Sunday, 31 March 2013

K2GB Launch Party

Andy and Jane Morton will be starting their K2GB sea kayaking challenge at Weir Quay on Saturday 6th April from 12.30pm in the paddock. The couple will be kayaking around the British Isles in aid of the Merlin MS Centre in Cornwal and the RNLI.
The launch will take place at approximately 2.30pm.
There will be a barbecue by the Gig Club, hot and cold drinks, Real Ale, competitions, a Launch Flotilla with sailing cadets from Weir Quay Sailing Club, raffle and the Merlin MS Charity stall. Come along and join the Launch Party!
More details at

Red Nose Day Final Total

At last all of the money for Red Nose Day is in and the total is
A magnificent effort! Thanks to everyone who contributed or took part!

Pilgrims' Feast

You are invited to a PILGRIMS' FEAST on Saturday 18th May at 7pm in the church hall. This will be a three-course meal with a Spanish flavour, celebrating life's journey. Since the 15th Century pilgrims have left Bere Ferrers to travel to Santiago de Compastella on pilgrimages.
If you are interested, tickets are available from Margaret Willmott or Nick Law at £10 each.

'Summer Time' Arrives

Clocks went forward an hour last night and we are now in British Summer Time. However, on the last day of March, it is strill very cold outside and winter is very reluctant to disappear and give us some sun and warmth!
We've just had our third delivery of logs this winter - usually we can manage with one delivery, two at a push. Let's hope we get warmer weather soon!

New Ceilidh Band in the Village

Yet another Bere Ferrers musical grouping appears on the scene!
Members of the new BF Ceilidh band  'Under The Blue Moon' are:

Tim Hamyln
Rebecca Hamlyn
Rob Smith
Lesley Smith
Carol Horner
Bruce Horner

'Ferrers Reel' will continue as before. This is a new addition to the local Celtic music scene.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Annual Parish Meeting and the Definitive Map

The Annual Parish meeting was well-attended this evening, though why many villagers stood outside the church hall in freezing conditions and had to be enticed in defies belief!
After the usual Full Council meeting at 7pm, Chairman of Council, Mrs Hillary Boot-Handford, welcomed parishioners to the Annual Parish Meeting, where Chairmen of the various committees reported on avtivities during the previous year.
Following this, reports were received form the Police, Youth2Youth, the Food Bank, the John Maynard Trust and the Bere Ferrers Saturday Shop and Cafe.
Caroline Gatrell, the Public Rights of Way Officer at Devon County Council, then addressed the 30 or so parishioners about the Definitive Map of the Footpaths, Bridleways and Byways in the parish. She explained that the Bere Ferrers map is now under review and that if anyone has any suggestions for new footpaths, etc or amending existing ones they should complete the necessary forms and provide evidence by 28th June this year.
In reply to a question, she said that some old paths, deleted from the map many years ago, could be reinstated, depending on good evidence that they were needed.

The Banksian Principle

Here's a thought for the Spring Flower Show committee to consider: bearing in mind that the winner of the Banksian Medal is not allowed to win it again for a further two years, might not this principle be applied to all the classes at the Spring Flower Show, so that perhaps we might get some new blood into the competition?

Ceilidh on Easter Monday

The Social Club is hosting a Ceilidh on Easter Monday, 1st April (it's not a joke!), starting at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome and any profits will be donated to the Villagers' Group.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Flower Show Update

The Bere Ferrers Spring Flower Show has the honour of being recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society and last year was presented with the Banksian Medal. This is given each year to the person at the Flower Show who is awarded the most points during the Show. However, so that the same person does not win the medal every year, recipients cannot win again for a further two years.
Last year's winner was Colin Street, but although Colin was awarded the most points again this year, the medal was awarded to Frances Howard.
Despite being down on entries this year, mainly due to the dreadful weather, the Show raised £450, not bad on an entrance fee of 50p!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Shop In The Club

The Saturday Shop and Cafe moved from its usual slot in the church hall today because the Spring Flower Show had taken over the hall. It was unusually quiet in the Shop, possibly due to the weather (though it was dry) or perhaps everyone was preparing for the Flower Show.

Rain Stops for the Spring Flower Show

The continuous rain of the last two days stopped today for the annual Bere Ferrers Spring Flower Show, with its usual burst of yellow as various types of daffodil went on display.
All the usual classes were on display: flowers, jams, chutney, cakes, bread, children's animals made from fruit or vegetables, photography.

