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Forum Focus The free monthly news magazine for the Blandford area

November 2020 Issue No.104 Est: 2012

Parking bombshell sparks anger Fears that evening and Sunday charges will turn people away AN announcement by Dorset Council that car park charges are to be imposed from 8am to 8pm each day including Sundays has been greeted with disappointment and some anger. Those hoping to see a postCovid return of footfall and reduction in on-street parking in Blandford town centre have described the move as "hugely counterproductive". The changes include extending the chargeable period, currently 9am to 6pm, in all car parks from January next year, together with the introduction of charges on Sundays in Blandford, Sturminster Newton and other towns where it has until now been free. Free parking during the full Covid lockdown was widely welcomed in Blandford and resulted in fewer people seeking one of the limited number of free on-street parking spaces when they visited the town. There had been hopes that the chargeable period might be reduced to encourage residents unable to find parking near their homes when they returned from work to use the car parks more overnight. Dorset Council says the changes are being brought in as part of an ongoing review to make charging more consistent across the area following the creation of the new council, and most rates remain unchanged, with the exception of some popular visitor destinations


on the coast. A consultation will also take place this autumn on a suggested council-wide shoppers' permit giving discounted rates, similar to that which has operated in West Dorset for over 20 years. Towns will continue to be offered free parking on four days a year, together with Small Business Saturday and one weekday in December. Chairman Nic Nicol of the Blandford Town Team said: "I can understand the need for parking charges to go up and like the idea of the permit scheme, but extending the chargeable hours to between 8am and 8pm and including Sundays is likely to be hugely counterproductive." Town councillor Roger Carter said: "It's an appalling decision. How on earth is our evening economy ever going to recover after Covid? It's a slap in the face to the many people around Blandford who are struggling financially." Catherine Chapman, chairman of the Blandford Business Support Group, said: "My initial thoughts were that we are trying to bring people into Blandford not turn them away. "I appreciate the council need to raise funds, but if the council is not careful the already suffering high streets will definitely close for good. I will be making businesses aware of this at the next Blandford Business Support Group on November 5."

Children in the pumpkin patch at Longrose Farm, Milton Abbas. But Halloween celebrations have a new look this year with social distancing and safety uppermost. Story: Page 5. Both Blandford's county councillors have opposed the move, saying they will be questioning officers and voicing their objections to the portfolio holder and leader of the council. Councillor Byron Quayle said: "Like many residents in Dorset I was surprised by the announcement regarding the parking changes in a press release from Dorset Council. Although I support a fair funding model in which car park users are charged equally across Dorset, I do not


support the new recommendations and will be voicing my strong objections to the portfolio holder and the leader of Dorset Council. "Simply, Sunday charges will negatively impact Blandford business and charging until 8pm does not take into account the pressures on local residents living in a town that does not have adequate on-road parking. "We need to encourage and support residents to use our car • To Page 2



November 2020



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Where to find Forum Focus FOR the duration of the Covid19 emergency the number of Forum Focus pick-up points has reduced due to the closure of many premises. However we hope it will again be in re-opened village pubs and venues, in addition to publishing on our website and distribution through social media and email. Currently confirmed pickup points are: Blandford and Blandford St Mary: Tesco and Homebase, Blandford St Mary; Lidl and Bartletts in Shaftesbury Lane; Morrisons, Greyhound Yard; M&S, Langton Road; the Spar Shop in the Market Place; Chaffers and Iceland in Salisbury Street; James Newsagents in The Plocks; The Post Office in the Tabernacle; The 3Cs in Damory Street; The Co-op, Damory Garage and One Stop in Salisbury Road; Blandford Hospital in Milldown Road; Central Shop in Heddington Drive. Sturminster Newton: The Emporium and shops in Market Square, The Exchange. In the villages: Bryanston Bryanston Club; Child Okeford The Cross Stores; Iwerne Minster - the Post Office; Langfton Long Abbots Nursery; Pimperne phone box and church; Shillingstone - Garage and Coop; Spetisbury - Village Hall and Clapcotts Farm; Stourpaine - The White Horse Inn; Tarrant Keyneston - St Richard Close bus stop; Tarrant Launceston and Gunville Farm Shops.

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 on stories.

DEADLINES Adverts: Thursday November 12 Editorial: Friday November 13 Deliveries from Friday November 27 View future deadlines on our website.

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Town seeing increase in loutish behaviour AN increase in antisocial behaviour among teens and young twenties has come to the attention of members of the public (see letter Page 15) but the police have reported an increase of only four per cent on 2018-19. Community beat officer PC Tom Harness told the town council's town and general purposes committee in October that it wasn't a huge jump, and they were tackling a few key repeat offenders by working closely with the Dorset Council ASB team. He said one man was being issued a community protection notice (CPN), which will graduate to a community behaviour order (CBO) if he breached the restrictions in place. Two other unrelated persons were being subjected to a CPN. He said an antisocial behaviour issue in Diamond Way had come to police notice in May and generally involved alleged Covid-19 breaches and street parties. However, there were also a couple of public order matters, for one of which an ongoing criminal investigation is in progress, and they were now seeking advice from the Crown Prosecution Service on a charging decision. "Recent ASB spikes we partially correlate with school holidays and the relaxation of the lockdown situation," said PC Harness. "Some of these complaints involve street arguments and flouting of Covid-19 legislation on the meadows."

The Park Road recreation ground and the old railway arch behind Marks and Spencer were used as a "local hangout" for youths, and on occasions drugs and alcohol were seized and parents contacted. Police regularly conducted foot patrols and took names of those present in areas which had become 'hotspots' for ASB. PC Jamie Burt further commented that the main problem areas were the places where young people could go for shelter, and there was a particular issue with the echo from music being

played under the railway arches. Their report to the committee showed that the police were working with the MoD Police to target incidents involving those from the Army camp, and that the number of cases of violent crime, burglary, theft, drug abuse and criminal damage was down on the previous year. "Pubs closing at 10pm will hopefully help to reduce late-night drinking and deliver a message of reassurance to the locality and reduce some of the drink-related harm and antisocial behaviour experienced," said PC Harness.

Parking charge fury • From Page 1 parks to avoid parking dangerously in over-subscribed and narrow streets like those in parts of Blandford." Councillor Nocturin Lacey Clarke added: "My wife and I, as residents in town that don't have parking, will definitely be affected badly." Cllr Ray Bryan, council portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: "Changes needed to be made for a more consistent approach. "As a council in a challenging financial position, we are trying to achieve a delicate balance of maximising income from our car parks while ensuring residents and visitors will still choose to support our high streets, beaches and attractions. "While we were looking at these charges before the pandemic hit, it is more important than ever to make these changes now. Through national lockdown measures, people self-isolating and temporary free parking schemes, we have lost around £2m from our car parks so far this year at a time when we need the money most."

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November 2020

Bygone days recalled as town tidy-up gathers pace THE unveiling of an old faรงade of what used to be the Half Moon pub in Whitecliff Mill Street, Blandford, caused quite a stir when the owner commissioned the stripping off and correct reapplication of the render. The work uncovered the former lettering declaring 'Hall & Woodhouse Ltd Badger Ales' and unleashed an outpouring of memories from those who remembered the building's former use. A public house since the 18th century, it was converted in 2004 following its closure, when the building and its neighbouring car park were redeveloped as residential properties. The 'Half Moon' sign which hung for many years from the wall was 'inherited' by Blandford Rugby Club, which had used the pub as its base, and now hangs in their clubhouse behind Star House, another former Blandford pub at 53 East Street. The obstruction caused by the scaffolding over the pavement, which coincided on one day with work on the streetlight a little further down the street from a vanmounted lift, prompted some comment. But there was plenty of praise for the renovation of the faรงade with lime rendering and how considerate the Dorset Lime team were to the general public on foot as well as to passing traffic. Dave Welsh, of Dorset Lime, said: "We are stripping off the render and reapplying using the correct lime render for the listed building." He was happy to answer questions from those fascinated by the work and the history of the building, and to respond with diplomacy to enquiries while carrying out the enhancement to one of the town's oldest buildings. The company was praised for the way they tidied up after each visit to the property. This has not been the only old Hall & Woodhouse pub to be undergoing a facelift, and it is good to see work finally underway at the former Three Choughs in West Street, still in the brewery's ownership but closed and vacant for over ten years, and to see so much other work being undertaken on historic properties during September and October. It included the flats above


Refurbishment underway above the Showcase store at East Street

The old Half Moon pub revealed. Showcase at the entrance to Kohima Court in East Street, now owned by Landmark Properties, who have commissioned a full refurbishment programme which is due to be completed in early December. The Grade II listed property next to the Grade I Bastard House includes two three-bedroom maisonettes on the first to third floor and a firstfloor apartment. Roof and other repairs have also been carried out above the Nationwide Building Society at 5 Market Place and the Valentine Gallery in Salisbury Street, and work has been underway to repair the properties at 15-17

Work ongoing at 15-17 East Street.

And at the Valentine Gallery in Salisbury Street.

East Street, all Grade II listed. Planning permission has also been sought to upgrade the fabric and improve the layout of 8D West Street, and to convert the vacant office at the rear of 1 Market Place to residential.

More repairs above the Nationwide Building Society.


November 2020

A rocky start for town’s new store

The Exchange in Sturminster Newton lit up in red for the Global Day of Action for the Arts. Picture: Andrew Marsh.

Cash lifeline aimed at helping arts to survive THE Sturminster Newton Community Building Trust, the charity which manages The Exchange, and the Great Dorset Steam Fair are among more than 1,300 arts organisations across England to receive a share of £257 million government money to help them survive the next six months. Organisations in Dorset have been given £2.2 million, with beneficiaries including Weymouth Pavilion, the Dorset County Museum, Swanage Railway and the Bovington Tank Museum. The Great Dorset Steam Fair, the annual event at the 600-acre Tarrant Hinton showground showcasing Britain's rich industrial, agricultural and leisure history, gets £236,200, which will be used to help towards monthly operating costs over the next six months. The Sturminster Newton Community Building Trust has

been awarded £59,491. As the most prominent arts venue in North Dorset, The Exchange has been very hard hit by the impact of Covid-19, with no live shows and other events for over six months. But it has been supporting the #We Make Events #LightItInRed campaign to raise awareness of the struggle for the entertainment/arts culture as a whole. Volunteer lighting technicians Andrew Marsh and Tim Lacey have been responsible for putting together the display to turn the building red on three occasions so far - most recently on September 30 when there was a Global Day of Action to highlight the plight of the arts worldwide. Supporters have also been asked to sign up to fundraise at no cost to themselves with smile.amazon.co.uk for the Trust (Charity no. 1108652).

