It all started between 1969 and 1971 at the time when the old village school was becoming a Village Hall. The idea of a village circular was sparked off in 1969 by the printed sheets produced by the local vicar, Reverend Yeomans, chivvying his parishioners to raise as much money as they could for the conversion.
Andrew Waine took up the idea and brought out the first experimental monthly news sheet for Chitterne in April 1971. He called it ‘Chitterne Calendar’ and planned to produce it for a 3 month trial period to see if the villagers liked the idea. Andrew’s idea was adopted permanently and he continued to produce the calendar until he moved out of the village in April 1972.
Dr. Taylor Young printed the calendar from 1971 to 1978 and it was delivered around the village by Mr and Mrs Ernie Polden until 1977, after that it was delivered with your daily newspapers or you picked it up from the P.O.Stores until 1979.
Mrs S. King took over as editor from May 1972 to March 1975. The format started by Andrew Waine continued and items included: Hall and Hut news; W.I. news; Youth Club football and table tennis results; Chitterne Stables news with a list of runners for the month; a calendar of social events and church services, and reports on previous events. These were all on one single sheet.
Maureen Sprack replaced Mrs King as editor from April 1975 to August 1976, followed by Mrs Eysenck until October 1977, and Mrs Griffin from 1977 to November 1978. Mrs Griffin was responsible for the change of name from ‘Chitterne Calendar’ to 'Chitterne Newletter’ in February 1978. This new name stuck until 2005! Mrs Griffin’s next-door-neighbour, Huw Jenkins, took over editorship in December 1978 and produced the newsletter for many years until July 1984.
In October 1979, during Huw’s tenure, a request for newsletter deliverers went out. Joyce Polden took on Bidden Lane deliveries until 1983 and Judith Williams delivered the St Marys end of the village from 1979 to 1981. Jessie Clark delivered to the All Saints part of the village for many years. In 1983 a new Gestetner printing machine was purchased with funds raised by Kathleen Babey.
Anne White became editor from August 1984 until April 1986. She was succeeded by the longest serving editor to date, Jeanne George, editor from May 1986 until August 2005.
Jeanne imprinted her personality on the publication using a cut and paste technique made possible by the new village photocopier. As well as the usual Parish Council news, Village Hall news and Church services she often included interesting little snippets of information and ‘odes’ she’d penned herself just for fun, some village history, little drawings and even maps of the village.
After 2001 when the photocopier was de-commissioned the newsletter was printed free of charge at Agroserve of Bishopstrow, a company run at that time by villagers Colin and Angela Milne. During Jeanne’s time as editor the format of the newsletter changed from one sheet to two separate sheets (4 sides), and again in December 2001 to one sheet of A3 folded to create 4 x A4 sides. The newsletter was delivered by Jessie Clark, Anna Carter, Jess Robinson and Sue Robinson, and from 2011 by Sue Robinson, Chris Pearson and Emily Love.
The end of Jeanne’s long term as editor was the end of an era. The new editor, Barry Ricketts, brought the village newsletter, which he renamed Chit-Chat, into the 21st century with a bang. From the beginning in September 2005 he produced the issues on computer using a publishing program and also created a web version, making Chit-Chat available on the village website, where past issues are just a click away. He introduced photographs, at first in black and white and from March 2008 in full colour, and arranged for the newsletter to be professionally printed by Dupliquik, making it the superbly produced publication it is today.
After Barry’s term as editor ended in December 2009, the former landlord of the King’s Head, Paul Hefler, took over briefly in 2010, followed by Kato O’Driscoll for two years and now in August 2012 Lindsay Lucas has taken on the role.