There were some new winners this year: Caroline Clark won two Firsts and a Third in the flower section, while husband David won First for his Bloomer, the first time he's entered the breadmaking competition!
There was a table full of fruit and vegetables, while nearby Frances Howard explained the history of the daffodil.

The Animals Made from Fruit and Vegetables was particularly amusing, with much thought having been taken with the exhibits.
The Photography section was particularly splendid, with exceptional exhibits in the 'Gateway' and 'Autumn' sections.

Well done to the organisers for putting on a spectacular Show considering the terrible weather conditions lately.

New Post Box

Here is a comment from a villager re my New Post Box item:
'I asked the Parish Council and Brian (Lamb) sent me a reply regarding the repositioning -various people were consulted (I was not) and my compliant is that they already have a box in Station Road and it would have been better to have the box further down the road than up, as Hensbury Lane has no post box until the Bere Alston Y-junction.
And yes, ugly little thing!!! Although, with all the different pricing of letters now, sometimes you are frightened to post a letter in a box without going to get it checked at the Post Office!!! Let's hope that nobody in the village goes for an A4 sized envelope, as it might not get in!!!!'

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Change Round on Saturday

The daffodils are blooming on top of the banks and along the verges, which means that it must be the Bere Ferrers Spring Flower Show this Saturday! It opens at 1.30pm, so the Saturday Shop will be in the Social Club from 10am.

Where's Our Proper Postbox Gone?

The village's proper postbox was removed from outside the old post office this week, but instead of being repositioned elsewhere in the village, it was taken away and a small, sad, plastic-looking box on a short pole was erected outside Barton Mooey! I hope they emptied the old box before carting it off, because I know of at least one letter in it!
But why couldn't we keep our proper box? It's much better looking than its replacement.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Rail News

Journey Figures
The Tamar Valley Line finished 2012 on 175,105 journeys, up 1.3% on 2011. This year has begun in a similar vein, the two periods so far recording a 1.2% increase on last year.
The Four for Two offer, where four people travel for the price of two, is continuing. There are also offers on day trips to Plymouth, Exeter and Totnes.
The carnet went up by £1 per book from January, the first increase since 2011. They are now £20 from Bere Ferrers; by comparison, a Seven Day season ticket to Plymouth from Bere Alston is £18.90.
Bere Ferrers Disused Platform
Those of you who use the train will have noticed the terrible state of the disused platform at the station. Despite being told not to do anything with it to avoid disturbing wildlife, a gang from Network Rail descended on the station and proceeded to cut down the foliage and shred it. Unfortunately, the shredder broke, leaving the platform in the state it's in now. Several urgent telephone calls stopped the work of cutting back; now Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership have complained to Network Rail and are waiting for a gang to come and tidy up the platform.
Line Guide
Work is underway now on a new format line guide, which should be out in April.

Monday, 18 March 2013

New Bin in Station Road

As the result of excellent work by your local Councillor and the Parish Council there is a new litter bin at the top of Station Road for rubbish and doggy bags!!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Raffle Result

The raffle run for Comic Relief at the Red Nose event at the Club and at the Shop this morning raised  £107. Thanks to everyone who joined in and bought tickets.

Musical Interlude in Tavistock

Some musicians from the village did their bit for Comic Relief today by performing in the Oxfam bookshop in Tavistock. Part of a day-long music entertainment, some of Bere Ukies, the Summerhouse Strummers and Blaxton braved rain and severe hailstorms to entertain customers at Oxfam.
However, it seemed that almost as soon as they started playing, most customers left! Nevertheless, the group played on for about 45 minutes, the Blaxtons gave a passable imitation of dancing while playing and singing and a good time was had by all, including the staff and few customers who remained.
The funny thing was, after we had packed up and started to leave, the shop seemed to have filled up with customers again! We put it down to the inclement weather!

Fantastic Red Nose Night!

