1963 saw the worst snowfall for 80 years in North Somerset. I remember that the snow began on Boxing Day 1962 and remained on the ground well into the spring. Mechanical shovels, snow ploughs and caterpillar tractors were used to answer emergency calls and “chaotic” was the word most often quoted as drifts blocked roads, cut off villages and played havoc with attempts to maintain normal service..
A parents’ meeting was held at Timsbury Secondary Modern School deploring the omission of the proposed new Timsbury/Paulton Secondary School from the 1964-65 major building programme. There was particular concern that the present school building might be inadequate to cater for the increasing number of children who were staying on for advanced courses. The main business of the evening was a stimulating talk by Mr. Ted King, Head of Maths at the school who was always held in high esteem by the pupils he taught. Meanwhile at the end of 1963 it was announced that the headmaster Desmond Foster was leaving the school to take over as Head of Churchill Secondary Modern School. Mr Foster had come to Timsbury in 1960 having previously been Deputy Head at Pitmaston Secondary Modern School in Birmingham.
On April 17 1963 Britain’s first nuclear-powered submarine H.M.S. Dreadnought, the country’s most powerful naval weapon was commissioned. Its captain was Commander Barnaby Sambourne, aged 38, who was born at Timsbury House where his family had lived for generations. Commander Sambourne received his early education at St. Christopher’s School. Bath and had entered Dartmouth as a cadet in 1938. He was specially trained at the Royal Naval College Greenwich and in sea-going nuclear submarines by the U.S. Navy for his new position.
The former postmistress of Timsbury Mrs May Cox died at the age of 81. She had been a prominent member of the village and during her lifetime had held positions at St. Mary’s Church, the British Legion, W.I, Male Voice Choir, St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, Timsbury Primary School and the W.E.A. Players. The community also said farewell to local farmer Lew Russell who died at the age of 62, famous racing cyclist John “Sonny” Coombs(76) and Ron Sands(57) who was actively involved at South Road Methodist Church and the British Legion.
Timsbury welcomed television personality Sally Alford from T.W.W.(the equivilent of today’s H.T.V. West) to open a big Freedom From Hunger fete at the Secondary School. Bad weather meant it had to be held indoors and no children’s sports were possible although a lorry toured the village carrying the fancy dress competitors. The fete completed a full week of activities which had seen skittle competitions, a jive session in the Y.M.C.A. Hall, bingo and community hymn singing.
The Freedom From Hunger campaign also benefited from a special football match between Timsbury Athletic Past and Present on the Glebe Field. Amongst those representing the Past was former Spurs and Bristol Rovers’ defender John Hills who lived in Timsbury but the S.G. Taylor Challenge Trophy went to Timsbury Present who won 4-3 after extra-time. The match was refereed by former Timsbury goal ace Stan Evans. The football and cricket teams were also making arrangements to move to the Miners’ Welfare Field and the cricket pavilion was successfully moved to the new site and a new square prepared.
Messrs. King, Miles and Co. conducted a sale of live and dead farming stock at Sleight Farm on behalf of Mr. Ernest Cleaves. A large company of buyers were in attendance from a wide area and all stock on offer reached good prices. A 1948 Ferguson T.V.O. tractor raised £62, a Massey Harris 701 baler went for £54 while a Friesian bull attracted £80.
Finally Major John Pares was appointed as the new warden of the Cheshire Home. Major Pares who had been in the army until February 1963 was with the 5th. Army Group R.A. in Normandy on D-Day Plus Three and fought right through to Germany in support of 30 Corps taking part in many battles including the Rhine Crossing.