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Forever looking for ways to improve the standard of life for their members, the Ross MS Support Group decided that a special wheelchair would be most useful. It had to be easy to use, narrow enough to go through ordinary doorways and be easily transportable. They discovered that the 'Go Chair' made by Pride Mobility Products would suit their purposes admirably. The wheelchair would be used by any and all members, as and when required. However, the cost was £950, no small sum for a group of volunteers. This is when they decided to approach other organizations to see what financial help they would give.

On receiving a letter of appeal, the Ross Lions Club, who have supported the MS Group in the past, had no hesitation in saying they would be happy to buy the wheelchair for them. At a presentation ceremony at the Larruperz Centre, where the MS Group hold their monthly meetings, Lions President Andrew Middlecote, Community Services Chairman, Martin King and Public Relations Officer, Bernard Fowkes, presented the MS Secretary, Peter Cowdery, with a cheque. Being aware that they were getting the money, they had already bought the wheelchair and Peter was happy to demonstrate it to all and sundry.

Peter and his wife, Maureen, not only do the secretarial work but also carry out most of the organizing. The Chair of the group, Gaye Cheeseman, thanked the Ross Lions for their generosity and said great use would be made of the wheelchair; making life so much easier for the MS sufferers. For all their troubles they are a happy lot and on the evening they were having a demonstration on Tai Chi.

Ross MS Support Group hold their meetings on the 1st Thursday of each Month at the Larruperz Centre at 7pm. The meetings take the form of social gatherings or they have interesting speakers and once a month the group go out on bus trips.

Anyone wishing to join the group should contact the Chair, Gaye Cheeseman on 01531 670680. All MS sufferers are very welcome.

Lion Martin King hands over the cheque to Peter Cowdery, watched by Gaye Cheeseman, Maureen Cowdery and Lions President Andrew Middlecote.


The Bridge at Wilton is renowned for it's fine dining, having won many awards and wonderful accolades in the national press. Proprietors, Mike and Jane Pritchard have every reason to be proud of these achievements, which they say could not have been realized without the hard work of all of their staff. It was a sad moment when their chef, James Arbourne decided it was time to move on, but the future of the Bridge looks even brighter under the auspices of new chef, Paul Kelly.

Paul has 20 years of experience as a chef and is more than able to maintain the extremely high standard of cuisine that people have come to expect from this establishment. Paul is already making his mark with his menu, which is contrived using largely locally produced ingredients, delicious fish and the vegetables and herbs grown at the Bridge.

Paul is eager to please diners at the Bridge and is more than happy to prepare dishes accordingly. If you have a special requirement, simply telephone with your request a couple of days before your meal and he will do his utmost to accommodate you. The Bridge at Wilton will also soon be able to cater for large wedding parties.

Dining at The Bridge is a relaxed, leisurely experience to be savoured along with the delicious food and you will be pleasantly surprised at the great value for money too. Currently, a two course lunch will cost £12.50. Three course lunches are available for £16.00.

Special offers are also often available. Why not try the Bridge at Wilton for yourself. We did and we were extremely impressed.

Chef, Paul Kelly at work in his kitchen at the Bridge at Wilton.

These delicious dishes are ready to be served.


Herefordshire Council would like to say a big 'thank you' to everybody who joined in the new recycling service which started on Monday, 2nd November. In the first week alone, some 240 tonnes of recyclable materials were collected compared to 97 tonnes this time last year.

Councillor John Jarvis, the cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing said, 'I am delighted the service has got off to good start and the fact we have more than doubled the amount of recyclable materials collected shows that people in the county are willing to do their bit for the environment as well. Our consultations with the public told us that, while people wanted to recycle more, they also wanted to keep their weekly refuse collection and I am delighted we have been able to do that, at a price that was even cheaper than the previous contract we had. We have also been exceptionally busy on the phone lines too and we thank everyone for their patience when trying to call waste management with queries about the new service. Please be assured we are working as quickly as possible to iron out any problems that have occurred due to the changes.'

