Coronavirus Covid-19

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 25.05.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page of the Westbury Website

Update 25.05.2020

Tonight we are focussing on one big issue, have a further item for information and a couple of lighter ones.

Domestic abuse.

One consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been an increase in cases of domestic abuse and increased difficulty for those abused to escape to safety. For this reason, we are providing access to documents with information relevant not only to victims but to friends and neighbours who may suspect that abuse is happening and a range of professionals who may encounter instances of abuse in different contexts.  Information can be accessed here and also from the Newsletter which was published by the Safer Somerset Partnership.

Temporary stop to new admissions at Weston Hospital

People may have heard on social media that Weston Hospital has stopped taking new admissions from 8.00pm tonight because of an increased number of patients with Covid-19.  This includes A&E services. A statement put out by the hospital, which sets out alternative arrangements, can be accessed here.


Take away menu from the Westbury Inn

After a week’s break Andy and the team at the pub are back with a new menu.  Check the village website for details or contact Peter Bright (870640) to be put on his direct mailing list.


Poem of the week

Since it is a Monday we are putting out our regular ‘poem of the week’.  To encourage those who might want to compose a poem but have difficulty starting Andrew Buchanan has suggested that people might try to compose a ‘Cinquaine’ –  a five line poem written to a specific format.

Look around you and write down a favourite thing you can see

Use one word to name it; Use two words to describe it; Use three words to tell what it is doing; Use four words to tell how you feel about it; Use one word to wrap up your experience.


Here is his example:


Standing there

Waiting for action

Lockdown keeps it idle




Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher  (870531)   on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 20.05.2020

Update 20.05.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page


Now that the lockdown arrangements are well established, we plan to reduce the frequency of these updates, unless of course there is a major change that people need to be aware of.  We expect to only put them out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so if you don’t get one on other days don’t think you have missed something.

The main item tonight is a reminder about the Friendly Society scheme of financial support  Financial Support Summary for families whose income has been hit by the pandemic.  This sets out how people can find out what support might be available and how to apply to the Friendly Society.  We are anxious that everyone in the community is aware of this initiative so would be grateful if local coordinators could bring it to the attention of those not on email: we will in addition be displaying it on parish noticeboards.

We advised in a previous update that bin collection services are back to normal;  you need to remember however that because of the Bank Holiday on Monday collections next week will all be one day later (as is normal for Bank Holidays)  It is also worth remembering that although the tips have reopened everything other than garden waste risks going to landfill so only take recyclables if you have no alternative.  See details at

As it is a Bank Holiday weekend coming up the AONB have issued guidance to visitors planning to come to the area, reminding them that facilities will be closed, parking limited, and social distancing rules required.  They are asking visitors to

  • Think carefully before deciding to come to the Mendip Hills.
  • Remember that all attractions, pubs, cafes, toilets and shops are shut.
  • Understand that this is a living, working area and that there is a need to respect farming and local communities.
  • Keep strictly to social distancing guidance and avoid walking near farm buildings and homes where possible.
  • Not stay overnight on open access land or in visitor car parks.

Government guidance on access to green spaces can be found here

Finally, being a Wednesday, Peter Bright’s ‘Butterfly of the Week’ has been posted on the village website.  It is the Red Admiral and you can find it here


Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher  (870531)  on behalf of the Parish Council

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 18.05.2020

Update 18.05.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page


New Covid-19 symptoms

We hope that everyone is enjoying the fine weather and the slight easing of restrictions on movement.  There are no major developments to report but everyone needs to be aware of the extra symptoms of Covid-19 which indicate that you and your household should immediately self—isolate.  They are the loss of, or change in, your sense of smell and taste. Updated guidance on staying safe is here


The guidance reiterates the continuing relevance of basic hygiene and social distancing in keeping the infection rate down.  Some may have seen press reports that the South West now has one of the highest reproduction rates (the ‘R’ number) in the country.  According to Public Health England this simply reflects the fact that the spread of the virus into  this region was some two weeks behind London (see )



Since an increased number of people are wearing facemasks, we thought it important to set out the following extract from the guidance that relates to when and how they should be used

If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste – anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.


