/ About / Hall Of Fame / Ann Lock



Ann Lock is very well known in Creech St Michael, especially as she was the inspiration and driving force behind the new Village Hall which was completed in 1988. Ann has many friends in the area and is very well known for the many ways she has contributed to the community of Creech St Michael.

It is very fitting that Ann’s significant contributions to the lives of people in Creech St Michael are recorded and recognised in the Creech ‘Hall of Fame’.

Ann tells her story in her own words …

 

Ann Lock

I was born at the Cottage, Worthy Lane, Creech St Michael, on 1st October 1942. Our neighbour in Worthy Lane was an elderly lady called Mrs Templeman. She lived alone and chose my name. She was a lovely lady who became my Godmother when I was christened at St Michael’s Church as Brida Ann Bond, but I have always been known as Ann.

I had a wonderful childhood although we had no running water – only water from a well that we pumped outside. We only had an outside toilet and in winter these facilities were freezing. Things were so much different back in those days!

As we had no bathroom we made do with just a tin bath in front of the fire on Sundays. But what happiness I had watching the bath being filled with hot water from the outside copper that took forever to heat.

But I wouldn’t change anything. Happiness in childhood is happiness in adulthood.

My school years at Creech St Michael

I was a pupil at the old Creech St Michael School (opposite the Bell Inn) and four generations of my family have attended Creech St Michael School. When I started school in 1947 the headmaster was Mr Kingdon and my teacher Miss Blackmoor.

I remember in the summer Mr Kingdon’s wife often gave us children ice cubes, this was a luxury. Every day we had a cup of milk which was later enlarged to a small glass bottle.

The meals were delivered in canisters and then dished out by our dinner ladies. I fondly remember the names of the dinner ladies when I attended school in the 1940s, Mrs Hutchings, Mrs Sandford and Aunt Alice as she was known. These ladies were lovely caring people, and I can remember them so well.

When I was about 8 years old I went to a small shop in Charlton Road which was run by Miss Way. I used to get our rations of sugar and butter. The sugar was weighed and put into a brown paper bag. I would then go to Mr Tom Richards and buy potatoes. Our Post Office and stores were pretty much the same place as today in the centre of Creech and was owned and run by Mrs Coldwell and her sister, Aunty Amy as she was known.

Aunty Amy was the key holder for the WI hall for as long as I can remember. She also made cakes for special occasions such as Christmas and weddings.

My parents grew most of our vegetables. We had chicken and geese so we always had fresh eggs but meat was a luxury. My Dad used to go rabbit shooting with some of his friends in the village and we often had rabbit for Sunday lunch.

Teenage years and marriage

 

Our wedding at St Michael's Church in 1960

In the late 1950’s along with friends and my two elder sisters (Christine and Janet) we hired the former WI Hall in Ryesland Way one day a week and played music and danced.

Barry (who was later to become my husband) had a record player and was the DJ, and that’s how we met.

Later we switched from the WI Hall to a room in the New Inn in Bull Street which to become The Riverside Tavern. Mr Duke let us have a small room and after Church we would meet in the Riverside and enjoy crisps and lemonade and our music and a general get together.

Of course, we left the room as we found it and were allowed to use it every Sunday. It was something to look forward to!

In 1960, aged 18, I married Barry in Creech St Michael Church and we had our reception in the WI hall for about 100 guests. The WI hall served its purpose in the years I grew up in the Village.

Children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren

Our first child, Nicola, was born in 1962 and lives in Creech with her husband Steve. Then, in 1964, we had a son, Glyn, who married Maria. They were living in Creech Heathfield until 2011 and then moved to Taunton just a few miles from us.

In 1971 we had a second daughter, Clare, who married Mark. They live in Adsborough, again only a few miles away. In 1981 we adopted a baby girl, Keira, who lives with her partner in Taunton. So we are lucky all our children are within a few miles of us in each direction.

At the time of writing this article (April 2012) we have eight lovely grandchildren and the 9th just on the way! We also have three great grandchildren, all boys, and one attends Creech St Michael primary school where I went over 60 years ago. Doesn’t time fly by?

Creech Brownies

I was heavily involved in the 1st Creech Brownies. In 1979 I took over the role of Brown Owl from Mrs Joyce Reeves who ran the Brownies for many years before me.

 

Ann's daughter Clare presenting cheque to Rev Jones of St Michael's Church, Ann (Brown Owl) at rear left, Carol Joseph (Snowy Owl) at rear right

When our children were older Barry and I decided to hold a disco for the young folk in the Creech. We did this on a regular basis. We provided drinks and crisps and the hall was packed with village children. It was great to see them having such a good time, this made Barry and I think that a hall for the village was what was needed.

The driving force for the new Creech Village Hall

So then came the time for change. When Barry and I heard that the old school was going to be moved to Hyde Lane, we thought maybe the old school could become the new Village Hall. Our aim was to see if the Education Committee would donate it to the village.