DURWESTON School PTA is for the fourth year running hosting a Christmas tree sale in Durweston village hall for one day only, on Saturday November 28. They will be selling premium-grade, non-drop fire trees and handcrafted, fresh foliage wreaths from 9am to noon.

THE opening at short notice of the new branch of Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Blandford on October 6 was quickly followed by speculation about the future of the high street fashion chain. A grand opening day for the new branch in the week that the lockdown was announced in March had to be postponed, and Forum Focus was unable to make contact with the company to discover whether or not it was still planning to occupy one half of the former Argos premises in East Street. But just over six months later the doors opened on a wide selection of fashions which were welcomed by town shoppers. A week later the company, which is owned by businessman Philip Day and also owns Peacocks and Jaeger, lodged a notice of intention to appoint administrators to look for potential buyers to shore up the struggling business. Staff received letters warning them that the national and local lockdowns had hit sales very heavily and adding that the company had also been hit hard by allegations, which it denies, that

the retailer and several rivals had failed to pay some Bangladeshi suppliers for clothes they were unlikely to sell during the lockdown. Insolvency specialists spent ten days carrying out an urgent review ahead of further action. Stores in the meantime have continued trading in anticipation of significant changes expected. EWM chief executive Steve Simpson, describing the situation as a 'brutal environment', said: "Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult. This situation has grown worse in recent weeks as we have had to deal with a series of false rumours about our payments and trading which have impacted our credit insurance. "The second wave of Covid-19, and all the local lockdowns, have made normal trading impossible. We have applied to court for a short breathing space to assess our options before moving to appoint administrators. There will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this."

Corn Exchange toilets availability discussed THE possibility of opening the toilets in the Corn Exchange to the public on days other than market days has again been aired at a town council meeting. It was reported that several people attending the Community Expo in September had asked if they could be open, including one man who said he shopped at Lidl because facilities were not easily available in town. Councillor Roger Carter recognised that one of the problems was the difficulty in securing the building and vandalism, but asked whether, in the light of town centre regeneration tending to increase footfall, the possibility might be considered. Encouraging cafes and pubs to invite the public to use their facilities, as happens in some towns, was felt impractical at a time

when Covid restrictions were in operation, and the only alternative put forward was to sign people to the facilities available by the Post Office and at the Marsh & Ham car park. Members were concerned that some undesirable activity might move into the Corn Exchange if the toilets were open, and that it might need a caretaker standing guard all the time. But Mr Carter suggested that benches in the Shambles so people could shelter from the rain might safeguard against unsavoury activities. Town Clerk Linda Scott-Giles said her major concern was that the Corn Exchange was not like other buildings that could be left open and unattended, but it could be considered as part of the ongoing work on the building as a whole.

PLANS to install a multi-use games area at Archbishop Wake Primary School in Black Lane, Blandford, are being considered by Dorset Council. The application by head teacher Daniel Lasbury-Carter includes a 4G surface and three-metre-high mesh fencing around the perimeter of the area in the grounds to the east of the school building and west of Diamond Way.


November 2020

Halloween keeps its distance this year

No more town cash for leisure centre COUNCIL tax payers in the town will not be asked again to pay extra to support Blandford Leisure Centre to which they have contributed half a million pounds over the last ten years. Town councillors have agreed that they have fulfilled the commitment they gave when the centre was threatened with closure in 2009 to support the centre with £50,000 a year for ten years. They were told that Dorset Council believed a further £50,000 payment was due but investigations confirmed that the town council had already made all ten payments. They agreed that the council was not minded to renew its service level agreement with Dorset Council over the leisure centre. Town and county councillor Nocturin Lacey Clarke, who made the proposal which was seconded by fellow county councillor Byron Quayle, said: "I can't see it means anything will change. But Dorset Council will have to find another £50,000 from this year's budget." Councillor Lynn Lindsay, whose proposal that the council should not make an 11th payment was seconded by Councillor Lacey Clarke, said: "It would be a travesty for us to pay more and we

would have to re-consult to do so." Councillor Steve Hitchings, who as then district councillor chaired a Blandford Leisure Action Group at the time of the original agreement, said: "We said at the beginning that the leisure centre was important and it would have closed without our support." But he said Dorset Council have now signed an extension of the contract to 2025 with Everyone Active which will then be amalgamated into one contract for all council-run leisure centres and there were big players who would love to have it. A recent report to Dorset Council revealed that Blandford Leisure Centre, which reopened on July 25 after four months of lockdown, had been busy with over 1,250 visits from members keen to get back in the gym, where there had been additional safety measures including one-way systems, enhanced cleaning regimes and structured sessions. Group exercise classes were operating at over 85 per cent capacity, with additional classes added in September, and swimming lessons and bookable lane swimming were similarly proving popular.

TWO cygnets on the Stour were injured when they misjudged the height of the blue (Mortain) bridge after taking flight over the river and collided with it. Witnesses called the RSPCA, who were unable to attend, but the cygnets were collected by volunteers from Wildlife Rescue of Moyles Court, Ringwood, who gave them pain relief and took them into veterinary care. They were reported two days later to be receiving treatment in the hope that they could be returned to the river when they had recovered.

THE traditional celebration of Halloween has taken on a new look this year as children and parents work to maintain social distancing in whatever trick or treating they might manage. A Great Dorset Pumpkin Trail was set up on Facebook, inviting families to find houses at which crafts and decorations had been hung up for children to see so that parents could reward children spotting one with a sweet in their child's bucket. Others planned Halloween displays in their gardens with pumpkins they had carved at home and other decorations. But the Blandford Environmental Trust made no attempt to hold their annual fundraising Halloween event at Angus Wood in St Leonard's Avenue. Meanwhile the Miller family at Milton Abbas could only wonder what response there would be for the 'pick your own pumpkin' days they held for the first time this year after the wet autumn of 2019 resulted in part of the wheat

crop failing to germinate and left them with a one-and-a-half-acre bare patch. Always keen to diversify, Michael and Vicki Miller, their sons Quentin and Justin, daughter Georgina and daughters-in-law Alice and Kelly, embarked on a project to launch Dorset Country Pumpkins, in addition to the wheat, barley, oats, vetches, maize, beans and fodder crops grown by four generations of the family over the last 80 years alongside their sheep and beef enterprise. The pumpkins have been individually grown from seed in their greenhouse and hand planted in the pumpkin patch, without the use of herbicides or pesticides, producing a mix of varieties with a range of different sized orange and white pumpkins to choose from. It may not be too late to pick your own up to October 31. For more information see dorsetcountrypumpkins.co.uk or email info@dorsetcountrypumpkins.co. uk.


November 2020

Grave tidy-ups a fitting tribute to fallen war heroes REMEMBRANCE activities will be limited this year as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions making the usual gatherings and parade impossible (See Blandford Town Council's announcement of how the week will be marked, Page 24). But work recently carried out in Blandford Cemetery has come as a timely reminder that not all the graves with military connections are listed and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A suggestion from Lieut-Col Retd Bob Brannigan before he retired as Garrison SO was followed up by town council staff who searched for any military reference on the gravestones and in the council database. During the lockdown a meeting was held with members of the Royal Corps of Signals Junior Command Training Team with 11th Signal Regiment, based at Blandford Camp, who agreed to carry out maintenance work and cleaning of some of the stones on the list. Town clerk Linda Scott-Giles said: "We would ordinarily seek

permission from the grave owner, but these were clearly not attended. "Sergeant Instructor TKQ Raratabu and his colleagues spent a morning working there, focusing on cleaning the headstones which for whatever reason have been unattended for years of those who served their country and did not have a Commonwealth War grave in Blandford. The grounds staff have also fixed the little pillars back on one of the graves." The gravestones they worked on included those remembering Reginald Durdle and his parents; Leonard Arnold; and Leo Weldon and his son Julian, who died on active service in Korea in 1954 and is also remembered at St Mary's School, Marnhull. Reginald William Durdle was the son of Salisbury Street tailor Robert William and Alice Sarah Durdle, killed in action in 1918, aged 25, while serving with The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), and is buried at Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery. Leonard Alfred Arnold was killed

Sergeant Instructor TKQ Raratabu is pictured (second from right) at Blandford Cemetery with his colleagues. in action, aged 33. His CWGC record reveals his number and rank as 1412625 AC 2nd Class

and that he died on December 8, 1941, and was buried at Whitley Bay (Hartley south) cemetery.

We will remember them

The gravestone of Reginald Durdle following maintenance work.

Royal Corps of Signals Blandford Garrison BFBS Blandford

Legion holds a solemn salute to blitz victims

RBL branch chairman Terry Clarkson, left, and secretary Bryan Kelly with the wreaths laid on the Blandford Cemetery War Memorial on Battle of Britain Day.

THE Blandford branch of the Royal British Legion held a socially distanced event to mark Battle of Britain Day on September 15. They gathered at dusk at the War Memorial in Blandford Cemetery, marking the day the Luftwaffe launched its largest and most concentrated attack on London in 1940 and air crews fought from dawn till dusk. Wreaths were laid by branch chairman Terry Clarkson, secretary Bryan Kelly and poppy appeal organiser Robert Taylor. Mr Taylor said Covid-19 had also impacted on this year's appeal, and he had been instructed not to supply boxes and collection tins to businesses due to there being a possible risk of spreading Covid19 from paper poppies being handled as they are bought. "There will not be any door-todoor or street collections as there would be normally, but I have

looked into the risk assessments to run a small stall in Blandford town centre from October 31 which will be able to supply wooden crosses and enamel Poppy pins. "The Poppy Appeal has partnered with a selection of supermarkets and banks to cover the supply of poppies and you can also order online a poppy pack from the Royal British Legion website, as well as donate. "Wreaths can still be ordered either online or through me, by calling 07775 473136 or emailing blandforddistrictrbl-branchpao @hotmail.com "With a reduced presence of collectors this year I would like to encourage as many places as possible to have window displays to show that even in these trying times the poppy appeal is still going forward. I will be happy to supply poppies and wreaths to have on display."

