The Festival

West Pennard Primary School

Happy Circle

Over 50 years young?  Then you are eligible to join one of Pilton’s most active and friendly clubs. We have been going for 35 years – true to our founding principles of companionship and mutual support but developing a programme of talks; educational and entertaining outings and visits to fine local eateries.

Annual membership costs a modest sum plus a £1 charge for each meeting which covers the cost of insurance, speakers, a raffle ticket and the so essential tea and biscuits.

Please do not get the idea that we are a moribund old people’s club! Our members are some of the most active people in the village community. Our lectures and ‘ over tea’ conversations  are stimulating, pertinent, thought provoking and fun. If you like caring, committed people you will like us. Why not come and give us a try?

Be the ‘new blood’ that keeps us young – every group can benefit from a transfusion of talent. You can be ours!


Chair Person – Janet Raynsford – 890418

Programme – John & Sandra Howe - 890239


Go to Happy Circle Archive 2013


Go to Happy Circle Archive 2012



Go to Happy Circle Archive 2014


'Ding,dong merrily on high'. Well at least up Pilton church tower they keep the bells swinging! Again, thanks to Chris and Joe King for a show stopper afternoon. Sandra and I judge the success of the speaker we book by the questions which follow the end of the talk! For once Chris ran out of answers - 'nuff' said! Thank you for another illuminating afternoon - you both went like the clappers!
                                                                                             John Howe

Christmas Tea - Pleasure again but of a masticatory type. Thank you for the members who provided the treats. Another year when everyone was pleased with their presents.

January 2017

Who would have thought that so many postcards had been made to celebrate the visual delights of Pilton? What memories of days not so long past. What a delight to see the thermometer in its rightful place on the shop wall. That image deserved a clap of its own to set the tone of a delightful talk by Chris and Joe. What hours must have been spent searching dusty boxes in junk shops and how lucky we were to benefit. A huge thank you for an afternoon of pleasure!


March 2017 - Practical advice from energy advisors

With the threat of an increase of 15% in the price of electricity Pilton Happy Circle have a timely talk on the efficient use of energy to save on bills.

For a face-to-face meeting with friendly, trained energy advisors come along to the Club room at Pilton Village Hall on Wednesday 15th March at 2.30 pm. Liz Dagger, from the charity Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol, will offer information on the Priority Service Register, efficient use of night storage heaters and the switching process for changing electricity suppliers.

If you are interested in switching suppliers on the day please bring an electricity bill with you. Everyone is welcome.

Liz Elkin

February 2017

Another year and who are here to entertain us - Audrey and Terry of course! What friends they are to the village willingly giving their time and energy. How we depend on such people to keep the village a vital community. We also need people with ideas. Come to think of it - I have one!! Liz and Colin's quiz was such a treat and such breadth of knowledge was shown by members, why don't we find 5 geniuses to challenge the Eggheads?

Exposure on the TV would help our drive for new young members. We could call our team ' Happy Talking keep talking Happy Torque' 'cos we are a cheerful band!

Perhaps Jeremy Vine would change his usual ploy and put the stress on certain words in the multiple choice answers to help us! Anyway, think on it as we thank Liz and Colin for inspiration.

Why not join us for our March meetings – March 1st Serena de la Hey who built the willow man on the M5 near Bridgwater; March15th - Controlling your energy bills and March 29th - a change of date - Boogie Woogie Dancers.

We look forward to welcoming you for a 2.30pm start. Do come!

John Howe

April 2017

Many good works are hidden from full view. Such, we discovered, was the case by the Shepton Mallet Almshouses Trust. We were lucky to have Jeff Curtis to give us an interesting illustrated history of the charity and how its work continues into today's world and how it plans for the future.

Who knew of this fine Sheptontradition and where the almshouses are?

The Somerset Levels are an under-rated national treasure now advertised by Serena de la Hey's Willow Man - the South West's answer to the Angel of the North! This proved to be one of our best ever talks, gripping the audience in 'bonds of green willow' as well as 'whites' and 'buffs'. Serena immersed us totally in her love of this wetland material with striking images - the most entrancing being the willow men racing in the open landscape of the Nevada Desert. What a talent has sprung from the Somerset landscape. Get in your car and enjoy the willow-lined rhynes of Thorney, Stathe and Aller, and remember to take your camera!

