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Annual Quiz Night

To be held in West Down Parish Hall on Saturday 27th January 2018

Quiz starts at 7.30 pm

Tickets £5 each to include nibbles

Booking forms and tickets available at the shop – not on the door.

Maximum team size = 6 (13 teams only)

Sorry – no young children

Please bring your own food and drinks


Village Forum

A Village Forum Meeting was held on 12th December, 2017, attended by representatives from the following organisations.

Parish Council

Community Shop

Gardening Club

St Calixtus Church

West Down Green Field Association

West Down Parish Hall Management Committee.

Women’s Institute

They reported as follows:-

Parish Council – Thanked Fay Hookway for retrieving the tiles that had fallen off the West Down Village sign at Dean Cross and Keith Oades and Roy Drew for replacing them.

It was noted that a representative from Devon Air Ambulance had attended the last meeting and had given positive assurances about the viability of using the Green Field as a night landing space with a lighting mast which would be supplied with power by a resident. Money would need to be raised to cover this. It would be just over £3,000, but District Councillor Andrea Davies has already promised to donate £1,000 of this.

Community Shop – had experienced a couple of poor months, but was breaking even. Volunteers for a variety of jobs, long and short term, are always needed. Organisations were reminded that the defibrillator is situated in the shop porch and training in its use has been given to many villagers.

Gardening Club – is doing very well with 79 members, some of whom have come from Braunton. It has an interesting programme of speakers with the additional room at the Parish Hall providing the necessary extra space. The screen and projector are proving to be very useful. Forthcoming speakers include Andy McIndoe of Chelsea Flower show fame coming in February and Chris Beardshaw later in the year. New members are always welcome and guests can attend for two meetings before joining. As well as a varied and interesting programme the members enjoy a number of outings and a holiday. Committee members are needed and the web page on the West Down website needs to be updated.

Green Field is currently holding a Christmas raffle and dates for events will be circulated. The children’s play area had been completed and a seesaw is to be installed shortly. It was noted that the entrance is very muddy due to recent bad weather and this will be discussed at the next committee meeting. Provision for the Air Ambulance will also be on the agenda. In the immediate future they are just raising funds for maintenance of the existing facilities.

Parish Hall Phase 1 of the redevelopment of the hall has been completed and other organisations reported that the extra room was very useful. The redevelopment had come in under budget and the current income is able to cover the basics costs of running the hall. It is hoped that the second phase will begin in June, this will involve the removal of the stage which will be replaced by a movable stage to be kept in the store room. While this is being done, the hall will be out of use for 2 weeks. It was felt that the trollies used to move chairs and tables were a real help. Two long serving members of the committee had retired, Eric Nott, who began working for hall by fund raising to help build the hall and Pete McGahran who, as well as being a committee member has been the booking clerk. Future events are:-

27 January annual quiz night

17 February Dave Edgecombe – fascinating talk illustrated with old and new photos of the North Devon coast.

3 March Rick Tucker – the popular local musician.

West Down Women’s Institute has over 30 members, but over 50% of the members come from outside the village, which means that it is not easy to ask them to do things for the village. However, they usually support all the initiatives and will continue to help when needed. Meetings are now held in the afternoons and although this could make it difficult for younger members to join, the support really comes from the older generation, so their interests have to come first. They have had joint ventures with the school, notably the recent remembrance ceremony when the children of Oak Class placed the poppies made by the WI on the graves and memorials of those who served in both world wars. The WI is offering to do a coffee morning to help raise funds for the Air Ambulance. The West Down WI is celebrating its 70th year in 2018 and the time capsule, which is currently in safe keeping will be opened. Concern was expressed about the Coronation Tree and its metal fence and this will be checked. The meeting to be held on the 8th November 2018 will be celebrating the 1918 Armistice and all are welcome.

