LOCATION: Church Hill, Donhead St Mary, SP7 9DQ
At the heart of our community in Donhead St Mary, the Village Hall is available for hire throughout the year. With its flexible main hall area and a well equipped kitchen it is suitable for a wide range of activities (such as Pilates and T'ai Chi), children's parties, exhibitions or even for those dinner parties that become a little larger than expected! An open fireplace adds to the cozy atmosphere on a winter evening, whilst the lawned outside space is perfect for summer barbeques and children's parties.
'What a wonderful venue! The building is beautiful and the hall was clean and warm with great facilities. It made catering for thirty five kids much easier.
Our guests were so impressed with the cosy atmosphere and picturesque setting.  We will definitely be in touch with future bookings as we would love to use the outside areas too.' 
Jo S, 21/2/2016

For more information and to book the hall, please call Karen Ecclestone on 01747 829261

See the calendar below for availability:
Saturday 25th January - 7.30pm
WIth our famous (well, locally, anyway!) quizmaster, Christopher Sykes. Teams of 6 will compete in this annual event in what promises to be a hard fought contest again. Please email Richard Ecclestone to book your e-tickets. Mr Chips will be serving his renowned fish & chips from about 9.15pm. Bring your own drinks and nibbles.
Monday 16th January 2017
On a chilly, but mainly dry, Saturday afternoon in January the hall hosted an amazing Wassail, complete with folk music by Tattie Bogle, Morris dancing by the White Horse Morris Men and the inimitable one man performance by Cliff Skey.  Huge thanks go to Gavin Tait and Kevin Wood of Donhead Apple who organise and fund this very special event, which is so important for getting villagers and friends together at an otherwise unpromising time of the year.  It is also, of course, absolutely vital for waking up the apple trees in the Berrywood Lane orchard and chasing away any nasty spirits that may have been lurking within.  I am confident that no evil spirit could survive the cacophony that we managed to create with our assorted rattles, whistles, roasting tins and spoons!  I am equally sure that a good crop will emerge this year after the performance of the brilliant Wassail Princesses, Darcie and Olivia Rees-Score, who managed to successfully wake up the Green Man and help him place toast in the special tree and feed the roots with cider – all part of the traditional ceremony.  It was so good to meet up with the 100+ people who came and enjoyed the mulled cider and hot sausage rolls after the ceremony and thank you for your generous donations.
A lot of work is going on apace behind the scenes in trying to secure some matched funding for the proposed improvements to the hall, and special thanks go to Anna McDowell for leading this effort.  It is no mean feat to satisfy all the requirements for obtaining any kind of grant money, and I hope to be able to report in the positive in the next edition.
Our next event will be the Fish & Chip Quiz night to be held at 7.30pm on Saturday 25th March.  Christopher Sykes has kindly agreed to be our Quizmaster again so please let me know soonest if you would like a ticket. We will form teams of 6, but don’t worry if you don’t have a whole team, I will organise people into suitable groups.  Mr Chips will again provide his excellent fish and chips for the event, with these being served about halfway through the competition at about 9.15pm, so do bring your own nibbles to tide you over – and your own drinks.
I would like to extend my thanks to Tracey Dewey who has stepped down as a trustee after many years service – she has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the hall and all our events and we will miss her happy face at our committee meetings.  It would be marvellous to have some new faces as trustees, so if you would like to know what is involved, please contact me and I will talk you through it.  What I can say is that it is a very rewarding role at the heart of village life.
Richard Ecclestone, Chair
01747 829261 or email: richardecclestone@btinternet.com

Tuesday 6th December 2016
I promised a full report on the Harvest Show, but space precludes me from itemising the winners of every class.  All the results are posted on the new Next Door website, which is a new private social network for the neighbourhood.  Check it out at www.nextdoor.co.uk and sign up so you can get access to this online tool that Phil James at Ludwell Stores and I are going to promote over the coming weeks.  We feel it could be a very useful community hub for sharing information.  Anyway, back to the show, it was very well supported again this year with a total of 114 entries.  The category winners were:
  • Children – Alice James with a wonderful drawing of one of their Boxers
  • Cookery – Dominic Stancombe for an amazing ginger cake
  • Home Produce and Arrangements – Christine Giles for her hedgerow arrangement that contained almost everything you could find in a hedgerow
  • Crafts – Anne Coombs for her beautiful knitted jumper
  • The David McLean Trophy – Gay Baker for her exquisitely decorated scissor holder
My special thanks go to the judges – you know who you are – who kindly gave of their time – the feedback we received from entrants was that they really appreciated the fact that comments were recorded for each and every entry.  
The over 90 villagers who came to the Donheads Past and Present exhibition of photographs from the David McLean archive were intrigued by the fascinating record of village life over the years.  This event was staged to raise funds for a memorial for David and thanks to the great generosity of those attending we are now in a position to purchase a bench for the garden, around which we will plant bulbs. This will act as a token of our thanks for all that David did for the hall and for his dedication to the community.  We will also be refurbishing the chair inside the hall that many of us think of as ‘David’s Chair’.  If anyone who was not able to be at the exhibition would still like to donate to David’s memorial, please contact me or Sarah (details at the end).  Also, we are gauging interest in a reprint of the book, Donheads Past and Present, so if you did not put your name on the list at the exhibition, please let me know.  Huge thanks go to Anna McDowell, Julie Lewis and Kate Saunders for running this event and creating such an interesting display of photographs, making the hall look so welcoming and putting on such fine teas!
The next event that we are staging will be the Wassail, which will be a similar format to this year – meet at the hall, parade down to the Donhead Apple cider orchard in Berrywood Lane to chase away the evil spirits and wake up the apple trees to the accompaniment of some theatricals, before returning for mulled cider, a warm snack and a chance to socialise with friends.  Bring wellies and items to make a big noise – a roasting tin and a spoon work well! The date for your diaries is Saturday 14th January at 4pm.
If you would like to book the hall please contact Karen Ecclestone on 01747 829261.
If you need more information about becoming a Friend of the Village Hall please contact me or Sarah Wright - 01747 828316 or email: gee0205@me.com
Richard Ecclestone, Chair
01747 829261 or email: richardecclestone@btinternet.com

