Twenty Years of the Forncett Flyer


In these history articles we often discuss things that happened in Forncett very many years ago, but this month I want to celebrate something much more recent but equally historic – the twentieth anniversary of the Forncett Flyer. 

The First Issue - February 2003
The First Issue - February 2003

The first Flyer was published in February 2003 and it was the inspiration of John Webster, who saw it as a means of communication within our parish and a vehicle for people to exchange views and ideas. The first issue contained just two small A5 pages of text and a centre-spread of useful contacts and other information.

John Webster
John Webster

Initial reactions to the Flyer were very positive, leading the Editor to comment "Such a publication can only be as good as its contributors. Therefore, don't hold back! Your contribution could make someone's day." The people of Forncett certainly took that to heart and twenty years and 200 editions later, the Flyer has documented village fêtes, the activities of clubs and societies, reminiscences of past residents, obituaries for much-missed members of our community, and so much more!

Of course, the Flyer soon outgrew its original 4 pages. November 2004 saw the first 8-page edition and in July 2005 it was 12 pages! Then, in 2006, the Flyer grew to its present A4 format, allowing a larger print size and more scope for advertisers. After five years as Editor, John Webster retired in February 2008 and the Flyer was passed into the very capable hands of Su Leavesley who was to take it to a whole new level, with the first colour pages appearing in December 2008.

In December 2017 we had the first full-colour Flyer and what better way to celebrate than to win "Best Design" in the National Parish Magazine Awards 2017! 

In commenting on the very well-deserved award, Su pointed out that some of the entrants had teams of up to a dozen gathering news and laying out artwork. The Flyer has always been made possible by a small team of dedicated and willing volunteers who provide copy, edit and lay out each issue, manage advertising and deliver copies to every household in the parish. All of this is a huge testament to the community spirit in Forncett. We should also not forget the unwavering support of the Parish Council, who provide an annual grant that, together with income from advertisers, ensures that we can continue to publish. 

John Webster's five years as Editor were well and truly eclipsed by Su who soldiered on for 14 years, a really remarkable achievement. During that time she developed both the look and the content of the Flyer to enable it to "move with the times". Su retired in December 2021 and handed the baton to Martin Lander who continued to develop the publication. Now, last month, Lindi Staunton became our fourth Flyer Editor, supported by Richard Ball and Martin and Anne Lander. So, our precious publication embarks on its twenty first year in safe hands.

The Flyer is, without doubt, a unique record of recent parish history that will be an invaluable source for keen local historians in years to come. So, I'm delighted that, owing to the generous contribution by Pam Thurtle of copies of all the early years of the Flyer (2003-2007), you can now access every copy from February 2003 to the present day on the village website.