One small step back towards normality is that recycling and waste services are operating.  Although the information on collection dates on the Mendip web site may still be unreliable, the kerbside collections of rubbish and recycling are operating as before, and the new garden waste collection is operating here on Mondays.  The recycling centres are open and in our experience working smoothly (though check here for details as there are different days for odd and even number plates ) and staff are not allowed to help you lift material.  Garden centres are also said to be operating safe systems though progress can be slow at busy times.


Financial Support

The economic impact of the pandemic continues to bite and it would be good if everyone was aware of the financial support scheme put in place by the Friendly Society for people whose income has been hit by Covid-19.  Details of the scheme are available on the village website here

There is also a very useful summary of all the sources of support for people who have difficulty covering their outgoings because of the virus.   Find out more here .


If you do not have internet access leave a message on the Listening line 07851 227855 (anonymously if you prefer) and someone will ring back and talk you through it.


Poem of the week

Finally our poem of the week is a parody of John Masefield’s ’Cargoes’ set in the time of coronavirus. Cargoes   



Coronavirus Community Support – Update 15.05.2020

Update 15.05.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page


There are only two items in our update tonight.  There is a short message from the Chair of the Parish Council, thanking those residents who are simply being good neighbours as well as those who have volunteered for specific tasks: Westbury PC chair’s message May 15 copy (002)

and a slightly revised Countryside Code being issued by the AONB in the light of the coronavirus crisis.  As more people are now allowed to drive into the countryside to take exercise we can expect to see more people on some of our favourite walks around the outskirts of the village.   The revised code reflects the need to stay safe as well as respect the rural environment.

Alternative Corona Countryside Code poster v3 (002)


Have a good (and safe) weekend


Sue Reece (870618)  Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council.)

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 13.05.2020

For all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page

Update 13.05.2020

Clap for carers

Many people in the village join in with the ‘clap for key workers’ on Thursday evenings but what do the workers themselves think.  We print below a personal response from one village resident whose work is on the front line.

This is just a quick note to say thanks to everyone for joining in with the Thursday clap for Key Workers. It really helps to give us a lift in these challenging times. 

I drove a patient into the Royal United Hospital last Thursday as the time was approaching 8pm and we had a standing clapping noisy ovation for the journey through Bath which literally brought tears to our eyes – fantastic.

It is so great to know that our efforts are appreciated in these difficult times.

For your information all hospitals in our area are running well and have lots of space and capacity. A+E attendances are low along with 999 call outs. If you are ill and feel you need to visit a hospital, please try not to worry and either attend or call 999 if needed as you would before this outbreak. 

All ambulance crews wear fresh PPE for every call out and Patients with Covid concerns are placed in separate areas of the hospital, so the chances of transmission are as low as possible. So, if you need medical help please seek it.

Thanks again for all the support.

Paul Wylie, Lead Paramedic – Glastonbury Ambulance Station and Westbury-sub-Mendip Resident 


Another way people in the village have been supporting front line staff is by making masks.  Cathy Hancock and her team have now supplied 500 facemasks both to care home staff and local residents – they are available for free in the village shop (maximum two per household, donations appreciated)  The government has come round to recommending the use of face masks in enclosed public spaces ( see ) but emphasises that they are not a substitute for hand washing, social distancing etc., should not be worn for prolonged periods and should be carefully washed after use.

If you would like to help, Cathy is looking for donations of clean unwanted T shirts, men’s cotton shirts or cotton dress fabric.  Leave them in the box in her front garden at Cottage Farm,  the Hollow.

Spending time outdoors

There is also revised guidance from the government on spending time outdoors which you can find here As well as being able to spend an unlimited time outdoors people are also now free to drive to other places for the purpose of recreation. While this will be welcome, we should remember that social distancing rules are unchanged, and that the freedom to travel may bring more people from outside into the Mendips making distancing harder.