November 2020

Garden light show brings some cheer PLANS are being made to light up the Woodhouse Gardens in December to add to the festive spirit and boost people's morale in the run-up to Christmas. The town's streets will again be decorated with trees and column lights at a cost of over ÂŁ7,000, and town councillors have also agreed to bring in a local company specialising in sound and lighting to provide the extra scheme at a cost of just over ÂŁ1,200. The idea is for the gardens to be transformed with a mixture of colourwash and fairy lights each evening as the light fades, and remain open to visitors until 9pm, when the lights will be turned off and the gates locked to secure

the equipment. Councillor Nocturin Lacey Clarke said: "It's a really great idea but there is a big dilemma as to whether this is the best use of our funds." Councillor Alan Cross, who was the only person to vote against the proposal, said he would have problems justifying the expenditure and asked how many would use or visit the gardens. But Councillor Lynn Lindsay said: "I think after the difficult year we have had, we should do the best we can to raise a smile, and maybe hold a socially distanced event." Councillor Hugo Mieville agreed, saying that anything that cheered people up could be justified.

U3A facing up to the lockdown challenge BLANDFORD and District U3A have had a real challenge to keep as many of their groups going as possible in the lockdown. It is now looking for new members, and those who could help present groups, to find new ways to meet. Chair Sarah Houghton said: "Before lockdown I had never heard of Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc, and I needed someone to take me through what to do for my first meeting. Since then I have learned to set up committee and social meetings and helped others to join. "These have been tricky times for us all and staying in touch has become ever more important.


Many of us have had to learn new computer skills to stay connected." She said the groups who meet outside had had to make adjustments and split into smaller groups of six, which worked well. But anyone who is no longer in full-time employment could join and attend one or more groups listed on the website at blandfordu3a.co.uk - or start a new group. One now starting up is The Stories of Mabinogion and Arthurian Legends, for which more details are available from Bridget Spiers on 01258 455081. For a friendly first contact ring membership secretary, June Lane, on 01258 458116.

Santa back on the road FATHER Christmas Biker, who for the last few years has sped about Blandford and Dorset greeting children on his decorated reindeer bike but last year had to cancel following family bereavement, has announced that despite the pandemic restrictions he hopes to be out and about this year to bring a little cheer. He said that unless there was a December lockdown, he hoped to be back on the road. "My presence out on the road and through the towns and villages is going to be needed more than ever this year to raise even a little spirit, smile, laugh or cheer, and to give just a little hope," he said. "It saddens me greatly that the world is still in the grip of the pandemic and that Halloween, fireworks and possibly Christmas events, including Santa's grottos, are being restricted - or worse not happen at all.� "Hopefully as the experience is often just seeing me out and about and often from two or more metres away, Covid won't affect it much. But selfies may not be permitted!" He said the suit was going to have its battered white faux fur replaced, and 'Iron Reindeer' Robo Rudolph could well have a new look this year. By liking his Facebook page, people will get notifications of where he might be seen.


Practice plea for patience during ‘frightening’ times IN the face of continued criticism as well as praise of the Blandford Group Practice (letters, Page 14), staff have admitted they are working in 'difficult and frightening circumstances' in the face of unprecedented demand. Practice manager Carol Tilley said: "Mistakes and delays will happen and people will not get a gold standard service every time as we are spread so thinly trying to keep things going as best we can in these unusual times. "Our phones are busy as lots of people are calling us. Delayed non-urgent hospital referrals leave people needing more ongoing support and there has been an increase in mental health and anxiety due to the current situation, all generating more calls in what was already a very busy surgery." Added complications to the thousands of calls made about flu jabs are a change in the way vaccinations are delivered imposed by the drugs company, a backlog of patients needing annual reviews due to the spring lockdown, and GPs doing the majority of consultations by phone. But getting another phone line would mean bringing in another member of staff, social distancing did not permit more people in the building and the nature of the work did not permit home working. "It is a great shame that the public's patience and kindness is running out. Our staff are working long hours, often six days a week, to keep the service going in very difficult and frightening circumstances. The situation in Blandford is not unique."

The bulletin from the Dorset Primary Care (below) demonstrates the ongoing activity across the county. Graham Cobb, chairman of the Blandford Group Practice Patient Participation Group, said he had learnt at a meeting of the Blackmore Vale PPG that the Blackmore Vale practice was experiencing exactly the same sort of problems. "I would like to praise all our staff for their outstanding commitment and contribution through what can only be described as being an extremely difficult time for all of them, and on the back of the merger too. "Some of our patients may have legitimate concerns, but there is no doubt in my mind of the hard work that all the members of the team have put in to both evolve the practice into a Covid-safe environment to offer the very best medical service possible under extreme conditions, and to safeguard staff members. "I would ask all our patients to please realise the difficulties that the practice is working under." • The Blandford Group Practice is seeking donations of new or second hand computers, tablets or iPads which can be wiped clean and then set up specifically for isolated patients to allow them to make contact with groups of people such as doctors and NHS helplines. Graham Cobb said the suggestion had been made during a Zoom meeting and the PPG had been asked to help with the appeal. Any such items can be dropped off to either surgery.

November 2020 NEW rules announced on September 22 by the Government to curb the spread of Covid-19 saw a tightening up of restrictions in pubs, cafes and many other venues. Face coverings became the norm, other than when seated at tables, together with table service and 10pm closure. And quite quickly came the first example of a business having to close for a deep clean after a customer tested positive. Those who had been in close contact were advised to self-isolate, and others who had visited during that week to be extra vigilant and to self-isolate and seek a test should symptoms develop. Further rules and restrictions announced from October 12 did not apply in Dorset, where transmission rates were seen to be rising much more slowly than in areas in the Midlands and North. Other statistics revealed no room for complacency. The number of cases per 100,000 population up to October 13 were said to be 59, compared with the average in England of 95, but in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole the figure was 121. The number of new cases over seven days shot up from 16 in Dorset on September 21 to 230 on October 15, and in Bournemouth from 56 to 560. Between March and September the claimant count in the North Dorset constituency rose from 790 to over 2,100 (1.4 to 3.8 per cent), giving an indication of the number of additional people claiming benefit due to loss of employment.

November 2020



November 2020

Left: Books on a wish list created at Durweston School have been donated by parents. Above: The Dolphins class with their new books.

Book wishes granted COVID restrictions may have put a stop to many fund-raising activities at Durweston Primary School, but the parents are still contributing to the children's education. At the beginning of term, each class created a wish list of new books they would like to be able to enjoy; since then, parents have been choosing books to buy and sending them in to school. "It's felt a bit like Christmas, with parcels arriving every day," said head teacher Nicola Brooke. "It has been fabulous to be able to share so many great new books with our children and has undoubtedly helped develop even further our children's love of reading. The adults have enjoyed reading the new books too!"

Backstage glimpse at fashion museum TO cope creatively with Government restrictions on movement and proximity, the Blandford Fashion Museum has opened some backstage activities to a limited number of the public. On October 19 and 20 for the first time, the display in the Georgian Room was renewed while the museum was still open. This was an opportunity for some ticketed visitors to witness the painstaking and skilled work that goes on behind the scenes. Stella Walker, costume manager, and her display team revealed a newly acquired 1812 dress. It is a brown checked morning dress decorated with Dorset buttons down the side. In the skirt are slits for the wearer to reach her tied on 'pockets' (little bags stitched onto tape), invaluable pieces of costume especially for those in rented

accommodation who needed to carry their keys, sewing kits, scissors, handkerchiefs and other special belongings. Wealthier women carried a 'reticule' (handbag). This new display replaced two Georgian dresses, one for the ball in pale pink and the other a blue and white checked summer outfit. The activity took place in two parts: on the first day the original display was taken down and on the second the new one was put up together with the setting. Waistcoats and other single objects of this era were also exhibited. It is hoped that more such opportunities will arise in the future, especially as opening times have been extended by two weeks. The museum will close on Saturday December 12 and reopen on Monday February 1, 2021.

Town’s famous five CERTIFICATES of Appreciation for their contribution to the community have been awarded this year by Blandford Town Council to five local residents. The awards followed a special procedure allowed by the council's standing orders in exceptional situations such as the Covid restrictions which prevented the annual ceremony at mayor-making this year. Five nominations were received and got a majority vote in favour from councillors using Survey Monkey. They were for the Rev Canon Jonathan Triffitt, who has served as Rector of Blandford and Langton Long for the last five years; Blandford Youth and Community Centre manager Jo Hutson; Blandford Food Bank manager Gail del Pinto; Blandford Cricket Club secretary Tom Snape who was last year the Lifetime Achiever in the NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards (OSCAs); and David Rose, organiser of the Blandford Hidden Gardens event for the last ten years.

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November 2020

Wet pants deliver a serious message DUE to Storm Alex it was seriously soggy when the instigators and sponsors of the Great Dorset Pants Fence gathered to raise the banner on to the designated fence at Gorcombe Extreme Sports ready to receive contributions. Due to Covid restrictions, the raising was always going to be a limited affair with just five representatives present. In the event, Blandford Evening WI was represented by the treasurer Sheila Chapman, dripping in her waterproof, Gorcombe by a hardy Phil Meaden soaked in shorts, and rain-lashed in their company jackets the sponsors, Danielle from Cheap Printing Dorset which designed and produced the banner, and Neil Middleditch from Bailie House Warehouse. Nikki Davies-Thomas from the

Dorset Cancer Care Foundation was up to the top of her wellies in water. And the first contributions to the fence got dropped in the mud and had to be taken home and washed! The Great Dorset Pants Fence is a fun adaption of the New Zealand Cardrona Bra Fence to highlight the message of the current WI resolution 'Don't Fear the Smear' and to encourage women and men to take the tests available. Pants can be contributed any day, with pegs supplied from the Gorcombe cafĂŠ where a donation box is placed, and refreshments are being served only on Saturdays at the moment. Refreshments are also available from the sponsoring Bailie House Warehouse in Sturminster Marshall.

THE next Producers' Market in Sturminster Newton is planned for Saturday November 28, and organised as in previous years by the Anonymous Travelling Market. Under normal circumstances this is when the Christmas tree lights are switched on and Father Christmas and his elves take up residence in their grotto, but other options are being considered to create something special.

