Fifteen members attended the Meeting on 5th October when Deri Rundle came to speak about her work in Rwanda.

She became aware of the enormous need for help to bring water to the remote villages in Western Rwanda on the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and it was then the David Rundle Trust was started in memory of her late husband.

Over the last few years huge progress has been made with the help of the David Rundle Trust and the Rwandan people themselves who are positive about the future for themselves and their children. They are now learning to use bono cookers which use 50% less wood than open fires and this helps to save the mountain gorilla's habitat. It also reduces carbon emissions by 80%.

Deri visits Rwanda frequently and with money donated takes with her clothing, cooking utensils and other articles necessary for the well being of the villagers, particularly the school children. She lives amongst them and has no special privileges. After her talk, members asked various questions and said how much they admired her for the work she is doing to improve the lives of these people.

On the 2nd November, Michael Mant from Barnstaple Rotary Club came to speak about Shelterbox. Back in 1999 Tom Henderson from the Rotary Club in Helston was looking for a humanitarian project and that is how the idea of the Shelterbox was born.

After the tsunami in 2004, 7,000 boxes were dispatched with Richard Branson supplying the transport. It is very important to distribute the boxes fairly between the various religious groups and to oversee the distribution. At present there are 200 boxes stored in various places around the world, i.e. Melbourne, Dubai and Miami. This is to enable them to be delivered quickly to the affected areas.

Most of the contents are made in China and are of good quality and relatively cheap. 22,000 boxes have gone to Haiti and a total of 50,000 have been sent around the world. In addition to the green box, there is a blue box which contains school items for 200 children. Each green box contains a tent, which is now white and much thicker than the original one and is guaranteed to last at least four years. It is large enough to accommodate eleven people. Also in the box are waterproof ground sheets, cooking utensils, water filters, cutlery and back packs for children containing paper and pencils. Each box costs £590. At the end of the Meeting, donations were given towards another box. The raffle was won by Ann Williams.

Back in September, some members met for a cream tea at Pipcott in West Down. This 'get together' was enjoyed so much that subsequently it was suggested that the group should discontinue the monthly meetings at the Manor Hall and in future meet together for various outings and coffee mornings to be arranged by individuals. It is getting increasingly difficult to find new speakers who charge moderate fees and the majority of members agreed that this new venture would be a good idea.

The December Meeting will now be the Christmas lunch at the Ring of Bells, Prixford. Early in the New Year an outing will be arranged.

On behalf of members, I should like to thank everyone who has helped to run Berrynarbor Ladies Group over the last few years.

Doreen Prater



After the summer break, the speaker on 7th September was David Nochar from the Citizens Advice Bureau. His talk was both informative and at times amusing.

David is based at the Bideford office which covers Bideford, Torridge, mid-Devon and Bude. The CAB is an independent organisation receiving funding from the lottery, local government and local fund raising, but receives no funds from the government. In 1935 the government felt there was a need for this kind of service and the CAB was established in 1939. During the war the CAB operated from all sorts of places, including a horsebox, and until the 1950s was government funded. When money became tight, they lost their funding. In 2010 the CAB became computerised. The CAB provides free, independent, confidential and impartial help and advice to everyone. At the Bideford office there are eight case workers dealing with consumer rights, debt, homelessness, income tax, breakdown of relationships and unemployment. They are now receiving funding for a court desk to deal with home repossession. They also offer family support and advice for cancer sufferers and their families in association with Macmillan Nurses. Currently they are seeing people with terrible debt problems due to unemployment as well as dealing with increased redundancy and unfair dismissal cases. They can offer legal aid and have contact with a legal advisor where necessary, and offer other languages when dealing with cases involving migrant workers. The Bideford office has twelve trustees, paid staff and volunteers as well as specialist information which can be sought on-line. David said that although at times the work can be very harrowing, he loves doing the job.

The vote of thanks was given by Rosemary Gaydon. It was agreed to have a cream tea at Pipcotts Tea Room in West Down on Tuesday, 2lst September. The raffle was won by Margaret Weller.

On 5th October, the speaker will be Deri Rundle speaking about Water Aid in Rwanda. Michael Mant from Shelterbox will be with us on 2nd November and the Christmas Party will be on 7th December. Please come and join us - you will be made very welcome.

Marion Carter and Doreen Prater



Twelve members and three visitors attended the Meeting on 1st June. Tim Davis, of Harpers Mill, came along to tell us about the bird sightings in the Sterridge Valley. The "Two Tims" have for the past three years been surveying the local area in both the winter and summer as part of a four-year National Bird Atlas being organised by the British Trust for Ornithology, for which they both used to work. They have recorded 50 different species in and around Berrynarbor and the Sterridge Valley in winter and 46 species during the spring and summer. An Atlas of wintering and breeding birds will be published after the conclusion of the fieldwork in 2011 and the information it contains will contribute considerably to the conservation of bird species in Britain in the coming years.

Some birds, like the robin, wren and dunnock can be seen all year round, while the fieldfare and redwing [both thrushes] are winter visitors and the swallow, swift and willow warbler summer visitors. The majority of birds seen in gardens are, in fact, all woodland birds but as the woodlands have been replaced by housing, gardens have become increasingly important in helping the species that have successfully adapted, to survive. Birds that prefer the coniferous woodlands are goldfinches and siskins, where they both winter and breed and chiffchaffs, blackcap and whitethroat are summer visitors from African wintering grounds.

The most common birds of prey seen in the village and valley are the buzzard, sparrow hawk and tawny owl. Red kites can sometimes be seen flying over the village owing to reintroduction programmes.

Tim illustrated his talk with a disc of the various birds together with the different birdsongs, some were very melodious - but others not!

I should like to thank Tim for giving me the above information recently as I had mislaid my notes. I appreciate his assistance as he had only just come home from holiday and had lots of e-mails to answer!

Member, Margaret Crabbe, was the speaker on 6th July. She had been due to speak at our January Meeting that had been cancelled due to the bad weather. Her subject matter was the Special Constabulary, the origins of which date back several hundred years to Anglo Saxon times when the people policed themselves. In 1673 King Charles II ruled that any citizen might be sworn in as a temporary peace-officer for a special occasion, particularly when there was a threat of great disturbances.

