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Happy birthday greetings go to Nell, who celebrated her 97th birthday on Thursday, 3rd December. Nell celebrated her birthday at a lunch with friends from Ross Carnival Committee whom she had served as Treasurer for around 16 years, keeping a firm hand on their finances.

At the lunch Nell was presented with lovely gifts, a cake, chocolates and some beautiful hand made cards. Nell said she had enjoyed the time she had been working with the committee, but felt it was time to retire and hand over the books to Mave Allen.

The Carnival Committee are extremely grateful to Nell for all her hard work and wish her all the best for the future, as we do.

Nell celebrating her 97th birthday.

Nell at Wetherspoons with friends Anne Gray, Sharon Heaven, Brian Marshall and Mave Allen.


Herefordshire Police have issued a reminder to take care on cold mornings after black ice has caught some motorists unawares in the county, resulting in a spate of collisions around breakfast time.

A number of traffic incidents caused by black ice last Tuesday resulted in several vehicles sliding off the road and into hedges and ditches. Although no serious injuries were reported, the potential was present and both minor and major roads were affected. On the A417 between Newtown crossroads and Trumpet, the council needed to salt the roads twice to remove the black ice which had caused a number of collisions along the stretch.

Police would remind motorists that, when they go to get in their cars in the morning, the presence of frost or ice on the car or the car temperature gauge reading close to 0°c should alert them to the possibility of black ice on the roads and to adjust their driving manner accordingly. Please also remember to clean all windows of frost, snow and ice. Don't simply clear a little hole on the windscreen to see through as it is a legal requirement that all windows in their entirety should be clear and unobstructed.

Until recently, temperatures for this time of year have been exceptionally mild. The sudden sharp drop in temperature yesterday should remind us all that we are now in the winter months and that cold weather should be the norm. By taking that extra bit of care and ensuring that our vehicles are in tiptop condition, we can perhaps prevent an unwarranted spell in hospital over the Christmas period.


Beryl Downing with Pauline McRae.

Rudolph the LED-nosed reindeer will be visiting Ross again on Saturday (12th December). He has heard the Christmas lights are good this year in Tudorville and Three Crosses and wants to take a look and say hello to all the children and their parents.

He will be accompanied by the Light Fantastic exhibition, operated by Marches Energy Agency, who will be giving away free light bulbs and lots of information about how to save energy at Christmas - and all year round!

Rudolph is part of the Ross Christmas lights project, which aims to celebrate Christmas with a beautiful and efficient light display in the town whilst helping householders and businesses save energy. We estimate the carbon emissions from lights in the town will be at least one ton less this year due to the Town Council's switch to energy efficient LED Christmas lights.

The reindeer has been built on a bicycle chassis by engineering students from Aston University to demonstrate how much more light comes out of LED bulbs, compared to conventional light bulbs. Children will be able to generate electricity by pedalling Rudolph until his nose glows bright red.

Come and see Rudolph between Audrey's fish and chip shop and Tudorville Youth Centre between 10.30 and 12.30 next Saturday, or in Three Crosses Road between 2.00 and 4.30.

The Ross Christmas lights project has been supported by Natural England's Sustainable Development Fund in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Ross Town Council is grateful for this support.


Ross Hope Support Services is a new organization that aims to help children who have a close relative who has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. The young group is made up of the 'Y' team namely, Rory Trevethan, Natalie Powles, Ryan Green, Hannah Maughan and Russell Baker, backed up by Sam Solandt who is a qualified counsellor who aim to provide a safe and secure place where young people can meet and talk to other teenagers in a similar situation.

The group were in need of financial assistance to set up the computer system, so organizer, Sue Trevethan approached Ross Lions Club who decided that there was a niche for the service the group are offering and agreed to help. A presentation ceremony was held where the group meet, at Pots and Pieces, where lions Community Chairman, Martin King handed the group a cheque for £600.

