Friday, 2 May 2008

Slimmers' fashion show raises £300 for CLOWNS charity

MORE than £300 was raised for West Somerset charity CLOWNS from a fashion show held in the Hobby Horse, Minehead.
It was organised by the Slimming World girls at Carhampton with consultant Amanda, and Tracy-Anne Fraser, of The Frock Exchange, Minehead.
The evening was a great success with nearly 70 tickets sold, and it raised a total of £305.73.
The models were all from the Carhampton Slimming World group with sizes from 8 to 24 and aged 19 years to older than 70 years, all wearing new clothes supplied by The Frock Exchange.
The cheque was presented to CLOWNS at the Carhampton Slimming World group which is held on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm.
Ms Fraser said: “It was a great chance to show people that we do not just stock dress agency clothes but also brand new.
“The evening wear and wedding outfits were particularly popular with some of the models buying their outfits as they liked them so much.”
The event was supported by local businesses which supplied items for a draw, including Butlins, Minehead, which gave a one-year family pass worth £99.

'Deadly' Dudley romps to election victory

VOTERS in Alcombe gave a resounding expression of support for The Post columnist ‘Deadly’ Dudley (pictured) when they elected him as their district councillor last night.
Dudley Seale, who stood for the Conservatives, won more than twice as many votes as all the other candidates added together.
In a four-way by-election contest for the Alcombe East seat on West Somerset Council, Councillor Seale took 263 votes to claim almost 60 per cent of the polling.
He succeeded former Conservative Mayor of Minehead and Alcombe Nick Messarra, who stood down in February for family and business reasons.
Councillor Seale was already a Minehead town councillor, having won a seat in the full elections which were held in May of last year.
The other candidates were Independent Sandra Slade, who came second with 103 votes, Labour’s Ron Bridle, who was third with 42 votes, and Liberal Democrat Tony Bowden, who was fourth with 35 votes.
There was a healthy 41.3 per cent turnout for the poll, and only two ballot papers were spoiled.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Soloists delight audience with third concert

A THIRD soloists’ concert was presented by instrumental teacher Jeannette Owen at Alcombe Methodist Church.
The performers, ranging in age from nine to 17 years, were invited to the once-a-term event to reward them for their hard work, and to present certificates and give them the experience of performing before an audience.
Pupils taking part were Phoebe Baker, Stephanie Fox and Yolita Di Filippo (piano solos), Lauren Paviour (recorder solo), Felicity Midgley (clarinet solo), Holly Green, Ellie Stone and Maddie Wells (flute solos) and Abi Owen (viola solo), with a trio for flute, clarinet and saxophone played by Jeannette, Wilf and Abi Owen.
The programme included items such as Party Piece: Colin Hand, Largo: Loeilet, Pink Lady: Wedgwood, Fur Elise: Beethoven, and Meditation: Bloch.
Featuring in the concert for the first time was the Minehead Senior Flute Choir, directed by Jeannette Owen, with lively performances of Concertos 1, 2 and 3: Molter.
The choir members were Jessica Chaffey, Gemma Coles, Charlotte Dean, Rosie Gubb, Sophie Lintern, Abigail Munson, Ellie Stone, and Maddie Wells, accompanied by Wilf Owen on bassoon and Jeannette Owen on piano.
Music critic Eileen Ann Moore said: “They were all absolutely delightful, a credit to their parents and their teacher.
“It is good to see so many young people committed to their music, and it was easy to see why they were all invited to take part.”
More information about the senior flute choir is available from Jeannette Owen on 01643 702933.
  • Our photograph shows the Minehead Senior Flute Choir performing at the concert. Photo submitted.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Council cabinet considers backtracking on non-demolition of offices

