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Thursday, 31 December 2015

This year will be different

I will do it, really do it, ...yes really - well maybe. (Hmm, probably not.)

Saturday, 26 December 2015

MasterChef Champion, Ping coming to Food Week

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Food Week are delighted to announce the first of several Celebrity Shows with Ping Coombes, MasterChef Champion 2014, joining us on: Saturday 2nd April 2016.

Ping will be demonstrating some of her wonderful fusion recipes and chatting about her food journey so far.

Ping was born in Ipoh, a small town in Malaysia and her love of food stems from her mum, who is an incredible cook. Anyone who watched Ping on the iconic BBC TV cooking show will know she has a delightful personality and a fabulous ability to create art on a plate.

COOKING with PING - MasterChef Champion

Tickets: £15 | Click here to buy - *Tickets also available from Community Centre Box Office.
Friends of Food Week receive 10% Discount on all tickets purchased for this event - click here to find out more.

Bank Holiday Monday 28th March to Sunday 3rd April 2016
If you love food, you will love Food Week!

Want to know more about Food Week? - please click here.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Santa's Over Done It!

Hope you got all of your presents. Looks like Santa over did it in a Milford on Sea pub last night!

Food Week finds Fabulous Friends

After last week's article about losing our main sponsor for the Food Week Cookery Theatre, - the village has responded brilliantly! (Read original article here.)

Replacing a sponsorship of £3000 is a tall ask, but amounts from £25 to £150 have been coming in from people becoming Friends of Food Week & Business Sponsors.

Whilst a long way till to go, we can certainly see that people are pulling for us, and willingly donating some money for us to make Food Week 2016 the best yet.

Food Week will definitely take place in all of its glory one way or another, we will not let it fail, and in the immortal words of Del Boy; "He who dares wins, he who hesitates... doesn't!"

You can help if you would like by: 
  • Becoming a Friend of Food Week from £25 (click here)
  • or a Business Sponsor: Silver £75 or Gold £150 (click here)
*Friends of Food Week receive 10% Discount on all tickets purchased for Celebrity Events - click here to find out more.

To be in the 25,000+ Food Week Programmes, please let us know by 31st December, after that your support can only show on the Food Week website.

Thanks to everyone who has already given their generous support, Food Week could not happen without you and we are very appreciative. - If you supported us last time, and are happy to do so again, please let me know as soon as possible. (

As you may notice from our sponsors, we do not approach any large organisations unless they have a direct connection with Milford on Sea. Our event is by the village community, for the village community.

Bank Holiday Monday 28th March to Sunday 3rd April 2016
If you love food, you will love Food Week!

Want to know more about Food Week? - please click here.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Marine Café Shuts its Doors

Things are changing at The Marine on Milford on Sea seafront.

A few months ago the Blue Horizon Restaurant opened on the first floor, run by Stephen Caunter. This new venture is doing well, and will continue to go from strength to strength.

The downstairs café-bar is however a different story.

click image to enlarge
Richard Thompson rebuilt this impressive art-deco style building five years ago, taking inspiration from the original building from the 1930's.

Although, a period design, the inside is modern, with expensive fittings and facilities which were destined to give customers a great experience. There is even a underground wine cellar with a glass roof in the café/bar floor. Add to this the inspiring and spectacular sea views over The Needles and Christchurch Bay - on paper everything was set for an successful business.

However, the spectacular location proved a major problem. On a bright summers day there are few places you would rather be, and if you ever took a drink on the roof terrace in the sun it would still stir delightful memories.

Although relatively close to the village centre, a cold, wet or windy day or night was enough to ensure that the café was empty more often than not. The bar element never took off, as people did not realise they could call in as a bar, rather than just a café.

Then of course there was the freak Valentine Night Storm in 2014, which flooded and destroyed so much of the building. 

After many difficult months, Richard painstakingly put the building back together and reopened - now facing even greater premiums for his insurance.

Richard has tried many things to make the café-bar work all year round, but the harsh reality is that the weather dependant and seasonal nature of the location means that the business simply does not work. Indeed, there are numerous times when the takings have not even covered the staff wages.

So, unable to continue running at a loss, Richard made a decision with a heavy heart, to cease trading and shut the doors of  The Marine Café-Bar for the final time last Saturday. (19th December 2015.)

To try and make this wonderful building into a true asset to the village, Richard has now submitted a Planning Application to NFDC, to seek permission to change the ground floor cafe-bar into additional B&B Accommodation. There are already B&B rooms upstairs that are well used and enjoyed by regular visitors, and these will remain alongside the Blue Horizon Restaurant.

