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14th October 2009 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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ROSS LIONS WALK RAISES £700 FOR ACORNS

The Ross Lions 'Ross Round Walk', which took place earlier this year, raised sufficient money for the grand sum of 700 to be donated to Acorns, the charity that cares for terminally ill children. The demand for Acorns' specialist services continues to grow daily. Their care ranges from looking after the children to give their families respite, to providing terminal care and support during the emotional and difficult final days of a child's life.

Lion Keith Wilding, the organizer of the Ross Round Walk, on handing over the cheque for 700, said it gave him great satisfaction to donate this money to Acorns. This was the third year the walk had taken place and each year a worthy sum was given to Acorns.

On accepting the cheque, Beryl Knapper, Manager of the Ross Acorn's charity shop thanked the Lions for their generous donation which would come in very useful.


President of Ross Lions, Keith Wilding presents a cheque for Acorns to Manager, Beryl Knapper.

ROSS TOWN COUNCIL SUGGEST CORN EXCHANGE AS NEW TIC HOME

Ross Town Council were most concerned to learn of Herefordshire Council's proposal to move Ross Tourist Information Centre from Swan House into Ross Heritage Centre when the council finally vacate the property totally. The fear is that housing the two facilities under one roof would result in one of them eventually disappearing.

Richard Mayo, Chair of the newly formed Association of Ross Traders voiced his concerns at the Town Council's monthly meeting on Monday that the town could potentially lose its only museum. The Heritage Centre is an important resource not only in its role as a museum, but also as a venue for many exhibitions and activities for children during the holidays. There was also the issue of available space for both operations to be considered.

After much discussion, Ross Town Councillors agreed to approach Herefordshire Council with an offer to house Ross Tourist Information Centre in the lobby at the Corn Exchange on the days that it isn't being used by the CAB. There would be much more space than would be available at Ross Heritage Centre and during the summer months, the covered walkway immediately outside the building would also be available to them. This solution would also probably be less costly for Herefordshire Council.

Both of these facilities are vital to the town and both should be able to continue to operate.


ASSOCIATION OF ROSS TRADERS

The newly formed Association of Ross Traders, (ART) will be holding a meeting at Caffe Eleganza, Broad Street on Wednesday, 21st October. The meeting, which begins at 6.30pm will include matters such as this year's exciting Town Council Christmas light display, to which the traders are hoping to make their own contribution, a special Christmas shopping event on the 6th December which will include stalls, choirs, special offers, a prize draw and much, much more and preparations for next years Ryder Cup. Working groups for both have been set up and have already got to work.

The moving of the Tourist Information Centre will also be high on the agenda as this has a knock on effect for all traders in the town. Other items will include the possible establishment of a Breakfast Club for business people in the town and new recycling opportunities. Chairman, Richard Mayo, said, 'We have been overwhelmed by the response from businesses in the town to this new initiative which was launched by Mayor John Edwards. We now have over fifty members and this number is increasing week by week. Anyone who is in business in Ross or simply wishes to get involved with this dynamic group is welcome to come along.'

Members of ART will also be working alongside Ross In Bloom in Pigs Alley on 17th October, helping to bring back to life a very unsightly part of town.


MAYOR GIVES WALSALLS RUNNING AMBASSADOR A WARM WELCOME

Walsall's Running Ambassador, Mark Dabbs (see www.markdabbsrunningambassador.co.uk) dropped in on the Mayor of Ross-on-Wye on Friday, 9th October carrying gifts and messages of goodwill during his Mayoral marathon of Hope around the country. Mark is hoping to set a record for the most Mayors met by an individual and as Mayor Edwards is the 96th visited Mark is heading rapidly to the century mark.

After presenting the Mayor with some Walsall gifts, notably a book on the town's history, a picture for the Parlour and also a copy of his own book of cartoons called 'It's A Loff,' Mark had a quick drink before heading off for further meetings in Hereford, including one with Jo Brand who was launching her autobiography there during the lunchtime.

'It was great to be in Ross-On-Wye and I got to look around the Corn Exchange, as well as learning some of the history of Ross on Wye,' said a delighted Mark, who was pleased to add yet another Mayor and picture to his burgeoning project. Any other Mayors in the area who wish to help Mark are welcome to contact him at markdabbs@hotmail.com to further increase his tally.


The presentation of gifts in the Mayor's Parlour.

