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Mend your own potholes, parish council is told

Clayhidon has been told by Devon County Council to mend its own potholes ­and clear its own lanes of debris. And there is no hope of a speed limit on the dangerous stretch of road past the Half Moon Inn until someone has been injured. This catalogue of "sorry, we don't have the funds" was reported to Clayhidon Parish Council at its last meeting. >Read more.

Ketchup for Christmas

Ketchup, the Shetland pony, was once again one of the stars of the annual crib service at St. Andrews Church, Clayhidon, on 21 December.
Others included seven year old Casey Clements, who was Mary on the pony, Drew and Molly Upton, Grace Pepperall, Lydia Persey, Jarvic and Emelia  Lumb, Kim, Gabriel,Grace and Thomas.
The candlelit service was completely led by children of the parish who read lessons and prayers, announced the carols and took a collection.
The congregation was welcomed by the Rector, the Rev. David Burton, who thanked the people who had worked very hard to put the service together, particularly Nicky Lumb, Sue Upton and Ann Persey, and said everyone was in for a treat.
Church warden Maurice Bendle said the children looked wonderful and also thanked the organisers and 13 year old Ketchup, of Fields Farm, Clayhidon, who by then was grazing in the churchyard.
Tea and cake were served after a presentation  to Margaret Blackmore, 88, who was standing down from much of her work with the church after many years of service, including several years as church warden. Mr. Burton presented her with an inscribed plate made by potter Nicola Werner.
Thanks for everything: The Rev David Burton makes a presentation to former church warden Margaret Blackmore.

Cider Drinkers win again
Clayhidon’s Quiz Night on 14 November proved to be yet another intellectual triumph for parish masterminds, the Cider Drinkers, in the face of the stiffest competition in years. 
Winning for the umpteenth time, Margaret Blackmore and Alex Hill were this year without Bee Hill, who died in May. Lucy Ball took her place. They are pictured with quizmaster Peter Walter and scorer Sue Johns. 
The Parish Hall was packed. Fifteen teams entered and organiser Caroline Bendle had to turn away late entries for lack of space. The hall committee laid on snacks and a raffle.

Parish remembers its dead
The Remembrance Sunday service at St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon on 9 November was followed by a short service outside by the village war memorial.
Led by the Rev John Bolton of Sampford Peverell, the congregation sang the National Anthem and observed the silence along with millions of others countrywide.
Mr Bolton read the names of those lost in the First World War, Hubert John Bright, Reginald Charles Bright, Frank Drake, John Honniball, Gilbert Hutchings, William Richards and William Trickey, and in the Second World War, Wilfred E Greenslade and Frank A J Hutchings.
We will remember them.

Thankyou to post lady Marion
Thanks for everything: Richard Kallaway and parish councillors make a presentation to Marion Tuckey.

Clayhidon’s answer to Postman Pat has retired after 17 years chugging around the parish in her little red van with a box of dog biscuits.
Training puppies to sit when she arrived with the mail was Marion Tuckey’s survival strategy after she was savaged by a spaniel. 
Apart from the odd nip from a puppy and the occasional scrape trying to avoid other drivers in the narrow lanes, Marion’s long stint as much loved parish post lady has been quiet – sometimes a little too quiet.
>Read more.

Hot on Your Heels . . .
Hot on Your Heels jive classes started in Clayhidon Parish Hall on 16 October. A dozen jivers braved a thunderstorm for the first of an eight-week series. Gordon Coomber and dance partner Clare (pictured left) led them through the basic steps, to the sounds of classic rock’n’roll. The weekly lessons, formerly held in Hemyock, will progress from beginners through to intermediate. Book ahead on 077481 54897 - £3 for individuals and £5 for couples.

A great day for riders' service

This year's Riders' Service for St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon was very well attended on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the end of September, writes Pam Reynolds. There were about 40 horses and several coaches and many people sitting on the straw bales.
After the service the riders went for a ride through neighbouring fields then returned to lovely refreshments which were ready for them on Garlands Bower. >More pictures.

A century of supper success
Clayhidon’s long tradition of harvest suppers continued on 3 October, when 68 sat down for a four-course meal with guest of honour, the Archdeacon of Exeter, the Venerable Christopher Futcher.
It was a poignant night for the Blackmore family, who have been helping to run these suppers for more than 100 years. Margaret Blackmore retired after almost a lifetime’s service. Michael Hudson presented her with a gift from the Harvest Home Committee.
Dozens of guests signed a thank you card to Margaret, presented by Casey Blackmore, who is to continue the family tradition by taking her place on the committee.
Michael thanked Karen Pinder and her catering and waitressing team, Alex Hill, for generously providing Bollhayes cider and apple juice, Rumwell Farm Shop for giving a beautiful raffle prize and Brenda Persey for organising the concert.
Brenda led the after-supper entertainment by playing the organ and the accordion, and the audience sang along with many old favourites. Ron White, Clayhidon’s answer to Joe Grundy, gave a hilarious explanation of the names of St Andrew’s choir members.
And no harvest supper would be complete without Mike Reynolds singing Clayhidon on The Hill, as topical and relevant as ever.