Butterfly of the week

Finally, when spending time outdoors, people may want to identify some of the butterflies that appear to be particularly abundant this year.  Peter Bright’s butterfly of the week posted on the village website is the Brimstone.  Find it, together with all previous examples, here

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher  (870531)  on behalf of the parish council

Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Shop

Community Shop

We thought it would be helpful to reissue the Shop opening hours here Shop Opening Sign as a reminder of what we are now offering. Please note that the Post Office hours have been restored and that the Shop and PO we are closing at 5.00 pm to allow staff to spend longer thoroughly cleaning and clearing up at the end of each day. We are glad that we have managed to keep restrictions to an absolute minimum and very grateful to all our customers for their understanding and on-going support. Shop Local -Stay Safe!

Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

No major announcements are expected from the government before the weekend, so this update focuses mainly on local matters.  For those who are keen to look at the data which will inform the government’s decisions however there are interesting figures in the set of slides released today by No. 10.( See )   They show for example that the South West continues to have the lowest number of Covid-19 related hospital cases of all UK countries and regions.

The poster competition attracted eight entries and the standard was so high that our team of judges was unable to decide on a winner.  They all share a joint first place therefore, and copies of their work will be displayed on the newly cleaned up telegraph poles around the village.  Congratulations to Iona Halls, Ivy Halls, Chase Ives, Susannah Wylie, Simeon and Toby Wylie (joint effort), Chloe Bateman, Blake Reece and John Barkle.

The telegraph pole clean up however produced a clear winner – Julie Romeo extracted 94 grams of metal from the pole at Mortar Pits; at current scrap metal prices that is worth around one penny!  Julie has asked for her prize money to be given in the form of a donation to the foodbank so items to the value of £25, funded by an anonymous benefactor, will be provided from the village shop.  The Silver Medal goes to Pavla Love who took 73 grams from the pole outside the school and Bronze to John Field with 43 grams from Station Road.   All in all, 9 poles were cleaned and look much better for it.

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher  (870531)  on behalf of the parish council.


Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

For this update and all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page

Updates issued by Sue Reece (870618) and Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council:

Free Face Masks

We have mentioned before that a team of volunteers led by Cathy Hancock have been making face masks, initially for workers in the care sector.  A number of these masks are available in the village shop for people who feel they might benefit from wearing one on occasions – a maximum of two per person.  They are free but Cathy is suggesting a donation which will be used to purchase more materials and any surplus will go to NHS Covid-19 charities.

Bank Holiday – Shop opening hours

We have also mentioned before that Friday is a Bank Holiday (for VE Day ) This means that the shop will be operating reduced opening hours and customers are asked to get their orders in a day early if they can, to be sure of getting what they need.

Look out for scams

Unfortunately, there are those who are taking advantage of the current crisis to try to trick people out of their money with a variety of scams and frauds, most of which involve email or social media.. The Home Office have published a guide to the most common scams that are around at the moment, and we are attaching a copy for information. Document 4 Praish Coronavirus Fraud and Scams update May 2020

More activities for families

Finally, Ellie Mains has produced another compilation of interesting and educational activities for families including information about a meteor shower which will be at its best on the night of the 5th to 6th May.  Let’s hope for a clear night. Update for families 4 May (002)


Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

For this update and all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page

Updates issued by Sue Reece (870618) and Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council:

We hope everyone is keeping safe and well; we have four items here:

VE Day Commemoration

As most will be aware it is only one week to VE Day and although official celebrations have had to be cancelled it is still possible to join in a collective commemoration from the safety of your own home. This notice  from the organisers of the commemoration suggests ways in which people can still participate, including a two minute silence at 11.00 am on Friday 8th May and a toast at 3.00pm the same day.

What can I do under lockdown?

A number of people have talked about a lack of clarity in relation to what can and cannot be done under the lockdown regulations.  That message has clearly got through to government who have today published a set of answers to frequently asked questions about what is and is not permitted.  The guidance is available here

Healthy Start.