Saturday 26th March 2016
The Village Hall year events year commenced with our Wassail ceremony.  Our thanks to Donhead Apple for producing the most amazing home made pasties and mulled cider for our return from their orchard, where the theatricals this year were most impressive. Kevin Wood, cunningly disguised as the ‘Green Man’ emerged from the shepherds hut in a cloud of green smoke, to the particular delight of the younger participants, to start the proceedings. Toast was placed into the branches of a selected tree and cider poured around its base to wake up the trees from their winter slumber. We sang a traditional song to add to the occasion and finally made a huge noise with our various banging instruments to chase away any evil spirits.  This will undoubtedly guarantee an excellent harvest this year!  Back at the hall Cliff Skey and Tattie Bogle entertained us with folk music and a one man rendition of the battle between George and the Turk – a not to be missed performance!  The event was again very well attended and provides a great opportunity to get out and catch up with local friends.
The Fish & Chip Quiz was a huge success, a full house with 9 teams competing.  In the end the spoils went to the Ashmore Aces who performed with great aplomb – it was great to have a team from outside the Donheads, but please don't show us up next time!
Coming up we have a film night on Saturday 2nd April at 7.30pm – we are going to show the film, ‘5 Greedy Bankers’ which was made very locally in the Nadder Valley and is a ‘revenge’ movie centred on the theme of taking down some pesky bankers (apologies to our locals who are in the industry – it’s not personal!) who have wronged the central character. It promises to be good fun and we are going to run it as a donations only event – bring your own drinks (and popcorn). E-tickets through me please – contact details richardecclestone@btinternet.com
Next up we will be running another music gig with the really talented Jon Kenzie – he was the lead singer and guitarist with the band Beggar Joe who performed to a sell out crowd at St John’s Church a few years ago.  This will be on Monday 27th June at 7.30pm. 
Other dates for your diaries are Saturday 23rd July for the Summer BBQ and Saturday 17th September for the Harvest Show.
Our kitchen refurbishment project has kicked off and the sub-committee have drawn up a specification and quotes are being obtained from suppliers.  My thanks to Anna McDowell, Julie Lewis and Kate Saunders for taking this project on and doing the leg work to make it happen. Once we have all the quotes in we will be applying for a Wiltshire Area Board grant towards the costs.
The hall continues to be regularly used for pilates with Tracey Scott-Masson and by Amity and the Donheads Gardening Club. It is also proving popular for children’s parties, with a very well attended one being held in February.
Richard Ecclestone
Chair of Trustees
Thursday 21st January 2016
At our AGM in January we were sad to see two of our committee members stand down.  Linda McLean has been actively involved with the hall for many years, recently as our Bookings Officer. I am very grateful for all her hard work and support in helping the hall and events run smoothly.  In addition to running the hall bookings, she has slaved over the hot BBQ, sourced all sorts of goodies from the cash & carry, worked tirelessly at our spring cleanings with floor polishers and the like, and helped to make the hall look wonderful inside on special occasions like the recent Christmas concert. Kevin Wood has also been known to take a turn at the grill for the Summer BBQ and I am especially grateful to him for organising the January Wassails, which thanks to his input now incorporate the ceremony in the Donhead Apple cider orchard.  It has been really important to revive this element of wassailing as a way for our community to remain connected to our historical rural traditions.  I want to thank both of them for their service on the committee and I know we will all miss their input.  This being the case, we would certainly welcome some new committee members, so if you would like to join our merry band and contribute to keeping the hall a vibrant community asset, please do get in touch with me.
Karen Ecclestone has now taken over the role of Bookings Officer, so if you would like to book the hall please contact her on the number above (strangely enough, the same number as mine!). You can check availability on our website – http://donheadvillagehall.org/
Our next major project will be the refurbishment of the kitchen and to that end we have formed a sub-committee to take this forward. We will keep you informed of progress.
In December we ran another amazing Advent concert by the incredibly talented singer-songwriter, Gareth Davies-Jones, which was much enjoyed by all those who attended.  Also, the Wassail took place on 16th January, organised again by Gavin Tait and Kevin Wood of Donhead Apple Company, for which we are most grateful.  This was a fantastic opportunity for the village to meet up and catch up having woken up the cider apple trees in the orchard and chased all the evil spirits out! This was accompanied by some excellent mulled cider and home made pasties. Donhead Apple excelled themselves again - this year the Green Man emerged from his shepherd's hut through a cloud of green smoke. Cliff Skey performed the role of Master of Ceremonies and treated us to his now famous (well,, locally, at least!) rendition of George battling the Turk. All in all a most convivial occasion.
Our next event will be the Fish & Chip Quiz on Saturday 12th March at 7.30pm.  Please let me know you ticket requirements for this ever popular occasion, for which Christopher Sykes has again kindly stepped up to be the quizmaster.  Other dates for your diaries are Saturday 23rd July for the Summer BBQ and Saturday 17th September for the Harvest Show and Supper.  We are considering changing the format for the BBQ slightly and scheduling it during the daytime to enable more families with children to enjoy the fun – we would welcome any thoughts about that idea from you.
Richard Ecclestone
Chair of Trustees
01747 829261