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24th March 2010 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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MAYOR OF ROSS HOLDS GOLF DAY IN AID OF MACMILLAN

Mayor of Ross, Councillor John Edwards organized a day of golf on Thursday to raise money towards his chosen charity for the year, Macmillan Cancer Support. The event attracted 130 golfers and raised approximately £2500 for the charity - and there is more to come from a 'Just Giving' website, set up by Graham Stonadge, a member of Ross Golf Club.

After his successful day, the Mayor said that he would like to thank the 28 local businesses and individuals who sponsored holes or gave raffle prizes. Also the club for staging the event, Greenkeepers, Karen and Ian Neednam the caterers for delicious two course buffet, Norman Davis and George Cason for acting as starters, Jennie Thornton and Sian Picton-Turbervill for helping Sue Edwards, the Mayoress, on the day.

The winners, Dawn and Ken Trowbridge, Shaneen and Peter Smith of Tall Pines and Long Ashton near Bristol won the Macmillan Cancer Support Shield for a year, four trophies to keep and four bottles of champagne. In second place, winning four bottles of Whisky were Julian Church, Jeremy Knight, David Elliott and Peter Berry of Henbury in Bristol. Third, winning two bottles of wine each were Nigel Price, Gareth Hopes, Tommy Price and David Brown of Raglan Park.

Tina Wooldridge of Sapey won 'Nearest the Pin Ladies' - winning a Pink Handbag and for the men, winning Lunch for two at Glewstone Court Hotel was Mike Talty of Ross. Straightest Drive Ladies, winning a Royal Worcester Salad Bowl was Sue Gwynn of Sapey. Straightest Drive Men, winning 2 bottles of wine was John Robinson of Horsley Lodge, Derby.

Some future events to raise money for the Mayor's chosen charity:
The Mayor's Charity Dinner/Dance takes place this Saturday, 28th March at the Chase Hotel and costs £30 a ticket. There are still some places available.
Picnic in the Park at Wilton Castle will take place on Sunday, 2nd May from noon at £5 per head.


Tony Dudfield and Jeremy Picton-Turbervill with the Mayor on Thursday.

Mayor, Councillor John Edwards tees off early on Thursday morning.

IN LOVING MEMORY OF MARGARET

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Margaret Hardwick, who passed away at her home on Friday, 19th March 2010.

Margaret and I have lived opposite each other for 23 years and I always found her friendly and neighbourly. When Russell was a little boy, she often had a chat with him over the garden gate and was one of the first to welcome me when I brought Russell's baby brother, Michael home. Margaret was always very kind to my children and on one of their birthdays she sent over two special presents for 'pass the parcel.'

Margaret's daughter Rosina baby-sat for the boys for several years and on one occasion that Rosina couldn't sit, Margaret invited the boys to stay with her. We were often invited to celebrate family celebrations. Margaret loved a party and she and her husband David used to enjoy dancing to my band when we performed at the Drop Inn, which was then Ross Rugby & Social Club.

Margaret never really got over the loss of her beloved David and she leaves behind three lovely grown up children, Adrian and his wife Sandra, Lyndon and his wife Kate and Rosina, who is due to marry Richard later this year. Margaret also adored each of her seven grandchildren, Laura, Ben, Shai, Chloe, Liam, Luke and Thomas.

One of the things I remember about Margaret is her hearty, infectious laugh, which made you want to laugh too. I shall miss that laugh, Margaret and I shall miss you too.

God bless

Tina.


Margaret enjoying her grandaughter's 18th birthday party with her family in 2008.

BODY OF MISSING HEREFORD WOMAN FOUND IN RIVER LUGG

Police in Herefordshire have confirmed that they have recovered a body from the River Lugg at Lugwardine yesterday. The body has now been formally identified as that of missing 62-year old Ros Russell from Hereford.