To help with the new collections, our contractor Focsa is now operating with 34 brand new, more environmentally friendly vehicles, which will collect refuse on a weekly basis and recycling on a fortnightly basis from across the county. These new vehicles are a range of sizes to accommodate our county roads. Refuse and recycling may be collected at different times of the day, as in some areas there are separate vehicles to collect refuse and recycling. However, most of the vehicles are split-bodied and will collect both refuse and recycling at the same time. Ninety eight per cent of all wheeled bins and clear recycling sacks have been delivered with the remaining properties being scheduled a delivery this week. Please use your old recycling bags, whether purple or clear, to tide you over.

The council are writing to a small number of properties that did not receive the correct collection day calendar but if you want to check your collection day at any time, please visit the council's website . Another brand new service that this project is able to offer residents is a free text message service to remind them when their recycling collection day is. Anyone who registers for this service will receive a free text reminder at 6pm the evening prior to their recycling collection. To use this service simply text "hcrecycle", your postcode and first line of your address to 80800. '


Councillor Olwyn Barnett, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for adult social care has praised the creative courage of older people taking part in the Well-being Arts Project Showcase, organized by Herefordshire Housing. The project encouraged older residents to explore art to build self-confidence, learn new skills and make friends. Over 25 people took part in communities in Clehonger and Hereford and the project will be rolled out further to Ross-On-Wye in January.

'I think it is fair to say that many people might assume that if we have a roof over our heads and somewhere to sleep, and are kept nice and warm and safe, with enough to eat, that most of our needs are taken care of,' said Councillor Barnett, as she opened the exhibition in Hereford. 'However, even if our basic needs are met, we can still feel isolated, and unfulfilled. We all also have a real need to create, to learn new skills, to express ourselves, to belong and to be part of something worthwhile.

Being creative is always a little bit of a risk - especially if we have never drawn or painted before. But when we are creative together, it is amazing what can be achieved, and it is good fun too. All of us have talents that can remain hidden throughout most of our lives. Then something happens to bring them out - often to our complete surprise.

Certainly the work I have seen is a revelation to me. So much joy and reward has come to so many people with this project. It is true: the simple ideas are always the best. And this is one of the best projects I have seen in all my time as a councillor in Hereford.'


Local campaigner Sarah Carr, has been working hard with the local community to help preserve the uncertain future of the much loved Castle Inn village pub at Little Birch (used by villagers in Little Birch, Much Birch and Kingsthorne). Concerns regarding the viability of the village pub have raised questions about its future, with local people involved expressing a desire to keep the pub open.

Sarah has met with the Parish council and the local ‘Save Our Pub’ Group, as well as speaking to the Castle Inn owner to help mediate a way forward. With nearly six pubs closing every day of the week, and local pubs continually coming under threat, Sarah said, 'Local pubs such as the Castle Inn at Little Birch act as vital hubs of our communities, but are increasingly coming under the threat of closure like so many of our other public facilities. I am working hard with local people to try and secure the future of this village pub.

From speaking to pub owners and licensees I know many have been having a hard time making ends meet especially during this recession. At some point the government will realize that village pubs, shops, schools and post offices have a real social as well as economic value and must be preserved. I believe the government could be doing a lot more to support our pubs such as extending the discretionary local 50 per cent rate relief scheme for village shops to sole village pubs and acting against unfair practices in the brewery trade.

I will be writing to the Minister to demand action on these points. I will continue to press our government to take steps to preserve the much valued village pub before they all disappear.'


Ben, the Director of Canine Affairs for the Ross-on-Wye Walkers are Welcome Group is pleased to announce that his long-awaited booklet of Dog-friendly Walks is now on sale at the Ross Tourist Information Centre. With details of eight walks in and around Ross with sketch maps for each and distances up to 6 miles dogs of all sizes should find something of interest.

