Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Annual Parish Meeting

Disappointingly, there were only 13 parishioners at the Annual Parish Meeting last night, most of them from Bere Ferrers.
After excellent refreshments (including a splendid choice of cake) provided by the WI, Parish Chairman Brian Lamb welcomed everyone to the round-up of the Parish Council's activities during the past year. He particularly mentioned the Woolacombe Road development, which the Council had objected to, not because the Council is against affordable housing, but because of the site of the development. West Devon Borough Council had also opposed the scheme but the developers appealed and the Planning Inspectors approved it!
Chairman also reported on the successful grants the Council had obtained in partnership with other Parish Councils: we now share a ride-on mower with Horrabridge and have obtained funding for a defibrillator for Bere Ferrers.
Brian also said that the precept that makes up a part of the Council Tax has remained the same for the past three years. He also thanked members of the Council and others for their work during the year.
The booked guest speaker was unable to attend due to illness and at very short notice the Council were pleased to welcome Andy Clark, the Principal of Chelfham School, who gave an interesting talk about the school and the changes he has made since his arrival last August.
Following Mr Clark, the Chairs of the various committees reported on their activities during the year, followed by reports from Daphne McDonald on the Bere Ferrers Villagers' Group, Rev Nick Law on Youth2Youth and BereGen and Phil Archer on the Sir John Maynard Trust. The final report was from Cllr Philip Sanders, our Devon County Councillor, Ward Councillor and Leader of West Devon Borough Council, who explained about his very busy schedule and the problems of trying to work with a reducing budget without losing services, something that is becoming increasingly difficult. He warned about severe cuts in services next year.
The Annual Parish Meeting is where the Parish Council give their parishioners reports on their activities during the past year. It is an ideal opportunity for parishioners to find out what the Council does for the parish and to bring forward any questions or problems they may have. Therefore, for only 13 parishioners out of over 3,000 to attend the meeting is a disgrace! The APM is always at the end of March, so I suggest that those parishioners who really care about their parish put this date in their diary for next year.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Defibrillator for the Village

The Bere Ferrers Villagers Group have been working with the Parish Council to get funds for a defibrillator for the village.  A defibrillator is a life saving machine that gives the heart an electric shock in some cases of cardiac arrest.  We are very pleased to report that we have been granted the money through the TAP (Town and Parish) Fund which exists to fund projects that will benefit the local community. We put together a bid with two other parish councils and were delighted that we were successful.  When the defibrillator comes it will be positioned on the wall of the church hall by kind permission of the PCC so that it is available to everybody.
Defibrillators are very easy to use as they 'speak' to you when you turn them on but as part of the package eight people can be properly trained to use it.  If you would like to be one of them please contact Ruth Charlton. We do not yet know the date of the training but may be able to fix a date that suits the people who are interested.
We would like to thank the Parish  Council for their help and particularly Hilary Boot-Handford who worked very hard to get the bid together and Brian Lamb who took it to the meeting and successfully presented it. Hopefully we won't need to use the defibrillator too often but it will be good to know it is there if needed!

Ruth Charlton

Upcoming Events at the Olde Plough

From Sarah:
Well, as we are nearing the end of March and before the Easter Holiday season kicks in I thought I'd let you all know of the events over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday 23rd is Shakespeare Night. We still have a few spaces available for this evening of sonnets and thespians - 3 course meal £17.95.

Sunday 30th March is Mothering Sunday so please do book early; we will also be serving a roast in the evening and every mother will be given flowers.

Friday 4th April We welcome back the band "Gypsy Train". We will also be offering a traditional Eastern European Menu; everyone is welcome. Check out our website for pictures and video footage of last year's night.

We then settle down for Easter! Plus the regular events of: Paul's Open Mic Night on Sunday 6th from 8.00pm; our regular curry buffet on Tuesday 8th and Acoustic Night on Easter Sunday. Don't forget our two informal jam sessions on the first Tuesday of the month, hosted by Mike and the third Tuesday of the month, hosted by everyone!

Finally, just to let you know we will be hosting a St George's Night and we hope to squeeze a Sardine Supper in on Sunday 27th April just to celebrate the end of Winter and the start of the BBQ season!

Many thanks to everyone who have supported us over the Winter months and continue to do so.

We hope you have a great Easter 

Ted, Sarah, family and team

Thursday, 20 March 2014

News From The Club

Margaret Ball has to have a major hip operation during April (not all of it, obviously!), followed by an extensive period of convalescence and will not be able to produce the popular Supper Nights as she would wish. Therefore, after the Barn Dance on 5th April, all Supper Nights have been postponed for the summer. They will return with a Supper Buffet and Murder Mystery on Saturday 6th September.

