Milverton, Somerset
20/06/2024

Sheep worrying

Sheep worrying and attacks have increased over the last year in particular with the most recent incident happening in a field in Milverton.

Key facts

  • More than 1,800 farm animals have been killed by dog attacks in the past four years
  • 92 dogs have been shot as a result of sheep worrying between 2013 and 2017
  • The cost of sheep worrying claims in 2017 amounted to £1.6 million for NFU Mutual, alone
  • Increased housing in rural areas means the chances of attacks have increased rapidly
  • Sheep worrying can cause ewes to miscarry and lambs to be separated from their mothers
  • Reports of sheep worrying rose 67 per cent between the years of 2015 and 2017
  • In 79 per cent of cases, the owner of the dog was not present

What to do if it happens to you

  • Divert or restrict footpaths during lambing season
  • Report any and all attacks to the police, no matter how small
  • Put signs up advising dog owners of any livestock that might be in fields
  • Consider adding a contact number to these signs for reporting any incidents
  • Social media has become a tool for raising awareness and showing the real damage sheep worrying causes. Share your stories on social media and join community pages so your local area can be informed

What dog owners can do

  • If you’re walking in rural areas, keep your dog on a lead at all time – especially if there are grazing sheep about
  • Keep a check on fences and gates in order to keep your garden as secure as possible t to prevent dogs getting out
  • Seek a dog trainer to teach your dog how to behave around sheep and other livestock
  • Having your dog’s favourite toy or ball or ‘high value’ treats with you when you go out may also make it easier to divert their attention away from sheep and other livestock

Louise Fyne
PCSO

A time to learn

‘I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught,’ wrote Winston Churchill. I think many of us would echo that thought!

A huge ‘thank you’ to our teachers and all who support our schools! There has been a tremendous effort across our diocese to ensure our children have been able to continue their education during lock downs and the need to restrict normal practice. Not only have the children been learning, but teaching staff have also been going ‘back to school’ in order to find new means of communication. Governors, church communities and individual volunteers have gone the extra mile too, to encourage our teachers through gifts and cards and prayer. The whole school team deserves our gratitude.

Learning online is a challenge. Those of us who are spending many hours in Zoom rooms online these days can vouch for that. It’s tiring! And it is not just our children who have found it so. At the end of this month we shall be celebrating the ordinations of our new priests. Last year they were ordained as deacons in September following three months as lay curates as a result of the pandemic restrictions.

What a year to be a deacon! They’ve had a very different learning experience than would normally be expected. Not so much opportunity of the ‘hands-on’ experience yet perhaps an even more profound learning possibility. I’m looking forward to hearing their stories!

We shall be repeating the new pattern of ordinations with our incoming deacons being licensed as lay curates initially this June. For them, colleges and courses have taken place principally online and they’ve had experience of digital worship on top of regular lectures and seminars. How might that prepare them for our ‘new normal’ of blended worship, with live-streaming of services in person?

As the Church emerges into this ‘new normal’ we have the opportunity together to learn and discover new things, new gifts, new ways of being the people of God. It is the same good God, the same story of His love to share with others, but there’s a new landscape. How might you and your community respond to that? What have you learnt in this time? And how might that learning change you and the way you do things? Do share your stories with us!

“One learns from books and example only that certain things can be done. Actual learning requires that you do those things.” (Frank Herbert)

Every blessing
Bishop Ruth

Milverton and Fitzhead Society June update

In the spirit of great optimism, our indefatigable Secretary Frances Vail is starting to put together a programme of meetings for the Autumn, to be held in the Methodist Chapel as usual.

Francis has been Secretary/speaker finder for many years, and she mentions that if anyone has thoughts about speakers who they may wish to recommend, would they please let her know at francesmvail@gmail.com or on 01823 400351.

Allotment gardening

Allotment gardening has seen a growth in popularity across the UK in recent years. The Covid 19 pandemic has probably been a catalyst for many to pick up a spade and look for a plot in recent months.

Milverton is no exception and the allotments at Courtfield are very popular. Plots do become available from time-to- time: contact the Clerk to the Parish Council if you are interested in renting a plot for a small annual fee.

The plot holders at Milverton are a friendly bunch and welcome newcomers including those starting out with their first allotment.

