Letters to the Editor April 2024


This image was taken in May 2023, when C and I attended a swish awards in Mayfair. We didn’t win, but we achieved one of only a handful of the Highly Commendeds awarded on the night.
Imagine our giddy delight this month, then, at learning we had been shortlisted again for the Newspaper & Magazine Awards 2024 as Best Regional Publication Of the Year.
The suitably swish awards do is in Mayfair in May – we’ll keep you posted!
Fair warning, the first news story contains some distressing images. But whatever your thoughts on this particular farmer’s chosen course of action, the hundreds of responses I read to the sheep worrying incident were unanimous. Dog owners must walk their animals on a lead near livestock – no matter how well trained you believe your adored pooch is. Every dog owner I know has a story to tell about their always-well-behaved pet randomly hurtling off at least once and refusing to come back.
For once, the solution to an horrific issue is actually very simple. Literally every single dog owner owns a lead. And it’s not as though we struggle for open space, footpaths or good dog walking options here in Dorset, is it?
I refuse to discuss the weather this month – I just can’t face it. But neverending biblical rainfall aside, it’s finally time to start getting out and doing fun things.
Many open gardens have been cancelled, and I know the team at the G&S Show were left deeply frustrated and upset at having to postpone their annual Spring Countryside Show until June (listen, it’s still officially spring until the 20th June), but fingers crossed they’re the only casualty of the weather gods.
From the brand new Dorset Spring Show to the Chaldicott Barns Spring Fair and the amazing Shaftesbury Feastival, it’s looking like an exciting month. It’s finally time to get outside and DOING again.
Even if we will be in our wellies…

Laura x

On The Exchange
In February’s BV a kind letter described The Exchange as a ‘brilliant community resource’, and it is. The 300-seat theatre hosts a rolling programme of shows, cinema and speakers, and also parties and dinners. With the help of staff and volunteers (sometimes working past midnight), The Exchange helped to deliver 72,000 vaccinations over the last three years.
The income from our shows helps to maintain a community centre with around 30 events each week, including an indoor market and social activities in and around our fully accessible café.
You can boost your health, wellbeing, education and culture. You can act, sing, dance and play music. You can improve the quality of your life at The Exchange.
Our finances are recovering from the shock of energy price increases, but we must rebuild our depleted reserves to keep delivering to our community and the whole of North Dorset – and that is what we are determined to do.
Please look out for and support the many fundraising events taking place this year. Look at our website, pick up a brochure, come and see us.
A ‘Friends of The Exchange’ scheme is due to launch in May – and of course donations are welcome at any time.
Robert Cowley, Sturminster Newton

Housing Crisis in Dorset
I am a palliative care nurse. I know I am good at what I do, by the many positive feedback and comments I receive from patients, their families and fellow colleagues.
While continuing to work, I been forced to register my family as becoming homeless. We have rented our current home for 12 years, and in that time, the rental market has changed significantly.
Rent has increased and the amount of rented properties available has decreased. For every one rental there’s five to 10 people applying; owners may take their pick.
Due to our current situation, we will move up the housing register ever so slightly – although our family is in need, there our others more in need then us. For each social house in Dorset, there can be over 100 people bidding on it.
If you don’t manager to secure private rent/social housing before you have to leave your current home, then you are placed in a B&B.
The housing crisis is real, and many more hardworking families will be put in this position unless the Government takes it seriously.
I have written to Simon Hoare on other matters in the past but never received a reply.
Can he honestly say he is doing a good job for his constituents? Dorset is in a housing crisis and he should be making this point over and over in Government until changes are made.
Name and address witheld

D-Day memories needed
I would like to ask your readers if they have memories of living in Shroton, Farrington, Ranston or Farrington during WW2 – any written memoirs of relatives that lived here, and are no longer with us – that they would be willing to share.
I am putting on a history display in Shroton village hall on 6 June to commemorate D Day.
Please email me trevandjude@btinternet.com with anything you may share.
Judith Hewitt, Shroton

Not boring business
Great articles this month on the three local businesses – and I never read the business news section! Not because I have any intention of being an accountant or of selling wedding dresses, but I was astounded by how inspiring they were! Like so many of us, I have often toyed with the idea of ‘doing it for myself’ and your interviews were a fascinating insight into the brains of the people who do just that. It was striking how similar their attitudes were – and how much I have to learn before I make the leap!
Sally East, Blandford

Filthy rivers
The Environment Agency’s report on sewage overflow into the nation’s rivers is alarming. If you haven’t checked your local river yet, I urge you to see the full interactive map here We must demand immediate action and stricter regulations to protect our rivers from further pollution. Dorset’s natural heritage deserves to be preserved for future generations.
Gerry Saunders, Sherborne

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  1. Dear sir, l have just been to the JHOOTS in Shaftesbury and told that all the old staff have gone and that there is only the two staff ,it’s a very sad that all the very good staff have gone ,but when you look up these new company there feed back is very poor and the staff rating is only 2 out of 5 and the NHS ratting is very low why has this been allowed to happen in Dorset.


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