The government passed a Special Constables Act in 1831 and this Act still forms the basis of the constitution today. There were no women special police officers in 1831 and if any man refused to serve he could be fined five pounds! Today the Special Constabulary is a voluntary, part time organisation , paying only expenses and is a closely integrated part of police forces around the United Kingdom.

It was into this organisation that Margaret joined in 1969. She gave us a very amusing insight into her experiences. After leaving college she became personal assistant to a managing director but felt she would like another interest as well. An uncle was a special constable and suggested she joined, so she went to the local police station, made enquiries and came away with an application form. After an interview with the Inspector she was subsequently sworn in at the Magistrates' Court. Her next step was collecting the uniform. She set off to the Taunton stores in her small Fiat 500 and emerged from the store with a great quantity of clothes and equipment which would hardly fit into the car.

Her first duty was at Wells Carnival and, with no training, found herself controlling traffic at a cross roads. During the first few months she heard language she had never heard before! In March 1970 she went to Canons Grove for practical training. As a female "special" she was often required to look after children, with whom she had little experience being an only child herself. The City of Wells had many royal visits and Margaret often had a grandstand view. She attended the Pilton Pop festivals which later became the Glastonbury Festival. Margaret remained a "special" until 1979 and was awarded a long service medal, which she proudly brought along for us to see, together with photos of the occasion. We all enjoyed her reminisces.

As usual the Meeting ended with tea, biscuits and chat. The raffle was won by Joyce Simpson. There is no Meeting in August. Stephen Davies from Citizens Advice Bureau will be coming on 7th September and Deri Rundle talks about Water Aid in Rwanda on the 5th October.

The Group congratulates the Newsletter on 21 successful years and thanks Judie for all her hard work putting it together.

Doreen Prater



The Speaker at the April Meeting was Bernard Hill, known as the Fox Man because of his ability to imitate wild animals to catch foxes.

He was born into a farming family in Langtree in 1932 and during the war years loved to join his father trapping rabbits, which they sold locally.

It was during the 1950's that Bernard discovered he had a gift for making foxes come to him. Before long he used his skills to help local farmers who were losing lambs daily. Over the course of a few weeks he had lured more than twenty foxes by imitating birds, mice and other animals hunted by them.

His love of the countryside has not diminished since he was a boy; he is a skilled Devon stone wall builder, thatcher, rick maker and Devon hedge layer, to mention a few of his attributes - no wonder he had no time to get married!

Fourteen members and three visitors attended the Meeting on 4th May which was chaired by 'yours truly' as Janet Gibbins had to stand down due to her many other commitments. Janet Gammon suggested an outing to Hartland Abbey in June. Fifteen members were needed to fill the minibus to make it viable but unfortunately numbers were not forthcoming. She is now looking into an outing to the Woody Bay Railway to include lunch and/or a cream tea. Members' cars could be used for this short distance.

Tom Bartlett then showed slides of postcards of old Berrynarbor. He and Inge came to Ilfracombe in 1964 - they were the youngest hoteliers in the town. They bought Tower Cottage in 1973 and moved there permanently a few years later.

Tom blames Inge for his interest in postcards as she bought five for him from the market in 1971 and his collection now contains 56,000!! Mr. Garratt, the photographer, took nearly 200 photos of Berrynarbor - did he have a girlfriend in the village?! It was interesting to see how it looked in the early 1900's - Miss Muffet's was a shop and Langleigh House was the post office. There was a photo of Jim Dart, the knife sharpener, who travelled around the area staying a few days in each place.

Rosemary Gaydon thanked Tom for his interesting presentation and the raffle was won by Janet Gammon. Tim Davis, from Harpers Mill, will be speaking about birds in and around Berrynarbor on the 1st June and Marilyn Richards explains acupuncture to us on 6th July.

As usual there will be no Meeting in August. Meetings recommence on 7th September when Stephen Davies from the Citizens Advice Bureau will be coming to talk to us. It would be nice to see a few more ladies at these Meetings. so please come along - first Tuesday in the month in the Manor Hall at 2.00 p.m.

Doreen Prater



The February meeting was taken by Vice Chairman Margaret Crabbe and commenced with a short AGM. Both the Secretary, Marion Carter, and the Treasurer, Janet Steed, wished to step down from the committee this year. Janet Gammon kindly agreed to act as Treasurer as well as Outings Secretary. Margaret thanked Marion and Janet for all their hard work and the other members who help to make the Ladies Group a success.

Margaret then welcomed Lani Shepherd, who designs and makes contemporary stained glass panels at her local studio. Her designs have been commissioned for public spaces and private homes worldwide.

Lani originally came to North Devon to retire but after a while realised she needed a hobby, which has now turned into a business! The stained glass panels are made from hand-made art glass in the Tiffany technique, or copper foil method. Lani brought along samples of her work which were admired by one and all.

On 2nd March, Sarah Curtis came from the Dogs Trust [formerly the National Canine Defence League] and brought with her a Bassett hound called Harvey. The Trust, founded in 1891, has 18 re-homing centres nationwide. 16,000 dogs were cared for in 2009 and the average stay is four to six weeks - 94 % are re-homed and only 3 % destroyed. It was nice to hear that 3 % are returned to the owners.

All the dogs are checked by a vet, neutered and an identity chip inserted. Much effort goes into matching a dog to its future home and there is a one-week trial period before a final decision is made. If the new owner experiences a problem, the Trust guarantees to take the dog back.

The facility at Ilfracombe was rebuilt in 1996 and handled 600 dogs in 2009. There are fourteen staff and it costs £200,000 a year to run with no government funding. There is a charity shop in Ilfracombe, which raised £37,883 last year. Sarah illustrated her talk with colourful slides. Janet Gammon suggested various ideas for this year's outings and asked for comments. The suggestions were a visit to Woody Bay Railway to include a cream tea in the cafe, Arlington Court and a Cream Tea at Simonsbath - we are not counting calories!

