Gillingham Foodbank

Gillingham Foodbank, Helping Local People in Crisis

As we move towards a new normal, the economimc and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will still be effecting many individuals. Should you wish to find out more please visit their website. Click here to access.


Parish Virtual Garden Competition

During lockdown many of us have spent such a long time in our gardens without being able to show them off!

Now is the time to grab your camera and share your hard work.

All entries will be available to view on the Parish of Upper Stour website and people will have the chance to vote for the garden they would most like to enjoy this bottle in!

The winning prize is the very same bottle of ‘bolly’

This competition is open to absolutely anyone so please do encourage people to send in their virtual gardens!
To Enter

Please email with the following:
– Your full name
– A contact telephone number
– Four good quality photos of your garden
– Up to 50 words description if you would like
– A donation of £10 for Church Funds per garden (cash in a sealed and named envelope to The Rectory, Portnells Lane, Zeals, BA12 6PG or Zeals’ Garage – Please make sure you put your name on the envelop so that we can cross reference it with your entry)

Entries received up until 24th July to give you enough time to keep sprucing!
To Vote

All entries will be available to view on our website between 27th July – 7th August with the winner announced on the website 9th August.

The four pictures and short description will be available to view on the Parish website with the gardener’s name and which village the garden is from, along with a simple online voting form.
If you would like to distribute posters, a copy can be found here.

People Without Computers 
If you know someone who has a fabulous garden or just fancies having a go at winning a bottle of ‘bolly’, but ‘doesn’t do that wizzy computer stuff’, please do volunteer to take photos and send them in on their behalf.
Spread the word and GOOD LUCK!
Community Local Supplier News

Stay In : ‘Eat Out’

It’s time to treat yourself, have a ‘night out’ at home. Amazing Sourdough Pizza prepared for you at the Bell & Crown, Zeals.

Working for the community through COVID-19

Following the success of the Bell & Crown at Zeals transforming themselves overnight into an amaizing community centred Pie Shop – #pieitforward , they still recognise that being closed at the moment is the best thing they can do. ”We want this to blow over and we want people to stay safe and well. We also want people to enjoy a break from the monotony of home cooking”

So, in addition to the Great British Pies offering that’s been running since March; on Friday and Saturday night it’s now Pizza Night.

If you’ve been missing really tasty crispy pizza, well you don’t have to anymore, because on Fridays and Saturdays you can now collect these, freshly cooked, from the kitchen at the Bell & Crown, Zeals.

It’s a proper sourdough base pizza. Traditionally, these take ages to prove but only minutes to cook, meaning the crust is crispy on the outside and wonderfully chewy in the middle. With a variety of delicious, locally sourced ingredients used for the tasty toppings if you close your eyes when you eat – you could almost be in Napoli.

Call 01747 840404 to order yours and don’t forget to ask about dips and drinks if you want to add these to your order to collect.

The current menu is shown below:

Bell & Crown Pizza Menu.

There’s never been a better time to enjoy staying in but ‘eating out’.


Local Updates

May’s Upper Stour Parish Magazine

Over the weekend, your May Parish Magazine was delivered by some of the volunteers from the Bourton Community Support Group. The usual delivery team, who do such an excellent job each month, are sensibly following government advice. So, apologies if your copy wasn’t delivered to the usual spot. If you are missing your copy you can either collect one from the garage or call us and, subject to availability, we’ll can drop it off for you.

Alternatively you can view May’s parish Magazine on-line by clicking here.

Celebrate VE Day at Home

On Friday 8th May we calebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Despite social distancing you can still engage in the event by having you own VE Day ‘party at home’ as featured in the Parish news. If you take part in celebrations safely from home, why not join your BBC Local Radio station initiative in making your own VE Day Great British Bunting. Download everything you need at

VE Day, May 8

The Royal British Legion are right behind this initiative and their website has some great ideas, including a nationwide singalong at 9.00pm.

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, are also encouraging a varirty of activities through their website, including the chance to take part in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm on the 8th May, from the safety of their own home.

