Coronavirus Covid-19

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 11.01.2021


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


Hands, Space, Face

There are two big messages tonight.  One is the warning from the Prime Minister that we are at a perilous moment in the pandemic and must not relax our guard.  The other is the good news that over 2 million people across the UK have had at least the first dose of vaccine, a figure that includes several people in Westbury. Although the arrangements for vaccination vary between medical practices the priorities are the same and we can expect many more to be called in over the coming days.

We are not safe however until a large proportion of the population have been vaccinated and need to remember the messages around basic hygiene and social distancing. The Secretary of State for Health has urged us to “act as if we have the virus” to minimise the chance of infecting others unwittingly.  This message was underlined to us by a report today from a local resident with personal knowledge of a case (thankfully at some distance from here) where all members of an extended family have tested positive for Covid though none of them have shown any symptoms.

Changing rules about what we can and cannot do may have obscured the basic message – that the best way to stop the virus spreading is simply to stay at home and as far as possible minimise contact with others.  Below are a couple of posters that underline this message and give a little more detail on when you need to self-isolate and for how long. Here is a summary of local helpline numbers for those feeling anxious.

Fake vaccine messages.

We don’t intend to report every scam that we hear of but this one sounded particularly unpleasant so it’s worth ensuring that no-one is taken in.  It purports to be a message from the NHS and looks very convincing; but alarm bells should ring because it asks for bank account details.  The NHS will never ask for your bank details and you should never give them out in response to an unsolicited email.   For more information on this and similar scams check here and if you want to receive regular updates on scams that local people have come across please subscribe to news updates from the Westbury website here.


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

Coronavirus Community Support – Update 05.01.2021


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

Good evening,

 Mick and I were hoping that a third lockdown would not happen, but obviously the new strain of Covid 19 has proved a real problem.

This time may be much more difficult, with dark evenings and colder weather, the worries of rising numbers, and for some the lack of knowledge of when they might be offered their first injection.

Our help lines are still in place, and the shop again will provide a great service as you will see from our update below.

However, if you do feel you need to speak to someone, or need support please contact one of us -any correspondence will be treated in confidence.

Best wishes and stay safe



New Covid-19 Restrictions.

Last night the Prime Minister announced new restrictions in response to the Covid 19 pandemic with immediate effect.  The speech can be read here. The major change for those areas like Somerset moving from tier 4 to tier 5 will be the closure of schools and colleges for all except vulnerable children and the children of key workers. The overriding message is still that people should stay at home unless they have a compelling reason to leave. A full description of the restrictions is available here.

Services in Westbury Church
We have received a message from Linda Mogford about the use of the Church, which is set out below. Although the message was written before the most recent announcement it remains just as relevant.

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on 30th December I have been considering the position of St Lawrence Church. Having consulted various people, I have decided to close the Church.

Although we have all the prevention requirements in place, we are advised to stay at home and not expose ourselves to unnecessary risk. We need to safeguard our congregation in these difficult times and with an increasing rate of infection in the Somerset, Wells and Mendip area services in Church will be suspended whilst we are in Tier 4. This decision has been taken with a heavy heart but we need to be sensible and to prevent the spread of infection in any way we can. Special arrangements may be made for funerals and burials.

We will continue to send the weekly services via e-mail to those who would like them and there are the services from Wells Cathedral via YouTube as before, plus those from the BBC.

Please be assured we look forward to being able to reinstate services as soon as the current situation improves.

This year we have decided to leave the church flood lights on for a further month as a symbol of hope in these dark days.

Let us hope for a New Year when we can worship together safely and happily
Linda Mogford [ Churchwarden]


The community shop and village helplines

The announcement of a stricter lockdown may have left some people feeling more anxious and some may feel more reluctant to leave home even for legitimate reasons such as shopping.  Please remember that all the village helplines are still in place, the pub is still able to deliver take-aways (the menu here still applies) and it is still possible to order provisions in advance from the village shop and have them delivered. A copy of the poster summarising helplines is here

The Community Shop and Post Office have sent the following message

We remain open as before during ‘lockdown 3’. Customers who are shielding/isolating can email or phone orders to the shop. 

Email: or Phone: 01749 870296

Orders for fresh produce:

Bread, milk, dairy: before 1 pm for next day. 

Hector’s meat: Before 10 am Wednesday for Thursday. 

Thorners of Somerset: 10 am Tuesday for Thursday.

Seagers: 2 pm Monday/Wednesday for delivery Tuesday/Thursday.  

