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If you have ever wondered how Tintern Abbey church was built, or have an inclination to build a church yourself then 'How to Build an Abbey Church' is the event for you.

As part of Cadw's 25th anniversary celebrations, Rick Turner, Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Cadw, the Welsh Assembly's Historic Environment Service, will be leading a walk around Tintern Abbey on Thursday 7th May at 5:15pm. You will get the chance to learn about the methods, materials and tools, used by Cistercian monks in the 12th Century and over the following 400 years to build Tintern Abbey. This is an easily accessible site and is open to all who are interested.

If you fancy seeing an archaeological dig close up, meeting a working heavy horse or looking at some demonstrations of iron working and charcoal making then come along to the Open Day at New Weir Forge near Symonds Yat West on Monday, 4th May between 10am and 4pm. Peter Dorling from Herefordshire Archaeology will be leading tours throughout the day to guide visitors around the site and the fascinating archaeology. You can also find out how to take part in the dig itself.

These events are organized as part of the 2.8 million 'Overlooking the Wye' scheme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The scheme is also supported by partner organizations, including Cadw, Monmouthshire County Council , Herefordshire County Council and the Forestry Commission.

If you would like to reserve a place on the walk at Tintern or the tours at New Weir Forge or find out about the other events in the Wye Valley contact victoria@overlookingthewye.org.uk or on 01600 891 527.

Tintern Abbey.


Jesse with nomination forms.

Hundreds of people across Herefordshire have expressed their support for the campaign to Save Our Small Shops, local campaigner Jesse Norman said this week. As a result the deadline will be extended for another month to May 31st.

More than 750 people have written or emailed in to nominate dozens of small shops, in Hereford City, in Ross-on-Wye and in other market towns and villages. Clutching several sheaves of nomination forms, Jesse said, 'We knew local people felt very strongly about keeping and celebrating their local shops But no one could have predicted such a phenomenal response. The replies have been piling up in huge numbers.

Like Post Offices and local schools, small shops are vital to our community. They give our county so much of its traditional diversity, charm and local character. The hundreds of people who have taken part in this campaign so far show how deeply our small shops are valued. In these current tough economic times, we need to stay positive. I hope as many more local people as possible can take part, and help to generate more of the publicity, recognition and local pride that our small shops deserve.'

Readers are welcome to send their nominations and citations to Jesse Norman at 49 Broomy Hill, Hereford HR4 0LJ or by email at jesse4hereford@gmail.com. The final deadline is May 31st.


Popular violinist Clara Biss will join forces with one of Britains leading young composers, the pianist Huw Watkins on Saturday, 9th May at St Briavels Church. They will play Beethoven, Debussy, Britten and Brahms, as well as a Romance for solo piano by Watkins himself.

Both of these artists were brought up locally, before leaving to study and then launching international careers. Clara has been giving concerts to Wye Valley audiences since she was a child. She has recently returned from tours across Europe with London's Philharmonia Orchestra and to China, Macao and Singapore with the Royal Philharmonic. She also plays chamber music in a variety of ensembles including the Endymion, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and The Warehouse Ensemble, performing recitals in The Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Kings Place.

Huw's compositions encompass orchestral and chamber music whch has always been central to his output: in 2001 his String Quartet No. 2 was premiered at the Cheltenham Festival by the Petersen Quartet, and the Brahms Ensemble Hamburg gave the first performance of his Variations on a Schubert Song at the Gstaad Festival. He recorded his first cello sonata with his brother, Paul Watkins for the Nimbus Label at Wyastone Concert Hall, which will be the venue for four outstanding concerts in June.

Two of the concerts will feature Britten Sinfonia with the oboist Nicholas Daniels and violinist Alina Ibragimova who are frequently Huw's collaborators. A third concert is by the Dante Quartet with whom Clara will be playing over the next two months. Clara's cellist sister Rosie will be bringing her Cygnus Piano Trio to play in St Briavels Church on June14th.

All of this musical activity, seven concerts in eight weeks, is a wonderful opportunity to experience world class orchestral and chamber music at the two best venues in the Wye Valley and Forest area. Tickets for Clara and Huw are 15 or 2 for students and their teachers, available on-line at www.wvm.org.uk or at the door. Full information on all the concerts is available by 'phoning Wye Valley Music on 01291 330020.


Popular violinist, Clara Biss.