It is sad to see The Marine Café-Bar go, but no-one can run a business for ever at a loss.

Blue Horizon Restaurant
From 1st January 2016: Open for Breakfast, Morning Coffee, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Manners Maketh Man

I am of course a bit old to be going to school, and having spent most of my school days in detention, bunking off or getting the cane, it was with some trepidation that I accepted an invitation to go to meet with Matthew Hill, the headmaster at our village primary school. 

The last time I was summoned by a headmaster my palms throbbed for a week.

Anyway, I arrived. I was a little late, as my wife had forced me to change from the grey short trousers and school jumper I had spent over 30 minutes squeezing in to.

I was taken through to the reception area to await my meeting to discuss Food Week with Mr Hill and Rachel Lewis of the PFA. (Note: What the kids are going to do for Food Week is awesome, and will be excitedly revealed in due course.)

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In the reception area I was immediately drawn to a poster on the wall which raised my spirits and gave me a satisfied glow.

Our village children are being taught manners!
(Please click image to see the poster)

Doesn't it make you feel good that our teachers see manners as a priority in the building blocks to becoming a good adult.

In a world that moves so fast, and changes all the time, it is heart-warming to know that that some real human values are not being lost, and indeed, they are being embraced at our village school.

After our meeting, Matthew (I couldn't help but call him 'Sir'), took me on a school tour. I say school, but it is in fact a Tardis.

From the outside the school looks like a quaint Victorian village schoolhouse, but once inside the vista opens up into a modern teaching environment with impressive facilities and lots of bright and airy classrooms.

As we passed the main hall the entire school were practising their songs for a Christmas performance to the parents. Seeing and hearing happy children singing is one of life's simple and pure delights.

The school is currently nurturing 380 pupils, which shows that we have lots of young families in the village. (Who said you have to be retired to live in Milford on Sea!)

As we crossed the Pre-School playground a sign on the wall drew my attention. Yet again there was list of values to provide any child with a great way to live their life. (Please click image to see the sign)

In the primary school grounds there was more to discover, like the vegetable beds where the children were growing, amongst other more ordinary things, sea kale and asparagus. Both of which they intend to sell to village restaurants/shops, not only raise funds, but also to give the kids experience of small business.

There is also a full size swimming pool, and fenced off 'secret place' with a pond, den making, and camp fire where the children cook, play & learn in the summer.

The recently installed and impressive 'Eco Pod' is equipped with microscopes where the kids can examine insects that they gather from the pond.

To complete the tour we went to see the chickens, which the children look after, and collect eggs from on a daily basis.

It is clear that our school is quietly creating a generation of people to be proud of in our plain sight.

Total respect goes to Matthew and all of his team of teachers, administrators and other helpers - It is impressive that things like manners are valued so highly as it will give all of the children a great start in life.

Milford on Sea Primary School

Food Week Loses Largest Sponsor

Since the first Food Week in 2010 we have been delighted and grateful that Southern Co-op have been a fabulously generous sponsor, by paying around £3000 for the Cookery Theatre hire every year.

Sadly for us both, these difficult economic times have meant that they are no longer able to provide support to such a high level.

Lucky for us, they are still giving us excellent support by sponsoring the CakeFest! for £500, and the village store manager, Alina is fully supporting Food Week by arranging a number of events with her team.

We would like to thank Southern Co-op for the generous support that they continue to give us.

As Karl Marx said; "The only constant is change."

What Now

As you will have worked out, we now have a big hole in the finances for Food Week 2016, so effectively we need to place an advert in the Lonely Hearts section of the Advertiser & Times reading; 'Big Bloke seeks new main sponsor!'

Food Week 2016 has over 100 events arranged, and it is normally only large commercial operations that would take on such an extensive week long event. We however are down to earth village folk and our Food Week is totally created by volunteers who gain no more than the pleasure they see when everyone enjoys what is created.

Behind the scenes the Food Week volunteers are able to create and manage for free the website, blogs, social media, PR, artwork, design, accounting, raffle ticket sales and loads of administration and running around!

However, to make Food Week what it is, there are essential expenses which appear from every corner for the things that you do see; free programmes, banners, posters, flags, etc. - then there are the things that you do not see, like the painful and costly administration for road closures, liability insurance, raffle licensing, etc. Added to this, each celebrity show only washes its face if we sell all of the tickets, so we nervously face a loss if they are not successful.

