its enemies as a fighting machine. It was used both over the Western Front and later for home defence duties. The RNAS used it for pioneering sea trials and in 1917 one made the first ever landing on a ship at sea.

I HAVE a son who has just turned 24. He's a bright handsome lad covered in tattoos, as they all seem to be these days, and he can't get enough of life and adventure. He has a wicked sense of humour, a great twinkle in his eye and loves his family to bits. This description, I think, would fit almost every young man who participated in the Great War. They were told that the war would only last until Christmas and that they could all come home having had a great adventure. Many of these young men had never left their village boundaries so the temptation to travel to exciting new countries known only to them through the pages of print must have been enormous. It struck me that this could have been my son, or anyone's son, tempted to leave all that they knew for adventures in France, Mesopotamia and other parts of the world but never to return. I felt that it was a duty that we should remember and honour them for their sacrifice - their sacrifice and ultimately those of their families whose sons never returned. Their sacrifice allowed our sons the freedom to roam the world, to meet the peoples of the world in peace and love. So to remember and to honour those brave beautiful young men, we are holding an exhibition to commemorate them in Blandford Forum Parish Church. It is hoped that people will take time to stop and remember, just for a moment or two, but to remember that 'they gave up their tomorrows so that we could have our todays'. Gail del Pinto Church Warden Blandford Forum Parish Church

August 2014

News in brief

The Dorset Yeomanry pictured outside Conyers in Blandford.

Dorset volunteer forces called to arms THE Dorset Yeomanry was a mounted volunteer force, founded as the Dorset Regiment of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry in 1794 in response to the growing threat of invasion during the Napoleonic wars. It gained its first royal association in 1833 as The Princess Victoria's Regiment of Dorset Yeomanry Cavalry, and its second in 1843 as the Queen's Own Regiment of Dorset Yeomanry Cavalry. Blandford was the headquarters of 'B' Squadron. After the call to arms for the reserve officers and men of the Dorset Yeomanry and mobilisation in August 1914, C Squadron - around 100 troops from Blandford and Wimborne - was billeted in and around Blandford for six

days before moving off to Sherborne. Their destination 'was not communicated to the men'. The squadron was described as being at full strength, made up of old troopers and others who offered themselves for enrolment. The commandant, Caswell Spooner, was said to have spared no effort to bring the company up to a high state of efficiency. The 1/1st Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry was attached to the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade, and in September 1914 joined the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade which served dismounted in the Gallipoli Campaign before being remounted to serve in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.

Farm horses sent to the front IN 1914, the horse was still the principal form of local transport for most people, and the main work animal on farms, as evidence by the dozen saddlers, blacksmiths, stables and saddlers listed in the business directory of the day. The Dorset County Chronicle and Somerset Gazette of August 6th 1914 reports: "Another sharp reminder of the exigencies of war was given to the agricultural population of Dorset . . . many farm horses were seized unceremoniously by the military authorities, without regard to the need of harvesting. Some were removed from the carriers' carts. "No 'respect of persons' was shown in making good the equine shortage, and the pick of the stables of many gentlemen had to be yielded to urgent military necessity." THE casualties suffered in the First World War were of a scale never before experienced, exceeding a total of 500 a day. Great Britain and the Empire lost over 1,000,000 combatants; France, 1,300,000; Russia, 1,700,000; and Germany and its allies, 3,500,000. In the first cavalry action at Haelen, 400 horses were lost, and in the first month of the war there were a total of 17 major battles and

Members of The Dorset Yeomanry with a police constable and heavy horse in Oakfield Street, Blandford. actions on the western and eastern fronts, including the first naval battle at Heligoland Bight in the North Sea. Western Front (Belgium): August 5th: Battle of Lieges (to August 16th); August 12th: Battle of Haelen (first cavalry action); August 21st: Siege of Namur; August 23rd: Capture of Dinant; August 25th: Siege of Maubeuge; August 25th to 30th: Destruction of Louvain. Battles of the Frontiers (Lorraine): August