Ros was reported missing after she was last seen by a taxi driver after he dropped her near the A438 bridge at Lugwardine on Friday, 5th February 2010. Police in Herefordshire along with family and friends mounted a large search for her over the following weeks. Her body was spotted in the river by a farmer some 100 metres from the Lugwardine bridge at around 9.30am on Tuesday, 23rd March. Police required the assistance of the Fire & Rescue Service and their Swift Water Rescue Unit to recover Mrs Russell's body from the water.

A post-mortem is being carried out and the Coroner has been informed. An inquest is due to be opened and adjourned shortly. Detective Chief Inspector Sean Paley, Head of Herefordshire CID, who was co-ordinating the search for Mrs Russell, said, 'We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this. This is a very sad event and our thoughts are with Ros's family and friends.'


SETTING OUT AMBITIONS FOR BROADBAND IN HEREFORDSHIRE

Herefordshire could be missing out because of the limited broadband coverage, yet an event held on Thursday, 18th March showed there is potential in businesses, communities and Herefordshire Council coming together to improve Broadband coverage in the county.

The Community Broadband Conference was open to anyone with an interest in improving broadband and included national and local speakers. David Thame, gave an inspiring talk on how local people have set up Lingen Community Broadband showing that local solutions are possible though not without challenges along the way.

Launched at the event was the document entitled Broadband in Herefordshire - Developing a County Approach which sets out a vision for the future, as well as outlining how solutions can be met. This document makes clear that waiting for market forces to solve the problem is unlikely, with Herefordshire not having the population density to make the laying of fibre optic cable financially viable for commercial operators.

Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council said, 'People of the county are losing out, including businesses who are not able to compete on a level playing field with companies in the more urban areas who have faster connectivity. Within Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire we are keen to have more services available electronically to aid access to services specifically in the rural areas but this will prove difficult without a broadband solution.'

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council's head of economic and community services said, 'The conference and document produced aims to stimulate debate about a way forward for the county working with local businesses and communities to create solutions for different parts of the county.'

The document is available via email economicinvestment@herefordshire.gov.uk or can be sent to you if you contact 01432 260609.


SARAH BACKS LOCAL PUBS

Sarah Carr has committed to the campaign being run by CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale, speaking up for Beer Drinkers and Pub goers. CAMRA's new Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter sets out a series of options for supporting well run community pubs, local brewers and consumer rights.

Speaking after signing up to CAMRA's Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter, Sarah said, 'I am proud to be speaking up for Herefordshire's pubs, brewers and consumers. Well run pubs are the bedrock of community life. They are part of the solution to the problem of alcohol misuse and not part of the problem. They deserve our support.

Recently, I have been working with the residents of Little Birch, near Hereford, to reopen their local pub The Castle Inn. The spirit of these local villagers has been overwhelming; they have even organized pub nights and dances at the local village hall as part of their campaign! It just goes to show how important local pubs are to the people of Herefordshire.'

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive welcomed Sarah Carr's support for the Charter, saying, 'We are delighted that Sarah Carr has promised to work to promote the interests of beer drinkers and pub goers. Well run pubs make a huge contribution to community life, each of which injects £80,000 into their local economy every year.

Amid growing concern over the loss of more than 5 pubs a day, it is now more important than ever to support well-run community pubs, to promote local brewers and to protect the interests of consumers.'


A HAPPY 5TH ANNIVERSARY TO DAVE AND JACQUI NEWMAN

Best wishes go to Dave and Jacqui Newman who became landlords of the White Lion Inn at Wilton five years ago on Saturday 20th March. This lovely riverside pub has seen some changes since Dave and Jacqui arrived, all of which have done nothing but enhance the premises and meet the firm approval of their regular customers. As well Dave keeping excellent beer, a pergola with heating has been added along with a decking area for non smokers and the pubs reputation for great food means that it really is becoming necessary to book in advance.