Liz Dagger from the Centre for Sustainable Energy brought a quiz to test our knowledge of saving on energy bills, gave advice on Smart meters and helped individuals through the online process for switching energy suppliers. A useful afternoon followed by tea, biscuits and a chat.

Please may I extend this month's notes to thank Happy Circle for all the delights of companionship they have given to Sandra and me. Thank you for the lovely gifts and Ian's photos. You will stay in our thoughts as we all move forward into a happy and successful next phase. John Howe

May 2017

It was certainly a case of ‘We Love to Boogie’ when ‘Pam’s People’ entertained and enthused the Happy Circle group. After we had watched some dance routines to music we all remembered, Pam Edwards invited members and friends to join the dancers and no further persuasion was necessary!

The audience, now a smaller group than the dancers, joined in the hand jive and everyone enjoyed themselves so much that an encore was called for. It was a great afternoon full of fun and laughter, thank you Pam.

Liz Elkin

June 2017

The Happy Circle Club celebrated its birthday in April. This year we had lunch at the Cross Keys in Lydford and they did us proud! Members had a good meal, sang ‘Happy Birthday’, ate chocolates and enjoyed a lot of conversation. Thank you to Freda and Eileen for making it special.

Back in Pilton, Brian Smith gave us a talk about his 420 nautical mile cruise from Cairo to Luxor. After being closed to tourists for years a few ships are venturing through this intriguing section of the River Nile protected by heavy security. Photographs of pyramids and temples were interspersed with pictures of the Police launch or the ‘SWAT team’. We saw papyrus and desert, feluccas and colourfully dressed women ‘washing up’ in the river; the past and the present beautifully photographed. Thanks to Brian for a fascinating afternoon.

May we also say a big thank you to Helen Jefferies for giving us a very informative talk on the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance. Since 2000 they have flown nearly 12,000 missions and provided a critical care team consisting of a doctor and specialist paramedics for each mission. More importantly, the helicopters can, if required, take patients to the nearest major trauma centre in the South West within 20 minutes. This is crucial because time saves lives. They value all the support possible.

Liz Elkin and Freda Boyce

July 2017

A coach filled with Happy Circle members set off for Swanage on an unpromising, overcast morning but arrived in Dorset to a beautiful, sunny day.

Some members started their visit with coffee in the buffet car at Swanage Railway then found a great choice of things to do. Perhaps lunch in the town, a seat in the sun in the gardens or a paddle in the sea, (you were seen, Freda!) Swanage has a glorious, sandy beach, who could resist it?

Everyone had a super day on the wonderful Jurassic Coast.

John Lapwood, the Village Agent, came to our meeting at the Village Hall to explain his role. Village Agents link people in rural areas with advice and support services for independent living. John writes an item for the Roundabout each month and his contact details are included.

John’s talk was followed by the A.G.M. and a very warm welcome to our new members.

Liz Elkin

August 2017

The Happy Circle had a sunny morning for the coach tour around the Festival site in the company of Michael Eavis and the BBC. We were treated to tea, cakes and ice cream as the temperature soared. There was plenty of hard work going on as people were getting everything ready for opening the gates the next morning. Thank you, Michael, for organising the coach, looking after our welfare and giving us an insight into this amazing event. A few of us even featured in the Glastonbury Festival reports on TV.

At our 5th July meeting Pat Hase introduced us to Ivy Millicent James, an artist and suffragette from Weston-Super-Mare. Miss James painted postcards and Christmas cards in the early 1900s all of which featured children. Surprisingly the landscape, and the children, appeared to be Dutch but the subjects were delightful and of their time, children at the village pump, a group warming themselves around a brazier and a little boy smoking!

This was followed by tea and a discussion about the coach trip on 13th September – a date for the diary.

Liz Elkin

September 2017

John Dando shared his affection for the Somerset privy as he took us ‘Down the Garden Path’. We learned about toilet history from the Roman communal convenience to the modern water closet. He also reminded us that not everyone has flushing facilities even now. Members enjoyed John’s talk so much that he is already a definite for next year’s programme.