Anyway, as you can see we need to raise a few quid pretty sharpish.

Food Week will definitely take place in all of its glory one way or another, we will not let it fail, and in the immortal words of Del Boy; "He who dares wins, he who hesitates... doesn't!"

You can help if you would like by: 
Becoming a Friend of Food Week for £25 (click here)
or a Business Sponsor: Gold £150 - Silver £75 (click here)

Thanks to everyone who has already given their support, Food Week could not happen without you and we are very appreciative. - If you supported us last time, and are happy to do so again, please let me know as soon as possible. (

As you may notice from our sponsors, we do not approach any large organisations unless they have a direct connection with Milford on Sea. Our event is by the village, for the village.

Cookery Theatre Sponsor 

I know this is a long shot, but there might just be someone out there who could help, or who knows someone who might help. 

Become Our Cookery Theatre Sponsor. What you get:

  • Your Logo/Name and Sponsorship Support displayed on Cookery Theatre all week.
  • Your Logo/Name and Sponsorship Support displayed on Food Week Banners.
  • Main Sponsor Entry and a Gold Sponsor Entry printed in the Food Week Programme (20,000+ Free copies circulated
  • Quarter Page (Landscape) Advert in Food Week Programme. (Sponsor to provide artwork.)
  • Free additional Gold Sponsor Entry with Web Link on website. (click here)

Cost: £2500
For more information please contact David on david@milfordonsea,org 

As my mum always says; "If you don't hold your pudding up, you won't get any treacle." - so, fingers crossed, it is Christmas after all - and surprising things happen!

Bank Holiday Monday 28th March to Sunday 3rd April 2016
If you love food, you will love Food Week!

Want to know more about Food Week? - please click here.

Seals Spotted at Hurst Castle

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The beauty of Milford on Sea and its surrounding areas never ceases to enchant, and to add to this, seals have recently been spotted at Hurst Castle.

Having spoken to both Sean & Jason (Hurst Castle Guardians) in the past, this is not a particularity rare occurrence, and when they list the wildlife they see throughout the year it is quite amazing.

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PS: If you are in the village, check out Shaun Steven's new Porcelain Hurst Castle Mugs and Coasters which are now available in the Hurst Castle Shop.

Hurst Castle

Shaun Stevens Art

Eco School Green Flag for Pre-School

Milford on Sea Pre-School are very proud to have been awarded the top award from Eco Schools, and they are one of few pre-schools to achieve this.

The award was achieved by maintaining their Action Plan in areas such as recycling, gardening and energy. Since joining the project they have learnt lots of new eco-language and changed their daily routines to incorporate the action plan. The pre-school has also had visitors to see demonstrations of the pond dipping, recycling and composting.
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Milford on Sea Pre-School have also held an open garden and toy swap. They are now recycling batteries, paper, printer ink, yoghurt pouches, after having recycled 400 milk bottles to construct an igloo.

All the parents and children are involved, and they are delighted to have learnt so much, as they enthusiastically carry on and now look to share their practices with other pre-schools.

Well done all!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Fancy doing a Food Week Demo?

Love baking bread?, make good pie?, or anything else...

Then please come and do a local cook demo in the Cookery Theatre at Food Week.

We would like as many local people taking part as possible. Food Week is for every corner of the community, young or old - there is something for everyone.

A great week is being put together to feed, educate and entertain - come and join us!

Drop me a line before next Monday (believe it or not, the Food Week Programme has to go to print very soon) to find out more:

Bank Holiday Monday 28th March to Sunday 3rd April 2016
If you love food, you will love Food Week!

Want to know more about Food Week? - please click here.

Food Week Show Tickets as Xmas Pressies

How about buying Food Week show tickets as Christmas presents? - click here

The first Food Week shows are now on sale online: the delightful talent of Ping Coombes MasterChef Champion 2014 and the irrepressible Howard Middleton from Great British Bake Off - more shows still to follow in coming weeks!

(Note: Tickets available online right now, or from the community Centre Box Office.)

Bank Holiday Monday 28th March to Sunday 3rd April 2016
If you love food, you will love Food Week!

Want to know more about Food Week? - please click here.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

School Seeks a New Clerk

Milford on Sea Primary School are looking for a Clerk to the Governing Body.

This would make a great part time job for someone with admin/minute taking experience looking for flexible working hours in a stimulating environment with the ability to work partially from home. Full training and support available.