Ben the Labrador has long been a supporter of the Rights of Way Department's policy of replacing stiles with gates and is looking forward to further progress following its transfer to Amey Herefordshire. With walking becoming an ever more popular form of recreation and exercise for both dogs and their owners, Ben is confident his new publication will enable both to enjoy further the beautiful countryside around Ross. He is keen to stress that owners need to be responsible when taking their pets into the countryside, taking extra care when around livestock or wildlife and being conscientious about cleaning up any dog mess.

Ben's booklet is now available from the TIC at a price of £3. The Chairman of the Group, Sam Phillips, said he was pleased to see this publication on the shelves at the TIC as it had been prompted by suggestions from local hoteliers earlier in the year. He commended Ben for his hard work and trusted it would be of use to visitors and local residents alike.

This is the second of the new publications planned by the Walkers Are Welcome Group and follows on from the Bus Walks leaflet produced in October. A new descriptive leaflet for the extended Buggy Route will also become available soon. These leaflets are available free from the TIC.

Ben, Director of Canine Affairs of Walkers Are Welcome.


Herefordshire Council is pressing on with its rolling programme of housing need surveys and consultations in rural areas, as part of a process to provide more affordable housing. The next consultation on affordable housing in the county rolls into Goodrich this month.

The council has teamed up with the parish council for a Village Design Statement Exhibition at Goodrich Village Hall. On Saturday, 21st November there will be information boards displayed from 10am to 1pm and on Tuesday, 24th November, from 6.30pm to 9pm, council officers will be available to answer any queries people may have about the housing needs survey, which examines what quantity and kind of housing is needed in the area. The meeting will also provide an opportunity to identify possible sites for affordable housing, which can help keep rural communities alive.

Average county earnings are £20,300 a year, compared with £25,200 nationally, but median house prices in Herefordshire are over eight times the average wage, so the council is trying to do more to encourage affordable housing builds.


One of Herefordshire Council's committees which look at proposals, scrutinizes decisions made and carries out reviews of services, is to hold a meeting in Ross-on-Wye later this month. The environment scrutiny committee will gather at the Larruperz Centre in Grammar School Close, on Monday, 23rd November.

The meeting, which will start at 9.30am, is one of a series of regular meetings the council's scrutiny committees hold. At the meeting the committee will hear from the Safer Roads Partnership, the organization set up to make Herefordshire roads safer, which includes the use of road safety cameras. The committee will also hear feedback from the council's cabinet (senior politicians responsible for taking key decisions about council services and policy) on suggestions the committee put forward following a review of on street parking in the county. Members of the public who attend the meeting will hear a report into the way the council maintains the roads in the county and also hear details concerning the environmental impact of the council's fleet of vehicles.

'Scrutiny committees have a vital role to play to ensure decisions are sound and that local council tax payers receive good services that provide value for money,' said Councillor Bob Matthews, chairman of the environment scrutiny committee. 'These meetings have mainly been held in the council chamber in Hereford, so I'm pleased that this meeting is to be held in Ross-on-Wye and would invite anyone with an interest in the council or its activities to come along and see democracy in action.'

Members of the public can submit a question concerning an item on the agenda or participate in the meeting at the chairman's discretion. Anyone who has a question they would like to ask should submit it at least two days before the meeting to the committee officer. This will help to ensure that an answer can be provided at the meeting.

The full agenda for the meeting will be posted on the council's website,, and will contain background information for the meeting.


A local politician has been looking closely at new ways to bring affordable housing to Herefordshire. The Conservative candidate, Jesse Norman recently met in Manchester with Tim Jones of CityLife and David Roper of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), to discuss a potentially revolutionary new housing idea.

CityLife and PWC have pioneered the use of new charitable bonds to support social action projects in the UK, with a special focus on affordable housing. The charitable bonds allow people to invest in social action projects, generally for a period of five years, at the end of which they get their investment back. The capital is used to build new housing, which generates rental income to pay back the borrowing. And the interest goes to support local services and voluntary groups. Citylife's work has resulted in around £35 million so far being invested in local communities, in places such as Hertfordshire, Sheffield, Newcastle and London. Still larger sums are in the pipeline.