Blandford Evening WI treasurer Sheila Chapman at the Great Dorset Pants Fence at Gorcombe Extreme Sports in more clement weather than on launch day.

Green light for action BLANDFORD Town Council has adopted a climate change action plan drawn up by a group led by Cllr Pat Osborne which in the first instance includes identifying opportunities for reduction of energy waste from all council-owned buildings and investigating the possibility of reinstating recycling bins at locations from which they have been removed. The plan includes launching Green Grants matched funding for community groups wishing to start up an environmental initiative and exploring opportunities for providing public drinking fountains and shaded/sheltered areas on Town Council-maintained outdoor areas. Councillors have additionally agreed that paperless distribution of agendas and minutes should be the norm, but that councillors can request paper agendas and minutes after at least three members indicated that using digital distribution remained difficult for them.


Mark Woodhouse and Lucinda Gray in the Brewery Tap conducting the virtual Community Chest Awards.

Mums on a mission THREE Blandford mums who are living with a meningioma brain tumour were walking 10k around Bryanston School grounds on October 23 to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Charity. Tammy Andrews, Caryl Clarke and Michelle Miller-Boardwell - aka The Tumourators - planned to end the walk at the Ginger Viking in East Street to celebrate with a special 'Tammy's Tumour Cocktail' prepared by proprietor Alex Young. They have already exceeded their target on their fundraising page with the charity, but if you'd like to support them find them on Facebook by searching for Tamaly Andrews.

November 2020

Brewers supply a financial lifeline in troubled times MORE than £50,000 has been awarded through Blandford brewers Hall & Woodhouse's Community Chest this year to 35 local causes across the south. They include the Blandford Opportunity Group, Treads Young People's Advice Centre and Home-Start North Dorset, which have each received £1,500. The annual awards ceremony took place virtually this year and included an online beer and cheese tasting session led by Mark Woodhouse. All winners and judges received a 'Dorset Dozen' beer box, a selection of crafted Badger ales, along with a selection of accompanying cheeses, so that guests could participate online. Lucinda Gray, company relationship manager and next generation family director of Hall & Woodhouse, said: "In a year of such challenge, we're proud to be helping others make a difference to their communities. We understand, and have heard first-hand from the charities, how necessary the grants are for the survival of these local causes. "The donations are going to a real mix of charities, from youth services to mental health support, to those that specialise in facilities for people with disabilities, to free computer access for those who need it most." Another £1,500 was awarded to Yewstock School, and other grants totalling £16,520 went to

organisations across the south. In addition a further £9,500 was allocated earlier in the year to help local causes during the lockdown. Applications will be open for the 2021 Community Chest awards next March, when voluntary groups will be able to request funding ranging from £300 to £5,000 to help them achieve their aims. • HALL & Woodhouse are also celebrating the announcement of their brew 'The Golden Champion' as the UK country winner in the pale ale category of the 2020 World Beer Awards, and the recognition of four of their other beers for their great taste. 'Twice Tangled' was awarded silver in the IPA category while 'The Cranborne Poacher' took bronze in the flavoured category. 'The Blandford Fly' ale achieved bronze in the favoured herb and spice category, and one of the brewer's most historic beers, 'The Fursty Ferret', was also awarded bronze in the pale beer category. Toby Heasman, head brewer at Hall & Woodhouse, said: "As we approach our 250th anniversary as a brewer, it's encouraging to see Badger Beer continuing to be recognised for its great tasting pints. Expertise and knowledge of the brewing craft has been passed through the Woodhouse family from generation to generation, and these awards are testament to the dedication to quality that is shown by the entire team."

Macmillan marvels FUNDRAISING for Macmillan went ahead in many areas despite the problems with hosting a 'World's Biggest Coffee Morning' in September. Plans for a socially distanced coffee morning in Spetisbury were redrawn to result in a raffle for four hampers which raised a total of £1,029, including £123 donated online. It was the most ever raised in the village, and will be swelled when Gift Aid is added. Organiser Sarah Houghton said: "It was remarkably sociable despite allowing only four others into the rather drizzly village hall garden while a friend and I sat under an open gazebo and sold raffle tickets on the Wednesday. "Then on Friday we sat outside Marcia's Market in a very strong wind from 3pm until about 7.30pm and caught school parents and drinkers alike. We made twice as much as usual." The team from CBA Services in East Street, Blandford - Kay, Lauren, Dan, Nathan and Catherine - completed slightly over 5k a day for 10 days and beat their fundraising target of £500 by raising over £850.


November 2020

Deaf student’s plea for uni funds help A BLANDFORD Nepalese student is appealing for help to achieve his dream of getting a university degree. Aayush Gurung is profoundly deaf, unable to speak and relies on sign language to communicate. The 22-year-old moved to the UK from his home country of Nepal in 2016 when he was 17 to improve his education. After passing his A-levels, he has been offered a place at Bournemouth University, studying accounting and finance. He has chosen to study at Bournemouth as he can easily travel to and from the campus and will not have to pay accommodation or maintenance expenses. But his immigration status of 'limited leave to remain' means he is unable to apply for student loans, Disabled Student Allowance or any loans from the UK government, and his parents both have low incomes and are unable to support him.

He has started a GoFundMe page to help him further his educational ambitions with an original target amount of £24,000. But Bournemouth University has agreed to reduce the fees by giving him 'home' fee status, and he has won the support of the charity of William Williams with a £3,500 grant, together with £500 from Blandford Rotary Club and £840 from fundraising at Blandford Camp, so has reduced the target to £14,810. By the middle of October £2,500 had been raised towards his tuition fees, British Sign Language interpreters and notetaker costing £7,800, and books, equipment and travel costing £2,100. He said: "I have faced many barriers throughout my life but I will never give up. Donations from the public will help me to achieve my dreams. All donations will be very much appreciated." To donate, visit www.gf.me/u/ywgi8d

Kieran’s charity single A BLANDFORD singer/songwriter has recorded his second single as a fundraiser in support of World Mental Health Day. Kieran Knowles's 'Shout Out Loud', written at a time when he was struggling with his own mental health and having frequent anxiety attacks, encourages listeners to talk to someone about how they are feeling if they have problems with their mental wellbeing. It was released on October 9 ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10. Kieran, 31, who last December was one of the finalists in a talent competition hosted by the Paddocks bar in Salisbury Street, has worked with Dorset Mind to promote the single and will be donating all proceeds to the mental health charity. Marianne Storey, chief executive of Dorset Mind, said: "We were honoured to be asked by Kieran to collaborate with the promotion of 'Shout Out Loud'. The song emphasises the importance of expressing your feelings clearly and helps to spread awareness of mental health, which is something we at Dorset Mind are passionate about."

Isaac Readhead in the Blandford Town Museum with the calendar he has produced to help fund his conservation work.

Photo calendar idea helps Isaac’s aid trip A CALENDAR featuring old pictures of Blandford is being offered for sale by a teenager fundraising for a 2021 school expedition to Costa Rica to work on a conservation programme. Isaac Readhead is a 15-year-old who lives near Broadstone and is a pupil at Poole Grammar School, but his mother Emma works at the Blandford Chiropody Clinic in Tabernacle Walk, and the pair say they have fallen in love with the town. Isaac needs to raise £4,500 to take part in the four-week Camps International expedition focusing on community development, environmental conservation work, and wildlife protection and conservation. He has so far raised around £700, but the Covid pandemic put many things on hold and he is far from his target. He decided that the calendar, costing £8, was a way to raise funds and give people something in return for their support, as well as being a community project using help from local people and providing an opportunity for local businesses and organisations to promote themselves by sponsoring a month. A number have offered their backing, including the Blandford Town Museum, which has supplied the photographs and which will be offering the calendar for sale. It will also be on sale at the Blandford Chiropody Clinic and other local outlets, and available by post by arrangement to cover postage costs. For postal sales or more information email BlandfordCharityCalendar@gmail.com Isaac also has a GoFundMe page: gf.me/u/w54pjj for anyone wishing to donate to the conservation and humanitarian cause and is happy to do unskilled labour or any reasonable task in return for a small donation.


Readers’ letters

Surgeries are letting us down IN response to the Blandford Group Practice letter ‘Unfair treatment’: if you would listen to the comments it is quite simple it's not about you personally, it is that the service we are receiving is simply not good enough. This is nothing against the staff who are trying their best, but it is against the systems the practice have introduced. When both practices were merged we were told nothing much would change. Since then we have had nothing but problems trying to get through, book an appointment, see a doctor or just get a result. This isn't just since Covid. You say the phone lines are busy for the 12,000 flu jabs you were expecting, plus more, thanks to Covid. The practice should have organised a different number for that. That way patients that need treatment for existing symptoms are not made to jump through hoops and experience delays due to those needing to take preventative measures for something they may or may not get, especially as given by your own admission there may not even be enough vaccine. We appreciate all your staff and the efforts they are making so please don't take this personally - we have been clapping for you as well!

