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The Ross Conservative Club celebrated 125 years of existence on Saturday, 13th June in the afternoon. At least 60 members of the Club were in attendance, along with Jesse Norman, the Official Conservative Candidate for Hereford. A buffet tea was served and visitors were entertained by Drybrook Silver Band.

'We were also graced with a visit from the Mayor and Mayoress of Ross, Councillor John Edwards and Mrs Susan Edwards'. Said club member, Liz Childs. 'Local campaigner, Jesse Norman cut the cake and the general consensus of opinion was that everyone enjoyed the function, and the fact that we were blessed with good weather helped enormously.'

Mayor and Mayoress, Mr. and Mrs John Edwards attended the event.

Local campainer, Jesse Norman cut the cake.


Staff and users of Ross-on-Wye's Ryefield Centre are getting out the bunting in readiness for a Royal visitor next week. Everybody from babies and toddlers to representatives from Age Concern, college students and the Stroke Club will have the opportunity to meet The Princess Royal when she visits on Tuesday, 23rd June.

During her whistle-stop tour of the centre, Princess Anne will drop in on some of the sessions taking place in the children's centre. The Royal visitor will also have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the wide variety of activities taking place at the centre, hosted by adult social care, when she passes through the main hall which will be lined with exhibitions representing around 15 groups which meet at the centre regularly. As if that wasn't enough, the princess will be able to get a real taste of the centre as refreshments will be served by a social enterprise, Catering Worx, and supported by the learning disability team.

'This is great news for the town,' said Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children's services. 'It's going to put the town on the royal map for all the right reasons! There's so much going on here it's been really difficult trying to cram everything in as there are so many people who make the centre special.'

Everybody from Ross-on-Wye is invited to preview the royal tour of the centre prior to Princess Anne's arrival. Councillor Olwyn Barnett said, 'The centre will be open from 10am until 1pm and we'd love to see as many local people as possible. It means they'll all be able to see exactly the same stalls and exhibitions that the princess will see. It promises to be a fantastic day with opportunities to chat to those who provide the services and those who use them. We want to make this a real red letter day in the centre's calendar and we can't wait to let local people, as well as the princess, see some of the amazing work which takes place at the centre.'

The open morning for visitors takes place from 10am until 1pm. Princess Anne is due to arrive at 2pm and will leave by 3pm. Visitors to the centre are asked not to park cars near the venue.


Mayor, Councillor John Edwards presents a cheque for £4000 to
Robin Symonds of Ross Live.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jo Lane presents a cheque for £1000
to Jack Baldus, organizer of Jamstand.


E & I Williams, a family run company which produces and sells concrete products for gardens at the Doward are annual donors for the Ross-in-Bloom competitions each summer. The judging committee decide who has made an outstanding effort with their floral or conservation displays and arrange a presentation for the garden they have deemed to have an outstanding display or something similar.

In 2008 Woodside Day Centre in Hildersley were awarded the prize and last week John Williams of E & I Williams delivered a birdbath to put in their conservation area. The attendees had produced a rock garden with a difference showing the roots of their childhood or working lives. Between the flowers there had been old boots (farmers), eggs in trays (smallholders), sewing machines (dressmakers) - the list goes on and on. A very imaginative display which deserved something special.

As Woodside will be judged for the Britain in Bloom Neighbourhood Campaign on 21st July this seemed a fitting time to deliver their prize to show off to the judges when they come to Ross. Peggy Luker, the retired co-ordinator and local judge, who had been very impressed with their Know Your Roots Display joined Margaret Lucas, the chairman of Ross-in-Bloom for the presentation.

Also present with John and the Ross-in-Bloom representatives was Caroline Merrick House Manager, Jane Harris of Shaw Health Care and members of the centre who had previously enjoyed a lunch date with students from Fownhope School earlier in the day. The students have built them a raised garden and filled it with plants kindly sponsored by Ross Garden Store.

Everyone wished Woodside the very best of luck for their Blooming visit. They have certainly worked very hard. The results will be known in September.

The bird bath presentation at Woodside.

Students from Fownhope School built a raised garden at Woodside, ready for the visit by Britain in Bloom judges.


The shell of a 150 year old waterwheel that once powered the Abbey Mill was craned out and taken away last November for restoration, by the Overlooking the Wye, part of the Wye Valley AONB funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Many hours of careful work by Penybryn engineering was spent on the wheel and at the end of March, over 5 tonnes of beautifully restored waterwheel and a new launder was brought back to the Abbey Mill and returned to its rightful place.

When this waterwheel was first running, Tintern was very different. The Angiddy River that turns the waterwheel once powered a busy and important industrial centre all the way down the Angiddy Valley. Mill ponds, furnaces and forges gave rise to a noisy and smoky environment that employed many people. Abbey Mill was part of that industrial past and the Quay, now filled in was crucial for transporting material out of Tintern along the Wye.

The Abbey Mill is now preserved as part of a craft shop and cafe complex owner and run by Chris and Shelly Rastall who contributed to the work and are delighted with the newly restored wheel. On Monday, 15th June at 11:00 the wheel will be reopened and the water allowed to flow over launder once more.

