Reprinted from Newsletter 121, dated 2006 December

Chairman’s notes: MBE for Ian Rands, handing his shovel on after thousands of trees

John Brunsdon

An old man with short grey hair stands in profile. He wears a brown jacket over a white hatched shirt with a dark tie. On the left side of his chest are four medals with ribbons. The leftmost ribbon is red, with a gold cross hanging from it. In the bottom left of the frame a seated woman is visible.

Ian Rands asked to be invested as MBE locally rather than at the Palace in order that all the Conservation Society tree-planters could share in it. So at the Town Hall on October 13 the red ribbon was pinned beside his tie by Somerset’s Lord Lieutenant, Lady Gass (seated at left of photo).

A major event of 2006 was the award of the MBE to Ian Rands for services to conservation in Somerset, as vice-chair of Glastonbury Conservation Society. This recognition of his outstanding work in tree-planting locally is justly deserved, especially as he has to hand on the organizing of trees to Alan Fear after health warnings.

Betrothal Couple repaired, damaged again

The mayor, John Coles, and I received a commendation from the Somerset Building Preservation Trust in the Stansell awards, held at Hestercombe House, for the repair of 15th-century corbels at 2 Market Place and of the town’s 19th-century market cross. The citation reads: “A careful and sensitive repair of important features which collectively enhance the town-centre conservation area.” Unfortunately, there has been subsequent damage to the Betrothal Couple corbel, which will be repaired again.

Footpath scheme

We continue to operate the Parish Scheme for county footpath clearance on behalf of the town council. Nathan Pritchard has taken on this management, but needs more help. We now own a motorized strimmer. The hardsurfacing on the path up Bushy Coombe by Mendip council, by permission of Rory Weightman, the landowner, has been a big improvement. Our guidebook, Glastonbury Footpath Walks, has sold well as usual.


The newsletter has been distributed to members and has received favourable comments. Thanks to Jim Nagel for his competent editing, and to contributors, especially Adrian Pearse, who regularly takes notes at meetings. Also to Ena Allen, who has for many years organized the distribution and subscription reminders, in liaison with her treasurer husband, Dennis. We need to relieve Ena of this task, with many thanks to both.


Our secretary, Janet Morland, has convened regular committee meetings and taken minutes. Last year’s AGM strengthened the committee with new and younger members, and we look to repeat this. Thanks to all who have served during the year.

A committee member with architectural and planning experience would be especially useful, since one of the society’s roles is to comment on planning issues to the local authority. The Local Development Framework, replacing the local Mendip-wide plan, is in the process of formulation; it covers proposals for the next 20 years. The committee has discussed the Preferred Options Report.

We have encouraged the county council to progress a bid for World Heritage status. A public meeting in October indicated the county’s preference for a bid based on the Somerset Levels but embracing both Glastonbury and Wells. Discussions will be protracted.

We have held our usual winter lectures, which have been quite well attended at St Mary’s church hall, and also with the Antiquarian Society at the library. Inevitably there are clashes with other events on the same evenings. Suggestions for future meetings are welcome (and we are looking for a volunteer to co-ordinate speakers).

As vice-chair of Mendip District Council I hosted a meeting at Frome covering 20 years of grant-funding of historic buildings in Frome. I was able to draw some comparisons with our town.

It has been an interesting year, with a steady membership. More could be achieved with your help.

3,700 trees planted in one year

Ian Rands adds that last year was the best ever for tree-planting — more than 3,700, of which 1,000-plus were sizeable saplings — and brought the best turnout of helpers. Newsletter 119 (June) has more details. So far this winter we have concentrated on maintenance of trees at Bushy Coombe, at the south side of Bretenoux Road, at the settlement pond alongside the relief road, and at the carnival sheds at Common Moor Drove.

Contact Alan Fear (83 3185) if you’d like to help. Hedge-planting and other activities are planned for 2007.