Evening of music and candles 

An evening of intimate award winning acoustic music, sitting at a candle-lit table with a glass of wine or a pint of good beer at Clayhidon Parish Hall is promised for Wednesday 26 November, when Ange Hardy and Steve Pledger perform
Steve's writing ranges from fragile reflections on love and loss to blistering commentaries on present circumstances,while Ange sings songs of heritage, stories of working the land and tales deeply rooted in the traditions of rural life.
In January 2014 Ange Hardy was awarded FATEA Magazine's “Female Vocalist of the Year”, and the year so far has seen her receiving airplay from both BBC Radio 2 and The Mike Harding Folk Show. Her new album “The Lament of The Black Sheep” was made Iain Anderson's album of the week on BBC Scotland. Wednesday's concert was postponed form postponed from 10 November.

Warm, mellifluous - and deeply relaxing
Kate Howden and Paul Jones, a pair of singer-songwriters who go under the name of howdenjones, sang and strummed to an enthusiastic audience at Clayhidon Parish Hall on 26 September.
We have heard some brilliant guitar playing at the hall in recent years – remember Leon Hunt? – but none as warm and mellifluous as these two talented performers.
Virtually every number in their two 45-minute sets was an original song by Paul, a Merseysider born and bred, whose name could justly be added to the Mersey Poets. The lyrics were poetic, based on closely observed details of life and sometimes bizarre local stories, and the tunes quite beautiful.
And between the songs Kate and Paul told amusing anecdotes. It all made for a gentle and thoroughly entertaining evening.  
They lulled the Clayhidon audience into such a state of deep relaxation they even managed to get us to join some of the choruses, including an unforgettable, almost passionate communal rendering of the Elvis song I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. Amazing!
Fire wrecks farm buildings

Fears that the River Culm was badly polluted after a fire at a Clayhidon farm have been allayed by the Environment Agency.
A barn full of hay and a workshop at Palmers were lost to a severe fire in the early hours of 2 September. Diesel from a 2,000-litre tank spilled across the road and some found its way into the River Culm, where the Environment Agency placed a boom to stop it spreading downstream. 
Thirty five firemen attended after Thelma and Phil Blackmore awoke at 4am to the sound of popping and saw their outbuildings ablaze. They moved their cows and calves to safety before the fire brigade arrived. Hours later the hay barn was still burning and all the tools in the workshop had been lost. 
The Environment Agency told BBC Radio Devon it had removed the trapped fuel and the environmental impact seemed "minimal". It did not anticipate any long-term impacts" and no fish had been reported dead.

Where to buy the local history book everyone is talking about
This beautifully produced book records the lives of people in the Upper Culm valley before, during and after the Great War. 
Every soldier, sailor and airman who served is here, along with many touching stories. After months of intensive research by a team of volunteers  it is now on sale, price £10, at Hemyock Post Office and the Strand Stores, Culmstock.

Autumn entertainment at Clayhidon Parish Hall
There's plenty to keep you entertained at Clayhidon Parish Hall as the nights draw in.
  • It's Quiz Night on 14 November -- can the organisers help you join a team?
  • Did you hear Ange Hardy on Radio 2? See her and Steve Pledger on 26 November for what promises to be a glorious evening of modern folk.
  • Jive classes started on 16 October.
  • Borrow the hall for badminton - it's cheap!
  • And from the nearby village of Sheldon see an intriguing one-man show, Beneath Our Albion Sky.