THE future of West Somerset Council’s current offices in Williton will be reconsidered when the authority’s cabinet meets next Wednesday (May 7).
The council’s purpose-built new offices nearby in Killick Way are nearing completion and staff expect to move in during early June
Previously, the cabinet agreed not to demolish the existing offices and to place the buildings on the open market for sale.
However, having learned more about the risks associated with such a move, and the provision of replacement car parking, cabinet members will next week be recommended to have the property demolished after all.
Risks which have now come to light include:
  • The retention of the building could have a negative impact on the original works programme and on other planned work
  • Leaving the building as it is, irrespective of its end use, is likely to lead to a demand for increased car parking on site which might exceed the amount which could be provided by purchasing other nearby land – whereas, if demolished, the site will be used to replace car parking spaces
  • The retention of the building would require a retrospective planning application for non-compliance with a previously approved planning condition, and although normal planning processes cater for such a situation it was not considered to be good practice

In addition, if the building was retained and a temporary non-compliance approval granted, there would be a significant risk that a satisfactory deal could not be negotiated concerning the purchase of additional car parking land.
The council could then find itself in permanent breach of the condition.
This, in turn, might mean that even if temporary non-compliance approval was agreed, the council could find itself under extreme pressure to pay more than acceptable for additional car parking land and/or accept offers less than reasonable for the building.
The cabinet meeting will be held at 6.30 pm in the in the Council Chamber, Williton, and recommendations from it will then be put to the full council at its annual meeting on Wednesday, May 14.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Secret garden of Sir Christopher opens to public for first time

GARDENS of television fame and famous people are among those open to the public in the new-look line-up for the Porlock Open Gardens event, which starts next week.
Renowned author Sir Christopher Ondaatje is, for the first time, throwing open the gates to his special and hitherto secret garden, Glenthorne.
This unique gem of a sub-tropical terraced garden nestles into a cliff edge and features statues by Henry Moore.
Also open are gardens at Chapel Knapp, which have been featured on national television, while wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy Exmoor Natural History Society’s special wildlife garden at Larkbarrow.
Porlock Tourist Information Centre manager and event organiser Denise Sage said: “As well as the usual delights, this year we have enlisted the help of gardeners from ‘Porlock Outer’ so a host of new gardens are opening at nearby hamlets such as Bossington, Porlock Weir, West Luccombe, and Horner, many of which have never been open to the public before.
“Other gardens open over the weekend include Horner Mill, Worthy Manor, Pitt Farm, and Yearnor, as a many in the village of Porlock itself.
“We are blessed with some of the country’s most naturally beautiful coastline and countryside and we are hoping that more people than ever will come and enjoy these hidden gems.”
The gardens are open over the weekend of May 10 and 11 in aid of Macmillan Nurses and St Nicholas Church, in Porlock Weir.
Weekend tickets cost £4.50 for 23 gardens, excluding Sir Christopher and Lady Ondaatje’s garden, Glenthorne.
Tickets for Glenthorne are limited and must be purchased separately prior to the event as access to the garden is by a 25-minute mini-bus journey from County Gate.
There is no other pedestrian or private vehicular access to this garden.
People wishing to visit Glenthorne need to be able to negotiate steps, and rugged countryside and terraced walks.
Tickets for the weekend and the Glenthorne gardens are available from Porlock Visitor Centre by calling 01643 863150 or emailing
  • Our photographs show parts of Sir Christopher's garden at Glenthorne. Photos submitted.

Harbourside craft market opening in Watchet on Sunday

THE first of a series of new craft markets is being launched at the recently refurbished Esplanade, in Watchet, from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday.
The market will host a wide range of stalls selling locally-produced craftwork, including jewellery, hand-made bags, wood craft and sculptures, paintings, and cards.
Market organiser Naomi Griffith said: “We are really pleased at the level of interest in the market from stallholders keen to take part, as well as local businesses and residents who have been really supportive of this venture.
“I hope that the market will appeal to visitors and locals alike and I am sure that the first market on Sunday will be a great success.
“I would like to thank West Somerset Council for its help in making this happen, and all the other businesses and organisations which have been incredibly helpful with their advice and input.”
Future markets will be held at Watchet Esplanade on the first Sunday of the month in June and July, moving to weekly events during August.
Miss Griffith hoped the market would attract tourists to the town and encourage more people to use the new-look Esplanade.
District council economic development and tourism portfolio holder Councillor Michael Downes said” “We are delighted to have been able to help the market and it is fantastic to see the Esplanade being used by local businesses.
“We think everybody will enjoy the craft markets, and that they will attract more people to Watchet, which will be good for the local economy as a whole.”

