A SMALL village two miles west of Beaminster, Broadwindsor is nestled within the rambling hills of Dorset. We take a look back at the times the sleepy village has hit the headlines over the last few decades.

  • Back in 1981, villagers in Broadwindsor faced the mammoth challenge of raising £25,000 to safeguard the future of their ancient parish church.

Dry rot had been discovered in the 12th-century building during routine repairs. An appeal committee had been launched to raise funds to rebuild the roof before the winter weather set in.

Churchwarden and builder Mr Len Giles was reported saying: "The work is vital. As a parish church the building is part of the village's heritage. It was left to us and we must leave it to the next generation. We have got to do what we can and as quick as we can."

  • The first day care centre in Dorset for patients with dementia opened in Broadwindsor in October 1986.

The centre, based in the community room at West Dorset Council's warden-controlled housing complex, was the first of several planned for the county. The opening ceremony, which took place just eight weeks after the launch of Alzheimer Society's Dorset project, was led by the council's area welfare officer, Miss Cecilia Barker.

"The centre will give relatives and carers a break from looking after patients," Cecilia said. Users were given lunch and refreshments and encouraged to take part in a range of activities.

  • Pupils from Broadwindsor School scooped top prizes in 1991 for creating a computer-controlled buggy that separated rubbish.

Judges at the annual Dorset Technology Fair awarded the youngsters the BP Trophy for best junior entry, as well as £100 prize money.

The team beat more than 100 teams from schools across Dorset to scoop the accolade.

  • One of the world's largest amethysts arrived in Broadwindsor in August 1991.

The Brazilian megastone was hoisted by crane into position at Broadwindsor Craft Centre, where it was exhibited for one month before travelling to a collection at the home of psychic Uri Geller in Berkshire.

The amethyst weighed 700kg and stood at over six feet high. It was found buried 50ft under during diggings in Rio Grande do Sul near the Argentine border.

  • In January 1993, a quiz team from Broadwindsor's Cross Keys Inn won the coveted BBC1 Treble Top Pub Challenge Trophy.

The team featured in the popular pub quiz challenge spot on Dave Lee Travis' morning show. They first defeated a team from Leicestershire before beating Cambridgeshire quizzers in the final.

  • A mix of Broadwindsor villagers and Hungarians came together in August 1994 to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of one of west Dorset's greatest scholars.

The Rev. Soloman Caesar Malan was vicar of Broadwindsor between 1845 and 1885 - in addition to working as an artist, Biblical scholar, herbalist, collector, linguist and teacher. Malan had the widest knowledge of oriental languages in Victorian England, and possessed a library of 4,000 books.

The link with Hungary stemmed from a meeting in India in the 1830s, when Malan met the Hungarian traveller and scholar Csoma deKorof.

Malan's centenary was marked by a service in St John's Church.