Dave and Jacqui not only make the White Lion the perfect place in which to relax from the cares of the day, they also raise a lot of money for charity, in particular, Ross Macmillan Cancer Support. Each year between October and March a regular Sunday night quiz has been held and on the last Sunday of each month the conies raised were donated to Macmillan. As almost without exception the teams donated their winnings to the charity, the format changed for the 2009 / 2010 season. Each Sunday, the money was split between Macmillan and each team's chosen charity, apart from on the last Sunday of the month.

Sunday, 21st March marked the end of the White Lion Quiz season and the results of the regulars paying to pit their wits against each other achieved the following results:

£344 will go to Ross Macmillan Cancer Support, £178 to the Air Ambulance, £130 to the Friends of Ross Community Hospital and £15 to help for Heroes.

Here's wishing Dave and Jacqui another successful five years (at least) at the White Lion.


Dave and Jacqui Newman, landlord and landlady of the White Lion Inn.

NEW STUDY REVEALS £175MILLION FUNDING GAP FOR HEREFORDSHIRE

A new study has revealed a gap of £175 million in central government funding for Herefordshire. The huge shortfall has been uncovered by Jesse Norman, the Conservative parliamentary candidate, who commissioned The Thin End of the Wedge, a detailed analysis from researcher Fiona Galliers-Pratt.

The new analysis draws on a wide range of public information, to assemble for the first time a comprehensive picture of central government funding for Herefordshire's public services. It compares the relative funding for local schools, the NHS, police, fire and rescue service and Herefordshire Council services as against the averages for similar services nation-wide. The total deficit is broken down as follows:

Herefordshire Council: £85 million deficit 2005-10
Herefordshire NHS: £44 million deficit 2005-10
Herefordshire Schools: £30 million deficit 2005-10
Herefordshire Police: £11 million deficit 2005-10
Herefordshire Fire and Rescue: £4 million deficit 2005-10.

Based on population totals, the total equates to a shortfall over the last five years of roughly £54 million for Hereford City and £9 million for Ross-on-Wye. Commenting on the news, Jesse said, 'We have always known Herefordshire is the Forgotten County when it comes to funding. Our schools are the third worst funded in the country and this is just a small part of the shocking total deficit of £175 million. My job, if elected as MP, is to follow the money trail to Westminster and to fight for a better deal for Herefordshire to make sure it gets the public services it deserves and to place this county on the political map. That £175 million total would be enough to pay for a second river crossing, and it would make a huge difference to funding for our schools, hospitals and transport links, as well as some of the broadband services we so desperately need.'

Anyone wishing to obtain a copy of the report should write to Jesse Norman at Conservative Campaign Office, Grove Mill, Wormelow, Hereford HR2 8EG, or email him via jesse4hereford@gmail.com.


NEW LINK AGREED FOR HEREFORD CONNECT2

Herefordshire Council is to build a new link across the River Wye as part of its new Greenway scheme linking Hampton Park with Rotherwas and beyond for people on foot or bike. Funding for the new bridge will come from Sustrans, money that the council has already allocated and additional funds received after being selected by the government as a New Growth Point.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'As a New Growth Point, we have received Government funding to promote sustainable travel and this new link will be a great route for cyclists and pedestrians to go between Rotherwas and Hampton Park without having to go through the city centre. The route will be perfect for both commuters and leisure users, reducing city centre congestion, supporting further development at Rotherwas as well as helping to further promote health and well being.'

Henry Harbord, Sustrans area manager for the West Midlands said, 'This route will give many people the opportunity to quickly walk or cycle to work. Sustrans wants to help people to make more local everyday journeys by foot or by bike and this bridge will be a great way for people in Hereford to do just that.'

Herefordshire Council will receive a contribution of £350,000 from Sustrans towards this scheme from the Big Lottery Fund after Connect2 won a public vote for 79 new greenways across the United Kingdom.


