Bride Valley News

March 2003


Church Service Times
From The Clergy
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Burton Bradstock - The Church + other village organisations
Shipton Gorge
Puncknowle & West Bexington
Litton Cheney
Long Bredy
Thought for the Month
Diary of Events for all Parishes - This month - check it out

St Mary's Burton Bradstock FROM THE CLERGYSt Mary's Litton Cheney


Candlemas is the odd name given by the Church to February 2nd, the day when precisely 40 days after Christmas, the Bible tells us that Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus in the Jerusalem temple, according to Jewish law.  An old man, Simeon, took Jesus in his arms and blessed him, and then an 84-year-old temple employee, Anna, saw Jesus and 'jumped for joy'. 

I love the story of Anna, firstly because that is my wife's name, but more importantly because of the hope it carries with it.  An 84-year-old in Palestine 2000 years ago would have been rare indeed, because life expectancy was so much lower then.  Anna would have been very near the end of her life, short of breath, tired, arthritic; she had been a widow for many years and she was still working officially.  We can imagine a bent old lady, hobbling through the temple, and moaning about her lot.  But we would be wrong.  Anna was on the look-out for good things, good news, and the old woman whom we would have expected to be tired and jaded, almost partied like a child when she recognised Jesus the Christ.  What an example she is to so many of us today, who in the midst of so much have made it a rule of life to grumble. 

Let's use Anna's attitude to reflect on the proposal that a large empty building on Portland could be used for asylum seekers:

It's great that Dorset may be able to help people, the vast majority of whom have been driven from their own country by poverty, insecurity and fear. 

It's great that a derelict building may now be used in works of care and love. 

It's great that there may be many extra jobs for people who live in a local unemployment blackspot. 

It's great that there may be more disposable income to support local tradespeople. 

It's great that barriers of race, creed and colour have the chance of being crossed locally. 

Now I realise that it is not quite as simple as I'm suggesting and there may be problems, but where should we start?  With the opportunity to look out in love and joy to the disadvantaged or with opposition to anything that might upset the backyards of the advantaged?  A probable positive plays a possible negative - where do we as individuals stand? 

Anthony Ashwell


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Valley Notes


Keswick in Devon

23rd Annual Bible Convention

10 - 14 March 2003

All Saints Church


Speaker: The Rev'd Ian Coffrey

Monday           7.30 pm

Tuesday - Friday   10.45 am and 7.30 pm

Lent Course at the East-end of the Valley

Our course will be run on the Wednesdays in Lent at 7.30pm in Puncknowle Hall (12th, 19th, 26th March, 2nd and 9th April) and will look at the events leading up to, and then the Passion of Jesus Christ itself, in St Mark's Gospel.  Although this continues the Bible Study that the Wednesday evening group has been following, for Lent it will be more formalised.  The evening will last up to 1½ hours, but definitely be over by 9.00 pm and will consist of coffee and biscuits to start with, a short act of worship, a Bible Study with the opportunity for discussion and questions, and a formal ending. 

All are welcome to this course, whichever end of the Valley you live, and it is helpful to bring a Bible. 

Outline Programme: Puncknowle Hall, Wednesdays 7.30pm. 

12th March            St Mark Chapter 11

19th March            St Mark Chapter 12

26th March            St Mark Chapter 13

2nd April               St Mark Chapter 14

9th April                St Mark Chapter 15

Please come along if you can, and you don't need to say anything during the study! 

Anthony Ashwell

Lent Course -West end of the Valley

Over the Wednesday evenings of Lent I shall give a series of addresses at St Mary's Burton Bradstock, on 'The Seven Deadly Sins'.  The sins may be deadly, but the addresses will not be!

The first will be included in Holy Communion for the Beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, 5th March, at 7 pm.  The succeeding ones will be at 7.30 pm on the following Wednesdays, when there will be ample time for comments, questions and discussion, and we shall close by singing Compline (Night Prayer) on each of the latter six occasions.

These are the details of the addresses:

March    5th           (Ash Wednesday)               7.00 pm  Pride

               12th                                                        7.30 pm   Covetousness

               19th                                                        7.30 pm   Lust

               26th                                                        7.30 pm   Envy

April         2nd                                                       7.30 pm   Gluttony

                 9th                                                        7.30 pm   Anger

               16th                                                        7.30 pm   Sloth                      

John Atkinson


The group meets each Thursday evening and alternates between Prayer and Bible Study.    Arriving from 7.30p.m. we begin at 7.45p.m. aiming to finish by about 9.15p.m.  All are most welcome.

For further details contact Paul ..., Tel ...

MAR 6 COLOSSIANS 1. 24-29   7 Norburton, Burton Bradstock

MAR 13 PRAYER                     6 Baglake, Litton Cheney

MAR 20 COLOSSIANS 2. 1-5       West Lodge, Littlebredy              

MAR 27PRAYER The Threshing Barn,  Higher Kingston Russell  

Mothers' Union

Monday 17th March  Prayers for Ireland at St.Martin's Church, Shipton Gorge at 10.30am with coffee afterwards at St. Catherine's Cross, Shipton Lane.                          

Saturday 15th March   Diocesan Spring Council......East Stour

Tuesday 25th March  Lady Day Deanery Festival at St. John's West Bay at 3.00pm ... the Bride Valley Branch to man the Bring & Buy Stall

Yvette Smith



Saturday 1st  March

Led by members of HOLY FOOLS

Come & discover the fun, joy & ideas behind Clowning for Christ

MORNING WORKSHOP: 9.30 - 12.30

Mainly for adults & older children -

"Discover your child within" - basic play & explanation


All ages, young children welcome -

"Clowning & circus skills"

Bride Valley Scout Group

COFFEE MORNING at Puncknowle Church Hall on Saturday 22nd March at 11.00am.  Please support our fundraising efforts for a New Scout Hut.  We would be very grateful for donations of Cakes, Books, Plants, Toys, Bric-a-brac and Raffle Prizes.  Please either bring on the morning or contact:-

Ruth Brierley - Puncknowle 898283 
Marion Foot - Swyre 897165
Nic Armstrong - Littlebredy 482452
Coo Jones - Litton Cheney 482589
Steve Dove - Burton Bradstock 897695

Congratulations to the Scouts who recently completed a sponsored hike and raised a total of £225 for the Oxfam Appeal for Africa.  Well done, and thank you to all those who so generously sponsored them. 

Ruth Brierley Secretary BVSG

Burton Bradstock School

Many years ago in just my second year of teaching I received a note from a parent which began, 'Dear Sir or Madman..'  I have often pondered whether or not this was a genuine mistake or a Freudian slip.  Those of you who were unfortunate enough to have seen my photograph in the Western Gazette earlier this term may be forgiven for thinking the latter is true.  The article (containing a number of inaccuracies) was not lost on my predecessor either - we received an amusing fax from David on the subject.  So I suppose I ought really to thank the newspaper for the entertainment it provided.

