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Farmer’s Ploughing Mishap Cuts Off Water Supply
3rd September 2009
Several East Chinnock residents were left without water last weekend after a mains supply was damaged. Wessex Water provided emergency water to residents after the air valve of a mains supply was damaged by a farmer ploughing a field in the village. While some residents experienced reduced pressure, others were left without water altogether until the following day. Ian Drury at Wessex Water said an investigation had begun into the incident to find out how the valve was displaced. He said “The farmer had been ploughing a field in East Chinnock and damaged an air valve on the water mains supply, resulting in a substantial loss of water from the supply network serving Crewkerne and the surrounding area. Unfortunately some people were without water or would have experienced low-pressure water until Sunday. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”

Text reproduced by courtesy of the Western Gazette

© Jeremy Churchill

Priest Retires
 Friday, March 27, 2009

The Rev Richard Terrell has retired as Rector of the West Coker Benefice after 13 years' service at the end of February. 

Born in Yeovil, he has served the Diocese of Bath and Wells for 37 years, starting in Shepton Mallet, then looking after parishes in Drayton and Tatworth before accepting the ministry based at West Coker.

Mr Terrell, aged 65, who is married with two grown-up children, has retired to Norton-sub-Hamdon with his wife Anne. He said: "I have mixed feeling about my retirement. Being a clergyman is a way of life and it will take time to settle down and get used to it. But when you retire you do not lose interest in those people you have served; I have formed some very deep friendships with people in my parishes. 

Part of the privilege of being a clergyman is being able to share the joys and sorrows of your parishioners. I will always be ordained; you do not suddenly throw the collar away when you retire and, in that way, I will continue to help people in any way I can." 
Of his future plans, he said: "One piece of advice I was given was 'plan not to plan', and that's what I shall be doing." 
Reproduced by courtesy of the Western Gazette

09 January 2009
TEENAGERS in East Chinnock now have a new place to meet and play thanks to a £9,451 National Lottery Awards for All grant.
East Chinnock Parish Council officially opened a new kickwall, a large piece of equipment which can be used for basketball, football and other games, at the village's play area in Weston Street on New Year's Day.

Parish council chairman Maurice Jones cut a ribbon at the event, watched by other councillors, youngsters and residents.
Clerk to the parish council Helen Early said: "About a dozen teenagers approached the council with the idea of installing a kickwall, as previously there was not much equipment for older children in the play area. "We priced it up and applied to Awards for All for funding and we got the entire amount."

The council believes it was successful with the money as the kickwall promotes an active lifestyle for the youngsters.

The idea was initially raised by the teenagers at the beginning of 2007 and the money was awarded in September.

Reproduced by courtesy of the Western Gazette

24 July 2008  

Arthur Harris learned how to play the organ as a schoolboy, and 70 years later he is still wowing church crowds with his musical prowess.

The East Chinnock stalwart has been a regular at the church since 1936, when he received a knock on his door from a reverend seeking some short-term help. Now able to play 30 different varieties of the instrument, he still plays every Sunday at Saint Mary's Church at the age of 85 and has been heavily involved in community life throughout.

While preparing to take a group of villagers to get their weekly shopping, he said: "I get involved in anything I am asked. The only group I have not been part of in the village is the WI."

"I've been helping in the community since I was a young lad in the Scouts. Then I used to help direct the traffic up to Yeovilton on a Saturday, it must have started then."

"I really enjoy getting out and meeting people and getting things done."

It is this vast contribution to community life, which included serving on the former Yeovil Rural District Council for 13 years and as a East Chinnock parish councillor for more than 40 years, a role he only gave up six years ago, that has earned him two prestigious honours.

In 2004, he was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's honours list for his lifelong commitment to his community.

He was also recognised by the Queen for services to the Church when she presented him with Maundy Money at Wells Cathedral in 1993.

Born in Bridport, he moved to West Coker as a young boy and attended the village infants school, where his passion for the organ was first honed by a teacher and organist at the church.

He said: "Shortly after I moved to East Chinnock, the vicar Rev Burr knocked on my door. He said they were stuck for someone to play, as the organist lived in Yeovil and could not get to the church on a Sunday. I was not used to playing at a methodist chapel so it was difficult for me to start with. I was part-time until 1938, when I was taken on full-time.

"I took on doing two services every Sunday and last March I celebrated doing it for 70 years."

"They seem happy with me. I play 30 different types of organs and if I went to any church in the country and saw an organ, I would play it."

"I used to go to St John's Church just before the war and practiced on the organ there during my dinner break from Westland."

His passion for church music remains as strong as ever and although the effects of age is creeping up on him, Mr Harris said he would like to continue for several more years.

He said: "I enjoy it all. The minute I do not enjoy it is the time to pack it in. I can still be a bit uptight when I play but sometimes you need that adrenalin.

