Letters to the BV Editor December 2022


Castle Hill Closure
I’m writing on behalf of the Trustees of Cedars Castle Hill to confirm that we’ve reluctantly concluded we have to close Castle Hill House (CHH) and combine our residential and nursing activities under a single roof at our other care home, the Cedars. This move is a pre-emptive response to the financial, staff and funding-related challenges that are threatening to overwhelm the care sector.
Essentially we will offer the 11 current residents of CHH a transfer to a ground floor room at the Cedars where they will be surrounded by those they know well and cared for by staff familiar to them. All this is to be smoothly achieved by Christmas. In the meantime CHH will be ‘mothballed’ (but continue to provide office facilities and accommodation for staff) while we search for a longer term solution for the building.
We recognise that closing CHH may well cause some uncertainty and personal upset. Naturally, we’re sorry about this – but we’re a small charity, facing significant challenges, and feel we have to take action before we’re overwhelmed by events. However, we firmly believe that this move will strengthen our position – to the benefit of residents, staff, families and the local community.
Mike Hall
For and on behalf of
Trustees of Cedars Castle Hill

On Sonnaz and Roger
I was delighted to read the article about Sonnaz, the upholsterer, in your latest edition (The BV, Nov 22). I attended an upholstery course with Sonnaz in Wimborne four or five years ago, where she gave me the very best advice on recovering two wing chairs, which have been greatly admired, she is a lovely person.
Then I turned over a few pages where I read the article by Roger Guttridge about the workhouse in Shaftesbury. We recently went on a Great Rail Journey holiday to Italy and a gentleman, who was on the tour with us, overheard us saying we came from near Shaftesbury. We couldn’t believe it when he told us his parents were the last people to run the workhouse in Shaftesbury and he had gone to school in Motcombe! We didn’t even know there had been a workhouse in Shaftesbury let alone where it was, and that a workhouse was still in operation until relatively recent times.
Thank you for a good read.
Sandy Milne
by email

I do love your ‘Random 19’ column – it’s always fun and never fails to teach me something I didn’t know about the interviewee. I have always been a fan of BBC’s The Repair Shop, but I had no idea that Sonnaz was from Dorset!
You rather skimmed over it in your introduction, but the fact that she moved to Dorset as a presumably very young person with no connection here beyond her work, and then took on a position as the only female apprentice at Sunseeker – what strength of character that shows.
I attended the opening of 1855 in Sturminster Newton this week, just to meet her in person (the shop was excellent too, and I’ll definitely be back!) – and she was just as lovely as she has appeared in your column.
Thank you
Janet Moone

Further to Roger Guttridge’s excellent article on the family emigrating from Sturminster Newton to Australia (some of our members had never see the house they lived in while in Dorset) on 16th January 2023 it will be 230 years since the arrival of Thomas and Jane Rose and their four children as the first family of free settlers.
Our Society is holding a series of events culminating in a re-enactment of their arrival aboard the Bellona, taking place aboard a Tall Ship coming into Sydney Cove on the morning of the 16th January.
Thomas and Jane Rose Family Society

Help for the Foodbank
I am the secretary of Kilmington and Stourton WI and we recently held our Christmas celebration meeting where we had a buffet for members, carols and readings.
This year we asked our members to bring an item or two to donate to the Gillingham Foodbank and they more than responded! (see image above)
We were delighted to deliver all the food to the Foodbank and the money we raised for our raffle ticket sales on the night – £110 – will also be going to them.
We always make a charitable donation at Christmas as a WI but this year with the cost of living crisis ever more apparent, our members were delighted to be able to help such a worthy cause.
Here are the committee members, all volunteers, who organised the evening in a photo with all the donations from our members.
Bernie Isted
Secretary, Kilmington and Stourton WI

Wincanton U18s need you!
Could you be a sponsor for our Under 18s football team for the 2023/24 season?
We desperately need donations towards – and sponsors for –
Home/Away kit, training kit and tracksuits, training and match balls and equipment, registration and insurance costs.
For more information, please contact Sean Corney on 07763 708125 or email me on

Calling all non-Dorset readers: we want you to email us!
We know that we have readers in more than 100 different countries – we’re fascinated, and would love to know where you are, and why you read The BV every month!
Did you used to live here?
Do you have relatives here still?
Are you just a fan of Dorset?
Please email letters@theblackmorevale.co.uk and we’ll share some of the stories!


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