St Calixtus Church is currently without a vicar and has been combined with a number of other local churches. Appreciation was expressed for the illuminated star currently on display and details of the carol service were given. It is hoped that attendance at the church will improve as it is an important part of the village. It was noted that the Iron Room will be available when the Parish Hall is out of action.

West Down School was unable to attend, but had recently hosted an excellent Christmas Dinner for older residents and supporters. The school is happy to support local issues and currently circulates the Community Shop Newsletter to all parents. The school also offers the use of its premises when needed.

Mobile Library – It was noted that this service will be withdrawn if it is not supported. Details of its timetable can be found on the West Down website.

Outreach Post Office – This service has been resumed after the Post Office had technical problems. Again, this service will be withdrawn if there is not sufficient support.

West Down Website This supports all local organisations and is happy to publish minutes of meetings, news and forthcoming events.

Fund Raising – It was suggested that Tesco provides funds for local causes, but it was felt that the application process was too complex.



Sales in October were low. We expect sales in October and November to be a lot lower than the summer months but they were lower than last year. At the same time we had to pay some large invoices which meant that we actually traded at a significant loss. Fortunately we had some better months earlier in the year so there is no need to panic but we do need to sell more to enable your shop to continue long term.

Donations amounted to £25 – many thanks.

Fundraising amounted to £158 which was the profit from the Rotary Mega Draw. I hope that lots of you won a prize. Our fundraising this Christmas is centred on bottle decorations knitted by Catherine Williams. She has knitted over a hundred and she would like you to donate £1.50 for each one. There are a number of different ones and they are very colourful. Many thanks Catherine.

More volunteers are urgently required. A couple of our ladies have returned to work and we need to replace them quickly. We would also like someone to do some cleaning upstairs.

Our Christmas order form is being delivered to you with this newsletter. The order form is very comprehensive and includes Freebird poultry, Rose Chilled sausages, ham, cheese, pate etc, fruit and vegetables, brandy and whisky fruit cake, mince pies, dairy, eggs and bread. Please place your order by Monday 11th December. Your goods will be ready just before Christmas for you to collect. Delivery can be arranged.

There is also an order form for Christmas trees which are locally grown and cut to order. These can be delivered to you from 1st December in the evenings or on weekends.

Christmas and New Year Shop opening times.

Saturday 23rd December 8am to 4pm

Sunday 24th December 10am to 12 noon.

Monday 25th December CLOSED – Christmas day.

Tuesday 26th December 10am to 12 noon – Boxing day.

Wednesday 27th to Sunday 31st December 9am to 12 noon.

Monday 1st January 2018 10am to 12 noon – New Year’s day.

The annual stocktake takes place on 30th and 31st. We would like some help in the afternoon of Sunday 31st December when we have to count everything in the shop.

Ian’s Cider review. The Sampford Courtenay 1763 Vintage Cider is now back in stock and I have been able to try it. The 1763 date on the label does not refer to the vintage but to the year that the then Prime Minister, Lord Bute, introduced the infamous cider tax. The presentation of the cider in an attractive stoppered bottle is similar to that of the traditional variety that was reviewed a couple of months ago. The cider is well aged with a pleasing amber hue and on releasing the stopper one is treated to a tangy apple aroma. The flavour is dry with a refreshing sharpness and at 7.5% ABV this variety is somewhat stronger than the traditional version. It would go well with food and would be an ideal accompaniment to roast pork.


Christmas Services at St Calixtus, West Down.

The Christmas services, to which all parishioners and visitors will be most welcome, are being held at West Down’s St Calixtus church are as follows:-

Thursday 21st Dec, 7pm – Carol service by candle light.

Sunday 24th Dec, 6pm – Nativity/Crib with Rev Caroline – very popular with the children.

Monday 25th Dec, 10am, Family Communion with Rev Colin.

On Sunday 31st Dec there will be no service at West Down, but there will be a joint Village Mission Community Service at Heanton Church, starting at 10.30am.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from St Calixtus.

