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Forum Focus The free monthly news magazine for the Blandford area

November 2021 Issue No.116 Est: 2012

How could this have happened? Demands for an inquiry into surgery shutdown DEMANDS for an inquiry into the circumstances which led to the sudden closure of the Blandford Group Practice on October 11 continued after services resumed three days later. The announcement by the practice on its website and Facebook page on October 11 that the practice and dispensary were closed, non-urgent routine appointments postponed and the eConsult facility unavailable sent shockwaves through the community, and caused some panic for those expecting to receive medication and Covid vaccinations. The group practice has tens of thousands of patients across the DT11 postcode area, with surgeries at Whitecliff and Eagle House in Blandford, Child Okeford and the Families Medical Centre at Blandford Camp. In the event, the closure - said to be due to a lapse in the practice's public liability insurance making it impossible for patients to visit the surgeries - was shortlived. On October 14 came the announcement that the insurance issue had been resolved, that the practice would reopen the following day, and that patients with medication due from their dispensaries were able to collect that afternoon.


BACK in business on Saturday October 16 with a queue for vaccinations, as planned, assisted by volunteers. The practice partners on October 15 thanked all those who had given support and positive feedback over the past 24 hours following their temporary closure. "When we reopened the doors this morning, we But it followed a number of partial suspensions of services. On October 5 they announced on social media that they were suffering with staff shortages on reception that afternoon, asking patients to be patient and saying the team would try to answer calls as soon as possible. On October 8 came the announcement that 'due to unforeseen circumstances the phone lines will be down this

were unsure what to expect. However, the vast majority of people have been extremely understanding, recognising the tremendous effort involved in returning to normal services as quickly as we could. "It has been a difficult week for everyone at the practice and the kind comments have been really appreciated by the entire team."

afternoon'. This was followed five hours later by another that 'Due to unforeseen circumstances the vaccination clinic on October 9 has been postponed to October 23'. A further announcement that all sites would be closed on the afternoon of October 14 for staff training was overtaken by the announcement of the full closure on October 11. The practice Facebook page con-

tinues to feature a pinned post telling people 'You are not alone, there is help available'. One patient who found it was the only place to comment on October 13 said she felt very alone when she arrived to collect her tablets to find the whole place locked up and many arriving and leaving depressed and confused. "Two retired GPs were appalled at the duty of care and will be • To Page 4



November 2021



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Mixed reception for town boundary change plans

CURRENTLY confirmed and expected pickup points following the reopening of village pubs and venues are: Blandford and Blandford St Mary: Tesco and Homebase, Blandford St Mary; Lidl and Bartletts, Shaftesbury Lane; Morrisons, Greyhound Yard; M&S, Langton Road; Spoons of Dorset, Nightingale Court; The Gorge Café, East Street; The Spar Shop and Corn Exchange, Market Place; Information Centre, West Street; Chaffers and Iceland, Salisbury Street; James Newsagents, The Plocks; The Post Office, The Tabernacle; The 3Cs, Damory Street; The Co-op, Damory Garage and One Stop, Salisbury Road; Central Shop, Heddington Drive; Blandford Leisure Centre, Milldown Road. Sturminster Newton: The Exchange, Emporium, Candy's and Root & Vine In the villages: Bryanston Club and phone box; Charlton Marshall pub; Child Okeford Cross Stores; Durweston hall and Enford Farm, Fiddleford Inn, Iwerne Minster Post Office; Langton Long Abbots Nursery; Pimperne phone box, church, and Anvil; Shillingstone Garage and Coop; Spetisbury Village Hall and Clapcotts Farm; Shroton Cricketers and bus shelter; Stourpaine shop; Tarrants Langton Arms, Butchery Farm, True Lovers Knot St Richard's Close bus stop, Launceston and Gunville Farm Shops; Winterborne Whitechurch, Milton Arms.

PROPOSALS to widen the boundary of Blandford to include Blandford Camp and the areas of Langton Long leading to it, together with parts of Pimperne, Bryanston and the whole of Blandford St Mary, are being drawn up by town councillors. The suggestions have been made as part of the community governance review being carried out by Dorset Council, and a working party has been tasked with drawing up detailed reasoning and evidence for the submission, which was due to be discussed again at the full council meeting on October 18.

The discussion at the September meeting prompted strong opposition from Councillor Alan Cross, who described it as 'declaring war' on surrounding parishes which would undermine the strong co-operation between some of them over the Neighbourhood Plan. Pimperne in particular was afraid of being "consumed by Blandford". But Councillor Rosemary Holmes said those in the parishes used town facilities yet had lower council tax. "It won't cause a war, it will bring people together," she said. Councillor Nocturin Lacey-Clarke said many people in Blandford St

Mary felt they were part of Blandford and merger was inevitable. The proposal from Councillor Haydn White, who has for many years argued that extension is needed to the town boundary, was approved and agreed by ten members with only one objection and two abstentions. The areas in Pimperne and Bryanston being discussed are those inside the boundary and to the north-east of the town, and areas adjoining Blandford St Mary and the town. Blandford Camp is currently split between two parishes in the Tarrant Valley.

Yuletide festival extended AN extended and earlier Blandford Yuletide Festival is planned this year to give a better pre-Christmas experience for everyone and a boost to shops in the town. Christmas trees will be lit from mid-November at the Crown and in the Market Place, and shopkeepers have been invited to decorate their windows for the town council's competition. It will be judged on the weekend of November 27/28 so the winners can be announced on the first day of the festival on December 3. That evening will also see the official turn-on of the Market Place tree lights by the Mayor after the schools' children's lantern parade leaving Bakers

Corner at the entrance to East Street marks the start of the festival proper. There will be carol singing from the church lawn, market stalls in the Market Place and Salisbury Street, Santa's grotto in the Corn Exchange, and a laser light show has replaced the fireworks which have traditionally ended the festival. Santa's grotto will move up to the Woodhouse Gardens on Saturday and Sunday December 4 and 5, and it is hoped that on both days Christmas stalls will augment the usual Saturday market. On the Saturday evening there will be a live music concert starting at 6.30pm in the Corn Exchange - an adult event with

refreshments, including alcohol, and a raffle, for which tickets will be on sale at the door for £5. For up-to-date details see the website or the Blandford Yuletide Festival Facebook page.



November 2021

Dwindling council numbers leave parish paralysed THE resignation in September of three of the five members of Winterborne Whitechurch parish council, including the chairman Emma Parker and vice-chairman Aideene Turley, has left it temporarily inquorate and unable to make any decision or statement. On September 21 parish clerk Rob Turley posted on the council's website: "Due to the resignation of three of our councillors, Winterborne Whitechurch Parish Council is now temporarily inquorate, therefore neither of the remaining councillors are able to make any decision or statement on behalf of the Parish Council." On September 30, notice was published giving electors until October 20 to call for an election to be held no later than December 22 to fill the three vacancies caused by the resignations of Mrs Parker, Mrs Turley and Steven Pringle. On October 14, a further notice

Skate park bench tribute THE installation of a bench at Blandford Skate Park in memory of the victim of the fatal accident on Blandford bypass in July has been approved by Blandford town councillors, subject to approval of the design prior to its purchase by his family. Members of the town & general purposes committee were told that 17-year-old Oliver Quartley spent a lot of time at the skate park, and there was room for another bench in the area where benches are located. A joint investigation is underway between Dorset Council and the police into the accident.

of vacancy was published following the resignation of a fourth parish councillor, Martyn Gleaden, leaving only one member, Liam Deeney. Electors on this occasion were given until November 3 to call for an election to be held no later than January 10. In the absence of a call for election, the vacancies can be filled by adoption, but for the time being, responsibility has been delegated to the chief executive of Dorset Council, in consultation with political group leaders and the local member, to make temporary co-options so that the parish council can continue to function. The resignations followed a parish council meeting in August whose start was delayed to allow full public discussion on a controversial application by Naturalis for a solar farm and eco-hub off the A354 in the village. The minutes record that the large number of members of the public attending left at the start of the parish council meeting. Former chairman Mrs Parker, who remains the Dorset Council member for the parish and a member of the northern planning committee, had in those roles absented herself from the meeting which was chaired by Mrs Turley, but said that rather than meeting in private, the parish council had met with no members of the public present.

Mini munchkins for the children at Longclose Farm.

Pumpkin power PUMPKINS filled the supermarket shelves and farmers' fields in the run-up to Halloween on October 31, and Gorcombe Farm and Dorset Country Pumpkins at Longclose Farm, Milton Abbas, were among those opening the farm gates in preparation. Following the huge success last year, the Miller family at Longclose Farm grew twice as many pumpkins for people to pick on two weekends and for the week up to Sunday October 31. There was also a craft fair on the weekend of October 23 and 24 and an opportunity to visit the new farm animal area. A new feature this year among decorative displays was the introduction of a 'Munchkin Patch' - mini pumpkins specifically for children.