Monday, 28 April 2008

Busy times for golf club men

MINEHEAD and West Somerset Golf Club men competed in six different competitions during March and April.
The first Sunday in March saw 60 players competing in two divisions in the Ray Boddy qualifier, where the eight best scorers in each division went forward to compete for the Ray Boddy Cup in a knock-out competition.
The qualifiers from the two divisions were: Division 1 - A Webber gross score 82, playing off a handicap of 12, nett score 70, W J Perkins 82-10-72, W Knight 79-7-72, P Fullbrook 80-7-73, N Bangs 87-14-73, J Malarkey 86-12-74, P Baker 88-13-75, T Hardick 87-12-75. Division 2 - B Chaffey 93-22-71, I Gover 95-23-72, G Stone 96-21-75, D Hewitson 97-21-76, C Corbett 94-17-77, C Peters 96-19-77, D Coles 92-15-77, J Bird 97-18-79.
Sixty-three players then competed for the Martell Cup, which was played as a par competition where the players attempted to better the par on each hole in order to record a plus score, and each worse than par hole recorded a minus score. The player recording the highest plus score wins.
The winner of the Martell Cup was club champion John Fisher with a good +5 score, followed by: 2nd. D Hewitson +3, on count-back from 3rd: P Davies +3, on count-back from 4th: A Dover +3, 5th: W Brown +2, on count-back from 6th: B Waites +2, 7th: W Knight +1, on count-back from 8th:C Sidley-Adams+1.
At the beginning of April, thirty-six pairs competed in the first pair competition of the season, a club fourball better ball stableford competition.
In first place were K Babb & R Green with 24 points followed by 2nd: W J Perkins & T McGann 22, 3rd: B Hogg & D Bickerstaff 21, 4th: P Collins & S Clarke 20, 5th: M Gilbertson & P Baker19.
The Brown Cup having been postponed on Sunday, March 16, due to bad weather conditions, the first major cup to be competed for this season was the Spring Cup.
It was a fiercely contested competition with the winner and runner-up having to be decided on a countback with the cup going to the player achieving the better nett score on the back nine.
The winner was D Shambrook with a gross score of 81 off a handicap of 13 and a nett score of 68 (32.5 on back 9), from 2nd:K Murrell 72-4-68 (35 on back 9), 3rd: P Jenkins 89-20-69 (31 on back 9), from 4th: M Vickery 74-5-69 (31.5 on back 9).
The next best scores in each division were: Div 1: 1st: J Fisher 76-5-71, 2nd: K Babb 75-3-72. Div 2 -1st: M Gilbertson 84-12-72, 2nd: D Norman 85-12-73. Div 3 - 1st: D Hewitson 90-20-70, 2nd:B Hogg 89-18-71.
The second major cup to be competed for this season was the Grant Cup, again it was a very close thing with three players achieving a nett 68 score and the winner having to be decided on the countback.
The eventual winner with a gross score of 88 off a handicap of 20 and a nett score of 68 (30 on back 9) was G Hughes, from 2nd: J Fisher 73-5-68 (30.5 on back 9), 3rd: A Dahl 83-15-68 (33.5 on back 9), 4th: W Knight 75-6-69. Next best scores in each division were: Div 1 - 1st: C Keary 79-8-71, 2nd: P Collins 81-9-72. Div 2 - 1st: P Davies 85-15-70, 2nd: G Cunningham 84-13-71. Div 3 -1st: K Elliott 92-20-72 (31 on back 9), from 2nd: J Gunter 88-16-72 (36 on back 9).
Most recently was the Scorpion Trophy, where 44 pairs contested this popular better ball competition where the stableford points scored on the first nine holes were deducted from the number of strokes taken on the second nine holes, with the lowest scoring pair being declared the winners.
The scorpion ‘sting’ in the tail being that where on the first 17 holes only one of the pair’s scores counted, both had to count on the last.
The 18th hole at Minehead is a challenging hole and many a good round has been spoilt, so the winner of the competition was never certain until the last ball had been holed out.
The Scorpion Trophy for 2008 went to P Baker & M Gilbertson with 31 shots on the second nine, minus 25 stableford points on the first nine, giving a winning score of 6, 2nd: P Salter & J Coomber 31 – 22 = 9, from 3rd: T Hardick & J Fisher, 32 – 23 = 9, from 4th:B Waites & G Whalley 34 – 25 = 9, 5th:P Davies & R Lewis 33 – 23 = 10.
The first singles knock-out competition of the year was decided this month.
At the start of last December, 44 players set out to win the Dawson Thomas Knock-out Cup and the final was between Peter Baker and Paul Rees.
Both players had shown much improvement in their play over the winter months and a keenly contested final was won by Paul Rees.
Peter, who began the year playing off a handicap of 13 is now playing off 11. Paul, relatively new to the game of golf, is now playing off a handicap of 22 having started the year on 28.
May will also be a busy month for the Minehead club with seven competitions to be played and three single knock-outs in progress.