Sun shines for church fete revival
The sun shone, the cold wind abated and hundreds turned up for Clayhidon's Church Fete, which was revived on 23 August after a four year gap. Highlights included a classic car rally, which attracted 12 entrants, and a sheepdog display by Freddie Parker. There were more stalls than ever, plus skittles and a coconut shy and other more bizarre games, including a human fruit machine and a Mad Hatter. The cream teas tent did a roaring trade. The Friends of St Andrew's organised the event, led by Kim Burridge and Caroline Bendle and helped by a squad of volunteers. >More pictures.
Exhibition honours parish war heroes
Clayhidon’s heroes from World War I were honoured in an exhibition over the August Bank Holiday weekend by the Local History Group. 
Fifty two men from the parish served in the armed services and seven never returned. Their names are recorded on the Roll of Honour, which normally hangs in the Parish Hall but was moved to the St Andrew’s Church, where the exhibition was staged. 
The stories of several of these men were on display, with photographs, medals and letters home. 
One man not included in the roll was Travers Edwards Clarke, son of a rector of Clayhidon, who spent part of his childhood here. He reached the rank of Quartermaster General, General Headquarters. 
Two Blackmores survived the war, and Local History Group member Margaret Blackmore provided fascinating material about her father. 
Other records were of men who had no connection with Clayhidon but whose descendants now live here. 
The exhibition was organised by Pam Reynolds. 
The Great War centenary coincided with a significant anniversary in the history of St Andrew’s Church, and an adjoining exhibition contained a display about 740 years of Christianity in Clayhidon.>Clayhidon’s Roll of Honour.

Fire damages Clayhidon home
A house at Blackdown Court, Clayhidon was badly damaged by fire on 16 August while the occupants were out, the Mid Devon Gazette reports. >Read more.

Did you see the Vulcan flypast?
Clayhidon was treated to a low level flypast of Britain's iconic Vulcan nuclear bomber on 31 August. 
No-one knew it was coming and only those who heard the deafening roar of its engines and rushed outside would have seen it disappearing westward along the Culm. 
The 54-year-old aircraft, the world's oldest complete Vulcan, was on its way from its base in Doncaster to the Culdrose Air Show in Cornwall.

Riverside farewell to Gary Williams
In a unique and moving ceremony beside the River Culm on 15 August family and friends said goodbye to Gary Williams, who has died at the age of 62.
Born in Connecticut, USA, Gary had a passion for music and in his 30-year career in the record business worked with many of the biggest names in entertainment, from Leonard Cohen to Celine Dion and Bruce Springsteen.
After leaving college he talked his way into a job in the mail room at Columbia records, New York and then systematically worked his way up through the ranks of Columbia and Sony. His job took him all over the world. He moved to Denmark, then Holland, where he met Yvonne Roth, and then London.
When he retired at 50 he and Yvonne moved to the Water Mill, Clayhidon. In the beautiful garden Yvonne created beside the river, celebrant Trudy Farmer conducted a farewell ceremony, praising this “patient, dignified and very gracious man” who had fought an unrelenting battle against cancer.
>Read more.
Parish seeks alternatives to broadband
Neil Parish MP (right) at the public meeting, with Clayhidon Parish Council chairman Richard Kallaway.

The news that Clayhidon has been dropped from the current roll-out of superfast broadband has prompted a search for alternative options by the parish council.
At its meeting on 4 August the council decided to explore other options and asked: "Are there any members of the Parish who have expertise in this area who would be prepared to give us advice?"
This appeal follows a 'meet your MP' public meeting in Clayhidon Parish Hall on 1 August, where it was stated that property prices could fall in areas excluded from superfast broadband.
It was revealed that Clayhidon’s chances of getting fast internet access within this decade had shrunk to zero after the parish and four other villages were reclassified as “Out of programme”.
“These villages are not even going to be surveyed to find out how difficult it is to get fibre broadband to us,” broadband campaigner Graham Long told the meeting, at which Neil parish MP answered questions from the public. 
>Read more on superfast broadband.

Tractors and potholes worry residents
Tractors speeding through Clayhidon and the growing menace of potholes were among the issues which drew complaints from residents attending a public meeting with local MP Neil Parish on 1 August.
Lynda Higgins, landlady of the Half Moon Inn, said she was concerned about the safety of her young son caused by farm vehicles roaring past her pub. She had asked the police to take action. Other speakers agreed that some tractor drivers were going “way too fast”.
Mr Parish pointed out that lots of silage work was done by contractors. He suggested a polite letter from the parish council to all local farmers, an idea supported by the vice chairman, Sue Hay
>Read more.

On the trail of the slimy blighters

“Slimy blighters” lurking in a Clayhidon postbox have hit the headlines in a classic Silly Season story about snail mail. >Read more.

Soldier who came back from the dead

Everyone at home at Palmer's, Clayhidon thought John Blackmore must be dead. His sweetheart Lucy Westlake feared she would never see him again.
He had been a machine gunner with the Devonshire Yeomanry, fighting the Turkish Army in Palestine, when he was struck down with malaria. A card to his parents, saying he was seriously ill in a British military hospital, was the last they heard of him.
Then one day in 1919, months after the First World War ended, a horse was heard in the lane leading to Lucy’s family farm, Royston House, Churchinford. Her father came out and recognised the rider picking his way carefully towards the front door. It was John Blackmore.
Lucy turned to her sister, working beside her in the barn, and exclaimed: “I am going to be married, I am going to be married after all!”
John Blackmore (pictured above) was one of more than 150 men and women from the remote Upper Culm Valley on the Devon Somerset border who served in the Great War a century ago and whose sacrifices and stories are recorded in The Upper Culm Valley Before, During and After the Great War, a 180-page book to be published on 19 August. >More stories and pictures from the book.

