Sir Christopher Lees, Chairman of the South Dorset Local Action Group for LEADER presented trustees of Sydling St Nicholas Village Hall with a cheque for £97,071 to kickstart a refurbishment programme which has been a year in the planning.

The work will include an extension to, and refitting of, the kitchen and serving area, the creation of new storage facilities for hall furniture, refurbishment of the area to the rear of the stage and a new heating system.

Chairman of the Village Hall Trustees Laura Cheney said: “This award is the culmination of 12 months of hard work by the trustees.  “We are very excited about being able to turn our ideas into reality by early next year and by so doing provide a first rate facility for the benefit of the whole community”.

LEADER funding is available to local businesses, communities, farmers, foresters and land managers. LEADER is a French acronym which roughly translates as ‘Liaison among Actors in Rural Economic Development’.


Please Note:

Although the main hall (including the stage) and kitchen are not available for use during refurbishment, the Committee Room is still available to hire.  Please phone 01300 341777 or 01300 341620 for details.

The refurbishment is planned to be completed by the spring 2019.

Letter received from Buckingham Palace

The Parish Council has received the following letter from Buckingham Palace in response to the greeting sent to Her Majesty on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

letter from Palace2




The final meeting of the calendar year on 8 December took in a festive spirit when, in addition to mulled wine and mince pies (courtesy of, respectively, Nick Hopkin and Suzanne Legg) and a seasonal raffle, Lele Wade, one of our long serving members, had kindly agreed to show members how to make floral Christmas decorations using readily available foliage, flowers and fruit.  On arrival we were greeted by a display of several superb specimens which (in true Blue Peter fashion) she had put together earlier in the day, most of which she kindly donated as raffle prizes inspiring a marked increase in the sale of tickets.


Lele began with an amusing short talk on how she became interested in flowers in her native Denmark, an involvement that continued throughout her later life travels with husband Chris. Step by step, she built up the model on an oasis, which was mounted on a small turntable, utilising leaves, sticks of wood, moss, flowers and fruit, much of which she had collected whilst walking in the village.  Quite quickly it seemed that the oasis disappeared and morphed into a stunning display set off by inclusion of three candles mounted into spiked holder.  It then became a star in the larger than usual draw.


After some lively questions and answers, tickets were drawn from the box under the supervision of Jane Warren, where it seemed that the prizes were shared reasonably equally by members, before Phil led a vote of thanks to Lene for a most enjoyable and instructive evening ,which was endorsed by everyone present.


The next meeting is to be held at 7-30 pm on Tuesday 12 January 2016 when our speaker will be Malcolm Mills from The Castle Gardens group will tell us about ‘Flowers that changed the world’.




The speaker at the Society’s second meeting of the winter season was Stephen Griffiths, Curator of Abbotsbury’s Sub-Tropical Garden.  Stephen, who is a well-travelled author and garden tour leader and a member of numerous professional bodies, including a RHS Plant Committee and the International Camellia Society, arrived at Abbotsbury just after the massive damage caused by the great storm of 1990.  His brief on taking up the appointment was to oversee a new ten-year development plan designed revive the historical garden to improve plant content and infrastructure so as to enhance tourism aspects.


His photo laden presentation began with a brief history of Abbotsbury which had been established adjacent to a grand seaward facing house built by the Fox-Strangeways family (subsequently the Earls of Ilchester) in 1765, who remained in residence until 1913, when the house was destroyed by a fire, after which the family returned to their former (and current) seat at Melbury House.  However the old wall garden was maintained and remains in family ownership.


Stephen explained that the wooded and sheltered 20 hectare site has its own micro climate in which more delicate plants than are usually grown in southern England can flourish, and that these which would otherwise need greenhouses can be grown outside.  These factors lend support to the formal and informal gardens, as well as the comprehensive woodland walks and walled garden.  After an informative question and answer interval, a vote of thanks proposed by the Chairman was supported and applauded by the 31 members who attended.  Jenny Hopkin then outlined arrangements for the 9 February 2016 visit to Robin and Gerry Maclachlan’s snowdrop collection and asked members to indicate preferences for ‘group block timings’ for the conducted tours.


The next meeting will be held on 8 December at 7-30pm in the Village Hall when Society member Lene Wade will give a tutorial on Christmas floral decorations.  The occasion will also include mulled wine and mince pies, plus a Christmas Raffle (donations as Prizes will be gratefully accepted by Jenny Hopkin (01300 341252).

Gallery Photos

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