If you would like to learn more about Hope Support Services or wish to help with a donation, please visit their website at

Lion Martin King, handing a cheque to Natalie Powles with the President of the Lions Club, Andrew Middlecote, Rory Trevethan, Ryan Green and Sam Solandt.


From next Monday, people in Hereford will be able to walk into a new health centre, without an appointment, to see a GP or nurse, seven days a week between 8am and 8pm. NHS Herefordshire are launching the new service which is located within its existing premises on the ASDA site on Monday, 14th December. This is an interim arrangement until a permanent walk-in health centre is built next year, with government funding of £1.5 million.

The health centre will be open over the Christmas holidays and will give local people more choice, convenience, peace of mind and increased access to health services. Patients will be able to use the new services whilst remaining registered with their own GP and it is anticipated that it will reduce the high workload of Hereford County Hospital's accident and emergency department. The phone number for the new service will be the same as the current number to call a GP out of hours - 0330 1239309. The temporary service at the ASDA site will be replaced when the new facility is opened.

By Lion Bernard Fowkes

It wasn't the possibility of the trip of a lifetime that inspired the year 8 pupils of The John Kyrle High School to reach such a high standard of art when they took part in the Lions International Peace Poster Competition. No, it was the efforts of their Art Teachers, as this was part of the curriculum. However, there was also no shortage of effort on behalf of the pupils themselves and the judges had a hard time finding the eventual winner.

This was the local round of the contest and the judges, long time school governor Mrs. Joyce Thomas, MBE-DL, artists Christine Brazier and Joan Watts, along with the Ross Lions President Andrew Middlecote were highly delighted with the posters produced by the young pupils. After due deliberation, the winner was declared as 12 year old Kieron Nelson. His entry was immediately sent off to join others in the District round of the competition.

Second was Eleanor Jackson with Charlotte Prince taking third place. There were five Highly Commended; Freya Marie Snelling, Michelle Gartside, Amberly Nash, Brandon Knight and Laura Mair. To show how close other entries were there were fourteen Highly Commended; Olivia Leask, Rhys Owen, Josie Leahy, Kelly Sayce, Shannon Boucher, Jessica Hunt, Elizabeth Rogers, Alice Ormerod, Rosie Cox, Emily Stafford, Ellen Madden, Rhea Coyle, Beth Bushell and Emma Croft. All the above were presented with certificates at a recent assembly by the President of the Ross Lions Club, Andrew Middlecote. The prizes for the first three places will be presented at the John Kyrle Prize Giving Ceremony on the 17th December.

The Head of Art, Neil Carroll, told the young contestants that they should feel proud in taking part in an event which over 300,000 youngsters, between the ages 11 and 13, from all over the world were competing against each other to show how they could depict 'The Power of Peace' as a poster. He was proud of them for putting on such a good show and upholding the tradition of the school.

We have since learned that the Ross entry failed to get through the second round of the contest, so Kieron will not be going to The United Nations Buildings in New York with his parents or spending a holiday in America at the expense of the Lions. However, young people all over the world will continue to take part in this huge event, spurred on by the thought of peace and the chance to win a holiday of a lifetime.

The Ross-on-Wye Lions thank the John Kyrle High School for their participation in the Peace Poster Competition and look forward to many more years of co-operation.

The winning pupils hold up their posters during assembly at the John Kyrle High School.


Grants schemes run by Herefordshire Council are offering up to £2,000 towards the cost of projects which promote voluntary and community activity in the county. The community projects grant which can support up to £2,000, or 50% of the project costs (whichever is the lesser), is available and the community pride grant for up to £750, or 75% of the project costs (whichever is the lesser), is also available for eligible projects .

So far this year, community projects grants have been awarded to: Ross-on-Wye Baptist Church for equipment for its CAMEO group; The Coppice Workers towards publicity of the National Bean Pole week promoting the use of local canes in the garden; Dormington and Mordiford Parish Council towards a speed indicator display by the school; Kington Show towards publicity; Mortimer Leisure Centre towards a community event; Leintwardine Community Access Point towards the cost of relocating the CAP and Goodrich parish council towards the cost of printing its village design statement.

