There is the occasional year in the life of a community when an event so dramatic occurs that every inhabitant is affected however remotely connected they may be to the people involved. 1961 was a case in point. On July 9 Anthony Smith aged 20 and his brother David (22), two members of the Greenvale family of eleven children were drowned in the River Avon at Saltford. It appeared that David was holding a plastic ball and when Anthony dived towards him he lost possession and both disappeared beneath the surface. When news of the Sunday afternoon tragedy emerged the whole village was stunned and their 15 year old brother Barry had to be informed in St Martin’s Hospital where he was recovering from leg injuries received in an accident of his own. The Congregational Church was packed for the funeral.
A serious fire took place in the village in 1961 at the home of 83 year old Ernest Ashley at Bloomfield. Mr Ashley who lost nearly all of his possessions had to be dragged from his burning cottage. His plight was witnessed by Mrs George Sperring and Mrs Mervyn Sims and their husbands together with Philip Cleaves and Geoff Curtis went to the pensioner’s rescue.
1961 saw the formation of Timsbury Horticultural Society. It followed a general meeting of villagers at the British Legion Club and plans were put in hand to hold the annual flower show at Timsbury Secondary Modern School in 1962. Geoff Dagger was appointed secretary, a position he was to hold for many years and the general committee comprised of Mrs G. Smith, Mrs S.Steward, Mr J. Dennis, Mr H. Drew, Mr P. Edgell, Mr F. Emery, Mr Reynolds and my own father.
Another event which became an annual attraction, the Timsbury Horse Show, celebrated its sixth year by moving to a new venue in 1961. By kind permission of Mr B. Newth it was held at Kingwell and featured the regional finals of the Daily Express Foxhunter Championships. I remember well the number of top names in the sport who appeared regularly at Timsbury because the first three horses in the event qualified for the Wembley Horse of the Year Show. For the record Sheila Barnes from Hampshire was first, Graham Gingell of Bruton was second and Somerton’s Gerald Brake came in third.
An Open Evening was held at the village Secondary Modern School to promote opportunities available to school leavers. Representatives of various industries joined the Headteacher Desmond Foster to answer parents’ questions. There was also an exhibition of the work being done at the school and a musical programme. A six-a-side football tournament was organised by Mr Frank Johnson and involved teams from Somervale, Writhlington, Paulton and Timsbury Secondary Modern Schools. The winning Paulton side included a number of players who were to make a name for themselves in local soccer and Danny Bartley who went on to play on the left-wing for Bristol City.
Afternoon and evening classes were held regularly during the 1960-61 session organised by the Timsbury and District Evening Institute under the Somerset Education Committee’s scheme for Further Education. The classes were open to all those people who were no longer in full-time attendance at an educational institution and a record number of nearly 600 students ranging from recent school leavers to retired persons enrolled. Classes run included dressmaking, soft furnishings and woodwork, art, pottery and floral decoration.
Finally Timsbury provided one of the most exciting Parish Council elections in the area in 1961 with 19 candidates standing for 13 seats. Mr Arthur Brimble topped the poll and other successful candidates in order of votes collected were Mrs G. Smith, Mr R. Pickford, Mr A. Moon, Mr M. Jeffs, Mrs M. Pickford, Mr F. Sperring, Major Bartelot, Mrs E. Brimble, Mr A. Beard, Mr B. Adams, Mr P. Batt and Mr A. Round. Those who failed to gain a place were Mr A.White, Mr B. Flower, Mr A. Yeadon, Mr R. Jenkins, Mr A.H. Smith and Mr. C.T.Nelmes.