Letters to the editor March 2024


Laura editor of the BV Magazine
Laura editor of the BV Magazine

Time’s peculiar. I think I can say with confidence that January was at least 10 weeks long … and yet February was about 11 days maximum, by my very scientific reckoning.
This month, I interviewed a number of local business owners – entirely different businesses, at entirely different stages, from a one-year-old start up to a 30-year established firm.
But each of those business owners had done exactly what Courtenay and I – and so many others – have done. At one point they took a deep breath, gritted their teeth and decided to go for it.
Running your own business isn’t for everyone – frankly, many people get a glazed look of horror when you start to talk about the realities of it.
But when I asked each of those entrepreneurs what they loved about running their own business, the answer was always the same – and it’s the same I would give, and I suspect the same thing that every small business owner would say.
It’s the independence and the freedom.
You’ve never worked so hard, but you’ve never minded less – the benefits of being your own boss far outweigh the down sides.
It’s no wonder that one in three adults in the UK dreams of quitting their job and setting up on their own. Whether it’s a secret baker who yearns for a sticky bun business, or a surveyor tired of having their day micro-managed. It doesn’t matter what – some people just decide to give it a go.
It takes courage to start, and grit and determination to make it succeed. If you know someone who runs their own business, never underestimate how important it is to them, or how fast they’re learning.
And do try and support them – it’s pretty easy and it’s free. Just follow them on social media and like and share their posts. It really does help. Tell your friends and family about them. And tell them yourself just how good they are. That matters.
The BV team work incredibly hard to support and raise up local small businesses – a quick flick through and I have just counted 25 of them in this one issue (not paid adverts, just us writing about local people doing good things). Let’s all do more than just applaud from the sideline – we should stop and try that brand new café, browse our friend’s shop, or just pass on a good word about them. Small gestures that really matter.
And if you’re one of the one in three dreaming of taking the plunge, may I point you to page 32? There’s some priceless advice in those pages from people who learned their lessons the hard way.
Have a lovely month – I’ll see you in April.
So about 61 days, yes?

Laura x

Want to reply? Read something you feel needs commenting on? Our postbag is open! Please send emails to letters@BVmagazine.co.uk.
When writing, please include your full name and address; we will not print this, but do require it.

On the hunt

(our postbag was busy after last month’s story on the Blackmore & Sparkford Vale Hunt suspension, and I have a selected a couple of the representative views. None of those contacted was willing to have their name and address published in connection with this matter. Ed)

It was terrific to see you cover the B&SV hunt story properly. Whichever side of the hunt debate you lie on, there can be no ambiguity on the law around allowing a pack of dogs to kill a fox in front of you. The B&SV Hunt have not done themselves, nor other responsible hunts (of which there are some, contrary to popular opinion), any favours by allowing such practices to continue. At a time when we are expecting a new Labour government who are already planning tougher measures on hunting due specifically to this kind of action, it is more important then ever that hunts abide by the spirit of the law, even if they say there are loopholes in the meaning of the words.
Well done to The BV and to Andrew Livingston for the factual, calm and unsensational reporting.
Name and address withheld

How long will these hunts continue to get away with their incessant and blatant disregard of the law? The drone footage was shocking – well done to the sabs for obtaining such irrefutable evidence. As a lifelong Dorset resident I am only too aware that in the past, the sabs have been as much of a problem as the hunt themselves.
I hope this is changing, and calm, clever data recording is the way forward for a suitable solution on all levels.
Name and address withheld

I have long since noted that it says a lot about a news publication when a difficult story happens right on their patch – do they ignore it, sensationalise it, or investigate it thoroughly? Well done BV team on tackling the hunt story head on, and in such a detailed, balanced manner.
Name and address withheld

On rugby

It’s not often your favourite local news publication reports on your favourite sport. When I saw the picture of Jerome Kaino in last month’s BV I was jumping for joy – until I read the byline. For someone who describes himself as a fan of the sport from such a young age. I was extremely disappointed with Sam Peter’s article and how little time he spent talking through the benefits of playing rugby, especially at a young age.
I played at school and for my local club of Bridport RFC from the age of four – I never witnessed anyone suffer from a concussion. I do not doubt that there is an issue with concussions in the professional game, but these figures do not compare with either the junior or amateur levels.
In his article, Mr Peters says that he hopes to see the game return to being an evasion sport. Since its conception, rugby has been an invasion game – the object being to get the ball over the opponent’s try line. If the game were to be an evasion game, as Mr Peters so hopes, then you take away the fundamental part of why the sport is welcoming for such a huge demographic of young children. It is a sport for all shapes and sizes. Evasion excludes players that are of a larger size from taking part – they don’t have the agility to avoid and move around defenders.
I don’t know where my life would be if I hadn’t pick up a rugby ball as a chubby child. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have the skills I do in leadership and teamwork, nor the respect for those in authority. I respect that Mr Peters is a distinguished journalist, but it’s been a long time since he played rugby as a child. Did he really learn what’s best for children from watching a professional sport that bears little resemblance the one that gets kids out, being active and happy? I would love to see him use his platform to also highlight what’s great about rugby, not just bash the professional level of the sport that gives so many of us 80 minutes of happiness a week.
Andrew Livingston, Hooke