The raffle was won by Ethel Tidsbury. The Meeting ended, as always, with tea, biscuits and a chat. The speakers at the next three Meetings will be: 6th April - Bernard Hill [the fox man], 4th May - Tom Bartlett [Old Berrynarbor in Pictures] and 1st June - Tim Davies [Birds of Berrynarbor]. Do come along! Everyone is welcome and meetings start at 2.00 p.m.

Doreen Prater




Nineteen members attended the October meeting, when birthday cards were given to Betty Brooks, Janet Gammon and Ann Williams.

Mr. Roger Groos then began his talk on Reflex Zone Therapy. The principle is well judged pressure on the soles of the feet, which helps to alleviate anxiety and poor sleep patterns and also beneficial effects on other parts of the body. This therapy dates back many years. The Egyptians used foot massage for healing around 2330BC. Roger gave each member a diagram showing which part of the foot relates to parts of the body.

At the end of the meeting, members enjoyed the usual tea and biscuits. The raffle was won by Jenny Cox.

The November meeting was held on the 3rd when eighteen members attended. A birthday card was given to Joan McCallam.

Unfortunately, the Exeter trip which was to be on the 9th November had to be cancelled due to insufficient numbers to fill the minibus. It was suggested that going by train would be an option but trains were not running to Exeter that week! The Chairman confirmed the annual lunch on 12th January had been booked at the Golf Club.

The speaker was Mr. Barry Webb who is the Station Commander in Ilfracombe for the Devon and Somerset Fire Service and is part of the Day Crew. Ilfracombe is part of a group which includes Barnstaple, South Molton, Combe Martin, Woolacombe and Lynton.

There are less house fires now than there were 25 years ago when Barry joined the Fire Service and this is due to the construction of new houses, installation of smoke alarms and fire retardant furniture. The greater risk now is of flooding. The call centre is situated in Topsham, Exeter, and this works well with all the modern technology. Barry stressed the need for all householders to ensure that the smoke alarms are working, to close internal doors at night and to keep clear the escape areas - not forgetting to keep door keys close by the entrance doors. His talk gave us all food for thought and I am sure we have all now checked our smoke alarms!

The raffle was won by Janet Steed.

The next meeting will be the Christmas Party on 1st December, when sherry and mince pies will be on offer! This will be the usual time of 2.00 o'clock in the Manor Hall. Member Margaret Crabbe will be the speaker on 5th January when she will be telling us about her experiences as a Special Constable.

This will be a good start to the new year, so please come and join us in the Manor Hall. Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

Doreen Prater



After the August break, we started off the new season with a visit from Peter Christie talking about 'unexplained phenomena'. Fortean Times, 'The World of Strange Phenomena', is a British monthly magazine devoted to anomalous phenomena popularised by Charles Fort. The Loch Ness monster, or Nessie, is one such phenomena. The first written account was made by the Viking Adamnan in 565 AD. He described how St. Columba heard about the monster. In 1934, an English surgeon named R. Kenneth Wilson took what is perhaps the most famous photo supposedly showing a head and neck above the water and indicating a very large creature. Sea monsters have also been reported in Lake Manitoba, Canada and, surprisingly, off Instow in 1911 and Falmouth in 1976!

The most famous land creature is the Yeti. It is a large, hairy man-ape which reportedly inhabits the mountainous regions of Tibet and Nepal. As early as 1921, Colonel C.K. Howard-Berry found a series of tracks while climbing Mount Everest. In North America one of the earliest sightings by a white man took place in 1811, when a Canadian trader found large footprints in the snow near Jasper, Alberta. The Beast of Exmoor has produced much speculation. Sightings were first reported in 1970, although the period of its notoriety began in 1983, when a South Molton farmer claimed to have lost many sheep. Most eye witness accounts claim the animal is a large cat, either a puma or panther with jet black fur.

Another topic highlighted by Mr. Christie is 'weird rain'. There have been accounts from all corners of the globe of frogs, fish, squid and worms dropping from the sky. The logical explanation is that a tornado or strong wind picked up the animals from a shallow body of water and carried them, sometimes hundreds of miles, before dropping them. There have been amazing cases of living frogs, toads and lizards being found encased within solid rock.

The last account was human phenomena. Spontaneous human combustion is a name used to describe the burning of a living human body without an external source of ignition. In many of the more recent cases it is alleged that there was an external source and nothing occurred spontaneously. In rare instances, children are born with body hair, additional nipples and occasionally with a small tail-like protrusion at the base of the spine.

Some of the above reports were illustrated by photographs and members found Mr. Christie's talk very intriguing.

The raffle was won by Janet Gibbins, birthday cards were given to Joan Garbett and Margaret Weller and the Meeting ended with the usual tea and biscuits.

The October Meeting will be on Tuesday 6th, when Roger Groos will be explaining reflexology [a form of therapy in alternative medicine in which the soles of the feet are massaged]. On November 3rd, a member of the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service will be coming. The Christmas Party will be on 1st December.

Visitors and new members are very welcome to attend these Meetings.

Doreen Prater



The June Meeting was held in the Manor Hall on Tuesday 2nd when the Secretary, Marion Carter, took the Meeting in the absence of both the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

It was reported that the outing on the Stuart Line Cruises along the River Exe on 12th May had been enjoyed by all and thanks were expressed to Janet Gammon for making the arrangements.

The speaker was Brenda Farley who came to talk about Talking Newspapers for the Blind. This began in North Wales in 1970 from an idea in Sweden and has now spread internationally. It started in North Devon through Barry Squires of Combe Martin - who was losing his sight - and the Lions Club in Barnstaple. Initially there were ten readers. Numbers grew and the readers then formed into teams recording onto tape. The articles will soon be recorded onto disc which will be more costly. Information is taken from newspapers and anything else the readers think will be of interest to the recipients. At present the readers are based in Landkey. The tapes are sent out weekly through Royal Mail, who do not charge for the service, and Social Services also check that the recipient has the proper equipment. Currently there are 180 recipients in the Barnstaple area.

The vote of thanks was given by Rosemary Gaydon, the raffle won by Ann Williams and the meeting ended after tea and biscuits.

Before the Meeting on 7th July, Fenella Boxall spoke to members about the Beaford Arts Centre and the possible workshops for various arts in the village. The plan is to create a new tradition for the village based on Bishop John Jewell who was born at Bowden Farm. It is envisaged to hold a party on the 3rd October, which will tie in with the Harvest Services, and with a parade through the village.