The community projects grant is a discretionary grant which aims to promote and support voluntary and community activity in Herefordshire by helping to establish and develop facilities, activities, events and services across the county and is open to constituted groups. The grant is given to: Encourage communities to come together with activities to improve their vicinity; Support effective community involvement in decision making; Support and encourage participation in regular volunteering; Strengthen and support community and voluntary activity and enable a thriving third sector; Improve the availability of sustainable services and facilities and access to them.

The 'community pride grant' is a new, discretionary scheme covering the whole of the county to help local community groups in Herefordshire bring ideas and projects to life for the benefit of Herefordshire citizens. The project must be community led and come from groups or organizations with a written constitution and bank account. Private individuals cannot apply.

Projects must demonstrate that their project takes place in, and benefits people in Herefordshire, provides good value for money, seeks to involve the community, be new and not duplicate existing services, and it must not be for statutory activities or to promote political or religious activities. Activities could be social, environmental or economic in nature such as: providing equipment, support or publicity for a group; improving signage for an area, low level crime prevention initiatives or training courses.

Previous community pride schemes have supported notice boards, neighbourhood watch signage, play group equipment, equipment for community groups and clubs, and equipment for village halls.

Any groups wanting further information about these grants should contact the delegated grants and programmes team on 01432 260753 or email Information can also be found on the Council website:


The popular Saturday park and ride scheme aimed at tempting more shoppers into Hereford during the busy run up to Christmas was launched on Saturday and both Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation, and Andrew Ashcroft, head of transportation and planning, visited the service at Hereford Racecourse.

Councillor Wilcox said, 'It was great to see the high numbers of people taking advantage of the park and ride which really takes the hassle out of finding a parking space. By parking on the outskirts and travelling in by bus, people can enjoy a full day's shopping at the wide range of high quality shops that the city boasts as well as being able to visit many high quality restaurants and cafes.'

Andrew Ashcroft said, 'This service gets more popular every year and shoppers can choose between two free car parks on the outskirts of the city and enjoy a comfortable bus ride to the heart of the city for a nominal fare.'

People travelling from the north can park at Hereford Racecourse, off Roman Road, and those travelling from the south can park at another on the A49 Ross Road at Grafton. Park and ride will operate every Saturday until 19th December. This year, for the first time, there will be two bus stops in the city for passengers to use. The north service stops at the Shire Hall and the Maylords Centre while the south service will call at the city bus station by Tescos as well as Broad Street.

Buses will run every 15 minutes from the car parks, starting at 9am. The last return bus leaving the city centre will be at 5.50pm to Grafton and 5.55pm to the Racecourse. Fares are £1.50 for an adult return and £3 for a group of three or more adults travelling together, with accompanied children travelling for free.

Parking is free at both sites and security staff will be on patrol to ensure cars are safe.

Andrew Ashcroft, left, and Councillor Wilcox with one of the Park and Ride buses.


South Herefordshire Police are appealing for information after a JCB was stolen from a compound in Ross-on-Wye. The theft occurred between Tuesday, 10th and Monday, 16th November when thieves broke the padlock to a compound in Hill Street, Ross and removed a JCB excavator, bearing the registration number P511NKP. The machine, which is valued at £5,000 has not yet been recovered.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the Hill Street area during the middle of November or who may know the current whereabouts of the machine.

Anyone with information should contact PC Mark Robinson at Ross Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


Shami Chakrabarti, Director of civil liberties watchdog Liberty, spoke to a packed house at Arte Restaurant in Hereford last week, attending as a friend and guest of Conservative parliamentary candidate Jesse Norman. During a standing-room-only session of Questions and Answers lasting nearly two hours, both Shami and Jesse answered questions from an audience of over 120 people on issues ranging from ID cards to the use of torture. A retiring collection for St Peter's raised over £250.