We will do our best to supply all other groceries (if available) the day after the order is placed. Orders can be collected from the shop or we can arrange delivery if required. 

We would welcome extra volunteer help in the shop with deliveries and back room admin etc during the next few weeks. Please contact the shop if you can help. 



Ken Banwell – Funeral Arrangements.

Many in the village will by now have heard about the death of Ken Banwell and may have been informed by the family about the arrangements for the funeral. Sadly, the current restrictions mean that the service will need to be a much more private affair than would have been normal for someone with such deep and wide local connections as Ken. We are setting out below the full text of government guidance on the conduct of funerals in tier 5 areas and must leave to Mary and Angela the difficult task of determining who can be present in the church or churchyard.


Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.”

Several people have asked whether it might be appropriate to show their respects by standing in silence as the cortege passes. Sadly, the regulations for Tiers 4 and 5 are clear that everyone should stay at home unless they have a specific reason not to be.  They state

If you live in Tier 4 [ or above] you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’

Unfortunately, the list of ‘reasonable excuses’, which can be accessed here, does not include such demonstrations of respect.  Instead, it is suggested that people might donate on-line to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance or the British Heart Foundation.

Answers to the Xmas Quiz

The answers to the fiendish Xmas Quiz are here  Congratulations to anyone who got over 50%.


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




Coronavirus Community Support – Update 30.12.2020


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


Covid-19 Restrictions.

Somerset, along with most of the country, has now been placed in tier 4, the highest level of alert; it applies from one minute past midnight tonight.  The latest press release announcing these changes and explaining why the decision was taken is here.

In tier 4 the overall message is ‘stay at home if you possibly can’.

“In a Tier 4 area, you ….cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living unless you have a reasonable excuse. You cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas and New Year period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household [and only if you are on your own]”.

Reasonable excuses for leaving home include

  • Work, paid or voluntary
  • To obtain medicines or food (including take-aways)
  • Education
  • Individual exercise
  • Medical appointments

The full details of the tier 4 restrictions can be found here.

NHS vaccine scam

We don’t plan to report on every new scam that appears but Andrew Buchanan has alerted us to one that appears rather convincing and builds on the relief we are all feeling at the availability of effective vaccines.   Please look at the details here

and be very cautious about any unsolicited message that asks for personal or financial details.

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


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 28.12.2020


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


Covid-19 Restrictions.

Since our last update we have been moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 as the level of infections in Somerset has continued to rise. The government intend to review the position on 30th December when it is possible that further changes will be announced.  A quick summary of the main differences between tiers 2 and 3 is given below.  Those who want the full detail can look here.

Testing and self-isolation

Testing and social distancing remain key to controlling the spread of the virus until such time as a large proportion of the population have been vaccinated. Somerset County Council have some useful guidance on who should get tested and when people should self-isolate here.

You may find this poster  helpful in explaining how and when to get tested and why it matters.







Keeping safe in cyberspace.

As people start to think about new year resolutions Andrew Buchanan, who helps us  avoid on-line scams, suggests that it would be a good idea to focus on your online security to make sure you’re safe in 2021.


The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre suggests six things you can do:

  1. Use a strong and separate password for your email
  2. Create strong passwords using three random words
  3. Save your passwords in your browser
  4. Turn on two-factor authentication
  5. Update the software on your devices
  6. Back up your data

You’ll find the details and instructions here:


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


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 21.12.2020

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


Covid-19 Local and National Restrictions.

Almost everyone will be aware of the new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister. We won’t attempt to summarise them other than to say that the best way to keep safe is to minimise the number of other people you are in contact with; and if you meet more or different people over the Xmas period perhaps be extra careful for a week or so afterwards.  For those who want to know in detail what restrictions are in place here and elsewhere this is the best current summary of government advice and regulations.  This is the statement from the Chief Medical Officer confirming that while the new strain of the virus seems to be more infectious there is no evidence that it is more dangerous.

On a more positive note the new vaccine is at last being rolled out and several people in the village have already had their first jab!

Stay alert over Xmas

Just as it is important not to drop our guard over the virus it is also important to remember that opportunist thieves and burglars don’t all take a break over the Xmas period. We are getting reports of recent break-ins in neighbouring villages so it is perhaps a time to be especially careful not to make it easy for them.