The Meeting was then reminded of the Berry Revels taking place on Tuesday evening, 4th August and St. Peter's Church Summer Fayre on Tuesday evening, 18th August, and a request for cakes, raffle prizes and bric-a-brac for both events.

Darryl Birch continued the afternoon by talking about the ecology of Wistlandpound Reservoir. It was commenced in 1950 and dams a major tributary of the River Yeo. The land surrounding the reservoir was originally open moorland and now has extensive Sitka spruce planted for commercial purposes by the Forestry Commission, who manage the land, together with the Calvert Trust and South West Lakes Trust. The reservoir supplies drinking water to Barnstaple, Combe Martin and Ilfracombe. In 1984 it was opened to the public and in 1996 the Calvert Trust was licensed to use the reservoir, although water sports are restricted. In 2007, the "Discover Wistlandpound" project was started and there is now an information centre, toilets and parking area.

Mr. Birch was thanked by Rosemary Gaydon and the raffle was won by Janet Gibbons. With all business done, everyone adjourned to "Miss Muffets" for a cream tea!

On Tuesday, 1st September, Peter Christie will be talking about 'Unexplained Mysteries' and on the 6th October, Roger Groos will be joining us to tell us about his subject - reflexology.

Marion Carter & Doreen Prater.



Eighteen members attended the Meeting on 7th April. Birthday cards were given to Edna Barnes, Margaret Crabbe and Janet Steed, and the raffle was won by Jenny Caswell. Mr. Tony Wright gave an interesting talk about the life of bees.

A colony of honeybees at the height of the summer contains 50,000 bees. There is one queen, capable of laying 2,000 eggs per day, about 600 drones [males] and the rest are workers [sterile females]. The queen is reared in a queen cell and receives a richer and more plentiful diet of royal jelly or brood food. The workers are responsible for cell cleaning, collecting food and processing nectar into honey. The drone's sole function is to mate with virgin queens, after which act he dies. Drones still alive in the autumn are no longer required and are killed. In the spring, the old queen leaves with half the colony and a virgin queen hatches from one of the several queen cells. She then kills the other queens. The colony needs 36lbs of honey to keep going through the winter. Britain produces some of the best honey. Mr. and Mrs. Wright kindly gave some jars of honey to be raffled which were won by Nora Rowlands and Margaret Crabbe.

The May Meeting took place on the 7th with 20 members attending. Birthday cards were given to Marion Carter, Jenny Cookson and Rosemary Gaydon whilst the raffle was won by Janet Gammon. The speaker was Mrs. Bernice Putt, who came to talk about the RNLI.

In 1824 Sir William Hillary recognised the need for a co-ordinated lifeboat service and his appeal to the nation led to the foundation of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, later to become the RNLI.

There are 231 lifeboat stations in Britain, including 4 in the River Thames, and since its formation 137,000 lives have been saved, 8,000 last year. A great deal of money has to be raised as it costs two million pounds a week to run, with the government contributing just 1%. On the beaches, the RNLI operates over 100 lifeguard units throughout the south west and east of England and Wales. Ilfracombe has celebrated nearly 180 years as a lifeboat station and has two lifeboats. One is an all-weather boat and the other is a D Class small rubber boat for inshore work. A supporters group has now been formed and a newsletter is produced each quarter. The Flag Week will be August 7th to 14th.

There was the usual tea and biscuits at the end of the Meeting and time for a chat. Janet Gammon has arranged an outing to Exmouth on 12th May with a boat trip in the afternoon.

Brenda Farley will be explaining about Talking Newspapers for the Blind on 2nd June, and on 7th July, Darryl Birch will be speaking about the Ecology of Wistlandpound. Please come and join us at 2.00 the Manor Hall. There will be no Meeting in August.

Doreen Prater



Unfortunately, due to the snow and icy weather, the February Meeting had to be cancelled. Hopefully Mr. Bernard Hill, the fox man, will be able to come to talk to us at a later date. Twenty members were present at the March Meeting, when birthday cards were given to Janet Gibbins, Doreen Prater and Betty Richards, and Marion Carter won the raffle.

Janet Gammon has arranged a river trip on the Exe on 12th May at 2.00 p.m. with time beforehand for members to have lunch. The cost of the river trip is £4.50 each - the coach fare to be announced when numbers are ascertained. The Chairman, Janet Gibbins, welcomed the speaker, Roger Groos, who spoke to us about healthy eating.

The total daily calories required by females is 2,000 - only 1600 if you are less active. Carbohydrates produce energy for the body, especially the brain and nervous system, but they pass through the stomach fairly quickly and are digested in the intestines, which leaves the individual feeling hungry after a short time, whereas proteins [meat, poultry, milk, eggs and cheese] stay in the stomach to be digested, so are more satisfying. An enzyme called amylase helps break down carbohydrates into glucose [blood sugar], which is used for energy by the body.

To increase healthy nutrients, eat more fruit and vegetables, rice, bread and cereals, beans, lentils and dried peas. Dark leafy green vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet as they are packed with nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. Fats are another vital part of a healthy diet but it is the type of fat that matters. Foods such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines are rich in Omega 3 which supports brain and body functions. It is best to cook with olive oil or butter and put sunflower and rape seed oil on salads. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks as they are an easy way to pack calories and chemicals into your diet.

As you can imagine, during Mr. Groos' talk members asked numerous questions about their eating habits! Doreen Prater thanked him for all this interesting information.

The Meeting ended with the usual tea and coffee and biscuits and purchases from the sales table.

Tony Wright will be coming on 7th April to talk about the Life of Bees and on the 5th May, Bernice Putt will be speaking about the RNLI. All Meetings are in the Manor Hall at 2.0 p.m. All are welcome.




The Christmas Party was held in the Manor Hall on the 2nd of December. Members enjoyed a glass of sherry or fruit juice, sausage rolls, mince pies and chocolate biscuits - a good start to the festive season! There was a competition about places in North Devon which was won by our Chairman, Janet Gibbins. The Christmas Lunch on the 8th December was provided by the ladies at Chambercombe Manor Restaurant and was much enjoyed by all who attended.

