Rural Business Awards Live Stream – Updated

David Leader was a finalist for Community Contribution Award & unfortunately did not win.

The award ceremony began at 4.30pm this afternoon from St Martin in the Fields, London – You can watch the ceremony HERE.

Elaine Leader attended with Margery Hookings accompanying her.  The whole community was with them in spirit. Lucy Turner from the New Inn Pub & Community Cafe in Somerset won the award.

David Leader remains our Community Champion!


David Leader: Finalist In National Award Scheme – Vote Now

Our much missed councillor and friend, the late David Leader, who spearheaded the campaign to save Broadwindsor’s only pub, has been posthumously nominated and short listed as a finalist for the Community Contribution Award in the Plunkett Foundation’s annual Rural Community Business Awards.

Public vote now open – Click HERE – Closes this Friday, 4th November.

The Rural Community Business Awards celebrate inspirational and outstanding examples of community-owned businesses and the kind-hearted individuals involved in them, who have gone above and beyond for their communities over the last year. They stepped up to support their communities more than ever and the Rural Community Business Awards gives recognition and thanks to their efforts.

Rick Dyke, who took over as chairman of Broadwindsor Community Pub Ltd, after David’s sudden death in March this year, said: ‘We’re delighted that his work has been recognised by The Plunkett Foundation, a national charity which plays such a big role in supporting rural communities across the UK.’

David, whose kindness and commitment to the local community, touched everyone… When The White Lion,  Broadwindsor’s only pub closed in the summer of 2021, David Leader rallied the troops and got the local community on board to spearhead a campaign to re-open it as a community-owned pub. Rick continues, “David was always a very supportive, inclusive, energetic and enthusiastic champion for Broadwindsor. He made good things happen. Leading a committee and taking the local public with him, he headed a campaign to raise the funds needed to take on the pub tenancy as a community. Under David’s leadership a Crowdfunder campaign was launched and, astonishingly, smashed the target within a week. His enthusiasm, kindness and commitment inspired everyone to get on board.

David had already been the driving force of so many amazing things in the village – the multi-use games area (MUGA), youth’s football & the community sports field at Hursey and the Community Land Trust as well as acting as the village hall chairman and lunchtime supervisor at the village primary school. All this and a pro-active vice chairman of our parish council.  More so, he was a much loved husband and father.

The White Lion Management Committee had just taken on a pub manager, ready for opening in the spring of 2022 when David died suddenly on 13th March, 2022 at the age of just 64.

Rick Dyke said: ‘The village was shattered – we’d lost our driving force and the man behind so many good things. But we were determined to make this project happen, as a tribute to David’s memory, as a force for all that is good in the community.
‘The White Lion opened its doors as a community pub on 29 April 2022. And thanks to David Leader, the pub is once again the beating heart of our vibrant village.’

This month will also see the official opening on Saturday 12th November of the newly-revamped village green at Bernards’ Place, Broadwindsor, part of a major project in which David was instrumental and includes the installation of solar panels and an air source heat pump at the village hall.

The project was supported by a Crowdfunding campaign and grants from The National Lottery Community Fund, Dorset Council’s Capital Leverage Fund, Sport England’s Places and Spaces Fund and the local FMR Trust.

The winner of the Community Contribution Award and winners of the other award categories in the Plunkett and North Barnes Farm, in partnership with Welbeck Lane and Eton College Rural Community Business Awards, will be announced at a special ceremony on Thursday, 17th November at St Martin in the Fields, London, where Margery Hookings will be accompanying Elaine Leader. You can view the award ceremony live online, please tick the box when you vote. Further information about how to access the live-streaming will be sent out closer to the event date.

Public vote now open – Click HERE – Closes this Friday, 4th November.

❤ The village says Farewell to David Leader – Click HERE.


Restricted Play Please Until 12th November

** Update **

The tape is only round the swings now, the other equipment is good to go! 🙂

The Comrades Hall Management Committee have issued the following request:

Due to the recent wet weather, the ground that has been disturbed during the new installation has become very muddy, and new grass seed has been planted to grow through the safety rubber matting. This is why the whole area has been taped off – it is important that the ground around the apparatus is allowed to settle. We request that children of all ages (including the more adult!) please respect the restriction on use until the official opening on 12th November.