War drama off, but exhibition still on
The play about World War I due to be staged in Clayhidon Churchyard on 24 August has been postponed because of problems recruiting enough actors. There will be an exhibition of items from the war in the church on Saturday, Sunday and Monday 23-25 August. If you or your relatives have anything of interest for the exhibition please contact or tel. 680595. Copies of the Upper Culm Valley book will be on sale

 200 celebrate life of Bee Hill

The Blackdown Belles singing group (above) serenade guests at a humanist ceremony on 11 July to celebrate the life of Bee Hill, of Bollhayes, Clayhidon. Around 200 family members and friends from across the UK and Europe met in  a field at Biscombe Cross in blazing sunshine to say farewell. They heard moving tributes to Bee and stories of her life and career and of how much she meant to so many individuals.
- In June members of Clayhidon Parish Hall committee stood for a minute’s silence for their vice chairman Bee Hill at the start of their annual meeting.
Mike Hudson, the outgoing chairman, said they were all “enormously grateful for her enthusiasm and energy”. Her death in May shocked the whole community and was a severe blow to the committee.Mike said the greatest burden of putting on events in what had been a very busy year had fallen on Bee

Under Milk Wood and the wacky villagers of Llareggub
On  Friday 17 October, 'Under Milk Wood' will hopefully be coming to Clayhidon. The wacky Welsh villagers of Llareggub are due to come back to life in the parish hall for a performance of Dylan Thomas’s comic masterpiece.

This year is the centenary of his birth, and it is 60 years since this famous “play for voices” about religion, sex and death was first broadcast. It seems to be more popular than ever. Jasper Rees wrote in the Daily Telegraph recently that it was “the greatest drama ever written for radio.”

This production by the Village Players features “voices” from various Blackdown Hills villages brought together earlier this year by Brian Lewis for the Corfe Festival, where it was warmly received. Thomas’s publishers are strictly controlling licences to perform the play this year, but Brian is hoping they will grant permission for extra performances at Clayhidon and Bishopswood in October. See the next issue of The Pump or go online and check on this page for booking information.

Church fete revived after four-year gap
Roll up, roll up! Clayhidon is to have a church fete and dog show again this year after a gap of four years.
So please support the Friends of St Andrews in Garlands Bower, the church field, on Saturday, August 23, between 2 and 4pm.
The event is being organised by Kim Burridge with the support of the committee which is chaired by Nicola Bendle.
The 14 stalls will include a coconut shy and other games, jewellery, Phoenix Cards, Usborne Books and skittles are being organised by the Bendle brothers.
Cream teas will be on offer and entertainment will include a dog and duck demo by Freddie and Julian Day. The afternoon will be opened by the Rev David Burton.
The organisers also hope to have some classic cars on show so bring yours along - it's only £1 per entry.
The August Bank Holiday weekend includes a commemorative tribute to the First World War in Clayhidon on the 100th anniversary with an exhibition at the church. On the Sunday there will be a WW1 play from Hemyock during the afternoon.

Henry  piles on the pounds
Baby Henry Hewitt is now doing very well and his family want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and wishes.
Henry James John Hewitt was born at Musgrove Park Hospital on 15 January, two months early, and weighed just three pounds and five ounces. He came home to Battle Street, Clayhidon, in March, and now weighs more than 12 pounds. His parents David and Kate would like to thank all those who gave cards and presents to their baby.
Kate said: "It was very comforting receiving so much support from our neighbours while Henry was in the Special Care Baby Unit and we would like to thank people for their thoughts and kind wishes."

Banned farmer 'refusing to give up his dogs'

A Clayhidon farmer banned by a judge from keeping animals has told the Somerset County Gazettehe will refuse to give up his dogs.
The judge  at Exeter Crown Court ruled Philip Govier, 68, of Willtown Farm, was no longer capable of looking after animals without causing them suffering.
The Express and Echo has reported that vets and welfare officials repeatedly found sheep, horses and cattle kept in muddy fields or barns without any dry areas where they could lie down and dead livestock left to rot or be eaten by other animals.
Mr Govier was banned from keeping any animals, including his pet dogs, and warned that he would be sent to prison if he did not comply. 
>Express and Echo trial report.

