…... Our village magazine for Bozeat and Easton Maudit

…… the start in March 1980 by Penny Brannon

In 1978 my next door neighbour Sue Embleton and I decided to start a group for mothers and babies/toddlers in Bozeat.  The group was sponsored by St. Mary’s Church, we met at the old Church Hall in Allens Hill, and we called it the Tea Pot Club.  We greatly valued this time from 2 pm on Tuesday afternoons. As our children played we had a cup of tea and talked.  We shared news, views and information with each other and often child minders, dads, carers, grandparents, and other relatives came along too.

By 1979 we were beginning to feel that something needed to be done to circulate information a bit more freely within the village. Often we would talk about attending something in the village and it turned out that others did not know about it.  The information was there but not immediately available. Often we would talk about how we might help each other, about extending the existing caring in the village, about how we could help the environment of our village.  Pregnancies intervened and it was not until 1980 that we decided the time was right to get something off the ground.

In March 1980 we prepared the first edition of About Bozeat, typed on an old manual typewriter. The cost of copying the sheets was  covered by donations.   My next door neighbour Marian Clark collated, folded and stapled the 825 copies and it took us four and a half hours to deliver a copy to each house in the village. There were 1843 residents then but the village has grown since and I believe there are now 936 houses and the 2001 Census lists all  2029 residents.

It was always our plan that the cost of producing About Bozeat would be met by payment for the adverts we could include. We wanted to include advertisements only from local shops, businesses and craftsmen because we felt in this way we would also support village businesses.  We did not want it swamped by adverts as so many other village magazines were then and always stuck to the ratio of 25% advertisements to 75% editorial.

We wanted to make it very local friendly and we intended always to ask permission to include Christian/first names rather than call people Mr or Mrs or Miss.  We wanted it non-party-political. We wanted to be sure it really talked about Bozeat and for Bozeat.  We were immensely grateful that the first edition was so well received and that we were contacted immediately by prospective advertisers, by offers of financial help to get the magazine off the ground, by offers of practical help in getting it ready and in delivering it.

With help from Sue Embleton initially and subsequently from Marguerite Newell, Lynne Ward, and Diane West, I edited About Bozeat for eighteen years. The manual typewriter gave way to a word processor but I did not get to produce it by computer (don’t know whether to be sad or glad about that Lynne!).  Lynne Ward took over as Editor and has now completed the seven years which brings us up to those 25 Years of Publication.

Did we succeed in achieving all those good intentions that led to that first issue in March 1980.  Well, I think we did in some ways. We helped to get information circulating in the village to a wider audience and to encourage residents to support local businesses, and encouraged help for each other by making more people aware of what was going on in the village in which they could become involved.   

My one sadness is that I do not think we have ever managed to get to grips with caring for our environment. During 1980 I well remember clearing litter from the grass verge near the bus stop at what was then the end of Easton Lane and being reproached by another resident who asked me if I was trying to do a “Council Road Sweeper” out of a job.   During 2004 whilst clearing litter from Fish Alley I was accused of the same thing!   Unfortunately we did not have “Council Road Sweepers” as such then and we do not have them now.

My one plea would be that we – and by we I mean all residents – care for our village more. That we make an effort to ensure that we and our families do not drop litter, That we are prepared to clear litter from outside our homes and from public areas. That we think about trees and plants/flowers in public places, protect and care for those already there and think about adding more.  Then the final purpose for About Bozeat all those years ago will be achieved.  My thanks to all the very many people who helped to keep About Bozeat going for those 18 years.  Keep up the good work Lynne and the Bozeat Matters team – let’s celebrate 30, 40 and even another 50 years!

Penny Brannon

March 2005