Pianist, Huw Watkins.


Heart-stopping rides, side-shows, food stalls and ancient ceremonies are all part of the street extravaganza of Hereford's May Fair which will take place next week. The streets come alive during the three-day festival each year as thousands flock into the city centre, some from other counties, to enjoy the festival atmosphere and myriad of entertainment. Up to 200 showmen and women from around the country will make their way to Hereford to prepare for the grand opening on Tuesday, 5th May.

Abie Danter, Chairman of the South Wales and Northern Ireland Section of The Showman's Guild, said, 'It's come round again! Hereford's annual May Fair arriving Bank Holiday Monday, 4th May, when we start setting up at 6pm. A warm welcome waits when you join us at this historic and impressive traditional fun fair. Showmen from all over the UK will give excitement, fun and laughter from riding the heart-stopping white knuckles machines to bumper to bumper fun, not missing the thrills of the children and traditional rides, from rides to stalls we have it all.' The official opening of the May Fair is at 3.45pm on Tuesday, 5th May on Cathedral Close. A ceremonial offering of 12-and-a-half bushels of wheat is made by the Mayor to the Lord Bishop as payment for allowing the fair to proceed.

To ensure the smooth running of the festival, some of the city streets will be closed to traffic from Monday, 4th May until the early hours of Friday, 8th May. The roads that will be affected are: Commercial Street, High Town, St. Peters Street, St. Owen Street, Broad Street (below junction of West Street and East Street), King Street and Bridge Street. Some parking / loading / unloading areas will also be closed in Union Street and in the streets mentioned above. All of these streets will be accessible to emergency vehicles. Advance warning signs will be on all routes leading towards the city centre advising of the closures.

As in previous years, diversion routes will not be sign posted as, with so many possible permutations, such signing would be too confusing for motorists. All of the other city centre roads will operate as near normal as possible. Meanwhile, the southern end of Berrington Street will be two way between St. Nicholas Street and Little Berrington Street and all of Gwynne Street will be two-way. Whilst there will be a pinch point at the St Nicholas Street end of Berrington Street, the benefits of traffic using the Broad Street hinterland should outweigh any difficulties that may be experienced. There will also be congestion for traffic using St. Martins Street for access onto the A49.

Herefordshire Council urges drivers to be patient and considerate on the roads during the week of the fair.


Two West Mercia members of staff have been recognized in a national award scheme that marks the outstanding achievements of women police officers and staff. At a ceremony on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd April hosted by the British Association for Women in Policing (BAWP), in association with Jane's Police Review, Helen Danks and Inspector Melanie Crowther were jointly presented with the Achievement in Staff Wellbeing Award (sponsored by Benenden Healthcare).

The fourth annual BAWP awards took place at the Stratford-upon-Avon Holiday Inn and were attended by officers, police staff and their families from forces across the country. Inspector Crowther, of West Mercia's Operations Department, and Ms Danks, who is a diversity officer, received the award for their work creating and running the West Mercia Maternity Support Network. The network was formed in January 2006 to offer help and support to women during pregnancy, maternity leave and upon their return to work. Their award citation stated, 'Helen and Melanie work tirelessly to keep the network buzzing alongside their busy day jobs acting as key contacts for the 56 trained buddies who are supporting more than 70 staff. Helen and Melanie have been described by colleagues as 'true professionals' who care about staff and care about West Mercia Constabulary.'

Helen Danks said, 'Inspector Mel Crowther and I were both delighted and overwhelmed with the nomination for this award; to go on to win is wonderful recognition for the success of the Maternity Support Network. The network was initially set up with an aim of providing support to pregnant colleagues and over time has developed to offer so much more to a wide range of people: expectant and new parents - both male and female - those undergoing fertility treatment, those attempting to adopt, same sex parents and specialist areas such as multiple births and dealing with stillbirth. We strongly believe the success of the network is attributable to the drive and commitment of our colleagues who provide support to others in their role of 'Maternity Buddy'. These women and men have volunteered to act as a Buddy in addition to their permanent roles, many of whom have developed friendships with those they are supporting and played a crucial role in their successful return to work.'