But before this we needed to get the feelings of the parishioners and to form a steering committee. We organised an open meeting and although many people attended it was not as fully supported as we would have liked. The old WI hall had taken pride of place in the village for many years.

We realised the thought of the WI hall becoming redundant did not help our cause but formed a steering committee and from that a committee was formed. At that time I did not think that this would take over our lives for the next ten years or more!

We were lucky to have a very good solicitor in the village, Mr John Stockdale. He offered his services for free and worked for us until the new Village Hall was passed to a Management Committee. I cannot thank him enough.

The old school used as a fundraising venue

Before a new Village Hall could be seriously considered we had to show that we could raise enough money to build it with some help. We had to raise at least a third of the costs.

The Education Committee was contacted and after a while agreed to give us the old school. This was to be our fundraising venue to raise as much money as we could before it would be sold.

We had to make changes to the school hall. It had a false ceiling and this had to be removed in line with fire regulations. Although this was a temporary venue for fundraising we also had to have fire doors fitted. This was a lot of effort (and expense) for something that was only temporary.

The old school was used for jumble sales, car boots and we held a few dances and social functions.

Many other fundraising events were held year after year, including a fun run, duck race, pig roast , jumble sales, cheese and wine parties, cabaret, fetes and a fifty fifty auction where the auctioneer was Mr Simon Linn who I believe still lives in the village – he gave his services free.

There are many photos of the fundraising and the building of the new Village Hall in the gallery on this website.  

One Christmas we decided to hold a jumble sale in Rowbarton, Taunton. Pete Mcguire, one of our committee members, was to be our Father Christmas. I remember he changed his shoes for his wellington boots to match his outfit as Father Christmas. After he had finished his duty as Santa he went to change back to his shoes but they were nowhere to be found. It turned out someone had sold them! We gave him the money for a new pair so most of the profits paid for Pete’s new shoes, but he was happy!

The fundraising nears its target

The time had come to see what funds would be available from other sources, so we applied to Taunton Deane Borough Council. Unfortunately we just missed the precept for that year, so the project was delayed for yet another year.  However, the Council agreed to help fund the hall the following year with added finance from the Sports Council.

What type of Village Hall was right for Creech?

The next task was to decide the most suitable Hall for the Village. I can remember going to other Halls to get advice on the build.

We were told about another hall that had been built several miles away for disabled children. This was a timber framed build with very good insulation and did not take many months to build as the main structure of the frame was timber and the bricks built after.

I spent a whole day with the late Jack Edwards, another committee member, viewing the building. We both thought this building would suit the needs of the Village. It had character inside and out and, with just a few changes made to the design, it would be great for Creech.

I felt the beams gave the hall something special. We looked at all types of buildings, conventional and many more. Jack and I convinced the committee that this type of hall would be warm and maintenance free. The floor was suspended and would be ideal for dances. It was also designed to be used for badminton.

The go ahead for the new Village Hall

The committee agreed the design and the funding had all been reached. We were well on our way to have our long awaited Village Hall for Creech. Like all projects, it had its ups and downs, but all in all things progressed well and we could see the end in sight.   

Barry and I went every day during the build and watched our dream come true, a long awaited Village Hall for Creech! We both wanted this in the centre of Creech with easy access.

The founder committee members:

Colin Gould (Chairman)
Ann Lock (Secretary)
John Durham (Treasurer)
John Stockdale (Solicitor)
Pete Mcguire
Barry Lock
Bob Prenzlau
Pete Martin
Karen ?
Dorothy Benham
Dorothy ?
Jack Edwards
Eric Cartwright

My thanks go to all the people who worked tirelessly to achieve this wonderful facility that benefits the community of Creech and beyond.

Creech short mat bowls club

With the new Village Hall it gave us the opportunity to start a short mat bowls club. We formed a committee and soon had some mats delivered and now it’s a thriving short mat bowls club that meets normally on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It is good to see that the hall is used for so many different clubs and even organisations like the NHS blood doning sessions.

Retirement

Somehow retirement doesn’t seem the right word. I seem to be more active now than ever! Barry plays bowls regularly. We are both keen gardeners and love going away in our caravan.

 

Barry and Ann Lock celebrating their Golden Wedding in 2010

We moved quite recently to the neighbouring village of Monkton Heathfield. Growing up and spending most of our lives in Creech St Michael has been very enjoyable. It is where our roots lie and we have fond memories of the many years we spent living and participating in life in Creech.

Now we enjoy time with our large family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who we see very regularly as we are fortunate they all live near us.

Lastly, Barry and I are very proud to have been the inspiration behind the new Village Hall. It gives us a lot of pleasure when we see how popular it is for many people, the young and the young at heart.

Copyright Ann Lock 2012