Commenting on the discussions, Jesse said, 'We have a huge need for affordable housing in Herefordshire, and charitable bonds could be an important part of the solution. This will allow local people and companies to support new housing -- and still get their investment back. It would be particularly interesting to use this approach in connection with Section 106 grants. At present housing developers and supermarkets simply pay for new infrastructure when they build something. It would be much better to have them pay the interest via a charitable bond, because this would release far larger sums for capital investment.

I shall be consulting with local developers and the Council to see if we can use this approach to address our affordable housing needs quickly and effectively.'

Jesse with Tim Jones of CityLife and David Roper of PWC.


Herefordshire Council's Trading Standards Service is issuing a stark warning to anyone buying a used car. Prospective buyers should always carry out a car data check such as HPI or Experian, to ensure there is no outstanding finance. This advice follows an incident that took place on 23rd October, when an innocent Hereford man had his £1,250 Vauxhall Astra repossessed by 'Log Book Loans' due to a previous owner defaulting on a loan for which the car was security.

While innocent buyers are protected where a car has outstanding hire purchase on it, there is no such protection where the car is secured by way of a bill of sale. Log Book Loans offer loans to people with poor credit ratings at very high rates of interest. The loans are secured with a bill of sale on the borrower's car. The borrower has no legal right to sell the car until the loan is repaid in full. In this particular case, the borrower defaulted on the loan and sold the car on to an unsuspecting consumer, who subsequently sold it onto another purchaser who has now lost out. All three people involved live within our county.

Principal trading standards officer, Tim Thorne said, 'Bills of Sale were intended to be banned in 1974 but it failed to happen. The government now intends to outlaw them in the next few years due to the severe detriment caused to consumers, including those who take the loans out themselves. Buying a car with an outstanding Bill of Sale is like buying a stolen vehicle. You have no right to keep it whatsoever.

Our devastated consumer now has little alternative but to sue the person he bought the it from even though that person was also innocent in the matter.'


Herefordshire Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward following a road traffic collision between a car and a bus which left a driver in a critical condition. The incident happened on the B4216 Ledbury to Dymock road at Donnington, near Ledbury at 7.08pm on Friday, 6th November, when a white Mazda MX5 convertible, which was being driven South from Ledbury towards Dymock, and in the process of negotiating a left hand bend, was in collision with a Dennis single decker bus travelling in the opposite direction.

The male driver of the Mazda sustained serious head injuries in the collision and is currently in a critical condition in Hereford County Hospital. A woman passenger on the bus sustained serious facial injuries and was also treated at the same hospital. Her condition was not life-threatening. The bus driver and the remaining two passengers were uninjured.

The road was closed for several hours whilst the emergency services worked at the scene and police collision investigators examined the site to determine the cause of the crash.

Police are anxious to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision or saw the two vehicles travelling on the B4216 immediately prior to the collision. Anyone with information which can help should contact PC Steve Wood of the Roads Policing Team at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 as soon as possible.


Hereford Police are investigating an incident of racially motivated antisocial behaviour that took place in an estate off Whittern Way, Hereford, when at approximately 8.50pm on Sunday, 3rd November, a rock was thrown at the window of a house. The incident is being treated as racially motivated and Police are appealing for any witnesses or information to assist the ongoing investigation. No one was injured in the incident.

Superintendent Kevin Purcell stated, 'All matters of antisocial behaviour are taken seriously. When there is a suggestion that it may be racially motivated, we will do all we can to ensure that the offender is brought to justice.'

Anybody with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000.'


NHS Herefordshire has praised four local pharmacists who have celebrated 50 years since they completed their training and began practising - and they are not finished yet. At a meeting of the Herefordshire branch of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain on 20th October, the four were honoured for their long professional service, and presented with a letter of congratulation and a small gift.

