The Festival

West Pennard Primary School

Happy Circle Archive 2013

December 2013

On November 6th, Pat Hase – an all-time favourite – gave us a humorous insight into schooldays - stirring many memories among her rapt audience. Pat – the new talk is a winner!

On November 20th we performed in ‘Memory Box’. Members placed a chosen item in the box. If the object was drawn out, the owner talked for five minutes about the memories it triggered.

Freda, clutching her childhood teddy, gave us the benefit of her very interesting research into teddy bears.

Janet remembered living in a house where E H Shepard – illustrator of Winnie the Pooh - had lived. She read descriptions of the house from his book and remarked how little the house had changed.

Sandra told us of her constant efforts to see a Hoopoe and showed us a beautiful picture of one painted by her 7 year old grandson as a birthday present.

Catherine recalled her childhood in a moving account of holidays on the North Sea coast. This was high quality atmospheric writing.

Finally, I showed and described Corsican vendetta equipment!

2014’s programme is complete! Do join us for some fascinating Wednesday afternoons with tea and biscuits almost matching the entertainment!

                                                                                                           John Howe

November 2013

It was nice to see so many members at the Church to remember the life of our dear friend Ken Dilkes and afterwards at the Club. Our thoughts remain with Jean and we look forward to seeing her back with us in the near future.

Wednesday September 18th saw us off to Weymouth for our annual Summer Outing. In Pilton the day dawned dull and damp, but on our arrival at Weymouth the sun came out and shone for the rest of our stay. "Thank you once again Mary" for looking after us. Plenty of shopping, sunbathing and many of us enjoyed fish and chips. All too soon we were on our way to West Bay for a short stay, enjoying a welcome "Cuppa" before a very pleasant journey back to Pilton. Thanks to Avalon Coaches, our Hostess Maureen and driver Brian for being so helpful, nothing too much trouble.

This was our last trip of the year, but hopefully 2014 will see us off on some new adventures in the sun leaving the thoughts of winter a distant memory. You do not have to be a member to join us on our trips; visitors are always welcome subject to places being available.                           

                                                                                                George West

A different sort of meeting this month – we were the guests of Kate Turner and her staff at Party Packs in Westbury-sub-Mendip. How well we were entertained!

Busy hands were delving into box after box of party goodies on the warehouse shelves. All bright, all fun, all reasonably priced and a few just slightly naughty – orders are in the post or online for those!

What a super theme for a business sending out 300 orders each day all aimed at giving people, from two years to however long they can party, a good time.

The stock comes from England and lots from the Far East. We were impressed by the workforce who are devoted to their work and to Kate. Party packing obviously creates a great working environment and work opportunities for the apprentices.

Thank you Kate for an afternoon greatly enjoyed by us all!     

                                                                                                   John Howe

October 2013

We are sad to learn of the death of Ken Dilkes - a long-term and fondly remembered member of the Club. We send our best wishes to Jean and her family and hope she will come to us for any practical help she needs in the next weeks, months and years.

This month we have had excellent advice at two very different ends of life's path.

Raising children is a topic on which many consider themselves to be experts.

Dick Acworth and his wife have raised their family and countless foster children so they really qualify. Dick gave us down-to-earth tested advice, destroying some of the trendy ideas presently going the rounds. His most trenchant demand - 'to jump on all electronic games and gadgets for the young'- gained the loudest applause of a very well received tour de force - thank you!

Advice for the elderly from Sara Stephenson on being safe in your home was timely, to the point and reassuring. It is unlikely now that any con man will breach our defences. This was the very welcome style of old fashioned policing - of the people, for the people. Thank you, Sara - we'll wave when we see your police Land Rover keeping our streets safe.                 

                                                                                                  John Howe

September 2013

This month’s theme at Happy Circle – Commitment!

John Burrough, ex Headmaster of Bruton School for Girls, gave us his memories of a fruitful career in Education both in the Public and Private sectors. All our children need the best education we can provide and John’s talk showed us the calibre of the fine teaching and leadership to be found in many of our schools - Minister of Education please note!! One member said to me “Wish he’d talked for another 30 minutes. I would happily have waited for my cup of tea and biscuit”.

Closer to home, may we publicly thank Molly Gingell for all she does in our community. What a wonderful garden party she gave to our members! She must have baked from dawn to dusk and let’s not forget Godfrey dispensing Pimms and eating all the remaining cup cakes for breakfast!

Let’s follow their example and put care for others and smiles on happy faces at the core of living in Pilton. Next month enjoy and contribute to Pilton Day and make it a roaring success!

John Howe

August 2013

On our annual visit to the Festival site Michael provided the transport and a commentary in his own inimitable style. This was a much more comprehensive tour than previously and much appreciated by our members – the smiles and waves of the site workers showed an organisation on top of its job in the run up to a huge event. Thank you, Michael and GFL (not forgetting the cakes and the cup that cheers – three cheers from us)!

Our speaker on the 10th was John Fletcher, writer and raconteur, who spoke on Pilton Worthies he had known. He revived memories of folk long gone but not forgotten – Sir George Forestier Walker, the Vicar – John Walker, Owen Boyce, Aunt Alice et al. John’s memories of his work on local farms reminded us starkly of the hard times experienced by many village folk – long hours and low pay.  

What characters they were, those people whose labour in the post war years laid the foundations for years of growing affluence.

‘Many Britons have never had it so good’ said Harold Macmillan. Many translated this as – ‘We can have it better forever’. So think back to those workers’ lives. We have much to be thankful for despite the recession! Thank you, John, for thought provoking memories.               