Saying 'thank you' is really the theme for this month as there are a number of people to whom we as a school continue to be most grateful.  This term the P.T.A. have provided us with new netball posts and reading books for the younger children.  All these items are being eagerly used and there are further plans in the pipeline.  Thanks too must go to Chris Wilkinson who has generously replenished our stock of footballs.  The list seems endless as I think of all those who have given of their time to support us in so many ways - hearing children read; clearing and sorting the kitchen; running sports clubs and so the list goes on.  On behalf of the children, parents, staff and governors, a huge thanks.

Towards the end of last year Frankie Jones sent off for information about the Blue Peter Appeal.  The end product was a bring and buy sale last month.  Well done to Frankie, her brother Mac and Sam Pinkett who together with a little help from their friends (and mums!) raised the terrific sum of £105.  Thank you to all who contributed to and supported this worthwhile event.  Remaining items were gratefully received by the Oxfam charity shop.

In school much of our efforts and resources are taken up with the core subjects and particularly with Literacy and Numeracy.  Occasionally it can be refreshing to 'break the mould' to do something different.  At the beginning of February Class 4 did just that when we spent a day at 'The Study Gallery', Poole.  I know the staff who accompanied the children enjoyed the trip but here are some extracts of what the children wrote in their thank you letters:

'Thanks for guiding us round The Study Gallery, you really made me think about the paintings' meanings and the ideas behind them. The prints were amazing too and I loved making my own.'

'My favourite bit was writing the poems about the paintings.'

'I'm much more interested in art now.'

'Martyn Brewster's pictures are amazing.'

'The charcoal sketches were really good and relaxing to look at.'

It is comments such as these that make it all so worthwhile.  They are also a timely reminder that such experiences can 'touch the parts that core subject areas cannot reach'.  These final thoughts are for me the icing on the cake:

'I had a lovely day and hope to come again to the Gallery.'

'Thank you for the great day out ..I had lots of fun.  I enjoyed it so much I would come back again and I would do it all again.'

Thank you.


Mark Stratta.

Burton Bradstock School P.T.A. '100 Club'

I would like to thank all existing members of the '100 Club' for their support during 2002-2003, and remind you that it is now time to renew your membership.  We always welcome new members, and for just £10 you have forty-four chances of winning a money prize. (There are three cash prizes a month of £5, £10 & £20.  There are four additional £10 prizes in August and December.)

Forms to purchase tickets can be collected from the school office.  I wish you all luck in the coming year 2003-2004.

Nichola Herbert   100 Club Secretary.

January 100 Club Winners:

               £20 - M. Banks

               £10 - D. Reeves

                 £5 - L. Wilson

First Steps Parent and Toddler Group meet on Wednesdays from 10. 00am till 12 noon during term time. We offer toys and activities for all pre-school children, coffee and chat for parents and carers. The group meets at Long Bredy Village Hall on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of the month. On the second Wednesday we meet in Little Bredy Hall and on the fourth Wednesday we meet in either Little Bredy or Puncknowle. For further details contact: Jo (Litton Cheney) ... or Julie (Puncknowle) 897178 or Rachel (Kingston Russell and Long Bredy) 482246

Thorners PTA

The outcome of the school pool questionnaire was that the children and parents would like the pool to remain and be heated. Options are being considered as how to do this most efficiently and how to raise funds, not only to provide heating but maintain it.

We have a strong committee of 11 people at Thorners PTA now. Just two posts to fill!

The cheese and wine evening was cancelled due to a lack of ticket sales but will be rearranged to a more convenient evening in the future.

Thank you all for your continued support.                                                                                                                                               Dianne ffoulkes (Chair)

Thorner's CE VA Primary School

Easter is so late this year that we will still be in the middle of term when this reaches your doorstep, a long term which will be marked by a concert where the emphasis is on the individual skills of our pupils.  So often these days we try to suppress the competitiveness of being 'the best'.  I know of some schools that have been criticised for having the non-competitive sports' day, or on the other hand the too competitive element, where the same person wins the same race year after year and the parents wish an accident would happen which would prevent that child taking part so that someone else, anyone else could win!  Our concert is there for any child, of any ability to share their success with the audience, it may be that they are a future member of a well known orchestra or just the person who wants to be able to play for their own enjoyment and relaxation.  I personally think that there is a place for both, some people are naturally competitive while others enjoy celebrating the success of their families and friends.  As teachers and parents we do have to get the balance right, knowing when to show our ability to the highest standard, and when to appreciate the success of others.  The concert that takes place at Easter, gives us all the chance to listen to children who have maybe only just started receiving music tuition and appreciate their progress over the next few years as they persevere with the intricacies of a musical instrument.  More importantly it gives the pupils some reason to keep up their learning.  However young or old we are, we always need something to strive for to give our life meaning.  Just recently as part of our RE sessions I asked the children in my class how they would like to be remembered, and was delighted when a number of them answered 'a good friend'.  Some obviously wanted to be the next David Beckham, but I wonder how many of them will have the will and determination to carry through their ideas as it does take dedication and determination to be the best in any area.  If we don't try our best we will never know what is possible, so go on try to be the best!  If you would like to attend the concert and encourage our young folk, look out for the notices or contact the school office for finalised details.

Alison Johnstone


Litton Cheney Youth Club

The Youth Club continues to meet for those in Littton Cheney and the surrounding area aged 8 - 17 years. The proposed date for the Annual General Meeting is Tuesday 18th March to which everyone is very welcome. Read the Litton Notes ( page 32 ) for March's dates and for further details contact Paul Kingston 482384 or James Williams 482779

Bride Valley R.B.L. Women's Section

The Easter Sale will be held in the W.I. Hall Burton Bradstock on 21st April . There will be the usual stalls plus teas and admission is free.  Any contributions towards the stalls will be gratefully received.


The R.B.L.Social Evening this month will be held at the Three Horseshoes, Burton Bradstock at 7.30pm on Monday 31st March



Do you get your allowances in cash from Burton Bradstock Post Office and do you wish to continue?

Shortly you will be receiving a letter from the Government ( DSS) detailing the available options.

If you wish to continue to draw your Pension/Allowance in cash from the Burton Bradstock Post Office, then the preferred option is to open a POST OFFICE CARD ACCOUNT.

After completing the form, and if you require help to complete this form please call in to the Post Office, you will then receive a "Plastic card" which you will use ( instead of an Allowance book) to obtain your cash. This service is free of charge.

It is vital we use our Village Post Office or we could LOSE IT!

