Wednesday, 5 March 2014
A night for past glories
WHEN old footballers get together, you can be assured of a night full of tales of great goals scored and cup final celebrations.
Such was the case when 30 former players of Lyme Regis Football Club from five generations gathered at the Davey Fort clubhouse on Friday evening.
It was the third event organised by the recently formed Seasiders’ Ex-Players Association which has been set up to enable former members to keep in touch and to encourage more of them to support the current set-up at the Davey Fort.
When players finally hang up their boots there’s a tendancy for them to drift away from the club as they take up more genteel sporting pursuits - golf and bowls among them. The Seasiders' Association intends to slow down that migration.
Whilst fundraising is a secondary issue, we have already raised £1,000 for the club which is being ring fenced for a special project and, with two other events planned for this year, we should add significantly to that sum.
On Friday we enjoyed a hot pot supper, prepared by Mrs Evans, and were then treated to a brilliant football photo show by former club chairman and feared centre forward, photographer Richard Austin.
When I moved to London to work at the end of the 1980s, I launched a sporting publishing company and, with Richard having just turned freelance, I engaged his services to do the photographic work for a portfolio of professional football clubs which included some of the top Premier League teams. As a result, Richard travelled all over Europe covering the big games and has an unrivalled catalogue of football photos.
He presented them in his usual humorous fashion and afterwards we had plenty of time to recall past glories.
Having had a look around the refurbished clubhouse, including the very smart dressing rooms, we joked about the days we used to wash in a tin bath after games and how one player often tried to get himself sent off early so he got the clean water first.
BY-ELECTION: There will be an election in Lyme Regis to replace Daryl Turner - if more than one candidate puts themselves forward. I have it on good authority that 10 electors have called for an election which will be held on May 22nd. I am pretty confident that Cheryl Turner, Daryl’s sister, will be putting her name forward but local author David Ruffle, who stood at the last by-election when Stan Williams won back his seat, will probably wait until the next full election in May 2015. The by-election will be held on the same day as the European elections on May 22nd so we are likely to get a better turn out than the last by-election - a paltry 26 per cent.
BEACH CHALETS: Although a decision has yet to be confirmed by West Dorset District Council, the word on the street is that Lyme Regis Town Council’s application to move the chalets forward to the edge of Monmouth Beach will be rejected on the advice of their officers. Threatened by the continual movement of Ware Cliffs behind them, the council’s attempt to move the chalets nearer to the sea baffled many, especially in view of the damage caused to them in the recent storms.
COUNCIL QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “£750 is a drop in the ocean to this council” - Lucy Campbell speaking at last week’s Town Management Committee.
Another nostalgic treat for Ken’s fan club
DOWN the years local history expert Ken Gollop and I have played a game - “spot the local” - at numerous community events. On most occasions he and I are often the only locally-born people present.
I’m not sure what conclusion we should draw from this. You can make up your own mind.
But one event when then locals turn out in droves is Ken’s annual “Tales From Under Shady Tree”, named after a meeting place in Anning Road where youngsters gathered to chew the fat in the 1940s.
These events have an almost cult following among both locals and incomers, who were well represented, and Sunday’s event at the Woodmead Halls was no exception. Ken, who has developed a real fan club over the years, chose Cobb Gate/Church Beach as his subject matter, an area he knows better than anyone as his family ran their fishing trips off the Cobb Gate jetty for 90 years.
He showed us dozens of views of that area of the town going back to the early 19th century but with many faces of young people still living, some of whom were in the hall.
He delivered a fascinating and informative two hours of pure nostalgia, peppered by his own personal reminiscences in his own inimitable style.
Loads stayed for a cup of tea after the event swapping tales of times past and catching up with familiar faces.
The afternoon made a tidy profit for Ken’s beloved museum whose trustees are anxiously waiting for the result of their Heritage Lottery application to extend their unique building on Cockmoil Square.
There’s an old joke that says nostalgia is not what is used to be - but in Lyme it certainly is.
Ken is already working on the theme for next year and for many, me included, it can’t come quick enough
We didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back in our day
RECENT fierce storms across Weymouth and Portland have prompted an unusual response to the debate about climate change and the need for everyone to be “green”.