Xmas message from the Chair of the Parish Council

A message from Sue Isherwood, chair of the Parish Council is here

Xmas Greetings and a Xmas Quiz

Finally, since this is (we hope) our last update before Xmas we would like to extend our best wishes for the festive season and thank the whole village for the way people have pulled together during this pandemic.  As a Xmas gift we are offering a fiendish Xmas Book Quiz put together by our resident expert, Chris Harris. Answers will be available after Epiphany!



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


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 18.12.2020

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


We are still in tier 2

Following the government review, Mendip, along with the rest of Somerset, remains in tier two.  This means that there is no change to the restrictions on activity until the Xmas arrangements come into force for the period 23rd to 27th December


Shop Xmas opening hours 





CHRISTMAS EVE                    0745 – 1 PM

CHRISTMAS DAY                    CLOSED

BOXING DAY                                 0900 – 1100

BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY     0900 – 1100

NEW YEAR’S EVE                          0745 – 1 PM

NEW YEARS DAY                    0900 – 1100






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




Coronavirus Community Support – Update 11.12.2020


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


A Christmas message from our community shop

Dear Friends and supporters of Westbury Shop,

I am sending you a list of goodies available to order and collect from the shop. You can choose from Burn’s, Chew Valley, Hector’s, Jon Thorner’s, Times Past Cheese and Miles Tea and Coffee as well as Seager’s fresh vegetables. 

This year is going to be a very different Christmas for all of us, but we really hope you will take the time to have a look at the wonderful selection of local produce which you can have delivered almost to your door!  

Ordering from your community shop will certainly help us, but far more important, it will support the amazing group of local suppliers who, when normal life ground to a halt earlier this year, made sure we didn’t go short when some basic household essentials were almost impossible to buy.  

The  list is by no means exhaustive so please ask if you think we might be able to source something for you. If you have time, please come and have a look at some of the other Christmas gift ideas, cards, gift wrap etc in the shop. 

The deadline for ordering poultry from Hector’s Farm shop is Monday 14th December and the last date for ordering from Jon Thorner’s is Monday 21st December.  

I hope you will be able to access the  Excel spreadsheet and order form, but paper copies of both are available in the shop, if you prefer. Order forms can be printed off and brought to the shop or emailed to

 With best wishes,

Penny and the shop team

Vaccination in Somerset.

The Covid vaccination programme has started in Somerset as elsewhere in the country with the first patient receiving the jab on Wednesday in Yeovil. This video gives more details as well as asking people not to drop their guard at the moment.  The virus is still very much with us but the hygiene and distancing rules can make a big difference to keeping us safe.

What we can do in tier two.

In case anyone is getting confused (which would be quite understandable)  this is a summary of what we can and cannot do at the moment while we are placed in tier 2.  We are making no predictions about what tier we might be in after the government reviews the arrangements on the 16th December but we will wait for that decision before sending out our next update.  If there is any change we will then circulate the relevant guidance as quickly as possible.

People may be finding the regulations about ‘bubbles’ particularly confusing as there is more than one sort of arrangement allowed.  This guidance gives an explanation of the different sorts of bubbles and when they might apply.


Letter from the Chair of the Parish Council

The regular letter from Sue Isherwood, chair of the Parish Council is here. In it Sue describes the bid that the council is thinking of making to the Somerset Climate Emergency Fund and asks for further ideas.


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


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 07.12.2020


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

Church News
Our Church services for the Christmas season will be as follows

  • 13th December Holy Communion 11 am
  • 20th December Christmas Celebration music and readings
  • 25th December Christmas Day Communion 10 am
    No service on 27th December

As numbers are limited by Corona precautions and the size of the building i​​​f you wish to attend any of these services please book a place by phoning Linda Mogford  01749 870817 or email

Please remember that in our Church we have a one-way system with socially distanced spaces. Sanitiser must be used on entering the building.  For track and trace purposes we must all provide name and telephone number [ kept for 21 days] or use the NHS app. on the door. People may only sit in the marked places.

If you are self-isolating but would like some Christmas music Wells cathedral website has daily carols until Christmas day and a service on Christmas morning. On 10th December there will be a Send a Cow Christmas service; 13th December. The National Christingle Service for The Children’s’ Society

Westbury Inn to reopen

As most people will be aware the pub has been closed for the full period required by quarantine regulations after Andy and another colleague tested positive for coronavirus.  Happily, Andy has recovered well, the pub has been deep cleaned and will open for take-aways and restaurant service on Wednesday 9th. A letter from Andy and Ann-Marie is here as is the week’s take-away menu.

