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March 2005

March 30th for Pucklechurch Youth & Community Day
Pucklechurch Youth and Community Day will see a variety of youth-orientated information stalls set up in the Community Centre from noon to 3pm, more...

Pucklechurch Youth Association under consideration
everal meetings have been held to discuss what type of organisation and activities would suit the young people of Pucklechurch, more...

Village Loses Another Service
The village lost another local amenity in November when Pucklechurch Service Station stopped selling petrol, more...

Pucklechurch Primary School
The school supports several charities, more...

Changes to Bus Service
There have been several changes to the bus service, more...

Village Responds Mightily to Tsunami Disaster
Pucklechurch businesses and organisations responded to the devastating tsunami that struck countries around the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day by taking up collections and holding fundraisers, more...

Tales of the Village: An Enduring Star in Our Midst
After working at the Star Inn for almost 53 years, Nancy Moss tells her story, more...
Note: This is the full length version. Due to space restrictions the story in the printed version of the Pucklechurch News was shorter.

March 30th for Pucklechurch Youth & Community Day

Wednesday, 30th March, will open some new vistas for the village's young people. Pucklechurch Youth and Community Day will see a variety of youth-orientated information stalls set up in the Community Centre from noon to 3pm. Stalls will include body art, circus skills, safe sex, reflexology, healthy eating, martial arts, soccer skills, crime prevention, and drug awareness. The Avon Fire Brigade will bring one of its engines to the event, and the Kingswood Community Bus will be there with its double decks full of computers and other facilities. A catering van will be on hand provide food and drinks. The day's activities have been organised by Avon and Somerset Police and South Gloucestershire Youth Services. All are welcome -- young people and parents alike. Look for posters with further information around the village nearer the date.



Pucklechurch Youth Association under consideration

P.C. Chris Skelton, our community beat officer, reports that several meetings have been held to discuss what type of organisation and activities would suit the young people of Pucklechurch. The idea of a traditional youth club was panned by the teenagers, and a youth association run by and for the village's young people has been proposed instead. Such an organisation would have to be governed by a constitution and have officers that, at a minimum, include a chairman, secretary, and treasurer. Once established, the group's activities could be insured through funding from South Gloucestershire Youth Services.



Village Loses Another Service

The village lost another local amenity in November when Pucklechurch Service Station stopped selling petrol. While the business still offers automotive maintenance and repair services and MOTs, villagers can no longer fill up at a local full-service station. Pat Chenhall, one of the station's owners, attributes the demise to the pull of Sainsbury's petrol station at Emerson's Green. "John and I would like to thank all our customers," says Pat, "but the big boys win in this business. They even get their credit card transactions cheaper, while we pay 10 to 15p per transaction." That amount eats up a large chunk of the profit on a fill-up, according to Pat, and what with the decline in petrol sales over the years, that part of the business ultimately became a losing proposition.

Our village post office is another local business at risk. Pension and benefit books are being phased out, with payments now to be paid directly into a bank, building society, or post office account. Benefit payments have provided a large portion of a local post office's income (about 35% on average), so the new system threatens the very survival of rural post offices like ours. Furthermore, many pensioners would prefer to continue collecting their money in cash from the post office. With no bank branch or ATM in Pucklechurch, many villagers rely on the post office as their source of cash. This is especially important for those who don't drive or when mobility is hampered by ill health or severe weather. The point of all this is that the Pucklechurch Post Office provides services that are convenient for most villagers and essential for some. It and other village businesses need your support to prevent Pucklechurch from becoming a suburban dormitory with no local commerce at its heart.


Pucklechurch Primary School

Firstly, a great thank you to everyone in the village who supported our 'shoe boxes to Romania' scheme. We had set ourselves a target of over 100 and managed to collect a total of 122. The collectors said that this was the highest number from any school so far!

The children have also been busy supporting other charities too. A fundraiser came to talk to the children in assembly about the work of the NSPCC, and the school followed this with a ‘number day’ -- a day where maths activities were sponsored -- raising a grand total of £1,532.

After the tragic Boxing Day news, in the first assembly of the term we talked about the tsunami disaster, and the children decided that they would like to do something themselves to raise money. Many families cleared out unwanted toys, set up name-the-teddy competitions, and baked cakes -- resulting in two excellent ‘bring and buy’ sales. We were able to send a total of £394.12 to the appeal.

