Mary Van Coller

In the late 1960s as a teenager I fell in love with Dorset when I came with my mother for short holidays.

40 years ago I started my first job at Poole General Hospital after training at Hammersmith Hospital as a Diagnostic Radiographer. My son was born the following year, 4 years later my husband died so I brought Ian up as a single mum.

Eleven years ago I married Ryan, who hails from Zimbabwe and together we have explored Dorset, chatting with local residents to discover more about Dorset life both past and present, and taking hundreds of photographs!

Like many I have been fascinated by the unusual village names. I decided to create a colourful, easy-to-read book with an explanation of how the place names evolved and with short snippets and stories that fascinate me and I hope will fascinate others.

7 years ago I began to research Downstream Dorset, River Tales and Local History. Each chapter is devoted to one of Dorset’s rivers or streams, starting at the source and following its course to the mouth or confluence.

My hope is that Downstream Dorset will inspire others to discover their own ‘treasures’ and create memories, there are blank pages at the back of the book to write them down.

Ryan and I are now Pet Home Boarders so we have a succession of dogs staying with us. Some of them, like Barney at Luscombe Valley (left), have found their way into the photographs!

I want to give back to the people of Dorset something meaningful as a thank you for the years of blessing I have had living in this beautiful county, so 20% of all profits will be donated to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance who serve both residents and visitors with their dedication and skills.

I do hope you enjoy reading Downstream Dorset,

with best wishes,

Mary van Coller


Some reactions to Downstream Dorset:

“We thought we knew Dorset fairly well but there are many places we have never heard of and such a wealth of information, a real labour of love and a great addition to our collection of Dorset books. ”  — Pat

“It has inspired us to go out exploring, thank you so much.” — Duncan

“I’m loving the book and shall be ordering another couple of copies as Christmas gifts. “ — Hilary

Books by Mary van Coller