1983 was a big year for the Conygre Hall. In May it celebrated its tenth birthday with a four day festival of events. These included a musical concert put on by artistes from the village, a dance, hymn singing, a grand fayre and sports’ day. Then in October it was voted the best run village hall in Wansdyke. Veronica Packham received the district shield from Harold Taviner, Chairman of Wansdyke District Council at a prizegiving ceremony at Pensford Village Hall.
The Cheshire Home said goodbye to both its Head Rex Oakes and his assistant Leslie Hall. Rex who had been awarded the MBE in 1973 for his services to youth had been a prime mover in raising thousands of pounds for the Home and his departure coincided with the acquisition of a £12000 Mercedes ambulance. Leslie had looked after the accounts at the Home for thirteen years and he was thanked for all his hard work by Home chairman Mrs Jolliffe.
The Camerton Traction Engine Rally, one of the biggest and best in the south-west finally ran out of steam. After being staged for 25 years and raising thousands of pounds for various charities and Camerton Parish Church it was decided that due to shortage of cash and difficulties in finding a site and helpers the project was no longer viable.
On the political scene a General Election was held and Paul Dean won the newly created constituency of Woodspring for the Conservatives with a 15,132 majority. Mr Dean who had lived in Timsbury for some years thus began his nineteenth year as a Tory M.P. Locally there was a Conservative gain in the Wansdyke District Council elections with Maurice Offer who had switched from the Camerton ward defeating Labour candidate Ken Foster by 160 votes.
In 1982 Timsbury had begun its support of the Parkal orphanage in Southern India. The following year the sister in charge at the Home, Mary Thomas and a colleague came on a visit to Timsbury. A children’s party was held in the rectory and a welcoming meeting took place at Tabor Church where the two sisters spoke about their work at the orphanage and thanked the people of Timsbury for all their support.
The first holiday playschool was organised in Timsbury between August 22 and August 26. The scheme which was to run successfully for many years thereafter was based at the Youth Centre and included trips out, nature rambles, creative activities, films, a party and a disco.
Timsbury Ladies Choir held its annual concert at the Conygre Hall. The Choir conducted by my father and accompanied by Mrs Doris Taviner was supported by the Croft’s End Silver Band from Bristol and singers John Osborne and Rita Morgan. Rev. Clifford Jones was chairman.
Claire Evry, daughter of Philip and Joyce was a member of the Writhlington School advanced recorder group which came first in the Mid-Somerset Festival in Bath and helped the school win the Fairfield Cup in the elementary consort class. Meanwhile John Rugg of Crocombe Lane, a rep with Granada T.V. Rentals won a music centre in the Christmas competition run by the company’s home journal after correctly identifying the masked faces of T.V. personalities.
Timsbury Cricket Club made the national headlines in 1983 when it became the first club in the country to hire a helicopter to dry out its pitch. Torrential early season rain had threatened the club’s benefit match for Somerset captain Brian Rose and the club’s efforts earned local television coverage and a mention in both the Daily Telegraph and David Gower’s quiz in The Tiger! In the match itself West Indian maestro Viv Richards made a whirlwind 89 in Somerset’s total of 194-9 with Timsbury replying with 130-3. Earlier in the year Fred Wedlock had been the principal guest at the club’s dinner and dance alongside Somerset’s assistant coach Dennis Breakwell.
Adrian Heal was chosen as Clubman of the Year at the Football Club’s presentation evening at Farmborough. Chairman Andrew Hayne promised a bright future for the club and announced a new sponsorship deal for the following season.
Finally one of the great darts’ characters of the 1980s, world champion Eric Bristow, the self-styled crafty Cockney, visited the Conygre Hall to play a series of exhibition matches against local aspirants.