The Annual General Meeting was held on 6th January. Eighteen members were present and Janet Gibbins began by thanking all who had helped in any way during 2008. Birthday cards were given to Jenny Cox and Joyce Simpson and passed on to Nora Rowlands and Joan Wood who were not at the meeting.

Janet Steed, as Treasurer, presented the accounts. After giving donations to the North Devon Hospice, Cheshire Homes, Berrynarbor School and Shelter Box, the balance at 31st December was £64.97p. The monthly sales table had raised £125.70 and Jenny Caswell and Jenny Cookson were thanked for running the table. The annual subscription remains at £12, with members paying 50p a meeting for tea, coffee and raffle. The raffle this month was won by Jenny Cookson.

The Officers for 2009 are as follows:

  • Chairman - Janet Gibbins
  • Vice Chairman - Margaret Crabbe
  • Treasurer - Janet Steed
  • Secretary - Marion Carter
  • Programme Secretary - Jenny Cookson
  • Outing Secretary - Janet Gammon
  • Refreshments and Berrynarbor Newsletter Report - Doreen Prater
  • Sales Table - Jenny Caswell and Jenny Cookson
  • Vote of Thanks to Speakers - Rosemary Gaydon and Doreen Prater.

After the business section was completed, member Margaret Crabbe was warmly welcomed and she spoke about her roll in the WRVS co-ordinating books-on-wheels for housebound people in Combe Martin. She is hoping more folks will avail themselves of this service as at present few people are on the list for visits. Elderly and disabled people who are housebound do appreciate the personal contact.

In 1939 there were 165,000 members in the WVS, helping during air raids, the evacuation of children, staffing hospitals and welfare work. The first travelling library was in 1940 and by 1941 there were one million members. Meals on Wheels began in 1943 in Welwyn Garden City .

In 1966 Her Majesty, the Queen, became patron so the 'Royal'" was added to the WVS. There is an emergency section which has helped in various disasters -the Canvey Island flooding, the Lewisham train crash, the Lockerbie air disaster and Hillsborough, to name a few.

At present there are 60,000 volunteers all of whom have had CRB checks and an ID card.

The WRVS now has a 'vision' - a world where every older person has the opportunity and choice to get more out of life and a 'purpose' - WRVS to deliver practical support through the power of volunteering so these opportunities can be achieved. At the end of her interesting talk, Margaret was thanked by Rosemary Gaydon.

On 3rd February Bernard Hill [not a stockman, sorry!] will be talking about his work with foxes. We shall be learning about healthy eating on 3rd March and hearing about the life of bees on 7th April. All Meetings are at 2.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall - do come and join us!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2009.

Doreen Prater.



The October meeting took place on Tuesday, 7th, when Janet Gibbins opened the meeting by giving birthday cards to Bett Brooks, Janet Gammon and Di Hillier. She then welcomed Keith Pugsley who had come to speak to us about his work as a hypnotherapist.

The practice of promoting healing or positive development in any way is known as hypnotherapy. It aims to re-programme patterns of behaviour within the mind, enabling irrational fears, phobias, negative thoughts and suppressed emotions to be overcome. The technique does not involve the patient being put into a deep sleep and the patient cannot be made to do anything they would not ordinarily do. They remain fully aware of their surroundings. The important thing is that the patient wants to change some behavioural habit or addiction and is highly motivated to do so. Hynotherapy is used to relieve pain in surgery and dentistry and has proved to be of benefit in obstetrics. It has been shown to help people to overcome addictions such as smoking, alcoholism, chronic asthma and stammering. Mr. Pugsley said each therapy session takes about one to one and a half hours. At the end of his talk he invited members to relax while he spoke to them in a soft and calm voice which induced in them a feeling of wellbeing.

As usual the meeting ended with a chat over tea and biscuits with the raffle being won by Phil Walden.

Jan and Bill Butcher came to the November meeting and after demonstrating encaustic art, encouraged everyone to have a go! Encaustic art is decorating by fusing wax colours to a surface. The word "encaustic" comes from the Greek enkaiein - to burn in. Each member was given a small iron, pieces of white card and wax in various colours. When the iron was hot the colours were added to the surface and then ironed onto the card. Everyone made a great effort, but the results were more abstract than pictorial! Nevertheless, we all agreed it was great fun. A birthday card was given to Joan McCallam and the raffle was won by Janet Steed.

The Christmas Lunch this year will be on the 8th December in the restaurant at Chambercombe Manor. We are very sorry that Lyn from The Lodge is suffering so much with her hip and hope she will soon have the operation to ease the pain. [A sentiment echoed by us all, Lyn. Ed.]

The Meeting on 2nd December will be the Christmas Party when sherry, fruit juice, mince pies and tea and coffee will be offered.

The programme for 2009 is now being compiled and the first meeting, on 6th January, will be the AGM which will be followed by a talk about the WRVS given by member, Margaret Crabbe. At the February meeting, on the 3rd, Bernard Hill, a Stockman, will be coming to speak to us. We look forward to welcoming all existing members and hopefully some new ones!

Doreen Prater



After the summer break [what summer?] the September Meeting took place in the Manor Hall on the 2nd. Birthday cards were given to Joan Garbett, Ann Hinchliffe and Margaret Weller.

Members were invited to take part in the World's Biggest Coffee morning in the Manor Hall on 26th September, organised by Vi Davis. All proceeds go to the Macmillan nurses. Janet Gammon had organised a cream tea at Fremington Quay on Wednesday 17th September and has suggested a Christmas shopping trip to Plymouth on 3rd November, but this will depend on whether members will be willing to pay £13 for the bus fare.

Janet Gibbins then welcomed Dave Webb to the Meeting. He gave an interesting talk about silver mining in Combe Martin. Mining became popular in the 16th Century and evidence of these silver mines is still present. Several disused mines are located on the eastern ridge and evidence of tunnels can still be seen, as well as the remains of a wheelhouse used to lift ore from the mine. There are items in the Crown Jewels made from Combe Martin silver. Enthusiasts have been exploring the old mine workings since 1999.