On Snoozy Floozy

This year’s Child Okeford Pantomime was a tale that loosely follows the Sleeping Beauty story, wonderfully penned by John Nash.
There were three shows; Friday and Saturday night plus a delightfully chaotic matinee on Saturday afternoon, and all three were performed to full houses.
The cast were clearly inspired by the fabulous steam punk set painted by Rob Adams and Celia Ebdon, which was echoed by the costumes created by Jackie Chapman and Gilli Gale.
Throw in dramatic lighting by Mike Powell and (sometimes hilarious) sound effects from Tim Beynon, and this Panto was ready to be baked.
The cherry on top was the superb musical interpretation of Phil Blake and Nick Briggs (despite losing their drummer 24 hours before curtain up).
There were fairies on scooters and an evil sorceress (with the obligatory frog eating, simpering sidekick) singing Paint It Black, the best bad jokes and classic panto moments, all stitched together under the imaginative direction of Sammy Upton.
Happy audiences headed home still grinning, saying that “that was the best one yet!” and “wish there were still tickets for tomorrow”.
Speaking to some of the cast after the last show, they wanted to express their thanks to the audiences for their energy and inspiration.
I, for one, can’t wait for the next production.
Barbara Ireland, Child Okeford

Can you help?

When we first arrived in North Dorset there was a bakery called Smiths in Gillingham, on Hardings Lane I think, and they used to make a particular loaf called a Special.
I am wondering if anyone in the area has the recipe? We have tried time and again to replicate it, without success. Can anyone help?
Gay Pirrie-Weir, Wincanton
(contact letters@bvmagazine.co.uk if you can!)

On East Stour

I am disappointed and indeed surprised that The BV have not informed their readers that Dorset Council, in their wisdom, have refused to install traffic lights at the East Stour A30 crossroads.
The grandly titled Collision Reduction Officer states that “this site is too constrained” (what ever that means) and any signalling would be “difficult to achieve” (!?) and that the scheme was likely to be “so expensive that it would not be justifiable”. He goes on to say that “there are no capacity issues at the junction.” So it has not even been costed before a decision made?
Now we will have to wait for a fatality before the Council make the required decision. Hedge cutting and road markings are not enough. They only regard any collisions that have taken place as ’slight’. Disgraceful.
Jeremy Bloomfield, address supplied

On yet more development

Bourton, the most northerly part of Dorset, continues to try and absorb the 30-plus families on the housing development on the former Bourton Mill site. The GP surgery in the next village is small and already extremely busy. St George’s Primary School is turning away the kids of new arrivals. Yes, admittedly, we have a garage and small convenience store, a draughty barn for a village hall, a pub and a church.
There are almost no other places of employment. The village’s primary asset, however, is its setting: astride the nascent Stour, nestled under the scarp slope of the Cranborne and West Wiltshire Downs National Landscape with heritage buildings and important views, green fields in every direction. Remote rural village, right?
So, here’s the plan. Let’s increase the number of houses from about 400 to more than 500 in short order, adding a couple of hundred more cars which will be driven to work, school, leisure, shops, healthcare … dentist.
Let’s inject not one but two new, densely-packed housing estates on green field sites outside the longstanding settlement boundary, plus some other infill projects.
Why would you do that? Why would you wreck an ancient settlement and destroy community well-being for a generation? Why would you add all that carbon? To make money, of course. How sad. How greedy. How unnecessary.
Mike Chapman, Bourton

A call from Sherborne Abbey

commemorated on monuments and memorials.
The Abbey is developing a project to provide toilets and a new vestry in its historic church building. This will involve adjustments to a number of monuments and memorials, some of them lost in the mists of time but some more recent. We would be pleased to hear from anyone who may have an interest, particularly descendants of those commemorated, including:
Abbot Clement: c1155
Sir Thomas Wyatt: 1542
Sir John Horsey: c1560
George Brown: 1709
Elizabeth, wife of James Piddle: 1710
Pemberton Methuen: 1835
Richard and Francis Hodgson: 1918
If you would like to know more, please write to the Parish Office at 3 Abbey Close, Sherborne DT9 3LQ, email joanna.sams@sherborneabbey.com
For general information on the project, visit sherborneabbey.com/new-facilities


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