INNOVATIVE FIT KIT LAUNCHED IN ROSS-ON-WYE

An innovative Fit Kit, designed to encourage people with learning disabilities to get fit and active in their own homes has been officially launched in Ross-on-Wye. The Fit Kit, a CD and dance fitness regime has been created by members of SCORE, the Affinity Trust's opportunities programme in Hereford. More than 300 people in Herefordshire with disabilities will receive the Fit Kit free during March, giving them the chance to increase their fitness levels at their own pace.

Members of Affinity Trust's SCORE project, all who have learning disabilities teamed up with a local charitable organization The Music Pool to provide a DJ, studio and editing suites to create the 15-minute CD. A Fit Kit road show is being rolled out across the county throughout March, providing free Fit Kits and live demonstrations to scores of disabled people.

Affinity Trust SCORE members worked closely with Herefordshire Hip Hop musician Mark 'Lofty' Loughman and DJ Dave 'Cutlavis' Lavis. The musicians helped create and produce the track which samples the SCORE members' voices as well as their live percussion, resulting in a high-energy, original piece of music. Earlier this year, Affinity Trust SCORE members worked with local fitness instructors from Herefordshire's HALO Leisure Centre to create a dance fitness regime to complement the music.

Laura Harvey, Affinity Trust SCORE member said, 'We are looking forward to teaching people the dance moves and hope that people will get fit with the beat.' Rosie Wooderson, Opportunities Manager, Affinity Trust SCORE said, 'It's really important that people with learning disabilities are helped to understand how to keep fit and active. We hope that the Fit Kit routine will inspire people to get active, and that after seeing the demonstrations they will want us to come back again and help them learn the moves.'


Music Pool DJ, Mark 'Lofty' Loughman with SCORE members Carl Fletcher and Johnathan Ley.

The Fit Kit launch at the Ryefield Centre, Ross-on-Wye.

£10 MILLION TO FIX HEREFORDSHIRE HIGHWAYS

After the worst winter weather for 30 years, Herefordshire Council is to invest over £10million during the next year (an increase of over £3million compared to last year) to deliver the biggest programme of highway maintenance the county has ever seen.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation said, 'Our highway network has suffered considerably during this winter weather and we have already filled 17,000 potholes since the beginning of the year. This compares to just 3000 in the same period last year and the numbers of potholes reported and being found are still continuing to rise.

Whilst pothole repairs are providing a quick fix, a wider programme of planned resurfacing work will be done over the coming year to restore the county's roads to an acceptable standard for the longer term. The condition of the county's roads is one of my priorities and I am pleased to be able to announce this major highway maintenance programme for the county. I believe Herefordshire is leading the way amongst local authorities in targeting resources to this important issue.'

Detailed surveys have highlighted a rise in defects of more than 30 per cent on the county's road network of more than 2,000 miles. Amey normally use four hot boxes manned by two operatives to deal with the potholes but are currently using the four hot boxes together with an additional Jet patcher and two further hot boxes. All parish gangs have also been redeployed on pothole works (eight gangs of two men countywide) which is over and above the normal labour attached to this activity.


ROSS PRE-SCHOOL PLAGROUP EASTER FAYRE

Ross Pre-school Playgroup held an Easter Fayre on Saturday and apart from the stalls there funds were raised for the group by holding competitions for the children's best colouring and Easter bonnets. The group leaders also used the event to officially open their new playground.

In 2009, Vicki Paige and other members of staff went on a workshop on Outdoor Play and afterwards applied for a grant to improve the outside space. They were lucky enough to get a Sure Start Early Years Grant of £3300 from the Early Years and Extended Services Department of Herefordshire Council to allow them to do just that. Sainsbury's also donated £250 when they opened the Ross store and the money was used to buy new picnic benches for the children.

On Saturday, Ross Town Mayor, Councillor John Edwards and Sainsbury's Manager, Denver Martin cut the ribbon to open the playground. Denver also judged the Easter Colouring Competition, donating six large Easter eggs for 1st prizes of both competitions. June Pearce, Manager of the Larruperz Centre judged the Easter Bonnet competition.