Community helps restaurant with graffiti clean-up

RESIDENTS in Wiveliscombe have been praised for coming to the rescue of a soon-to-open restaurant which suffered graffiti vandalism.
The Moorkhana restaurant in Silver Street is due to open mid to-late May, offering authentic Indian food cooked from family recipes.
But owners Mignon and Andrew Johnson were shocked to find that under the cover of darkness one night, vandals had graffiti-sprayed every window of the restaurant frontage.
Although some of the graffiti was particularly offensive toward the couple, Mignon – who is an Indian national - did not believe it was racially motivated.
And she praised local residents who expressed their disgust at the incident and who helped to clean the spray paint from the building.
Moorkhana is currently being converted from a former office and has already created an employment boost for the town by recruiting local staff.
Mignon said: “We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of our neighbours after this happened and quite a few of them came along and offered their help in cleaning it up
“It was quite a shock to see what had been done, but we understand that it was probably just the antics of some high-spirited youths who had been to a local party and had too much to drink.
“It has not put us off and work is now back on schedule for us to be ready to serve our first customers during the middle to late part of May.
“We have a CCTV system being installed in the restaurant and we will now adapt this so that if this sort of thing does happen again we will know who has done it.”
Moorkhana is still keen to hear from people who are interested in pursuing a career in the restaurant trade, especially anybody who could assist Mignon in the preparation of her authentic Indian cuisine.
Mignon said: “There is a shortage of curry chefs in the UK at the moment, so this would be a rare opportunity to acquire a culinary skill which is currently in great demand.”
The couple will be offering samples of their restaurant fayre when they take part in the Milverton Street Faire on the bank holiday Monday.
Moorkhana the trading name of The Saffron Kitchen, which built its reputation over the past few years through private party catering and regularly attending farmers’ markets in Taunton, Wellington, Cotford St Luke, Minehead, Exeter, Crewkerne, and Glastonbury, as well as by supplying select delicatessens.
The business has recently also been awarded five stars under the district council’s ‘scores on the doors’ scheme of inspecting food businesses, which means it is rated as having an ‘excellent level of compliance’ and being ‘highly confident in management of food safety’.
Moorkhana will be a family-friendly restaurant where children will be welcome. It also has a function room which can be used by local organisations. Customers will also be able to order takeaway dishes.
Any chefs who would like to work in the Moorkhana restaurant should contact Mignon and Andrew Johnson by telephoning 01984 623648.
More information about Moorkhana is available by visiting the website
  • Our photographs show (TOP) Andrew Johnson cleaning away some of the graffiti, and (BELOW) some of the Wiveliscombe residents who have been helping with the clean up at Moorkhana. Photos submitted.