Tickets for the Barn Dance are, literally, in the hands of Diana Mitchell, Kate Harman and Maurice Crout and they will shortly be banging on doors in the village!

Friday, 14 March 2014


A mixture of warm sunny days, cold cloudless skies at night and no wind means that the country is covered in fog. Usually we see mist on the river but tonight it was thick fog in the village!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tamar Valley Line Forum

News and activity update from the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership
This update is quite comprehensive as it deals with many of the problems on the main line due to the terrible weather over the last few months.

Journey figures 2013 was another solid year for the Tamar Valley Line, finishing with 182,346 journeys, up 4.1% on 2012 (an extra 7,241 journeys). January this year saw a 4% rise on 2013, an extra 520 journeys.  While the Tamar Valley Line has not seen large scale disruption and trains have run normally through most of the recent bad weather, so far, it is felt that the extensive media coverage of rail problems may have led to a reduction of passengers even where there has not been much disruption.  We’ll see soon enough.

Vegetation cutback A programme has been agreed with Network Rail for vegetation cutback at some key locations along the line, to improve views.   The cost of this is just under £25,000, which is being split between Network Rail and D&CRP. Unfortunately all the weather disruption has meant that work has not yet started.

Tamar Valley Line Guide This is now in production for 2014.  It will be out in a month’s time – 52,000 copies.  Distribution will be 30,000 through FGW stations and 20,000 through Westward Marketing leaflet racks.

Walks from the Railway This new free booklet pulls together walks from each of the branchlines in the two counties.  The walk from Calstock to Cotehele is the Tamar Valley Line walk featured.   
100,000 have been printed and most will be distributed through FGW stations, thanks to FGW.  Others will go out through Tourist Information Centres, libraries etc.

Bere Alston – student volunteer projects  Rebecca from the D&CRP is looking at these now for the next academic year.  Three strands – planting at the station, work on the disused waiting room (which Network Rail has done an excellent job in refurbishing) so that it can become a base for student projects, and painting the signalbox.

Bere Ferrers Spring Flower Show This will again be promoted in Plymouth, primarily through press release to local media and through the D&CRP social media sites.

Carnets The 25,000 Carnet was sold late last year and D&CRP held a photocall with John and Lynsey Brown outside their shop in Bere Alston.  This June the D&CRP will celebrate 10 years of the Carnet.
The price of the Carnets was held in January, as they had gone up the year before.  They are now £20 (Bere Alston/Bere Ferrers) and £25 (Gunnislake/Calstock).   A Seven Day Season ticket to Plymouth is £19.50 from Bere Alston and £24.60 from Gunnislake. 

Social media – Twitter & Facebook  D&CRP are using these to promote the branchlines.  The Twitter account is @DCRailPart  and the Facebook page is .

Complete redesign and revamp of the websites Initially focussing on D&CRP’s principal tourism/leisure website  This will include making them mobile and tablet friendly.

Other items

National Rail Enquiries website Complaints were voiced about National Rail’s timetable online, which are very rarely up to date with timetable alterations. The website doesn’t change very easily and information given is not necessarily correct. It was preferable to use the First Great Western site for latest information.

First Great Western Mike Greedy, FGW Regional Manager, said that it had been a challenging six weeks, with disruption across the whole of the network, but particularly in the Somerset Levels and Dawlish. However, this has developed an impressive partnership between the company, Network Rail, Cross Country Trains, South West Trains and the coach companies, which will provide a basis for any future line problems. Everything was now working smoothly: he travelled from Bath to Tiverton Parkway by train, then coach to Plymouth – and was three minutes early!
Passengers seem to appreciate that the disruption was not FGW’s fault and that the company was doing all it could. An instance was given where 100 passengers in Penzance had waited an hour and a half for the late arrival of the train from up country. When they finally boarded the train they were all seated in First Class and given a complimentary supper.
There is still a lot of rolling stock stuck south of Dawlish; some of it has been seen on low-loader lorries heading north up the M5!
Season ticket travellers through Dawlish will get a rebate when they renew their tickets and will be notified by letter.

Network Rail Tim Maddocks, Customer Services Manager (West of England), told the meeting of horrendous instances of the railway disappearing under feet of water on the Somerset Levels (or the Sea of Sedgemoor, as it’s now known!), plus a complete run-down of what happened and is happening at Dawlish. The breach occurred at the weakest point along the sea wall and over 500 tons of concrete has now been poured into the hole, with a reinforced concrete retaining wall, to form a solid rail bed. If work on strengthening the remainder of the sea wall about 10 – 15 years ago hadn’t been done, over a mile of track would have been destroyed.