Burton Bradstock Parish Council and Village Society

Thank you

Many thanks to everyone who supported my coffee morning last month.  I was able to send £80 to the Bridport Social & Education Centre, a day centre for adults with learning disabilities.  My card selling will be ongoing, with all profits to the day centre, so if you are ever in need of cards please give me a ring (897695) to arrange a convenient time to look at them. 

Lesley Dove


Our next meeting will be held at the home of Pauline Macauley, on March 12th at 8.00pm. Pauline will talk about her 3 years in Bangladesh involved in Primary Education. Guests and new members always welcome.                                                                                 Ursula Bayer 482252

Lost Roads of Dorset

Footpaths, Bridleways, Byways, UCRs .some of the extensive list naming our rights of access to parts of the County where the metalled roads don't take us. Dorset, like others, is riddled with them, some extensively used and some forgotten. But do you know much about them? 

A few years ago the Government decided to look into extending the public's access to the countryside, better known as 'the right to roam', and introduced the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000).    It was also intended to clarify all of the existing 'rights of way' where local authorities in the past hadn't had time or had mis-labelled some of the routes.  For walkers it's probably fine as it is, and will be, but for others, who wish access in other ways, there is a possibility of much greater restrictions.  The solution is simple.  Just identify all the wrongly named routes and correct them. Not so easy!

To correct the status of access, the Dorset's Definitive map has to be changed, and to do that you need lots and lots of research. Old maps studied (Tithe, Finance Act, Ordinance Survey, etc) identifying landowners, establishing local usage (Can anyone remember using it with a horse & put!) etc.  What's this all about? Well, many 'user' groups need help to gather this information to present to the Local Authorities to enable them to correct the 'wrong' Rights of Way. So.....can you help us by doing some research to help retain the 'Lost Roads of Dorset'? If so please contact me, Peter Bailey, on Bridport 424716.  Thank you.

Peter Bailey


It is important for local democracy that there should be sufficient candidates for the local elections on 1st May 2003. Do you have the interests of your village or town at heart? Are you public spirited enough to stand for election? If so, please consider putting your name forward - your community needs you.

If you are interested and would like to know more please telephone the Dorset Association of Parish & Town Councils (Tel: 01305 260972 ~ 24 hours) or e-mail the Association on

Or you can log onto the Association's website for an explanation of who can stand for election, details of the process and ( if elected ) what the role of councillor means, the time commitment needed, and other helpful information.

David Peet    Chief Executive  ~  Dorset Association of Parish & Town Councils


Our Chairwoman Dorothy Randell writes "the snowdrops, crocuses daffodils and primroses are coming into bloom making a pleasing sight after the drab days of January and February. Hopefully the worst of the winter months will soon be over. We can look around the garden to see what will need attention and make plans for a colourful summer display. As soon as the ground is dry enough in the vegetable garden the seed bed will want to be prepared for sowing and in the flower garden the ground will benefit from a forking over to allow air in".

A note for your diary from Pam Jukes that she has organised an outing for Thursday 12th June to visit the National Trust house and garden, Arlington Court near Barnstable in the morning and a N.G.S. garden with tea at Kerscott House in the afternoon. All details in the usual end of March newletter - but you may ring Pam on 897267.

Norma has also organised an accompanied tour around Abbotsbury Gardens with Steve Griffiths the Curator, which includes giving the historical perspective of these wonderful Gardens, on May 1st at 10.30.a.m. The camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas should prove a superb spectacle. We will get a group discount, but the charge will be approximately £5.50. Please ring Norma on the number below if you are interested. The maximum number for this escorted tour is 30.

Our next meeting is on Monday March 10th when Anne Stevens will talk on Perennials - as usual we look forward to having new members, so do come along.

Don't forget the monthly competition of the "best " from your garden and also a donation for the raffle would be appreciated to offset the expenses of hiring the hall and speakers.

Norma Millard   ( Club Secretary )  897774

Bride Valley Young Farmers

As members will know a Whist Drive takes place every month to raise money for our club. The next Whist Drive will take place on the 21st March at 7.30pm at Thorners School. Other dates for your diary are: 11th April and the 16th May. If anyone could donate a prize, anything from a packet of tea to some toiletries, these would be gratefully received. Contact Rick on 482549 or Barbara Fry on 482596. The Whist Drive is open to everyone and new members will be very welcome.                                                  

We have a busy few months ahead. Our young farmers are off to Warmwell to use the Dry Ski slope and there is a trip to The Bredy Veterinary Centre. Other trips include: a visit to the new Police Station at Bridport, a sponsored Tractor Pull, a BBQ, Mountain Boarding, and a Summer Beach Party.

Bowling at Weymouth last month was great fun and enjoyed by all who came. We meet on alternate Wednesdays at 7.00pm at Thorners School;  new faces are very welcome, so come along and join us.

For more information contact Rick on: 01308482549

Burton Bradstock Players

Burton Bradstock Players are pleased to announce that this year's play production will he "Breath of Spring", a comedy by Peter Coke, to be presented at the W.I. Hall, Burton Bradstock, on 5th, 6th and 7th June 2003 at 7.30 p.m.  Auditions  will be  held  in  the  Reading  Room at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, 6th March 2003.  Please come!

For further details contact the Director:- Daphne Ekins 01308 897415

Used Stamps  Collection in Aid of the Joseph Weld Hospice.

Please see Puncknowle Section (  page 29 )for details.



Two open meetings took place on Wednesday the 15th January, so that as many villagers as possible could have their input into the Vital Villages Exercise. Vital Villages has been started by The Countryside Agency to allow local communities to ascertain their needs through meetings and questionnaires. Information gathered can be used to influence both West Dorset District Council, and the County Council, and for possible funding applications under the Vital Villages funding scheme which has provided funding for community schemes across Dorset and further afield.

The first meeting took place in the Bull Inn Swyre during the morning and the second, in the evening, at Puncknowle Church Hall. The meetings were well attended with 60 people in all airing their views as to what may be needed to enhance the quality of life in the three villages.

The response to this exercise will be evaluated by the Vital Villages Steering Group and a questionnaire will be drawn up and sent to all the households in the three villages.

The Steering Group at present consists of the following:

Ken 897622 (Swyre)

Madeline 897318 (Swyre)

Peter 898410 (West Bexington)

Marion 898432 (Puncknowle)

Debbie and Nick 898506 (Puncknowle)

More people are welcome to join the Vital Villages Steering Group. Please phone any of the members to find out more about Vital Villages or if you are interested in helping or attending the regular meetings of the Steering Group.

The Vital Villages Steering Group would like to thank all those who attended and made it such a success and the valuable advice given by Dorset Community Action.