The outburst comes from an irate Weymouth pensioner who sent me this cautionary tale on the environment and the modern argument that “greybeards” before us didn’t do enough to start saving the planet.
He wrote: “Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
“The woman apologised and said: 'We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days.'
“The young cashier responded: 'That's our problem today – your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.'
“She was right -- our generation didn't have the “green thing” in its day.
“Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
“But we didn't have the 'green thing' back in our day.
“Grocery shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we re-used for numerous things, most memorable besides household bags for rubbish being the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on the brown paper bags.
“But too bad we didn't do the 'green thing' back then.
“We walked up stairs because we didn't have a lift in every supermarket, shop and office building. We walked to the local shop and didn't climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time we had to go half a mile.
“But she was right. We didn't have the 'green thing' in our day.
“Back then we washed the baby's Terry Towel nappies because we didn't have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 3kw of wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids had hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
“But that young lady is right. We didn't have the 'green thing' back in our day.
“Back then, we had one radio or TV in the house not a TV in every room and the TV had a small screen the size of a big handkerchief – remember them? -- not a screen the size of Scotland.
“In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We pushed the mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
“But she's right; we didn't have the 'green thing' back then.
“We drank from a tap or fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
“But we didn't have the 'green thing' back then.
“Back then people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's £25,000 people carrier which cost the same as a whole house did before the 'green thing.'
“We had one electrical outlet in a room not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances and we didn't need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pub!
“But isn't it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the 'green thing' back then?”
WHEN you are dazzled while drinking a cup of tea it isn’t often because of floodwater.
But so great is the lake on Lodmoor nature reserve in Weymouth that it was forcing customers in the Lookout café at Bowleaze to shield their eyes from sunshine reflecting off the water.
The site was actually more aquatic than land and it is clearly going to take a long time before levels return to normal.
GARY Willis was recently appointed the new chairman of the Town Mill Trustees in Lyme Regis. He is originally from London and grew up in Essex, eventually settling in the Wye Valley before moving to Lyme Regis in 1999. Gary, married for 25 years, works in environmental protection, running an organisational development and project consultancy for the past 25 years, helping large trans global companies sort out their problems.
HOW did you come to be involved with The Town Mill?
Boys and toys is probably the simplest answer. I had visited The Town Mill and a local friend had been involved in the renovation works, it just attracted me. I had decided in 2008/9 to reduce my work demands in part to build a house in Lyme. After the house was built, doing other things rather than working all the time became attractive and the Town Mill was one of those other things. Involvement beyond being a miller has been driven by need and recognising that my organisational problem solving skills could help the Town Mill grow and develop.
WHAT'S next for the mill?
Now I know the Town Mill well, something that has taken a surprisingly long time to achieve, I realise what a fabulous place it is. The complex, with its ancient buildings, historical engineering works and wonderful artisans striving to make an imaginative living, is in my experience unique. The way this extended team with differing interests, challenges and demands work together to make the Town Mill the exciting place it is should be a model to copy and hone – the Town Mill is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Where next is all about harnessing what is unique about the Town Mill and getting others to experience it. We have just submitted a bid to the Lottery for a large chunk of cash to help us create an interactive digital and model based heritage centre at the Town Mill. We now have a tense wait for seven weeks to see if we have been successful.
WHAT do you hope to achieve as chairman of the trustees?
We have been working hard over the last few months to build a vision for the future of the Town Mill and a business plan to guide us towards making it a reality – anyone interested in reading this can get an email copy by emailing email@example.com. There is a lot to do and for all the effort to be worthwhile, the Town Mill needs to be an integral part of the Lyme Regis community. To me, this means offering more for those who live in Lyme and having more of Lyme’s residents actively involved in making it happen. To drive this all forward we have set up a number of clusters of activity – from developing the skills of a miller to designing/developing the Town Mills’ open spaces – each of these dozen or so clusters will have small teams driving change and development. The ‘milling’ area is a good example, we aim to enable those who come to work with us to develop unique skills in the historical process of flour milling. This reflects the start of what I want to see happening at the Town Mill – more going on, involving more people, to be able to offer a more interesting and engaging experience for all who come to The Town Mill.
WHAT do you like about Lyme Regis?