November 2020 Please write to Forum Focus if there is something you'd like to comment on or share with other readers. Email your letter, which should be as brief as possible, to: editor@forumfocus.co.uk. Alternatively, you can call 01258 459346 or deliver your letter to: Forum Focus, c/o Colin's

But speaking from my experiences (don't get me started about a receptionist incorrectly diagnosing my wife, after she spent five hours trying to get through for her results), sort out the shambolic systems you are using before it causes harm to someone, or worse still costs a life. In response to 'Imperfect practice', I agree completely and it's not just Whitecliff! Name & address supplied • • • THE letter from the Blandford Group Practice must be quoting some other group practice as theirs is nothing like their description. They should try phoning their own phone line to see what a dismal experience it is. I have yet to meet ONE person who is happy with the Blandford Group Practice. The deluge of complaints shows there is something wrong somewhere. My faith in doctors and surgeries has been totally destroyed. There is more chance of meeting the Pope than seeing a doctor. You can no longer book an appointment online or see when you had one or when your next one is. This is an aid for us older people who might forget when their next one is. Consulting your doctor by phone, you spend ages getting through and if lucky after three hours a doctor from 111 phones you. Last time I was told a doctor from my surgery would call. That call came the next day from a doctor who suggested I was not on any blood pressure medication. He

Community Club, 49 Damory Street, Blandford DT11 7HD. Please mark your letter 'for publication' and remember to include your address, which will not be used in full. Forum Focus reserves the right to shorten or edit letters in the interests of clarity, brevity and style.

must have read my medical record in great detail - I actually take three different drugs for my blood pressure. Near where I live is an elderly lady who has lost a massive amount of weight - unless a doctor sees her they have no idea how frail she is. I know someone recently who after recovering from a heart attack went to Blandford Hospital at night for help and was told to drive to Shaftesbury. They are going to blame Covid but this has been going on since the surgeries merged. As an OAP I guess it does not matter much if they mis-diagnose but for some people it might be important. Name & address supplied

Excellent service I THOUGHT I would drop a line in support of the Blandford Group Practice. I've seen a number of letters of complaint in various places recently. We need to bear in mind that we live in unusual times. Public services across the board are stretched beyond capacity, even without the restrictions necessitated by Covid-19. As citizens we need to take responsibility for ourselves and do whatever we can to facilitate the smooth operation of our medical practice. As someone with an autoimmune disease who was shield-

ing throughout, I made use of the excellent online facilities of the practice, from e-consult to prescription ordering. Services were speedy and thorough. Those of us who are able to use these services should do so, freeing space for those without such access to use more traditional methods of communication and ensuring the safety of both patients and staff. Helen Ryan, Blandford.

A safe trip to the fair AS the leaseholder allowing various events on the Crown Meadows for many years, I feel duty bound to respond to your reader’s letter re the recent funfair visit to Blandford. Where would you feel more at risk - in a busy pub or at the fair in the open air? We took our young grandchildren to the fair and we all had our temperature taken on entry, the rides were spread out and sanitised after each ride and we felt quite safe. James B Mayo, Blandford

Please keep your letters as brief as possible and email them to editor@forumfocus.co.uk


November 2020

Letters extra We cannot rewrite our history I AM concerned at the increasing move by minority groups and idealists, albeit well-intentioned, who wish to remove parts of our history, and that the powers-that-be appear unable to resist such attempts. If we take into context the position of John Gordon in his place in history, he was to all purposes 'merely doing his job'. Horrific as it was, he appears to have done it so well that his peers honoured him by the plaque in St Peter's Church, Dorchester. We may think differently now, but at the time it was accepted. There were hundreds of such personnel spread across the globe, representing King (or Queen) and country, all undertaking 'dreadful tasks and duties' as now seen by our modern eyes. The plaque should remain to remind us all and used to educate future generations. I for one, as an Englishman, am truly ashamed of what was done in the name of the Empire. We plundered and pillaged our way across continents. But it happened and we cannot change that. Are we to face calls to remove all statues and references to Queen Victoria and her predecessors? We are not asking for the horrific persecution of one nation or another as recent as the last World War to be overlooked and forgotten. We even have memorial days and events to ensure that it is not forgotten and that we and future generations learn from such dreadful events. No-one is calling for the removal of Judge Jeffries, responsible for the hanging and deportation of countless WHITE labourers. Slavery existed for hundreds of years long before the Europeans came upon the scene. Are we to remove all references to Julius Caesar and the Pharaohs? Are we to ban the 'Good Book'? The Europeans at the start of what we consider 'the slave trade' paid more for the slaves by way of goods, weaponry and liquor and had the demand for labour but it was the black African traders who supplied. My generation grew up using the 'N' word, so reviled and taboo

today, in common parlance to refer to a group of people along with 'paddies, taffs and jocks'; there was nothing derogatory about it! Racism did not exist. History happened! We cannot remove the bad bits and sweep them under the carpet to be forgotten. And is not calling for the removal of material relating to black people only discriminatory in itself, and thereby 'racist'? Martin Brickell, Blandford

Still much to enjoy WITH all that is happening in the world, it is so gratifying that the wonderful tai-chi class has returned to the Knees Up venue in Blandford. I am personally most grateful for the excellent tuition I am once again enjoying and offer thanks to Kath and Geoffrey for ensuring that everything is made as Covid secure and friendly as possible. For me, Tuesday lunchtime is one of the most worthwhile times of the week and I always drive home exhilarated and rejuvenated. Blandford businesses are still providing great service and make driving into town really worthwhile, especially as I have access to Marcia's kitchen on my way through Spetisbury. The quality of service I always receive is excellent and it is always nice to be greeted by my Christian name on my ventures into town. There must surely be a light at the end of the tunnel? Keep smiling, stay safe. Della Jones Winterborne Zelston

Yobs spoil our town BLANDFORD Forum, for many of us, is a delightful town despite the few failings brought on by the few who don't care. Unfortunately we don't seem to have people in authority to move on or disperse the people in the teen/20s age groups who sit around public places (the church, Stour Meadows, Trailway, anywhere there's a bench) drinking alcohol, smoking and swearing and then leaving their rubbish behind when they do move on. Invariably the more

they consume the louder they get and more offensive to passers-by. There was a time when this seemed to occur only at weekends but since March it happens seven days a week now. I've just seen two young men, probably early 20s, very drunk and still drinking from cans sitting at the junction of Wimborne Road and East Street at lunchtime on a Tuesday swearing at cars as they drove past. Not a good advert to the people who might purchase one of the hundreds of new homes going to be built in Blandford over the next few years. Nick Smith

A question of priorities I AM not a fan of the current government, but I will quote Boris Johnson anyway from a recent Coronavirus briefing. He said we need to collectively show a "willingness to make sacrifices for the safety of others". He is right we do. Many have criticised the lack of

willingness on the part of younger, less vulnerable people to consider that their actions endanger others. The need for a holiday followed by a refusal to quarantine, the desire to party and socialise with friends, the refusal to socially distance or wear a mask, all seem to outweigh any consideration of the difficulties and dangers this virus brings with it. While I agree that this is the case for some younger people, I think we need to think twice before criticising too harshly. We need look no further than our own environment to see the damage our generation has caused through prioritising our own immediate needs over what is best for the rest of the planet and for future generations. That lesson has been learned by our children so it should come as no surprise that partying outranks caution. The global threats of the pandemic and climate change ask all of us to prioritise the needs of others. This begs the question: how willing is our government to do this? How willing are we to do it? Dr Sylvia Hixson Andrews Blandford


November 2020

IN BRIEF ARTISTS, painters, potters, glass blowers and scarf makers in Child Okeford are offering open studios to see and buy their work in a socially distanced way on November 27-29 between 11am and 4pm. A Child Okeford Art Trail map will be available in local shops to help people stroll around the village to find the venues, and the cafe and pubs will be open for the majority of the time. Admission is free to the event which will be in accordance with government guidelines. * * * WYATT Homes have thanked the 140 people who responded to their recent consultation on plans for new homes, a school, local centre, and open space on land to the north-east of Blandford. They said a wide range of interesting and helpful comments had been received and reviewed and a detailed report will be provided in a statement of community involvement to be submitted with a planning application in due course. Once the application is submitted to Dorset Council, there will be a further opportunity to comment.

Maze designer honoured A BLANDFORD businessman and designer has been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to International Trade and the Creative Industry. Maze-maker and designer Adrian Fisher brought his company to Portman Lodge in Durweston in August 2002, and in 2004 he was the designer of the tree mosaic which was created in Blandford's Woodhouse Gardens in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the granting of Blandford's Royal Charter. When the company relocated and subsequently folded in 2007, he and his wife stayed in Durweston, where they had built a hedge maze and folly tower in their garden. A new company, Adrian Fisher Design Ltd, was started, building on their broad range of activities of landscape mazes, mirror mazes, puzzles (in print and electronically), landscape and garden design, mathematics, public art, urban planning and broadcasting. Over a period of 40 years he has been involved in the creation of more than 700 mazes in 42 coun-

tries, ranging from traditional classic hedge mazes through mirror and water mazes to technologydriven maze hybrids, delighting millions of visitors to attractions ranging from castles and palaces to zoos and theme parks, including Blenheim Palace and Legoland. In 2017 he earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest permanent hedge maze which can be found at Zhejiang, China and has a total area of 33,564.67 square metres and total path length of 8.38km. He said: "The MBE is a huge honour and a great recognition for the UK creative industries as a whole, one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. It allows you to explore the world and meet and work with people who are experts in their fields from across the world. "With Covid-19, capital budgets in the visitor attraction industry are down, with fewer landscape design and maze projects. Our company continues to be 80% export and is diversifying into new fields of creative endeavour

Adrian Fisher MBE. (mosaic, high-end art, couture design and hands-on quality puzzles). I'm also writing an epic adventure novel, set partly in Wessex and the Blackmore Vale." • A second local man to become an MBE is George Rawlinson, of Blandford, volunteer chairman of the National Water Safety Forum and former operations and safety director at the RNLI. His award is in recognition of his services to maritime safety.


November 2020

Legal team praised for expertise BLANDFORD-based law firm Blanchards Bailey has again been independently recommended as one of the leading law firms in the south-west by the Legal 500, the guide to legal firms and solicitors in the UK. The latest edition of the annual publication, The Legal 500 2021, endorses the firm, which also has offices in Poundbury, Shaftesbury and Weymouth, for the sixth successive year, this time in six different practice areas, with seven individual lawyers receiving recommendations and mentions. Blanchards Bailey managing partner Paul Dunlop said: "It has been the most challenging year ever for the legal profession, but throughout the Covid-19 crisis we have sought to maintain our second-to-none service to clients. Our loyal and hard-working team has been innovative in

their professionalism and unwavering dedication." Mr Dunlop, who is head of the litigation team, was singled out as being 'highly experienced and definitive in his advice and guidance'. Other recommendations came for the firm's work in agriculture and estates, the contentious trusts and probate team and associate Lucy Mignot, the large personal tax trusts and probate team, partner and head of private client Jerome Dodge, senior associate and head of probate Linda Hardy, Laura Martin's family law team and Julie Keogh as 'the first port of call for army personnel in the region for its expertise in matters involving army pensions', the employment team and specialist HR advisor Jane Eldridge, and the commercial litigation team.