Green development plan welcomed NEW proposals for development off Tin Pot Lane, Blandford, were informally welcomed by town councillors at their meeting in October, when they considered the scheme being prepared by Western Design Architects for landowner Stuart Laws. They were reassured that the proposed memorial

woodland on the lower part of the site would be managed by a maintenance company to be set up by the applicant, and felt that the plans for a carbon neutral development on the upper site, with improved pedestrian facilities in the lane, would enhance the area.


November 2021

Inquiry calls after surgery closure • From Page 1 complaining to the appropriate authority," she said. Another suggested it could be time to look at the management team in the light of this and the practice being fifth from the bottom in a recent survey of Dorset. A patient of the Child Okeford surgery spent a long time trying to register with the NHS for repeat prescriptions, only to be told it could take 24 hours for their identity to be verified, and resorted to getting his necessary medication from Boots pharmacy in Blandford, where he had to pay because he was not registered there. There were several comments thanking Boots staff at both Salisbury Street and East Street for their assistance. Enquiries from Forum Focus to the practice were referred to the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), whose spokesperson responded only with the statement that they were aware of the situation and working alongside local partners to support the practice.

On its reopening the spokesperson said: "We are pleased that services had been able to return and would like to take the opportunity to thank practice staff and partners for their hard work in making this happen." North Dorset MP Simon Hoare, who said he had liaised with government ministers and Dorset CCG to try and find emergency aid to allow the practice to open temporarily, said the situation at the GP practice was "very unsatisfactory", following a long period of patient uncertainty during the pandemic. He suggested outstanding claims against the practice had led to its difficulty in securing public liability insurance. "There needs to be a clear recovery plan in place and we need to restore patient faith in the practice so that the health needs of those in my constituency can be met," he said. Blandford's two county councillors, Byron Quayle and Nocturin Lacey-Clarke, joined by Jane Somper and Sherry Jespersen, members for other areas served by the practice, have called in the

issue for investigation by Dorset Council's health scrutiny committee and NHS Dorset CCG. Councillor Somper, member for Beacon ward which includes the Iwernes, said she had been contacted by concerned residents, and serious questions needed to be asked publicly. Councillor Jespersen, member for Hill Forts and Upper Tarrants, said: "There has been a massive breach of trust and we need to be sure the Blandford Group Practice can keep us safe and well." Councillor Quayle said he and Councillor Lacey-Clarke had been "gobsmacked" by news of the "totally unacceptable" closure. "We have taken it to the Director of Public Health Dorset and will push for the Care Quality Commission to investigate just how this has happened." He said the immediate support for medication 'top up' unfortunately

did not help many other patients struggling to access forms or their doctor for other reasons. "This is obviously not helpful and causing much concern." On being informed of the reopening, he said: "Clearly there are bigger issues with the surgery and Noc and I will continue pressing the Dorset Council Health Scrutiny Committee and the CQC to investigate the matter." At Dorset Council's full meeting on Thursday October 14, leader Spencer Flower referred the issue to the people and health scrutiny committee to seek evidence to find out what caused it and prevent it happening anywhere again. "Leaving 24,000 patients without access to their surgery without notice caused enormous distress, anger and fear amongst residents. While GP services are not run by Dorset Council, our residents turn to our members."

Lions' President Tony Ives and Past President James Mayo set up stall in Blandford Market Place to promote World Sight Week, along with Message in a Bottle and generally promoting Lions.


November 2021

Awards for Dorset health teams

Exhibits protected as facelift begins THE refurbishment programme at Blandford Fashion Museum began on October 11 following the signing of a contract with all interested parties. Representatives of contractor administrator A Jestyn Coke Chartered Surveyors, building contractor Jordan and Faber and the Museum met to discuss contractual arrangements, the scope and timing of the works and operational details. Preparations were made for the erection of scaffolding and the exhibits have been on the move. Museum spokesperson Carol Fornachon said: "The Edwardian Room will be packed away, the models from the Make Do and Mend and 1940s room will take up residence in the Conference Room. The 'Morgue' has been dismantled and temporarily put out of harm's way.

"Many sheets will be wielded to cover other precious objects and glass cases, and most importantly for all those working in and visiting the museum, the front of the building, including the garden, railings and gate, has been a designated 'hard hat' area and so out of bounds until the work is completed." All comings and goings will be via the side entrance, and for some of the time the reception area will move to the tea room. All the work is funded by grants from the Pilgrim Trust and Dorset Leisure Fund. Their annual Christmas raffle will take place on November 27, and tickets are already available. Funds raised, as in other years, will go towards a further restoration of the beautiful Grade II* listed building Lime Tree House.

Pictured at their meeting to sign the contract for the refurbishment of Blandford Fashion Museum are (left to right) Toby Coke from contract administer A Jestyn Coke; museum trustees' treasurer and company secretary Murray Sims; museum administrator Kathryn Reed; museum curator of costumes Stella Walker; museum chair David Strong; and Richard Hales, of building contractor Jordan and Faber.

DORSET health and care organisations were recognised at a national awards ceremony for their work in communicating about the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The team behind the vaccination roll-out locally was shortlisted for five NHS Communicate Awards, run by NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation and the Centre for Health Communications, Research and Excellence. Communications teams from NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dorset HealthCare, Public Health Dorset and the wider health and care system celebrated success in four of their categories as winner of the Working in Partnership award, and being highly commended for best use of digital communications and engagement, use of insight and data for innovation in communications, and promoting diversity and inclusion in communications.


November 2021

Roadworks, fuel crisis and fallen cables bring chaos to the roads

Is the bypass fit for purpose? AFTER what seemed like a perfect storm on the traffic front in Blandford, things are returning to some sort of normality. The start of work on the repaving of the town centre on September 6, with the one-way closure of West Street, together with the

closure of Church Lane, drove much of the traffic around the bypass. Then came the fuel crisis which brought jams with motorists queuing for the Damory Garage in Salisbury Road and at the Badger roundabout and

Fuel crisis: the queue of vehicles stretching back to the Wimborne Road roundabout on the bypass, stewarded by a member of staff from the Damory Garage.

Bournemouth Road with traffic queuing for Tesco at Stour Park. Then on September 27 came two-way traffic lights on the A354 where SSE were installing services for the Bellway development, followed by closure of the road between Thornicombe and the Badger roundabout just after 11pm on September 30 due to fallen power cables near the roundabout. Police shut the A350 between Birch Close at Thornicombe up to the Badger roundabout in the early hours of the morning, having received a report the night before, and traffic was diverted via Charlton Marshall until repairs were completed. On October 4 Wessex Water installed two-way traffic lights on Salisbury Road to install services

for the Nordon redevelopment. A few days later Southern Gas announced that for three weeks from October 11 they would be carrying out work in the first of two phases of gas main replacement on the Bournemouth Road, requiring single-lane traffic and two-way lights between the Badger roundabout and Charlton Marshall. The issues with traffic flow on the bypass prompted town councillors to ask whether it remained fit for purpose, and at the planning committee meeting in October they agreed discussions should be sought with Dorset Council's portfolio holder for highways, Cllr Ray Bryan, about the long-term future of the bypass in the light of the amount of new development taking place.

Countryside of the future under the microscope AS part of Dorset Council's Festival of the Future, a presentation on 'Countryside of the Future' was held at Shroton on October 7, where 5G Rural Dorset demonstrated innovative approaches to addressing climate change through farming techniques fit for the 21st century and how Dorset's small farms could benefit. New ways to monitor production, whether arable or animal, and robots able to zap weeds and improve yields, were featured in talks by Digby Sowerby of Wessex Internet and David Cotterell of Kingston Maurward. There was an exploration of the climate and ecological emergency in Dorset considering aquaculture, the natural environment, how Low Carbon Dorset is helping organisations and businesses reduce their energy carbon footprint, and a talk from Claire Hazelgrove, the organising and political engagement director of FutureGov. Among the attendees was Blandford councillor Nocturin LaceyClarke, who said: "It was a terrific day where I learnt a lot." Other themes in the week-long showcase of what Dorset's digital future has to offer were on business (at the Dorset Innovation Centre), education (at Shaftesbury School), tourism (at Lyme Regis) and Health and Care (at Moors Valley Country Park).

November 2021

And town centre repaving timetable is wrecked by a series of snags MEANWHILE in the town centre on September 24 the schedule boldly announced that day in Dorset Council's residents' newsletter had already fallen apart. The paving had been re-laid along only half the route from Sheep Market Hill to Church Lane, and a second team had got from the Crown Hotel to just beyond the former Three Choughs. Work had been brought to a halt, and the partly completed West Street section was made safe for pedestrians to use while the team focused on the area by the town pump. It had not yet started on the pavement opposite the church in East Street. County councillor Noc LaceyClarke reported to the town council that he and his county colleague Byron Quayle had been advised of a number of problems, including the unexpected discovery of concrete under the existing slabs which


November, followed by the south side of West Street which should be finished by Christmas Eve. Work on the north side will take place in the New Year, followed by Salisbury Street, first on the west side then the east, with the final three weeks to May 13 the north side of the Market Place.