Maggie Cook, Headteacher



Changes to Bus Service

620 Revised timetable with additional journeys. School journeys re-routed in Yate via Sundridge Park. Change of operator to Ebley Bus.

689 Withdrawn on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Additional school journeys introduced between Pucklechurch and Mangotsfield School.

948 Morning journey to run 5 minutes earlier.

967 Morning journey withdrawn between Pucklechurch and South Yate (Shire Way) but replaced by new journey on Service 620.

Be sure to check the new timetable when you plan your next journey.  Links for the timetables for bus services may be found by clicking here. For information about public transport or to plan a journey you may also call the Traveline at 0870 608 2608 (charged at national rates).



Village Responds Mightily to Tsunami Disaster

Pucklechurch businesses and organisations responded to the devastating tsunami that struck countries around the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day by taking up collections and holding fundraisers. The Star Inn leads the pack, having raised £1,011.73 for the cause. The village's other drinking establishments took up collections as well, with Fleur de Lys customers contributing £340.00, the Pucklechurch Social Club £135.18, the Pucklechurch Village Sports and Social Club £132.50, and the Rose and Crown £97.97.

The Scouts held a benefit car wash on 12th February that raised £170.37 for the Rotary Club's Aquabox scheme, which provides the means to supply purified drinking water to disaster victims. The idea came from one of the boys, Sean Weaver, who suggested the car wash as something the Scouts could do to help the cause. Girlguides, too, raised money for the Aquabox scheme. Parents, children, and teachers at Pucklechurch Primary School sponsored two bring-and-buy sales that raised a total of £394.12 for the appeal.

Undoubtedly other village organisations collected as well, and many individuals made contributions to organisations like DEC and Oxfam. As in the rest of the UK, the people of Pucklechurch responded compassionately to the dire need of those affected by this tragedy.



Tales of the Village:
An Enduring Star in Our Midst

Running a pub is not for everyone. It's something you love or you loathe. After working at the Star Inn for almost 53 years, Nancy Moss knows which category she's in. "I loved it. I have no regrets. I'd do it all again," she enthuses.

Nancy and May Frankcom were born in Pucklechurch in 1931 in the cottage on the corner of Abson Road and Feltham Road. The twins had two older brothers, Donald and Gerald. When the girls were six, parents Joseph and Matilda moved the family to a house in Hill View, near the Star. As they got a bit older, they earned a few pennies doing the washing up for Mrs Moss, the landlady of the Star. The landlady's son Tom was a source of earnings too. "When I was a little girl, I used to come and clean his shoes for sixpence," recalls Nancy. "Little did I think I'd ever marry him!"

Nancy remembers growing up in the village as being lots of fun. "We used to have a youth club, and we went on outings. We also put on plays. We did loads of pantomimes. Mrs Hitchens, who used to have the butcher's shop up the road, she used to be in charge of it," says Nancy. During the war years, though, Nancy and her friends would be frightened by the enemy planes that thundered overhead on their way to targets in Bristol. "We were playing here one day -- in the field out the back -- I can remember all the aeroplanes coming over. Loads of them! That was the day they bombed Castle Street in Bristol."

"From our living room, I can remember seeing all the incendiary bombs being dropped -- a fiery line in the distance. We had a big settee, and my dad used to turn it up on end. When the air raid siren used to go, we'd get under there, so if the house got bombed we'd be OK," says Nancy. "Remember when they had an unexploded bomb down at Parkfield? My mum's sister lived down there and they had to come up to us until they cleared it." The war had other implications for both the Frankcom and Moss families. Nancy's youngest brother Gerald was called up. He joined the Air Force and was sent to the Japanese war, where he served as a Royal Marine Commando. Tom's brother Charles joined the Army when he was 17 and came out as a major. Fortunately, both young men survived the war.

Nancy speaks fondly of her time growing up. "I went to Pucklechurch School, and then I went to Page School for Girls in Staple Hill. When I left there, I worked in Downend Post Office. I used to take the bus to school in Staple Hill and to work at the Post Office. The fare was fourpence. Or when the evenings were light, I would cycle because when you got to the church at Mangotsfield and turned right there, it was common land all the way to Beech Road. I started at fifteen shillings a week [75p in today's money]. I had five shillings pocket money and my mum had ten shillings. I left there when I got married. After I had the children, Mr Smith used to keep the Post Office in Pucklechurch, and I used to do an afternoon a week there."