SKETCH A SKELETON FOR THE BIG DRAW AT ROSS HERITAGE CENTRE

A special event 'The Big Body Draw' will be taking place at Ross Heritage Centre on Tuesday, 27th October, giving local children the opportunity to take part in the national Big Draw. Between 10am and 1:30pm, children of all ages, along with their parents are welcome to attend the fun day where they will have a chance to meet a bone expert, see some ancient bones and sketch a skeleton. Another Big Draw event will be held on Thursday, 29th October at the Museum Resource and Learning Centre, from 11am until 3pm.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw said, 'Our museums have a wealth of expertise and artefacts and this event offers a fun way for people to try their hand at drawing. The Big Draw aims to show that everyone can draw and, by providing a fun topic, hopefully many local residents will come along and join the two events.'

For further information, please telephone 01432 260675, email Herefordmuseum@herefordshire.gov.uk or log onto the website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk.


RANDOM BACK ON FORM

We were delighted to see that our friends, the excellent rock band Random were back in town at the weekend. After building up a bit of a following, the band took a break during the summer, but are now back on top form with an extended set of classic rock numbers. Keep an eye out for this band. They will be performing at a pub near you very soon and are definitely worth going to see.


Random, back on top rocking form.

THREE MULTI-PLEX CINEMA GROUPS VIE FOR ESG SITE IN HEREFORD

Three multiplex cinema groups have expressed an interest in coming to Hereford as part of the new ESG leisure and retail complex in the city. Discussions between cinema group representatives, the council, ESG Herefordshire and development partner Stanhope, show that a new cinema, perhaps containing up to eight screens and housed on the dilapidated old livestock market site, would have a considerable effect on the city's prosperity and social life, with thousands more people visiting the city each week as a result.

Many of the patrons will also frequent local shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and clubs - helping to generate an improved evening economy. Discussions with cinema groups accelerated since the council announced a firm timetable for the relocation of the livestock market. Construction on the new market will start early next year and will be completed by the end of 2010 - providing room on the old livestock market for work on a multiplex to begin in 2011.

Leader of the council Roger Phillips, who has been viewing the type of multiplex that could be on offer said, 'Wide consultation with young people and families has consistently shown that they want a new cinema for Herefordshire. Herefordshire Council is keen that the cinema enhances the cultural life of the city, as well as our local economy, linking to the Courtyard Theatre and the heritage attractions of the medieval core of Hereford. Apart from mainstream blockbusters, the multiplex will be using the latest technology to show 3D films like Avatar - and with up to eight screens will bring unprecedented entertainment choice to people in Herefordshire.'

Jonathan Bretherton, chief executive of ESG Herefordshire added, 'From the very beginning, we have been clear that the redeveloped livestock market must offer something special for local people. While more leisure facilities may be top of the list for those in their teenage years and early 20s, all age ranges appreciate the tremendous cultural events in the county - such as the Three Choirs and Borderlines Film Festival. It would be fantastic if the audiences for events like these, and others from around the world, could be widened by using the modern technology offered by the latest state-of-the-art cinema.'


Leader of the council, Roger Phillips sees the multiplex adding to the cultural life of the county, as well as its economy.

FORMER LAND ARMY GIRL IS OFF TO SEE THE QUEEN

When war broke out, 17-year-old Pamela Portman, who lived in London at the time, seized the opportunity to come to Hereford and work as part of the legions of women who turned their hand to agriculture and formed the Land Army. Some of her memories were read out a special service held in Hereford Cathedral earlier this year in honour of the Land Army and Timber Corps. In these she recalls regularly getting up at 6am to milk the cows and muck spreading.

Now Pamela, from Sudbury Avenue, has been invited to represent her colleagues who worked on the land during the war at a lunch at London's Royal Opera House on Wednesday, 21st October followed by tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The lunch, which will be hosted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (DEFRA) and tea at Buckingham Palace are being held to honour and offer thanks and gratitude for the efforts of members of the Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps during the war.


TAXI FARES TO REMAIN THE SAME

Herefordshire Council's regulatory committee has in principle decided to keep taxi fares in the county at the same level as they currently are, although this is still to be openly consulted upon. Members of the committee were told at their meeting on Tuesday, 6th October, that last year an early review of fares took place on August 12th, 2008 due to a sharp price increase in fuel costs at that time. The present fees were agreed at that meeting.

Mr John Jones, chairman of the Taxi Association, contacted Herefordshire Council on 16th September this year calling for the fares to be frozen and the committee agreed to this. Under Section 65 (2)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1976 states the committee's decision must now be advertised for a minimum 14-day period and, if no objections are received, then the fares will stay the same. If objections are made, the committee will meet again to consider these. The proposed fares will therefore be advertised in the local press and on the council's website before being brought back to the committee.