An area of new paving in front of the church. had to be broken up by hand, and the failure of staff from one sub-contractor to attend, health and safety issues related to working so closely to the public, and the laying of the new slabs taking twice as long as planned. He said that while the one-way system was considered vital for the safety of pedestrians, he hoped Dorset Council staff would

produce a plan which included its removal. Following the 'false start' a new schedule has been drawn up which was due to see the north side of East Street completed by October 22, and the south side by November 12. The south side of the Market Place is planned to be done after Remembrance Sunday in

RENOVATIONS to ramps at Blandford skate park costing over £22,000 were approved by Blandford Town Council. There is a balance of £136,000 set aside in the council's funds to support renewals at the skate park. Completion of this work means that the vast majority of the equipment has been resurfaced and had its infrastructure restored, leaving a significant sum in the skate park budget to cover any need for future resurfacing of the tarmac and any future repairs to the equipment.


November 2021

No action taken on Access difficulties traffic problems over new TIC site REQUESTS for further parking restrictions in Jubilee Way and traffic calming measures at the junction of Holland Way with Fairfield Bungalows/Heddington Drive were rejected by Blandford town councillors in October, when it was agreed to take no further action at this stage. Present at the meeting was Dorset Council highways officer Roland Skeats, who advised that parking restrictions only moved a problem from one place to another. He said parked cars generally contributed to traffic calming and their removal would lead to increased speed of vehicles. A suggestion from Councillor Rosemary Holmes that loading bays be introduced in Blandford town centre was answered by Councillor Byron Quayle, who said that it would be part of a wider discussion which will take place next year with Dorset Council around the pedestrianisation of the Market Place. But members did agree to recommend that a white line advis-

ing a restriction on parking should be applied on the road at the entrance to the new flats in Oakfield Street, where parked vehicles were preventing residents entering and exiting the private parking area. They were reminded that advisory white lines could be sought by property occupants direct on the Dorset Council website without reference to the town council. Villagers in Pimperne have voted strongly in support of a 20mph speed limit through their village. A survey in the recent village newsletter sent to 500 residents concerning their Neighbourhood Plan asked: 'Do you agree that a 20mph speed limit for the village would be a good idea?' and 87.5 per cent of the 112 responses were in favour. Frequent comments on social media have highlighted a number of vehicles seen speeding and calls for a 20mph limit on roads through the village, if not on the A354 Salisbury Road.

PROPOSALS for a Tourist Information Centre and public lavatories in Greyhound Square, Blandford, have encountered opposition because there is inadequate access for the disabled. Blandford Town Council, Blandford & District Civic Society and the Disability Action Group (North Dorset) have objected to the detailed application by John Long of JKL (Enterprises) Ltd, which follows outline permission being granted in 2018 for three commercial units together with the TIC and toilets. The plans showed that although the proposed height of the floor had been lowered since the outline plans were approved, it was not low enough to prevent the need for steps which would not be negotiable by anyone in a wheelchair who was unaccompanied. The Town Council agreed by nine votes to one with two abstentions to object due to the proposed access arrangements not being fully accessible for every member of the community, and to seek a design allowing full access to all

four units. In addition to saying it is unacceptable for public toilets not to have full disabled access, the Civic Society has also queried the very restricted size of the proposed TIC in a unit where around a quarter of the ground floor will be occupied by the toilets. They have also queried the need for the use, originally proposed alongside an application to demolish Riverside House in West Street which houses the existing facilities and redevelop the site, since no permission has been given for that proposal. NO objections have been raised by Blandford town councillors to the change of use from retail to micro-brewery and drinking establishment and creation of an outdoor seating area at Unit 1 Holland Way by the Barefaced Brewing Company. Planning committee members were told that permission was not needed for the switch but only for the sale of alcohol from the premises, which came into operation in June, and there had been no complaints.


November 2021

The unsung heroes who face danger to keep us all safe THREE fire officers stationed at Blandford fire station are among the longest serving on-call fire fighters in Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue service. Between them they have served their community for a staggering 111 years - Station Commander Steve Garbutt for 35, Watch Manager Phil Thomas for 40, and Crew Manager Matthew Holland for 36. During this time the trio have attended some of the area's largest and most challenging incidents, such as the Liberian Cargo vessel the Ebn Magid moored off Weymouth in the winter of 1985 and a large chemical facility fire at BDH in Poole. Closer to home they attended a large candle factory fire on Blandford Heights industrial estate in 2008 and a large fire on the former Hall and Woodhouse brewery site in 2018. More recently the crews were stretched to capacity following the devastating forest fire near Wareham in 2020.

There are also a number of firefighters at Blandford who have served their community for in excess of 20 years. This commitment and service has only been possible thanks to the support of all their families, friends and importantly employers who release staff to attend fire calls during the working week. Bryanston School, C&O Tractors, Tesco Stores, TK Joinery (Blandford) and Hall and Woodhouse are just a few of the local businesses that have released staff over the years for which our community is forever grateful. Although Steve, Phil and Matthew are still serving their community they are not getting any younger so anyone who is interested in becoming an oncall firefighter either at Blandford or any of your local fire stations are encouraged to go to the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue website, click on the link 'Become an on-call firefighter' to find out more.

Concern at impact of street changes A VISUAL impairment awareness training event for a Dorset Council highway design team included a visit to Blandford to see how proposed changes might impact on the blind and partially sighted. It was part of campaign work by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to ensure changes to streets allow those who are blind or partially sighted or with other disabilities to get around safely and cross roads using pedestrian crossings. RNIB regional campaigns officer Steve Hyde highlighted issues to blindfolded design team members which might make the built environment more challenging for those with sight loss. There were some concerns about the widening of the crossing area at Church Lane which will be followed up by the campaigners to ensure the town centre is inclusive to all.

They also considered a proposed regeneration site in East Street, where a signal-controlled crossing giving audible and tactile information to pedestrians is planned to be replaced by a zebra crossing. It was agreed that it would be safe once other changes were introduced, including a reduction in the speed limit and narrowing of the road. The awareness training day resulted from the concerns of a worker with blind children in Dorset at the impact the Blandford project might have on youngsters she worked with. It includes sites in Dorchester as well as in Blandford, and further conversations have since taken place between the RNIB and design engineers in other parts of Dorset. More information about RNIB's campaign can be found at

Firefighters Matthew Holland, Steve Garbutt and Phil Thomas. KAYLEE Herbert has been co-opted as a member of Blandford Town Council, filling the vacancy left in the Langton St Leonard ward by the resignation of Councillor Doro Russell when she relocated from the town. Dr Herbert was selected by an absolute majority in a secret ballot by members after they heard presentations from three candidates, who also included Dianne Robinson and Emily Bray, at a special council meeting in September.


November 2021


November 2021

Town’s new interim minister announced THE Bishop of Sherborne and the Archdeacon of Dorset have announced that, subject to the necessary checks, the Revd Christopher Beaumont will be appointed the new Interim Minister for Blandford Forum. They said: "Chris is currently Associate Vicar of St John's Church, Clarendon Park in Leicester. Prior to this he served in two parishes in the Bristol Diocese. "He has a passion for mission and outreach and he has experience of a mixture of worship styles, online church and in encouraging lay involvement. "He will bring to Blandford an energy and a desire to work with others for the next stage of ministry as the town grows and develops. We look forward to Chris and his family moving to Dorset just after Christmas." The Churchwardens and the PCC of Blandford Forum Parish Church said they were delighted at the news and looked forward to Mr Beaumont and his family

coming to Dorset. The second monthly Community Kitchen coffee morning took place at the Parish Centre on October 13 when an early start was made on decorations for the Community Kitchen Christmas tree. The next coffee morning will be on Wednesday November 10. Although the Benefice of Blandford Forum and Langton Long continues to exist, since May 1 pastoral responsibility for the provision of worship at Langton Long has been with the Revd Carolyn Couzens, the Priest-in-Charge of Lower Stour Benefice, and office administration for Langton Long has transferred to the administrator of Lower Stour. Blandford continues to provide support to Archbishop Wake School which lies in the parish of Langton Long, and joint activities between the parishes, such as the Community Kitchen, joint socials and Lent lunches, continue where and when appropriate.

Lions pool resources AFTER vandals caused damage to the pool in the Millennium Garden at Blandford Community Hospital earlier this year, the Lion fountain feature and its pump have now been restored by members of Blandford Lions Club, who originally contributed to its installation. They have also restored as new the plaque, which reads 'Millennium Garden: Provided by the Friends of Blandford Community Hospital with features donated by the Lions Club of Blandford and the families of patients. Opened 26th Jul 2002 by Betty Greenleaves, a Life President of the Friends'. Tony Ives (left) and James Mayo are pictured at the pool, and Mr Mayo said: "We are hoping to tidy up the memorial garden in due course, if we can get some volunteers, as the man that used to do it has retired, and it's getting overgrown."