Please see below for Job Description.

Application Procedure - Closing date: Wednesday 16th December 2015

For an application pack please phone Julie Turner, Admin Manager, on 01590-642945.

For a visit or any questions please contact Sue Towndrow, Chair of Governors, on 01590-645442.

Milford-on-Sea Primary School

Milford-on-Sea Primary School | Clerk to Governing Body - Job Description

 Closing date: Wednesday 16th December 2015
 Contract/Hours: Permanent, Part-time
 Salary Type: EHCC/Support Staff
 Salary Details: Scale D
 Hours of Work: Approximately 30 hours/term with the ability to work from home for the majority of the time
 Location of role: Milford-on-Sea Primary School
 Contact e-mail address:

Job/Person Spec
We are looking to appoint an organized, flexible and reliable Clerk to the Governing Body to provide high quality clerical and administration support. You will be required to attend approximately 30 meetings a year as well as advise the Governing Body on matters of procedure and to prepare and maintain records. The clerk’s role is to ensure that the business of each Governing Body meeting is conducted efficiently, operates within its powers and follows agreed and proper procedures. Full training and support will be provided.

The duties include:
 Providing advice on governance, constitutional, legal and procedural matters
 Providing effective administrative support
 Ensuring the Governing Body is properly constituted
 Managing information effectively in accordance with legal requirements
 Maintaining and storing policies and records
 Agenda setting in liaison with Committee/Governing Body Chairs and the Head
 Minute taking
 Co-ordinating meetings
 Producing policy documents and minutes
 Dealing with Governors’ correspondence and enquiries

The successful candidate will:
 Be able to demonstrate a high standard of efficient, accurate and confidential record keeping
 Be able to understand and follow procedures and policies
 Have good IT skills
 Have good communication skills
 Have experience in a clerical or administrative post
 Be able to demonstrate an ability to work under own initiative
 Keep up to date with current legislation

Previous experience of Governing Body Clerking or working in a school is desirable.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Delightful Carols on the Green

You just have to love Milford on Sea...

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Friday night was chilly, but a warm coat and an optional silly hat can deal with that. 

Carols on the Green saw hundreds of people entranced by a very special night in the village.

The Christmas tree on the village green stood tall and bright as David Hellsten hosted the service on behalf of the village churches, and with some dodgy Christmas jokes! 

Total Voice Choir once again led the community carol singing accompanied by the enthusiastic throng of villagers.

The village shops also stayed open for a bit of extra festive trade, and hot food was sold in the street by village traders to many a hungry carol singer.

Gwen even went to the trouble of putting decorations in her vacant shop. 

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As the locals met, mingled and chatted, Father Christmas arrived on his motorised sleigh to round the evening off and to delight the kids in the village with small present.

This was a fabulous night of true community spirit, and the organisers from 'Churches Together in Milford' and their volunteers deserve a big thank you for keeping this village tradition not just alive, but really kicking.

Wonderful memories are made for all generations on nights like these.

'How rude!'
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Footnote: The only downside was that Santa wouldn't give me any sweets. Never mind, the real one comes at Christmas!

Thank You from Christine & Kev

Christine & Kevin from Inger Lise's Coffee Bar in the High Street want to thank Christine Mulgrew and all the members of total voice who came into the café on Friday night after the carols.

They all had a lovely evening and raised £100 for Clic Sargent children's cancer charity - a charity close to Christine & Kevin's heart.

Also, Inger Lise's will be holding there Annual Xmas Colouring Competition to win a gingerbread house. Simply take in your children to colour the drawings Christine provides and then they can enter the competition.

I have suggested that I am quite good at colouring in, and a bit partial to gingerbread, but sadly Inger Lise's have not decided to run an adult category!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Cedar Tree Restaurant Opens

As Tim Wedgwood & Nikki Rowe, the new owners at South Lawn settle in, they are already making striking improvements to the hotel and restaurant. (To read our previous article - click here)

The Cedar Tree at South Lawn Hotel
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In the past six weeks the entire restaurant has been redecorated and refurbished with a new modern style and fresh look. Now re-branded as The Cedar Tree, executive chef  Gavin Levens is now serving dishes of high quality.

Not to simply focus on one thing, five bedrooms have also had new bathrooms installed and there is an exciting plan in place to continually bring new life, contemporary style and personality into the whole building.

Tim & Nikki have impressive track records, yet they simply want to make South Lawn a really nice place for locals and visitors to spend their time. They now live in the village and plan to make South Lawn their crowning glory and a real treasure for everyone in the village.