Shami Chakrabarti is Director of Liberty and has a very high media profile as a national campaigner for civil liberties and human rights. She has argued vigorously in recent years for freedom of speech, and led public opposition to ID cards, 42 day detention without charge, the use of torture and the DNA database. Most recently, she commissioned and published a book by Jesse and Peter Oborne, called Churchill's Legacy, on the Human Rights Act.

Speaking afterwards, Jesse said, 'It is just great to be able to welcome Shami to Herefordshire for the first time. Doubly so to be able to have a serious discussion about serious issues of personal freedom and the rule of law. Shami is a national figure, and we need to make our voice heard across the UK.'

Shami Chakrabarti said, 'I am not party political, and Liberty has friends in all three of the main political parties. But we need people in Parliament with independent minds who will fight for our personal liberties. Jesse is one of those people, and his book is a really important contribution to current debate about the British constitution and the rule of law.'

Copes of Churchill's Legacy can be obtained free of charge from Jesse at 49, Broomy Hill, Hereford. HR4 0LJ.

Jesse and Shami Chakrabarti, Director of civil liberties watchdog Liberty.


If you are looking for original one-off handcrafted gifts to give this Christmas, why not go along to Hereford High Town this coming Saturday, 12th December? There will be thirty stall holders offering traditional and contemporary craft for sale and visitors to the craft market will not only be able to discover original and beautiful work, they will also be able to find out how items were made, as well as who made it. For jewellery, pictures, tableware and more, don't miss this opportunity to buy a handmade item from a county artist.

Previous visitors to Hereford Craft Markets have said they were pleased to be able to meet the artists and were also delighted with the quality and originality of work for sale. 'Come along and support a local tradition and be inspired and delighted by the handmade, quality items from local artists and craftspeople,' said Andy Dawson, Herefordshire Council's creative industries co-ordinator. 'Whatever your taste, you can browse, chat, commission or purchase hand made craft in the heart of the city all day, from 9am until 5pm.'


Conservative candidate Jesse Norman has congratulated Hereford Scouts on running their highly successful Scout Post for another huge year. Jesse visited the 7th Hereford Tupsley Scout Group over the weekend to drop off his Christmas cards, where he was welcomed by David Owen, the Group Scout Leader.

The 7th Hereford Tupsley Scouts are one of 12 Scout groups in and around Hereford City, of which six take part in the Scout Post. Together, the young boys and girls and their families receive, sort and deliver between 45,000 and 50,000 cards and letters, in just one week. And the cost is only 20p a letter, a huge saving over the normal cost.

Commenting, Jesse said, 'As a veteran of the Post Office campaign, I thought I knew something about the post. But I have been amazed by the sheer scale and professionalism of the Scout Post. It puts Amazon to shame. The Chinese need to come over to the UK and study it! And that's on top of all the terrific work that the Scouts do throughout the year. So bravo and well done to the Scouts!'

Jesse with David Owen of 7th Hereford Tupsley Scout Group.


Ahead of the crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Sarah Carr, the Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Hereford, Ross and South Herefordshire is calling for support for local businesses who want to learn how to go green including advice on procurement, energy saving and other aspects of green business that help protect communities and the environment.

Sarah said, 'My Liberal Democrat parliamentary colleagues such as our climate change spokesman, Simon Hughes MP, are pushing for global agreement in Copenhagen providing leadership for an international framework that will enable each country to manage a transition to a low-carbon economy. I strongly believe there is still much local and national action that can be taken especially in support from local Councils and regional government. I have written to Herefordshire Council and Advantage West Midlands to ask what support they are giving to businesses who want protect the environment but do not know where to start in reviewing their business operations.

I believe that there is a huge opportunity for businesses to grow or find new markets by going green even in the downturn, strengthening the economy, creating new jobs and improving the quality of people’s lives. Some local businesses such as the members of Herefordshire Greenlinks have already taken this step. There are many other businesses who want to play their part, reaping the rewards, reducing energy costs and CO2 emissions and I want to make sure that they are getting the support they need.'


