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Events Around the Village


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January: There was a full house at the Royal Oak to see in the New Year, with live music, a disco, and a curry.  A great time was had by all.

Later on in the month, the Royal Oak organised a quiz night. The back rooms were packed and treated to an innovative quiz by Ellen and Ian Chamberlain together with half time food.  The winners were a team from Brushford. 


February saw the 1st anniversary of weekly coffee mornings in the Village Hall, here celebrated by organisers Sue and Beverley.

The inaugural Royal Oak Chess Championships concluded in front of a gallery of excited spectators with two close semi finals and a final that didn't keep those longing for a Sunday lunch hanging around.

In the semi-finals there was a tumultuous battle between pre-tournament favourite Ian Brooks and Bampton's finest Neil Blackmore.  The chess appeared (at least to this inexperienced eye) to be of a decent quality, and mutual blows were struck before Neil emerged victorious.

The other semi-final was between tournament organiser Martin Jones, and Paul Sams.  While the match's finesse may not have been up to the other semi, it was very close right up to the end, when Martin struck a killer blow and advanced to the final.

The final itself was a short lived affair, and Neil was always in control to end up a worthy winner.

Many thanks must go to Martin, as well as sponsors the Royal Oak, for this very enjoyable tournament.

chess semis.jpg
It matters not whos won or lost
Shield presentation

In March we were treated to a performance by Ali & The Swing Cats, who had performed at 2022's Jubilee.

Organised by the Recreation Association, there was dancing in the aisles in a packed Village Hall, as it was transformed into a cabaret complete with small tables and bottle lamps.

With music largely from the 1920s-1950s the three piece band (guitar, violin and keyboards) band entertained the audience across three sets.

Just as we were beginning to settle into spring we were treated by an appearance of snow .  Photos are courtesy of Charlie Beeden, Beverley Flannagan and David Luscott 

Singing, dancing and much merriment at St Patrick's night in the Royal Oak which featured folk music from two piece McAlpine's Fusiliers plus a guest appearance from Winsford's own Kevin Connell.  There was a welcome reappearance behind the bar of draft Guinness, and an enjoyable St Patrick's quiz was won by the Sams/Jones team.

Barely a fortnight after the snowfall, Spring raised its head.  These daffs were on Howtown Lane

Disruption in the Oak Shop as rotten flooring had to be replaced.  The shop moved temporarily next door into the Royal Oak.  

April 1st brought quite a surprising news story about the Exe being dyed purple for the forthcoming King's Coronation.  At least one reader missed the link to Wikipedia's April Fool page

It was lambing time at the Hayes farm, and one ewe gave birth to quintuplets, the odds of which have been estimated as a million to one.

On April 4th, the Exmoor Park committee met and agreed to designate the centre of Winsford as a conservation area.

April also saw the 30th anniversary of Winsford's Short Mat Bowls Club, an event which was celebrated in the traditional style.

With money largely raised through the efforts of Sue Hayes, Winsford Village Green got a new set of swings, to replace the old ones which had rotted. A gathering on the green saw a ribbon cut and the swings put through their paces

Not one to rest on her laurels, Sue followed this up by organising the Easter Sale and Coffee morning, attended by 137 people, and which raised £744 for the Exmoor Youth Club.

The Annual Assembly (below) was attended by 33 parishioners, and heard presentations from Brenda Staples (representing the PCC), Frazer Lawrence (Recreation Association), Mel Mileham (village resiliance plan) Sue Hayes (Village Hall), and Colin Wilkins (Parish Council).

May saw King Charles III's Coronation.  Preparations went ahead decking the village and the hall out in bunting

Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend was Coronation Day, and Moor Movies kindly broadcast the event on the big screen in the village Hall.  Being Winsford, there were many fine cakes on offer as well

There was a celebratory coronation church service at St Mary Magdalene's on the Sunday. The bell ringers rang a special peal and local musicians gave an short concert before the service.  Afterwards those that wanted to stayed behind to prepare their entries for the Best Crown event at the following day's lunch.

The weather put paid to any hopes of having Monday's planned celebratory lunch on the green, so the event was held in the hall.  There was a great turnout, about 75 people who all brought their own food. There was also a shared puddings table that many donated to.  The event finished off with a competition for who have created the best crown.

The children's division was shared by three very worthy winners, and the adults was won by Orla Jones, with Jane Orchiston and John Titcombe coming 2nd and 3rd.

John also told us his memories of another Coronation, that of George VI in 1937.

We were treated by a visit from the East Suffolk Morris men who were touring the area.  A good crowd enjoyed the dancing in the sunshine