COUNCILLORS and members of staff joined a number of dignitaries at the North Dorset District Council headquarters in Blandford for the launch of Armed Forces Week on 23rd June. Council chairman Sue Hunt raised the Armed Forces Day flag, assisted by Col Matt Fensom, Garrison Commander of Blandford Camp, and the Rev David Shaw, who led the assembled company in prayer. A troop of service personnel from Blandford Camp and a lone bugler took part in the ceremony leading up to Armed Forces Day on Saturday 28th June, which raised public awareness of the contribution made to the country by those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces. ***** AN exhibition of memorabilia from World War One went on display at the Age Concern Blandford office in Nightingale Court on 26th July and will remain for a week. *****

A POSTER displayed for the Young Women of London: Is your 'Best Boy' wearing khaki? If not don't YOU THINK he should be? If he does not think that you and your country are worth fighting for, do you think he is WORTHY of you? Don't pity the girl who is alone her young man is probably a soldier, fighting for her and her country - and for YOU. If your young man neglects his duty to his King, and Country, the time may come when he will NEGLECT YOU. Think it over - then ask him to JOIN THE ARMY TO-DAY. And another, appealing for people to take out war loans: TURN YOUR SILVER INTO BULLETS AT THE POST OFFICE.

7th: Battle of Mulhouse; August 14th: Invasion of Lorraine; August 21st: Battle of the Ardennes. Battle of Charleroi; August 23rd: Battle of Mons; August 26th: Battle of Le Cateau; August 29th: Battle of Guise. Eastern Front: August 17th: Battle of Stalluponen; August 20th: Battle of Gumbinnen; August 26th: Battle of Tannenberg. Naval: August 26th: Battle of Heligoland Bight.


August 2014

Roadshow expert starts Abbey appeal

Paul Atterbury with the stained glass window designed by Augustus Pugin. TWO exhibitions timed to coincide with the launch of a fundraising appeal for Milton Abbey, were officially opened by Antiques Roadshow expert Paul Atterbury on 9th July. The first features the life and work of architect, designer, artist and critic Augustus Pugin, who designed the stained glass window which has since the early part of the 19th century adorned the 14th century south transept of the church, founded in the 11th century church. Mr Atterbury said it helped revive the profile of a self-taught architect who had pioneered the Gothic Revival style which dominated his work in the design of a number of churches and cathedrals as well as houses. Pugin, he said, who collaborated with Charles Barry on the design for the Palace of Westminster, had inspired many later English architects and artists, including George Gilbert Scott who restored Milton Abbey in 1865, William Morris and

the Arts and Crafts movement. The second exhibition features the story behind the 1,000 years of history of the Abbey, founded by Saxon King Athelston, developed by Benedictine monks and subsequently by a succession of private owners following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII. Both exhibitions will be on display until the end of August to highlight the programme of urgent restoration launched alongside a project to re-establish the master-plan for the Abbey and estate designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century. Guests at the opening were welcomed by the Archdeacon of Dorset, the Venerable Stephen Wayne, who described the important renovation programme necessary for the Abbey, which has been declared a building at highest level of risk by English Heritage, and for which funding is being sought from the Heritage Lottery.

THIS year's extended Wessex Festival opens on Thursday 14th August with a reception in St Martin's Church, Bryanston, before the evening concert, 'Ancient & Modern' featuring the Festival Singers, Excelsior, the Wessex Chamber Orchestra, leader Christine Scoot and conductor David Everett, followed at 9.45pm by Compline. It continues on Friday 15th August with a concert at the Holy Rood Church, Shillingstone, a Festival Walk in Shillingstone, and in the evening 'Beautiful Baroque' in St Martin's, Bryanston On Saturday 16th August there is a morning tour of Bryanston's new Music School followed by a young musicians' recital, and evening classical classics concert in St Martin's, and on Sunday 17th August the Festival Eucharist at St John's Church, Spetisbury and Festival Evensong at Holy Rood, Shillingstone. For full details, see, email or call David Everett on 01202 528348.


August 2014

Pyjama walk for hospice

A Tea on the Lawn fundraiser in support of Bryanston's village newsletter and Julia's House children's hospice was held on the green outside the former Post Office and shop on Sunday 29th June and raised ÂŁ270.

