1973 was a big year in the life of Timsbury. It saw the retirement of its doctor and headteacher and the opening of a superb new village hall that was to be the envy of communities throughout the area.
In April 1973 Dr. Bertram Crook retired after 42 years in practice in Timsbury. Dr. Crook may not have endeared himself to everyone with his bedside manner but he was a very clever man and many villagers remain eternally grateful to him for his expertise. Dr. Crook was also a keen caver and founded the Mendip Rescue Association. He formed a chess club in Timsbury and was himself a county player. At a special Presentation Evening the doctor was given a solid silver salver, a decanter with solid silver opener, a set of cut-glass wine glasses and a gardening voucher. The presentation was made by village Postmaster Martyn Jeffs.
May 1973 saw the election of a new Parish Council although in fact there was no election at all. The thirteen nominees were returned unopposed. The 1973 Parish Council comprised of Roland Pickford (Chairman). Maurice Jenkins, Sheila Matthews, Arthur Brimble, Edith Brimble, Arthur Moon, Gladys Smith, Martyn Jeffs, Stewart Riding, Frank Constable, Alan White, Jim Bridges and John Smart.
The Timsbury Recreation Field Committee was formed in November 1969 and less than 4 years later their efforts resulted in the opening of Conygre Hall on May 26th 1973. The Hall had been made possible by numerous money raising functions and by the generous support of community benefactor Bernard Cayzer. The Hall was built by Mr. Jock Crozier and the Chairman of the Management Committee was Mr. John Regnard.
The opening of the Hall was celebrated by a week of social events that had something for everyone. Community hymn singing on the Sunday was followed on Bank Holiday Monday by a Summer Fayre and Donkey Derby and a Grand Festival Dance to the music of The Squads. On Tuesday there was a Tiny Tots Show and in the evening a version of the popular play “Boeing Boeing” while barn dance enthusiasts could enjoy a ceilidh and social with The Threshing Machine the following night. On Thursday the over 60s welcomed a concert party and in the evening there was a performance from the Timsbury Male Voice Choir. A trip down Memory Lane was on offer on Friday with an Olde Tyme Music Hall before the festivities closed on the Saturday with Derek and Christie’s Children’s Show and later a disco. It was a hectic week of activities climaxing a marvellous village effort which created a Hall that was to be the envy of the surrounding area.
The Summer term at St. Mary’s Primary was my first at the school and I remember well an excellent operetta performed by the children. Playing the lead part of Princess Briar Rose was Yvonne Derrick with Robert Traylor as Prince Florio and Julie Hayward as Blackabogel. Training the children were Mr. Percy Dando and Mr. Ben Bolt .
The end of term saw the retirement of the headmaster Mr Bert Blake. after 22 years as head there. Mr. Bert Blake had been a professional footballer with Bristol Rovers in his younger days and his enthusiasm for sport is well remembered by all those who benefited from his outstanding coaching skills. At the same time Mrs. Gladys Smith retired as secretary of the school and Mrs. Preddy handed over the cooking duties to her daughter Joyce (Pain).
Timsbury Athletic welcomed Tony Book of Manchester City as their Guest of Honour at the annual Dinner and Dance. Tony enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top late in his footballing career after spending much of his time with Bath City. My father was secretary of Timsbury at that time, Tony Pleass was Chairman and the 2 team managers were Jack Bull and Bryn Hawkins.
An old school friend was rescued from its former home in Mill Lane and re-hung in the tower of St. Mary’s Church. The bell, which had not been used since 1940, was employed as the “Sanctus Bell” and is still heard as the 5-minute call to worship.