This follows their announcement yesterday on achieving their £20,000 target:

With thanks to our Crowd, extra funding from Sport England and the balance topped up through a generous grant from Dorset Council, we’ve managed to pull it off.
Any money we get over and above our original target will go towards our £25,000 stretch target to help pay for outdoor gym equipment. Some of it can be also put towards new curtains at Comrades Hall to retain the heat generated by the new solar panels and air source heat pumps and therefore doing our bit for the environment.
The new-look Broadwindsor Village Green at Bernards’ Place will be officially opened on Saturday 12th November at 11am, followed by refreshments in The White Lion. We’d love it if you – our Crowd – could come along and join us.

Well done all involved!


Official Opening Bernards’ Place Play Area – Postponed!


Opening postponed – sorry!

Huge apologies, but we are having to postpone Saturday’s opening because we’ve had to rearrange the position of one of the pieces of equipment for technical reasons, which has delayed the completion of the installation.

We will let you know the new date for the official opening as soon as we’re able to arrange it.

With 7 days remaining on their Crowdfunder appeal and work almost completed, the Management Committee at the Comrades Hall have released this invitation:

Thanks to your support, the village green project at Bernards’ Place, Broadwindsor, comes to a successful conclusion at the end of this week. 

We will have a brand new play area, a refreshed community space, a beautiful new oak shelter, and sustainable heating and self-generating electricity in Comrades Hall.

Join us to celebrate our community achievements at the official opening event on Saturday, 29th October at 11am on Bernards’ Place, followed by refreshments and cake in our community pub, The White Lion.

We could not have done it without you!

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday morning.


Work Continues In Bernards’ Place

Taking advantage of this week’s dry weather, Chris Edgerley, Malcolm Heaver and Sophie Sinton are working hard to complete the new oak framed shelter construction in Bernards’ Place.

The Crowdfunder for the play equipment has just tipped the £3,000 mark and has been extended to Saturday, 15th October following the death of our monarch.

Please help them raise the money they need to get this project completed – donate HERE.


Bernards’ Place Crowdfunder Extended To 15th October

At the time of publishing, the Comrades Hall Management Committee have reached just under £3,000 of their £20,000 Crowdfunder target.  However, if they are able to attain just £5,000, a hopefully more achievable target, they will receive a further £8,000 from Sport England.

The Crowdfunder is now extended to Saturday, 15th October.

It didn’t seem right to publicise the campaign following the death on Thursday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the period of national mourning that continues until the Queen’s state funeral on Monday, 19 September.
Our thoughts are with the Queen’s family and all those who are in mourning.”

You can still claim rewards for your donation 🙂 Click HERE.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far- please help continue to spread the word to all those in the village and further afield…

The Comrades Hall was gifted to the village in 1952, in the same year the Queen acceded to the throne. It will be celebrating its own platinum jubilee in November 2022 so expect some more celebrations 🙂


More Donations Needed Please For Bernards’ Place Project

Villagers will have noticed the scaffolding erected at the weekend as the shelter in Bernards’ Place begins to take shape.

Village residents, Chris Edgerley, Malcolm Heaver, Sophie Sinton, Ian Studley and Graham Paget are to be thanked for all their voluntary labour.

The Broadwindsor Village Green Appeal Crowdfunder has another 15 days to run.  At the time of publishing, £2,528 has been raised so far of their £20,000 target. If they manage to get to £5,000, Sport England will pledge a further £8,000.

Thanks to those who have already donated. More pledges are needed! It doesn’t have to be a huge donation (two children donated their pocket money), because it all adds up, and the more supporters they have, the better 🙂  If you know of family, friends or businesses who might donate, please send them the link. Thank you!

For more information on the Crowdfunder – please click HERE.

To Donate – please click HERE.


Bernards’ Place Crowdfunder Launched Today

A Crowdfunder campaign is being launched in Broadwindsor at noon today, Tuesday 23rd August to raise the £20,000 needed to transform the village green at Bernards’ Place.

The project will provide community open space, challenging and inclusive play equipment and physical exercise for all, right in the heart of the village.

The plan has almost three years in the making but we’re determined to make it happen,’ said Sheila Hawkins, who worked with the late David Leader to put the project together for the Comrades Hall, which owns the land.