West Mercia's Chief Constable Paul West said: 'The Benenden Healthcare Award is richly deserved recognition of the excellent work that Helen and Mel have undertaken to establish and run the Constabulary's Maternity Support Network. They have been leading lights in developing the support offered to new parents and women during pregnancy and maternity leave, and they are continuing to build on the success of the network by extending the support and advice offered to those who are dealing with other parenthood matters. The Constabulary greatly values its highly trained and well-motivated staff and is keen to retain and develop its workforce. The network is a further opportunity to reaffirm our support of staff members and to promote equality of opportunity.'

Helen Danks and Melanie Crowther with their awards.


Business leaders are backing Herefordshire Council's bid to build an outer distributor road for Hereford. A second river crossing and bypass is 'one of the highest priorities for planners' said the West Midlands Business Council (WMBC). West Midlands' local government leaders are also supporting the council's 60-million bid for priority status for the new road, which could signal an end to the city's current level of traffic congestion.

Massive transport improvements are needed across Herefordshire and Worcestershire if tens of thousands of new homes are to be built as part of the government-backed regional spatial strategy. Up to 8,000 new houses could be built in Hereford as the housing market recovers, providing more funding to support the outer distributor road and a new river bridge. The WMBC has called for 'a fundamental review of transport requirements' and says that improving transport links in and around the two counties should be one of the highest priorities for planners if the house building scheme is approved.

Business leaders stress that new river crossings are of key strategic importance, both across the Severn in Worcestershire and the Wye in Hereford. The WMBC also said rail investment needs to improve, and that routes from Herefordshire via Worcester to London are currently hampered by the lack of dual tracking via Worcester and Evesham as well as at Oxford, thus restricting the ability to expand rail services on this route.

The planning inquiry into the house-building plans for the whole region is due to begin on Tuesday, 28th April, at the Molyneux stadium in Wolverhampton. It will run until the end of June and will consider whether 400,000 new homes should be built across the West Midlands over the next 20 years. A government-appointed planning inspector will listen to the submissions of all interested parties, before compiling a report for the government to make its final decision. The government is also considering Herefordshire's initiative for a city outer distributor road, and money could be available by 2013, allowing time for planning applications and inquiries to run their course. The direction of the new road is yet to be determined but could be completed by 2018. Hereford's place in the overall transport plan which is being prepared jointly by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and the West Midlands Regional Assembly (WMRA) as a 'settlement of significant development' supports the case for a new river crossing and an outer distributor road.

'The case for Hereford's new road and river crossing is a strong one and a priority for the council, for residents of the city and for local businesses,' said Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council. 'Road congestion is a daily bugbear for commuters and has cost implications for business. The fact that the council has won strong support at regional level is a great cause for optimism.'

The government has awarded 2 million for Herefordshire to continue its progress in meeting the growth required for the county. The money will go towards the cost of developing park and ride services and to prepare studies on the proposed outer distributor road, as well as finalize the new local development framework for Herefordshire. 'The council is committed to ensuring new growth is sustainable,' added Councillor Phillips 'and as well as providing the right infrastructure for business to thrive, we want to support and protect the historic core and environment of Hereford.'


The Budget will do nothing for ordinary residents of Herefordshire, who have been clobbered by rising food, fuel and transport prices, local Liberal Democrat campaigners have said.

The Budget was criticised for failing to give much needed help to those struggling in recession by refusing to back Liberal Democrat calls to cut income tax by 700 for the vast majority of people.

Commenting, Sarah Carr, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire said, 'As the cost of food, heating, water and transport continue to rise, families in Herefordshire haven't been given any practical help by the Government. People who aren't on huge salaries are noticing more and more of their cash is going on the basics. Gordon Brown should be putting money back into their pockets by cutting income tax for the vast majority of taxpayers by 700. Britain's taxes are too heavy on those who can least afford it and too easy to avoid for those who know how. Labour is out of ideas and out of steam. This Government has condemned us to years of unemployment and a decade of debt. The country deserves something different.'


Herefordshire's public services are coming together to find out what it's like being a disabled person living in Herefordshire. Herefordshire Council, NHS Herefordshire and Hereford Hospitals Trust are aiming to proactively support disabled people in Herefordshire by producing a joint disability equality scheme for 2009-2012. As part of that process, they are carrying out a big consultation exercise with local disabled people throughout the month of May.

'We need to gather information from local people to find out what we are doing well and what needs to change,' said Harriet Yellin from Herefordshire Council. 'The information we gather will help us collectively to draw up a disability equality scheme and bring about some lasting improvements to help disabled people in Herefordshire.'

