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New Year starts with a full programme of events.

The Village Hall had a very busy and exciting Christmas time, with Amity and the Donhead Garden Club having their Christmas parties; there was a wonderful acoustic concert, the Community Christmas Day lunch and by the time you read this we will have sung along with the film ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ and seen off the evil spirits in the orchard by Wassailing.



‘The Wife’ on Thursday 14th February, featuring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. ‘As the apparently perfect wife of a Nobel prize-winning writer, Close gives arguably her best performance in an adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel.’ The Guardian.

‘Swimming with Men’ on Thursday 14th March. A man suffering a mid-life crisis finds new meaning in his life after joining an all-male, middle-aged, amateur synchronised swimming team!

Tickets from Ludwell Stores

CURRY AND QUIZ NIGHT: Saturday 16th February at 7 pm. Tickets £10, to include a homemade curry (vegan option) . Six person teams and individuals welcome. Bring your own drinks and nibbles.Tickets from Richard Ecclestone: 01747 829261

ROB HALLIGAN: Our next concert will be on Saturday 30th March featuring Rob Halligan. Tickets from Richard Ecclestone, as above.

OPEN MORNING: Saturday 23rd February from 10 to 12. Drop in to find out more about a new keep fit project planned in the village hall (see below for more details).


We couldn’t let this edition of the digest go without sharing with you a few of our special festive moments.


“Amazing.” “Delightful.” “…a warm, bistro style cafe, filled with music.”

A packed Donhead St Mary Village Hall were the recipients of an absolute treat as the Hall welcomed back Gareth Davies-Jones for a night of acoustic Christmas songs and carols. Backed at times by the beautiful voice of his daughter Bronwen, Gareth enthralled the audience with material from his new album, as well as his own interpretations of traditional Carols. Allied with his wonderful, melodic and soulful guitar playing and story telling, Gareth and Bronwen gave the audience a night to remember, as well as a few poignant thoughts about what Christmas is really all about.

Wonderful music, a packed house and an amazing chilli served by the hosts. What more could you ask for!


A huge ‘thank you’ goes to Phoebe and her family for all their fantastic efforts in organising this very special event and making Christmas a day to remember for all involved.

‘Once again we all enjoyed a very happy Christmas Day lunch in the Village Hall. This year we sat down 29 people aged from 89 to 6 and welcomed to our midst two Syrian families who arrived in Shaftesbury as refugees last year. The children joined in the Carols which we sang before lunch, accompanied by the Mackay family, to whom we are most grateful. I would also like to extend many thanks to the Village Hall committee who waived the hire fee; Jo and Phil at the village shop who provided all the vegetables; and many kind members of the community who donated money, food, crackers, gifts or their time helping to prepare and clear up the meal, decorating the hall, packing presents and driving guest to and from their homes. It really was a team effort. All of our guests were extremely grateful and were particularly touched to be given a present to take home. All the money left over I sent to Crisis so it was a win-win. Happy New Year.’ Phoebe Fortescue.



During 2018 the Donhead St Mary Village Hall Committee was approached by Helen Cotter, WCC Village Hall & Community Buildings Advisor, to bring to our attention a funding opportunity offered by Sport England and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). Together they are running a pilot project which promotes cost effective physical activity, engagement in sport and healthy lifestyles in rural communities; encouraging people to become more active. Successful applications will receive up to £10k in grant funding, to make their idea become a reality.

After several months of looking at what we could offer, our application was submitted and just before Christmas we received an email to say our application was successful.

We believe that there's nothing more important than staying fit and healthy and exercise plays a key part in this. We want to provide the opportunity for local residents to improve their wellbeing through a programme of activities designed to use both gentle and active exercise. Regardless of individuals exercise routine it is important to promote good posture. With good posture comes better health and the avoidance many future health problems. We want to offer a series of activities that will help with improved posture and give everyone the opportunity to meet in a spirit of fun whilst exercising together. With small classes of no more than ten participants to ensure personal attention of the trainer, time will be optimised. Funding will go towards offering three sessions a week over 46 weeks for ten people at each session. In addition there is a small allowance to cover the cost of travel for those without transport who wish to participate.

To find out more about this scheme and how to take advantage of this opportunity there will be a drop in open morning in our village hall on Saturday 23rd February from 10 to 12.

For further details contact Anna McDowell on 01747 829010 or email

BOOKINGS for private functions, classes, meetings: please contact Karen Ecclestone on 01747 829261 or FURTHER INFORMATION about clubs, classes, booking the hall and future events can also be found on the village hall website:

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