One of the people glad to see the restored wheel in action again, after 50 years of lying dormant, is Brian Jones. Mr Jones remembers his father working in the Abbey Mill, when the waterwheel powered a saw mill. Ashley Thomas, Chair of the Wye Valley AONB JAC will also be there to see the progress of the Overlooking the Wye scheme. .

The restored water wheel.


The bird bath presentation at Woodside.


Herefordshire has successfully bid for 2.4 million to help bring together a wide range of services for children, young people and their families in a number of single sites across the county. The bid was led by Herefordshire Council and the money, awarded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, will be used to expand sites and facilities in Kington, Leominster, Bromyard, Hereford, Ross on Wye and Ledbury.

The new sites will enable social workers, educational psychologists, education welfare officers, specialist teachers of visual or hearing impaired children, community police officers, youth workers, family support workers and others to share facilities and work alongside each other. The aim is to make it easier for people to access services by using existing public service sites that are well used and valued in local communities. Children and families, and the staff working with them will spend less time travelling as a result. Staff will be able to provide a much better service by being able to work together in buildings around the county. The bid was made on behalf of Herefordshire Children's Trust, a strategic partnership of agencies responsible for services for children and young people. A consultation on the project, called No Wrong Door has been undertaken and views gathered to inform plans being prepared to carry the project forward.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children's services, said, 'This is excellent news for Herefordshire as it means we can move forward with plans to revolutionize the way children's services are delivered. Now we have some cash to spend over the next two years on developing existing sites, which will help us deliver what promises to be an ambitious programme. The No Wrong Door initiative is going to bring many positive changes to our children and their families. Many thanks to Chris Baird, assistant director of children's services, who put this bid together so successfully.'

The money will be alongside other funding initiatives. These include the Primary Strategy for Change, which is a national government programme of investment for primary schools, and Building Schools for the Future, the scheme that aims to rebuild or renew every secondary school in England.


Local campaigner Jesse Norman has given a warm welcome to the decision by Herefordshire Council to contribute its Blackfriars office site to a possible new university centre. The announcement was made at a recent seminar to discuss the county's imminent bid for funding under the 'New University Challenge' programme.

Jesse has been leading a public campaign for a new university since November 2007, when he and former Shadow Chancellor, Oliver Letwin MP spoke at a Bulmer Foundation event on a possible 'multiversity' in Herefordshire. Commenting on the news, Jesse said, 'This is a great start, and the Council should be congratulated for taking a lead on this important issue. As the seminar last week made clear, what matters now is that we have a genuinely ambitious vision for higher education in Herefordshire over the next 15 or 20 years. In my book that means aiming at a small, focused new university doing what the county does best.

We can think of the process in three stages. Stage One is about getting more students into higher education in our existing colleges. Stage Two is about establishing a university centre itself, with research and teaching facilities and student accommodation. Stage Three is about gaining our own independent accreditation for courses to be offered by a new Herefordshire University or University College. I myself taught for six years at university level, and I know from personal experience how valuable it would be to have a new university in our county. It will help to reverse the flow of young people out of Herefordshire. It will unlock local talent and it could make a major difference to the local economy by bringing in new companies, new skills and new private investment.'


Herefordshire Police are asking everyone, particularly those in the antique and jewellery worlds, to keep an eye out for an unusual ring that was stolen recently.

Between Sunday, 31st May and Monday, 1st June 2009, a heart cluster ring was stolen from a room in a nursing home on the outskirts of Hereford. Valued at around 7,000, the platinum band, which was made to a bespoke design some 70 years ago, features a large, raised central diamond cut into the shape of a heart, surrounded by several other diamonds.

Police are keen to hear immediately from anyone who may be offered the ring or from anyone who may know of it's current whereabouts. Anyone with information should contact PC Wayne White at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


The Sports Partnership Herefordshire & Worcestershire (SPHW) will be giving visitors to the Three Counties Show from Friday, 19th to Sunday, 21st June, the chance to try and to watch a huge range of sports and activities at their Sports Village - for free. The whole family will be able to take part in a fun-packed multiskills session, or take the opportunity to have a go and watch demonstrations of sports including Golf Xtreme, Ultimate Frisbee, rugby, squash, basketball, triathlon, skittles, fencing and martial arts. Throughout the Show there will be a number of dazzling performances from local sports clubs.

Friday's programme includes a chance to take part in a mini Triathlon competition, and then try your form at Golf Xtreme. Malvern Gymnastics will be performing on Saturday, 20th June along with Malvern Eskrima, a local martial arts group. Sunday will see Ultimate Frisbee take flight followed by an impressive display of fencing from Team Melia of Birmingham. As well as the chance to take part and learn more about new and familiar sports, there will be plenty of give-aways and information on local sports clubs, facilities, walking and cycling maps and information on improving your health and lifestyle. With over 1300 sports clubs in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, there genuinely is something to attract everyone.

'We are delighted that the Three Counties Agricultural Society have given us this opportunity to provide sports sessions at the Three Counties Show, as well as showcase our local clubs' sports,' said Steve Brewster, Director of the Sports Partnership. 'The event was a huge success last year, with nearly 1,000 people taking part. Thank you to our sports clubs, volunteers and coaches who are helping to make it happen.'

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