Ribena’s Big Berry Bash comes to Stoke Sub Hamdon

On Saturday 21st July, local blackcurrant growers Derek and Tanya Morris of West End Farm are opening up their site to the public to show what goes on behind the scenes in order to run a working fruit farm as part of Ribena’s Big Berry Bash.

The open day will run from 11am – 3pm at West Farm in Stoke Sub Hamdon as the blackcurrant harvest gets underway, allowing visitors to see the blackcurrant crop at its ripest and watch them being harvested.

A second-generation blackcurrant grower, Derek is one of just 38 growers trusted to grow a total of 10,000 tonnes of British blackcurrants every year that go into making Ribena, the nation’s most popular juice drink.* Visitors will be able to enjoy a farm tour, pick-your-own, berry hopper races, a hog roast and learn how blackcurrants are harvested.

Places on the day are limited to 150 and visitors must register at www.ribena.co.uk/events/the-big-berry-bash/ to guarantee their place on the day.


July Message from Cath Holloway, the Village Agent

Not sure who to turn to? Village Agents are a charity that work with individuals and social groups to give confidential support and advice. We can enable people to be more independent in their home, manage personal finances, care for family members and advise on just about anything! You can find Cath at local coffee mornings and events. Call and email me. (Enable Javascript to see the email address) 07968521746

Hi All,

I am writing in beautiful sunshine and I do hope that this is set to continue. I remember this time last year when it was very hot, I learned that medication can get over heated. Liquids especially, can lose their effectiveness if left in a very hot place.

So can humans! Don’t forget to keep drinking water as dehydration is an easy thing to fall victim to. Sometimes it makes you feel groggy and “headachey” as your body needs water to complete its every day jobs such as thinking and digesting your meal. Left unattended, it can make you very ill.

At this point I send out my empathy to hay fever suffers. The pollen levels have been very high this year.

Another victim of the weather it seems, could be your heating oil, if you are a village dweller like me. There have been recent reports of domestic heating and farm diesel being stolen. The thieves are using the general noise and mayhem of our big summer storms as cover. Just to make matters worse, when they have filled their boots (or perhaps tanks), they have left the severed oil pipes pouring oil into the ground, polluting and making a case for the environment agency to visit.

The sun seems also to have brought out a few suspicious looking people. I have received a few reports of strange loitering in the area. If you are worried, don’t hesitate to call 101. It is the quickest way to get hold of the PCSO’s on duty who will try to drive through and monitor suspicious situations. Gardens are packed with lovely summer equipment at the moment. Very tempting….

I haven’t been able to visit many of my lovely coffee mornings of late as I have been very busy attending to clients. I would like to send my best wishes to all and hope to see you soon. I am still contactable on my phone or email and I will return your call as soon as I can. It was great to catch up with many of you at the annual parish meetings that I have been to throughout May and hear about all the exciting social groups in our villages.



Arc Homes application refused !

Arc Homes, the developers at the Stanchester site (Shuldam’s Fields), recently put in an application to the District Council to be released from building six affordable housing units and from paying a developer’s contribution of just over £110,000 towards community facilities. Their reason was that the site is commercially unviable.

The Parish Council are pleased to announce that the District’s Area North Committee have supported our village in rejecting this application. We had always maintained a very strong opposition to Arc Homes’ attempt to be relieved of community responsibility. We attended the Committee meeting on Wednesday 27 September to speak on behalf of our residents and to put forward our technical reasons why this application should be refused. Our new statement can viewed by clicking here. We understand that the District took expert legal advice and research and as a result rejected Arc’s application.

A word of caution, before we all break open the champagne! Arc Homes have the right – and probably will – appeal against the decision. Area North form0ally advised Arc Homes that they expect them to consider re-negotiating the Section 106 obligation, rather than just appealing for the decision to be simply overturned, sending a very strong message to the developers that community interests are always important in new developments. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

The Parish Council is proud to have been part of such a very positive first step.

Barbara Brooks
Stoke sub Hamdon Parish Council
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Sarah Moore
Parish Clerk
Stoke sub Hamdon Parish Council
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