Since we published details of the Friendly Society scheme of financial support for individuals and families whose income has been hit by coronavirus our attention has been drawn to the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme which provides free milk and fresh produce for those with children under four who are in receipt of certain benefits.  Since the economic impact of Covid-19 may affect families unfamiliar with aspects of the benefits system we are providing a link to the scheme here.

Last chance to adopt a pole

At the time of writing only two substantially used telegraph poles remain to be adopted – one on Station Road and one at the bottom of Perch Hill; the White Noticeboard on Stoneleigh might also be counted as an honorary pole.  Move quickly if you want to enter the competition for staple recycling

Sue Reece (870618)   Mick Fletcher (870531)  on behalf of the parish council



Coronavirus-Covid 19 – Community Support

For this update and all previous Parish Council Coronavirus updates please select the Covid-19 Category on the News Page

Updates issued by Sue Reece (870618) and Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council:

Friendly Society: Support for organisations

In a previous update we announced that the Friendly Society had established a scheme of emergency support for individuals and families whose income had been seriously affected by the coronavirus outbreak.   The Friendly Society is also anxious to ensure that any voluntary organisations that serve the people of Westbury can survive the financial shock.  The Playing Fields and the Village Hall have arrangements in hand to bid for funding from external sources but if there are other organisations that have suffered financially, they may wish to consider an application to the Friendly Society.  A copy of the guidelines for organisations thinking of applying is here… Guidance Application for Organisations

The Village Hall AGM

The village hall was due to have its annual meeting in the week commencing Monday 11th May. In view of the pandemic it is proposed to conduct it via an exchange of emails. The agenda will go out shortly listing items and whatever comments might be made by the chairman introducing them.   Anyone interested in ’attending’ is asked to submit their email address and thereby give permission for it to be circulated on an open list.  Comments should be made to all on the list and replies made to ‘all’ so that everyone can see what others have said. The minutes secretary will draw threads together and circulate a draft of decisions made for approval.

As it is a public meeting anyone is welcome to join in. If you indicate your interest by emailing Peter Bright  you will then get an agenda inviting comments. If you are not on email but would like to submit comments by telephone, please ring  01749 870640


We have received the message below from Somerset County Council

Hold on to your clothes, or lose them to landfill

Somerset is being asked to hold on to its unwanted clothes and textiles to make sure they don’t end up in landfill.

Somerset Waste Partnership is committed to making sure everything it collects that can be recycled, is recycled and recycled close to home. Last year more than 92% of Somerset’s recycling stayed in the UK, cutting the same carbon as taking 25,000 cars off the road ( )

But Coronavirus is making that impossible to guarantee, so kerbside textile recycling collections are being suspended until the situation improves.

Residents are encouraged to keep unwanted textiles – that are of good enough quality to be worn again – at home until they can be taken to charity shops or the SWP kerbside collections restart.

Posters and poles

A reminder that there is still time for children and adults to enter our poster competition and also still scope for anyone to adopt a pole.  Volunteers have so far extracted over 170 grams of metal from those adopted up to now but here are still some lonely poles in the village with plenty of staples and pins.  Posters (A4 size) should be sent to Sue Reece – either scanned and sent to or left for collection at the village shop.

Cheddar Gorge road closed.

Avon and Somerset police have just announced that the road through Cheddar Gorge has been closed until further notice because of dangerous driving in this area.  We will let people know as and when things change.

Beware of ticks

Since increasing numbers of people are taking regular exercise by walking in the countryside it seems important to remind everyone of the potential danger caused by ticks, which some locals report are particularly abundant this year.  In a small number of cases a bite from a tick can cause a serious infection called Lyme Disease – to read about the symptoms and how to protect yourself click here  The ticks wait on vegetation until an animal brushes past and they then move over the body to find a suitable place to attach; so as well as checking yourself do look out for ticks on children and pets.

Sue Reece (870618)  Mick Fletcher (870531) on behalf of the parish council