CYCLE TRAINING NOW OFFERED TO HIGH SCHOOLS

Herefordshire Council is expanding its network of child cycle trainers and will, for the first time, be offering the service to high schools. The council has recently organized a four-day course for eight people who are now qualified to deliver child cycle training in Herefordshire primary and high schools. Funding for the course came from central government funding. Five of the people who have completed the course are community support officers with West Mercia Police.

Superintendent Kevin Purcell of West Mercia Police said, 'This is an excellent initiative in two ways. Firstly it should help to keep youngsters safe, and secondly it introduces the children to our local policing teams in a non-confrontational way. It supports our 'I know my Local Policing Team Initiative' and builds lasting relationships with our youngsters.'

Councillor Brian Wilcox added, 'We are really keen as a council to encourage more children to cycle to school safely and need a good network of trainers to achieve this so I am delighted we have got nine new people on board now. Cycling to school is not only good for a child's health and well being but also helps to reduce the amount of cars on the road during the school run. Any primary schools interested in arranging child cycle training should contact David Holmes on 01432 383396 and anyone from a high school should contact Linda Sinker on 01432 260262.'


Some of the county's PCSOs with members of the council's Cycle Training Team.

LEDBURY COMMUNITY CHOIR

Ledbury Community Choir held their annual general meeting on Tuesday, 6th October and a new committee was elected. John Depledge was re-elected as choir chairman and other committee members elected included, Barbara Onions (Secretary), Heather Pritchard (Treasurer), Sue Hughes (Librarian), Alasdair Gibson (Membership), Lynne Bennett (Minutes Secretary), and Edd Hogan (Publicity).

In his annual review, Music Director Malcolm Hughes commented on how the choir had developed and improved over the past year. 2008/9 saw the choir celebrate a significant milestone in reaching its 10th anniversary. The AGM took place after a weekend that saw the choir record a number of Christmas carols and songs at Ledbury Methodist Church. The CD should be ready in time for Christmas and will be sold at a number of outlets in Ledbury.

The choir's next performance will be an Autumn Concert on Saturday, 24th October at the Market Theatre in Ledbury. Tickets for this concert are priced at 7 and are available now by calling 01531 636452.

Ledbury Community Choir is a non-auditioned mixed voice choir of all ages with almost one hundred members. The choir's repertoire includes musicals, folk songs, and arrangements of well known songs spanning the generations. They meet weekly during term time at John Masefield High School on Tuesday's at 7.30pm and new members are always welcome.


COUNCIL TO HELP TRAINEES AFTER BIZMATCH CEASES TRADING

Herefordshire Council have been working with Workmatch, which provides work preparation and training to disadvantaged and vulnerable adults, since news broke that Bizmatch, its trading arm, has ceased trading. Both the Council and NHS Herefordshire purchased services from the charitable company on behalf of local people. Around 70 local people were receiving the services, and 30 of these are eligible for support from the council's adult social care service.

'We are contacting people who attended the service and we are reassuring everyone who is eligible for support that we will be finding an alternative means of continuing a service for them,' said Sara Keetley, head of adult social care for both the council and the primary care trust. 'We would like to reassure people that ABLE, a welfare advice and information service, continues to offer a service to the public.'

The council says anyone affected by the Bizmatch closure and needs help can ring 01432 261732 between 9am and 1pm and speak to Julia Bestall. Anyone who needs emergency assistance can get it from the duty social work team on 01432 373200.


HEREFORD EVENT IS PART OF WORLDWIDE CLIMATE CHANGE DAY

Hereford will be one of thousands of venues across the world to hold a 350 climate change event on Saturday, 24th October. More than 2,200 simultaneous events are set to take place in 152 countries to mark the International Day of Climate Action. Photos of all the events, including Hereford, will be displayed on giant screens in Times Square, New York.

In Hereford we have a debate with local environmentalist Richard Priestley putting the case for rapid and radical carbon reductions, and local MP Bill Wiggin, candidates Jesse Norman, Sarah Carr, Felicity Norman, Philippa Roberts and also Herefordshire Councillors Roger Phillips and John Jarvis responding. The debate will take place in the Town Hall and the doors will open at 10.00am; come early to get a seat.

The afternoon will continue the theme with Peter Harper (from the Centre of Alternative Technology) and a number of local renewable energy experts debating possible sources of low carbon energy. There will also be lots going-on, including stalls, fun activities, films and information. The day will end with a band and choir of 350 people singing a song about 350ppm at 3.50pm on the steps of the Shirehall. Come and join-in!

The number 350 holds special significance in terms of climate change as many climate scientists and campaigners believe that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the safe upper limit for sustaining life on earth. The current figure is 387.

Further information can be found at 350.org or hereford350.wordpress or phone Richard Priestley 01432 358104 Participants are asked to walk, cycle, take public transport or car share to the event wherever possible.


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