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18th August 2009 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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THE RIVERSIDE HAS BECOME A CAR PARK EYESORE

When the Daimler and Lanchester Field Day took place recently, a dropped kerb was installed in Wye Street so that the display vehicles could be driven onto the riverside field without getting damaged. This was a good idea - for the purpose of making it easier for all official events to access the field.

I happened to be in Wye Street on Sunday afternoon and noticed that, since the installation of the drop kerb access, not only do we have ugly metal swans on a stick to make the once beautiful river front look tacky, it has now also become a car park. I have kind of got used to the tacky swans on a stick and can mentally block them out but a field full of cars is somewhat more difficult to ignore.

I took a couple of photos whilst there, which can be seen below and when I arrived home, I was quite pleased to find that others feel the same. Chris Constable had also noticed the eyesore and had taken his own photos. Chris also went to the Free Wilton Road car park - a couple of minutes walk away to find it virtually empty.

It is only a personal opinion but I think that a barrier should be put across the access, which can be unlocked for official access only. Unlike the swans, money spent on this would be money well spent.


Parked cars making the riverside area look ugly on Sunday.

Parked cars making the riverside area look ugly on Sunday.

Chris Constable's photo of the virtually empty, free Wilton Road car park.

THE WONDER OF WOOLWORTHS EXHIBITION

Following the closure of Woolworths at the beginning of the year, Mary Sinclair-Powell of Ross Heritage Centre decided it would be a great idea to hold an exhibition and put out a request to loan Woolworth related memorabilia. Mary received a good response to her request and is now ready to take delivery of the offered material.

If you have any photographs, articles or written down memories of good old Woollies, Mary will be only to happy to include them in the exhibition. All items will be well looked after and photographs will be photocopied so that the originals won't get damaged in any way. All items will be returned to their respective owners once the exhibition has closed.

Please take any memorabilia along to Ross Heritage Centre during opening hours or, if you cannot deliver them yourself, contact Mary on 01432 260675 to arrange for collection.

The exhibition will run from the end of August until well into September.


SERIOUS SEXUAL ASSAULT AT HOWLE HILL MUSIC EVENT

Herefordshire Police have set up an incident room following a serious sexual assault at a music event in the south of the county. The incident happened at around 2am on the morning of Sunday, 16th August 2009 at the Essence event being held in a field on Great Howle Farm, near Ross on Wye. Police have not released any details of the assault, other than the victim was a 19-year old woman.

Approximately 1,000 people attended the event and detectives have set about the task of identifying and interviewing as many as possible. Detectives are keen to speak with anyone who has information about the offence and urge them to come forward to help progress the enquiry speedily.

Anybody with any information should contact Detective Sergeant Frank Real from Hereford CID on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously as soon as possible.


BANDS IN THE PARK

The regular Sunday series of Bands in the Park concerts for the summer months continues and visitors to the Caroline Symonds Gardens were entertained by Bream Silver Band this week. Ross Town Band will be providing next Sunday's entertainment,


Bream Silver Band on Sunday.

Bream Silver Band on Sunday.

ROWING - PRESIDENT LEADS THE WAY AT STOURPORT

President of Ross Rowing Club Jonathan Preece lead the winning ways at Stourport regatta this weekend. Jon was rowing with the Veteran D Crew of Jeremy Picton-Turbervill, Peter Kellsal, and Paul Brodholt with Lucy Jones coxing, who raced against a crew from Holland and won convincingly over the 500 meters course. Jon then joined up with club mates Mike Jones and Phil Palmer with other oarsmen from Ironbridge rowing club to win Veteran eights.

Following Jon's example, the mens IM3 eight with Club Captain Ian Howell, Jeremy Picton-Turbervill, Matt Taylor, Paul Brodholt, Joe Bunting, Peter Kellsal, Lenny Colling, Dave Morris with Morgan Baynham-Williams coxing, came against a strong Warwick crew, followed by a row against a highly competitive crew from Worcester, whom they beat by just 6 feet in the final. This mens performance was capped by Adam Robinson, Lenny Colling, Matt Taylor and Dave Morris also winning in Im3 coxed fours with Morgan coxing again.

For the Ladies, their Im3 eight with Ladies Captain Sheron Dean Lucas, Holly Dick, Geraldine Calcraft, Annie Williams, Nikky Wild, Emily Preece, Dawn Evans and Karen Blackwood, beat Stourport in the final of their event. For the Junior Academy it was another successful weekend.

