Williton Window History
The first edition of the Williton Window was produced in July 2000, to replace the former church newsletter. It was the brainchild of Jane Ninis, who wanted a magazine that would be more ambitious than the usual parish magazine: that would have a wider appeal and be for the whole village, helping Williton to become truly community minded. Right from the start she was adamant that the Window should be free and be delivered to every house in the village.
The only way it could be free was if it was run by volunteers and paid for by advertising. The St Peter’s Church Council set up a small publicity group, which included support from the Methodist, Roman Catholic and Baptist Churches, to oversee the running of the magazine. Volunteers foot-slogged around local businesses and, by the time the first edition was published, there were an amazing 64 advertisers.
Distribution also had to be organised, originally this was done by Phyllis Chidgey, who still contributes to the magazine 20 years later. As the village has grown, so has the distribution team, rising from 32 originally to the current 34 volunteers, delivering to over 1500 households within Williton Parish. Gary Dyer and Tony Guest managed the advertising and financial aspects.
In the first edition, Jane wrote: “Our hopes for it from the St Peter’s Church Council and the Publicity Group are that it will be a lively, interesting magazine which you will want to read and then keep handy so that you can refer to it during the month.”
Sadly, Jane Ninis passed away in 2004, but she would doubtless be proud to know that the Williton Window continues to thrive.
After a short spell at the helm by Ann Williamson, Jennifer Anderson and Rosemary Woods, Jenny and Tony Gibson took over as joint editors in 2006. Status Printers in Minehead, run by Ray Garland and his wife Sue, had printed the magazine since its beginning, giving excellent service.
During the course of the next few years, advances in computer technology meant that not only could most editorial and advertising contributions be received by email, but that the complete artwork for the magazine could be emailed to Status instead of being delivered by hand as hard copy. The magazine grew in size and the number of advertisers steadily increased.
In 2011, Jenny set up a Williton Window website, meaning that the magazine could be accessed from anywhere in the world, as well as providing useful village information.
When Ray Garland fell very ill in 2016 and Status changed hands, the magazine looked around for a new printer and eventually chose Rockwell Printers in Taunton, who offered very competitive rates, excellent service and print quality, and could also print in colour. Since the 200th edition in February 2017, the magazine has sported a coloured cover with a photograph of a different Williton scene each month as well as colour advertisements on the back cover.
The Coronavirus pandemic, which started in March 2020, meant that the magazine had to be produced online only for several months. During this period, Gary Dyer, Tony Guest, as well as Jenny and Tony Gibson decided the time was right to retire. Phyllis Chidgey gave up the role of magazine distribution coordinator but continues to deliver a round, as well composing the Wordsearch every month, as she has done since July 2000.
In August 2020, a new team took over: Derek Smith as the new editor, ably helped by Janet Cook, accounts and advertising, Neill Ambridge and Andrew Berry, who are in charge of distribution and Patricia Ambridge in the role of secretary. Peter Payne treasurer of the St Peter’s PCC and the Williton Window, having replaced Gary Dyer. In February 2021 Peter Payne handed over the full responsibility of managing the accounts to Janet Cook the new Williton Window management committee accounts and advertising manager.
In March 2021, the magazine is evolving yet further with a revamped updated website and is now run by the new committee still connected historically to the church but run independently, being in control of its own affairs.
It is much valued within the community and we hope that it will remain so for many years to come.