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BURTON BRADSTOCK St Mary's Burton Bradstock

Village Correspondent Mr Basil Dent

2, Norburton, Burton Bradstock. Tel:- (01308) 897125


Mid Week Worship -  

Holy Communion Wednesdays at 10.00 a.m. followed by coffee in the Rectory

Choir Practices                  Fridays at 6.00 p.m.

Bell Ringing Practices      Thursdays at 7.00pm

Gift Sunday                                          16th March            Church Mission Society    

The next Tiny Tots / Pram Service will be held on Friday 7th March at 11.00 am.

The next Healing Services at St Mary's will be held on Mondays 3rd March and 7th April, each at 7.00 pm.

Please note that Holy Communion with hymns (BCP) will be on Sunday 23rd March at 11.00 am, and not the 30th.


Funeral                 17th February                       Ocean Bridge

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting takes place on Monday 24th March at 7.30 pm in church, for the election of Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors for the coming year, and to receive various annual reports.  Every member on the Church Electoral Roll may attend and vote.   I would like to see there as many as can possibly attend.  We shall need nominations for two Churchwardens (which must now be received in writing by the Rector before the commencement of the meeting -  ask him for a form); and nine representatives to serve on the Parochial Church Council.  Nominations for the PCC may be made either on the appropriate form available in church, or verbally at the meeting.

John Atkinson

Lent Lunches this year will be on Fridays 12 noon to 2.00 pm from the 7th March to 11th April inclusive.

                               Address                                 Charity

Mar  7th                 Porthkerry, Shadrack                           Tradecraft

      14th                 The Rectory                                          Alzheimer's Disease Society

      21st                  9 Barr Lane                                            The Children's Society

      28th                                 -                                                               -

Apr  4th                                 -                                                               -

      11th 37 Grove Road                      St Mary's Church

For details of the 28th March and 4th April please see the weekly pewsheet nearer the time.

Do please support these lunches if you can.  Soup, rolls etc. and coffee will be on the menu. As well as being able to give a donation to the charities, it is a social occasion where we can meet together over lunch. Everyone is most welcome, not just church members, so do ask a friend to come along too.

Pam Atkinson

Church Flowers for Easter.   If you wish to give a donation for Easter lilies in memory of family or friends, please put your donations in the envelopes provided, which you will find on the table in the south aisle of the church, and give to Pam Atkinson or deliver to the Rectory.  Please do not leave money/envelopes in the basket.  Thank you.

Decorating the Church for Easter.  We shall be decorating the church with flowers on Saturday 19th April from 10.00 am.  Everyone is most welcome to decorate the church for the festival, so do come along, and if possible bring a little greenery.  Thank you.

Pam Atkinson

Bridge Cottage Stores would like to help St. Mary's Church by donating £2.00 for every breakfast  sold until the end of March on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Please ask at the shop.                               Liz Comely

We would like to thank, once again, Bridge Cottage Stores, Burton Bradstock Cars, The Hive Cafe and The Three Horsehoes for their generous support of the Appeal and would urge our readers to support their fund-raising activities.


Mr Trevor Binns from Radio Solent was the speaker at the February meeting. He explained how he arrived at the BBC via journalism and Hospital Radio. His time is now divided between radio and television. We were shown his camera and lap top computer costing a total of £2,500 comparing this with the cost of producing a programme in the past. The items seen on S.W. news in this area are usually filmed by Mr Binns whose enthusiasm for his work continues.

The Whist Drive was enjoyed by all present but it was disappointing that so few attended. Winners were Peter Colbert and Wendy Green.

Mary Burr reminded members that March is the last of the 100 Club draws, therefore members' renewals would be collected this month - cost £10,  new members welcome.

A Coffee & Hot Cross Bun morning in aid of Hall repairs will be held on Thursday 10th April at 10.30am. There will be a raffle and sales table. Please come and support us.

Joan Allen won Flower of the Month.

Next meeting Tues.11th March at  7.15pm. Speaker: Mrs Christine Shaw Subject: Machu Picu - lost city of the Incas.

Chris Clarke

Burton Bradstock Gardens Open 2003

Do you live in the centre of Burton Bradstock? If so are you willing to open your garden for our biennial event, held this year in aid of CancerCare Dorset, on Sunday June 22nd?  It does not need to be a huge area, often the small gardens are the most enjoyed, giving people ideas that they can take back to their own patch. If you are able to open, or can help in any way on the day, please contact:

                                                                     Heather Thomson, tel. 01308 897196


It was good, once again, to share in the obvious enjoyment of the impressive number of people who helped make Hickory Dickory Dock, brilliantly directed by Miles Bell, a success. 

You might think that the plot of this nursery rhyme would be a little too thin to create an event-packed pantomime lasting two and a half hours, but you would be wrong. We were at once transported to the village square where brightly dressed lads and lassies delighted us with song. Brash and be-jewelled Dame Foxtrot (Steve Vernon) was enough to terrify the heart of any man and the courtship of her by her beau, Willie Winkie (David Mayo) held us in delighted horror. Her several changes of costume became more garish and ornate as time moved on until  she appeared dressed with such gaudy extravagance that he at last succumbed to her charms. 

When the story opens Dame Foxtrot and her sweet daughter Mary (Christina Cheyne) are hounded by their landlord, the wicked Baron Hickory of Hickory Hall for ten year's arrears of rent. Clad in striking red, he is played convincingly by Len Green. Barbara Powell is his greedy but charming wife and Jake Dove their hilariously dim son, Herbert. The Baron's henchmen, Slap and Tickle (Josie and Libby Powell), provide plenty of laughs as they attempt to do their master's bidding. Help for the Foxtrots is at hand in the form of David (delightfully played by Stephanie Jarvis) a gypsy boy who at once falls for the charms of Mary. Dame Foxtrot is the owner of the grandfather clock that must not be allowed to strike one or the Black Imp will escape. Daphne Ekins was totally convincing as this nasty piece of work. Gillian Knight, dazzling in white gauze and tinsel, is the amazing Fairy Queen Snowdrift, flanked by her charming band of fairies and a pixie. With a swish of her magic wand, sadly bent and often ineffective, she tries hard to ward off the other villain of the piece, the evil magician the Wizard of Bong terrifyingly portrayed by Andrea Wilkinson, who has us trembling in our seats. Luckily the Imp's deadly opponent, the amusing Sprite, Elise Ripley, leads our good friends through Never-Never Land and the Fairy Glen to the Enchanted Lake and the Court of King Neptune where the king, Gary Lochowitz, is in full voice.

Altogether it was an entertaining romp with plenty of banter, jokes, good singing and movement skilfully choreographed by Shirley Ewart. The young mice were charming. Peter Billingham's scenery was magnificent. Wardrobe mistresses Elaine Colbert and Andrea Wilkinson produced vibrantly colourful costumes that were a pleasure to the eye. The musicians, Margaret Harding and Hannah Linford, added to the enjoyment. 