As the twins grew into young women, they went to dances in the old Miners' Hut. "If we went to a dance, my dad used to come and pick us up. We weren't allowed to come home on our own," says Nancy. Over time, Nancy and Tom became more than neighbours, though Nancy can't remember the precise moment when friendship became courtship. After Tom's mother died, Nancy would come over and cook Sunday lunch for Tom and his father. About the same time, Westerleigh lad Colin Goodrich started wooing sister May. Thus, on the 16th of August 1952, Joseph Frankcom walked his daughters down the aisle of St Thomas à Becket church, one on each arm, and gave them away in the first double wedding in Pucklechurch. "We were 21 in May, and we got married in August. That was the day I came living here at the Star," says Nancy.

May and Nancy with their father at
St Thomas à Becket church

The Newlyweds:
Mr & Mrs Tom Moss

The Star Inn had been run by the Moss family since 1918 -- three generations: grandfather, father, son. Tom's mother had died in 1950, so when Nancy moved in, she took over as landlady while both husband and father-in-law went out to work. In those days the pub didn't provide a living for the family, so young Tom had a full-time job at BAC [British Aircraft Corporation] and his father old Tom worked at the village RAF club, working in the pub evenings and weekends. After old Tom died, the pub became too much for Nancy to run alone, so Tom gave up work at BAC and became a full-time publican. It was a real family venture: they got help from Nancy's sister and brother and Tom's sister-in-law as well.

Tom was born at the Star and lived his whole life there. He and Nancy raised their family there too. Their son Jim was born at Nancy's parents' house on Hill View, but daughter Julie was born upstairs at the Star. Maybe that explains why Julie loves it and still works there, but Jim was never keen on pub life.

When Nancy first moved in, what's now the Star's car park was a big garden. "We had the bar and the lounge -- that was all there was then. You used to go to a little hatch to be served from the lounge. And we had an off-license, which they always called the 'jug and bottle'. On a summer night, the Rec out there would look like the zoo lawns. People would come into the off-license and then go out with their drinks onto the lawn," remembers Nancy. "Where the kitchen is now was our living room, and where the cellar is used to be our kitchen. Upstairs, where [current landlord] Bob Todd's office is now, that was what they called the Buff Room. The Buffs used to have meetings up there. And when they were building the prison, they had all the meetings up there in the Buff Room. Where the cellar is now is still the same, but we used to serve from the barrel rather than pumps."

"I've seen quite a few changes in my time. When I came living here, that was a field next door, and then they built those houses. I always remember that the two end houses were £1,750, and the two middle ones were £2,250. That's very different to what they are now! That was all fields where all the houses are over there on the estate. The balloon barrage was there then."

In the old days, the Star was not a food pub, so they didn't need a pub kitchen. "We only ever did bread and cheese then, and ham sandwiches. I think that was tenpence," recalls Nancy. "One Saturday morning my brother-in-law came a calling. I had cooked a leg of pork. He said to me, 'Cut the end off that leg of pork, and I'll have that on a slice of bread.' He sat in bar and had it, and someone else said, 'Ooh, that looks good.' That's how the 'tops' started -- beef on top, pork on top, ham on top. We altered the place and moved the living room upstairs and made the living room downstairs into a kitchen, and that's when we started doing the cooking. We started doing chips and things, and went on from there. We gradually went onto steaks, and that's how it went on. We had people come from miles around."

A true local pub is at the heart of its village, and the Star Inn is no exception. "My mother-in-law started the harvest festivals. I think it was when the troops were in the war, to give them a homecoming party," recollects Nancy. The Star's harvest festivals raised money for a different cause every year and contributed to the very fabric of the village. Nancy says the harvest festivals paid for the church gates and re-gilded the cockerel at the top of the church tower. They contributed to the cricket and the football teams. The Star continued the harvest auction tradition even after Tom's mum died. "My brother-in-law always used to

Tom, Nancy, the ladies' darts team, and friends
present donation cheque to Headway House,
circa 1987, attended by newsman Bruce Hawkin

auction them. One night, they even auctioned the policeman's bike! We raised hundreds and hundreds of pounds this way. When my son had twins, we did fundraising for the Southmead Hospital special care baby unit. Another year, we did fundraising for the eye hospital. And we did quite a lot of fundraising for Headway House at Frenchay."