Message from The Rev’d Ben

In this weeks e-newsletter, for the third Sunday of Easter, Rev’d Ben references the Rev’d Dr. Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, central London in the thought for the day

“The Bible isn’t interested in going ‘back to normal’. Set back and despair provoke us to see what was wrong and what we’ve become accustom to, and realize that there is no ‘going back’. We may feel bewildered and powerless, but we will never get a better chance to consider how we can make a future bigger than the past. If all we aspire to in the face of months of lock-down is to go back to normal, we will have squandered a once in a century invitation to imagine something richer, truer and deeper than normal ever was. After the war, people didn’t aspire to go back to the hungry 30s, they wanted to build a land, fit for heroes to live in. This isn’t a time for looking back – it is a time for imagining the future and starting to live that future, now.”

Rev’d Dr Sam Wells, Vicar at St Martins -in-the-Fields, London
Thank you NHS – from Zeals, picture Lyndi d’Ambrumenil.

The Rev’d Ben then asks us the following “I would love to hear how you think things may change for the better after this time, and how this ‘once in a century’ opportunity has transformed our way of being. I pray that as a community, we will care for one another as we prayerfully consider what a new world could look like. 

The Great Global (Solo) Cleanup.

The date of the Great Global Cleanup: Earth Day Networks flagship volunteer program to remove litter from our public waterways and spaces was officially 22 April, but this year there’s nothing to stop us from taking this as an opportunity to reflect on our own locality and take this opportunity to safely and individually contribute to cleaning the world by us each taking responsibility for a little bit of our own neighbourhood.

The Great Global Cleanup

Bourton WIldlife Group

During the period April 26th to May 2nd, Bourton Wildlife Group are involved in a programme designed to help improve the public footpaths in the area. See below for an overview. Full details of this can be located on Facebook



Easter Sunday, Services and Hymm for the Day

From the Rev’d Ben Rundell-Evans, Priest in Charge, Parish of Upper Stour 

For those of you who wish to share in this Easter period of worship, the Rev’d Ben has shared with us the latest e-newsletters and videos.

Easter Day Service from Salisbury Cathedral

In this special additional Easter Day e-newsletter you will find an opportunity to share in the Salisbury Cathedral Easter morning service.

Joyous Easter Blessings to you all! 

Easter Sunday

The Easter Sunday e-newsletter contains blessings for all this Easter. Some lovely images, a link to the church bells and some wonderful examples of community spitit in the Parish, plus one of the most humourous cartoons I have seen, shared below. As ever, please look through the link and take this opportunity to share Easter in a most unique way.

The Lenten journey which started on Ash Wednesday 26th Feb, ends here with joy! Alleluia Christ is Risen!

While it has been quite easy to get in the mind set of Holy Week and Lent this year, Easter Day seems that bit harder. At this time of suffering in the world, where do we see signs of new life? While we can see the very real suffering that has been caused by the Covid19 outbreak, the love and compassion of so many in our communities, and in particular the loving sacrifices made by NHS workers at this time is where we find the love and life of God this Easter.

Rev’d Ben, Easter Sunday, Parish of Upper Stour, e- Newlstter

Holy Saturday

The wait…

Holy Saturday‘s e-newsletter is a simple reminder about the gap that is left between Good Friday and Easter morning. Jesus is taken down from the cross, and we enter into what Pierre Abelard described as “the night of tears, the three days’ space, sorrow abiding of the eventide”.

Olivia and Felicity Gillett’s Easter Garden , taken from Holy Saturday Parish of Upper Stour e-Newsletter

Good Friday

The Isolation of the Cross
This Good Friday, we have a very real understanding of the isolation of the cross. As people are forced to mourn and suffer in private, we can see the isolation of the cross in a different and very painful way.

The Good Friday newletter also reminds us of the importtance of staying safe and being compassinalte.

One of the sereral excellent videos help us mark the events of Good Friday. It features the Chaplain Reverend Richard Horner of Rugby School leading a very moving service with hymns, readings from some of the school’s students, and an anthem while the altar is reverently stripped of its finery. It is definitely worth a watch.

The Maundy Thursday newsletter helps to mark a new beginning, the beginning of the end. From this point on, our Christian worship is a continuum through to Easter morning,

We hope you enjoy these communications and are pleased to be able to share these with you this Easter.

If you missed previous newsletters, then they are available to access, including Holy Saturday, Good Friday’s and Maunday Thursdays, through this link to the achives.

Future ones will also appear there in due course.