WELDMAR Hospicecare Trust is calling on the women of Dorset to walk for their local hospice in the annual Pyjama Walk at Bryanston School on Friday 29th August. The event, now in its fourth year after raising over ÂŁ20,000, will start at 10pm and it is hoped to be a record breaker in the year Weldmar celebrates 30 years of specialist palliative care in the community, and 20 years since the opening of the Joseph Weld Hospice. To register online go to, or contact Verity on 01305 261800 or by email to

A night out for the girls MORE than 100 'World Cup Widows' escaped the television screens on Saturday 28th June with a night out in the Sealy Suite of the Crown Hotel. They enjoyed the attentions of waiters 'in the buff' Mike Coombes and Dave Cox, baring all but the absolute necessities, and a series of pamper sessions with the assistance of staff from the Blandford Health and Beauty Centre and nail technician Nikki Davis of Nikki's Nails. Pictured is Amy Harris, of Blandford Health and Beauty Centre, giving Lucy Hinks some beauty treatment.


August 2014

Thrift Shop dispense gifts to good causes TWO Blandford organisations have been on the receiving end of gifts from the Thrift Shop at Blandford Camp, run by a team of volunteers led by Simone WallsMacDonald. A laptop was presented to Carol Bunnagar of Age Concern Blandford to be used in the office in Nightingale Court and at the homes of clients applying for benefits. Funds to purchase admission tickets into Paultons Park for Blandford Youth Club members were presented to Mandy Ford. The Thrift Shop provides a venue for Camp personnel and families to buy and sell their unwanted items.

Volunteers at the Blandford Camp Thrift Shop on the spiral stairs (from the bottom): Celine Latham, Carole Barry, Jean Peck, Janette Marshall and Simone Walls-MacDonald.

When an item has been sold the person gets 80 per cent of the selling price and the Thrift Shop gets 20 per cent, allowing proceeds to be used to buy supplies to run the shop and help provide support for events. Items not sold are distributed to local charity shops, clothes banks, the Trussell Trust, local schools for their fetes, the Royal British Legion, Women's Institute and a Nepalese orphanage. The shop is open four hours a day on four days a week and for eight hours on Thursdays and manned entirely by volunteers, with support from welfare and from the graphics department, which recently revamped the shop frontage.

AROUND a dozen Teddy 20 supporters took part in a Fright Night Walk on the North Dorset Trailway from Sturminster Newton to Blandford on Saturday 21st June, the shortest night of the year. They completed the route in two hours and 50 minutes. Owen Newton, spokesman for the group, which supports childhood cancer charities, said: "It was a lot nicer walking at night than during the day time. It was a bit overcast from Stur to Shillingstone, but a clear night from there into Blandford. We all kept pace with one another, and apart from a few blisters had no problems."



August 2014

Rachel’s tasty lesson in Catalan cookery

Students from The Blandford School salute HMS Victory.

Students’ visit to Victory

CLAYESMORE Senior students were delighted to welcome professional chef Rachel McCormack to the home economics department for a demonstration of her Catalan cuisine. BTEC hospitality students benefited from Rachel's gastronomic knowledge and Year 12 AS Spanish students were helped to prepare and taste some flavoursome fare, including fish baked in salt, griddled lamb chops with thyme and oven-baked chicken. Rachel, though originally from Scotland, caught the Catalan cooking bug while living in Spain and perfected her art by eating in restaurants, chatting in Spanish markets and watching her friends' mothers at work in their kitchens. She went on to set up a London-based business teaching Catalan cooking with the aim of recreating an informal Catalan gathering where everyone chips in with the food preparation. Rachel's expertise has led to her becoming a panellist on the Radio 4 show 'Kitchen Cabinet' and she has recently contributed to other radio programmes such as 'From our own Correspondent'. The students were delighted to welcome such an accomplished chef and learn how to make her delicious hearty food.

YEAR 7 and 8 students from The Blandford School travelled to Portsmouth to visit HMS Victory and the new Mary Rose exhibition to gain knowledge and understanding of British history. The students also attended a workshop based on the slave trade and had the opportunity to discuss and handle artifacts from the 18th century. The trip helped the pupils' understanding of events at the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson's death, as well as the sinking of Henry the Eighth's flagship. The students have now produced a collection of their photographs and information gained from the visit, which has been on display in the school.

Schools form academies A NEW education trust has been formed with the conversion of three primary schools in the Blandford network into academies. The governors and head teachers of Archbishop Wake, Blandford St Mary and Spetisbury Primary School decided last September to apply to the Department of Education to form a Multi-Academy Trust, the Blandford Education Trust, which will continue to work in partnership with Dorset County Council, the Diocese of Salisbury and the Blandford Schools Network. The three schools, which have all been rated good by Ofsted under the most recent framework, will be working closely together to ensure the highest standards of education now and in the future.