This year the playgroup celebrate 40 years in business and to mark the occasion, Vicki is organizing an 'It's a Knockout' competition.


The opening of the playground on Saturday morning.

Prizes for Easter Bonnets.

AYLESTONE OPENS NEW STUDENT SUPPORT CENTRE

Aylestone Business and Enterprise College is to officially open the doors to a new centre for student services this week. The centre has been funded by Herefordshire Council following a successful bid for more than £2 million to the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

The bid was for cash to invest in centres to support young people in their own schools and all of the county's maintained secondary schools are to have a student centre. The centres differ according to the needs of each school, but all are designed to provide targeted support to pupils when they need it most and help them get back on track to meet and exceed their potential.

Aylestone's new centre is self contained within the heart of the school. It consists of a major refurbishment to existing classrooms which has resulted in the creation of light, bright spaces for study, plenty of space for one-to-one tuition, group work for literacy support, course work, exam support for year eleven students and meeting rooms.

Sue Woodrow, head teacher at the school said, 'Our new centre is already supporting a large number of students, all with different needs. The focus is on supporting achievement and progress for all. The most important thing is that help is provided quickly and effectively. The new arrangements began a couple of weeks ago and are already being well received by our students who have given the centre the official thumbs up.'

The new centre will be officially opened by Councillor Philip Price, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for ICT, education and achievement, on Wednesday, 24th March at 1.45pm. Following a ribbon cutting event, there will be tours around the new centre, where visitors can meet some of the pupils using the new facility.


THERE IS STILL TIME TO SIGN UP FOR STUB BUDDIES

Smokers across Herefordshire are reminded that if they set a quit date with NHS Herefordshire's Stub Buddies campaign by 31st March, there is an extra incentive to succeed.

The Primary Care Trust says that everyone who signs up with Stub Buddies and manages to stay off cigarettes for 28 days or more, will qualify for a feel good reward valued at £15, such as a food hamper, a spa treatment or an activity voucher. The names of all successful quitters will also be entered into an extra prize draw.

Dr Sarah Aitken, Herefordshire's assistant director for public health said, 'Your Stub Buddy will be there to support you every step of the way through the tough process of quitting. We hope that by rewarding success we can motivate more people to give it a try. Everyone who quits will receive a £15 reward voucher of their choice and will also be entered into our prize draw. There are some really great prizes up for grabs, including a year's family membership for the National Trust, and six months HALO Leisure membership worth £180.'

The Stub Buddies scheme aims to encourage smokers to make use of free and effective NHS services by providing a 'buddy' who can provide practical help and support, along with tips, tricks and encouragement to ensure they quit smoking for good. Research shows smokers are four times more likely to give up if they have the support of their local health service and are twice as likely to maintain cessation if they have a 'buddy' to give up with. More than one in every five of adults in Herefordshire smoke, and research has shown that over two thirds of them would like to stop.

Herefordshire's director of public health, Dr Akeem Ali said, 'New research shows that people are more likely to give up smoking if they feel good, not guilty. Scare tactics do not work as well as support and reward, and rewarding quitters works out much cheaper than treating chronic health problems. This is absolutely in tune with the national policy and we hope local smokers will find innovative approach a breath of fresh air.'

Potential quitters can find their ideal Stub Buddy by logging onto www.HerefordshireStubBuddies.co.uk, talking to their doctor or pharmacist, popping into their local Halo leisure centre or by calling the local stop smoking service on 01432 383567.


OZZY, GARY AND FRIENDS WALK FOR ACORNS HOSPICE

Local man Steve Bond, aka Ozzy and his long time friend Gary Davies rounded up many friends on Sunday to take part in a walk to raise money for Acorns Children's Hospice. Setting off from the Man of Ross in small groups, the walkers strolled down to Hom Green, then to the monument at Walford before heading back along the main road to the Man of Ross where all enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Ozzy is a retired fire fighter who does a lot of work with Acorns. He and Gary, who has recently undergone a hip replacement decided that, since they were now in their fifties, they would like to help the charity more and are busy planning a programme of fund raising events for the charity, including a race night. Details of this event will be published as soon as we have the details.