November 2021

War victims honoured again R

ADIO and TV presenter and historian Peter John Snow will be guest of honour at the rededication of Blandford's war memorials on November 7. The former presenter of Newsnight, and analyst of general election results first on ITV and later for the BBC, is the grandson of First World War General Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow, who unveiled the memorials at the Corn Exchange and Blandford Cemetery in 1921. Sir Thomas was born in Hampshire in 1858, but his younger sisters were born three and five years later at Pimperne and Langton Lodge, where his father died in 1885. A report headed 'Faithful unto Death' of more than 1,800 words occupied almost two full columns of the Western Gazette published after the unveiling on March 6, 1921, described the ceremony in great detail, listing those attending the ceremony, and reporting in full Sir Thomas's address, together with those of the Mayor, Mr L B Bunce, and the Rector,

Peter Snow, guest of honour at the forthcoming rededication ceremony. the Rev F E Overton. It listed the 117 fallen who were named on the memorials placed in front of the Corn Exchange (the 'Municipal Buildings'), and named all those participating in the ceremony, including the bor-

ough councillors and aldermen, council staff, macebearers and clergy, 'the united choirs of the various churches and the Town Band, local Territorials, the Fire Brigade, Girl Guides and Brownies, Boy Scouts, and comrades of the Great War'. After the singing of the hymn 'Lord of our life and God of our salvation', the Rev A W Welford (Primitive Methodist) offered prayer, and the Rev Gomer Evans (Congregational) read Rev.xxi. During the singing of the hymn, 'Onward Christian Soldiers', an offertory was made on behalf of the memorial fund. Gen Snow said that being a Blandford man himself he knew the feeling during the war of all Blandford men thinking of Blandford back home. He said: "Their one hope was to be spared to see all those dear places (of Blandford) again. In the majority of cases that hope was fulfilled, but it was not so in the cases of those men whom they were gathered there that day to honour.

"Instead of seeing their homes again they lay in a foreign soil . . . those men died the grandest death that men could die - fighting for their King, their country, and their loved ones." He imagined their spirits being with them that day and rejoicing in the fact that their friends and relations were gathered there to honour their memory, saying those still living could never repay the debt they owed those who died that they might live, but could do something "to rebuild the Empire on the foundations those men laid by their deaths". His hope that 40 years on the war would be a thing of the past and almost forgotten was sadly not to be. But he reminded the new generation springing up of their duty to bring up their children and their children's children, show them the tablets, tell them about the war and how the men fought and died. He said: "They must impress upon them that if in their time the old country is ever again in danger it will be their duty to come


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100 years on forward and give up all, even to life itself, for their country and their King." Gen Snow then drew away the Union Jacks which covered the tablets, the Territorials fired three volleys, the buglers sounded 'The Last Post' and the service concluded with the singing of the hymn 'For all the Saints'. A procession accompanied by a large crowd then made its way to the cemetery, where the memorial cross was draped with the Union Jack, and four Territorials stood at the corners with arms reversed. Following the singing of the hymn 'Jesu lover of my soul', prayers offered by the Rev J R Rowe (Wesleyan Methodists) and short addresses by the Mayor and Rector, the Territorials then fired three volleys, and the buglers again sounded 'The Last Post'. The final hymn was 'O God our help', followed by 'Reveille' and the Benediction. After the service, members of the Fire Brigade proceeded to the memorial where a laurel wreath was laid to the memory of a fallen comrade. The relatives and friends subsequently laid their floral tributes round the base of the cross. • This year the collections for the Poppy Appeal by Blandford Royal British Legion members and helpers started on October 28 and will take place up to November 13. Tesco, Morrisons, Lidl and Marks & Spencer are the main collections points, and the Poppy Appeal has lent four contactless payment devices for the area to make collection easier.

Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow (by British military photographer - Official British Military photograph. Published in 'The Great War', Ed. H.W. Wilson).


Readers’ letters

Localism for MPs SUCCESSIVE governments of all hues have banged on about localism, however when it comes to who is to represent us in parliament, then localism goes out of the window. Surely the time has come for any prospective parliamentary candidate to have lived in the seat they wish to represent for a minimum of five years prior to standing. In a cash-strapped Britain this would save millions of pounds in rent paid for MPs' rented homes as they would live in their own homes. In reality what happens now is they find an expensive rented house to live in and then let their own home and pocket the rent, but sadly something they would not vote to change. Worth a look at your MPs'

November 2021 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: Alternatively, you can call 01258 459346 or deliver your letter to: Forum Focus, c/o Colin's

expenses online to see who this applies to, not all but far too many. James B Mayo

Distorted economy THANKS to our ever-improving exam, sorry, education system, we have plenty of graduates but sadly not enough lorry drivers, or bricklayers or care staff or catering staff or manual workers of any kind. Has anybody noticed how many of these categories in short supply are not graduates? Is it not wonderful, our wonderful elected leaders have used our exam, sorry, education system to distort and handicap our economy? Richard Foley - retired teacher and graduate who can't fix your car, do your plumbing, drive a lorry and does not want to do personal care.

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.

Bridge paint is shabby I WAS walking over the footbridge by the Ham (the blue bridge) on a sunny and warm day. I thought what an asset to the town it was, but then I saw the state of the paintwork. It could really do with a lick of paint now. I can't remember how long ago it was built, but before the idea of defacing it with padlocks started coming into vogue, I think. Stephen Kelly

Honest gratitude HEARTFELT thanks to kind and honest person who found my purse in the bananas at Tesco today (September 21) and handed it in to the staff. C. Ward Winterborne Whitechurch ••• I WOULD like to thank the person who handed in my ring at Lidl in Blandford. Sylvia Holdeman, Child Okeford

Curtain up for drama group THE Forum Drama Group is reestablishing a play reading group in Blandford. Being in a play reading group is great fun, a confidence booster, and you do not need to learn

lines, attend rehearsals, wear make-up or costumes, or suffer stage fright. Any readers who want to join a play reading group can contact me on 07763 001018. Anthony Kelly, Model House, Bournemouth Road, Blandford St Mary, DT11 9LL

Missing chimes I WAS upset to read in the October issue that the Blandford bell ringers will not be ringing the town church bells. I have been so looking forward to hearing the bells again - it is a real bonus living so near and having them ring out on a Thursday evening, a pleasure I have missed over the lockdown. I do hope that the leaning weathervane can be swiftly repaired and the bell ringers reinstalled in their rightful place! Janet Mayes The Close, Blandford

Climate views are harmful IF the views expressed by Stephen Kelly, published in the September issue, were not so harmful, they would be pitiable. If he is happy to dismiss the climate crisis as plus ça change, then I hope he suffers bitterly from its outcomes. Janet Stiles Tyson Queens Road, Blandford


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100 new jobs to come with internet firm’s growth plans WESSEX Internet is creating more than 100 new roles in the next 12 months as it plans to accelerate the roll-out of its ultrafast full-fibre broadband network to homes and businesses across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. The specialist internet provider will continue to focus on rural communities, but as well as building to villages and hamlets, it will be expanding its reach to include rural market towns, such as Blandford and Sturminster Newton, and is creating a new town planning and delivery team to complement its rural network build operations. The new job vacancies, most of which are Dorset-based, are predominantly in fibre planning, network engineering, civils and construction, as well as a number of office-based roles to support the company's significant growth. The Shroton-based company, which employed 61 people in August 2020, now employs over 110, and the number is set to increase to 200 within the next six months after significantly boosting its sales, marketing and network planning functions and

strengthening its management team in finance and strategy. With just 18 per cent of UK homes currently having full-fibre broadband access, the government has set a target of 85 per cent of UK homes to have gigabit broadband by 2025. Wessex Internet's work includes that on two major public-funded projects to bring full-fibre broadband to over 3,600 rural homes and businesses in South Somerset, and to bring full-fibre to community buildings from Blandford to Sherborne. Hector Gibson Fleming, managing director, said: "This is a period of exciting growth for our company. Now is the time to further strengthen our construction teams to accelerate our roll-out. We're also excited to set up a new town planning and build team and develop this capability in-house - a vital addition to our company, as we extend our network to local market towns. To find out about current job vacancies, see or contact

Larger site as cable company expands CONCEPT Cables have acquired a four-acre plot next to their main facility at Blandford Heights Industrial Estate. Managing director John Kewley said: "The acquisition of the new four-acre site is an exciting and significant step in the growth and future of Concept Cables Ltd. "This will give us enough space to expand our production capabilities, offering our customers an even better service and range of products. "Where we are currently operating out of three remote sites, the move to one location will not only improve the flow of manufactur-

ing processes but will also greatly reduce the number of vehicle movements between them, further reducing the company's carbon footprint. "I am extremely proud of the professional and hard-working team of employees that have helped make Concept Cables one of the premier technical cable manufacturing companies in the UK." They are refurbishing the current buildings and are looking to partially move the business by the end of the year, completing the move during 2022 once the existing building has been extended and a new office complex built.