Hymm For The Day

Royal School of Church Music; A Hymn for the Day 

As part of the Parish of Upper Stour’s offering in the current situation, the RSCM are encouraging everyone to join us in singing the chosen Hymn for the Day, found here (click here), updated daily Monday to Saturday usually in the early afternoon. The words will appear on screen as the music plays. The full playlist can be found here.

For Sundays, you can access the Sunday Self-Service: a short service including hymns, readings, and prayers, which you can find updated each week at the bottom. Via the bnewsletter, you will be able to follow using the order of service which accompanies the recording.


Age UK gives computing help to keep in touch. PLUS Parish of Upper Stour Palm Sunday Newsletter


Age UK, a very active charity and pressure group that represents and takes actions on behalf the people it helps and represents, has an incredibly useful website. It is well worth a look. contains a vast amount of very relevant and practical information. One thing that could be really useful for us all is section it carries which features how the internet helps us in everyday tasks, including keeping in touch. The site has a section deveoted to this.

The internet and digital technology can be invaluable for staying in touch with family and friends, as well as helping with everyday tasks such as shopping, ordering prescriptions, and banking.

Age UK has recently published a specific feature that looks at how you can keep in touch using a smart phone, iPad or similar tablet or even your computer, for video calls. Whilst this technology can be quite daunting, it is probably easier than we all think, and this article helps us get that bit closer.

Why not give it a try, impress yourself and surprise the youngsters!


The latest Newsletter from the Parish of Upper Stour was released on Saturday. It features a really good link to the Palm Sunday ‘virtual service’ in Salisbury.

Click here to access the Palm Sunday Newsletter


Message from Simon Hoare MP

‘It is important in this uncertain time that we follow the advice provided by the Government and Health experts. This advice is likely to change daily based on the evolving situation.

As per the current advice, the most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work. This should be done as infrequently as possible. When outside it is important to stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people.

When you return home, wash your hands immediately, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in a bin and wash your hands. 

The Government has announced new measures to help tackle the spread of Coronavirus. This is called social distancing and is particularly important for people who:

– are 70 or over

– have a long-term condition

– are pregnant

– have a weakened immune system’

This important information has been shared from
To read more, please visit our MP’s website

Our local Member of Parliament, Simon Hoare, shared this information with the community via the Blackmore Vale Magazine (27 March publication). We have been in touch with his office and offered to share the details of our local MPs excellent website.

The website contains some very useful links to a variety of governement and other trustworthy resources. This provides access to important informtaion on several topics that are key during this period of uncertainty. We would like to thank you for providing this.

This includes information about and relevant to :

  • NHS / Coronavirus
  • Businesses (including HMRC/Business Rates)
  • Employment and jobs (Self-employed/Employees/Employers)
  • Dorset County and Town Council Services, etc
  • Education and schools, etc
  • Travel Advice, Citizens Advice, volunteering, suport groups, etc
  • ……….and much much more

You can get to this, using the link here:


Message from the Rev’d Ben Rundell-Evans

For those who wish to keep in contact with the Parish of Upper Stour at this time there are several innovative ways. One is the recently introduced Parish e-newsletter. You can see the current and latest newsletter here . This month features the Holy Week and Easter celebrations, together with an exploration of a very unusual Lent. The articles are accompanied by some joyous photgraphy.

Included is a link to the Holy Week and Easter 2020 booklet which helps you follow through from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.(Click Here – Holy Week). The booklet was produced by the Diocese of Lichfield. The Rev’d Ben hopes it will be helpful for us all as we keep this holy time together, but in different places.

There is also some support for our volunteers and those many individuals who have been helping the community at this time.

I am delighted that so many are rising to the challenge to help one another! This month’s Parish Magazine outlines some of the help that is being provided, and I would also like to draw your attention to the Bourton Community Support Group, details of which can be found here.

Rev’d Ben Rundell-Evans – Priest in Charge, Parish of Upper Stour

The Reverend Ben will also be sending out an e-newsletter on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. If you discover that someone would like to receive these e-newsletters who hasn’t yet, then please encourage them to sign up here.

We will hopefully be able to feaure them here again in our News Posts.

For those who want to find out more, we’ve also put in the contact details for the Parish of Upper Stour on our Contact Info page.


Connect and reach out…

Please make sure those without internet access have everything they need at this time – keep in touch : our numbers are here, do call us if you wish.