Amy Surman lead the way by winning her WJ13 singles sculls on both days of the event and also winning J14 2x when she teamed up with Rosie Brandram-Jones. Morgan Baynham-Williams capped a highly successful day for herself when she teamed up with Ellie Blackwood in J15 double sculls, beating Stourport and then Worcester in the final.

Club President Jonathan Preece said 'This was tremendous for the club to see so many of the senior crews winning in such tight races. The Juniors as always continue to deliver great results.'


Ross Veterans at Stourport.

Members of Ross Rowing Club after a successful weekend at Stourport.

HUGE HELP FOR HEROES EVENT TO BE HOSTED AT POLICE HQ

The line up for this year's West Mercia Police Help for Heroes event has been announced and it is expected that it will be even bigger and better than 2008. West Mercia Police is the only force in the country to organize a major event to back Help for Heroes and proceeds from 2009 will go towards helping injured soldiers get their lives back on track. Some of the money raised will go specifically to 'rehabilitation houses' where soldiers recover from their injuries and learn to live with any disabilities they may have received.

The event will take place at Police HQ, Hindlip Hall, near Worcester on Sunday, 6th September between 12pm and 4.30pm. There will be an amazing variety of aircraft and vehicles for visitors to see at close hand, including around a dozen helicopters, classic police cars, tanks and the Le Mans winning Aston Martin. A Subaru Impreza used by World Rally Champion Richard Burns will also be on display. There will also be aerial displays from a Spitfire and a freefall parachute team, and demonstrations from Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service and the West Mercia Police dog team. There will be some familiar faces joining the crowds with Worcester Warriors players attending along with some surprise guests from television. It is hoped that Falklands conflict veteran and burns campaigner Simon Weston will attend. A number of recovering injured military personnel will also be present.

Sergeant Al Short, from the West Mercia Police Dog Section who is organizing the event, said, 'We are very excited about this year's event: we are expecting more people - 12,000 rather than the 8,000 last year - and more fantastic things for the public to enjoy, some of which will be a surprise on the day. But the event isn't just about having a fun day out. The public will have the opportunity to meet injured service personnel and hear their stories and the reasons why the force supports Help for Heroes.

Take the example of Tom Neathway, a Worcester Parachute Regiment soldier who lost both legs and an arm in an explosion in Afghanistan last year. We first met Tom when he had just returned from Afghanistan very seriously injured. Seeing him now recovering so well makes all this worthwhile and is an excellent reminder of why these fund-raising events are so important.'

Tickets for he Help for Heroes event cost 20 per car and 5 per person on foot. Children aged eight and under get in free of charge. Tickets can be obtained in advance by sending a cheque payable to Help for Heroes and a stamped addressed envelope to: Michelle Devey-Carvill, West Mercia Police Dog Section West Mercia Police, Hindlip Hall, Hindlip, Worcester, WR3 8SP. Telephone 01905 332321 or email michelle.devey-carvill@westmercia.pnn.police.uk Tickets are also available on the day and car parking will be clearly signposted.

All military aircraft attending will be training craft that cannot be used in combat. All police officers and service personnel are volunteers and are giving their time free of charge.


THE LORD-LIEUTENANT MAKES FINAL CALL FOR AWARD NOMINATIONS

The Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, The Countess of Darnley has made a final call for people across the county to nominate outstanding volunteer groups in their area for the 2010 Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, before this year's 30th September deadline.

This prestigious UK National Honour, which has an equivalent status to the MBE, recognizes the exceptional contributions made to local communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others. Although nominations can be made at any time during the year by visiting www.queensawardvoluntary.gov.uk, for those wishing to be considered for the 2010 Award, forms must be received by 30th September 2009.

Lady Darnley said, 'Volunteering groups in Herefordshire make a huge contribution to people's lives, often without praise for the incredible job they do. A prestigious National Honour such as The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service can prove invaluable in so many ways to their ongoing success. The importance of volunteer groups is all the more apparent in the current climate, and I urge people across Herefordshire to help recognize those doing outstanding work in their local communities. If you know a group that fits the bill, get a form and nominate!'