The widely respected politician Baroness Shirley Williams was the guest speaker at a fund-raising dinner held to support the campaign of Sarah Carr, the Liberal Democrat Prospective MP for Hereford, Ross and South Herefordshire.

At the dinner, which took place in Hereford on Friday, 4th December, Shirley also presented a signed copy of her just published autobiography ‘Climbing the Bookshelves’ to the winner of a local essay competition about why young people should get involved in politics. The essay competition organized by Hereford and South Herefordshire Liberal Democrats was judged by local Liberal Democrat party President Chris Green. The winning author was Alex Cosh of Hereford Sixth Form College who gave a confident summary of his essay to the assembled crowd.

Commenting on the event, Sarah said, 'Shirley Williams is an amazing woman and politician. I am delighted she is supporting my campaign to be the next Member of Parliament for Hereford and South Herefordshire, succeeding Paul Keetch MP. Shirley’s speech at All Saints was everything we have come to expect from such a brilliant woman - a common-sense and a straightforward account of what she believes needs to be done to mend British politics and the economy and her views on foreign policy. It was fantastic that Shirley also presented a copy of her inspiring autobiography to our essay competition winner Alex Cosh of Hereford Sixth Form.' Sarah Carr, Shirley Williams and Paul Keetch MP all spoke at the packed out event held at All Saints in Hereford.

Elected as a MP in 1964, Shirley Williams, now Baroness Williams of Crosby, was a member of the Wilson and Callaghan governments and was also the Secretary of State for Education. As one of the 'Gang of Four,' Shirley Williams famously broke away from the Labour Party to found the SDP in 1981 and later supported its merger with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats. Over her lengthy political career Shirley Williams has appeared as a commentator more times than any other panellist on the BBC political talk show Question Time.

Chris Green, Baroness Williams, Sarah Carr and Alex Cosh at the dinner on Friday.


Herefordshire Council has paid £4 million for offices it currently leases at Plough Lane in Hereford, paving the way to sell off 12 older, expensive to maintain premises and save £1.4 million a year. Over 1,600 employees from the council and the primary care trust will work side by side in the 15,000-square-metre administrative centre, speeding up the close partnership working that is driving improvements to public services in the county.

The outright purchase of the site makes 'sound business sense' for the council, which, with its partner the primary care trust, is looking for more ways to share services and premises to save money, and avoid the cuts to services seen in other areas of the country. Heineken, the owners of the site, which was previously the headquarters of the Bulmers group, have exchanged contracts with the council. The purchase price is considered to be a 'brilliant deal' by the council, which not only gets the building but a considerable area of land and car parking space, plus an agreement for a second access road to the site.

As the commercial and residential property market recovers, the council will divest itself of twelve further premises, which are not fit for purpose and expensive to maintain, making savings in annual running costs. They will be sold for redevelopment and will support the regeneration of Hereford, including the building of more affordable housing. There will be further savings for the primary care trust, which will also declare some unsuitable premises surplus to requirements. The move will release four key buildings within the ESG regeneration area, including the council's current education services offices at the former Blackfriars School, which the council has earmarked for the site of a new higher education campus for the city.

In developing modern and greener working offices at Plough Lane, the council will not only save on heating and lighting costs but will also slash carbon dioxide emissions by up to 200 tonnes a year, contributing to government carbon reduction targets. The modular design of the development will allow flexibility for the council and the primary care trust to expand or contract as circumstances change. By operating together in a single working environment, teams will share best practice, be innovative and improve services for local people. Since the summer of last year, the council investigated a number of sites around the city but the Plough Lane option was considered to be the most realistic and financially beneficial option. Outright purchase is more viable than continuing with the costs of occupying a leased building. The council would retain 'iconic' buildings like Hereford town hall and the Shire Hall

'This is a brilliant deal and makes sound business sense for the council and for local taxpayers,' said cabinet member of resources, Councillor Harry Bramer, 'and represents a major piece in the jigsaw that will drive forward our joined up working with the primary care trust and the continued improvement of health and care services for Herefordshire people.' We have bought the Plough Lane complex at exactly the right time, and the consequences of not doing so were to continue to pay high rents or maintenance costs for a large number of premises that were not suitable for the development of efficient and effective public services.