Well done Burton Bradstock Players. Please return next year and delight us again.

Sheila Spencer-Smith

Burton Bradstock Players

"Breath of Spring"     See Valley Notes  page 13 for further details


How lucky we all are to be blessed with the modern kitchen appliances that we enjoy today. That was the overwhelming conclusion of an extremely fascinating talk entitled 'Food Through The Ages' given by Mr Rodney Alcock, curator of Weymouth museun, to the Village Society on 17th January.

Cooking has been a great social art, but the 19th Century kitchen was often an extremely labour intensive 'torture chamber'. There were no fridges so food had to be kept on a cold slab and it often took an hour or more just to make a cup of tea!

We were shown examples of various cooking utensils including a square wooden plate which is the origin of the phrase 'a square meal'; all used to cook on an open kitchen range consuming enormous amounts of fuel.

After hearing about such culinary toil and hardship we were all quite content to return to our modern, centrally heated homes.

The next meeting of the society will be on 21st March when Captain R.C.Thornton, MNI RFA will give a talk on "The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service"                                                                                              

Peter Dutton

Burton Bradstock Youth Club.

The local Youth Club, which meets on a Friday evening in the Reading Room from 7.30-9.30pm, is in desperate need of some volunteers and helpers. You do not need to be an expert, just willing to give up a couple of hours once a month for your young people. So if you are an ageing juvenile get in touch with Fel Moore, Parish Clerk, or Elise Ripley for more information.

'Your Young People need you now!'

West Dorset District Local Plan.

The West Dorset District Local Plan is now available for people to comment on. It is available at Council Offices and Libraries until the 13th March 2003. The Parish Council wishes to make a detailed response to the Plan and would welcome comments from all parishioners on the Plan. In order to do this there will be an Open Meeting of the Parish Council on 4th March at 6.00pm in the Reading Room. So if you want to say something or want to know more, come along to the meeting.

Parish Council Elections May 2003.

Parish Council elections take place on the 1st May 2003 and the last date for nominations is the 1st  April 2003. The Parish Council could have up to four vacancies this time, so we are really looking for people to come forward and help the people of Burton Bradstock. The Parish Clerk is available for an informal chat about duties and responsibilities; why not give him a call on 01308 459001 or arrange a meeting to find out more! Support your local village, and have a say!

Fel Moore: Clerk to the Parish Council.

"Stoop and Scoop" Poster Campaign

In the last four weeks there has been considerable improvement on the lanes and pathways in and around the village. Thank you all for your co-operation.

Unfortunately there are still some regular "Black Spots" so please all maintain vigilance and if an offending owner is seen please report to the Environmental Health Officer ( Mr Mike Grindle   West Dorset District Council, Stratton House 58/60 High Street Dorchester DT1 IUZ or telephone 01305 252372 ) who will visit the offending person.

Parish Council

For information and news check out more of the Burton Bradstock website

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SHIPTON GORGE St Martin's Shipton Gorge

Village Correspondent: Mrs.Joy White

Eastcote, 3 Gullivers Orchard, Shipton Gorge




The Annual Parochial Church Meeting takes place on Thursday 3rd April at 6.00 pm in church, for the election of Churchwardens and six Parochial Church Councillors, and to receive various annual reports.  Every member on the Church Electoral Roll may attend and vote.   I would like to see there as many as can possibly attend.

We shall need nominations for two Churchwardens (which must now be received in writing by the Rector before the commencement of the meeting -  ask him for a form).  Nominations for PCC may be made verbally at the meeting.                                                          John Atkinson


It was a delight to see St Martin's Church, well filled with local children and their families, for this special service. The singing was joyful, and perhaps the highlight was to see the children with lighted candles forming a crucifix in the aisles.

After the service everyone was entertained in the Village Hall to tea and treats. A Special thank-you is expressed to all those who made this occasion possible. The collection raised £101.65 for the Weymouth branch of the Children's Society.

Janet Lane


This popular annual event will take place on Saturday 26th April from 10.00am - 12-00 noon. Details will appear in the April issue of the Bride Valley News.

In the meantime, as we all prepare for another busy gardening season, maybe a few seeds can be sown with the Village Plant Sale in mind. Proceeds will be divided between St Martin's Church Fund and a local charity.   Watch this space !

Janet Lane

ANNUAL PARISH MEETING - The Annual Parish Meeting will be held in the Village Hall on Wednesday 9th April at 7.00 for 7.30 p.m. - the speaker will be Mr. David Jenkins (Chief Executive - Dorset County Council). Come along, have a glass of wine and support your parish councillors at this important annual event. All parishioners are welcome.

John Bredemear - Parish Clerk


Sally Parker, chairperson of Bridport and Lyme Regis Crime Prevention Panel, has been presented with a certificate of commendation for services to local crime prevention schemes. As Shipton's Homewatch Co-ordinator, I  feel it is a well-earned award and congratulate Sally on her achievement. I am sure all Shipton Gorge residents will agree.

Frank Rogers

Frugal Lenten Lunch

There will be a Frugal Lenten Lunch at 15 Rockway, Shipton Gorge on Wednesday 19th March 2003 from 12 noon - 2.00pm. Do come and have a chat with your friends.

Phyllis Penney

Shipton Gorge Village Society

The first notice board is now up outside the New Inn. It can be used by the Village Society, Parish Council, Village Hall Trust and the P.C.C. The keys holders are John & Jean at the New Inn and Sally Parker. The second board, which will be down the bottom of the village outside Mrs N. Symes' house,  will be up in a few weeks and can be used by everyone.

THANK YOU NOTE -  We, the Village Society, would like to thank Mr Neil Barnsleys of Peas Hill for all the time he gave up to make the Notice Board; it is much appreciated.


There will be Bingo on Friday 4th April in the Village Hall starting at 7.30pm to help raise money for the Church Appeal. Donation of items for prizes would be most welcome. Please contact Sally Parker 897168, Jill Parsons 898636 or Heather Puttock at 14 Rosamond Avenue.


We would like to hear from anyone who would like to join our committee to help with street fair, quiz nights, bingo, coach trips and to help raise money for village needs. If you can help please contact Sally Parker on 897168

My grateful thanks to all the wonderful friends who have looked after me during my enforced stay in Sunny Bank!  Their constant concern, practical and moral support have been invaluable to get me on my feet again. I am now very much better and hope to be joining in the village activities again before long. Thank you all.                                                 Bettie Darby

Shipton Hall 100 Club

Winners for the February  Draw:-

£20          No. 44     Jo Fulford 
£10       No. 57     Nesta Symes    


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Chilcombe Church




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SWYRE Holy Trinity Swyre

Village Correspondent: Sid Marshall

3 Green Barton, Swyre



Annual Church Meeting

Early warning - this will be immediately after Evening Prayer (6.30pm) on Sunday 6th April. 