Parish Hall

The Ferret race evening was again well attended and although admission was free a profit of over £600 was made. This will go towards the next stage of the hall improvements. It was great fun and we have already booked the ferrets for next year.

At our Annual General Meeting Eric Nott retired after 60 years continuous service. Eric was on the committee when the hall was opened and later became chairman for 15 years. Many thanks for all you achieved for the hall and West Down Eric. Pete McGahran also retired. Pete has been a very active committee member for over 20 years and has been the booking clerk for many years. Well done Pete and many thanks for all that you have done.

The new booking clerk is Keith Oades and he can be contacted on 01271 879599 or email

The annual quiz is planned for Saturday 27th January in the Parish Hall. You need to make up teams of six people and bring you own food and drink. Full details will be advertised later.

The Post Office is back at last. A new aerial has been fitted to the Parish Hall to improve the reception for the Post Office equipment and it is working well. We now know how difficult it can be without a post office so we need to support it as much as we can. As well as all the usual services they can help with banking. If you are with the following banks you can pay cheques in and take cash out:- Nat West, Co-op, HSBC, Lloyds, TSB, RBS, Barclays and Cahoot. If you are with Halifax or Nationwide you can withdraw cash. It is easier than a trek to a town.

A Show! It is hoped that a review/old time music hall could be organised for spring. There will be forms in the shop, so that you can sign up if you would like to help and/or perform!

Village Forum will be held on Tuesday 12th December Parish Hall 7.00 for organisations to share information and ideas – everyone welcome! If desired, bring your own refreshments.


The Village website address is











The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet at an apiary near Woolacombe in Devon. The Asian hornet is smaller than the UK’s native hornet but poses the risk of destroying honey bee colonies. For more information please read the attached guidance notes.


West Down Parish Hall Clean Up and Improvement Works

As you are probably aware, the Parish Hall Committee are in the process of planning building works to improve and up-date the Hall.  Details will be available to view on the West Down website in due course.

We spent a morning cleaning up and removing unwanted items (rather a lot) from the main storage room a couple of weeks ago and Saturday (7th January) spent the morning removing items from under the stage.

Meanwhile, we had a visit from one of the 3 builders who have expressed an interest in the proposed works.

We are hoping for a late Spring completion and plan a “Grand Opening” combined with the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Hall.

Any suggestions/ideas for inclusion in this momentous occasion would be most welcomed.

As is the nature of these types of plans, all works will be subject to the continuing Fund Raising and your support is much appreciated.


Parish Council Clean Up

Once again the Parish Council is going around the village and doing some clearing up.


This has included picking up litter, but Councillor Sue Ayre has really gone beyond the call of duty by tackling the litter bin by Pulland Bridge.  Sadly, this has been used to deposit bags of dog excrement, even though there is a bin specifically for these just 50 yards away on the ‘triangle’.


Sue removed 204 such bags from in and around the bin, cleaned the bin and put in a new bag.  She has put up a notice reminding people that the bin is for litter and not dog excrement and it is hoped that this will do the trick as we cannot expect the staff who empty the litter bin to empty it when it contains waste of this nature.


We live in a lovely village and it is in everyone’s interest to keep it that way so it is important that we all do our bit.


Village Forum (held at the Parish Hall on 20th October 2016)

This was attended by representatives of all the village organisations as well as some local residents. It was decided that the Village Forum would meet quarterly, hosted by the Parish Council.

Women’s Institute has monthly meetings and Craft Mornings. It welcomes new members and is happy to have a stall at local events. It gives active support to the Community Shop and interacts with the school. There will be a shared event on 11th November when once again the children will place poppies that the WI have made on the memorials to fallen servicemen and veterans from both World Wars. The purchase of a projector is under discussion. They ask that users of the Parish Hall store the chairs etc., considerately.