Sue Matthews, proprietor of Matthews Medicines in Grandstand Road, Hereford for 18 years, qualified in 1959 and has been a community pharmacist ever since. She still works full-time at the pharmacy providing many services for patients including being on-call for advice and emergency supply of medicines for palliative care patients outside of normal working hours.

Harold Clewer also qualified in 1959 and has owned a pharmacy in Leominster since 1980. He moved to H. G. Clewer Ltd pharmacy in Westfield Walk, Leominster in 2001. Harold is semi retired, but still pops into the pharmacy every day and works about 20 hours per week. Harold has been a key member in responding to requests for advice and supplies of medicines of hours particularly for palliative care patients.

Bernard Edmonds qualified in 1958 and has always worked in community pharmacies across Herefordshire. Bernard is now semi retired but still does some locum work in Herefordshire pharmacies one to two days per week.

Also celebrating was Peter Swinburne, who has been a hospital pharmacist since he qualified in 1958 and still works in the hospital pharmacy in Hereford. Peter is also treasurer for the Local Pharmaceutical Committee.

Alison Rogers, governance pharmacist at NHS Herefordshire said, 'It's amazing to think that these four individuals have provided a total of over 200 years of dedicated service to Herefordshire people. They have witnessed huge changes over the past 50 years in the development of new drugs and the increasing role of the pharmacist. Today, Herefordshire's community pharmacists help patients to stop smoking, undertake reviews of medicines, advise on sexual health matters, including Chlamydia screening and advise and treat minor ailments, all this as well as dispensing prescriptions.

On behalf of NHS Herefordshire, I would like to thank the pharmacists for their conscientious and professional support over the years, particularly in their advice and supply of medicines to palliative care patients at the end of life, who have been able to receive the medicines they need to allow them to stay in their own homes.'

This week is national 'Ask Your Pharmacist' Week, so go along to your local pharmacy and 'talk about your medicines!'

These four pharmacists have given over 200 years of service between them to the county of Herefordshire.


Sarah Carr, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire has called for the government to act on tackling bovine TB and to take heed of the recommendations of the Tuberculosis Eradication Group (TBEG) when they report back. Hilary Benn MP, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has stated that he has accepted the recommendations of the latest TBEG report but would not commit to acting upon the final report’s recommendations.

Sarah said, 'Bovine TB results in thousands of cattle being slaughtered across England and Wales every year and a herd breakdown can be the death of a struggling farm business. Acting on the policy recommendations of the TBEG could result in a significant drop in the number of cases of Bovine TB. If the government does not take notice of the recommendations it would be another example of wasting the time of all those involved and wasting public money.

It is imperative that the government changes their policy as soon as possible under the guidance of experts like the TBEG to prevent further damage to farmers’ livestock.'


NHS Herefordshire has announced that Susan Mead and Dr Philip Ashurst have been reappointed to serve further terms as non-executive directors of the primary care trust board. The board is responsible for supervising the overall work of NHS Herefordshire and ensuring probity and public service values.

Susan Mead has been appointed for a further term from 12th October 2009 to 11th October 2013. She has worked as national director in the Audit Commission, holding lead responsibility for joint reviews of local councils across England and Wales and has previously held senior positions in local government and in the Social Services Inspectorate. Susan also has considerable experience of health and social care. She has chaired and sat on a number of inquiry panels into issues of public concern and now works as an independent consultant in local government and has acted as external moderator of regulatory work.

Dr Philip Ashurst has been a non-executive director of the primary care trust since it was formed in 2000 and in his role as the trust's audit committee chairman, he has now been reappointed from 12th October 2009 to 11th October 2010. Dr Ashurst, who is also a deputy lieutenant of the county of Herefordshire, was a magistrate on the Hereford Bench for over 15 years and, until he retired at the end of 2008, had been chairman of the bench for the preceding three years. With a background as a scientist he has over 30 years experience in running successful small and medium sized businesses. He continues to act as a consultant to food and pharmaceutical industries in both the UK and abroad.