It’s in Dorset and on a spectacular piece of coastline. It has a vibrant community pursuing lots of different interests - for a small town there is a lot going on. The theatre is a great example of what makes Lyme different, a small venue in a small town that manages to attract some really first rate acts. Although Lyme relies on tourism and has a lot of people who come here for a change after working hard, it still feels like a town working for itself, it has a heart. The heritage and energy of the town give it a good feel.
WHAT do you think the town is missing, or what would you change?
Although Lyme focuses hard on making the location high on the agenda of visitors to the West Country and those who chose to retire here, not enough attention is paid to those who live, work and bring up families here. As an example, I find the amount of time that has been spent trying to create a park for skateboarders beyond belief. The drive for affordable housing is also seems somewhat under developed. Overall I would like to see more co-operation across all the organisations and individuals that shape Lyme’s future with a clear focus on the needs and aspirations of all who live and work here.
WHAT are your personal interests?
When people answer ‘walking’ as a hobby it always sounds odd, but it is part of why I love Lyme – my favourite walk is over Golden Cap to the Anchor in Seatown. I spend a lot of my year lost on some mountain pass somewhere in the world. I get a lot of satisfaction from design and have spent time designing whole houses or parts of houses – making something work on paper and then in reality is very rewarding. Photography is another long standing interest, although one that gets little time these days. Lastly riding my old Royal Enfield Bullet – when the rain stops.
WHERE'S your ideal holiday destination?
Caribbean, somewhere like St Lucia – some good sized hills, great diving and lots of natural history, either that or somewhere in the Himalayas – deserted high altitude places with wonderful vistas.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
CRAIG Womble, originally from Derbyshire, came to Dorset via the Navy where he served in a variety of roles over his service, including an aircraft handler and firefighter. His first draft ‘down south’ in 1982 was to Yeovilton, and his last sea draft was on the aircraft carrier, HMS Invincible. He joined up, he says, because it looked like an ‘interesting job’. It was in much the same frame of mind that he came to the Volunteer Centre, Dorset, initially to run the organisation’s volunteer garden help scheme on a part-time basis. After just a few months part-time Craig became full time and is now deputy manager at the organisation’s base in Dorchester, where he has now worked for over a decade.
WHAT attracted you to the job in the first place?
People, I like being around people, and like the Navy some of the skills are transferrable – organising my time and other people’s time to best advantage with a team. But of course it’s a little bit different and not so much results-driven, and everyone we work with is a volunteer, apart from a handful of paid staff in the office.
DOES it make any difference that people are volunteers and don’t have to do what they are asked to?
Not really. All the volunteers I have ever worked with are here because they want to be here and have a sense of purpose. They’re not here for the money and they want to get something else out of if. There are more and more people wanting to volunteer and most of them are looking to do something meaningful where their contribution can make a difference.
HAS the type of volunteer changed over the years?
To some extent – we are now getting more people from professional backgrounds, largely because of redundancy or taking early retirement, although the number of older volunteers has dropped off a bit lately. However, this has been made up for by an influx of younger people, often looking to get work experience.
AND what sort of work do people give their time to?
It can be anything – there is always a need for volunteer drivers, we can never get enough. Some offer general office support for organisations, some are keen to mentor older or younger people, many work with people with disabilities, some are active in marketing organisations and we still have a lot of hands-on roles such as the garden scheme, where volunteers help others who are not able to look after their garden any longer and can’t afford paid help.
AND I guess rules and regulations have tightened up over the years?
Yes, and quite rightly. Those working with vulnerable people need to have their backgrounds checked and we, ourselves, offer training in areas such as health and safety, first aid, mentoring and supporting people as well as customer service skills. For some of our volunteers, younger people in particular, these skills and the experience they have with us are useful in finding a job or setting out on a career. People do tend to move on and we want them to move on.
SO how many volunteers and opportunities do you have across Dorset?
We used to have hundreds of volunteers and opportunities, now it’s literally thousands. We have about 12,000 volunteers on our books but people do move in and out of volunteering so the figure is quite fluid. We also have about 2,000 vacancies at any one time, but that’s never enough. Our biggest challenge is ensuring there is enough choice of opportunities for volunteers, spread across the county.
SO you’re a bit like a dating agency?