Alternative Rail Line Mr Maddocks said that when the extension from Bere Alston to Tavistock is completed, there is only 16 miles between the town and Okehampton, where there is an existing line to Exeter. Because most of the track bed is still in place this would be Network Rail’s preferred alternative line.

Bere Alston to Tavistock Richard Burningham MBE reported that the extension is ‘all just carrying on and will happen regardless of what happens about the alternative line’. The control order is expected in 2015 and the completion of the line is due in 2020.

Friday, 7 March 2014

St Patrick's Day

Celebrate St Patrick’s with
Under the Moon
a lively Celtic/Irish Band

An evening of traditional Irish tunes 
and sing along songs

 The Boot, Calstock

8pm – late

Friday 14th March 2014

Uilleann Pipes   Fiddle   Bass Guitar
Concertina   Guitar   Bodhran

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Barn Dance
Saturday 5th April
The BFS Club
Eight ‘til Late
Tickets only £5 including a pasty
Home-made desserts only £2 each
Proceeds to the BFS Club and the Pony Club

Telephone Margaret Ball for tickets on 840534

Jumble Sale

Tamar & Tavy Gig Club
Parish Hall, Bere Alston
Saturday April 12th
If you have any jumble to spare, we can pick it up. Phone Sandra on 07974256837 or Lynn on 840565. Proceeds to the Tamar & Tavy Gig Club.

Lent Lunches

Lent Lunches
Wednesdays from 12. 30 pm
12th March to 16th April
Bere Ferrers Church Hall

Come and join us as we enjoy good company, bread and cheese and home-made soup 
and make a donation towards the Sheikinah Mission and Smile Train.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Terrific Party to Kick Off the Weekend!

Someone once said (and it was on Friday night the last time I heard it), 'You don't need an excuse to have a party!'. How true, particularly on Friday night when most of the village were summoned by Robin and Jane Musgrave to the Club to 'celebrate?'. Celebrate what? I hear you shout. As far as I can determine, it was to celebrate Robin's recent tenure as Mayor, his Significant Birthday, and he and Jane's 40th anniversary!
The Club was packed as the Tavy Tars started the musical part of the evening with a couple of songs. Bob Turner was glimpsed, briefly, dancing with a mop and much later delighted the guests with a routine with Sarah G (so I'm told!). Band of the evening were Blue Grass, a terrific band who entertained with a variety of musical numbers. Rob and Jane delighted everyone with their rendition of Victoria Wood's 'Let's Do It!'.
A superb food spread was ably served by Enya from the Olde Plough. A great night that will not be forgotten for many a year!

Supper at the Club a Success Again!

The second of the Supper Nights took place at the BFS Club last night. Originally booked to be a comedy night, the illness to Trevor caused a rethink, and so the games were brought out of the cupboard again. Thirty two meals were served, with a choice of bangers and mash, curry or a veggie option, followed by a selection of apple-based puds.
After the feeding came the gaming: dominoes, darts, cards, etc, while the kids were kept busy with the Wii.
Thanks to Margaret Ball for cooking the meals in her certificated kitchen and to everyone who supported the evening, with profits going to Club funds.

WQSC Barn Dance Saturday 8th March

WQSC Barn Dance Saturday 8th March 7.30 - 10.30 at the Parish Hall Bere Alston
Once again this year the Weir Quay Sailing Club are planning to mark the beginning of the end of winter with a barn dance. This year's event is already shaping up to be another splendid do, they've already confirmed about 30 people will be there, so a fair crowd and a good time is pretty  much guaranteed.
If you haven't been before don't worry, you will be made very welcome and if you can't dance you will not be alone !
The caller that's been used for the last few years is a great guy who knows how to get everyone involved and keeps every one quite literally on their toes and make them feel like a dance master by the end of the evening
As an added bonus local folk dance band Under the Moon have agreed to come and do a set in the interval.
Guests and children are very welcome, the cost is  a snip at £5.00 or £2.00 for under 18s. This includes one of Ellis's finest pasties.
If you don't get a chance to do so beforehand, payment can be accepted at the door.
You will need to bring your own liquid refreshment and glasses, please also bring a pud or a salad to share.
WQSC  need to know numbers in advance to make sure everyone gets fed, so please let the undersigned know if you are coming asap and weather you'd like Meat or Cheese  pasties.
This event gets better each year and the addition of live music will only add to the occasion, so make a space in the dairy! 

Ring now to book your tickets:
Chris Coomber
WQSC Social Secretary
01822 841894