People can get involved by completing an online survey at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/disability. Copies of the questionnaire can also be picked up at Info Shops, libraries and GP surgeries around the county. The survey asks a range of questions about transport, accommodation, accessibility of public services, employment, discrimination and personal safety. Another way of getting involved is to go along to a public meeting in Hereford on Monday, 11th May to talk about what's important to you. Places need to be reserved and there's help with transport for those who need it.

For further information, telephone Herefordshire Council on 01432 260216.


North Herefordshire Police are appealing for information about a red Vauxhall Corsa which failed to stop after a road traffic collision. The incident occurred at 2.05pm on Wednesday 15th April 2009 as a silver Toyota RAV was being driven along the B4361 between Bircher and Orleton.

As it reached the junction with the B4362, an old style red Vauxhall Corsa pulled out from the junction and was in collision with the Toyota. The driver of the Corsa failed to stop after the crash and drove off up the B4361 towards Orleton / Ludlow, leaving its near side wing at the scene. The Toyota was badly damaged in the collision, but fortunately the driver, his wife and their one-week old baby were uninjured.

Police are anxious to trace the Corsa and its occupants. The driver of the Toyota did not get the opportunity to see the registration number of the Corsa. However, he did recall that the driver of the Corsa was male and wearing a baseball cap and that his front seat passenger was also male.

Police would like to hear from anyone whose neighbour now has or recently had a red Vauxhall Corsa without a front near side wing. They would also like to speak with any car repair outlets who have been asked to renew the wing of a red Corsa.

Anyone with information should contact PC Adele Loney at Bromyard Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


School children in Herefordshire are to help promote the national Change4Life programme across the county thanks to a poster design competition. The council's healthy schools team invited all primary schools to enter a big competition last term, which involved designing a poster to portray the key messages of Change4Life: eat well, move more, live longer.

Over sixty entries were received and the difficult job of judging them was undertaken by Teresa Owen, locum consultant in public health and Kim Goddard and Sally Vaughan of Herefordshire Council's healthy schools team. The winners were Molly Baker and Harriet Hope from Pencombe Primary School, Eleanor Osborne-Ford, Gorsley Goffs Primary School, Danielle Whitley, Brockhampton Primary School, Isla Ramsey, Credenhill Primary School and Ros Brown of Whitchurch CE Primary School, who presented with Halo vouchers and healthy schools goody bags at Herefordshire's first well-being conference which took place on Wednesday, 1st April at the Three Counties Hotel.

The event was a very prestigious affair with some of the county's top health officials and leaders in attendance. The children were presented with their prizes by Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children's services, then given a healthy lunch before returning back to their respective schools. Councillor Hyde said, 'Keeping our children safe and healthy is everyone's responsibility and launching a poster competition has proved to be an excellent tool for promoting healthy lifestyle choices and stimulating discussions in the classroom. It was good for the children to see their winning posters on display at the Herefordshire healthy schools stand - I'm sure the children really enjoyed their outing and we are very grateful to the schools for allowing them to attend the prize giving.'

The winning designs will be made into professional posters to be displayed in schools across the county.

Councillor Jenny Hyde with prize winners Molly Baker, Harriet Hope, Eleanor Osborne-Ford, Danielle Whitely, Isla Ramsey and Ros Brown.


North Herefordshire Police, along with a Droitwich based youth club are appealing to people to help find their motocross van which was stolen overnight from a farm in Bringsty. Between 5pm on the night of Wednesday, 22nd April and 8am the following morning, the distinctive white Mercedes long-wheelbase box van, which bears the registration number H784NON, was taken from a field on Old House Farm, Malvern Road, Bringsty. The farm hosts motocross events at weekends.

The van belongs to the Cotswold Youth and AMX Club, based in Farriers Square, Droitwich. The signage made the vehicle very distinctive as it had 'Cotswold Youth AMX' in blue and yellow letters almost 12" high on both sides of the van. Apart from needing transportation, the youth club want their van back because it contains a large number of trophies that the group has won over time, along with amplifiers, speakers and microphones and a handmade trophy cabinet, made by one of the members' fathers. Please keep an eye out for it as you drive around Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Anyone who knows the current whereabouts of the vehicle or spots it should contact Lisa Hewitt in the Public Service Desk at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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