Naturally, with Milford on Sea Food Week coming at Easter we are delighted to see another quality restaurant in the village.

Why not give it a try soon, and also check out the Christmas and New Year menus on their website below, they look to be great value. They are also innovative, - have you ever heard of Christmas Day diners being given turkey to take home for Boxing Day? No, me neither, it certainly shows that Tim & Nikki like to add creativity to what they do.

South Lawn Hotel & The Cedar Tree Restaurant
Lymington Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0RF

New Deli Opens in Village

A new delicatessen is opening in Milford on Sea village centre this weekend.

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This new venture is called Jones & Co. and is owned by Nick Jones, who was previously a sports coach and involved with Milford on Sea School.

Jones & Co. will provided specialist teas and coffees, cheeses, artisan breads, charcuterie and locally sourced product. The range of products are available to eat in or to take away.

The new deli is located in Church Hill where Jaws, Paws & Claws was previously, and the interior of the building has been completely refurbished to give it a sleek and contemporary feel.

We wish Nick and his team at Jones & Co. every success, and hope that rather than reduce trade for other village stores and cafés that they entice more local people to shop in, and visit the village centre for the benefit of all.

A very interesting market study once proved that the best place to open a new Chinese restaurant, is next to other successful Chinese restaurants - when this happens, both the existing and new were observed to thrive - proving that good products and services attract more customers for everyone!

Jones & Co.
4 Church Hill, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QH‎
01590 638437

Opening Times
Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 5.30pm
Saturday: 9am to 5.30pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm

Polar Bear Spotted on Isle of Wight

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A Polar Bear has been spotted on the Isle of Wight by an eagled eyed passenger sailing past The Needles on P&O's Adonia.

Before showing my wife the picture, I asked her: "Where do you find polar bears?", in her inimitable style she immediately said; "It depends on where you lost them." 

She's a laugh a minute to live with.

I did not give up on my intended zoological lesson and asked; "What's the difference between a polar bear and a panda?" - The girl proved herself far too sharp when she answered in mega speed; "About 1500 miles."

I had nearly lost the will to live, but I still made the mistake of attempting one last question. "Have you ever seen a man-eating polar bear the love of my life?" - "No, but down at Verveine I saw a man eating a fish."

Boom! - I was down and out.

Not sure I will bother showing her the picture after all.

Beautiful Award for Shorefield

Shorefield Country Park has been awarded a coveted Gold in the Holiday Park of the year of the Year Category at the Beautiful South Awards 2015.

Left to right –
Mark Warnes (Hoseasons)
Lesley Lawrence (Shorefield)
Bobbie Lawrence (Shorefield)
Nigel Smith (Tourism South East)
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Held at the iconic Grand Brighton Hotel last night, the presentation evening celebrated the fantastic visitor experiences available across the South and South East of England. 

Established over 20 years ago, the Beautiful South Awards reward excellence, quality, innovation and customer service. As a recipient of this prestigious accolade Shorefield is now invited to champion the South East at the national VisitEngland awards in 2016.

Commenting on the awards, Nigel Smith, CEO of Tourism South East said, “It was a fantastic evening at the Grand Hotel and a real privilege to be in the company of so many dedicated and passionate tourism businesses. The excellent quality of facilities, service and approach makes our role of promoting the South East so much easier and is one of the main reasons why we are one of the most popular UK tourist regions outside London.”

Simon Pitman, Group Head of Marketing at Shorefield Holidays added, “We are thrilled to have scooped the Gold award for Holiday Park of the Year. We pride ourselves on offering a holiday experience that provides a range of accommodation, facilities, activities and local attractions across our six parks, and we’re very thankful to the judges for presenting us with this great award.”

“We aim to continue improving and increasing the appeal of Shorefield Holidays and hope to work towards more awards like this in the near future.”

Shorefield Country Park

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The White Horse Reopens Their Doors

We are delighted to report that The White Horse in Milford on Sea is open once again.

The new landlady, Liz was previously at The Plough in Tiptoe, which is still being run by her business partners Steve & Julia.
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On a quick visit this week it was nice to see that the bar areas appear to have been de-cluttered and the whole place has a fresh feel.

Today a friend visited for lunch and commented that they enjoyed a meal of excellent quality and value.

An empty closed pub is a sad sight, but thankfully an open pub lights up a village - Welcome back White Horse!

The White Horse
16 Keyhaven Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QY