THE Cranborne Chase AONB will be sharing plans for its 40th anniversary this year at the annual forum on November 10 from 10.30am to 12.30pm which will be hosted on Zoom by AONB Director Linda Nunn, with guest speakers. The Forum gives parish councils, community groups and all local residents the chance to hear about our projects and how you can get involved with what's happening.

Helen Mortimer, development manager at Diverse Abilities, with exhibition curator Henrietta Young and CEO Mark Powell at 'Pictures for the Beehive'. Picture: Paul Collins, PC Visuals.

Art show nets £100,000 THE contemporary art exhibition 'Pictures for The Beehive', hosted at the home of the Earl and Countess of Shaftesbury at St Giles House, Wimborne St Giles, raised more than £100,000 for Diverse Abilities Splash Appeal towards the building of a hydrotherapy pool for people with profound disabilities. The two-day exhibition culminated in an elegant party, at the end of which the 29 donated works were auctioned by Guy Schwinge of Duke's, to raise £84,000, adding to other proceeds from the sale of tickets, a

raffle, donations and souvenir postcards. Henrietta Young, curator and artist, said: "We were delighted with the interest shown in this wide-ranging and exciting show, delighted with the fantastic sum we raised at the auction but really delighted that so many more people now know, and care, about The Beehive, the excellent work done there, and the acute need for this pool. This is only the start." The exhibition also featured portraits and drawings of those who attend The Beehive.


November 2021

Hardy verse included in new choral work AN exciting newly commissioned work, the 'Dorset Jubilate', will form part of the programme for a concert on December 4, for which the Wareham Choral Society and Briantspuddle Singers are currently rehearsing. It has been written for the Wareham society by composer Philip Singleton ( AS Bonfire Night approaches, the Blandford Hedgehog Group is urging people to consider their pets and wild animals, particularly hedgehogs. Spokesperson Denise Montague said: "We are all aware that fireworks cause considerable stress to our pets as well as the wildlife but bonfires are also a great hazard. Hedgehogs sleep during the day and forage at night so if you are planning a bonfire, please move it on the day you plan to light it. Hopefully if there are any nesting/sleeping hedgehogs underneath they will scuttle away and you can enjoy your evening without burning a small, lovely creature to death."

and as well as the familiar words of the Jubilate, incorporates settings of poems by poet Thomas Hardy - 'The Darkling Thrush', and 'The Oxen' - to add a Christmas feel to the piece, which invites Christians to be joyful and praise God. Mr Singleton said: "Hardy's poem 'The Oxen' takes the form of a pastoral carol-like setting, and in 'The Darkling Thrush' a lone wanderer on the point of despair finds solace in the song of an unseen thrush - suggested here by solo trumpet." Briantspuddle Singers meet on Tuesdays at 7.30pm at Briantspuddle Village Hall and Wareham Choral Society on Monday evenings at 7.30pm in Lady St Mary's Church, Wareham, and would welcome new members for all voice parts at their rehearsals, which also include the standard Christmas fare of carols and excerpts from Handel's 'Messiah'. For more information call Andrea Smith on 01929 471412 or email

Caroline Pugh, who runs the new Sing Together group.

A sing-song is the way to keep healthy SING Together is a new daytime opportunity for those who love to sing well-known songs in an informal setting. Numerous studies advocate the benefits of singing for wellbeing as well as being a useful activity to promote healthy ageing. Caroline Pugh, who runs the group, is an associate for Sing To Beat Parkinson's. It was this training that motivated her to start the group. She said: "It's great to know that regular singing can help so much with vocal production for those living with Parkinson's and to see the joy that so many

experience in singing well-loved songs." Each session includes some fun exercises for good breath control, co-ordination and articulation and everyone loves the range of songs from musical theatre and pop to traditional and easy listening. Sessions cost £6 and the group meets every Tuesday 2.30 to 3.30pm at the Blandford Connect Centre, Heddington Drive. All are welcome, especially those living with a range of conditions who might benefit from the social interaction and opportunity to use their voice.

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November 2021

Chestnuts’ green badge of honour THERE was much excitement at St Nicholas Primary School in Child Okeford when the postman delivered a very special package. Last year the Year 1 and 2 children in Chestnuts class were doing a project called 'Exploring our Wonderful World'. As part of their work, they applied for a Blue Peter Green Badge and to become a Blue Peter Climate Hero. The class started off thinking about what makes our planet wonderful and then how we can keep our planet wonderful. Deputy head teacher Belinda Bolar said: "They explored the concepts of 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle' and came up with ways we could encourage this at home and in school. In English they created leaflets to tell other people about the three 'Rs' and wrote some persuasive letters to encourage people to help keep our planet wonderful. "The highlight of their work was when one of the teachers tipped out all her recycled rubbish on

Last year's Chestnut class at St Nicholas Primary School in Child Okeford with their Green Blue Peter badges. the classroom floor. They then thought about how we could reuse some of the rubbish and designed a recycled project. They had a range of projects designed ranging from pencil pots, storage boxes, confetti poppers to use at a party and a new toy to give as a gift. "In addition to this they decided that their Supersized Pledge would be to make sure that we switched off all lights and devices

when leaving the classroom or building. They made stickers that are placed next to all the light switches reminding people to turn off the lights." At home the children continued with their pledges by reminding people to turn off an electrical device when they have finished

using it, save water by turning off the taps when they brush their teeth and plant seeds to encourage bees and butterflies to thrive. And in Celebration Assembly in October, last year's Chestnut Class were presented with a certificate and their Blue Peter Green Badge.

Speech problems inspired new book WOLFSTONGUE, a new children's book published by Little Island, is a gripping story about Silas, a boy who is bullied at school because of his speech difficulties. One day Silas makes friends with a wolf called Isengrim and discovers that there is a hidden world where animals speak. In the magic realm of the forest, Silas learns that the tongue-tied wolves are being persecuted by clever, articulate foxes: if he is to help his new wolf friends, he will need to find his own words. Author Sam Thompson teaches English and creative writing at Queens University, Belfast, and has been nominated for the Booker Prize and Encore Prize for his previous novels. His relatives have lived in Dorset for over 80 years and he has been to Blandford regularly where his parents now live. Sam says: "I began writing

Wolfstongue for my son at a time when he was having trouble with his language. He loved wolves, too, and I felt there was a connection between wolves and words.” The book is suitable for children of eight or older.

PLANS for the celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee include a town council sponsored window decoration competition along the same lines as that being held for Christmas this year, with a total of £400 prize money for shops, a charity and now a winner chosen by the Mayor's Young Person representative. Councillors have also asked for three of the free parking days offered by Dorset Council in 2022 to be on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the Jubilee between June 2 and 5, the other two to be on August Bank Holiday Saturday and Christmas Eve.

November 2021

NEWS in BRIEF A DRIVER reportedly fled the scene after a black Ford Kuga collided with a brick wall near St John the Baptist Church at Spetisbury on the evening of September 12. Police were called but the occupants of the vehicle had left prior to their arrival. Following enquiries, a man was voluntarily interviewed in connection with the incident. Anyone with information can contact the police at, via email or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55210147847 or report anonymously via Crimestoppers. ••• A BLANDFORD town council project to redevelop the car park at Park Road has been paused for nine months awaiting the removal of the existing electricity meter in the toilet block, which needs to be carried out prior to demolition. ••• AFTER a long break from their evening meetings, the Child Okeford Centre for Care & Learning decided to have one final meeting in October replacing a meeting that was cancelled due to lockdown. Since launching their Winter Talks in 2006 they have presented over 100 events, donating surplus funds to worthwhile causes. The final talk of 2021 took place in the village hall rather than the preschool classroom and featured Dr Steve Etches on the Etches Collection of fossils amassed by him over 35 years and housed at the Museum of Jurassic Marine Life in Kimmeridge. ••• AMENDMENT to the inscription at the Cross of Sacrifice at Blandford Cemetery in readiness for the rededication on November 7 has been carried out by Blandford Town Council at a cost of £3407.20.


Something for everyone in the Artsreach programme TOURING this month with Artsreach, Dorset's rural touring arts charity, are artists bringing music, dance, theatre, classical music and folk to venues including Blandford Corn Exchange on Folk artists Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman come to November 28, Blandford Corn Exchange on November 28. when the Dartmoor-based folk duo Kathryn Roberts and from the Bournemouth Sean Lakeman are welcomed Symphony Orchestra, in 'BSO back to Dorset. On Your Doorstep', will be preBut first come guitarist John senting a programme of two Etheridge and violinist Chris halves journeying through 450 Garrick, who have also peryears of music from JS Bach formed together for many years, and Corelli to Arvo Pärt and providing an eclectic repertoire Anna Meredith, for an audience at Winterborne Stickland's of all ages. Pamela Hambro Hall on For more information and how to Saturday November 13. book see Sonia Sabrie Company in 'Same Same . . But Different' at Sturminster Newton Exchange on the afternoon of November 14 is a fun and magical dance show for children and adults. Storyteller Emily Hennessey and sitar player Sheema Mukherjee bring an Indian mythological tale to Shillingstone's Portman Hall on November 21. On November 27, Kuumba Nia Arts at Sturminster Marshall Memorial Hall in 'Sold' tell the story of Mary Prince, who was born into slavery in Bermuda but becomes a beacon for the British anti-slavery movement and champion of freedom. And on December 2, musicians

Beers with a prize bonus HALL & Woodhouse's Badger Beers are running their biggest on-pack promotion in five years, offering winners a luxury 'staycation' in one of the family brewer's pubs in Dorset. From October to the end of February, the promotion is running on 50,000 bottles of Golden Champion and Fursty Ferret, the two top-selling award-winning Badger Beers, offering consumers the chance to win one of 20 overnight stays for two, including dinner and breakfast. Badger Beers drinks marketing manager Matt Woodhouse said: "We're delighted to be launching our biggest off-trade promotion in a while, just as the country emerges fully from the pandemic."