App provides a guide to Chase treasures A NEW augmented reality app promoting the treasures of the Cranborne Chase and neighbouring towns is now live and available to download to take vis-

itors on a tour of the area. The Time Travellers of Cranborne Chase AR has been developed with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Leader (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and North Dorset LAG) and others as a ground-breaking way of experiencing and exploring the extraordinary history of the area. It recreates ancient settlements and presents figures of the past telling of their lives, and features local thespian and Art Society chairman Mike Lofthouse as John Bastard, the architect of the town's rebuilding after the Great Fire of 1731, who will appear in the vicinity of Blandford Parish Church. Other characters are author Thomas Hardy, smuggler Isaac Gulliver, General Pitt Rivers and a ghostly horseman racing across the site of the Dorset Cursus. Waymarker signs around the countryside and in the towns link to the app giving information about the sites visited. Find out more at cranbornechase.org.uk.

Sturminster Newton Rotary staged a Pumpkin Festival from October 17 to 31 as a follow-up to their successful Scarecrow Festival. People were invited to take a picture of their carved pumpkin and post it on the group's Facebook page. There will also be a late-night shopping event up to 8pm on Friday November 6 in addition to the weekly Monday country markets from 9 to 11.30am.

RETIREMENT home providers McCarthy & Stone have announced their interest in building specialist retirement living accommodation on part of the former Hall & Woodhouse Brewery site in Blandford St Mary. They are in the early stages of discussions with Dorset Council about redeveloping the site and have started a pre-application community consultation programme. They say they are committed to meaningful community engagement with residents, businesses and interest groups which, because of the social distancing restrictions, will be carried out through digital and postal means. A community newsletter containing early details is planned for distribution to local residents and will include a pre-paid postcard for people to provide their feedback to help inform the detailed design and planning stages before an application is submitted.


November 2020


November 2020

Picture perfect plan for hidden gardens BLANDFORD's Hidden Gardens may have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but a display of photos from some of the gardens has gone on display on the Facebook page of the Blandford Environmental Trust, which was helping to organise the popular event. Garden owners who would have participated were invited to send in their photos for the display, which will also feature in the Blandford Museum's Lockdown exhibition this autumn. The Trust, which manages Angus Wood in St Leonard's Avenue, where public events have also been cancelled, had hoped this year to hold a Climate Challenge Conference, which has now been postponed until May 23, 2021, when it is hoped large gatherings will be possible. Chairman Jenny Thompson said: "Local action is urgently needed to contribute to national and glob-

al efforts to reduce climate change and improve our environment. The temporary reduction in air and road travel has had a beneficial effect on air quality and wildlife, but this improvement will not last long once travel and industry return to normal. Climate breakdown continues and will become ever more urgent over the next few years." Angus Wood remains open and used every day by walkers enjoying the trees and wildlife. Trust volunteers hold monthly work mornings to look after the wood and plant new trees. They would love to recruit more members, particularly from those using the wood and wishing to see it maintained, or those with an interest in similar environmental projects. Find out more on their Facebook page or on the Town Team website at blandfordtown.co.uk/listing/angus-wood

Support continues A TWO-YEAR Community Catalysts project in Dorset, which has seen 28 enterprises set up to provide support and care in people's homes, has now come to an end. Anita Wingad, who has now moved on to another area, said: "In Dorset from September 14 there has been some arm's length support for enterprise leaders via a couple of my colleagues, Rhys Davies and Helen Allen, who work for Community Catalysts and can be contacted by email at dorsetenquiries@communitycatalysts.co.uk.

"We have all learnt to work virtually over the last few months due to Covid so we know that arm's length support can work, particularly when we have good relationships in place already. “If you know of other people who want to establish their own community micro-enterprise they too can email that address." She said it was gratifying that, with an average of 10 people receiving services from enterprises set up, 280 Dorset residents and their loved ones were now receiving the benefits directly.

Tidy team turn out BLANDFORD's War on Waste continued on Saturday October 10 with a final clean-up, postponed from the previous week due to poor weather. Yvonne and Hugo Mieville, of Cleanup Blandford and Blandford War on Waste, and countryside ranger Matt Chester are pictured with the Austin family (left) and the Day family (right) who came out to help. Mrs Mieville said: "One of the key things to come out of the recently conducted town centre survey is that people want to see a cleaner and tidier town. Cleanup Blandford is one of the ways to help and I'd like to thank all those who have turned out this morning, including Kirsty Astin, who has joined us at all the weekly clean-up events held during September. "But the important message is for everyone to play their part by not leaving litter in the first place."

Cash for churches HUNDREDS of pounds were raised by local parishioners riding and striding for the Dorset Historic Churches Trust in September. Suzanne Tun Pe and Carolyn Telford from Blandford Parish Church both took part with fundraising pages on JustGiving, and six members of St John the Baptist Church in Spetisbury raised £1,500 thanks to the amazing generosity of their sponsors. Over 30 riders and striders visited St Nicholas Church in Child Okeford on what was a lovely late summer day to raise £770. Half the fundraising proceeds comes back to the parish in question, with the other half supporting the work of the trust countywide.


November 2020

Judith’s reign as allotment queen goes on AN informal outside gathering at Lamperds Field replaced the usual presentation of awards for best allotment plots at the AGM of the Blandford Allotment Society, which was cancelled this year due to the Covid restrictions. The winners were announced as Judith Potts for the fourth year running for her full plot, one of several which she has cultivated; Darrel Adams for a half plot; and Christine Adams for a quarter plot. Phill and Carole Williams took the award for the Elizabeth Road allotments. Mayor of Blandford, Councillor Lynn Lindsay, presented the awards, with certificates for runners-up Tim Farrow, Laura Drane, Heather Shepherd and Amenda Bealing respectively, and third-placed Christopher and Virginia Barnard in the full plot category and Deborah Wright on Elizabeth Road. The Mayor was able to reassure the plot holders that, if and when the allotments were relocated, they would be provided with facilities even better than they have

now - and that nothing would happen without the town council's agreement. But she said she knew no more than they did about proposals recently put forward by Wyatts to move the allotments to a different site than that which had been discussed with them previously. There is currently a waiting list for plots at both Lamperds Field and Elizabeth Road, with over two dozen having been allocated to new plot holders during the year. • Stourpaine Allotment Association has announced that a small number of plots will be available from April 2021, and that beginners all the way up to seasoned experts are welcome. They also have an orchard that they hope to open up to the surrounding community for juicing and cider making classes, and a children's classroom and polytunnel for education. To be added to their waiting list or offer assistance, contact the chairman on 01258 451524 or email barry2graham@gmail.com.

Phill and Carole Williams with a friendly scarecrow on their winning Elizabeth Road allotment.

Town tours resume after lockdown

Judith Potts on her winning allotment.

Christopher and Virginia Barnard on the plot they have transformed and filled with a colourful array of flowers.

Trophy and certificate winners with, centre, Mayor of Blandford Lynn Lindsay, and centre right, Lamperds Field full plot winner Judith Potts.

BLANDFORD & District Civic Society had to cancel most of its season of guided heritage tours of the town with the onset of the Covid lockdown, but were able to resume in August, when two scheduled tours were offered, together with two in September. The tours were thoroughly enjoyed by a smaller than usual number of walkers. Town guide Clare Lowes is pictured right with committee member Jonathan Taylor and just a couple of visitors - but the Society hopes to be able to offer a full programme between May and September next year.

November 2020

Church stopgap role for Karen PARISHIONERS have welcomed a new member to the team at Blandford Parish Church and Langton Long. The Rev Karen Wilson moved to Dorset two years ago with her husband Chris and has been

working in the Iwerne Valley Benefice at Iwerne Minster as curate to the Rector, Rev David John. She is now helping to fill the vacancy at Blandford by taking services at Blandford and

Expo is a success in spite of restrictions BLANDFORD Town Council and the organisations represented are to be congratulated on persevering with the Community Expo in the Corn Exchange when, despite restrictions limiting the number in the building to 50 at any one time, they were able to stage an informative display for the public. It was also a good opportunity for those providing stalls to meet up with those from other groups and learn how they were managing to operate during the lockdown and with limited opportunity to open their doors or meet. Those taking part included the Blandford Group Practice and their health champions, the Railway Club, the Camera Club, the Brownies and Guides, St John Ambulance, Blandford War on Waste, the Blandford Museum and Blandford & District Civic Society. Claire Stokoe said: "It was the first Covid-19 secure event we have put on and we were very pleased with how it went." Around 60 people attended, and Councillor Roger Carter, who with Councillor Pat Osborne manned the town council's display which included a consultation on the Corn Exchange and the council budget, thanked the staff for a well organised event.

Masked and distanced at the Blandford Community Expo.

The next Wellbeing Wheelers cycle ride led by Hilary Jackson will be taking place on Monday, November 2, at 10am from Bryanston Club, and will be a gentle one- to one-and-a-halfhour ride for which some road riding experience is advisable. Refreshments will be available afterwards at the club where there is plenty of room indoors and out to allow social distancing.

Langton Long. The move follows the appointment of the Revd Canon Jonathan Triffitt, rector for the last five years, to the full-time post of Director of Mission and Minister/Deputy Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese. In an interview with Blandford churchwarden Debby Griffiths, the Rev Wilson said she would be out and about in the town using local shops and cafĂŠs to get to know the community. In the interview, which can be found online at the Blandford Parish Church Facebook page, she describes her background of being brought up in Essex and working for many years in education before training for three years to become a priest. She said she had been involved in pastoral care at Iwerne Minster, which had been particularly difficult during the lockdown, and was a great crafter and cardmaker. Mrs Griffiths promised her she would feel at home in Blandford, which had an awful lot of crafters, knitters and crocheters. Mrs Griffiths, who has been succeeded as churchwarden by her


husband Dave after starting to study to herself become a licensed lay minister, thanked the Rev John for loaning her to Blandford and Langton Long until a new Rector is appointed. Canon Triffitt, who has worked in the diocese for 14 years, said of his new role: "I am delighted and humbled to be invited to serve the diocese in this role at such an important and significant time for the Church and wider society. "Through working collaboratively with key leaders, lay and ordained, and with other partners, we have before us a genuine opportunity to work together in new and creative ways, enabling the local church to grow in confidence, and I'm very much looking forward to being part of this journey." Confirming the appointment, the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam said: "This is an important post but present circumstances make it exceptionally so. Jonathan is well known within the diocese and was chair of the Diocesan Synod House of Clergy. I am delighted he has been appointed."