Tree planting

To mark National Tree Week a small, socially distanced planting of an oak tree took place at Lynchcombe on Saturday – the first of 150 native trees that will be planted there after the Parish Council successfully obtained a grant from the Tree Council to help preserve the small areas of woodland that are threatened by Ash dieback..  Sue Isherwood, Chair of the Parish Council planted the tree aided by two younger members of the community – Ivy and Iona ( see picture ) It is expected that the remainder of the trees will be planted over the weekend of 9th / 10th January.  It is not clear what restrictions will still be in force at that time but the group is keen to involve the community and particularly children; anyone wishing to be involved should contact Emma Giffard


Refuse and recycling collection.

Finally a reminder that this week will see the final collection of general waste before Xmas so make sure to put your bins out early on Wednesday if they are full  – the next one, because of the bank holiday, will be on New Year’s Eve!


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


Coronavirus Community Support – Update 30.11.2020


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


Covid and self-isolation

There are no changes to government guidance since our last update but we thought that some people might welcome clarification of the rules around self-isolation in cases where someone in a household tests positive. This poster sets out in a simple chart what members of such a household need to do whether or not they show symptoms.


Brighten up Xmas.

The socially distanced Halloween, which saw family groups out looking for pumpkin lanterns and other displays, has prompted several locals to think about how something similar might be arranged at Xmas. There seems to be a lot of support for the idea that people should be encouraged put up a display to be viewed from outside – as simple or complicated as they want to be.  One interesting idea is based around an advent calendar theme.  Those wanting to take part can ask for a number (1 – 24 ) from the village shop and are asked to incorporate that number in their display. Further information  from Alex Fraser  ( )

Xmas recycling dates

Those wishing to think ahead may be interested in this summary of collection dates from Somerset Waste Partnership.  It also contains a handy summary of what can be recycled.  If you are really keen you can also find out how you can download collection timetables to your phone.

Tree Group Success

The Parish Council Tree Group has been successful in a bid to the Tree Council to fund the planting of 150 native trees to replace the dying ash trees in the Lynchcombe nature reserve.  The project sees the parish working with the AONB and the Wildlife Trust to increase biodiversity and secure tree cover in an area that is important for woodland species such as early purple orchids.  The planting will probably take place in January – for further details about the tree group contact Buffy Fletcher ( )

The answers to that quiz.

Finally, here are the answers to the book quiz which was circulated two weeks ago.


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



Coronavirus Community Support – Update 28.11.2020

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


Somerset in in tier 2

We shouldn’t have made any assumptions when preparing the last update earlier this week.  Somerset has been placed in tier two – only Cornwall, Scilly and the Isle of Wight are in the lowest tier 1. The new arrangements are as follows

From 2nd December regardless of tier

  • the stay at home requirement will end, with travel being permitted again subject to guidance in each tier
  • shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector will reopen
  • collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume
  • people will no longer be limited to seeing only one other person in outdoor public spaces –  the rule of 6 will now apply outdoors as it did in the previous set of tiers


There are then different rules for different tiers. A poster summarising the rules applying in tier 2 areas can be downloaded  here. We will be arranging for copies to be printed and placed on notice boards.

One difference from the current national lockdown is that bars and restaurants will be allowed to open if they serve substantial meals; however see the latest news from the Westbury Inn

Westbury Church has indicated that there will be no change to the arrangements already announced for December.

The Village Hall may be available for limited activities after December 2nd but please check with Peter Bright (870640) as the specific guidance on community facilities has not yet been updated.


Xmas bubbles

Many people will be trying to work out what arrangements they might make over the Xmas period and the government has now published the rules on what people are allowed to do. The fact that something is allowed does not of course mean that it is necessarily safe and people need to make their own decisions in the light of family circumstances; the elderly and those with underlying health conditions need to take extra care. The full details of what is allowed are set out here but the headlines are

Between 23 and 27 December:

  • you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  • you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
  • you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble

You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December.

A new scam.

We have had a report of a very plausible scam affecting a local resident, which was fortunately averted by prompt action by bank staff and the local police.  The police have asked for information about this scam to be circulated as there are features people need to be aware of.  Please read the account here – there is no need to be alarmed as long as you remember a couple of simple rules; don’t respond under pressure; don’t give out personal or financial details unless you are quite certain the request is genuine; and be very careful when telephoning after a suspicious call – scammers can secretly stay connected for up to 15 minutes and intercept outgoing calls so it is best to use a different phone.

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