So why has this become so popular? A common perception of non-allotment gardeners is that the incentive to take on a plot is about saving money with self grown fruit and vegetables. When the allotment movement started in the late 19 and early 20 centuries, this was probably the main driving force. It is still possible to save money on your food bill with an allotment but for many, this is just one of the benefits.

The 21st century benefits of having an allotment are much more than saving money:

  • A convenient source of fresh food
  • Proper food without chemicals, packaging or food miles
  • A chance to spend time in an open green space – a proven positive for mental health
  • Fresh air and physical exercise with a purpose
  • Anticipation of a rewarding outcome – also a proven positive for mental health
  • Social interaction (Covid 19 rule compliant)

Besides the gardeners themselves, there is one other beneficiary from allotments: the natural environment in which we live. Recent academic research has shown that allotments support a much wider diversity of pollinating insects and nectar rich plants that improve the wider food chains and ecosystems when compared to most modern farms. Allotments also have much more healthy soil structures compared to many modern farms. These environmental factors add up to a small but positive ecological benefit. It is just a shame that only a fraction of 1per cent of our food is grown on allotments. Maybe we need more?

Richard Earnshaw
May 2021
(Member of the Milverton Parish Council Sub Committee)

WI June update

As a non-resident of Milverton, let alone a member of the Milverton WI, my only claim to a tiny smidge of authority to write this brief article is being the younger daughter of your current President!

I’m typing this from Barbrook, under very strict supervision from Mummy, the day before she is off for a cataract op at Musgrove. As an ‘outsider’ it’s been wonderful to see and experience first-hand the generosity of affection and strength of community in Milverton. Offers to do shopping, lifts to and from the station and the hospital, kind gifts of delicious treats, and cards popped through the door and telephone calls. Each act of kindness lifts the spirit.

The WI is part of the wide fabric of the community in Milverton, and with the easing of lockdown measures on the very near horizon, it will be wonderful to meet in person once again. The group welcomes new members, and the schedule for further meetings will be available on the notice boards outside the Villages Stores and the Victoria Rooms and this website once confirmed.

Milverton WI plans to relaunch the usual monthly programme of meetings with many interesting speakers to come. In the future our speakers will raise Scam awareness; help us to learn more about antiques and collectables; share a personal view behind the lens of a talented photographer and find out what Christmas day in the workhouse was like. There is lots to look forward to!

Parish Council communications

At the May Parish Council meeting, a working party was established with the aim of improving the Council’s communication and it is felt that this could also be extended to review what methods village groups use to keep in touch with members. With the magazine, websites, email, WhatsApp, Next Door in Milverton, Instagram, Facebook etc etc there is an array of means that groups can and do use in providing and receiving information, but could things be organised/publicised more efficiently to enable information to get out to more people?

If you are interested in being part of this review, or have any comments/suggestions on the subject, please contact me.

Tim Payne
clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk

Milverton Flower Show June update

The Flower Show will take place on 17 July, as planned from last year, but in a reduced form.

In order to ensure a smooth flow of visitors and to enable social distancing, there will be tables against the walls, but no tables freestanding in the middle of the Victoria Rooms Hall. This means that the number of classes will have to be reduced.

We will have classes for:

  • Fruit
  • Flowers and Vegetables
  • Pot Plants
  • Photographs
  • Homebrew Corner

We apologise for not being able to have Floral Arrangements, Cookery, Arts and Crafts and Children’s classes. We will try to provide tea, coffee and cakes, but this will depend on rules in force at the time.

We will not charge exhibitors (hurrah!), but will not be giving cash prizes (boo!), nor handing out silverware. There will be judging and prize cards.

Otherwise, we hope the Show will be as much as normal as we can make it. Paper copies of the show schedule and entry form are available from the Post Office and 15 Woodbarton, Milverton, Somerset TA4 1LU .

Stewart the milkman set to retire

Milverton’s wonderful milkman, Stewart Floyd, is due to retire at the end of June 2021 aged 65. He has delivered milk from Gundenham Diary (and its predecessors) to his many customers in Milverton for thirty four and a half years. How many of us realise that, in order for us to have milk on our doorsteps, Stewart has to get up each morning at 2.30am – and on occasions, when he has been on holiday and relief milkman has not turned up, he has been telephoned in the early hours asking him to work?

Whatever the weather, come rain, shine, snow, ice etc he is out delivering and he always seems to be smiling, with a kind word to say to everyone he meets.

Stewart loves gardening and in retirement he has lots of plans that he wants to implement in his garden. He is also looking forward to spending more time with his family.