LETTER: MP criticism of county council 'is political strategy'

Dear Editor - I found your front page report on Ian Liddell-Grainger’s views (£74m venture, The Post April 24) where he implies by implication that the county council is being profligate with ratepayers’ money, very much part of a pattern; perhaps even what passes for a strategy of his.
He appears to be trying to undermine ratepayers’ confidence in the county council’s ability to manage the funds with which they are entrusted.
I am unsure why he has chosen this particular avenue of attack unless it is to associate the county council with the financial catastrophe that was the Conservative-run West Somerset District Council.
I think most people can spot the difference.
It is particularly ironic because during the entire, disgraceful period of the mismanagement of funds and priorities by the Tory-led district council, I cannot recall a single printed criticism by Ian Liddell-Grainger of the district council’s performance.
Had he done so, the outcome might have been very different.
The award-winning and innovative financial team at SCC belongs to all of us and has been independently audited as being a lynch pin of one of the top performing local authorities in the entire country.
I am all for constructive criticism by our Member of Parliament, but let us not begrudge success for political reasons.
Ian Galloway
Somerset county Councillor (Minehead ward)
Glenmore Road

Hobby Horse planning spring and summer concert series

A SERIES of concerts are being hosted by the Hobby Horse, on The Esplanade, Minehead, throughout the spring and summer.
Organised by Mojo Promotions, the concerts will feature both band and solo/duo artists as well as the best tribute bands, all of which are professional national and international touring acts.
In May, there are two concerts, the first on Wednesday, May 21, features Jinder (pictured) singing the songs and music of Bob Dylan.
It will be singer-songwriter Jinder’s first visit to Minehead.
He has been featuring Bob Dylan songs in his set for many years, and his Minehead gig will take Dylan back to the beginning, stripped down - just vocals, guitar, and harmonica.
Having formed his own record label, the Dylan songs will be the first release.
Then, on Wednesday, May 28, there is a visit from The Castle Boys, featuring Richard Digance and Arnie Cottrell.
Richard Digance has performed to an audience of eight in The Falklands and to half-a-million at Knebworth, with the Beach Boys and Dire Straits.
He has also done lots in between, which led him to a BAFTA nomination and a gold award from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. He also finds nine letter words on Countdown.
He has survived all trends in comedy and music and remains one of Britain’s most unique entertainers, performing his songs, rhymes, and stories like nobody else.
Others may tell stories and play guitar but they probably have not performed with Steve Martin and Robin Williams, or played guitar with Brian May, of Queen, Status Quo, or Joni Mitchell.
He has possibly supported more acts than anybody else in the world - Steeleye Span, David Essex, Supertramp, Elkie Brooks, Joan Armatrading, Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull, Jim Davidson, Chas n Dave, The Allman Brothers and Cher, Roy Orbison, Tom Jones, Mike Oldfield, and the Beach Boys.
His television specials for ITV ran for a record 11 years and on these shows he played guitar with Brian May, Status Quo, The Moody Blues, Buffy St Marie, Marc Cohn, who wrote Walking in Memphis, Chris de Burgh, Juan Martin, and Elkie Brooks.
The Minehead show will be purely music, with Richard performing with renowned Southampton acoustic blues-roots artist Arnie Cottrell.
It is one of only six tour dates.
Both concerts start at 9 pm and advance tickets are available from the Hobby Horse by calling 01643 702274 - £8 for Jinder and £10 for Richard Digance.
Future concerts at the Hobby Horse will include apres Janis’ Big Brother and the Holding Company vocalist and blues singer from Alabama Lisa Mills, blues-americana from Georgia USA with Bill Sheffield, eight-piece Pink Floyd tribute Breathe, and one of the UK’s top blues slide guitarists, Dave Kelly, from the Blues Band.