In the reign of Edward I, 337 men were brought from Derbyshire, where they had been working in silver mines, to work the Combe Martin ones, which are said to have furnished money for the wars in the reign of Edward III. The mines were again worked successfully in the reign of Elizabeth I. Unsuccessful attempts were made to work these mines with profit in the 19th Century, but were finally closed in 1880 as silver was being mined in the colonies less expensively. Any silver found today would legally belong to Prince Charles.

The archaeological finds from the site will go on display at Combe Martin Museum and in the longer term the Combe Martin Silver Mine Research and Preservation Society hopes to attract funding for a more detailed interpretation centre. A vote of thanks to Mr. Webb was given by Margaret Weller. The raffle was won by Jenny Caswell.

The next Meeting, on 7th October, will include a talk on Hypnotherapy given by Mr. Pugsley. Jan and Bill Butcher will be demonstrating Encoustic Art on 4th November and the Christmas Party will be on the 2nd December - surely it's not that time already?

All Meetings are in the Manor Hall on the first Tuesday of the month at 2.00 p.m. and newcomers are always welcome.

Doreen Prater



Twenty members attended the meeting on the 3rd June with Janet Gibbins presiding. The Coastguard Line Manager, Ian Lyndsay, gave an interesting talk. He is responsible for the coastal area from Woolacombe to Bridgwater. There are six teams to look after, made up of 60 volunteers. Eighteen rescue centres are manned continuously, with the Maritime Rescue Service organising the rescues. If a person is lost overboard, computers work out which direction he or she will be drifting due to the tides.

Each merchant ship has a beacon to show its location and so can be contacted to assist in the rescue. Our coastguard organisation is the best in the world, with 3,600 volunteers nationwide but there are big challenges ahead, not least the fact that all volunteers will require medicals. Coastguards are also responsible for the recovery of pollution at sea.

The Meeting ended with the usual tea or coffee and biscuits with Joan Wood winning the raffle. On the 9th June some members visited Chambercombe Manor in Ilfracombe. After an interesting tour of the house, they enjoyed a delicious cream tea and a walk around the garden. Helen Latham made a welcome return on the 1st of July. This time she spoke about Leonard Cheshire and his involvement in the Cheshire Homes.

Leonard Cheshire was born in August 1917 and during the Second World War was a pilot with Guy Gibson. He met and married Constance, who was the first American war bride. She eventually returned to America and they divorced.

Observing how injured service men and women were treated, Leonard was concerned and so he bought a manor house from an aunt and fitted it out with the help of the matron from a local hospital. It was difficult to run it properly, due to lack of finances, but this improved after obtaining a £50,000 grant and the appointment of trustees.

Civilians were also accepted in the home and one old lady always wore a hat with a red feather, so a red feather was adopted as the emblem of the Cheshire Homes. Leonard spent the next few years renovating old buildings in Cornwall, although he wanted to become a monk. The second Cheshire Home was called St. Teresa's and the third was Holy Cross - a psychiatric unit. A local bus company gave him two buses which were adapted as living accommodation and he travelled around the country talking about the Homes.

About this time Helen wrote to him suggesting he came to Wales as there was a great need for a home and he was very happy to oblige!

He later married Sue Ryder [Sue Ryder Care] but the two organisations operated separately. Helen remembers him as a very caring man. He made you feel wanted, treated the handicapped well and had a dirty laugh! He died in 1990 of motor neurone disease. There are now hundreds of Cheshire Homes.

After Helen's interesting talk, there was the usual time for a chat and refreshments. Janet Steed won the raffle and Marion Carter made a plea for cakes for the cake stall at the Berry Revels on the 19th August.

There is no Meeting in August so the next Meeting will be on 2nd September when Dave Webb will be telling us about mining in Combe Martin and on the 7th October Mr. K. Pugsley will be talking about hypnotherapy.

These Meetings take place in the Manor Hall on the first Tuesday of each month at 2.00 p.m. Visitors and new members are always welcome.




Twenty-three members and one visitor attended the Meeting on the 1st April when Mr. S. Hoddinett gave a talk about the work of the North Devon Hospice.

In 1981, a local doctor stressed the need for a local hospice. Subsequently Mr. Vivian Moon offered Webbers Estate Agents' old offices at Deer Park in Barnstaple for this purpose and Mr. Hoddinett was in charge of raising two million pounds for a bedded unit.

The nurses at the Hospice require a lot of special training to keep up to date with treatments and some are Macmillan trained. There are a variety of activities available on a day-care basis, from 10.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., or patients can just sit together and chat. Individual patients can have a bath or massage and there is an art room, pottery classes and an informal three course lunch.

In the bedded unit there are 8 individual rooms and a guest room. There are 24 nurses in attendance for 8 patients and 8 community nurses for patients able to live at home but need help. There are 5 doctors and trained counsellors. There is no charge for the care so the donations raised by individuals and groups are very welcome.

After Mr. Hoddinett's talk there was an opportunity for questions and then general "chat" over a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits before the end of the Meeting. The sales table, run by the two Jenny's, is well supported each month and brings in extra funds for the Club.

On the 28th April sixteen members and friends enjoyed an outing to Castle Drogo, organised by Janet Gammon and Liz Paget. The weather could have been better but we dodged the showers! The castle was actually the 20th century home of self-made millionaire, Julius Drewe (Home and Colonial Stores) and was the last castle to be built in England. The architect was Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Marion Carter took the Meeting on 6th May in Janet Gibbins' absence. She read a letter received from the Hospice thanking the Group for the donation given last month and Janet had raised £91.50p on the recent Night Walk, also in aid of the Hospice.

Following the 'business' part of the meeting, Mr. and Mrs. L. Tovey put on their Combe Martin Gardening Club hats. Mr. Tovey showed some lovely slides of gardens the Gardening Club has visited, which included Orchid Paradise near Newton Abbot, Sutton Seeds' trial beds at Ipplepen, Bicton College Gardens, Knightshayes Court, Rosemoor Gardens, the Lost Gardens of Heligan and Marwood Hill Gardens - all well worth a visit.

The Gardening Club meets in Combe Martin Church Hall on the second Wednesday of every month at a cost of £6 per annum. Two outings per year are arranged.