"I am past my best due to arthritis but I still play every Sunday morning. I remember when I used to do four services on dates like Easter Sunday."

"I just love church music and have had lots of happy memories of playing over the years. I love the village and I still have a busy life."

Mr Harris has always been heavily involved in the spiritual side of life, where he finds "great inspiration", and was a churchwarden for a few years; a role he said he was lumbered with as no-one else wanted to do it.

Mr Harris spent his career as an engineer in the flight testing department at Westland, where he worked for 47 years.

As an aircraft engineer during World War Two he was refused permission to join any of the regular armed services but said he "did his bit" by joining two Home Guard units, and by organising dances to raise money for residents.

After spending his career helping to get people into the air at Westland, Mr Harris took his first training flight at the age of 80 as a belated birthday present from his children.

He has six children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Reproduced by courtesy of the Western Gazette

03 July 2008

His Irish wife spent a decade trying to educate Nigel Stewart on the value of a good potato.

Now the cider farmer of East Chinnock confesses he has become a convert and is now leading the way in a local boom for rare and unusual spuds. His venture began four years ago, when his wife Fina brought some back from Ireland and planted them.

He has since launched a venture with neighbouring farmer Richard Baker to produce the potatoes and now sells them at his base in Bridge Farm.

Mr Stewart, aged 47, said: "We put a sign up two years ago and have been amazed at the response and how many people were looking for well-grown, different stuff.

"I have always been interested in odd things and the history of farming. My particular business is cider and I have a number of rare varieties of apples and now, with the potatoes, the two go really well together.

"We have around 15 different varieties and many of them are a rare breed, or heritage, as it is known in the trade.

"My Irish wife spent the last ten years trying to educate me about good potatoes and I did not believe her, but now I am a convert.

"We grow them for flavour and quality and they are done very slowly with no artificial fertiliser. A lot of people are coming back and saying they did not realise potatoes even had flavours.

"There is only one other person that I know of with a list like ours and they are in Northumberland."

Mr Stewart has been at the farm in East Chinnock for around 20 years and has been pressing cider all that time. He was previously at the family farm in Sandford Orcas.
As for the future, Mr Stewart said: "We are thinking of doing a heritage variety of potato crisps and there could be some purple crisps for sale in time for Christmas."
Reproduced by courtesy of the Western Gazette

03 July 2008

An article in the Western Gazette's west Dorset editions a few weeks ago prompted a fascinating letter from a former Somerset man now living in Australia.

Walter Pike, of Kiama, New South Wales, was interested to read our story about Alastair Bannerman, a veteran of the Normandy landings of 1944. Mr Pike was born in East Chinnock in 1917 and moved to North Perrott in 1925. He attended Crewkerne Grammar School from 1929 to 1935 and then studied at the University College of the South West in Exeter from 1935 to 1939. Mr Pike migrated to Australia in 1953.

He told the Gazette: "I served with the 2nd Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was adjutant when my friend Alastair Bannerman was captain in charge of six anti-tank guns. We took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944, getting ashore some two hours or so after the initial assault.

"Next day, during a disastrous attempt to capture Lebissy Wood, four kilometres north of Caen, both Alastair and I were taken prisoner. Next day he and a few others escaped our guards during an air attack upon Caen as we were being marched through, and as far as I can remember, he was brought back to rejoin our group at Alencon some days later.”

"Until we reached an organised PoW camp, Alastair was the only person amongst us who spoke German and was our main liaison with our guards. From then on we were together from camp to camp, eventually being imprisoned in Oflag 79 near Braunsweig in Germany, a large camp holding about 2,500 British and Indian officers. We arrived there, my diary tells me, on 18 August.”

"Most of the prisoners had been "in the bag" for a long time, some even going back to Dunkirk days. Several were, like Alastair, professional actors. He quickly joined the dramatic society and delighted us all as actor and producer of great shows. As far as I can remember, that was his main contribution to the life of the camp.”

"We were eventually liberated on 12 April, 1945, my fourth wedding anniversary, by troops from the United States 30th Infantry Division.”

"The one or two discrepancies between this account and that provided by Alastair as reported in your paper are probably the result of a failing memory but I do think a sub-editor should have been able to correct the statement that we landed in Holland. As to the rest of the story, I will only say that my memory, albeit only a few months' younger than Alastair's, is probably the better of the two.”

"After the war, Alastair returned to the stage and secured a part in the initial production of The Winslow Boy, with Emlyn Williams and Angeley Baddeley.”

"He and Elizabeth eventually retired to their home at Beaminster, where my wife, Sheila, and I visited them several times while staying with my family at North Perrott.”

"In 1994 we were all members of the small party which represented the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Normandy for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.”

"I was so pleased to hear of my old friend Alastair and am grateful to my niece, Elizabeth Denman of Crewkerne, for sending me a copy of your Western Gazette, the newspaper with which I grew up."

Reproduced by courtesy of the Western Gazette