It was all red at the Social Club last night when a host of people gathered to enjoy themselves and raise a pot of money for Comic Relief.
There were several events taking place during the evening and Master of Ceremonies Bev urged folk to contribute as much as possible. He conducted a quiz throughout the evening, with eight teams taking part. At the end of the quiz the scores were very close, but the Red Herrings (Barbara Bousfield, Ann Jeffries, Sheila Gay,Ken Sheaf and Bill Stables) emerged winners with 44 points.
In perhaps the highlight of the evening, perhaps of the year, Margaret Ball was sponsored to keep quiet for an hour! She did it and raised over £250 - well done, Margaret!
Meanwhile, downstairs, Lyndsay was successfully running a Blindfold Skittles Challenge, the winner being the person to knock down the most skittles while blindfolded. Margaret was the winner of this, too, with nine skittles downed.
Christine Poole attempted 100 Bottom Bumps and succeeded, raising £200.
There was a cake competition and people put a donation in front of their choice of cake. The runaway winner was Phil Gallagher.
Dee Rickhards won the fancy dress competition, as a giant chicken.
Overall, the evening raised about £700 for Comic Relief, an excellent result from everyone who contributed.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Red Nose Day Nearly Here!

Red Nose Day is nearly here, culminating in a giant evening of entertainment in the Social Club! This starts at 7.30pm with Margaret Ball's sponsored silence and Blindfold Skittles; the Big Quiz starts at 8pm on the dot and we have the maximum of eleven teams taking part.
During the evening there will be a fancy dress competition (everyone is encouraged to come suitably dressed!), a Red Nose cake competition and auction, while Christine Poole will be attempting 100 Bottom Bumps (no idea - you'll have to come along and see! Apparently it's very hard!).
To end the evening, Paul will be doing an 80s disco, where you can pay money to have your favourite 80s tune played. However, if you don't like a particular tune you can pay to have it taken off!
The ever-present raffle will start at the event and will finish in the Saturday Shop next day.
We want your money, so come along and have a good time!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bere Ukies Launch New Website

The Peninsula's premier ukulele band, the Bere Ukes, have changed their name slightly to Bere Ukies and launched a new website! See it here at
The Ukies will be playing with Blaxton and the Summerhouse Strummers at the Oxfam Bookshop in Tavistock on Saturday afternoon 16th March, in aid of Red Nose Day.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Not To Be Missed!

“From Lords
The (Iron) Lady”
A fascinating and funny presentation
Neill Mitchell talks about his professional life in
The House of Lords and
Margaret Thatcher’s Private Office
The audio visual presentation
will begin with
a glass of bubbles and canapés
and end with “Question Time”
a UNIQUE evening for
a very worthy cause
Bere Ferrers Church Hall on
Sunday evening April 14th at 7.30pm
Tickets £8.50 from:
Margaret’s Hairdressing, Bere Ferrers.
The Pharmacy, Bere Alston.
Caroline Clark 841481.
Bere Ferrers Community Shop & Café on Saturday mornings
All proceeds to the Romanian charity

Bere Alston Surgery

This is a long post, but it affects us in the village.
I have been concerned about trying to get an urgent appointment at Bere Alston Surgery, being told that the first appointment would be in a week's time, or even two and finally turning up to find an empty waiting room. I posted these concerns on the Bere Alston Facebook page and was surprised at the replies I received, many from mothers with small children who had been told to go to the Abbey Surgery at Tavistock.
I wrote to Mr Darren Newland, the Practice Manager, as follows:

Dear Mr Newland
For some time now I have been concerned about the availability of appointments at Bere Alston Surgery. Invariably when I ring for an appointment for my wife I am usually given a week or two ahead, which is ridiculous for someone who needs urgent medical attention. However, when we do get to the surgery it is empty!!
Also, we only appear to have one doctor on duty, when we used to have, before Abbey took over, two and sometimes three, but rarely less than two.
Having mentioned my concern on the Bere Alston Facebook page I was astounded by the response, a selection of which you will find in the attached document.
With 14 doctors on the payroll it should not be difficult to send a minimum of two to Bere Alston; if some doctors don't like to come, hard luck, they are here to serve the community and they should be reminded ot this.
I have sent a copy of this email to Mrs Boot-Handford, the Chairman of the Bere Ferrers Parish Council, as I believe it is important that they know about this unacceptable situation.

I look forward to receiving a positive reply from you soon.

Some Comments from Bere Alston Patients sent with the above
Since Abbey Surgery took over I've yet to get an appointment in the village. Whenever you ring for an emergency one you’re told there are none and sent to Tavistock.’