Ultimately, it is planned to play in a football match against the Aston Villa 'Old Boys' and it is expected that the game will take place in either June or July, after a lot more fund raising, with the aim of encouraging the growth of football in Ross-on-Wye.

Congratulations on your successful walk and we wish you both well with your efforts on behalf of Acorns.


Ozzy, Gary and friends before the walk on Sunday morning.

SARAH PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR NSPCC

Sarah Carr, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has pledged to support the NSPCC’s ‘I stand for children’ campaign which aims to make child protection a priority for the next Parliament.

Sarah said, 'As a candidate in Hereford and South Herefordshire, I’m supporting the NSPCC’s new campaign to ensure protecting children is a political priority: I Stand for Children.'

The NSPCC’s campaign is calling on candidates to commit to a range of child protection measures including:

Making the internet safer for children
Continued funding of help line services for children and for adults concerned about the safety or welfare of a child
Tackling domestic violence from a child's point of view
Ensuring that vital child protection reforms are fully implemented and resourced, following the death of Baby Peter and other child deaths since
Provision of resources for vital therapeutic services for children who have experienced abuse
Strengthening the role of the children's commissioner in England to act as a genuinely independent voice for children.

Diana Sutton, head of the public affairs and campaigns unit at the NSPCC said, 'We need to make sure that the next elected Government keeps child protection high on its list of priorities. By signing up to our campaign, candidates in this next general election can help. The public can play their role by letting the politicians know what they want done.'


ROSS COLLECTORS FOR POPPY APPEAL RECEIVE LONG SERVICE AWARDS

Awards for long-service were presented to Ross Poppy Appeal Collectors at a celebratory meeting of the Ross-on-Wye Branch of The Royal British Legion. Attended by Ross-on-Wye’s Mayor and Mayoress, the ceremony was opened by the Branch President Air Commodore Viv Warrington, who spoke of the hard work and dedication of the Appeal Collectors, some of whom had achieved 30 years of collecting on behalf of the Poppy Appeal. Attention was also drawn to the outstanding achievement of the town of Ross where, in the year 2009-2010, over £11860 had been raised by those who had given so generously to the Appeal, despite being in a time of recession.

Money raised from the Poppy Appeal is used by the Legion to offer practical help, support and advice to the Armed Service Family including those still serving, ex-service personnel of any age together with their dependants. The need for this assistance will only increase in the coming years with service personnel returning injured from current and recent conflicts.

For further information on the Legion in Ross, or becoming a Poppy Appeal Collector, please contact the Branch Hon. Secretary Mrs. King on 01989 568941.


Some of the long service award winners with the Mayor and Mayoress and members of the British Legion on Wednesday.

YOUNG MAN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN COMMERCIAL ROAD

Hereford Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a collision took place in Commercial Road, Hereford, leaving a 17 year old male with serious head injuries.

The incident happened at 10.40pm on Friday, 19th March when the male pedestrian collided with a white Nissan Micra which was travelling northwards along Commercial Road near the Commercial public house. As a result of the collision, the pedestrian sustained serious head injuries and was taken to Hereford County Hospital. His condition is described as improving. Commercial Road was closed for around three hours after the incident to allow police collision investigators to examine the scene to determine the cause.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who was in Commercial Road at the time and who witnessed the collision or saw the youth and / or the white Nissan Micra immediately before the collision. Anyone with information is urged to contact PC Colin Kerfoot of the Roads Policing Team at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 as soon as possible.