Anthony Ashwell

Puncknowle and Swyre Parish Council

Parish Council Meeting

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council on Tuesday 4th March in the Puncknowle Church Hall at 7.30pm. Amongst the items to be discussed will be the proposed adoption of the West Dorset District Council Local Plan.

Puncknowle, (including West Bexington), and Swyre Parish Council

Parish Council Elections will be held on the 1st May 2003. Please take time to consider if you would like to serve the community in the role of a Parish Councillor. All nine seats, five in Puncknowle, two in Swyre, and two in West Bexington become vacant and anyone interested in becoming a candidate should contact the Parish Clerk, Mrs Lovell, telephone number 01308 897322. She will be able to give information regarding the duties of a councillor, and what is involved. Formal notices of the forthcoming election will be displayed on all notice boards throughout the three villages, nearer the time of the Elections.


Air Ambulance Fund

Our first year of fund raising for the air ambulance has now come to an end. We recently gave Charles, the representative, £316.50 which included the £100 from the village Christmas cracker, this brought the total for the year to a magnificent £4175.00.We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us, and thanks to all of you for attending our fund raisers. We can assure you that fund raising for this very worthy cause will continue. Once again many thanks to you all.

 Brian & Carol, The Bull, Swyre  

Swyre Community Fund

Easter Cake Stall

We will be holding a cake stall on Saturday 19th April at 10.00 a.m. in the Porch of the Church to raise funds.

Would anyone who would like to contribute to our fund-raising effort by donating a home-baked cake/cookies or ingredients please contact Julie Lewis 897003 or Margaret May 898167.


Flower Festival

There will be a Flower Festival in Holy Trinity, Swyre over the weekend of 14/15 June.  If you have any flowers you could spare to help us decorate the church or you would like to take part in the preparation of the festival please contact Julie Lewis or Margaret May.

The main preparation of the church will take place in the 2-3 days preceding the festival. If you could spare any time we would be most grateful.


Archaeological Evening

Many thanks to everyone who attended the evening, we hope you all enjoyed the experience and will come along to the next dig on 19/20 July when we will be digging at Chilcombe and Swyre.  Our Finds Centre will be at Modbury Farm who will also be holding their Open Day over the same weekend.


Police Community Support Unit

The above vehicle will be visiting Puncknowle on Thursday 20th March 2003, outside phone box between 10.00 am and 11.00 amNow offering for sale shed alarms and post coding kits at a very nominal price.  Drop in and take a look!



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 Village Correspondent: Elizabeth Slater

1, Lytton Close, Puncknowle, Dorchester  DT2 9BH

Telephone: (01308) 897751




Many young children came to our Service in aid of the Children's Society on 2nd February, and everything went to plan safety-wise, except for the poor young lady who when helping to take the collection tripped dramatically and scattered the contents of her plate across the church!  Not often I've seen money thrown away. 

A Family Service for Fools

The Holy Fools will be taking a considerable part in our 2nd March Family Service (9.30am) which the Vicar will attempt to lead.  Please do come and join us for what might be a rather different Service. 

Ash Wednesday

At 7.00pm there will be a Communion Service with the Imposition of Ashes, to mark the first day of Lent. 

Annual Church Meeting

This will take place immediately after the 11.00am Puncknowle Praise Service on 16th March, and is open to everybody on the Church Electoral Roll who should do their best to get to this important meeting. 

Mothering Sunday Family Service

Mothering Sunday Services are always wonderful occasions and ours will be at 10.00am, note 10.00am, on Sunday 30th March, the morning after the clocks will have gone forward.  We hope to be distributing posies as usual. 

Anthony Ashwell

Puncknowle Art Group

At our AGM we were pleased to welcome two new members. We planned a new programme for the coming year and look forward to a good mix of speakers and activities. The first meeting was a look at water soluble oil paints and canvas. Members were able to experiment themselves. Dates for March are:-  7th a talk by Jane Burden on Kandinsky -  21st Drawing at The Crown.

Christine Molony

Holy Fools

Our Family Service on 2nd March will be different too.  Much of it will be led by Holy Fools who are becoming increasingly well known locally.  A lot of the time the church quite rightly, proclaims a serious message, but it must be a message of joy and love too.  How good to have some joy and laughter, and clowning, this Sunday before Lent. 

Anthony Ashwell

Lent Frugal Lunch in the Church Hall Wednesday March 12th at 12.30pm. Come and join us for homemade soup and homemade bread. The collection will be for Fairtrade. March 3 - 16 is Fairtrade Fortnight. We hope to have information available.

Ann Roberts

Social Evening March 13th at 7.30 in the Church Hall. I hope to be able to arrange a speaker. There will be notices on the Village notice boards or phone Ann Roberts 01308 897716

Ann Roberts


All are welcome to come, relax and enjoy themselves at an informal 'bash' on Friday 28th March in Puncknowle Church Hall - 7.30/8 - 10/10.30pm. You bring the wine (or your own 'tipple') we provide the cheese etc. See you there - You're never too old or too young to have some fun.

David, Liz and Yvonne   Contact Nos;  898492, 897751


Sadly Lynda's shop has been forced to close as it was no longer a viable concern. Puncknowle is greatly indebted to the devoted service Lynda gave to all her customers. She will be greatly missed from behind the counter, and we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to her for all the effort and hard work she has put in over the years. Very many thanks, Lynda, and every good wish for the future.

Liz Slater

There will be a Coffee Morning on Saturday 22nd March at 11.00 am in Puncknowle Church Hall to raise funds for Bride Valley Scout Group. We would be very grateful for any donations of Cakes, Books, Plants, Toys, Bric-a-Brac and Raffle Prizes. Please bring on the day or contact Ruth Brierley, Dairy House, (898283) for collection. Do please come along and support us.

Bride Valley Fledglings

First of all, we would like to say farewell to Alice Palm, who has gone off to Prep- school in Dorchester; we wish her good luck for the future.

Thank you to Dave Bird who, as Policeman, came into Playgroup and talked to the children about crossing the road and wearing their seat belts, thanks also to Dave for allowing the children to look at his police car.

Thank you to all those who turned up for the coffee morning and photo session on the15th February.

The TV Trivia Quiz is still on sale, at The White Horse, The Crown, Burton Post Office and Dorchester/Bridport TIC'S. The closing date is the 31st March and the price is just £1.00;  first prize is £20.00.

Sue Talbot [Administrator ] 01308 482204

Used Stamps

I have started a collection for used postage stamps both UK and foreign in aid of the Joseph Weld Hospice. All that is needed is for the stamps to be taken from envelopes with a minimum border of a quarter of an inch. Stamps can be placed in the box at Puncknowle Church or delivered to Hollybush Cottage, Clay Lane, Puncknowle. All contributions will be gratefully received.