Stewart’s many Milverton customers wish him a long and happy retirement and we all thank him most sincerely for looking after us all so well. We shall miss him.

Victoria Rooms June update

The Victoria Rooms was the venue as the polling station for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections on Thursday, 6 May, and it was good to see the hall being used again. The one-way system and Covid procedures all worked well.

We are looking forward to welcoming back the Keep Fit Class, the Bridge Club, the History Group, Milverton Music Club, the Sunday Quizzers, the AmDram, the Garden Club and the Parish Council. The Garden Club has also made a booking for their 2022 Flower Show – it is good to plan ahead! We are sorry to say goodbye to the Friday Club who are moving on to pastures new, but are pleased to welcome the Cello Group to their regular monthly slot. If there are any clubs or groups who would like to book either the Reading Room or main hall for their meetings, please contact our Bookings Secretary, Geoff, on 01823 401365  or email geoff.elson@xini.com who will be more than happy to help.

Subject to any change on Covid regulations the first monthly Community Market will take place on Saturday, 3 July, when we look forward to welcoming back our stallholders and customers. The majority of the stalls for this market are already booked, but if you would like to reserve a slot for a future market, please give Sally a call on 01823 400320 to check availability. As well as the monthly market, Victoria’s Café will be open for business where you can stop for a cuppa and a slice of delicious cake.

We are looking for more volunteers to help at the Community Market and Victoria’s Café and if you are able to spare some time on the first Saturday morning of the month and would like to help, please contact Sally on  01823 400320  or email barnyackland@hotmail.co.uk if you could help with the setting out or packing away of the tables or contact Chris on 01823 400872  or email field524@btinternet.com if you would like to help at Victoria’s Café.

Now that we are able to meet outside in small groups, you may wish to hire one of the Victoria Rooms’ gazebos, just in case the British weather lets us down – if you are interested, please give Philip a call on 01823 400609 and he can let you have some more details.

Our 100 Club winner for the May draw is Jim Farrant – well done Jim!

One other way you can support our village hall without leaving home is by purchasing a ticket for the Somerset West Lottery and selecting the Victoria Rooms as your chosen charity. For each ticket purchased, the Victoria Rooms receives 50 pence. During May, one of our supporters won £25.00 on the Lottery and most generously donated her winnings to the Victoria Rooms – thank you so much. To purchase your tickets, go to the website and search for Milverton Victoria Rooms. Good luck!

Parish Council June update

Last month’s report was about a meeting not happening, this time there are two meetings to report on. Held on the same day, the first was the Annual Meeting which covered a number of house-keeping matters. Phil Young (Fordbridge Cottage) was elected as Chair for 2021/22 and Anita Dakowski was elected as Vice Chair. The Council has had a dedicated contact for footpath queries for many years and Anita is to continue in this role. It was also agreed to establish a similar role to cover Highway queries and Steve Potts was appointed to this.

The Council has a number of Committees which deal with specific village/Council matters and the membership for these was agreed, in addition, the Council has representatives on various village bodies which were also appointed. Details of Committees etc will be uploaded to the Council’s website, following its ongoing revamp.

The second meeting of the night was an Ordinary meeting, which included the following business:

  • It is intended that a co-option to fill the vacancy on the Council will be confirmed at the June meeting (if you are interested in putting your name forward or wish to find out more about the role, please contact a current Councillor or the Clerk)
  • The proposal to repair the bench in the seating area in Parsonage Lane has been expanded to become a complete refurbishment of the area, which was originally built in memory of Ernest Kick (long-standing Chair of the PC some ** years ago), these works will also be to the memory of Ian Ainsworth Smith. Details regarding the fundraising will be made known in due course
  • The ‘old’ defibrillator has been donated to the Recreation Ground, allowing a wider coverage of more immediate help should the situation arise
  • Revised plans of the toilet block in Creedwell Orchard are to be drawn up which will allow a tendering process for the works to commence
  • Suppliers are to be invited to advise and quote on the proposed Speed Indicator Devices in the village. Once the locations are agreed with SCC, these can be ordered and put in situ

The next meeting will be held face-to-face on Monday 7 June at the Victoria rooms, starting at 7pm.
If you have any queries on any Parish Council matter please let me know.

Tim Payne
Clerk to the Council
Tel 01823 432959 or email clerk@milvertonpc.org.uk