It will be a fitting tribute to David, who died suddenly earlier this year. He made such a difference to community and sporting life in the village and brought everyone together.’

The village green scheme forms part of a successful bid to The National Lottery Community Fund. That secured grant funding of £84,000 in total, (including funding, from Low Carbon Dorset) and £45,000 has been allocated to the village green upgrade.  The remainder has funded improvements to make Comrades Hall more environmentally friendly, with the installation of 36 solar panels and an air source heat pump central heating system, which replaced the old oil-fired one, plus improved insulation.

Planning permission has been granted for exciting new play equipment for the upper section of the green (Read more HERE.).  At the lower end, the existing old swings will be removed and a new oak-framed shelter is being installed. The idea is to make the most of the opened-up space for community events and outdoor exercise.

Since the project was first mooted two years ago, costs have risen by around £20,000.

Margery Hookings, who is leading the Crowdfunder appeal on behalf of Comrades Hall Management Committee, said: ‘Fundraising events are planned but we really hope people and local businesses will support our appeal to meet the shortfall.

During the pandemic, when we could only go out to exercise, our village green became even more important to us as a community.

Bernards’ Place is something we all treasure. By reconfiguring the space, adding new, inclusive and challenging play and activity equipment, introducing exercise sessions and equipment for all ages, as well as staging community events, there will be something for all of us to enjoy, bringing together people of all ages and abilities, and helping to improve health and well-being.

It will provide an enhanced facility to keep our community physically active and encourage others, who don’t necessarily see themselves as ‘sporty’, to join in.

Local artist Donna Heys has again kindly created a “thermometer” to chart the appeal’s progress. As donations are received, the illustration will be coloured in, in stages, until we reach our target.

Sport England has pledged £8,000 towards the appeal once the £5,000 mark has been reached. Payment of the grant relies on there being at least 100 unique supporters and reaching the £20,000 target.

The village has a strong track record of raising money through Crowdfunder. In 2020, Broadwindsor Cricket Club raised £35,785 to buy its ground, with 191 supporters in 27 days. Then, in February this year, campaigners raised £34,760, with 337 supporters in 28 days, to reopen The White Lion as a community pub.

Margery said: ‘We appreciate that money is tight and this new appeal might be a tall order after the successful campaign to save The White Lion.

However, through crowdfunding we have an opportunity to unlock potential extra funding, so any donation, big or small, will help the Comrades Hall enormously to replenish diminishing resources.

It is important to the village to get this project done. We all know, particularly after the pandemic, how vital outside space is to everyone’s health and well-being. This will make such a difference to young and old and all those in between, for generations to come.

To support the appeal, please visit:


Shelter In Bernards’ Place To Be Dismantled Tomorrow – Saturday, 25th June

In preparation for the work on the play area in Bernards’ Place which is due to take place later in the summer, the old timber youth shelter will be dismantled on Saturday, 25th June by a small team of volunteers – village residents, Malcolm Heaver and Chris Edgerley. The working area will be cordoned off and appropriate notices will be in place. This is the final stage of the application made to Dorset Council last June.

With funding from the National Lottery and Low Carbon Dorset, the application made to Dorset Council has already seen solar panels fitted onto the Comrades Hall roof and the air source heating installed.

The next stage is the redevelopment of the play area in Bernards’ Place

For more details on the playground and the proposed equipment, please click HERE, select the tab View Documents then select the one you’d like more info on.

Any queries, please contact Sheila Hawkins: or Chair of the Comrades Hall, Jacqui Sewell:


Work Starts At Comrades Hall – Monday 10th January

Work begins on Monday, 10th January at the Comrades Hall to replace the central heating system. An air source heat pump system is being installed to replace the current old oil-fired system. In addition, they are installing 36 solar panels (PVs) across 3 roof surfaces.

The electricity generated will power the daytime use in the Hall, with the surplus directed to heating the water, and any remaining surplus after that sent to the National Grid. These installations will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of our village hall. This work is being funded largely thanks to grant funding awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund and Low Carbon Dorset.

Obviously there will be disruption to normal hall usage while this work is taking place, but please be assured that  Post Office services and Comrades Arms sessions will still take place as usual, and that any existing hall bookings will be able to go ahead.

Please direct any enquiries to Chairman, David Leader: 01308 868275.
Thank you.