David Buckland.

Note: Susan Paul also collects stamps for the Joseph Weld Hospice and they can  be taken to her, too, at Windy Gap, Burton Bradstock.

Puncknowle and Swyre Parish Council

Parish Council Meeting

There will be a meeting of the Parish Council on Tuesday 4th March in the Puncknowle Church Hall at 7.30pm. Amongst the items to be discussed will be the proposed adoption of the West Dorset District Council Local Plan.


Puncknowle, (including West Bexington), and Swyre Parish Council

Parish Council Elections will be held on the 1st May 2003. Please take time to consider if you would like to serve the community in the role of a Parish Councillor. All nine seats, five in Puncknowle, two in Swyre, and two in West Bexington become vacant and anyone interested in becoming a candidate should contact the Parish Clerk, Mrs Lovell, telephone number 01308 897322. She will be able to give information regarding the duties of a councillor, and what is involved. Formal notices of the forthcoming election will be displayed on all notice boards throughout the three villages, nearer the time of the Elections.

Police Community Support Unit

The above vehicle will be visiting Puncknowle on Thursday 20th March 2003, outside phone box between 10.00 am and 11.00 amNow offering for sale shed alarms and post coding kits at a very nominal price.  Drop in and take a look!

Dont forset to check the village website to keep in touch with village events and useful information

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St Mary's Litton Cheney LITTON CHENEY

Village Correspondents:

Mrs. Elizabeth Kingston, 5 Manor Farm Close



From the Registers


Olive Edith Estella Battishill,              aged 97, on 16th January 2003

Olive came to live with her elder daughter's (Jennie Prentice) family about four years ago.  It was good to see so many in church and a testimony to a lovely warm friendly person.  Olive's ashes were buried in her 'home' Parish of Chandlers Ford on 20th January. 


It was good to see some young children in church for this Service in aid of The Children's Society.  We made 20 Christingles, and with gifts to next door neighbours, were able to make use of them all. 

Kneelers Service

Many will have seen the display of our glorious new kneelers this last month, and on the evening of Mothering Sunday, 30th March, at 6.30pm, there will be a special Service in church at which they will be dedicated.  This will not be an ordinary Evensong, but a Service put together by the kneeler group to give glory to God for the group's work.  Do come along. 

Annual Church Meeting

This will be on Tuesday 1st April at 7.30pm in the Church Hall.  Everybody on the Church Electoral Roll is most strongly encouraged to attend. 

Anthony Ashwell

Dedication of the New Altar Kneelers

St Mary's Church, Litton Cheney

6.30 pm on Sunday 30th  March 2003

Everyone is most warmly invited to join us for a short service of dedication of the refurbished Bishop's chair and screen and new kneelers for the altar rail in the church. Paul Cheater is coming all the way from Oxford specially to play the organ at this occasion. We hope you will also stay to celebrate the completion of more than two years given to achieve this creative project by joining us for drinks after the service.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting

The Garden of Remembrance in the churchyard is almost full. One of the items on the Agenda for the APCM which will be held on 1st April 2003 at 7.30 pm will be to discuss the possibility of replacing the poor quality grass and weeds in the Garden of Remembrance with gravel. This will provide space for at least a dozen more memorial stones and will help to keep the garden tidy

Litton Cheney Youth Club

The Youth Club will meet on Tuesday 11th March in The Skittle Alley at The White Horse Inn. The next meeting will be on Tuesday 25th March in The Church Hall, Litton Cheney. The junior session for those 8 - 12 years is from 6.30 - 8.00 pm and the senior session for those 13 - 17 years from 8.00 - 9.30 pm.

The Youth Club Annual General Meeting, at which a management committee for the year needs to be formed, will take place on Tuesday 18th March in the Church Hall, Litton Cheney.

The Dorset Police Community Support Unit will be in Litton Cheney by the Bus Shelter on Thursday 20th March from 11.30am - 12.30pm

Parish Council Election

Litton Cheney Parish Council elections will be held on 1st May 2003. The Council has not had an election for at least 16 years so please take this opportunity to put your name forward and have a meaningful election. Formal notices of the election will be displayed in the Bus Shelter and Rose Cottages notice boards. All seven council seats become vacant and anyone interested in being a candidate who requires further informal information on what is involved and the duties of councillors is invited to contact the Parish Clerk - John Rowlands 482409

There is an increase in the amount of dog fouling around the village. If you are a dog owner PLEASE see to it that you go out with your dogs and clear up after them.

Village Fete

With under three months to go it is time to plan what you will be able to contribute to the Fete - please aim to put something by for each of the usual selling stalls and there are still plenty of opportunities to help on the stalls and games; if you can help, or have any fresh ideas, please contact the School or Church. Note the date - Monday 26th May. There will be a Caribbean theme this year complete with steel band in attendance; the stalls will be judged accordingly, so stall holders please put on your thinking caps. If you have not already received raffle tickets to sell then please ask for some books and get selling as far afield as possible please, there are some stunning prizes to be won.

Litton Cheney Village Assembly

By special request the Annual Village Assembly will commence with a short lecture by Simon Thompson of Dorset Community Action on the Vital Village Scheme. This is a national initiative to maintain or regenerate rural communities to prevent them from becoming dormitories for the nearest towns, and is backed by community grants. All village residents are invited to attend and join the discussion. This will be followed by the usual Annual Assembly which has no fixed agenda at which anyone can raise items of concern or problems in the village. The meeting will commence at 7.00 pm in the Church Hall on Tuesday 11th March.                                                                                   John Rowlands - Parish Clerk

Welcome to Litton's newest young resident Lucia a daughter for Pauline and Gareth and sister for Amelia. - Visit the web site for the latest news. The group meets at The White Horse Inn at 8 o'clock on the first monday of each month - All welcome.

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St Peter's Long Bredy LONG BREDY

Village Correspondents: Mrs Elinor Frost


Tel ( 01308 ) 482269


From the Registers


John Cain at Sherborne Abbey on 1st February 2003 by our effervescent new Bishop Tim. 

Annual Church Meeting

This takes place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 25th March in the Village Hall.  If you are on the Church Electoral Roll, please do your best to attend. 

Mothering Sunday Family Service

This special Family Service, at which of course posies will be distributed, will be organised by our Family Service Committee, but will take place at Littlebredy at 11.00am on 30th  March.  Beware: this is the first day of British Summertime! 

Frugal Lunch

Everyone is welcome to a Frugal Lunch on Thursday 6th March at 12:45pm at Langebride House.

Donations will be in aid of Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance.