During chat and cuppa time, the raffle was drawn and won by Joan Garbett. There will be a visit to Chambercombe Manor on the 10th June at 2.0 p.m. The cost will be £10.50p to include a tour of the house and a cream tea.

The speakers at the next two Meetings will be:

There will be no Meeting in August.

Doreen Prater



On the 5th February, we welcomed Rosemary Cooke who brought along various baskets made of willow and other materials from the hedgerows and demonstrated how they are made. They make natural and attractive containers and can be used for a variety of purposes. The raffle was won by Ethel Tidsbury.

The March Meeting, on the 4th, was when Gerry Marangone enthralled us with an account of his early childhood living in a small village in Italy. Life was very hard, there was little money for food but they were happy. When he was 10 he went on a train with his cousin up into the mountains to work on building a new road. He was responsible for collecting dynamite from a store and carrying it to the area to be excavated! This job was, however, cut short by the arrival of the Germans, so after being paid off [a very small amount], he and his cousin had to walk most of the way home - once again with very little food to fortify them. During the war years, he remembers his parents harbouring an English parachutist whose plane had been shot down nearby. They kept him in the loft until he was well enough to move on, but they knew that if he was discovered, the whole family would be shot. Gerry's sister had met and married an English soldier and had come to live in Combe Martin. She wrote to Gerry asking him to join them to help on the smallholding. So, at the age of 17, Gerry came to live in Combe Martin and, as they say, the rest is history!

The raffle was won by Rosemary Gaydon. Mr. S. Hoddinett, from the North Devon Hospice, will be coming to talk to us on 1st April, and Mr. L. Tovey will be visiting us again on 6th May. This time he will be showing slides of gardens he has visited.

Fourteen members are visiting Castle Drogo on Monday, 28th April. Janet and Liz are organising this and have booked a 15 seater mini-bus, so there is still one seat available. The annual subscription has been kept at £12 and there are now 28 fully paid up members.

New members and guests are always very welcome. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall.

Doreen Prater



The Christmas Party held on 4th December was enjoyed by all. Norma and Tony Holland entertained us with songs and poems and everyone joined in singing Christmas Carols. During an interval, there were sausage rolls, mince pies, chocolate biscuits and sherry to enjoy! The raffle was won by Ursula Rouse.

22 members sat down to a Christmas lunch at The Lodge on Monday 17th and it was, as usual, "scrumptious". Our waistbands were decidedly tighter as we departed!

The Meeting on January 3rd was the AGM which was followed by a talk and slide show by our Secretary, Marion Carter, entitled "Not Another Elephant!" She related her experiences when on safari in Kenya last year, which were very interesting.

As our Chairman, Janet Gibbins, was unable to attend the meeting, Marion stood in for her and she thanked each member who had had a particular roll during the past year, all of whom were willing to continue during 2008, apart from Margaret Weller, the programme secretary, who expressed her wish to resign. Marion thanked her for booking some interesting speakers over the last few years. We are now looking for some one to take over this job.

It was decided to keep the individual yearly subscription at £12 plus 50p per meeting to cover raffle prize and refreshments. Visitors would be asked to pay £2 per visit.

Jenny Caswell and Jenny Cookson were in charge of the sales table, which brings in a welcome amount of revenue each month. They, too, are willing to continue but request the donation of more items as the table is beginning to look a bit empty! The raffle was won by Joan Wood.

As mentioned in the last Newsletter, Mrs. Cooke will be coming to demonstrate hedgerow baskets on the 5th February; Gerry Marangone will be telling us about his early years living in Italy on 4th March and representatives from the North Devon Hospice will be with us in April. All these Meetings take place in the Manor Hall at 2.00 p.m. Visitors or new recruits are very welcome.

Doreen Prater



At the October Meeting we were lucky that Mrs Diana Lewis, accompanied by Mrs. Pauline Bussell, was able to come at short notice to talk about the North Devon Animal Ambulance Service. The demonstration of hedgerow baskets, to be given by Mrs. Cooke, was postponed as her husband had to go into hospital. The Animal Ambulance service is strictly a North Devon charity. Over the last four years 1,533 creatures have been helped, sometimes assisted by the Fire Service, RNLI, Coastguards and RAF Rescue. Apart from the normal animal welfare, a successful scheme exists for re-homing older pets with elderly people, these pets, having been left homeless by the death or illness of their owners. The Animal Ambulance service pays the vet bills, with the new owners paying for food etc. Margaret Weller won the raffle.

Marion Carter had a successful coffee morning at her home on 1st November when £142 was raised. Half this amount will be donated to the Mission Aviation Fellowship and the remainder to the Pattaya Orphanage in Thailand. Thank you to everyone for your support.

A cookery demonstration was given on the 6th November by Lesley Nicholas and Carmen Lethaby. They prepared a three course meal showing the versatility of puff pastry which included various hors d'oeuvres, beef Wellington with vegetables and Dauphinois potatoes followed by mince pies and mille feuilles. Members enjoyed sampling the finished products! The raffle was won by Sylvia Yates.

Fourteen members enjoyed a day in Exeter on 12th November visiting the new shopping centre and a similar number will be going to Dunster on 7th December for an evening entitled "Dunster by Candlelight". We are grateful to Janet Gammon, Betty Brooks and Liz Paget for arranging these outings.

The December Meeting will be the Christmas Party when sherry and mince pies will be on offer, as well as tea and chocolate biscuits! Norma and Tony Holland will be giving musical entertainment. Members are looking forward to the Christmas lunch at The Lodge on 17th December.

Because the first Tuesday in January is New Year's Day, the Meeting has been transferred to the Thursday afternoon, 3rd January, when the speaker will be our own Marion Carter. Her talk will be entitled "Oh no - not another elephant!" There will also be a short annual general meeting.

Mrs. Cooke will be coming with her hedgerow baskets on 5th February and Gerry Marangone will be telling us of his early years living in Italy on 4th March. Representatives from the North Devon Hospice will be with us in April.

All these Meetings take place in the Manor Hall at 2.0 p.m. Visitors or new recruits are very welcome.