Chef Rachel McCormack helps a Clayesmore student with his food preparation.

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Liam wins writing heat IN the local heat of the National Young Writer competition, promoted and run by Rotary International, Liam Lester, a Year 8 student at The Blandford School, won the 1113 year-old category. Fellow year 8 students Eleanor Keats and Charlie Kennett were runner-up and highly commended. The competition is one of five organised by Rotary, including Young Chef, Young Musician, Young Photographer and Youth Speaks.


August 2014


Kevin Penfold conducts the massed choir on stage at the start of the Blandford Schools Network concert.

Massed choir brings a night at the West End MORE than 100 children and adults gathered on the stage of The Blandford School hall as a massed choir for the start of the Blandford Schools Network concert 'A

Night at the West End' on 10th July. Their rousing chorus of Queen's version of 'We Will Rock You' was a prelude to a three-part harmony in which the audience

Learning the world of work YEAR 10 students at The Blandford School worked off timetable for a week in June and took part in a wide variety of activities that informed them about the world of work, and the skills and attributes that they will require in the modern workplace. It also gave them an insight into careers that interest them and broadened their horizons to other careers. Activities included talks, workshops, employability skills, team-building, enterprise events, problem-solving sessions and trips to local universities and businesses. Work Related Learning Week is supported by a variety of organisations, local, national and international businesses, and some

of the students' parents who gave up their time to take part.

Some Blandford School students had the opportunity to spend the day with The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at Blandford Camp.

was invited to join, led by Anna Hayball, Jill Bough and Nickie Fidgin, and followed by the adult choirs of The Blandford Garrison Community and Playsongs Mums' Choirs with 'I Know Him So Well'. The Blandford Schools Network orchestra, which accompanied the singers, then performed the theme from 'Skyfall' and 'In Dreams', and a programme of items by everyone, the children alone, the adult choirs or soloists, ended with another rousing chorus of 'Thank You for the Music'. Schools taking part included Downlands, Blandford St Mary, Milldown, Pimperne, Archbishop Wake, Durweston and Spetisbury Primaries, together with The Blandford School. Proceeds from a collection went to the Richard Ely Music Trust and the Longmead Community Farm, attended by families from the Blandford area.



August 2014

Star Wars visitors join the fun at Milldown fete SPECIAL guests Darth Vader and two Stormtroopers from Star Wars were invited to open the Milldown Primary School summer fete on 14th June, and afterwards toured the school and sports field meeting the children. Nearly 20 stalls lined the boundary of the school playing fields, with more in the school hall, and at the entrance a Dorset Fire and Rescue fire appliance was a popular attraction. There was a programme of entertainment including a Tae Kwon Do display by Integrity Martial Arts led by Kim Robinson, an FA skills demonstration led by John Scott, the Janet Knight School of Dancing, songs from Les Miserables from

students at The Blandford School, the Signs Drama Group and Studio B Dance. Games and activities featured stalls, displays, pony rides, 'Beat the goalie', 'Hook-a-Duck', apple bobbing, face painting and children's tattoos, a buzz wire game, pottery, art, and Splat the Rat, together with a grand raffle, tombolas and refreshments including vintage cream teas. Chairman of the Friends of Milldown Primary School, Sarah Johnstone, reported: "Our exact final figure is not known yet, but it looks like we have made a profit of around ÂŁ1,150, which will be put towards resources and equipment for the school."

Circus skills bring new angle to timetable Mary Hayball, aged eight, and her brother Charlie, aged five, meet Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers at Milldown Primary School's summer fete.

CIRCUS Sensible entertained, coached and instructed the children of Durweston Primary School in a workshop which started with an amazing demonstration for the whole school, followed by hands-on circus workshops for the children, class by class. The workshops included juggling with scarves, balls and clubs, plate spinning, diabolo, flowerstick, peacock feathers and more. As well as being entertaining, the adults working with the children provided high-quality, lively performance skills and encouraged the children to strive for excellence in a friendly and clear manner. The tasks were all challenging

but attainable and many children achieved far more than they thought possible. Recent research has shown the value of circus and other physical skills in an educational environment. Skills used and developed in learning and practising such a challenging and creative activity can be carried over into the more academic areas of education. The day of workshops certainly gave the children an opportunity to discover and develop skills of concentration, information retention, concept visualisation, handeye co-ordination and selfawareness. The day was organised by the school PTA.