Thanks to Peter Palm for ten years as treasurer of the PCC in Long Bredy.  Mike Shepherd is now carrying out these duties.



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LITTLEBREDY St Michael & All Angels Littlebredy



Baptism 25th January         Rose D. H. Shackleton

Ash Wednesday

At 10.00am there will be a traditional Holy Communion Service, with the Imposition of Ashes, to mark the first day of Lent. 

Annual Church Meeting

This takes place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 18th March at West Lodge.  If you are on the Church Electoral Roll, please do your best to attend. 

Mothering Sunday Family Service

This special Family Service, organised by the Long Bredy Family Service Committee, and led by the Vicar, will take place at 11.00am on 30th March.  The previous night the clocks will have gone forward.....! 

Anthony Ashwell



Apologies to the Shackleton family that last month's edition omitted a reference to the Christening of little Rose Domino Hope, which took place in the Church on Saturday 25th January.  It was a memorable service (though warmer outside the Church than inside!), highlighted by two lovely solos from Marina Tafur, a local soprano.  Best wishes to all the family for the future.

The Church will also see two "extra" services in March.  Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent, falls on Wednesday March 5th, and will be celebrated by a service of Holy Communion at 10.00 a.m. that day.

Mothering Sunday is traditionally the third Sunday in Lent, thus falling on Sunday 30th March this year.  The service in Church here will be shared with the Longbredy congregation, at 11.00 a.m.  If youngsters want to bring flowers or other gifts for their mothers, they are very welcome to do so, but the Church congregation will have prepared posies to be presented to all the mothers present as well.  There will be refreshments for all ages in the Village Hall afterwards.  It is hoped this will be a very well supported occasion.

The reconstruction of Spring Cottage is well under way now, and the contractors have asked to express their apologies - if any are needed - for any inconvenience they may have caused in the vicinity of the works.


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Thought for Lent

A Thought for Lent

Ash Wednesday heralds the commencement of Lent, and the Gospel account of the Temptations is a story of self-denial on the part of Our Lord.  It tells us of Christ leaving the confines of the carpentry shop and the restraints of home life and making His entry into the outside world. His public ministry was about to begin. At the beginning of Lent we need to ask ourselves three questions:

How do we interpret the Temptation story?  Few of us would deny the existence of a force for evil or the way that force attacks man, and notably the Christian.  The tempting of Our Lord was most likely in the mind.  He was in the desert for over a month, and as he pondered his future in all its grim reality there was a very real temptation to take the easy way out and to misuse his God-given power.  Misuse of power lies at the heart of most of the world's problems. We read of leaders who seize power by force and use it corruptly, dictators like Mugabe and Saddam Hussein spring to mind.

How did Jesus deal with the three temptations? 

The answer is, on each occasion he resorted to the Word of God.  'It is written..., it is is written.'  He quoted in fact from the book of Deuteronomy.  It gave him the strength to resist.  It's no wonder that St. Paul refers to the Word of God as 'the Sword of the Spirit.'

What does it all say to us as we face the next few weeks?

If Jesus was to be fully man as well as God he needed to undergo the trials and temptations that are common to man.  He has given us the perfect example of how to deal with temptation and how to practise self-denial. Man craves comfort, power and popularity; and these are the three areas under attack in the account of Christ's Temptations.  The role for Jesus, the Son of God, was to be born in a stable, to live amongst publicans and sinners, to endure night after night under the stars with no permanent home.  He had power, it is true, but he never used it for his own ends or to impress others.  As for popularity, even his friends deserted him  when he needed them most.

Lent provides us with an unrivalled opportunity for a spiritual check-up, a little intro-spection; it should be a time to be positive and not simply an opportunity for giving things up.  It should to be used for making resolutions that we intend to keep, and not just for Lent; as Paul wrote to the Church in Colosse: 'Put to death what is earthly in you, anger, wrath, malice, slander and so on.  Put on then, as God's chosen ones, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience.  Above all these put on love, which binds together everything in perfect harmony.'


Anne White's ( Shipton Gorge )15 year old nephew, Thomas Watson, from Plymouth was set a school project to write a few lines entitled "My Best Friend". He wrote the following:-

Before I knew this person there was an unfilled space somewhere in my body. To pinpoint where this space was exactly, I dare say could be done. How did I know he was missing when I didn't even know who he was? Well, I knew he was not there because at times in my life I often thought whether or not I was totally, I mean totally, satisfied with everything I had. The answer to that question was quite simply "no". There must have been someone, somewhere, who I could share my deepest, darkest secrets with. The ones that I could not even reveal to my parents in fear of what they might do or say. What surprised me was the fact that when I eventually did come to meet Jesus I realised that not only was He the most important person in my life, but He was life. That hole I was talking about earlier, it was God-shaped. Through knowing Jesus, that hole is slowly being filled and I can feel it. Without this person I would have no-one to talk to when I'm alone. When I feel as though I'm being pulled under by everything that life throws in my direction, His is the hand that pulls me out. When all the bad things I have done in the past are drawing at my mind making me a hidden heap of guilt, His are the words that bring comfort and safety back home again. With this person in my life I can sustain every sense of well being. In some moments I wish there was something more I could do for Him in return for what He has done for me. Other times I wish  that I had known Him sooner so that I could know Him even better. In fact being in a relationship with Jesus has allowed me to realise how every second of my life is worth something to Him. He has made me dramatically alter the way in which I view others in knowledge that I am no different to the man next door or the woman working in the rice paddys in China.

This person makes sense of everything I have ever wondered about: the questions that as a child we all have skipping in and out of our minds. Tell me, why is the sky blue?

Jesus is not only a friend but is a friend who makes friends. Since accepting His existence I have come to share my belief, knowledge and understanding of Him with an entire family of people who again I  never once knew existed. Together with these people, friends, I can grow stronger knowing that every action I carry out with my hands, every thought evoked from the scent in my nose, every feeling provoked by the eyes in my head, is being witnessed and cared for by the king above all kings, the ruler of the universe and the sustainer of my life.

As yet no-one could ever overtake Jesus in the league table of most important people. I am doubtful that anyone ever could. He knows what I've done before I've even done it. He answers my questions before I've even asked them.

Not everyone believes in Jesus. Some are close to knowing him and some do not care. I wish that these people could step out of life's mould that they are so content with and give a moment's thought towards what this man is all about.

Walking through life with Him is an experience I could die for. When looking back at times of struggle or torment I have only noticed one set of footprints. I  know it is through these times that I am carried by Him and nurtured in every way possible.

Filling the God shaped hole in my life was the best choice I ever made in life. I dread to think the way I would turn out with an empty space left inside me. Don't you?


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Editor: Susan Paul Windy Gap Shipton Lane Burton Bradstock DT6 4NQ