In a way… and of course the better we know the volunteer and the organisations we work with the better the match. We do expect the organisations we work with to have proper volunteer policies and to treat volunteers as they would their staff, that they offer training and induction and can offer expenses and have policies such as inclusivity and non-discrimination.
DO you have your own favourite projects?
I do like projects where we can see an end result. Personally, I still quite like to get hands-on and if I get a chance I’m quite likely to get out of the office and go and help. The volunteers seem to like it as well if you are working alongside them and it gives them a chance to talk about anything which they may be concerned about.
IF there was anything which would make your life easier at work, what would it be?
I would like to see more funding support. It’s very much hand to mouth here and without help from local councils and other organisations our life would be much more difficult. But of course, times are harder for them now as well, which is worrying, although the trend to use volunteers in organisations is growing and there is more and more people who want to volunteer.
AND outside of work, do you have hobbies?
I dabble in antiques, it’s been an interest for a number of years. I will often go to the events they hold at Shepton Mallett. I’m also keen on fishing - coarse, sea and game and for eight years I was a football coach at the time my lad was playing from about the ages of eight to 16. I do go and see films, usually with my wife or daughter, although I wouldn’t describe myself as a film fan I like productions which have a powerful message - Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom was just superb.
WHAT sort of people would you like to have to dinner?
I like sporty people, especially those with a bit of character; Ian Botham I could sit and chat to for hours. I like people who have got strong opinions, someone who says it as it is, and who doesn’t take offence if you are critical of their views.
AND what would you eat?
Italian or Indian. My dad was born in India so we always had a lot of traditional curries, I like fish curries and meat. I’d hope my wife would cook, she’s a great cook, I usually do the easier stuff, curries or a stew.
AND when the day comes for you to take retirement – do you think you will find some time to volunteer?
Yes, I would probably come back as a volunteer if it was a practical role, assuming I could still do a practical role in a few years’ time! I like working with people and supporting people, and working with a team, so I can’t see me sitting around and doing nothing.
Oh, how we miss debate!
I attended last week’s council meeting in Lyme not because it was first to be held under the spectre of their new code of conduct but because Francesca was on holiday.
The agenda didn’t look very interesting, they rarely do these days, but there had been some exchanges on Facebook which indicated there might be a few fireworks. In the end, no more than damp squibs. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the council so contrite.
Having agreed their new voluntary code of conduct at a previous meeting, good behaviour was certainly the order of the day.
I had commissioned former Fleet Street scribe Geoff Baker, probably the only person in Lyme who would challenge me for being the most unpopular man in the Guildhall, to write a sketch-type piece for this week’s View, similar in style to the vastly entertaining parliamentary sketch columns in the nationals.
Only eight out of 13 councillors (numbers are down by one due to Daryl Turner’s resignation) were present which begs the question, as an election approaches, whether Lyme actually needs 14 people to run the town efficiently.
Most councillors spent much of the 90 minutes in open council with their heads bowed and there was a distinct lack of debate. Ah debate. How we miss that.
Even the one subject I thought would spark a tasty quote or two - the dogs on the beach policy - was a disappointment. Michaela Ellis opposed a review of the policy but no one defended the recommendation, not even Mark Gage who waxed so eloquently about canines being demonised in Lyme at a previous meeting.
I don’t think we should read too much into this. With only eight present, Mark’s majority had dissipated, even if only for one meeting, and I am sure that the argument over whether dogs should be allowed on Lyme’s beaches without a lead will surface again.
But Michaela seemed quite pleased. It was the first time she had managed to win a crucial vote for a couple of years!
BEFORE a brick is laid Lyme Regis town councillors are being asked by West Dorset to come up with suitable names for the three streets that will form the 46-home development planned for the Woodberry Down site.
Through their weekly briefing they were asked to come up with some suitable names. Quick to reply was Councillor Rikey Austin who suggested names linked to the town’s literary heritage such as Chesterton, Longfellow, Austin (sic), Tolkien, Blake, Hollis and Fowles.
I assume that will be Austen as in Jane Austen, spelt with an e and not with an i, as printed in the agenda report for this week’s Town Mangement Committee meeting when the matter will be considered.