Parents get a chance to see what’s on offer PARENTS in Blandford were invited to have a look at the range of services on offer at their local children's centre on 24th June and visit the nursery, Oscars After School Club, as well as take part in activities and meet the parent support group and Citizen's Advice service representatives. Centre manager Amanda Davis said: "Many people don't realise just how much support is on offer at their local children's centre. We can help families in a number of ways and hope that, by holding these open days, we can show parents the fantastic range of services that are on offer." For more information about Blandford Children's Centre call 01258 480147 or visit


August 2014

New home brings pre-school reprieve

Larksmead Pre-School children and their play leaders and assistants look forward to a new start in September at new premises in the town.

Support for families A STAKEHOLDER meeting hosted by Home-Start North Dorset at the beginning of July entitled 'Strengthening Vulnerable Families Together' was attended by delegates from 20 different organisations. They included the Blandford Food Bank, Medical Centres, Early Intervention Service and Dorset Youth Association. Discussion topics included how working in partnership might help support the effectiveness of their work and support for vulnerable families living in North Dorset, the various interventions and support available, and how to build better links. The meeting at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton was opened by Rob Parkinson, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK who spoke of the need to fully understand what's going on in our individual and unique communities. The three workshops looked at issues around Rural Isolation, Mental Health and Improving Budget Management and how each of these impacted upon families struggling to cope.

Health networking MORE than 30 organisations were represented at a health and wellbeing networking event hosted by the DT11 Forum community partnership, the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group and Blandford Rotary Satellite Group in the Sealy Suite of the Crown Hotel in Blandford. The evening provided an opportunity for representatives of each group to discover the wide range of services offered by health and local authorities and by volunteers in the community. It took the form of 90 minutes of 'speed dating' in which representatives shared five minutes of exchanging information, flyers and business cards before moving onto the next. It was a prelude to a health and wellbeing week being organised for a Community Health & Wellbeing event on Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st September. Information from the networking session will be used to produce a Local Services Directory to be distributed in September. A TWO-hour Big Blandford Weed-Up was scheduled for Saturday 26th July by the Clean-up Blandford Campaign, Blandford Town Team and Blandford Stour Rotary. The event, starting 10am and focusing on the Market Place, Church and Museum area but extending into East Street, Salisbury Street and The Plocks, was in preparation for the outdoor Civic Service in the Market Place to commemorate the Great War on Sunday 3rd August.

A NEW home has been found in the nick of time for Larksmead Pre-School, which was threatened with closure when it was asked to vacate the sports pavilion on Larksmead Recreation Ground which it had occupied for over 30 years. Two years ago pre-school leaders were warned by Blandford Forum Town Council, which manages the recreation ground and pavilion, that Blandford Rugby Club wanted to invest further in developing the largely unused pitches and bring it back into sports use. Play leader Christine Coull, who shares with fellow play leader Maz Parsonson a total of around 40 years' association with the pre-school as parents, assistants and now leaders, said: "The rugby club were not prepared to share the premises with us and for a long time we were unable to find suitable, affordable premises. "With help from North Dorset MP Bob Walter, who visited us and wrote to North Dorset District Council explaining our dilemma, we now have premises, albeit possibly temporary, that we can move into for September." Their new home will be in the

lodge in the grounds of North Dorset District Council's headquarters at Nordon in Salisbury Road, which has been vacated by council staff following the reduction in staff numbers. Liz Goodall, chief executive of NDDC, said: "I was asked if the District Council could help because the situation was becoming urgent and felt our vacant building might be suitable. The head of the pre-school went to see it and liked it, and council officers helped to make it happen very quickly. The council believes strongly in helping the community where it is able to do so." Blandford Town Council recreation and amenities committee chairman Lynn Lindsay said she was very disappointed at the inference in comments by representatives of the pre-school that the town council had been unhelpful towards them. "We have bent over backwards to try and help them after giving them two years' notice that the accommodation would be needed by the rugby club. Over the years we have put a lot of money into the building on their behalf, as well as paying the utility and cleaning bills and phone rental."



