Reprinted from Newsletter 100, dated 2001 August–September

Chairman’s notes: MBE was actually a group effort

John Brunsdon

I was most honoured to receive the MBE in the Queen’s birthday list for services to conservation in Glastonbury. I like to think of this award as recognition of the collective efforts towards conservation in our town. To achieve at any task, one does well to emulate the example of others.

People like the late Col. Hugh Gould, who did so much on the Tor National Trust committaee, and Dr Malin Boyd, who started our Conservation Society, were an inspiration while I was still a young man. Our late president, Stephen Morland, gave great encouragement and financial support to the Summerhouse Orchard Housing Association.

Others are fortunately still with us — people like Neill Bonham, whose early chairmanship of the society and meticulous research work on our historic buildings gained listed-building protection and later conservation-area status for our town.

Tree-planting, started in St John’s carpark by Barrie Hudson and continuing under Ian Rands, has become our great strength. Others have gained awards, like Geoff Brunt for his work on the Poldens, and Martyn Godfrey’s vision that the railway canopy could continue to be of service in St John’s Square market. Then custodians and trustees come and go at the Abbey, Chalice Well and Abbey Barn, leaving their contributions to these important places.

If I were asked where my particular interests lie, I think it must be in the country footpath network around Glastonbury. Getting the paths open and usable again after the war years of neglect involved a lot of work but has given endless enjoyment for country lovers — and of course the Tor!

(PS: the footpaths are open again, so please resume your clearing work!)

Bovetown in bloom: Many thanks to Alan Gloak and Colin Wells-Brown for another splendid evening in their lovely garden at Coombe House, Bovetown, on July 26. The weather was perfect and the glass of wine most generous. Your chairman was sorry to have to leave early for church bellringing practice!

National Trust Tor appeal: Work on improved footpaths and entrances is well advanced at the Tor. Local builder Don Cribb has again made use of his ingenious trackway for lifting stone and other material up the steep slope. Please support this important conservation project. Leaflets with donation forms are available at the Town Hall and High Street shops. John Morland is donating a watercolour painting to be raffled in aid of the fund.

Canopy: The railway canopy in St John’s Square carpark is having a repaint — the first since 1985, so it has done well.

Pride of Place: Meanwhile we have heard from Gordon Michell of the David Knightly Trust. He is standing down after administering the Pride of Place awards for 21 years and is to be replaced by Gillian Binks, until recently director of the Centre for Environmental Interpretation in Manchester. The trustees have asked her to prepare a leaflet illustrating the aims and criteria of the awards scheme. £150,000 has been given to help 101 projects. We have supplied colour photographs to be included in the pamphlet (thanks to Mendip council).

Traffic: Walton and Ashcott are due for a bypass if plans are approved and funded by central government. Your chairman, wearing a Mendip Councillor hat, pleaded strongly at a recent meeting for more urgent attention to problems on Coursing Batch, Chilkwell Street, Bere Lane, Fishers Hill and Street Road in Glastonbury, where both residents and visitors are at risk from heavy A361 traffic thundering through the Conservation Area past tourist attractions.

Carpark trees: Work is going on in St John’s carpark to install a surveillance camera behind the Tribunal. Suggestion has been made that this would be an opportunity to plant another tree instead of simply asphalting the new traffic island. At the bottom of the carpark, the group of plane trees planted by the society some years ago may have to be reduced to one, as their roots are heaving the tarmac. In Northload carpark, one of our trees was removed when the new toilet block was built, and we are asking about replacing it.