Although many people in Lyme would be quite happy for a road to be named after an Austin with an i - that, of course, would be Barbara Austin MBE, six times mayor of this town who died last year.
The precedent, of course, has already been set with Applebee Close and Henry’s Way, named after two former mayors of this town - Dennis Applebee and the incomparable Henry Broom.
The minutes also record that Councillor Austin (with an i not an e) has recently discovered that Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is based on George Somers’ ship, “The Sea Venture” wrecking off Bermuda (a fact long known by those of us who have lived in Lyme all our lives) and has come up with a number of associated names - Prospero, Miranda, Caliban, Bermuda and Sea Venture. Councillor Lucy Campbell favoured links to fossils and put forward Ammonite Avenue and Lias Place.
Two dramatic days in the life of Lyme…
LYME’S main street remains as buoyant as ever with new names appearing above the shops regularly.
I was prompted to think about the changing face of our main street when I saw a photo on the fascinating Lyme Nostagia site on Facebook, posted by Lyme boy Adam Austin, son of former mayor Barbara Austin, of the runaway lorry incident in Broad Street in 1960.
It was the first time I had seen that dramatic picture for many years. I was 12 at the time and was shopping for my grandmother, who lived in Silver Street, with one of my boyhood friends, Rikey Larcombe, who later moved to the Bournemouth area, cousin of Howard, Colin and Brian.
It was a very traumatic experience. I distinctly remember hearing the commotion and, as we turned to look up the street, we could see PC Bill Habgood, throw his helmet to the ground and run down in front of the runwaway furniture lorry transporting Cub Scouts which crashed into The Shambles after colliding with several vehicles on the way down.
It was very frigtening and there were many casualties. We ran down the street and up the alley to the Masonic Hall to get out of the way.
The photo of the mayhen afterwards, which appeared on Facebook, was taken by the the late Alderman Douglas Fortnam from the top floor of the council offices and appeared in the national press the following day and also won a photographic award. I Googled the pic and found there was just one copy available for purchase on eBay which I acquired from an American agency for $16.
Several years later one of the first big stories I covered as a young reporter was the runaway lorry which crashed into the London Inn in 1965, another highlytraumatic event.
Please can we have spring?
EVERY one of us is an expert on rain coming down but just recently one scene in Weymouth town centre made people an expert on rain going up.
So strong was the wind – clocked locally at nearly 80mph – that it was whipping the surface off large puddles in Bond Street and slashing water in to shoppers’ faces.
Torrential rain added to the misery by coming down so heavily in great drops that the force of them hitting the pavement bounced water into the air.
That briefly presented people with a sort of haze around knee height which was then snatched away by monstrous gusts of wind strong enough to knock pedestrians over.
To add insult to injury, the whole lot packed it in about half an hour later and sunshine broke out leaving me literally steaming in the car on the way home.
We had to open windows to quickly disperse condensation and more joy awaited me when I got home where the by now fierce conditions had started to rip the roof off our small side extension.
Only a wooden hammer and some hasty work on a large section of lead flashing which was starting to flap about saved the day… during which it poured with rain.
My neighbour solicitously asked how I was doing, so I told her. She left it at that, wished me well and retreated back indoors.
I hate being wet and worse was to follow when I had to get up in the middle of the night and repeat my wooden hammer repairs two days later when a colossal storm badly smashed up our garden and again threatened to tear the side extension roof off!
Please can we have Spring?!
Celebrating Commonwealth Day
WEYMOUTH and Portland will be celebrating Commonwealth Day soon, an event which can trace its roots back more than a century.
Empire Day as it used to be called was first introduced in Canada in 1898 and in the UK in 1904, a celebration usually marked by fireworks or by people attending community bonfires.
It was not until 1958 that Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day and it was another 18 years before Canada’s proposal was adopted by all Commonwealth nations to generally unify celebrations on the second Monday in March.
Weymouth and Portland will be marking the occasion by raising a flag outside the council offices on North Quay.
This year’s theme is Team Commonwealth while previous themes have ranged from Music to Women as Agents of Change.
No wonder shops are empty
WEYMOUTH shops have not had the easiest of Christmases while January has been something of a disaster, so it is interesting to hear the council’s role in one tale of woe.
