Dorset news and views of February 2014

River Frome flooding seen from Poundbury Fort, Dorchester. Photo by Sally Welbourn

River Frome flooding seen from Poundbury Fort, Dorchester. Photo by Sally Welbourn - Credit: Archant

All the latest Dorset stories from across the county this month

George Stockton

George Stockton - Credit: Archant

Dorset footballer to play for Manchester United

Talented footballer George Stockton, from Blandford Forum has been selected from thousands of hopefuls to play for Manchester United Deaf Team. The 20-year-old, who is currently in his second year at UCFB Burnley (University College of Football Business), has been picked to play in the team’s monthly matches which draw crowds of a thousand or more. The appointment follows a summer of training with the Team GB Deaf Men’s football team which George said gave him a really good grounding. “I have ambitions to play for Team GB in the future,” said George, who hopes to follow a career in football, either on or off the pitch. “This is a great opportunity for me to continue training and build upon the foundations made over the summer. I love going to watch live football so to play to a crowd of this size will be a dream come true.”


The Man with the Golden Flute comes to Sherborne

This year’s Sherborne Abbey Festival will bring jazz, early music and a classical music legend to this north Dorset town over the May Bank Holiday. Festival director John Baker, who founded the festival in 2000, is particularly excited by this year’s eclectic line-up: “For the first time at the festival we will have professional dancers on stage with Live from the Cotton Club, we have the amazing jazz singer Stacy Kent, the man with the golden flute Sir James Galway and The Cardinall’s Musick will perform William Byrd’s The Great Service, in Sherborne Abbey. These are just the headline acts, there are a further 18 concerts, most of which are free.”

The Sherborne Abbey festival runs from 2 – 6 May and booking opens on 17 February either via the box office 07528 144292, in person at Sherborne TIC in Digby Road (01935 815341) or via

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Where’s your top coastal dog walk?

The search is on to find the best dog walk along the South West Coast Path - the 630-mile National Trail that stretches from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset. Last year’s winning dog walk, Heddon’s Mouth in Somerset, was described by Alison Moreland who nominated it, as “an easy section of the path with a great stream, a small beach for doggie paddling, and a dog-friendly pub for refreshment.” Nomiate your favourite dog walk at The winning voter will be given a holiday at one of Holiday Cottages 800 dog-friendly cottages in the region. The closing date for nominations is 28 February.


Nominate your favourite Dorset Afternoon Tea

Have you a favourite place in Dorset for afternoon tea? It could be a village tea rooms, a café, a stylish hotel, a farm shop, a department store or somewhere special or unusual off the beaten track. Tell us what makes these places special. Is it the cakes, the views, the ambience? And we’ll feature your favourite tea places in our Afternoon Tea Special at Easter. Email the editor


Weather batters wildlife

A dead cow, dolphins and seabirds were just some of the distressing finds that volunteers came across during a clear up of Chesil beach after vicious storms battered the Dorset coastline. Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is particularly concerned about the impact the storms have had on wildlife. After braving strong winds and enormous waves, exhausted and distressed seabirds such as the razorbill, fulmar and shag have been found stranded on Chesil Beach and at Kimmeridge.

DWT’s Marine Awareness Officer, Julie Hatcher said: “Our biggest concern is that seabirds will become dehydrated, as their intake of water comes from the food they eat. The recent weather conditions mean they have not been able to feed.” Members of the public who come across any injured birds or animals are asked to phone the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

There is also concern that the repeated storms are washing up considerable amounts of litter onto Dorset’s beaches, and DWT will be running various beach clean events over the next few weeks and need volunteers. To find out more visit

There is a small ray of sunshine though, the flooding inland has allowed migratory species such as salmon to swim further up the river to breed, and wildfowl and wading birds are enjoying feeding on considerably larger areas of wetland.


Purbeck Young Farmers’ hedge fund

Dorset and Somerset solicitors’ firm Humphries Kirk sponsored the Purbeck Young Farmers’ Club in its annual hedge laying competition at Manor Farm, East Stoke. The competition, which gives members of the club the opportunity to learn the traditional countryside skill, is an important event in the club’s calendar and competition is fierce.

Shaunna Knight, Tom Greenway and James Billen from the Marshwood Vale Young Farmers’ Clubs achieved first place in the novice, intermediate and senior hedge laying competition respectively. While Dan Barnes and Adam Smith from the Wareham and Purbeck Young Farmers’ Club achieved first place in the pairs competition.


Crafty Dorset makers join online boutique

Three crafty ladies from Dorset have joined forces with a new online boutique showcasing the best of Westcountry designed and made products.

Gillingham-based Tanya Barker makes bags and purses and Roald Dahl print children’s art cases; Silton-based Emma Malleson creates handmade milk soaps using unpasteurised milk from her husband’s Jersey cross cows and Minterne Magna-based Nicky Lewis, who makes bulrush gift baskets have joined some of the regions top crafters on Elsie & Fleur, a website which offer locally made gifts without a hefty price tag. All the products sold support Westcountry-based micro-businesses often run by kitchen table entrepreneurs and mumpreneurs. Discover more at their website or call 01278 440500,


Big Dorset Quiz Winner

Congratulations to Christine Snow who won our fabulous Big Dorset Christmas Quiz. For those of you who would like to see how you did the answers are: 1b; 2a; 3c; 4b; 5a; 6a; 7c; 8c; 9b; 10c; 11b; 12a; 13a; 14c; 15a; 16a; 17c; 18b; 19a; 20c; 21b; 22b; 23a; 24b