The View from the Hill by George Hosford More from George on viewfromthehill.org.uk


FTER the dry summer, winter fodder is a bit tight so we are giving the pastures a break while we have crop residue the cows can feed on until it is time for us to sow with wheat. Then they will be back on the grass for as long as possible before we house them and they start to tuck into precious conserved fodder. All of our animals are currently feeding on rape, which a year or two ago we would have already sprayed off with glyphosate, sometimes twice, leaving bare soil to run up to sowing time. Recent lessons in soil health have taught us that the soil is happier if something green is growing in it at all times so we are trying this, hoping

Picking out the stones.

November 2020 it won't make sowing the next crop more difficult. The cows are doing us a favour by reducing the leaf mass which will need incorporating into the soil before sowing, and at the same time they are spreading liberally from their rear ends, a more readily assimilated nutrient which the wheat will soak up happily. Part of our policy for feeding our crops involves GPS. Every field of our arable land is sampled every four years and tested for phosphate and potash, two of the most important nutrients for growing crops, and others including organic matter as an indicator of the biological health of the soil. Our soil sampler Ian comes every summer, armed with a bucket and spade, a soil auger and a handheld GPS unit to take samples from every zone of different soil type which are sent away for lab testing. We use fibrophos, a fertiliser which comes from the burnt chicken manure ash from power stations, to provide P&K and other micronutrients. It does not have the acidifying effect of more commonly used fertilisers but needs a specialist spreader to apply it. Trusty contractor Ben Stretton and his team apply it using GPS to spread only on areas that need it, as determined by the soil tests. Elsewhere, the new season rape has got off to a great start with no serious damage from the flea beetle which has caused many farmers to give up sowing rape altogether. We will be repeating last year's policy of grazing it off with sheep up to Christmas to help us save on weedkiller, insecticide and fungicide. We will most likely need a spring weedkiller when the leaves have been eaten off and any remaining weeds are exposed. After Christmas the sheep will then move on to turnips until the

A group of cows with their six-month-old offspring, chewing the cud between bouts of munching volunteer oilseed rape (self-sown rape from last harvest). spring, giving the pastures a good rest before offering early grazing by April. What is noticeable about the animals on a rape or turnip diet is their terrible cabbage breath! Autumn sowing is the time for having a go with shiny new toys and this year we have two demo drills on the farm, an Amazone Cayena tined drill, and a John Deere 750A disc drill. Both are designed to sow crops into soils which have not been cultivated beforehand, which we would like to move towards, if we can find a machine to do as good a job as does our existing Vaderstad drill, which needs the ground cultivated to some extent. We will not be able to go entirely 'no-till' on our land, because, for example, where we apply manure before sowing, the manure must be incorporated into the ground within 24 hours of spreading, and simply drilling into it does not do this well enough. Our flinty soils also mean a disc drill will just ride over the stones if not loosened by cultivation and the seed will not be buried properly. Scott at Field Barn farm very kindly lent us his spud digger to help us lift our lock-down tatties, and a sunny Sunday afternoon was

spent lifting 30 bags from our rather weedy rows of Maris Piper. The stony soil jammed up the machine from time to time and needed someone following it on foot to pick the stones out of the works but made progress a lot quicker than using a fork. A keen team of pickers joined in to help pick the spuds off the ground. Still plenty more to lift yet, if anyone would like some! We took delivery of 200 new (to us) Beulah and Improved Welsh sheep a couple of weeks ago, and whilst counting them out of the lorry, we were reminded how sheep love to jump high in the air when confronted with a change in surface ahead of them; here they all leapt high from the tailboard of the lorry onto the grass, even though it was resting firmly on the ground. Whilst making the last silage of the season, from a cover crop we sowed in June after a failed field of poppies, our old Claas baler had a serious breakdown, so we had to call up our mowing, wrapping and hedge-trimming contractor Mark, to beg a favour. He very kindly loaned us his shiny new Massey baler, which enabled Gary to make short work of the remaining baling.


November 2020

Playpark proves an instant crowdpuller WORK has been completed on the remodelled playpark next to the North Dorset Trailway on the Milldown. Within hours of its opening it had become a clear focal point for after-school activity for dozens of children and their parents who sampled the swings, including one for disabled users, the seesaw, slides, a toddler activity point, a picnic bench for mums and dads, and a clear favourite, the zipwire, where youngsters queued to have a go. The new equipment and surfacing has been funded in part from a contribution from the developers of the nearby redevelopment of the former Milldown Primary School site at Maple Tree Close and Sharp Close, and with extra funding from its new owners following local government reorganisation, Dorset Council. Countryside Ranger Graham Stanley, who helped to move the project forward after it had stalled under the playpark's own-

ership of North Dorset District Council, said: "I don't think I've ever seen so many children using it." The opening coincided with the announcement that the Milldown Nature Reserve, of which the

Uni life poses new set of challenges AN already difficult year for sixthformers at The Blandford School has continued for those who have moved on to higher education, several of whom have won places at universities now suffering the impact of higher levels of Covid-19 restrictions. Two students have places at the University of York, one is at Manchester and one at Nottingham, together with four at Exeter, three at Southampton, and one each at Winchester, Essex, Plymouth, Bournemouth, London and Cardiff. The range of disciplines includes medicine, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, economics, classical studies, English, history, geography, physiotherapy, software engineering and nursing. Two have gone on to take up apprenticeships, and three have decided to take a gap year. The full list of grades achieved, destinations and courses which has now been confirmed by the school is: Sam Hughes (3xA*,University of Exeter, Medicine); Mansoon Tamang (2xA*, 1xA, University College London, Medicine); Olivia Sellen (2xA*, 1xA, Apprenticeship); Akira Lane (2xA*, 1xA, University of

Southampton, Computer Science); Andrew Thomas (2xA*, 1xA, University of Southampton, Mathematics with Computer Science); Nicole Clark (2xA*, 1xA, Apprenticeship. Accountancy Firm Mazers). Amy Lewis (1xA*, 2xA, University of Nottingham, Chemistry); Rosie Platts (1xA*, 3xA, Gap Year); Alice Knightbridge (1xA*, 2xA, University of Exeter, English); Georgia Roncaglia (1xA*, 2xA, University of Exeter, Classical Studies and English); Ollie Cleal (1xA*, 2xA, University of Cardiff, Physiotherapy). Lauren Green (1xA*, 1xA, 1xB, University of York, History); Emma Wright (1xA*, 1xA, 1xB, Gap Year); Leah O'Loughlin (3xA, 1xB, University of Southampton, Software Engineering with Industrial Studies); Lilijan Erim (3xA, University of Winchester, Economics); Poppy Failes (3xA, Gap Year); Alfie Arnett (3xA, University of Essex, Economics); George Fooks (3xA, University of Plymouth, Geography); Archie Carlyle-Ive (3xA, University of Exeter, Economics with industrial Experience). CTEC results: Isabella Bye (2xD*, 1B, University of Manchester, Adult Nursing); Akib Sardar (1xD*D*, 1xD, Bournemouth University, Business and Management Economics); David Sollis (1xD*D*, 1xD, University of York, Business and Management).

playpark is part, and Blandford riverside - the Stour Meadows, Marsh & Ham and Langton Meadows - had once again been awarded Green Flag status by Keep Britain Tidy as some of the best open spaces in the country.

Above: Social distancing was not necessary for children from the same year group after school on the communal swing. Above right: County councillor Byron Quayle, who with Nocturin LaceyClark fought for extra Dorset Council funding, watches a youngster take a ride on the zipwire. Right: Some of the new equipment.


November 2020

November 2020

Peter’s dedicated years recognised with award THE former second master of Bryanston School, Peter Hardy, has received recognition of his dedication to the personal and academic development of thousands of pupils in a top national award from the Boarding Schools' Association (BSA) just a few months after his retirement earlier in the summer. The Stephen Winkley Award commends the achievements of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the cause of boarding. Mr Hardy was confirmed as recipient by BSA chief executive Robin Fletcher and BSA chair Mark Lauder at the Association's 2020 annual conference, held virtually following cancellation of the original ceremony in May. Bryanston's headmaster Mark Mortimer said: "I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of such a prestigious award. His selfless determination and contribution to Bryanston, to boarding and the education system in Britain has been immense, and his popularity and respect among colleagues, former pupils and parents over the past 40 years is truly exceptional." Mr Hardy joined Bryanston as a teacher of economics in 1977, spent 11 years as a housemaster, and was then second master at the school for 29 years prior to his retirement. Bryanston has confirmed a number of new appointments within the school's senior leadership team following Mr Hardy's retirement. Richard Jones, a teacher of business and economics with a mas-

Mark Mortimer, headmaster of Bryanston (front centre) with (left to right); human resources director, Mary Giles; deputy head (boarding & pastoral), Claire Miller; second master, Richard Jones; deputy head (co-curricular), Andrew Murfin; deputy head (academic), Steven Green; and chief operating officer Nicholas Dodd.

Peter Hardy, former second master of Bryanston, has been presented with the Stephen Winkley Award by the Boarding Schools' Association. ter's degree in educational leadership, who has previously held housemaster and teaching positions at Canford School and St John's School, Leatherhead, has been appointed as the school's new second master. Steven Green, a former

Bryanston housemaster and a teacher of mathematics at the school, has been promoted to the position of deputy head (academic), with the school's former head of boarding and a teacher of sport science, Claire Miller, confirmed as deputy head (boarding and pastoral). Andrew Murfin, the former director of sport at Shrewsbury School, has joined Bryanston's senior leadership team in the newly created role of deputy head (co-curricular). The team has been further strengthened with the appointment of Nicholas Dodd as chief operating officer, who has moved to the school with extensive commercial and operational experience, most recently as head of retail services and operations at John Lewis and Partners.