Now we are in a strong position to develop our groundbreaking public services partnership in Herefordshire, an approach that the rest of the country is now trying to emulate.'


Anybody with concerns about their neighbourhood in Herefordshire will have lots of opportunities to make those concerns heard with a number of PACT (Partners And Communities Together) meetings planned to take place across the county during January and February next year.

Chief Inspector Bob Barnett from Hereford Police Station, who is in charge of local policing in the county said, 'PACT gives you the chance to tell your local police team, local authority and other partner agencies about issues that are affecting you in your area and which ones you want us to make a priority. Concerns may centre around antisocial behaviour, speeding vehicles, litter or other forms of nuisance. Or it may be street lighting, a housing issue or abandoned vehicles. Whatever the problem is, the PACT partners can do nothing about it until you tell us. So, please come along to the meeting in your area and let us help improve the quality of life for you and your community.'

The January and February 2010 round of PACT meetings will be held at the following dates, time and locations:

January - Monday, 25th at The Kindle Centre (beside ASDA, Hereford) covering the St. Martins and Hinton area.
Tuesday, 26th at Credenhill Village Hall covering the Hereford Rural area.
Thursday, 28th at Lord Scudamore School, Friar St, Hereford, covering the St. Nicholas and Three Elms area.

February - Monday, 1st at The Burgage Hall, Church Lane, Ledbury for the Ledbury area.
Tuesday, 2nd at Belmont Community Centre, Hereford covering the Belmont area.
Wednesday, 3rd at Lady Hawkins Leisure Centre, Kington for the Kington area.
Monday, 8th at The Forbury Chapel, Church St, Leominster for the Leominster area.
Tuesday, 9th at The Larruperz Centre, Ross-on-Wye covering the Ross area.
Wednesday, 10th at Falcon Hotel Mews, Bromyard for the Bromyard area.
Monday, 15th at The Shire Hall, Hereford, covering the Aylestone and Tupsley area.
Thursday, 18th The GV Community Centre, Peterchurch for the Peterchurch area and Tuesday, 23rd at Much Birch Village Hall covering Hereford Rural South.

If you have an issue and you would rather not wait until the next PACT meeting in your area to resolve your problem, then ring your local policing team on 0300 333 3000. Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you at one of the January/February PACT meetings.


A former Leominster woman has been sentenced to five months in custody after admitting ten counts of benefit fraud which resulted in her falsely claiming more than £44,000. Samantha Mary McGrath, 34, who used to live at Bridge Street, Leominster, but now lives in Birmingham, admitted 10 counts when she appeared before His Honour Judge Cavell at Worcester Crown Court on Monday.

The prosecution was brought by Herefordshire Council and related to the fact McGrath failed to declare a change of circumstances in May 2003, namely that she was married and that in September 2005 she failed to declare that she was in receipt of a nursing bursary. She also failed to declare in August 2006 that she was employed. McGrath received £21,604.27 in income support, £19335.26 in housing benefit and £3,825.82 in council tax benefit all of which she was not entitled to and will have to be paid back. The final total was £44,765.35.

His Honour, Judge Cavell stated that she had had ample opportunity to notify the authorities of her situation but that she knowingly failed to do so and in view of the large sum involved, sentencing guidelines gave him no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence of five months for her to serve at least half of that. There was no order for costs or compensation.

Karen Darby, Herefordshire Council's benefit fraud and interventions manager said, 'We face an ongoing battle against benefit fraud and this severe sentence shows just how serious such crimes are. People who dishonestly claim benefits forget it is other taxpayers who have to pick up the bill and we will continue to investigate false claims and prosecute where necessary. We will also be working hard to recover the money that was wrongly claimed, as we do in all such cases.'

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