"We used to have some lovely times," says Nancy. "Each of the pubs in the village had a different character. The Star was more for locals. We were the headquarters for the cricket club. Tom was chairman of the cricket club for 21 years. We used to have the ladies' darts. The pony club used to meet here. We had a piano in the lounge, and we used to have a good, old singsong… very different than nowadays. We never had a jukebox! We used to have a lady called Doris Holmes that used to play the piano every Saturday night. When they couldn't have the teas in the village hall, we used to do them in the lounge."

When Nancy and Tom had their silver wedding anniversary, they had a joint party with Colin and May in Doddington House. About the same time, the brewery also wanted to celebrate their 25 years as tenants. "We couldn't believe it when the brewery rang," exclaims Nancy. "Twenty-five years! We had to choose a present to the value of £250. Because our name is Moss, my niece started me off with six Royal Doulton moss rose mugs.  I couldn't think what they could give us, so I had a moss rose dinner service.  And I've still got it, and nothing has been broken. They also gave

1977 presentation to celebrate
25 years with the brewery

us a barrel of beer to have a party with all the customers. That was for 25 years. Then before you know it, it's 30 years, then it's 35 years..."

Customers raised money and installed a
bench on the Rec in Tom's memory (1989)

"We'd been married 37 years when Tom died in 1989. I had a good husband. We had our rows like everyone else, but I had red roses for every birthday and every anniversary. He was very good. Towards the end he had quite a lot of ill health. And obviously then I couldn't have managed the pub without my family. They all rallied round. My brother used to come over and do all the cellar work -- see to all the barrels and that for me." When Tom died, the customers of the Star took up a collection to put benches on the Rec as a memorial.

Nancy had to retire the tenancy at age 60, three years after Tom died. "The party they gave me then was absolutely wonderful. I knew they were collecting. They gave a barbecue. I had loads of presents… wonderful presents. I had over 300 cards, plus a massive big one that everybody signed. At the top was 'HRH' because they used to call me HRH."

Jim, Nancy, and Julie
at retirement party in 1992

"When I had to move from the Star, I would have had to buy a bungalow or something. But Mrs Nichols, the schoolteacher, was an old aunt of ours. Attached to her big house was a cottage, and the cottage was empty. My brother said, 'That would just be right for you.' So we asked if I could have it, and she said, 'Oh, you won't like it. There's no central heating.' I said, 'I haven't got central heating in the Star, so I'm not going to miss it.' So my brother and sister-in-law decorated it all for me, and I went living there. When she died, my brother came living next door."

"When I left, a lady called Kate took over. The brewery's district manager said they'd got the right person to come in here, but it turned out it wasn't the right person. People just didn't take to her that much. She was here for ten months. Everybody used to come over to my cottage. They called it the Cottage Arms. Then Ned took over the pub. The lady who was cooking for him wanted a week off, and I said I'd come back and do the cooking just for a week. And, of course, I've been here ever since. When Bob took over, he asked if I would carry on. I said I'd do up until Christmas and that's it. But here I am still. It'll be 53 years in August!" In those 53 years, Nancy has outlasted the many breweries and pub companies that owned the place: George's, Courage, Indcoup, Halls of Oxford in the West, Sycamore Taverns, and now Punch.

These days Nancy cooks three nights a week at the Star, and she's pretty busy with the rest of her life too. She has six grandchildren -- five boys and a girl. As ever, they are a close family, with sister May still putting in time at the pub as well. May lives in Westerleigh, and the twins do a lot of things together. "We're much closer now than we used to be," says Nancy. "I'm in the Westerleigh WI. I'm the treasurer. My sister's a churchwarden in Westerleigh, so I go to church there on Sundays."

Nancy wouldn't want to run the pub these days though. "I love the company. I love the cooking. The girls are nice," says Nancy, "but at the end of the night, 'Goodnight!' I'm off. As long as I've got my health, as long as I feel like doing it, I'll do it. I really think it does keep you going. So many people come in and say, 'You're still here?' It's amazing how many people have been coming here for so many years. There's one particular family. They came. Then they came with their children. And now the children are coming with their children. It's so rewarding working here." Sounds like a fitting endorsement of a life rich in the important things, doesn't it?

Interview by Jacki Berry,
Pucklechurch News, March 2005 edition

For more about the Star Inn click here (976KB) to see a copy of the article that appeared in the Bristol Evening World, March 1st, 1933.

Note: click on any image to see a larger version.


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