We were highly entertained by Mickey Fitzpatrick’s monologues. What fun and laughter she gave us as she told us how to prepare for our holidays and what to wear. ‘Twas on the Monday morning when the gas man came to call’ had both members and visitors in stitches; what a delightful lady!

Our summer tea this year was hosted by Sheila and George West. We had a lovely afternoon, the weather was kind, the tea was delicious and we were able to walk around the garden and even try the plums! Thank you, Sheila and George, and Well Done to everyone, it was a super summer celebration.

Liz Elkin

October 2017

When Brian Wright started his talk, ‘Touch Wood’, he asked if the audience was superstitious. A few members admitted that they might cross their fingers or salute a magpie occasionally but the majority were unaffected by superstition.

Brian’s illustrated list of omens and charms, beliefs and rituals had us whispering that we might worry about breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder and we were surprised to learn that ‘lucky’ horseshoes are hung differently around the country. Surely we no longer believe in this nonsense but some brides still wear something old, something new, invite a chimney sweep and carry silver horseshoes at the wedding. As for Brian – he is not at all superstitious but he does have a ‘Witch’s Ball’ in his house!

What a day to have the Happy Circle coach trip! Storm Aileen was racing across the country as we headed for the Subtropical Gardens at Abbotsbury. After a scenic trip through Dorset we were fortunate to enjoy the lush, green garden with just a sprinkling of rain and lots of sunshine. The hydrangeas were magnificent as were the willow sculptures of deer amongst the trees - a great day out.

Liz Elkin

November 2017

‘An Afternoon with the Stars’ was promised in the programme and Sarah Maude gave us exactly that, entertaining us with anecdotes of her time working on film sets. How did Sarah deal with the journalist to whom Oliver Reed took exception or cope with the snake placed in her hands on set? Calmly. Her stories of Sean Connery, John Hurt and Raquel Welch, to name just a few, and her collection of memorabilia made for a five star afternoon.

Two weeks later most members took off their shoes to join Adele Robertson in an hour of chair yoga. As we progressed through gentle movements, breathing exercises and a wonderful relaxation session we enjoyed the quietest meeting we could remember. Tea and biscuits soon brought conversation levels back to normal.

Thank you, Adele, for demonstrating how we can improve our flexibility and muscle strength whatever our ability and the value of relaxation.

Please Note: From 8th November Happy Circle meetings will start at 2.00pm. Liz Elkin

December 2018

Pilton Happy Circle welcomed 6 non-members who came along to the Open Afternoon to find out what the Club has to offer. Grace brought her hand-made cards and Sue Millard gave a superb demonstration of how to wrap gifts with challenging shapes, we could even try our hand at making a Toblerone look beautiful. Now we all know the secret of a professional bow – use your teeth! (also necessary for all the delicious cake on offer).

When Hilary Austin came to give a talk on Traidcraft she also brought a selection of fair trade goods to show and sell. Launched in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne the first Traidcraft catalogue featured some hand drawn jute products from Bangladesh. Within two years tea, coffee and a wide range of other foods were introduced. Now products are sourced from over 30 countries and farmers are paid a fair price for their crops.

Last year Hilary and Anthony were able to donate £400 to Traidcraft, money raised from the Open Days at their home. Thank you for the talk and the chance to buy more of those wonderful ginger biscuits.

Liz Elkin

January 2018

Philip Eavis searched through his archive of Pilton on film and brought videos of Pilton Players to entertain us.

In ‘The Long Autumn’ Sandra Howe was outstanding as a stifled artist longing to get out of her retirement home and give one last performance on stage.

This was followed by an extract from a play about the plague at Eyam. We were delighted to watch villagers past and present and were reminded that we miss Pilton Players. Thank you once again, Philip and Gill.

Happy Circle Christmas lunch was at the Crossways, North Wootton this year. Eileen and Freda did a magnificent organisation job and 29 of us sat down to our festive feast.

Let’s hope Chris and Joe’s grandson makes more sense of the cracker jokes than we did!

Happy New Year. Liz Elkin