August 2014

Doddlers Golf club offer a get set for taste of sport to special youngsters the big half

Ashley Wood member John Hayes, winner of the Dorset County Seniors' Golf Championship.

FOR the past 12 years the Ashley Wood Golf Club has hosted pupils from Montacute Special School in Poole to give some of their post-16 students the opportunity to have a go at golf. The most recent visit took place on a glorious sunny day with the course in prime condition and eight guests played four holes before enjoying a lovely lunch. Montacute has 75 pupils between the ages of 2 and 19 with severe, complex or profound and multiple learning difficulties. The visit gives them the chance to experience golf, and the fun and laughter on the day showed how much the young people enjoyed themselves. A CLUB member who only joined in January has already made a very big mark and at the recent Dorset County Seniors' Championship, John Hayes won by a most convincing seven-shot margin, having played two rounds of 73. The competition was held at his home Blandford club, with both days being windy and the course playing tough which made his achievement even more remarkable. A previous member of Sherborne Golf Club, John spent some years abroad before moving to the Blandford area. MATCHES for seniors at the club have come thick and fast recently, and a game at Came Down was going well until heavy rain flooded both greens and fairways, forcing the abandonment of the match. Better luck returned for the home encounter with Rushmore Golf Club which the Blandford team won convincingly 4.5 to 1.5, with wins for Arthur Evans and Hedley Rodgers, Pete Johnson and Robin Morris, Les Rix and Ian Pinder as well as Cliff Kitteringham and Kev Lugg who had the most convincing victory of the day. Fortunes were reversed the following day when Ashley Wood entertained Knighton Heath who ran out 4-2 winners.

The teams who lined up for the Danny Coker Memorial match at The Blandford School give a minute's applause for the young footballer who died in 2011.

THE Dorset Doddlers' stage their annual road races on Sunday 3rd August and are looking forward to receiving the support of the residents of Sturminster Newton and surrounding villages. The Stur Half, supported by many local businesses, takes runners, 17 years and over, through 13.1 miles of scenic countryside. The race starts at 10.30am in Station Road and finishes on the High School playing field. The 5.5k race also starts at 10.30am from Station Road and offers runners of all abilities (13 years and over), a 'taster' of the Stur Half. Entries can be taken by 10am on the day at Race HQ in Sturminster High School. Those not running in a race or supporting along the routes can enjoy refreshments and fun activities on the school playing field, which will include ice-cream, children's races, a beer tent and pre/post sports massage. For more information on both races and the whole event, visit or phone race director Craig Dixon on 07734 204984.

Sportsmen honoured TWO young local sportsmen were remembered at memorial matches held at The Blandford School. The first was Danny Coker, who died in 2011 at 18 after being diagnosed with a rare cancer the year before, and the second was for Dan Jones, killed in a motorcycle accident in May last year at the age of 23. Danny was the school's first ever prime minister when The Blandford School Parliament was introduced in 2008, and a keen and talented sportsman who played football for the school, for Blandford Under-18s and for Okeford Fitzpaine. The match on 20th June between his friends, all former Blandford School pupils, and members of staff, was organised by his 15-year-old niece, Charlotte McIntosh, and raised ÂŁ242 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The following week on Saturday 28th June the second match was played in memory of Dan, a midfield player for AFC Blandford and keen biker, in support of the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance Trust.


August 2014


Bowling Club celebrates opening day IT was a red letter day for Blandford Bowling Club on 20th June when their new clubhouse at Milldown Road was officially opened by the President of Bowls England, Adie Lloyd. Bowls England were also represented by the senior vice-president Marcia Pearce, whose mother, Murial Hodges, had been club president in 2005. The opening event was the culmination of a considerable amount of hard work over the winter months as a £90,000 project provided an extension with new changing rooms, toilets and entrance hall, much of the work

being completed by club members under the guidance of Pete Cornick. The old clubhouse area has been completely redesigned to provide a larger kitchen, bar and public area facilities with funding provided jointly by Blandford Town Council, Bowls England and the club itself. The event started on a sad note as a minute's silence was held in respect of vicepresident and club stalwart Ann Dennis, who had died recently. During the course of the afternoon six rinks were contested in a friendly form which saw

the Blandford team defeated, by 86 to 80, by members representing Bowls England. The visiting dignitaries were also given a display of bowling by the Junior Section, after which there was a fine buffet tea. Mr Lloyd complimented the club members on their fine achievement in moving the club forward with the new build at a time when many clubs were in decline, and few clubs had a Junior Section of this standard. Finally, he presented honorary life membership to Peter Cornick for his devotion to the development project.