The Blandford and Salisbury Armed Forces Veterans in the foyer of the Hall & Woodhouse Brewery Tap, ready for their brewery tour.

Breakfast at the brewery BLANDFORD Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club (AFVBC) welcomed members from the Salisbury AFVBC to a brewery tour and meal with Hall & Woodhouse in Blandford St Mary, where they hold their regular meetings in the Brewery Tap. Around 40 members and partners from Blandford and Salisbury attended. Family director Mark Woodhouse and his wife Tessa accompanied them on the tour of the new brewery before they enjoyed their meal with free beer donated by the brewery. All money raised was donated to Dorset Mind who are the current Hall & Woodhouse charity partner. The Blandford club has now taken an allotment on the Elizabeth Road site - The Meet and 2 Veg Allotment Club for Veterans - and has appealed for any spare tools, sheds, chairs, gas stove, whistling kettle or anything else that would be useful. To offer help contact Matt Slater through their Facebook page.

November 2021

Sovereign offering funding guidance HOUSING association Sovereign is continuing its investment in communities through working with crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder and helping residents with employment and training. Community projects and charities based within three miles of Sovereign homes in the South and South-West can apply for a share of £80,500 to boost the fundraising they've already done. Applications are open until March 1, 2022, and project leaders can find out more about funding criteria and how to apply by visiting Sovereign's page at The Housing Association has also been running a series of free webinars to support those across the south of England considering their work options as furlough draws to an end. The webinar will help attendees identify their employability strengths, how to find a new role

and how to access extra support through Sovereign's employment and training offers. Rachael Fulford, employment and training manager for Sovereign, said: "Every attendee will also get a free copy of a 'top tips for job searching' guide." The final webinar in the series will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday November 16. Information can be found at Those who are not Sovereign residents are free to attend, and although unable to access the direct support of the employment and training team, will be signposted to other opportunities. AN application for extension to Brixey's Barn in Tarrant Hinton and the creation of four commercial business and service units has been approved by Dorset Council. The proposal includes improved access, a gravel parking area, fencing, gates and walls, together with a sewage treatment plant and water storage.


November 2021

Waiting list grows for allotment plots THE last 12 months has seen a rapid turnover of allotments managed by Blandford Allotment Society, and chairman Ian Ricketts told the annual general meeting that it was pleasing to see a number of young families taking up plots. Plot allocator Barbara Marjoram said 22 plots had been allocated at Lamperd's Field. But for a number of people, returning to work after the pandemic lockdowns had resulted in difficulties in cultivating them, and six plotholders had to be evicted. With a waiting list of four for each site after filling a number of vacancies, the society is not currently accepting new applications for plots from people living outside Blandford, although those from other areas already holding or promised plots have been assured that they will be able to keep them if and when the allotments are relocated as part of the development scheme north of Blandford.

As part of the preparation for the relocation the most northerly plot at Elizabeth Road has, with the permission of Blandford Town Council, been designated as a replacement for the hazel coppice which will be lost at Lamperd's Field. The plot has been unused for many years due to its poor condition and has been the victim of fly-tipping, but a society working party last month began to clear it, ready for planting in the spring to provide pea and bean sticks for the allotment holders. Treasurer John Harding reported on a year which had seen a higher turnover in sales of seeds, manure, pea sticks and compost, resulting in a £1,000 increase in the society's finances overall which would help to maintain its equipment. Plot holders were rewarded for keeping their plots in good shape. The plot competition, now divided into three sections in view of the different sizes of plots held,

Plot competition winners Paul Williams (Elizabeth Road) and Judith Potts (Lamperd's Field) at the annual general meeting of Blandford Allotment Society. resulted in Heather Shepherd being judged winner among the quarter plot holders, with runnerup Christine Adams, and Darryl Adams judged half-plot winner with joint runners-up Dan and Ros Foster and Brook Maccallum.

The full plot winner at Lamperd's Field was Judith Potts, with second Tim Farrow and third Diane Mawer, and at Elizabeth Road winner Paul Williams, second Amenda Bealing and third Lisa Gale.


The View from the Hill by George Hosford More from George on


UTUMN sowing started this week, in lovely dry seedbeds; whether we can get it all done before it gets wet again remains to be seen. The new Sky drill is getting a proper testing. Our aim is to sow the majority of our winter cereals with no prior tillage, a new game for us. It seems very odd not to have a tractor out there working down the land in front of the drill. However, if it works, like all the demo plots did last year, then we will save a lot of diesel, rubber, metal, and time. We will also leave more carbon in the soil instead of oxidising it into the atmosphere and we will mineralise less nitrogen in the soil making it less likely to leach. We will kill fewer worms, we will break fewer fungal hyphae and the soil structure will not be dismantled apart from where the disc/coulter creates a slot for the seed. Direct drilling, or 'no-till', is one of many techniques being used by farmers to reduce their environmental footprint. It will help us to build up carbon, in the form of organic matter, in the soil, rather than release it into the atmosphere as a potent climate changer. Organic matter levels in soils which have been conventionally farmed for the last 100 years have often become depleted, especially where there are no

November 2021 longer any livestock in the system. In the early 20th century the Haber Bosch process was invented, by Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, which creates first ammonia, and then ammonium nitrate. This was the most essential ingredient in the so-called green revolution, where, to quote Jonathan Swift's King Brobdingnag in Gulliver's Travels, "whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together". Many consider the Haber-Bosch process to be responsible for the Earth's current population explosion as "approximately half of the protein in today's humans originated with nitrogen fixed through the Haber-Bosch process" (RaeDupree, 2011). The trouble is, the manufacture of fertiliser in this way is incredibly energy intensive. Many readers will have heard about this recently, as gas prices increased and UK fertiliser factories stopped manufacturing fertiliser to control their costs. It is somewhat ironic that the shortage of a by-product of this process, carbon dioxide (CO2), made the story hit the headlines. CO2 is used in many industrial processes, and in slaughterhouses, so farmers have an interest here too, but it is the price of fertiliser (which has gone through the roof), and its availability for next year's growing crops, which is causing most worry. The world is hooked on nitrogen fertiliser - by far the most effective thing we use to enhance crop yields on farms - and without it we would have serious food shortages very quickly. Being so energy intensive in its manufacture also means it is a very potent climate changer. To

So many uses for a worn-out combine track. slow climate change, we need a complete rethink of our agricultural systems across the world, weaning ourselves off our addiction by reducing our reliance on artificial fertiliser and repair our soils by using various techniques propagated by the regenerative or organic movements. It will take a long time to achieve this and needs to be driven by governments. Our government, with all their attempts at greenwashing - driven by the prime minister's wife and Zac Goldsmith, who have unhealthy and undemocratic influence on the government through our incompetent and scientifically illiterate PM - seems incapable of

grasping the intricacies of the subject and simply hinders progress. Having left the EU and being part way through the construction of a new agricultural scheme for the UK, our government could be leading a globally transformative partnership role of climate-smart farming, especially in the run-up to hosting COP26. But important decisions are not being made, and some that have been, such as the Australian trade deal, are going to do more harm than good. Farming offers many answers to the question of climate change, but we need everyone to be pushing in the same direction.


November 2021

NEWS in BRIEF Representations have closed on an application by R Lukins Fitness Ltd to Dorset Council for a premises licence at Stud Farm, Pimperne, which will allow the retail sale of alcohol for consumption on and off the premises from 11am to 11pm daily. A public notice dated September 23 gave 28 days for people to contact the licensing team. *** A head shave at the Paddocks Bar at 8pm on November 5 is being staged to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. Marina Stickley will be going under the clippers of Cal of Cal's Cutz in memory of Jackie Laws, who died earlier this year, and in support of her husband Melvyn, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer. Sponsorship forms are available behind the bar. *** Shillingstone Ladies retained their title of Dorset's Super 8s Cricket League champions, winning all five games in a full season which included two challenge competitions and a number of friendlies. For more information or to join the team, contact Jill Sullivan on 01258 821069 or Leslie Elsworth on 07850 749736.