Pre-school pride at good report THE committee and staff at Panda pre-school in Milldown Road, Blandford, are pleased to have been awarded 'good' across all areas in their most recent Ofsted Inspection in March 2020. Publication of results was delayed due to the Coronavirus but the full publication is now available. In the report the inspection noted: "Children have great fun at the pre-school. They enjoy learning and show growing levels of confidence as they choose how and where to play. "Staff know their key children well. They plan exciting and stimulating activities to help children move on to the next stage in their development. As a result children make good progress. Children follow their imagination well. Staff interact positively to develop children's thinking skills further." It goes on to say that children behave well, listening and responding positively to adults and being helpful towards others. Meaningful praise and encouragement of children by staff boosts their confidence and self-esteem, and staff value children as individuals and the unique contribution each brings to the pre-school. Alison Morris, pre-school manager, said she was immensely proud of the children and staff. "Through challenging times we have remained open for our key children and are now open to all families in the local area," she said. "We have strong systems in place to make our setting as Covid safe as we can."


November 2020

Prep school to welcome boys for the first time

Fence consent crucial in club promotion bid

NEW initiatives from Knighton House School marking 70 years since its formation are part of an ambitious development plan to build on its reputation for inspiring and developing the confidence and aspirations of girls aged between seven and 13. The school has launched the Knighton House 70 Appeal specifically to fund new scholarships for pupils from the local area and will for the first time accept boys. Opening the school to boys up to and including Year Six as day pupils follows a recent survey of parents revealing a strong demand for the move, which will be extended to include Years 7 and 8 with effect from September 2021. Work is proceeding on a planned refurbishment of the school's boarding accommodation in preparation for the move to a full co-education environment in 2022. In addition, the land and buildings of the 35acre Knighton House campus - leased for many years from the Crown Estate - have been purchased by Bryanston School to restore it as part of the original Portman Estate for the first time in almost a century. This will have no impact on the management, operation and autonomy of Knighton House, but will increase the potential for both schools to share facilities and resources for the benefit of all pupils. "This is a hugely exciting time for everyone connected with the school as we start our 70th anniversary celebrations," says Knighton House headmaster, Robin Gainher. "Progressively welcoming boys to the school signals an important step in our evolution while maintaining our long-established agenda of empowerment and confidence for girls." Paul Slight, joint chair of governors at Knighton House, said: "It is very fitting to celebrate such a significant year with a special scholarships initiative that will enable more local children to benefit, and there will be farreaching benefits from having a like-minded landlord that shares our commitment to invest in the future and lead by example in the education of young people."

BLANDFORD United's bid to progress to a higher standard in the Wessex League has been given support by Blandford town councillors, who have agreed that their Park Road ground can be fenced off during the season. Their agreement is conditional upon approval by the Charity Commission and the trustees of the Park Road Recreation Ground, of which all councillors are members. Football Club president Mickey Westwood outlined to the council's recreation and amenities committee the need to fully enclose the ground when matches are played if the club is successful in moving up to a higher league, for which they will need to finish in the top six. He said promotion to a higher standard would give the club and town more exposure and generate business in the town, but a fence would be needed across the recreation ground to prevent people watching games from outside and enable charging for admission. Committee members were sympathetic but concerned that it could be contrary to the aims of the recreation ground to be a public facility, and they would need to clear it with the Charity Commission. Mr Westwood pointed out that the rules and regulations for the trust were written a long time ago and the recreation ground was no longer one of the important open spaces, with the Milldown and Stour Meadows available. "I'm sure if the Barnes Trust people were around today and could see what we are trying to do, they would not have a problem with it. There is room for change to everyone's benefit. We are in a different world now. If we don't ask we will never know," he said. He said they had considered putting up and taking down a temporary fence before and after matches, but the resource implication in terms of volunteer time was too great. He also pointed out that the Rugby Club at Larksmead had pitches fully enclosed with green fencing which did not look out of place.

Knighton House headmaster Robin Gainher. Mark Mortimer, Bryanston's headmaster, says the acquisition of the Knighton House campus strengthened the integrity of the school's grounds and built on their already close relationship as neighbours.


November 2020

Siobhan’s super seven

Joanna runs in her mum’s memory

A socially distanced gathering of Dorset Doddlers at Stourhead.

A BLANDFORD mum who lost her own mother to a massive stroke 12 years ago has set herself a target to run 100 miles to raise donations for the Stroke Association, which helps families affected by the condition. Joanna Regler said her mother, Diane Rietdyk, was 59

Doddlers get out and about to help charities SIOBHAN McFeely's plans to run half the Land's End to John O'Groats route in aid of pancreatic cancer research were halted when the event was cancelled, but instead she set about running seven marathons in seven days. She was supported by work colleagues at HMP Guy's Marsh, one of whom has family experience of living with the condition. The first leg on September 7 was from her home in Iwerne Minster to Tollard Royal. It was followed by various routes through the North Dorset countryside, and finally to complete a total of 183.4 miles along the Sturminster Newton to Blandford trailway, on which she was accompanied by a number of fellow Dorset Doddlers. So far she has raised over £2,000. To add to her fundraising total and for more details, see justgiving.com/fundraising/siobhan-mcfeely3

THE Dorset Doddlers, a thriving hub of social and serious runners with many activities and race events, was literally stopped in its tracks by the pandemic, but it didn't stop its members from finding ways to keep fit and healthy. Initially all training and social events were cancelled, along with the popular races hosted each year - the Stickler, the North Dorset Village Marathon and the Stur half-marathon, which would have been celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. But many members did their own challenges in virtual races organised not only by the club, but also on a national level, and a number went the extra mile in what they saw as a great chance to raise awareness for a number of good causes. Three competed in the Virtual London Marathon and Chris Frear set himself the challenge of virtually running from Land's End to John O'Groats. Nick Summons raised over £1,000 for Poole Hospital Heroes with his organised run around

Blandford recreation ground, for which he asked members to come along and each run a onemile lap. Carlos Blanco ran a 10k in Bryanston to raise money for the Blandford Food Bank, and Siobhan McFeely ran seven marathons to raise over £2,000 for pancreatic cancer research. As advice became that organised clubs could run in unlimited numbers following all necessary precautions, the club returned to normal and good weather allowed a number of summer runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, together with a few successful internal club races. Club training has returned on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton respectively, and the Doddlers are keen to welcome new members, offering something for adults of all ages and abilities. Anyone who has taken up running over the last few months who would like to join or find more information should see dorsetdoddlers.org.

Joanna Regler years old and fit and healthy when she suffered her stroke while looking after Joanna's first daughter, four weeks before Joanna gave birth to her second. By the time Diane received medical attention she had no chance of survival. "I miss my mum and her level-headed advice and quick wit every day, so in her honour I have been running 5k every day - just under 100 miles - so I will be making up the difference," said Joanna. Sponsors can support her at her JustGiving page (Joanna Regler- Joanna's 5k a day challenge).


November 2020

Hooray, Henry’s back BRISTOL-based duo Living Spit headed back to Dorset in October with their hit show The Six Wives of Henry VIII. It was an undisputed hit when it first toured in 2013 and gave three special performances in Dorset through Artsreach, the county's touring arts charity, including one at Winterborne Stickland village hall. Capacity was heavily reduced, and there were several measures in place to keep audiences safe. Alongside the live tour, they worked with Pageant Production to offer the opportunity to watch a recording of the show online at the end of the tour. Artsreach are continuing to host an online programme through their 'Digital Diary' - for details see artsreach.co.uk.

Change plan opposed Living Spit in The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

What’s on this month PLEASE NOTE: most events and meetings have been cancelled in response to the Covid 19 (coronavirus) restrictions. Please check with the contact before attending the few listed below to avoid disappointment. Please also let us know by email to listings@forumfocus.co.uk of any events able to go ahead. Sunday November 1: Commonwealth War Graves Remembrance, Blandford Cemetery, see Page 24 Monday November 2: Wellbeing Wheelers meet Bryanston Club 10am for easy cycle ride Wednesday November 4: Is It Wheely Wednesday cycling group meets on the Milldown, details 01258 860157 or cyclewisesouthampton@gmail.com Thursday November 5: Blandford Business Support Group Zoom meeting, 8.30am, details catherine@cbaservices.co.uk Friday November 6: Late night opening to 8pm, Sturminster Newton Friday to Wednesday November 6 to 11: Remembrance Events, see Page 24 Friday November 13: Craft

Market in the Shambles, Market Place, 9am to 2pm Saturday November 21: Panda Pre-school Christmas Fayre, The Corn Exchange, Blandford Forum, doors open at 9.30am - 12.30pm Thursday November 26: Is It Tring Tring Thursday cycling group, meets Shillingstone Station, details 01258 860157 or cyclewisesouthampton@gmail.com Friday November 27: Craft Market in the Shambles, Market Place, 9am to 2pm Saturday November 28: Producer's Market, Sturminster Newton Blandford Environmental Trust work morning, Angus Wood, details 07971 434137 Friday to Sunday November 27 to 29: Child Okeford Art Trail, studios open 11am to 4pm

PROPOSALS in a Government white paper to change the current planning system have been opposed by local councillors who, at their planning committee meeting, accepted town council working group recommendations. They agreed that the most important considerations were the environment, biodiversity and action on climate change, increasing the affordability of housing and provision of more or better local infrastructure. But they disagreed with many of the suggested changes, including

establishing 'zonal' system areas for 'growth' where permission would be granted automatically and other areas for 'renewal' and 'protection'. They said many of the proposals were based on the false premise that the planning system was at fault in failing to deliver urgently needed housing, that changing the method of establishing housing targets would not deliver the houses required, and that while national guidelines were useful, the process must be driven by local decisions and priorities.

NEWS in BRIEF A WORKING lunch became expensive for a tractor driver who was fined for leaving his vehicle unattended with the engine running when he popped into Tesco in Blandford for a 'meal deal'. He was met on his return to the vehicle by traffic officers from Dorset Police's 'No Excuse' team who added a £50 penalty to the bill. A police spokesman said: "We didn't expect to find a £110,000 tractor parked up near the entrance with its engine running and no-one with it. There's absolutely no reason to leave the engine running in these circumstances." • DORSET Search & Rescue, whose face-to-face fundraising has been suspended for 2020, have been successful in two funding applications to maintain their missing people searches during Covid-19 and beyond. The Dorset Community Foundation have awarded a grant of £2,000 from Coronavirus Community Support Fund and £8,501 has been given by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through the National Lottery Community Fund.

Profile for Sevensioux

November 2020 Forum Focus  

The free monthly newspaper for Blandford Forum and surrounding villages

November 2020 Forum Focus  

The free monthly newspaper for Blandford Forum and surrounding villages