The composition of the NHS Herefordshire board is set down by the Department of Health. It includes seven non-executive directors, which are appointed by the Appointments Commission on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health, and are drawn from the local community. Appointments comply with the requirements of the Commissioner for Public Appointments' (OCPA) Code of Practice. Non-executive directors work alongside executive directors such as the chief executive Chris Bull and the non-executive chair, Joanna Newton.

Joanna said, 'I am delighted to announce the reappointment of Susan and Philip as this means their valuable contribution to the success of NHS Herefordshire in leading the local health economy is set to continue. Philip has been a member of the primary care trust board since the beginning and we have benefited enormously from his breadth and depth of knowledge. Susan's track record in local government and in health and social care, together with her local knowledge and contacts, is helping us to work effectively with our partners to improve health and care for thousands of local people. Both reappointments will help the board in realizing its vision, in partnership with Herefordshire Council, to deliver efficient, excellent services and improved outcomes for the people of Herefordshire.'

All non-executive appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Susan Mead and Dr Philip Ashurst declared no political activities, and do not hold any other Ministerial appointments. As a non-executive director, Susan Mead receives a remuneration of £7,882 a year. Dr Philip Ashurst's remuneration as audit chair is £13,136 per annum.


Hereford's traders and residents have welcomed detailed plans for creating a 'lively and vital streetscape' between the city core and the new leisure and retail attractions proposed for the old livestock market site. Herefordshire Council set up a special event in the city on Monday, 2nd November, for businesses and residents on Widemarsh Street to view the scheme and schedule of work.

An inspiring presentation by renowned street designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie drew applause from the audience. Many said they were delighted with the scheme, which will repave the street with a combination of natural stones, merging road and pavement levels and removing unnecessary street signage, yellow lines and clutter. The designs would complement the high quality of the architecture in Widemarsh Street, with the aim of presenting an attractive route to High Town from Blueschool/Newmarket Street, which will also be improved and made pedestrian friendly. Herefordshire Council is to have individual discussions with shops and businesses affected by the ambitious 40-week improvement programme to ensure any specific needs are heard and met.

Councillor Brian Wilcox told businesses that the contract for the work is currently out to tender, but will be awarded before Christmas, with work scheduled to begin in the New Year. He warned that the work would take 40 weeks but would be closely managed by the council. Highways engineers will have one-to-one meetings with businesses on Widemarsh Street to discuss specific elements of the design and schedule to ensure the streetscape transformation delivers maximum benefit but minimum disruption.

'We want the street, which is a premier shopping destination in the city, to be as welcoming as possible to encourage more shoppers and tourists to visit Hereford,' said Councillor Wilcox. 'The council wants to do everything it can to boost trade and build prosperity for local businesses and independent shops, as well as revitalize the city as an important shopping, business and tourism destination, both within the county, the region and mid-Wales. The general consensus seemed to be that the transformation of Widemarsh Street will be worth it as long as we look after traders and maintain access to shops throughout the schedule of work.'

Ben Hamilton-Baillie has world renowned specialist knowledge and experience in innovative solutions for reconciling pedestrian and traffic movement with quality public spaces in cities, towns and villages. His work draws on extensive research of best practice in mainland Europe, North America and the UK. Ben Hamilton-Baillie also told the audience that regeneration will 'put right the damage' done by the inner ring road, and outlined a number of ideas for improving Blueschool/Newmarket Street. His plans will aim to remove 'physical and psychological barriers' to entice visitors, tourists and shoppers to and from the historic core of the city and the exciting new attractions proposed for the old livestock market site.

The plans for Widemarsh Street will be on permanent display for a few weeks at the city's Butter Market, which is also part of the council's vision and investment for the city. The council is launching a national architectural competition after Herefordians voted for the market to be refurbished with a traditional Victorian interior.

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