Camera Club news BLANDFORD Forum Camera Club's season resumed with what they hope will be the best of both worlds, now being able to project to and from it via Zoom so that members and guests can choose to participate from home or in the clubhouse. The Chairman's Evening kicked off the season and Roger Holman spoke on Dorset Landscapes and Coastal Scapes. The President's Cup, judged by Sara Harpley, was the first competition of the season, but also the finale of last year's competitions as the eligible entries were the top scorers from 2020-2021. After narrowing it down to a final eight, the victor was Roly Barth with his image 'Down at the Docks'. Penny and Spike Piddock Zoomed in from Dorchester

Roly Barth's winning image, 'Down at the Docks'. with their presentation 'Like Sandpaper, Wet, Dry and Mixed', documenting their visit to Ambon - the title referring to the underwater, above water and other subjects photographed. September ended with 'The Emotional Landscape' from Huw Alban including many strong images and the stories behind

them. The Points Cup competitions started in October and there was a mobile phone photography critique evening plus guest speakers Roger Hance and Steve Hedges. Groups starting up again include Studio Photography, Distinctions & Awards and Photo Editing Self-Help. Guests and new members are always welcome, and more information can be found on their website at


November 2021

Death notices MEXSON Trevor Ronald. Peacefully at Dorset County Hospital on Thursday August 5 aged 71 years. Private cremation followed by commemoration of his life held at St Andrew's Church, Milborne St Andrew. Donations for 'The Stella Hayward RDA Group' (Riding for the Disabled) via: MULLIN Carole, of Oakfield Street, Blandford, passed away on August 28.

DAVE Butler is pictured alongside the exhibition in Blandford Museum of a selection of the massive collection of local memorabilia amassed by his late wife Esme Butler, former Mayor of Blandford, who died in 2017. Esme was a native, well loved, respected and lifelong resident of Blandford, and throughout her life supported local artists by purchasing and collecting examples of their work related to Blandford, together with other local artefacts. The exhibition, which opened in September, will still be on display when the Museum hopes to reopen in the third week of November after building work in Bere's Yard is completed.

HIGGINS John Lionel. Peacefully on August 29 at Blandford Grange, aged 80. A private ceremony was held on September 22. Donations to The Alzheimer's Society online at BENJAFIELD Michael (Mike) Peacefully at Poole Hospital on September 3, aged 69 years. Memorial Service held at St John the Baptist Church, Bere Regis. Donations to The Royal Marsden Hospital or PLANETS (Neuroendocrine Tumour Charity) c/o Lesley Shand Funeral Service, 28 East Street, Blandford.

Funeral Service, 28 East Street, Blandford. TOMES Pamela Marian, of Swanage, passed peacefully away on September 13 in a care home in Blandford Forum, aged 93 years. Celebration of her life held at Poole Crematorium. Donations for MIND c/o Harry Tomes Ltd. F.D. Barham House 31-33 Tower Road, Bournemouth. BYRNE Darryl of Winterborne Stickland, sadly passed away on September 16, 2021, whilst in hospital. ELLIS Eileen, Widow of the late George Ellis (Veterinary Surgeon). Peacefully at home on September 25 aged 90 years. Funeral Service at Poole Crematorium. Donations to Riding for the Disabled, c/o Colin J Close Funeral Service, Peel Close, Salisbury Road, Blandford. JONES Reverend Canon Patrick Geoffrey Dickson MA Oxon, MLitt. University of Aberdeen. Peacefully at Blandford Forum, on September 27, aged 93.

COLLETT Stephen Michael, died September 5, funeral/celebration of his life held at the Long Barrow Ceremony Hall at the Harbour View Crematorium, Lytchett Minster BH16 6AN. Donations to the Weldmar Hospice.

MOORE Brian, September 29, peacefully at home, aged 81 years of Hazelbury Bryan. Funeral service held at Yeovil Crematorium. Donations for Weldmar Hospicecare C/o Peter Jackson Funeral Services, Mons, High St, Henstridge.

STEEL Kenneth (Kenny), passed away at Shaftesbury Hospital September 7, aged 71. Funeral service held at Poole Crematorium. Donations to 'Stroke Association' or 'Macmillan Caring Locally' c/o Lesley Shand

LEWIS James Lesley, October 1, aged 68 years. Funeral Service held at Child Okeford Parish Church. Enquiries c/o Colin J Close Funeral Service, Peel Close, Salisbury Road, Blandford.


November 2021

Potter Richard Batterham, a true master of his craft A MAN described as one of the most revered potters of his time, Richard Batterham of Durweston, died on September 7 at the age of 85. Born in Woking, Surrey, in 1936, he was the son of a nurse and schoolteacher at a preparatory school which moved to Dorset during the war. He subsequently attended Bryanston School, where he was taught by the sculptor Donald Potter, spending long hours in the school pottery. During National Service, he spent a week's leave at Wrecclesham, a surviving country pottery in Surrey, and afterwards, in January 1957, he began his apprenticeship at the Leach Pottery, St Ives, where he met his wife, Dinah Dunn. On their marriage in 1959, he left Leach and established his own studio at Durweston, where he worked for nearly 60 years. With work in numerous museums and private collections, he has been represented by Joanna Bird in London since 2000, and in 2017 he was the subject of a film by the Joanna Bird Foundation titled 'Richard Batterham, Master Potter'. He was also a bee keeper, folk dancer and bell ringer for over 40 years at Durweston, where a quarter peal was rung in his memory. In 2016 his 80th birthday was marked by exhibitions in Dorset, Norfolk and London, and although he made his last pots at the age of 82, he continued

AN illuminated Last Friday at the end of September brought this year's series of month-end social gatherings in the Blandford Museum Victorian Garden to an end. It was attended by a large number of people who enjoyed chilli, pizza and other refreshments, with musical accompaniment from Clara Taverner and Colin Fletcher.

Gardens rake in the cash BLANDFORD's Hidden Gardens event on September 5, organised by the Blandford Environmental Trust, raised a total of £2,985.92 for national and local charities and good causes. Thanking all who took part this year for their hard work, hospitality and bonhomie, the Trust is already making plans for next year, when the event is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 26. Potter Richard Batterham, who died on September 7. to work on preparing a retrospective shown at Sladers Yard, West Bay, two years ago and on an exhibition of his work tracing his exploration of form and uncompromising dedication to pottery which opens in Room 146 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on Friday November 26. His wife Dinah died in 2007, but he is survived by their five children, Annabel, Imogen, George, Jessamine, and Reuben, by 15 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and by his brother, David.


Headteacher Sally Wilson, centre, with staff and soldiers who helped with lateral flow testing at The Blandford School.

Army recruited to help testing regime BLANDFORD Camp has been congratulated by The Blandford School for its exceptional support in helping the school with lateral flow testing of students. Sally Wilson, headteacher, is not only delighted with their support of this initiative but also the ongoing partnership work between the Camp and the school. Over the course of two days, Signallers based at the camp volunteered to help the school with the testing of students new to the school. She said: "Their assistance in undertaking this vital work in support of keeping our community safe in these very unusual times helped us to ensure a smooth start of term for all our students. It was a delight to work so closely with the Signallers, all of whom are at a very early stage of their professional training." • Mrs Wilson said she was delighted at the number of parents, carers and children who attended the recent annual open evening. Around 1,000 attendees listened to one of three headteacher presentations and were then treated to displays, presentations and conversations with current students who shared their experiences of the school. The school had introduced some changes to their delivery of this evening as a result of Covid. Details of how to apply for a school place can be found on the school's website:

November 2021

Students camp to help homeless MORE than £6,000 was raised for the YMCA by nearly 100 students of The Blandford School who camped out in sleeping bags and cardboard boxes in the school grounds on the night of October 8 as part of YMCA Bournemouth's Sleep Easy. This year was the third in which The Blandford School had participated and, after only a few dozen took part in 2018 and 2019, there was a record turnout of 94 for the event. They exceeded their target of £4,000 on their Virgin MoneyGiving page, which rose to £5,000 including schools TBS Gift Aid, and this was boosted by a £1,000 donation from Bryanston School where some of the students work in the evenings. For details see The Blandford School Facebook page. Sheena Daynan, event organiser from YMCA Bournemouth, said: "We do much more than just give people a roof over their heads. We give our residents one-to-one support and the tools to move forward again to independent living." She said homelessness contin-

ued to be on the increase and it was not just about sleeping in the streets. Students in several schools are 'sofa surfing' and have no place to call home. "YMCA's mission is to provide that home. They believe that everyone should have a secure place to call home." The event was sponsored by Prosper Protect, the financial services company based at West Barn, Wimborne Road, Blandford, who were invited to judge and award prizes for the best designed shelters in various categories to the winners who were announced in a thank you presentation at the school. Sarah Pickering from Prosper Protect said: "It's such a privilege to support our local school, raising awareness of local homelessness and supporting our local community." The other sponsor was Domino's, whose Blandford manager Russell Shepherd arrived laden with free pizzas for the participants and said he was delighted to be able to help such a great cause.

One of the group entries in the Blandford School Big Sleep Easy 2021.

