I will always remember 1976 as the year of the drought. It’s not often that we can boast of long settled spells of hot weather but 1976 was just such a year.
Timsbury Male Voice Choir was in the public eye after its appearance on Radio Bristol’s “Let’s Make Music”. The choir which was formed in 1919 was conducted by Ken Janes who succeeded his father Oliver in 1951. The choir had also broadcast on the radio in 1935, 1947 and 1949. Timsbury was again featured on the local radio station in August 1976 when Melody Bathurst who hosted “Sounds Like Sunday” visited the village and interviewed the rector Peter Robson and members of the Cheshire Home.
Susan Chilcott, the 13 year old daughter of Cyrus and Margaret Chilcott, expressed a wish to become an opera singer. In 1976 she gained top marks at Butlin’s Holiday Camp, Pwllheli in a talent contest and progressed to the finals. In March she had been placed first in the vocal class for girls between 11 and 14 at the Mid-Somerset Festival and was awarded the Drake trophy. At the Bristol Eisteddfod in April Susan was first in the class for folk song for girls of 12 and won the L. Joyce Brennan trophy. Susan realised all her potential to become one of the top opera singers in the country travelling all over the world before tragically losing her fight against cancer at the early age of 40 .
“The Past Around Us” series on BBC1 dealing with life in the ancient west was introduced by Timsbury resident Peter Fowler who lived at Tyning and was a lecturer in archaeology at Bristol University. He had lived in Timsbury since 1965 and I remember teaching each of his 3 daughters during my time at St. Mary’s. Peter came to Timsbury from Salisbury where he had been working for the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. He spent much of his time writing and had a book published on Wessex. Peter was also a very useful left-handed batsman and when playing for Timsbury I recall he had the uncanny ability of counting every run that he made. When he was out he would soon inform the scorers if they had got it wrong!
Timsbury Athletic was under the management of Bryn Hawkins with Graham Jeffery looking after the reserve team. Pre-season training for their Somerset Senior League Premier Division campaign saw plenty of enthusiasm prior to the visit of Clevedon United on September 4. The backbone of the team were Arthur Jones, Jimmy Adams, Malcolm Davies, Colin Kite and Ken Holmes with emerging young players Nick Parfitt, Alan Maidment and Steve Beck. Colin Davies threatened his annual comeback and the chairman was Wayland Cox.
Timsbury could boast a motor racing team in 1976. Paul Green Racing began the year confident that they had a winning combination for the coming season. The team’s 1964 Mini Cooper S equipped with a 850cc short stroke engine was to be driven by Niel Dineen, runner-up in the 1973 Esso Uniflo championship. Assisting team head Paul Green on the mechanical side were Tony Akers and Peter Crouch, the 1973 Forward Trust Saloon champion. Paul Green had begun his motor racing operation in 1971 with backing from Sony U.K. and in 1976 was sponsored by Rediffusion.
Elizabeth Macey, the elder daughter of Ian and Sue Macey and a member of the 1st. Timsbury Company of the Girls’ Brigade was presented with the Queen’s Award by Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk at the Royal Albert Hall. To reach the standard for the award Elizabeth had to be successful in 22 different subjects. She helped at Goldney House for 6 months, raised money for a house in Bangladesh and finally took tests at the Girls’ Brigade Headquarters in London displaying her knowledge of brigade administration at national and international level. It was the first time that this award had been gained in the N.E. Somerset District and was the highest award possible.
Timsbury Playgroup, one of the oldest in the area, played host to more than 70 mums and their children when the group held an open morning. The playgroup leader, Mrs Hazel Attwood, commented on the excellent co-operation between the playgroup and local schools. There were a total of 80 children on the register with 30 attending on each of the 4 mornings a week. There was also a long waiting list.
Finally the first meeting of the newly elected Timsbury Parish Council saw Arthur Moon re-elected as Chairman with Martyn Jeffs his Vice-Chairman. Gladys Smith and Eric Brimble were once more appointed school managers for St. Mary’s. The financial statement was given by the clerk and showed that outstanding commitments on the Conygre Hall had now been cleared.