Seven hundred and fifty groups around the UK have now received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002. For details of all Queen's Award for Voluntary Service recipients, or to download a nomination form in pdf or word format, visit www.queensawardvoluntary.gov.uk


POLICE HAPPY WITH PERFORMANCE AT THE BIG CHILL

Herefordshire police are extremely pleased that the Big Chill Festival held in the grounds of Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury between Thursday 6th and Sunday 9th August this year went off without any major problems. Some 40,000 festival-goers poured into South Herefordshire to attend the event over the four days. West Mercia Police supplied both a covert and overt presence to ensure that there was no disorder and that everyone who attended was safe and had a great time - which they did!

During the festival, police made 28 arrests - 14 for possession of drugs with intent to supply, 8 for just possession of drugs, 1 for possession and deception, 2 for assault, 1 for theft, 1 for robbery and one person was detained under the provisions of the Mental Health Act. As at 5pm on Monday 10th August, police had recorded 97 thefts (mainly from tents), 1 robbery (suspect arrested), 24 drug offences and 7 miscellaneous offences.

Acting Superintendent Sue Thomas, who oversaw the entire police operation said, 'We are delighted with the policing outcome of this year's event. This was a major undertaking for the police in Herefordshire, which required meticulous planning beforehand and very close liaison with the organising management team and security staff on site for the event. It was clear that everyone really enjoyed the event and had a great time in the Herefordshire outdoors. I would congratulate our staff who worked round the clock at the event, many of whom had their days off cancelled to help police the festival.'

Many of the thefts involved goods being stolen from tents. Such theft is difficult to prevent at an event like the Big Chill due to the insecure nature of the tents and the fact that they are often either left unattended or the occupants are asleep or in a state of intoxification.

It was really pleasing to see that Ross-on-Wye's two day JAMSTAND festival took place with very little incident.


VANDALS WRECK FLOWER BEDS IN HEREFORD

Around 1,000 is the price put on damage caused by vandals who decimated three flower beds in the lawns near the Duck Pond in Mill Street, Hereford. The vandalism occurred between Wednesday, 5th and Wednesday, 12th August, probably nearer the 12th, when vandals ripped up over 1,000 plants, throwing many of them into the Duck Pond and leaving the others strewn around on the ground.

PC Sue Lowley, who is investigating the crime said, 'The people who have done this have made a right mess and clearly have no respect for community property whatsoever. It's so senseless and destructive. I want to hear from anyone who knows who has caused the incredible amount of damage.'

A photograph showing some of the damage can be seen below. If anybody has any information that will help with the investigation, please call PC Lowley at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


Thousands of flowers ripped from their beds by vandals.

SHOPPERS TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON THE FUTURE OF THE BUTTER MARKET

Hereford's shoppers are being urged by Herefordshire Council to have their say on the refurbishment of the iconic Butter Market at a special consultation event this week. The council has set up a stand in High Town, which will be open from Wednesday, 19th until Saturday, 22nd August, and is asking people to drop by and give their views. The council would like to know what residents would like to see in the refurbished market and how people feel the building could be redesigned to secure its place as landmark destination within the city centre.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw said, 'The consultation aims to discover what improvements residents and visitors to Herefordshire would like to see undertaken at the Butter Market. The Butter Market is a key location within the city and the refurbishment offers an opportunity to review what is sold within the market to promote the wonderful produce and products made in Herefordshire.'

All suggestions gathered over the four days in the city centre will be considered as part of the wider consultation which has been taking place and is due to close at the end of August. Plans for refurbishment are being worked on by the council with partner organizations. Questionnaires are also available online, so if you'd like to make your views known, please visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk and click on 'your views on the Hereford Buttermarket' under the 'Spotlight' section on the homepage.


THE PENYARD SINGERS TO PERFORM AT CONINGSBY HERITAGE OPEN DAY

After a hectic year of concerts performed for audiences in places as divergent as Ross-on-Wye and Conde-sur-Noireaux in France, the Penyard Singers have now been invited by the Coningsby Trustees to present an end of summer event in the St John Medieval Museum site in Hereford, to coincide with other Heritage Open Day activities. The choir will present a rolling matinee programme of madrigals, part-songs and modern ballads on Saturday, 12th September in the quadrangle of the Coningsby Hospital, at various times between 2pm and 5pm.