‘They have one GP on all but two days (I think Mondays and Thursdays) and nurses not as often (took 3 weeks to get my ear syringed). We at least get the physio two afternoons. I have had to make multiple appointments as they run out of time and if they have an emergency you can wait for quite a long time if there's just one GP on! They appear to be running it under a skeleton staff and it has a totally different feel to before, when there were staff filling the rooms. I had no problems making an appointment for my little boy last week, but I was happy to wait a day or two.’
'One elderly lady was waiting for her appointment which, it turned out, was for a blood test that the GP's don't do and not in the afternoon! That was a wasted appointment for all and badly managed! The lady before her walked out as she waited too long!’

‘When our little one was very ill at 7 months they wanted us to catch the bus into Tavi and wait for a doctor. We refused and told them it was stupid; we were then offered an appointment that day! They have over 14 doctors for both surgeries, their reason for all the doctors being in Tavi is they have over 1000 patients -  which half of them are from Bere Alston anyway!’
‘It used to be a hive of activity now it's like ghost town.’

‘I heard that the staff don't like to come out here.I've not seen a familiar face there for ages and it's always someone different.’
'Sounds silly but for check-ups/ blood test etc. we refuse appointments in Tavi because we have a surgery in the village that we should be able to use.’

‘I understand that if it wasn't for Abbey Surgery we may not have our one, but they make it so difficult. And if one of my kids needs to see someone for something simple they would have to take half a day off school. They really should rethink the use of the doctors.’
Why are people expected to travel to Tavistock when they are ill in Bere Alston? Villagers should get to see a doctor in the Parish they live in and should NOT be expected to travel to Tavistock (either by Taxi, Bus, private car or Shanks's pony)!!’

‘I don't phone anymore..... Tavi always say they have no appointments in Bere Alston and invite me to hop on the bus, …… I now go into the Bere Alston surgery if I need one. They will turn around and close it if we can all get to Tavistock , as a matter of principle we should refuse.... I have been told on the phone they have no appointments, only to go to the surgery and find they have multiple free slots!’
I was told to go to the A + E for a tetanus as they had nothing free for a month.’
I received a reply from Mr Newland, the main points of which are:
'Over the past couple of months due to the high number of "bugs" that have been present, pressure at both Bere Alston and Tavistock for available appointments has been severe. This has been made worse by many members or staff having the same illnesses.'
'We still offer more appointments now compared to what was available before.'
'We tend to have two doctors on Monday, Tuesday and Friday and one on both Wednesday and Thursday to reflect the historical information of patient need and this is reviewed regularly. On some occasions we may not always have two doctors on ..... due to annual leave, training or sickness.'
'Our doctors and staff do enjoy working at Bere Alston and that is why we have it on a rota system so that they all equally receive time to be there.'
'As I write this letter we currently have 89 available appointments at Bere Alston for next week.'
'I can assure you that we are committed to Bere Alston and constantly review the level of appointments we have to offer.'
'At times the surgeries will be absolutely full and that is when we offer the option of coming to Tavistock...'
Not surprisingly, some of these comments have been rejected by some parishioners at Bere Alston!

Footpaths, Bridleways and Byways


Devon County Council is carrying out a review of public rights of way in the Parish.

You are invited to a public meeting on Tuesday 26th March, as part of the Parish Council Annual Parish Meeting. The evening starts with Full Council at 7pm, followed by the Parish Meeting at 8pm.

A short talk will be given at 8.30pm about the Definitive Map of Rights of Way and how changes can be made, followed by questions and discussions.

All parishioners are cordially invited to attend this meeting in the Bere Ferrers Church Hall.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Happy Birthday, Sarah and Ted!


It was the fifth anniversary yesterday of Sarah and Ted taking over the Olde Plough and a celebration was held in the pub last night. The pub was full, particularly after the audience arrived from the concert in the church .
There was a magnificent cake and a delicious buffet provided by Sarah and Ted. Members of the Old Dance School managed to squeeze themselves into a corner and continued to play some of their music from the concert.
Accompanied by the band, the villagers, led by Marcel (who else?!), sang 'Happy Birthday'.
Thank you, Sarah and Ted, for five great years!

Old Dance School

St Andrew's Church was packed tonight as we were entertained by The Old Dance School, as part of the Villages in Action initiative and organised by Jane Hamlyn and Monica Mitchell.
This seven piece emsemble of young accomplished musicians entertained the audience to a mixture of Celtic folk, jazz and rock.
And what a varied repertoire there was, with songs about a bird-muck covered rock in the Atlantic and a windfarm on the Isle of Lewis to a dead hare in the snow in the Peak District which was taken home and stuffed!