Doreen Prater



After the August break, the Autumn Meetings began on September 4th when Helen Latham gave an interesting talk about her life in the 20's and 30's. She was educated at a convent school where she learnt to read, write and behave impeccably - but little else! Fearing that she might be put to work as a "skivvy", she went to live with her aunt and uncle. During this period she was introduced to life in the theatre but her aunt guided her towards the more rewarding profession of nursing. After training and working on the wards in hospitals, she became an industrial nurse and eventually married the son of the managing director!

The raffle was won by Mavis Pesic and birthday cards were given to Joan Garbett, Ann Hinchliffe and Margaret Weller.

On 2nd October Mrs. Cooke will be demonstrating Hedgerow Baskets, and a Cookery Demonstration will be given at the meeting on the 6th November. The Meeting on 4th December will be a Christmas party. Trips have been arranged for shopping in Exeter on Monday, 12th November and to "Dunster by Candlelight" on Friday, 7th December. Once again members are looking forward to a Christmas Lunch at The Lodge on Monday 17th December.

Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall - all welcome.

Doreen Prater



The June Meeting was well attended when Di Hillier spoke about the Mission Aviation Fellowship. This is a Christian Agency whose mission is to fly light aircraft in developing countries so that people in remote areas can receive the help they need. The Mission has been flying since 1945 and nowadays over 130 aircraft operate in more than 30 countries. Geoff, Di and Brian's son, works for the Fellowship and this has meant living, with his family, in various parts of the developing world.

Keith Pugsley came to the July Meeting. He gave an interesting and amusing account of his entry into the Plymouth to Banjal Challenge. This involved travelling from North Devon to Gambia, with a friend, in an old banger. Certainly a feat of endurance and all for charity. Finally the banger was sold in Gambia and the return journey was made by plane. They encountered a lot of red tape and corruption en route but felt proud of their achievement. Keith is now in the process of writing a book about their experiences.

There were two raffle prizes this month won by Vi Davies and Edna Barnes.

On Tuesday, 10th July, 21 members visited the Calvert Trust. They were shown the various facilities provided for the disabled on holiday with their families. Included is swimming, in a heated indoor pool, horse riding, abseiling and canoeing on the lake. They are cared for by a dedicated team. After partaking of an excellent cream tea, some members walked down to the lake - fortunately it did not rain!

There will be no meeting in August.

The next two Meetings take place on Tuesday 4th September when Helen Latham will tell us about 'Life in the 20's' and Tuesday 2nd October when Mrs. R. Cooke's subject will be 'Hedgerow Baskets'. Both meetings take place at 2.0 p.m. in the Manor Hall.




The April meeting was well attended when Mr. Mandrey gave an interesting talk about the shipwrecks around the North Devon Coast, of which there are many due to the rugged cliffs and rocks. He brought objects he had found over the years and showed slides. We were amused to see an ornate ceramic toilet! The raffle was won by Ann Hinchliffe.

The hall was filled with lovely aromas on the 1st May when Susan Coles from the Tarka Clinic introduced us to the various treatments using the pure, natural essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, wood and bark of plants. Aromatherapy is an ideal treatment to relieve stress and promote relaxation. The raffle was won by Jan Gammon and Ethel Tidsbury raffled another doll which was won by Joan Wood. Joan kindly donated this to St. Peter's Church to raise funds. We were pleased to welcome Vi Davies as a member, bringing the total membership to 29.

On the 5th June, our own Di Hillier will be talking about the Mission Aviation Fellowship - her interest comes from the fact that her son, Geoff, works for the Mission. At the July meeting on the 3rd, Mr. K. Pugsley will be telling us about his travels. There will be no meeting in August.

On the 25th April, twelve ladies enjoyed an outing, travelling by mini-bus, to the National Trust property Cotehele, near Saltash. Other than a few spots of rain, the weather was fine which enabled most to walk down to the Quay as well as visit the house. Cotehele, the first house owned by the National Trust, is medieval with superb collections of textiles, armour and furniture. The restored Tamar sailing barge, Shamrock, is moored alongside the Quay.

There will be a visit to the Calvert Trust on the 10th July. This will include a tour around the complex and a cream tea. A trip to Exeter is being planned for the end of the year when the new shopping mall is opened.

A reminder, meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month [excluding August] at 2.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall. New members are always welcome.



The first meeting, on 25th January, got off to a fine start with 27 ladies attending. The meeting was held to discuss the yearly subscriptions, monthly entrance fee and future speakers. It was agreed that the yearly subscription should be £12.00, with a 50p entrance each month to cover tea or coffee, biscuits and a raffle. As the Manor Hall is still available on the first Tuesday in each month, it was decided to hold meetings on that afternoon - it is easier to remember!

The February meeting was on the 6th when the speaker was Karen Barker from the Calvert Trust. There are three centres in England, each doing a magnificent job welcoming the disabled, with their families who enjoy a much needed holiday with plenty of activities for both the disabled and able bodied. The raffle was won my Madeline Harris.

David Gayton from the RSPB was the speaker on 6th March. He showed photographs of birds to be found in local gardens. Because of the mild winter, the birds can still find all the food they need in the woods and hedgerows so fewer can be seen in the gardens at the moment. The raffle was won by Joan Wood. Ethel Tidsbury raffled a doll she had knitted and this was won by Ursula Rouse. Four more ladies became members at this meeting, bringing the total to 28.

Our next meeting is on 3rd April when Mr. Mandrey will be telling us about local shipwrecks, and on the 1st May, Susan Coles, an aromatherapist, will be with us.

All monthly meetings now begin at 2.00 p.m. It is hoped that some younger ladies might like to attend before collecting their children from school.

Doreen Prater



By the time you read this, the first meeting of the above Club will have taken place. It is to be held on the 25th January and it is hoped that ladies, previous members of the Women's Institute and others, will attend when the future programme of meetings, outings, subscriptions, etc., will be discussed.

The monthly meetings will run on similar lines to the W.I. but there will be more time for discussion and may be the occasional competition. It is hoped to continue with the sales table, and tea, coffee and biscuits will be offered during the meeting.

I hope to be able to report in the next Newsletter that the new Club is off to a flying start! Come on ladies, give it a go! In the meantime watch out for posters giving details of the next meeting.

Happy New Year to you all!

Doreen Prater