Left: Adie Lloyd and Marcia Pearce of Bowls England, pictured with the Blandford Bowling Club Junior Section. Above: President of Bowls England, Adie Lloyd presents Peter Cornick with honorary life membership.

Quiz show stars score with rugby club THE relocation of Blandford Rugby Club to Larksmead Recreation Ground attracted a visit by two sporting heroes to the site. Cricketer Phil Tufnell and rugby player Matt Dawson, team leaders on BBC quiz show 'A Question of Sport', took part in a 'Celebrity Deep Clean' of the pavilion before the start of the season. The deep clean, the result of town clerk Linda Scott-Giles winning a competition with leading cleaning specialists Karcher UK, followed the vacation of the pavilion by the Larksmead PreSchool, but was accompanied by a range of activities to attract the crowds in the first week of the

school holidays. A full report will appear in the September issue of Forum Focus. The town council's recreation and amenities committee at its last meeting reached agreement on the club's use of the pavilion and pitches, their maintenance, and the terms of the lease costing £1,500 a year. The club has asked for a 25-year lease to allow them to secure further grant funding, and the length of lease was agreed in principle, subject to review after one year. It was also agreed to allow exclusive use of the pitches and pavilion, with the exception of the need to use the pavilion as a polling station and the ground for

community events promoted by the town council. The site has been levelled, regrassed and re-fenced, funded in part by a grant of nearly £85,000 secured through contributions from developers in the town to provide local facilities.


Swimmers send an SOS THE Blandford Flyers swimming club is in urgent need of a level 2 coach to allow them to continue. Although they have someone prepared to take on chairmanship of the club committee, it is impossible for the club to operate without a coach, and it will be forced to close next term if no-one can be found. Anyone who can offer their services is asked to contact Claire on 01258 453410.


August 2014

Barbara’s silver service to RDA A WOMAN who has devoted 25 years to volunteering with the Milton Abbas Riding for the Disabled was presented with a Silver Jubilee award at the group's auction of promises fundraising event. Barbara Thomson, who has carried out a variety of roles and is current treasurer and group instructor, was presented with the award by Susan Jones, chairman of the Dorset Riding for the Disabled Association. The auction was held at the Hall & Woodhouse Visitor Centre in Blandford St Mary which was generously provided free of charge by the brewery, and auctioneer Bill Allen from Bonhams gave his time

to steer the auction to a profit of £4,000. Lots ranged from a couple of hours' gardening to a day's sailing in Poole and included a signed 'Doc Martin' DVD donated by Martin Clunes, which raised £80. MARDA provides disabled children from Beaucroft Foundation School, Wimborne, who often have communication problems or difficulty with mobility and balance, with an opportunity to learn to ride a pony and so gain in confidence and physical strength. They ask anyone interested in volunteering for two hours on a Friday morning or making a donation to contact Liz Platten on 01258 881650.

Little impact NATIONWIDE industrial action by members of a number of local government and teaching unions on 10th July had little impact in North Dorset, where district council services for the most part operated as normal. Arrangements were put in place to minimise disruption, and schools and council offices remained open, although people phoning the council were warned to experience longer waiting times than normal.

Road death A TEENAGER involved in a car crash on the A30 Sherborne Causeway on 30th June died in Frenchay Hospital in Bristol three days later. Ellie Jackson (16) from Shaftesbury, was a passenger in a Volkswagen Polo driven by a 20-year-old man from the Blandford area, who was not seriously hurt.