November 2021

School radio goes on air BRYANSTON School has launched a new internet-based radio station, BRYRADIO, for pupils, staff and parents - the culmination of six months of hard work by pupils and staff. Sponsored by the Bryanston Parents' Association, it broadcasts 24/7 from a state-of theart and highly automated studio, and is available on iPads, laptops and phones and in communal areas around the campus as well as being accessible anywhere in the world. Chris Mills, Bryanston's head of design and technology, who has overseen its development, said: "The national lockdowns have highlighted the value of effective engagement, interaction and communication for any school community and our new radio station has added an exciting new platform for everyone involved with Bryanston. "It is providing pupils with a host of new skills, experiences and opportunities, and giving a new dimension for parental engagement. All parents can now always stay fully up to date with all activities at the school, from sports fixtures to live performances and all forms of extracurricular activities." Media Production Agency, Indico Media, has supported Bryanston with the development of the radio station and according to director Justin King, it has been a hugely satisfying project to work on, and the most comprehensive and integrated radio station they have helped to develop for a school. Any local business that would like to advertise on BRYRADIO or to provide longer term sponsorship for the project should contact Chris Mills, at


New rugby kit unveiled BLANDFORD Rugby Club unveiled its new kit at the first home game at Larksmead in nearly two years. The kit has been designed by one of their Mini and Youth section members Jacob Scott, aged 15, who was presented with a replica kit in gratitude. Jacob was the winner of a competition in which there were more than 100 entries. He said he had used the brown and yellow colours of the club's original strip together with the new red to create the design, which also features the NHS logo. The club had an impressive opening game, winning 51-15 against Bridport, and after a narrow 10-12 defeat to East Dorset Dockers, were back in winning form against Wimborne II 15-62.

Tim Dennis, Kath Burt, Jonathan Powe and Teddy Wilmot-Sitwell. Not pictured: Ian Blaby, Kate Brice and Martin Strange.

Double croquet champs WINTERBORNE Valley Croquet Club became double champions in September, winning two league finals. A team competing in the South West Federation Association Croquet League emerged champions, beating Worcester Norton in a game played at Nailsea. They had won six out of six matches, repeating a success which the club last achieved in 1998. Shortly afterwards another team repeated the success by beating Bristol in the final of the South West Federation Golf Croquet Level Play League, played at Cheltenham. Five matches were played and won. And in a week of celebration for the club, member Steve Leonard was runner-up in the Baltic Golf Croquet Open in Latvia. Tim Dennis, the club chair, said: "While members are delighted with these successes, our membership has a full range of players, from complete novices to those with experience, and we welcome new members whatever their skill level." For membership details email or see

Jacob Scott receives his replica kit from Blandford RFC chairman Tom Davis-Richings.

Twitter @forumfocus

28 Every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Blandford Fashion Museum and tearoom open 10am to 4pm Every Monday 2-4 and Thursday 10-1: Kurling, Winterborne Whitechurch village hall, details 01258 881416 Every Monday and Friday: Lunchtime Bingo, Royal British Legion, Church Lane, Blandford, 12 noon Every third Monday: Blandford U3A Scrabble, Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion, 2 to 4.30pm (and every third Monday of the month): new members welcome Every third Tuesday: The Macular Degeneration Society, Royal British Legion, Church Lane,11.30am to 1pm Every Tuesday: Little Hands Mother and Toddler Group, Okeford Fitzpaine village hall, 9-11am, book in advance through Little Hands Facebook Group or call 01258 861511 Blandford Citizens Advice, 10am to 3pm at the Parish Centre in The Tabernacle. At other times call 01747 835016, the free Dorset Advice Line on 0800 144 88 48 or email Sing Together, 2.30 to 3.30pm, Blandford Connect Centre, Heddington Drive, Blandford Every Wednesday: Blandford Community Fridge, Blandford Youth & Community Centre, Milldown Road, open 9 to 11am Rokit community choir, Methodist Church, Blandford, 7.30pm Every Thursday: Square Dancing, Spetisbury Village Hall, 2 to 4pm, details 01202 731012 Every second Thursday: Folk Night, The Saxon Inn, Child Okeford, 8pm Every Friday: Durweston village coffee mornings, village hall, 10am to 12 noon Every first and third Friday: Bridge (U3A) in the Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion, 2 - 5pm details 01258 450544 Every third Saturday: Veterans Hub, Poppy Stables, Legion

What’s on this month ARRANGEMENTS may change in the light of any further announcements relating to the pandemic. Please check with the organisers if in doubt. Please also let us know by email to editor or phone to 01258 459346 of any events going ahead, either virtually or in person. House, Church Lane, Blandford, 10am to 2pm Every Sunday: Blandford Methodist Church service 10.45am, book a place by phone to 01258 577030 NOVEMBER Monday November 1: Blandford Floral Society meets Anne Biddlecombe Hall, Tarrant Keyneston, 2 pm, AGM Wednesday November 3: Is It Wheely Wednesday? 09.30 at Trailway/ Hayward Lane junction, Shillingstone - to visit Stur's Workhouse Chapel 'Handmade for Xmas', details 01258 860157 Blandford St Mary Parish Council meeting, Brewery Hall, Visitor Centre, Bournemouth Road, Blandford St Mary, 7pm Magnum Carnival Club Bingo, Pimperne village hall, doors open 6.45pm, eyes down 7.30pm Thursday November 4: Blandford Rotary Short Story competition finals night, The Parish Centre, Blandford, 6pm Forum Drama annual general meeting, Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion, 7pm Saturday November 6: Christmas Craft Fair, Charlton Marshall village hall DT11 9PF, free entry and parking, refreshments, raffle, 10.30am to 3pm, 50/60 Swing, Jive/Roll Dance, Winterborne Whitechurch village hall, 7 to 11pm Simply Cecilia vocal ensemble in concert, Tarrant Gunville village hall, 7.30pm, in aid of the Tarrant Valley Piano, details 830941 Wednesday November 10: Dorset Moviola presents ‘The Last Bus’, Fontmell Magna village hall,

7 for 7.30pm Sunday November 7: Rededication of Blandford war memorial plaques, Corn Exchange 10am and Cross of Sacrifice, Blandford Cemetery 11am Tuesday November 9: Tarrant Gunville WI meet Tarrant Gunville village hall, 7.15 pm, speaker Ben Bayer on Historical Murders in Tarrant Keyneston. Cost to nonmembers £4 including supper. Details 01258 456202 Wednesday November 10: Cranborne Chase AONB Annual Forum, 10.30am to 12.30pm on Zoom, see Thursday November 11: Armistice Day National Silence with Blandford Town Council, Blandford Corn Exchange 10.45am Folk Night, The Saxon Inn, Child Okeford, 8pm (all welcome) Friday November 12: Schools Remembrance, Market Place and Parish Church churchyard, from 10.45am Wessex Acoustic Folk present Chris Leslie + Anne-Louise Richards, Blandford Royal British Legion, 7.30pm, call 01202 732239 to book and see Saturday November 13: Games night, Winterborne Whitechurch village hall, 7pm John Etheridge & Chris Garrick, jazz inspired music, Winterborne Stickland village hall, 7.30pm, details 01258 880920 or Sunday November 14: Remembrance Sunday Coffee and cake at Bryanston Club CIC after St Nicholas Church's Remembrance Service, 11.30am

November 2021 Remembrance Parade and Service, Blandford Market Place and Parish Church, from 2.45pm Sonia Sabri Company, Indian dance, Sturminster Newton Exchange, 3pm, details 01258 475137 or Monday November 15: Strictly Come Tea Dancing with the Soggy Biscuit Dance Band, Corn Exchange, Blandford, 2.30 to 4.30pm, £7.50 per person (£5 for non-dancers), details 07939 030875 Sunday November 21: Little Monsters Blandford Market, The Blandford School, 10.30am to 12.30pm, details Emily Hennessey & Sheema Mukherjee in Ganga - Tales of the River, Portman Hall, Shillingstone, 7.30pm, details 01258 860319 or Friday November 26: Wessex Acoustic Folk present Anthony John Clarke & Dave Pegg + Antoine & Owena, Blandford Royal British Legion, 7.30pm, call 01202 732239 to book and see Saturday November 27: Panda Pre-School Christmas Fair, Corn Exchange, Blandford, 9.30am to 12 noon Grand Christmas Shopping Fair for the Salisbury-Sudan Medical Link, Tarrant Keyneston village hall, 11am to 1pm Christmas Fayre, Winterborne Whitechurch village hall, 11am to 4pm Durweston Choral Society concert, Durweston Parish Church, 7.30pm, details, tickets 01258 472253 Kuumba Nia Arts - Sold, Sturminster Marshall Memorial Hall, 7.30pm, details 07903 057427 or Sunday November 28: Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, folk duo, Blandford Corn Exchange, 7.30pm, details 01258 480698 or Bobs Quiz, Bryanston Club CIC, teams of up to six, £1 per player, 7.30pm sharp to 10pm

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