HANDS UP FOR HEREFORDSHIRE

With the government review of education provision continuing, Herefordshire’s campaign for fairer school funding held a Countywide day of action. On Saturday, 20th March, campaigners, volunteers, children and communities came together to show the importance of our schools. Campaign organizer Lucy Hurds and her teams of volunteers were joined by local politicians including the MP for Hereford, Paul Keetch.

‘Hands Up for Herefordshire’ Day saw displays set up in Hereford, Ross-on-Wye, Bromyard and Kington. Hands decorated by children of the County were brought together and assembled by volunteers drawn from community groups such as Hereford’s Sea Cadets, residents of Bromyard, Youth Action Team and V-involved volunteers. Whilst not every school could provide hands (due to OFSTED reports and other commitments), hands to represent every pupil in the county were created by the volunteers and included in the final displays. These consisted of thousands of individual hand prints and represented over 23,000 children who are currently being short-changed by the grant given by Central Government to the County’s education system.

The day’s events were captured on video which includes interviews with members of the campaign, volunteers and local residents and this, along with a petition containing thousands of local residents' signatures will be presented to the Minister for Schools, Vernon Coaker MP on Monday, 29th March.


Representatives from Vinvolved youth volunteering with local campaigners Sarah Carr, Lucy Hurds and Paul Keetch MP.

SARAH CARR WELCOMES HEREFORDSHIRE BROADBAND VISION

Sarah Carr has welcomed action by Herefordshire Council to help enable fast and affordable broadband services across the County. Prior to being the Liberal Democrat’s prospective MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, Mrs Carr worked at senior levels in the telecoms industry and was an active business member of the ‘Broadband Stakeholder Group’ the leading advisory group to UK government on broadband. Mrs Carr was also a regional CBI board member.

Sarah said, 'In my business career I worked in the very fast paced telecoms industry. I have spent many years convincing BT to invest in next generation telecoms infrastructure to deliver fast and affordable broadband to peoples’ homes and businesses. I plan to use this invaluable experience here in Herefordshire for the very best for our County.

I was very pleased to attend the Broadband Conference hosted by Herefordshire Council on Thursday, 18th March to hear the very latest national, regional and local perspectives on delivering fast, affordable broadband across the county for social, environmental and economic benefits.'


HEREFORD WOMAN ADMITS BENEFIT FRAUD OF ALMOST £23,000

A Hereford woman who admitted benefit fraud amounting to more than £22,000 has received a 24 month community order with supervision. Sarah Delahay, aged 37, of 16 Riddimore Avenue, pleaded guilty to six charges under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 on 12th February 2010 and was bailed to return to Hereford Magistrates Court on Friday, 12th March to receive her sentence.

Delahay was told by magistrates that she would have received 36 months if it was not for her timely guilty plea. She was told this case was very serious and she was very close to receiving a custodial sentence since she had deliberately defrauded the state but her mitigating factors such as the fact she has 20-month-old twins and a 13-year-old autistic child, had prevented her receiving a custody sentence.

Three charges were brought under Section 111 for the making of false statement, two charges brought under Section 112 for the failure to give prompt notification of changes in her circumstances, namely that she had got married, and one charge again under Section 111, for producing a falsified document. The amount of overpayment was £18,484.38 in Income Support, £4,001.14 in Housing Benefit and £433.72 in Council Tax Benefit, a total of £22,919.24.

Mike Toney, Herefordshire Council's head of benefit and exchequer services said, 'This was a very serious case of fraud and I am pleased with the sentence that has been handed down. As with all benefits cheats, she will have to pay back all the money she claimed fraudulently. County taxpayers can be assured that we will not hesitate to prosecute in such instances and if anyone suspects someone is making false claims they should contact either the council or the Department of Work and Pensions. Benefits cheats cost innocent taxpayers a lot of money and we will keep on investigating cases where we suspect this to be the case.'

Samantha Evans represented Herefordshire Council and the Department of Work and Pensions. Roger Dallimore represented Sarah Delahay.


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