Forum Focus - forthcoming meetings & events AUGUST Friday 1st August: Aussie BBQ at the Cricketers, Shroton with live entertainment from Jack and a Box and the Shroton Ukulele Club Saturday 2nd August: Official opening of Blandford Museum World War One exhibition, 10.30am, Beres Yard, Blandford Market Place World War One exhibition, Blandford Parish Church (for one week) Sue Ryder Care Jumble sale in the Woodhouse Gardens 9am to 1pm Tarrant Monkton & Launceston Flower and Produce Show, doors open to the public 3pm Sunday 3rd August: Sturminster Newton Half Marathon and 5k run, from 10.30am Civic Service to mark the Centenary of the start of the First World War. Market Place, Blandford, 3pm Thursday 7th August: Blandford Museum talk, 'Blandford - a strategic strong point in 1940' by Michael Le Bas, Museum, Beres Yard, Market Place, 7.30pm Thursday 7th to Sunday 17th August: Cupola Project exhibition, Blandford Parish Church. Friday 8th August: Storytelling in the Corn Exchange with Chris Bennett, 10am to 4pm Saturday 9th August: RNLI Country Fayre, Classic Car Rally and Companion Dog Show, vintage and classic vehicles, craft stalls, RNLI gifts, refreshments, Spetisbury Manor, Spetisbury,

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, and forthcoming events for the year, are available and regularly updated on our website at 11am to 5pm, enquiries 01258 857449 Tarrant Hinton Produce Show, Tarrant Hinton village hall Wednesday 13th August: Guided walk of historic Blandford led by members of Blandford and District Civic Society from Eagle House Gardens car park, 7pm Thursday 14th August and Tuesday 19th August: Auditions for "Dreams of Home", forthcoming production by Forum Drama, The Parish Centre, Blandford, starting 7pm Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th August: The Wessex Festival 2014, services and concerts at Bryanston, Shillingstone and Spetisbury, see Friday 15th August: Music & Merriment Festival evening party, Spetisbury Rings, 7pm Saturday 16th August: Blandford & Sturminster Newton Cats Protection coffee morning and stalls, Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion, Blandford, 10am to 12.30pm Child Okeford Gardeners' Club annual show, 2:30pm to 4:00pm at the Village Hall Music & Merriment Festival, Spetisbury Rings, 12 noon to midnight Iwerne Minster PHA Summer Show, Parish Field

Sunday 17th August: 45th anniversary of Woodstock Extravaganza at the Parish Field, Iwerne Minster Garden Party to raise funds for The Chapel of Gussage St. Andrew, Chapel Farm, Gussage St. Andrew, 4 to 7pm, details and tickets 01725 552834 Monday 18th August: Blandford Club for Visually Impaired meets at the Williams Opportunity Hall, Whitecliff Gardens, Blandford, 2pm, activity to be confirmed, contact Margaret on 07786 413616 Wednesday 20th August: Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Show, 8.30am to 6.30pm Thursday 21st August: Blandford Art Society August Meeting, Pimperne village hall, 2 to 4pm, Whatever happened to Reginald Pepper? Two Nations by Time & Tide Theatre Co., Springhead Trust, Fontmell Magna, 7.30pm Friday 22nd to Monday 25th August: First World War Centenary commemoration with film Friday, concert and war poetry Saturday and WWI Flanders Flower Festival for BLESMA, SAAFA & The British Legion, St James' Church, Milton Abbas Saturday 23rd August: Sturminster Newton Carnival Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th

August: Stock Gaylard Oak Fair Saturday 23rd to Monday 25th August: Craft and Garden Fair, Kingston Lacy Sunday 24th August: Coombe Cottage, Shillingstone, garden open for NGS, 2 to 6pm Monday 25th August: Shillingstone Sports and Hill Race 2.15pm Monday 25th to Saturday 30th August: Blandford Art Society Open Exhibition 2014 Corn Exchange, Blandford10am - 5pm daily Saturday 10am-4pm Wednesday 27th August: Probus meeting at Crown Hotel, Blandford (Sealy Suite),11am to 2pm Wednesday 27th August to Sunday 31st August: Great Dorset Steam Fair, Tarrant Hinton Friday 29th August: Pyjama Walk for the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, Bryanston School, 10pm, details 01305 261800 Friday 29th August to Sunday 31st August: End of the Road Festival, Larmer Tree, Tollard Royal Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st August: Blandford & Sturminster Newton Cats Protection afternoon teas, The Old School Sturminster Marshall, 2.30 to 5.30pm Sunday 31st August: Two Nations by Time & Tide Theatre Company, tells of the journey of Everyman; Springhead Trust, Fontmell Magna, 7.30pm, refreshments on sale, limited seats available, tickets 01747 811201

August 2014 Forum Focus  

The free monthly community newspaper for Blandford Forum and surrounding villages

August 2014 Forum Focus  

The free monthly community newspaper for Blandford Forum and surrounding villages