>Mr Govier's interview with Gazette

Hall committee's tribute to Bee
The parish hall committee are still stunned by the death of Bee Hill who was such a force behind all that we have done over the past few years, writes Caroline Bendle. 
She fought tooth and nail for the continuation of Villages in Action which brings such wonderful quality professional performances to rural communities such as ourselves and which Mid Devon in their wisdom, and poverty, continually try to axe. 
We shall continue her work and to that cause we have just sent off our bid for this year's choice of acts. Hopefully it will be a wonderful range of talks, theatre and music, something for everyone. More will follow when we know how we have fared. 
We have a quiet few months ahead until the Autumn programme kicks in on 26th September with 'Howdenjones' a couple who 'play contemporary acoustic music at its best'. Watch this space, all the reviews are excellent.
The Country and Western Club meet on every third Saturday in the month , so on 21st June, Hombre and on 19th July, West Country will be performing. Did you know that this small group have raised an amazing £2,050 for the Children's Hospice South West this last year and do so most years? A very big pat on the back for the whole club.
Clayhidon Friends meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month. Contact Anne Langford for more details...680086 
Clayhidon Hall AGM will be at the Parish Hall on 4 June at 7.30. Members of the public are cordially invited to attend.

A career working for the Queen
The Queen's former correspondence secretary, Deborah Bean, spoke to Clayhidon Friends about her career in royal service.
In a fascinating talk she described the Queen's dedication to her daily routine, the royals' yearly programme and the enormous size of the royal "machine". >Read more.

Drivers stopped in police clampdown
Police and excise officers stopped dozens of vehicles at Smeatharpe and 20 drivers face prosecution for a range of offences. >Read more. 

Catering crew, from left: Maureen Bendle, Alison Weekes, Doreen Pike, Judy Hutt and Nicola Bendle.
Soggy cyclists aid Parkinson's
Feeding wet and hungry cyclists and joggers proved a profitable first fundraising challenge for Clayhidon supporters of Parkinson's UK on 24 May. They laid on morning refreshments, hot soup, a buffet lunch and cream teas for members of the Wellington Wheelers and Cycle Somerset, who used the parish hall as the base for a 50-kilometre ride around the Blackdown Hills. 
David Fleming, the cycle event organiser, also arranged a family cycle ride, jog and walk, but heavy rain deterred all but the hardiest. Sixteen cyclists braved the rain. Richard rode up from Exeter, completed the 50km circuit via Hemyock, Sheldon, Dunkeswell, Luppitt, Willand, Churchstanton and Clayhidon, and then rode home again.
Several Cycle Somerset Club riders rode up from Taunton to complete the course, together with cyclists from Wellington Wheelers. “ We must do this again on a sunny day” said Ross. “The scenery was great, despite the conditions. But frankly, I'd ride up again just for the food!”.
Alison Weekes, who organised the catering, said the event had raised £270 for Parkinson's UK: "We are very grateful for the support given by local helpers and by the generosity of the cyclists, who made this a worthwhile venture despite the dreadful weather.
"I would like to thank everyone who made cakes for us, especially Di Kelly and Doreen Pike'a granddaughter Charlotte for the lovely scones."

Smashing time was had by all

A crowd of several thousand spectators, one of the biggest for years, squeezed into Smeatharpe Stadium on 26 May for Crasharama, a festival of outrageous driving, multiple collisions and twisted metal.
Around 100 cars took part, including national bangers (most of which had been smashed beyond recognition even before the start), F2 stock cars and  saloon stock cars.  >Read more.

Turbary to be fenced and grazed in biodiversity plan

Clayhidon Turbary is to be fenced and grazed under a Devon Wildlife Trust biodiversity plan supported by the parish council, writes Sue Hay.
Edric Hopkinson from the trust gave the council an interesting presentation on the history and current management plan.
Devon Wildlife Trust has a lease from The Clayhidon Charity to manage the Turbary which is a County Wildlife Site and also designated by the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre in recognition of its significant nature conservation interest.
Over recent years the habitat has deteriorated due to the accumulation of vegetation litter and scrub. It is hoped to reverse this with various management strategies including grazing with ponies at a very low stocking density.
To enable this, the trust applied for permission to fence the Turbary. At present this is a public consultation exercise. As part of the work they propose to put kissing gates at all access points and to re-instate the footpath which crosses the Turbary.
Parish councillors agreed that fencing and grazing the Turbary would help to preserve it for the future.
>Read more from Clayhidon Parish Council.