Visitors are invited, not only to hear The Penyard Singers, but also to visit the museum, view the ruined priory, picnic in the Rose Garden and enjoy free guided tours of this historic site. There will be no charges for entrance and free cold refreshments will be given out. Even if you are not a music buff, why not visit the museum and relish the unique atmosphere. Visitors will be welcomed by the custodian Bill Raymond dressed in his Coningsby uniform. The curator John Wallin will wear the cassock of a medieval knight when conducting tours. A recent visitor from Minneapolis USA, Laurie Stewart said, 'You are so fortunate to have such a wonderful historical place right on your own doorstep.'

The Penyard Singers are based in Ross-on-Wye. They rehearse on Wednesday evenings at the Methodist Church and are committed to performing for charity. If you wish to hear them in their presentation of a range of choral music, from classical to modern, come along to the Coningsby Museum on Saturday, 12th September.

For further information please telephone John Wallin on 01432 274903 or Gill Smith on 01989 565338.


NEW SEXUAL HEALTH SERVICE LAUNCHED

NHS Herefordshire is expanding its services to offer sexual health check-up clinics in the market towns of Ross-on-Wye and Leominster. Currently the sexual health service at Gaol Street in Hereford is the place to go for confidential, friendly and helpful advice on sexual health issues, but this is to change to help people in the north and south of the county access services.

Although the hub of clinical expertise is predominately at Gaol Street Health Centre in Hereford, the primary care trust understands that many patients may prefer to attend a clinic nearer to home or place of work. New clinics times are:

Ross Community Hospital, Mondays from 9-11.30am
Leominster Community Hospital, Mondays from 2-4.30pm. At the Gaol Street clinic, people can receive contraception, assistance living with HIV, advice and support for people who are gay, lesbian and bi-transgender and screening for sexually transmitted infections. The new clinics in Ross on Wye and Leominster will focus on providing check ups for people who are worried about their sexual health and who may require screening or testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Maggie Colwell, operational manager, sexual health services for NHS Herefordshire, said, 'We know that sometimes people are worried they may have a sexually transmitted infection but are anxious about possible painful procedures, feel embarrassed or have fears about privacy and confidentiality. We also know that some people find it difficult to get into the centre of Hereford and would prefer to go somewhere locally for confidential advice and support which is why we've decided to extend the services to Ross on Wye and Leominster.

Many of the tests used involve a simple urine or a blood test and the results are sent via a text messaging service using brief anonymous messages. There's lots of help and support for people who do have an infection and need treatment. All age groups are welcome to the new clinics, male and female but bookings are advisable. For an appointment, ring 01432 378915.'


EIGHTY APPRENTICESHIPS SOON TO BE AVAILABLE

There is good news for people looking for a job in Herefordshire following the announcement that around 80 apprenticeships are to be created in the public sector. NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council have secured funding to take on the apprentices, which will give local people vital experience and training and help them to gain work based qualifications. The deal was signed by Chris Bull, chief executive of the council and the PCT, and signals a huge opportunity for local school leavers and job seekers to get a taste of life working in the public sector.

'This is very exciting news for local people as apprenticeships offer not only valuable work experience but also the opportunity to gain qualifications,' said Helen Mapp, PCT training centre manager. 'We're not only offering apprenticeships and advanced apprenticeships which are aimed at people under 24 years of age. We are also offering adult apprenticeships which are aimed at people with more workplace experience.

Representatives from the council and PCT are attending school career events to talk to year 11 pupils and school careers and Connexions advisors will have information about the apprenticeships. The scheme covers a range of occupational areas including health and social care, business administration, customer service, IT, finance and dental nursing. The apprenticeship covers a range of qualifications including NVQs at levels 2 & 3, key skills at levels 1 & 2 plus a related technical certificate.

Chris Bull, NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council chief executive said, 'Apprenticeships offer a broad based programme which allows us to build a skilled and flexible workforce equipped to work across boundaries to improve the quality of service we provide for the county's communities. These are real career opportunities that guarantee training and progression after leaving school, college, or at work. I'm delighted that we've secured the funding which allows us to take on the apprenticeships. This is going to have a major impact on many lives and will give those taking up the posts a great opportunity to kick-start their career in the public sector.'

Anyone wanting further information about apprenticeship opportunities with the NHS should contact the PCT training centre on 01432 377770. Applicants can also find details of all council apprenticeships by visiting www.herefordshire.gov.uk/jobs or by contacting the recruitment team on 01432 260028.

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