John Howe

July 2013

On May 29th our speaker was Kay Wych from Glastonbury. She gave us a detailed insight into how she became a Living History actress and presenter at Glastonbury Abbey. We were left in no doubt as to the value she adds to any visit to the Abbey with her knowledge and her fine sense of humour – a delightful afternoon! Thank you, Kay.

The day for our coach trip to Sidmouth dawned drearily and ended drizzly! However, spirits were not dampened as the coach journey gave wonderful views of a large part of Somerset.

We must thank Avalon coaches for a comfortable coach, a smooth driver and an amiable courier who supplied hot drinks, biscuits and such friendly service – we shall travel with you again! Sidmouth’s restaurants and shops made certain that the day was enjoyable despite the gloom, the rain and the chilly wind. Sheila West looked stunning in her new outfit, and a large ice cream in Fortes brought back memories of the firm’s heyday in the 50s and 60s. What value! A fiver for such a trip! Join Happy Circle!

                                John Howe

June 2013

At the AGM on May 15th, ‘lifers’ - Molly, Enid and Jean- retired from the posts they had held with such dedication. All three were given loud applause and bouquets of flowers as a token of our thanks.

Our new leader is Janet Raynsford, Treasurer is Liz Elkin and Secretary – Sheila West. We have a full Committee and a very healthy membership.

We are trying to fill a coach for our trip to Sidmouth when members’ fares will be subsidized (June 12th). Non-members very welcome!

The afternoon ended on a high note when Joy Stride thanked everyone for a club which is truly a happy circle of friends.     

                                                                       Jean Dilkes & John Howe

MAY 2013

May is here – come on weather – brighten up!

First, the sad news of the death of Ann Rodgers who was one of the founder members of the Club and a stalwart of the village for many years. We extend our deepest sympathy to the members of her family.

We had a very interesting afternoon when members Catherine, Jeannie, Sandra, Janet, George, Wendy and Enid related memories of their childhood. Stories covered a wide range of subjects: haunted houses, incendiary bombs, farming, getting lost and the famous visit to Sainsbury’s. Once again we remarked on the freedom of children in those days.

Our 34th Birthday Lunch was very enjoyable and took place at the Walnut Tree in Mere. Thanks to John and Sandra for organising it.


May 1st: Quiz, John and Sandra

May 15th A.G.M. Cards and Games

May 29th How I became a Living History presenter – Kay Wych

Jean Dilkes  

APRIL 2013

Welcome to April – signs of Spring, daffodils, crocuses and primroses have sprouted – roll on Summer.

Since last going to press we have had a very enjoyable afternoon playing Bingo with Audrey and Terry. Many thanks to all those who contributed prizes for the event.

At the first meeting in March Philip showed us films about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year. Celebrations included the ‘Singing in the Reign’ stage show, the Church Service, celebrations at the Tithe Barn, the Club and Village Hall and Lighting the Beacon at Burford.

What a wonderful weekend it was and thank you, Philip, for reminding us of those happy memories.


April 3rd: Our 34th Birthday Meal at Meare (John has the details)

April 24th: China and Beyond – George and Sheila

Happy Month!

Jean Dilkes

MARCH 2013

Hello everyone. Spring is in the air – we hope. That is official. Summer-time begins at the end of March.

Earlier on John and Colin talked about the Hawk Conservancy Trust. We had excellent photographs and information about the different species which caused some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience. Thank you John and Colin.

February brought us Edward Porter and his wife – a charming couple – and their Victorian Dolls’ House. Mrs Porter said that she would like a Dolls’ House for her birthday. Edward said that he would make one. Mrs Porter went to Canada to visit her daughter thinking the Dolls’ House would be ready on her return. Not so – they are still working on it years later. Amazing house, 4 floors high, a pavement in front of the house. A lady in blue who was always walking up and down. I wonder why!!

A complete house: people, furnishings, accommodation for family and staff, lighting in all rooms – amazing. We were impressed. Thank you to you both.

Happy Easter everyone.


March 6th Diamond Jubilee – Philip Eavis

March 20th My Childhood – Club effort.

Jean Dilkes



February brings the rain – thaws the frozen lake again or

so the old rhyme says. –What, more rain!!

Sadly, one of our members – Martin Steward – has passed away. We all extend our sincere sympathy to Sheila and the family.

On a happier note Sandra and Eileen were able to join us after their various trips to hospital. Lovely to see you.

On January 9th David Osborne came to talk to us about Pilgrimage, which has slightly different meanings for different people. David has been on many pilgrimages: gives one time to think and observe one’s surroundings. His latest took him north, up to John O’Groats and over to Kirkwall and St Magnus Cathedral.

Thank you, David, for a very interesting and thought-provoking talk.

Hope you all enjoy the Hawk Conservancy photos.


February 6th A Victorian Doll’s House – Edward Porter

February 20th Bingo – with Audrey and Terry.

Bye for now.                                                                  Jean Dilkes



2013 has arrived and a Happy New Year to everyone. We may even have a summer this year.

Well, 2012 was an action-packed year with the Jubilee Celebrations and the Olympic Games and, of course, the record-breaking weather!!

One report only – David Andrews came and took us back with popular songs from the time of Music Hall onwards. Times have moved on to great stage shows and television. Interesting that music has only 8 notes but can be arranged in so many ways. Very enjoyable, David – look forward to your next visit.

Congratulations to all our members who took part in the Pantomime, we even have author, John. Great Show. Well done.

Hope you enjoyed the Christmas Meal and the Party.

Here’s to 2013. Keep dancing.

Jean Dilkes  

Used Postage Stamps can be left in Pilton Village Hall Foyer for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.