MP to present petition on Blackdowns slow broadband
Clayhidon’s poor broadband service was raised in the House of Commons on 1 May by local MP Neil Parish. He has been promised a meeting with the new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) to discuss improvements and and Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and Communications, when he intends to present a petition signed by hundreds of local people.
Mr Parish told MPs: “The Blackdown hills and villages such as Upottery, Clayhidon and Rousdon are finding it difficult to get broadband. We welcome the Government’s money, but BT is finding things difficult and there is secrecy about where the broadband will be delivered throughout the constituency. 
“Will the Secretary of State meet me and local representatives to discuss the way in which we can roll out this broadband in a much better way?” 
He was answered by the Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, who said: “Absolutely. It is important to point out that the progress of rural broadband is really picking up pace, with 20,000 homes passed every week, but we must get out the information to local residents. 
Mr Vaizey said he was sure Mr Javid would meet him “at the earliest opportunity” to discuss his points. 
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition organised by Upottery councillor Graham Long on calling for faster fibre optic broadband cabinets in all Devon and Somerset villages, not just larger villages and towns. "

Old Dance School enthrall

The Old Dance School, a seven-piece band from Birmingham, chalked up another resounding success for Villages in Action on April 4, when they played to a packed Clayhidon parish Hall.  

Reviewers fall for Rita's charms
“Is it always like this in Clayhidon?” asks Brian Lewis one of our reviewers of Educating Rita, performed by the Uncommon Players at the Parish Halll on 8 March. 
“The audience were totally swept along during this production, and showed it, with the end coming to rapturous and well deserved applause. Furthermore, even the interval catering was fantastic.”
Diana Speiaght calls it an entertaining evening and days “The Uncommon Players produced an admirable performance full of humour and wit. “
You can read both reviews in full on this link.

Friendly fund-raising fry-up 
Big breakfast smiles: part of the kitchen team at Clayhidon Parish hall on 1 March, when Cancer Research UK volunteers cooked a delicious fry-up for dozens of local people. They raised over £1,160.
St Andrew's marks 740 years
St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon, celebrated 740 years of existence on 27 February, with a dedication festival eucharist.
A cloth of former ministers attended the special communion service and a lunch later in the church room. >Read more.

At the centre of local life for more than 740 years
 >Read Rev David Burton's fascinating anniversary sermon

Bee Hill
Clayhidon is mourning the loss of Bee Hill, of Bollhayes, on 2 May, after a short illness. She leaves Alex and their daughter Phillippa.

Cyclists, joggers and walkers invited to a Bank Holiday family exercise event
Cyclists, joggers and walkers will descend on Clayhidon on May Bank Holiday Saturday (24 May) for a family fun day.
Clayhidon resident David Fleming – on behalf of  two Somerset cycle clubs – invites you to join them. All events will start at the parish hall, and any profits will go to  Parkinson's UK.

The day starts at 10am with a hilly 50-kilometre ride for the Wellington Wheelers. Then at 11am Cycle Somerset members set off on the same route. 
A tough 10k jog for adults and supervised teenagers at 12 noon completes the challenging morning session.
In the afternoon events are more sedate, starting with a leisurely 3k family walk and then at 2pm a gentle 5k family cycle ride.
"The Blackdown Hills are a wonderful area for cycling, walking and jogging and Clayhidon Parish Hall is an excellent base," said Dave. "If it's a success we would like to make it an annual event.
"You don't have to belong to the cycle clubs to take part, and we would love it if local people joined in. All we ask is that parents accompany their children, and that anyone entering the cycling events wears a cycle helmet and everyone takes responsibility for their own and their family’s safety.”
Snacks and refreshments will be laid on by the Parkinson's UK from 9.30am.  
For details of the first event visit Wellington Wheelers.  For details of the Cycle Somerset event or to join the family events please register your interest and indicate approximately how many you expect to bring along by emailing

How to choose our MEPs
Clayhidon Parish Hall is open for the European Parliament election on Thursday 22 May from 7am to 10pm.
Voters are choosing six MEPs for the South West Region from a total of 48 candidates standing under eight party labels. Simply put an X next to the party you wish to vote for. There is no option to vote for individuals. The six winning candidates are calculated using a form of proportional representation.
The eight parties standing in the south west are:
  • An Independence From Europe
  • British National Party
  • Conservative
  • English Democrats
  • Green Party
  • Labour Party
  • Liberal Democrats
  • UKIP
>Click here for a full list of candidates.
>Click here for information about how to vote.

No budget for maintaining Clayhidon roads
Clayhidon Parish Council has discovered that there is no budget at all for maintaining parish roads because they are of a low classification. 
Potholes will be repaired when reported but otherwise the reduced road budget is directed to the major routes.
The council is to invite Neil Parish MP to a meeting to explain how councils are expected to maintain roads when they do not receive sufficient funds from central Government.
>Read more.

