Thursday, 25 September 2014

Woodcutts Traditional Fingerpost

A tale of a great community effort that resulted in something really rewarding.

By Pearl James, Dean, Woodcutts.

 As usual it was local farmer & parish councillor Simon Meaden that encouraged me to run this project – he has definitely got a habit of “volunteering” me for things!

 The story starts with the council announcing that they would no longer be able to renovate these charming old Dorset Signposts. Simon adopted and renovated the sign post at Minchington and my husband Alec and I just happened along our lane as he was taking some photos with the press. “Why don’t you do the one at Woodcutts” he cried – and the project was born!

Our post (as we now call it) was looking very sad and forlorn. It definitely needed some TLC. There is a process to go through with the Dorset AONB to “adopt” a post, which I duly completed. Once they had confirmed it was officially our post it was time for the hard work to start. Alec agreed to do the work and Carol and David Cross agreed to join us.

Carol designed a great mail shot and we delivered these to all the houses in Dean and Woodcutts. People were extremely generous and soon very nice envelopes came popping through my door! In total we raised £354.00 but needed more. The roundel alone came to £285.00 and then there was paint, many letters at £2.50 each, screws, bolts, wood for the fingers, etc. Luckily Linda Nunn at the Cranborne Chase AONB came to the rescue and we applied for a grant to complete the work. This was generously given and we pressed on, identifying suppliers, ordering letters and getting those shot blasted & painted; ordering the roundel, screws, bolts, the list seemed endless, but it was great fun and very rewarding at every stage!

Some lovely local people also did lots of the work and donated materials. Rupert and Jeannie Brown donated the wood and Rupert made a lovely job of preparing it, to match the old fingers perfectly. David Cross painted them beautifully. Adrian Harris from Woodcutts restored the old post leg that was in the ground and certainly wasn’t going to be removed easily, so he did it in situ and made a great job of it. Alec and I spent many an hour becoming the Two Ronnies – “How many O’s have we got?” and eventually we had the right letters and Alec sprayed them and fixed them to the wooden arms with great patience.

The big day came and we went and bolted the new arms on. By chance the man who had led me down this path stopped by, Simon of course! It was very rewarding indeed to be there and see how magnificent the post looked once completed.

We had an absolutely great time doing this project, and the bonus is that every time one drives by there is a great sense of pride. So I would like to say thank you to everyone who worked with us and donated so generously for “our post”. You are all wonderful neighbours and it was our privilege to work with you all. Thank you indeed. If anyone wants any help or advice in how to renovate their own community post then please feel free to call me on 01725 552834.

Pearl James, Dean, Woodcutts.