Trying to make a bit of money to support their other business, a local couple rented out an empty town centre shop for seven weeks in the run up to Christmas to sell seasonal gifts.
They didn’t make a lot of money but at least enough to cover their rent and make a small profit to reward their long hours in pretty difficult trading circumstances.
But no sooner had New Year come and gone than the couple had a nice letter from Weymouth and Portland council dropping through their letterbox asking them to pay business rates for the seven weeks they had had temporary use of the shop.
Now I value my readers’ safety, so I want you all to sit down before you read the next bit as I don’t want you falling over and hurting yourself because you’ve fainted.
When the couple opened the letter they found that the business rates bill the council wanted them to pay for just seven weeks was £1,800.
It devastated their profits and they are still trying to work out if they’ve actually made a loss.
And the council’s response to this delay in payment? Well, they’ve threatened to take the couple to court for non-payment. No wonder Weymouth as a shopping attraction is on its knees!
I’m just a dedicated follower of fashion!
ANYONE been following the Spring fashions? No, neither have I.
Waterproofs are more my mark at the moment, but there were sharp intakes of breath in Weymouth town centre when a confident young woman briefly stepped out in a stylish dress which the gusty elements gave her a few problems with.
She was only in sight for about 15 seconds before diving into a shop, but her departure sparked keen interest among the women who had spotted her outfit.
Wonder where she bought that, I heard one woman ask her husband, as if he should somehow have such vital facts at his fingertips.
A couple of others both liked what they saw and said she was brave to risk hypothermia by wearing it in the cold and blustery conditions, but it was the men’s reactions I treasured, a sort of mass joyous disbelief followed by a furtive look sideways to make sure their obvious appreciation hadn’t dropped them right in it.
Naturally, of course, there was no danger of my own observations getting me into any hot water… well at least not until my wife reads this.
I’m sure she’ll accept my explanation that it was purely for literary purposes and a wish to keep her up to date with the latest trends.
On second thoughts, perhaps she won’t believe me.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
HEIDI Davies is a joint leader at the Gundry Lane Baby and Toddler Group in Bridport. The group closed in 2012 because of a lack of volunteers, but with the help of other parents, Heidi got it up and running again last year. The group received a donation of £500 from Bridport Round Table last week which has gone towards providing much-needed equipment to improve the safety and comfort of facilities for the children.
HOW long have you lived in Bridport?
I have lived in Bridport all my life - 34 years.
WHAT do you like about living in the town?
It has a nice close-knit community - when you are out and about you always see someone you know. The events that happen through the year like the carnival, torchlight, Christmas cheer night and hat festival, are all good fun and are enjoyed by all the family. It is lovely being so near to the beach and having lots of nice countryside around – it is great for the kids.
WHAT do you do for a living?
I have always worked with children in various different settings. I was a nanny for a local family before working in a nursery, then I worked at a school and also as a childminder. But now I am currently being kept busy with my own three children and helping to run the family business.
WHEN was the toddler group set up?
Gundry Lane Toddler Group has been running for over 30 years by various different volunteers but when the group closed in 2012 due to lack of volunteers we really missed it and felt that there was not really any other parent/child activities in the area on a Thursday. So in January 2013 some friends and I decided to get it up and running again.
HAS it been a success so far? What benefits does it bring for children and parents?
The group has been very successful and we have been really busy. It is a friendly and relaxed environment in which children can have fun and play with others. It gives parents, grandparents and carers a chance to meet and chat with other adults. The hall is a good size so is great for the children to be able to use up some of their energy, especially when the weather is not good enough for outdoor activities.
DO parents provide all of the equipment? How important are donations like the one you received from Round Table?
The equipment we have is bought using funds raised from our entry fee and fundraising events. A lot of the toys/equipment have been built up over the years, and as some of it is quite dated and well used, we are trying to replace things as and when our funds allow us to. The funding we received from the Round Table for the new mats was brilliant because we would never have been able to afford to buy them otherwise and they were desperately needed to make the play areas safer and more comfortable for the children.
WHAT is the biggest thing you have learned from being a mother?
The biggest thing I have learned from being a mum is to take time during the chaos of day to day life to enjoy those special moments with the children because they grow up so quickly, but those special times together will be the happy memories that they remember.