Blackdowns AONB faces 90% cash cut
Staff working to protect and conserve the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are “astounded” by a proposed 90% cut in their grant from Somerset County Council. The AONB office in Hemyock has been warned its annual grant may be slashed to £1,000 on 19 February as part of an £18m budget cut-back . >Read more on Around Wellington.

Fast broadband would cost £2,000 per household
Bringing superfast broadband to one Blackdowns village would cost around £2,000 per household, which would not be cost effective, a BT executive told a public meeting.
Clayhidon and many other Blackdowns parishes are in hard to reach areas which are unlikely to see any improvements in the foreseeable future.
These official replies have been rejected by Graham Long, the Upottery Parish Councillor who organised the meeting and is campaigning for more Government funding.
>Western Morning News report.
>Upottery Parish Council report.

Poets with strings attached
Hmmm. How exactly did Ben and Alfie wow Clayhidon Parish Hall on 12 February?  Was this folk, was it jazz, was it world music?   It was all those things plus a dash of classical, but above all it was poetry.
Ben is 21, sings and plays the fiddle.  His brother Alfie is 19, sings and plays the double bass. Together they write music and invent songs full of wit and wisdom you don’t expect from men so young.
A hundred years ago they would have been penning heart rending lines from the trenches, but Ben and Alfie take their inspiration from funny or profound things they heard on Radio 4, or experienced on the train or on wacky taxi rides.
They spent two months with traditional Senegalese musicians and story tellers and the rhythms of West Africa come through strongly.  But above all they are writers of brilliant songs with clever lyrics.
They may not yet make it to the big time with their performances – although the Clayhidon audience absolutely loved them. But their songs deserve a much, much wider audience and you could easily imagine some really big-name performers snapping them up. Well done Villages in Action (who supported the event) for a great piece of talent spotting.
Outdoor school planned for Clayhidon
Four new planning applications have been submitted for Clayhidon properties, including an outdoor school and a barn conversion. For details and to find out how to have your say click here.

Farmer accused of neglecting animals
A Clayhidon farmer pleaded guilty to 14 offences of neglect, failing to dispose of carcases, exposing livestock to hazards and inadequate record keeping, the Western Morning News reports.
A judge at Exeter Crown Court on 24 January delayed sentence on Philip Govier, of Willtown Farm, and advised him to give up farming, >Read More.

A chance to have your say on council funding
Julie Fergusson, Project Development Worker for the
Making it Local project in Mid Devon, writes: 
Making it local is running a programme of over 20 consultation events for different special interest groups in preparation for a new bid for LEADER (local action) funding for 2015-2020. 
There will also be a number of other ways to get involved, from our online survey to attending our summer events. One of the events is for people in the Parishes of Mid Devon, including Clayhidon.

Date:- Tuesday 1st April 2014.
Time:- 10am to 1pm (free light lunch included).
Venue:- Hemyock Parish Hall, Hemyock, Devon.
Please note booking is essential. Email or call 01823 680626.

We would like to invite you to come to this meeting and share your thoughts on the importance of funding for projects in your area. We will be outlining the current likely priorities for the new LEADER programme and discussing the opportunities, the challenges and where investment would bring the most benefit. 
 There will also be a chance to flag up suitable projects that you might like to see funded under a future programme. 
We are aiming for groups of between 10 and 20 people for these focus groups (2 people max from each Parish Council and please bring your Parish Plan), so we would be interested if you would like to recommend anyone else you think should be involved.
If you can’t make this date but would like to have your say, please get in touch and we’ll send you the programme of meetings and a link to the online survey. We have invited parish councillors from the list below and would be happy to hear your suggestions for others we should be inviting. You are of course welcome to forward this e-mail to anyone from the mid-Devon parishes who may be interested. Please note booking is essential (by telephone or e-mail).

Band 'leaves audiences breathless'
Another Villages in Action sponsored gig comes to Clayhidon on Saturday 4 April, this time featuring the stupendous band The Old Dance School.
Championed by both Bob Harris and Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2, Birmingham’s cinematic septet unleash their duelling fiddles, soaring brass crescendos, wind and vocal harmonies and earth shattering in a genre-busting live show that's leaving audiences breathless. 
We recommend that you note this event in your 2014 diaries for it is sure to be a sell-out event.To sample their music go to the band’s website. >Click here. 
For more information and to book tickets contact Bee Hill on 680347 or