West Down School, expressed their gratitude to the community for the support received when the lead from the roof was stolen. The school is happy to offer facilities to all local organisations and welcomes stall holders to their Christmas Fair. A running group is being formed and the school will use the Community Shop newsletter and the Village Website to advertise events.  A copy of the Community Shop Newsletter will emailed to the school for circulation.

The Community Shop offers an invaluable service to all villagers and would welcome volunteers for a variety of roles. The shop sells tickets for functions that organisations are arranging and will display posters and advertise events in its newsletter.

St. Calixtus Church reported that the clock was being repaired. Unfortunately the Vicar is leaving the Parish, but there will be a curate in attendance.

West Down Village Green Field Association has completed the children’s play area and is currently raising funds to pay for routine maintenance. They welcome input from anyone who wishes to promote a project. They will be holding a Secret Santa on December 17th and are planning a Village Fair for next July.

Gardening Club currently has 60 members and welcomes non-members  to attend meetings. It has a variety of visiting speakers and is happy to support village functions with stalls etc. It organises a holiday in June which is open to non-members if there is insufficient take up from members. Future plans include the possible purchase of a screen which would benefit the whole community.

Ladies Walking Group have been considering an adult outdoor multi gym and the Chair of the WDVGFA was there and made note to investigate.

West Down Parish Hall is currently seeking funds for the planned re-design of the kitchen, re-organisation of the main hall and the replacement of the toilets. This is a long term project and plans are well under way. The Parish Hall is available for hire for both public and private functions and seeks volunteers from all organisations to join its Management Committee. Future events include the Ferret Race on 12th November, the AGM on 23rd November, the Quiz on 28th January and an Evening with Rick Tucker on 11th March.

West Down Website offers up-to-date news and information and is viewed by many people at home and abroad and welcomes contributions. The website has the contact details for all the local organisations

It was suggested that a cinema club might be a good idea and anyone wishing to organise this should contact the Parish Council for the next Village Forum.




The Parish Council comprises of up to 8 Councillors.  Following the resignation of one of the Parish Councillors there is now a vacancy for co-option onto the Parish Council. 

Apply by writing a short letter to the Parish Council Chairman at Osborne House, West Down, giving reasons why you would like to be co-opted onto the Council.

 For more information about becoming a Parish Councillor, please speak to an existing Parish Councillor or the Parish Clerk. 

Thank you. 

Qualifications  for  Candidature 

To be qualified to be elected a member of a parish council a person must be 21 years of age or over, and a British subject or citizen of the Republic of  Ireland, and either:-

(i) be a local government elector of the parish, or

(ii) have during the whole of the twelve months preceding the day on which he is nominated as a candidate occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish; or

(iii) his principal or only place of work in the twelve months preceding the day on which he is nominated as a candidate have been in the area of the parish; or

(iv) have resided either in the parish or within 3 miles thereof during the whole of the 12 months preceding the day on which he is nominated as a candidate.

 There are certain disqualifications for election, of which the main are:-  

(a) holding a paid office under the local authority;

(b) bankruptcy;

(c) having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) of not less than three months, without the option of a fine during the five years preceding the election; and

(d) being disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices.


Parish Councillors: Sue Ayre. Roy Drew, Fay Hookway, Carole King, Keith Oades, Sue Squire and Richard Watts.  

Parish Clerk:  Dave Lewis.__



For many years now, Margaret Thomas has been the ‘Voice of West Down’ as the North Devon Journal correspondent.  This involves editing anything that is going on or has gone on in the village and sending it off to the Journal for publication.  Items may include things occurring with different organisations like the Gardening Club, Parish Council Minutes, WI Meetings, Village Fayre days etc.

Margaret is not able to get involved with village activities as much as she used to and feels it is time for her to hand over the reins to someone else who would be willing to keep West Down in the Journal.

For more details please speak to or send an initial email to Margaret at to find out more about this exciting position.



Dog Fouling2

We are well aware that this notice does not apply to the majority of dog walkers – but unfortunately the minority are spoiling it for the majority.


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