Bitter-sweet comedy booked for Parish Hall
The Northcott Theatre group The Uncommon Players come to Clayhidon Parish Hall on Saturday 8 March  with their new production, Educating Rita.
This bitter-sweet comedy, made famous in a film with Julie Walters and Michael Caine, hilariously explores the prejudices of a strong-minded pair in their story of increasing mutual respect.
It makes for an evening of classic comedy, and with University Degrees becoming expensive commodities it also asks penetrating questions about the purpose and value of investments in education, for students and teachers alike. 
For more information and to book tickets contact Bee Hill on 680347 or

Children and adults are invited to contribute memories, thoughts and artwork to celebrate 790 years of St Andrew's Church, Clayhidon.
There will be two special services in February in celebration of the very long life of the church: 1274 – 2014, writes Pam Reynolds.
The first will be a FAMILY SERVICE on Sunday 23 February particularly for the benefit of the children and young people, who will be told something about its very long life and who will be having a special after-service treat. 
We are hoping that as many youngsters as possible will come and join in but particularly we would like them to bring with them something that they have drawn or photographed or written about the church which will help them to remember their church which has stood here for so many, many years.
It could be a kind of ‘birthday card’ but whatever it is we will keep it as part of our church’s history and this special year.
The second service will be at 10.30am on Thursday, 27 February in thanks and praise for the life and mission of the church.
This will be a service of Holy Communion and we hope that many will come even if they are not communicants. We have invited all our past rectors whom we know and the retired clergy who still help us so much.
Again, we would like to ask clergy and congregation to write anything about OUR church. It belongs to us all and just as thousands of people during all those centuries have turned to it through difficult times and happy occasions, now is our opportunity to give thanks and perhaps record our feelings on paper or clay or even material. We look forward to seeing you on the 27th.
Ben and Alfie: folky, classical, utterly originalTickets are still available for the Ben and Alfie gig at Clayhidon Parish Hall on Wednesday 12 February. All of their repertoire is original and some is inspired by their time in Senegal, where they were lucky enough to spend two months living with the West-African musician Seckou Keita.
Ben and Alfie are classically trained but then began playing/arranging old folk tunes. Throughout their lives they have picked up many different musical influences which shape the music. These include Western and Eastern European Folk, Jazz, Classical, West African and South American influences. 
Their music has a strong folky feel, yet the textures of classical music are also evident in their stylish and atmospheric compositions. Now with two albums under their belts, the duo is quickly establishing itself as one of the hottest new talents around.
We heard them play at the Villages in Action menu launch and were enchanted by their performance, one that we really wanted to share with you – you won’t be disappointed.
See the website: 
More informationand tickets from Bee Hill on Tel: 680347 or email:

 12-mile route     for walkers

These little way markers have suddenly appeared all over Clayhidon. They mark a new 12-mile walking route from Hemyock to Staple Hill, the highest point of the Blackdowns. Using existing footpaths, the route takes in Burnworthy, Churchstanton Church and the old airfield at Trickey Warren. It has been created by the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty office. A leaflet has been promised and eventually walkers will be able to download the route 
here, on the AONB website.

Whisky lovers entertain their lassies
Members of the Clayhidon Whisky Appreciation Society can sometimes be glimpsed wearing Tam o’Shanters and orange wigs, but they looked remarkably sober in DJs when they entertained their wives to a Burns Night supper in the Merry Harriers.
Everyone stood for the Toast to the Haggis. Jeremy Corke,  the only genuine Scotsman present, gave the traditional Address to the Lassies, and Maggie Corke gave an eloquent reply.
Various poems by the great man were read, including an unknown work recently “discovered” by Bob Brien and another allegedly written by his great great grandson, Wayne Burns. Robbie would have turned in his grave.
A bottle of Old Pultenay, a fine single malt bequeathed to the society by its late founder, Ken Wakeling, was fully appreciated before everyone sang Auld Lang Syne.
Commandos do battle in Hidon Wood
Royal Marine commandos armed with chainsaws are helping Clayhidon Parish Council restore Hidon Wood and create new woodland walks. 
Hidon Wood was bought by the council for the Parish about 10 years ago. Some work was done in the woodland at the time, but since then it has become completely overgrown with holly and birch. 
The Parish Council, under the expert guidance of John Greenshields, the Blackdown Hills Woodlands Coordinator, started a project a year ago to restore the woodland. It will take several years to complete. 
Royal Marines of the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone were invited to carry out some much needed tree-felling work, as part of their Assault Engineer training. >Read more.
Clayhidon rings in the New Year

Clayhidon's bellringers braved a wild night on Tuesday to ring out the old year and sound a welcome to 2014. High winds and rain couldn't keep them out of the St Andrew's tower to honour a centuries-old tradition. Pictured from left are Brenda Persey, Mike Reynolds, Lyn Davison, Ted Pitt, Rosemary Jones and Pam Reynolds.